tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 19, 2016 4:02pm-6:03pm EST
individuals on specifically what to say when they come here. they just rattle off and memorize the magic words they need to say so that they will fall within the statute of credible fear. we think that that's been exploited. we think that it has been going well beyond the original intent of the purpose of credible fear. like the example that you just used, right? that's what credible fear is supposed to be used for. absolutely. but we know it's being exploited. so i think that is one thing we can do as part of cir is to take a look at the policies where it makes sense is and try to have a good facilitated discussion. are there adjustments that need to be going forward. from 2000 to 2013, less than 1% were claiming credible fear coming across. today it is exponentially gone. it has continued to rise. we see that as an issue. again, going back to the nta, the notice to appear, we know
that that's definitely a pull factor. we know that they're communicating. and they're like, hey, it doesn't matter. if you get here, you will be released. you say these magic words. even if you don't say the magic words, you will still be let into this country. we need to have a discussion about our likewisation to make sure we are rely applying it where it is needed going forward i think that needs to be part of the facilitied discussion on immigration reform. >> i'm out of time. i've said this before. i think it pertains. no silver bullet. a lot of silver b. s. we need to do them all. >> thank you. i appreciate the well intended hearing here. let's keep it to seven minutes. keep the question and answers within seven minutes. we will proceed. everyone can have a chance to
ask questions. senator portman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chief morgan, welcome to the committee to you, and deputy chief provost and your sisters on the field. we appreciate what you do every day. as we heard earlier, it's under tough circumstances. you're working under constraints that make it difficult for you to do your job. i'm going to change the topic a little bit and talk about drugs and the transnational criminal organizations that bring the drugs across our border. as you know, this congress, the senate and house, has acted. they signed the comprehensive addiction recovery act. one of the original co-authors has joined is us. it is ground breaking. it is history in the sense that it focuses a lot on the demand side. we have had other witnesses about reduce the demand for jobs.
i think that's really core. there is still an issue with the drugs coming across the border. we are stopping only 1.5%, 2% of drugs coming across the border. about 100% of the heroin and 90% of the cocaine is coming across the border. mostly mexico for the heroin. what can we do to stop the drugs, increase the price, stop somen of the consequences of these transnational criminal
organizations which not only add to crime here in this country but of course make these other governments mexico, central american countries, colombia and so on much more vulnerable to corruption. you know, frankly, if we look at these numbers, they're increasing, not decreasing. so my first question to you is are my statistics right? are we only stopping 1% or 2% of drugs coming over the border, this poison that's coming into our communities? do you think that's accurate? >> we track everything we apprehend. you're correct, we have having numbers of methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin coming across the border. we to the best of our ability try to detect and apprehend.
whether at the ports of entry, at the border or for border patrol agents as well with our multilayered approach further into the country. we use our resources such as our canines. we are continuously trying to improve our training so we are better at intradicting. we know our numbers thus this year for fy 17 year to date, everything has been trending down except for methamphetamines which is up slightly from fy 16. >> if i could just interrupt you. we see an increase in overdose deaths. that concerns us. five a day in my home state of ohio alone. everybody is saying the same thing, it's getting worse not better. this is the source of the biggest increase, which is
heroin. the other is fentanyl which you have less control over. you hear a lot about that. the stopgap we are hoping that helps too. we are seeing more of it in our communities. >> well, that is just through the beginning of fy 17. so the last two months. our numbers are down slightly. but trending very closely across the board. it is a focus for us. it has been over my entire career within the border patrol. we have many more tools than we did in the past to assist us. we have grown in our capacity
with canine officers and such utilizing other sources to help us. >> can i just interrupt you again because my time is ending here. you're using every resource you have at our disposal. my understanding is you have not helped from operation d. the o.d. and would help in terms of monitoring and just transporting. because some of these drugs come in illegally by air just across the border on small strips. why are you not accessing some of these resources that are available to you? >> we we actually are in dialogue to continue that operation. >> so you're changing your view on that and you're going to ask for their help? >> from my perspective, i agree with you. we need the help. >> do you need additional resources to be able to do your job? >> yes. >> i think that is important for this committee to hear. again, i don't know if it's 1.5%, 2% that you're actually able to stop. but it's a very small number. i think you would agree with
that. and you indicate you're using all the resources you have. you have monitoring capabilities. it's not working to be able to stop this flow of the poisons. some of it is stopping it. some of it is increasing the cost. we have to be able to do a better job at the border. >> yes, sir, i agree. it goes to the threat based approach as well. so we need to increase our counter network strategies. we need to work through stone guard with our domestic partners. we need to continue to work international partners and mexico as well. we need to take the fight to the enemy and stop before it even touches the border. those are all things we're doing. we need to get better. >> i would ask you to submit in writing to the committee what you need from coast guard, from our military in terms of operations and other resources, from dea, from other federal
agencies and how we can be helpful on increases these apprehensions and stopping the flow of some of these poisons. thank you, mr. chairman. things are not improving as far as manufactured mexican heroin. it is an epidemic. because it is slightly better is totally unsatisfactory. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chief morgan, i will narrow this in a moment to a question that i hope you'll be able to answer. but i just want to give voice to
the fact that i have been hearing as a senator in the state of wisconsin and certainly reading in the news reports of a significant escalation of harassment, bullying and hate incidents directed to immigrants, to african-americans, to muslims, to other minorities in recent weeks. and it has been very distressing to hear some of my constituent accounts. recently the southern poverty law center that is track something of the hateful incidents in the weeks after our recent election said that anti-immigrant incidents were the most common type of harassments that has been
reported. i have received communication from a wide number of individuals. i heard from a father in a community in tomahawk, wisconsin who told me that, "while in school my son who is adopted from guatemala was approached by a school mate and told to pack his bags for mexico." there was hate mail sent to a family in fitchfield, wisconsin. the family includes 11 adopted children from the u.s., from ghana, and china read in part, trump won. go home. race wars are on. it's not only happening in wisconsin. it's across the country. it is deeply concerning to me
and goes against the values that we hold as americans. i have also heard from constituents in the immigrant community about the very real fears about potential anti immigrant policies under the incoming administration. for example, i've heard from legal green card holders they are afraid to travel in the next few months because they fear that they may be turned away or subject to additional scrutiny when they seek to return to the united states. so i want to ask you in asking my constituents and other legal immigrants that nothing will change in the u.s. border patrol's process for determining immigration status. and if you might add i would
like to hear about the training your officers receive on the treatment of individuals in the border control custody, including harassment and discrimination against immigrants and other minorities. >> first of all, i agree with you 100%. what we are doing and how we are doing it is not going to change. the current law, policy that we have been directed to operate under, that's what we have continued to operate. when that changed, we will change. we will enforce the policies that we're directed to do. but right now we understand the law. we understand the policies they have written and the united states border patrol will comply with the policies going forward.
we will adjust accordingly. personally i have had numerous conversations with him. in my former life, i was assistant director of the fbi academy as well where these things were talked about as well. explicit bias. >> can you provide any more details. >> no, ma'am. but i can provide that in follow-up. >> okay. my understanding is the u.s.
border patrol is currently 50% over capacity at its holding facilities. and i understand that you're in the process of building additional temporary facilities, which will continue to provide medical attention and clothing and other resources to women and children in particular. in addition to service on this committee, as you know, i serve on the homeland security committee of the appropriations committee. and with that in mind, can you speak to what resources are currently needed with regard to dealing with overcapacity issues in your holding facilities. >> yes, ma'am. katrina was one we set up. 500-bed capacity. it comes at a high cost. we're positioned to open up more in other areas where we do have an overflow. some areas along the southwest
border we are more than over 100% capacity in some of our areas. so places like the temporary holding facilities like torino is necessary to deal with that overflow. it comes at a high cost. like you said. it's really from a to z. it really is child care professional stuff we're doing. clothing them, feeding them, making sure they get medical attention, making sure they're able to sleep and get appropriate meals during the day, and have snacks and meals are warm and all that stuff that we should be providing a child, mother or father of a child, that's what we're doing. but as the numbers continue and increase, our capacity becomes strained and we have to go to extreme measures to make sure we're doing the right thing. >> senator -- >> thank you chairman. wanted to follow up on the
questions senator portman asked about the heroin and fentanyl addiction at the southern border. this is something i also focused on in the armed services committee along with chairman mccain in terms of working with our leaders in south com and north com enhancing their resources for interdiction. those networks can be used to traffic anything. it's a national security issue as well. can you tell me what would be most helpful to you in terms of really increasing our ability to interdict -- especially as we think of the devastation that senator portman reserved that i have seen as well when it comes to heroin and fentanyl. >> i think it has been described by everybody here, first, we have to strengthen the partnerships, the intelligence mechanism both domestically and international
partners to take the fight to them. >> right. >> if they made it to the border we kind of in essence already lost. >> right. >> we got to strengthen that intelligence apparatus. >> and as i understand it on the arm services committee there also is a role i think for some of the role of our military on the other, obviously in their role, thinking about their partnerships. >> yes, ma'am, and so, we also need to work with the ic, intelligence committee, to make sure the intelligence is gathering at the border, the amount of information think get at the border is overwhelming in a good way. we need to make sure the stuff we know and get are getting to the right people so they need to do what they are able to do that we're not able to do in an over seas environment. we're doing it but need to get better at it. >> i want to ask about the northern border.
senator highcamp and i have a bill that passed the house last night, chairman johnson and peters are are on the bill and i'm appreciative of that. as a norther border state this to me is very important as well, wanted to know if you're familiar with the northern border security review act, what's your view as to the potential issues at our northern border, i know they can impact our national security so what's your assessment where we are on the northern border and what's you're review of the security review act and whether you think it would be helpful. >> i think the act will be helpful. anything to have us further the dialogue and further focus on the northern bored he is a good thing. i'm trying to use the right adjective to talk about the
northern border. so i think we had this discussion yesterday. i think the right word i'd use is i'm concerned about the northern border and the threats there. again, i go back to the threat-based intelligence driven, operational focus approach that we need to have. what we need to do is make sure we're focused on threats not just numbers. so the number we all know i don't think is a great measure. if we apprehended 100 gang members or 100,000 six years old the output measure would be the same. but we're not talking about the so what behind it. i want to make sure that in all we do our allocation of resources, our request for requirements and resources, our
measures in metrics, that first and foremost it's focused on the so what, the threat, and not just on the activity, numbers going forward, i think we need to continue to strengthen that. >> thank you. thank you both for what you do for the country. appreciate it. >> senator booker. >> thank you. first of all i want to thank you both for your service to our country, the jobs that you do, it's awesome responsibility. i stand in humble gratitude to both of you for what you do on a daily basis. the job you're doing is fundamental to the safety of my community and new jersey and all of us as a nation, you all on the front line are protecting us and some of those dogged issues under mining safety and security of households, drugs and terrorism you all are on the front lines and i'm grateful for that. when i was mayor, i had over one thousand sworn officers as well as first responders. many folks just do not know the kind of pressures and challenges front line law enforcement face every single day. the incredible dangers.
unrelenting sometimes abuse that officers face. i want to just again echo the sentiments i'm sure of all my colleagues and expressing appreciation. when you talked about being the leading agency with assaults to officers, that's very frustrating to me. i want to commit to you, please reach out to me if there's things we're not doing to support the mission that is central to your success and protecting the well-being of your officers, protectsing, giving them the resources they need to make sure they're doing what they need to do. i have a concern having, you know, understand my leadership officers and i did everything i could to drive down those analytics, including a tax against officers, against
officers, making sure they have tools and protecting their safety and technologies. one thing i didn't build out my time as mayor which came back as a shocker because it violated my values, was i didn't build up a set of metrics to measure how my officers were interacting with the public. the aclu and others were making allegations that i didn't think were true about racial profiling, disparate treatment, but we were arguing over things that there was no transparent analytics to measure. so you and i share the same values the conduct of first responders, now, the 21st century task force on policing urges federal law enforcement agencies to collects, maintain, analyze demographic data on all intention and added that to embrace transparency, law enforcement should regularly post information about stops, summons, arrests, reported crime and other law enforcement data aggregated by demographics.
once i saw my data and began to make it public i found everything started to get better, the accountability got better. you all don't collect data on stocks. i was stunned to find that out. i would think you would want to know as a manager who you are pulling over, racial demographics, all of the things the aclu is compiling also stunning data. aclu hasp covered over 6,000 pages of complaints alleging
abuse by border patrol agents including racial profiling yet only one case has result in disciplinary action. i was in a similar situation with all the evidence, very little disciplinary actions on me until we started shining the light using objective data, so i would like to know again why aren't you collecting this data, really analyzing and crunching is it in a transparent way that could deflect criticism off an officers face because some things are not true but two so managers can beter manage your agency that i know you both hold as professionals. >> first of all, thank you for your kind words about how tough it is to do this job on behalf of men and women in border patrol that are not in d.c. on behalf of them thank you because i think they have a dangerous job on the front lines and they're protecting our families. so thank you very much. second to your statement, i agree with everything you just said. we should be doing that for the exact reasons you said. i think it will also shine a light very positively. i will turn it over to the deputy chief to talk about what we're collecting. i actually think we are collecting most of that stuff.
i think what we need to do is get better at analyzing that stuff and getting that stuff out in public. i think that's what we need to get better at. >> this is the last time i'll speak, can i get something from you about, you say, i want to get better, is there deadlines and time lines you set for yourself to get better. the other things i'd like to see the deputy chief in the 1:50 i have left, you are also the lowest federal agency for law enforcement for representation of women. that's something we found in other federal agencies is really important it address. and obviously we know what's happening in arizona with the federal ruling right now. another area of just figuring out analytics to measure the treatment of people once you have them detained, the conditions in that federal case were stunning to me and i know don't reflect our can common value it's and i know the ones you share. thank you. >> if i may, just touching on the data collection. in my role in the office of professional responsibility following on the chiefs roll-over there, we have been working diligently with both border patrol and field operations to improve our transparency across cbp that's
one of the commission's priorities. he's said it many times. there's a lot to go with data collection. sheer size with over 45,000 sworn officers, we're working on this together. it is something that we realize we need to continue to improve on and work closely with many non-governmental organizations in relations to many complaints. the office of professional responsibility is expanding to assist when it comes to investigations of any allegations against our employees. the chief mentioned how high
assaults have been, one stat, our use as a force has decreased regularly over the last couple of years. so we're showing improvement there. we're focusing on our work with the public in general. and we realize that there into for improvement there. quickly to attack on representation of women, the border patrol has been around 5% of women in the 20 years i've been in border patrol. that ed, working with hr, we are seeking out more women interested this this. i was a police officer before joining the border patrol. the border patrol is very different work and has been a area we've struggled to increase our number of women but we are working on that, i think we are making strides in that area so we have a more diverse workforce. >> senator ernst. >> thank you mr. chair and thank you both for being here today, we appreciate your service to
our nation very much. i'm encouraged with the efforts working with dod as they hire veterans as they leave the service. while i support your experience as a veteran with previous experience working out of fort benning in a transition assistance program, i'm very much aware of the numerous, more than i can counts and often overlapping federal employment programs for veterans that reside in so many different governments across the federal government, and i've worked with my colleagues in the senate, including senator john mccain who is the sponsor of the border jobs for veterans act to ensure that any efforts on this front actually achieve the goal of recruiting outgoing service members for positions like yours.
and we really believe that this will help solve the fragmentation or overlap that we see in a number of those programs. and can you please provide committee with more details how cbp is currently engaging with our dod to help these retiring or transitioning service members. >> yes, ma'am. as a former, current, i guess i'll always consider myself united states marine. >> and thank you. >> this is areat program, our human resources will obviously give you more details but i can tell you they actually won an award this year for their interaction with the military counter parts and we are seeing extreme positive benefits. they're increasing their recruitment events across the country at military military installation and abroad. couple other things they're looking at -- reciprocity, physical fitness, do we need them to go through that again
when they've already taken a physical fitness test. we're looking for a polygraph do we need to put them through a second he. there's a lot of resources the division is looking at to increase that. >> could i just make a point. right now it takes 18 months, right, to receive the clearance so that you can be employed by the border patrol, right? >> sir, it's actually improved dramatically now. >> why is it that a veteran cannot immediately be hired if that veteran is already gone through all of the screening? >> yes, sir, that's exactly what they're looking at. they're trying to look at all those avenues. >> let's do more than look at it. okay. it's outrageous. okay.
let's do it. >> yes absolutely. >> sorry to interrupt. >> no you are fine senator mccain, i think the point is very well taken in that we have a huge number of qualified personnel that are leaving a service, they are well fit to go into border patrol and they're used to the extreme lifestyles that you engage in. so it's a great fit and with women, as well, we have a great number of phenomenal women veterans that are exiting our services and this would be a great place for them to further their careers. >> senator from iowa yield for just one moment? >> yes. >> point of clarification, 18 months is outrageous. you indicate it has been improved dramatically, to what extent. >> yes, sir, i don't know the exact numbers but i know they've reduced that in half, i think we're looking at under a year right now. >> come back to that with us. >> could i just engage in colloquy for a second, if you have a veteran who is leaving the military who already has the clearances why couldn't you hire that person immediately?
>> yes, sir. >> why would it take a year? >> yes, sir, i think my phrase looking at is probably not the right word, they are actively pursuing initiatives to make that happen. and also, actually, the vast majority of folks we're looking at don't necessarily have the clearances and back grounds they went through are not quite as extensive as the backgrounds we do, but the point is taken, to say looking at is not the right word they're actively pursuing to give that reciprocity to every area they can. >> so you will have support for those initiatives sooner than later. >> bipartisan support. >> thank you mr. chair. i appreciate the discussion because you can see this is a topic that we're all very
passionate about and again our service members are a great fit for your organization. and so we want to see active engagement. we want to see progress in this area. and if there's a way that we can engage and do a better job at that, we need to. we need to. so thank you. and i'd like to thank my committee members for engaging in that discussion as well. chief morgan, i'd like to go back, you had acknowledged earlier in this hearing that a number of the uacs are released into the interior of our country, which is concerning. i have grave concerns about how our government handles those uacs once they cross the border. i will give you a very specific example. there's was a uac named edwin mejia who came across the border, went on to kill a young
woman, sarah root who is from iowa, was from iowa, and we learned hhs had lost track of him once he was released to his brother. now this gentleman has gone on to who knows where. we are uncertain where this person is. unfortunately the family of sarah root has not been able to see justice and it's hard to say whether they will receive justice in their lifetimes. sarah's was unfortunately cut very short. so i understand the difficulty of it's problem that we have when it comes to polling factors, and i would like to make sure that we're addressing these poll factor that's will poll others into our nation, but i also want to look at the push factors, too. you've identified a number of reasons out there. drug interdiction is one. we have people consuming drugs here in our country. they're getting drugs into our country.
we have many counter drug centers one at camp dodge, iowa, for the midwest region can you speak to the iowa national guards and national guards all across the country, air, and army and their counter drug programs is that beneficial to your organization? >> it kind of goes back to the operation fa linx any time we can leverage the national guard it's a good thing and when we're able to do that it's been a positive impact. >> very good and it's something you think we should continue to invest in? >> yes, ma'am. i was talking to one of the cbp pilots was actually a national guard pilot as well and we had a really good dialogue, and he let
me fly the helicopter for a little bit, not sure i was supposed to say that, but we had a really good dialogue and what we talked about what, he felt that the national guard members, he wasn't sure who got more out of it whether the border patrol or the pilots participating in that because that's about as realistic training as you can get to support the border patrol operation so it is a true win-win. >> thank you. i appreciate it. thank you very much for your time here we had a lively discussion but certainly we need to know as congress how to enable you to do better so thank you for your time this morning. >> senator peters. >> thank you for both of you for your service and work to our country. it's a difficult job. you are both new but very seasoned to the position. you've hit the ground running. i thank you for that chief morgan and deputy chief provost. deputy chief provost, you've spent a lot of time in the field and that will be very much appreciated. thank you both for what you do.
chief morgan i know as you've been diving into this job you've been focused on making it priority to visit patrol offices all across the country, as the senator for michigan i hope it is going to be a priority for you as well to get to michigan at the northern border that has unique challenges, one in particular for us is the great lakes environment in michigan and the fact that we have seasons and winter and in fact we've had from previous hearings talking about protecting the maritime coverage when you have thick ice coverage you can walk across large parts of the border. the coast guard ships with ice breakers won't have that kind of monitoring system. there's unique challenges i'm
sure you will learn about and will learn more about that when you go to michigan. i will ask you a direct question. you plan on doing that soon? [ inaudible answer ]. >> good. good. will be good in the winter if you see the ice as well to see some of those challenges. the other thing i want to pick up too is the concerns of the community, michigan is a very diverse, large latino, urban american, muslim-american community. there's real concerns i have heard as well, folks who are fearful what the future will hold for them. i've also heard from stakeholders in this debate from
southeast detroit where we have folks from all over the world. they've been very appreciative with the border patrol and chief there at these meetings have gone a long way to building trust. some very positive things have come out of that. so they ask me to encourage you to continue that kind of open dialogue and perhaps get some feedback as you are starting that position, how do you see that kind of communication continuing with sector chiefs and are there other things you like to see that we can go further in. >> yes, sir, absolutely. in fact back at headquarters we're starting a new unit, strategic communications, all things communications, both internal and external. it's a good phrase -- it's harder to hate up close. we have to get out there. our leadership has to get out there. i've gone to eleven sectors and many, many stations and the pacts out there leading the way, the agents that are out there, it's not just it's leadership,
you go out there and it's he the individual relationship with the ranchers, the community, goes so far in helping that perspective and really bringing everybody together so the more we talk and can be involved is a positive thing and i've encouraged that from day one and continue to encourage that. >> that's wonderful to hear. if i may we can be involved when you come to michigan let us know you're there and we can assist in connecting you with groups of individuals who have concerns and would love to have the opportunity to meet you personally and to have a discussion about some of their experiences, if we could facilitate that we certainly would appreciate that. >> yes, sir. i think that's been some of my most informed discussion, sitting down, breaking bread with the ranchers, talking to the community, absolutely. we'll absolutely do that. >> great. i appreciate that. also want to pick up on the northern border security review act which i worked on passed both house and senate and you
mentioned resources being appropriately allocated both to the southern and northern border. you talked about the northern border strategy to have a net base approach, look at that and not just the numbers. would like you to dive in a little bit deeper in the fact you have resource constraints and the northern border different length from the south. how do you focus on that and see it changing and is there anything we need to do at the congressional level to help you make the decisions to ensure we have proper resources both in the south and in the north.
>> yes, sir. so there's a couple things going on right now. one initiative we have called the c-gap. basically it's a pretty decent process that we're going through that should tell us where our resources are needed. regardless of the numbers. it's a holistic approach and we're looking at a series of factors. as i review it the challenge i have is i find those system it's being too much focused on the activity-base, mean numbers.
so i have to assure we're pushing threat in there. somehow, i use the analogy of 100,000 six years old and 100,000 drug dealers, the way we measure it now, the output is the same. we need to adjust that and look at the so-what of those numbers this. part of that is the northern border, the numbers of apprehensions are relatively low, we need to reframe that. it's not just about numbers. that's going to be a cultural shift for the organization. but we need to do that going forward. one thing that can help when we start talking about personnel, i think what we did in the past we
shouldn't do the same, when we talk about personnel we're only talking about badge toters, when we start looking at personnel, we need to look at the kind of personnel so we need more intelligence analyst to have that intelligence approach as well. so our need is not only border patrol agents, we definitely other graphics as well. >> all right my time is expired thank you. >> next senator. >> thank you for having this hearing and for both of your service. i appreciate you being here today. one of the problems that customs border patrol protection has was at that it was towards the bottom of the list for best place to work. it's been six months since you've been chief have you initiated any kind of programs to help bring that up? >> yes, sir. so the fed survey which i think everyone's familiar with, federal employee goes out there.
>> right. >> what we did is we took that, that just scratches the surface, it's a single narrow data point that we can utilize. we came up with a human capital survey team. went out to 13 sectors, talked to 900 people from mechanics to sector chiefs and did a deeper dive hearing from the leaders and hearing their concerns and from that we've developed several recommendations and i think the email is on my desk waiting to go out to the workforce really numerating what those recommendations are and how we will put action teams together to action that. we're also taking a look at, and part of that,ly give you an example, so vapra the pay, that's hard, the more i learn about that, i just shake my head. so what we're trying to do is where we can influence change. i'll give you one example. so canine. i get in there, border patrol does it right, they take their doings home. right. they become bonded. they're together. the dog and handler are better. we say yes take them home it's
good thing and don't pay them for the time they spent taking care of their dogs at home. i don't think that's right. right now it takes legislative change to get that. something we need your help on to get that change. that's just one example that we're taking a look at. >> we've worked on the pay issue before we can work on it again. that's not a problem. as you look at the overall structure do you believe that the top management versus the folks on the ground that you have the right ratios? >> i'm hesitant to use the word, take a look at. so, i -- again, four months, i am taking a look at that. i've talked to the union about that as well. they've echoed their concerns about that ratio, so i'm collecting data on that. >> okay. okay. and so, we talked a little bit about staffing on the northern border and i think the process that you go through to hire folks can be pretty long, pretty
cumbersome, do you have any recommendations to expedite that process? >> i think that really probably is something that we really nee is something that we really need to bring back our human resource people to give you the details. i can tell you, they have done an incredible job. they have cut that in half. they've developed -- >> they've cut the time in half already? >> yes, sir. >> one example, they have these hiring hubs, so instead of going to five different locations to do all these, you go to one spot and knockout like six steps in the process. >> yeah. >> so my suggestion is we need to do more of that and continue that. we need to look at stuff like the military and look at where we can do rthe united states states border patrol agents, i'm dedicated to make sure if you look at the past, they did a darn good job of that. i'm dedicated to make sure that
we're allocating more resources, border patrol agents to hire more border patrol agents. >> a number of people on the northern border, i don't know if it is true in other places, we have a hard time keeping folks. best place in the world to live. just people don't know that. and so the question is when you come to recruit, do you have a plan to recruit in some of those more pron tier areas that you're not going to be able to go to the opera or see a pro football gauge in th game, but you're going to be able to shoot a pretty good antlope. do you have a recruitment plan for those a areas. >> whenever this job ends, i may up there. >> we'll put you to work in you do. >> so yeah, we're working with hrm on where we can get better, a better focused recruitment events. >> can i make a suggestion? you've got a ton of small
schools and big schools by montana and north dakota standards on that northern border, a lot of people don't know about the career opportunities in the customs border protection. quite frankly, if you were able to get ahold of those counselors and even make appearances, you're going to get people not only live there, but want to live there to do the job you do. like you said, if you can have other people that wear the uniform go up and talk to these kids about the opportunities, i think it would be quite successful. states like monday tan narks we serve in the military at i higher rate than any other state percentage of per capita. north dakota is prop ahead of us. it solves that. stone garden grants, we talked about this yesterday. you talked about how important they are. how -- how deficient is the stone garden grant budget in your opinion? 25% less? about where it needs to be? too high? >> i don't know.
i haven't done a deep enough dive. i can say, though, when i've gone out to every single sector, southern, northern border, it is resounding from the chiefs and sheriffs participating in the program, they're like "more." so i need to do a deeper dive for me to be able to personally tell you that. what i'm hearing from the sector chiefs, what i'm hearing from the law enforcement chiefs and sheriffs, they're involved in the program, it is a great program and they want more. >> okay, and another question along the same lines, because off he got farmers and ranchers that know that property like the back -- in fact they do know it. does - do you have an outreach program to them to make sure they're on board. ten years ago when i got this job, we went up to the northern border, and there wasn't a very good relationship. that has changed over the last ten years. is there outreach being done to those farmers and ranchers to let them know they're appreciated and number two, they can be eyes and ears to help you
out. >> i can absolutely say yes. i've seen, i've gone in there and see the agents on the line and the relationships they have with those folks. with the landowners and ranchers. i've seen it first hand. is there room for improvement, sure. we're also doing like citizens academy type things as well, bringing people in. but yes, sir, i think that's -- >> super. just in closing, i would say this. the committee and the appropriations committee are very open to make sure you have the resources you need keep this country safe. along the northern as well as the southern border. we just need to have the information. and when it comes to recruitment, when it comes to whether we have the technological manpower resources, we've got to have that information, that's good information otherwise we'll make bad decisions. i don't know what you're allowed do, but do what can do so people know what the challenges are. >> senator langford. >> thank you, both again for all
the ongoing service you've had for a long time and what you continue to do. i have a whole series of questions on a multitude of different issues and i'll troo to get through as many as i can. chief, you've been there six months, and obviously you've made progress and dug in a lot in looking at a lot of things at this point, and we appreciate that very much. before you came in about five months before in january of this year, the inspector general put out a report on the special operations group program, program budgeted $8 million, and it came in at $33 million in the inspector general came back and said there is no metrics attached to it for the special operations group. are you familiar with that report? predated your leadership there, are you familiar? if you are, can you comments and to not, follow up and what progress. >> i'm not and i'll follow-up. >> fair enough. in your statement that you put in, you made a comment it, was kind of an off-hand comment, but interesting. you mentioned voluntary return,
and then you put a come marks the least effective inefficient consequence. just kind of an offhand comment about voluntary return. can you give me additional detail about that? >> so voluntary return, if you look back in time, i mean, basically it was just that. we would apprehend somebody at the border and say okay, go back. and what that caused, agents back in the day, you can talk to it better than i can, what it meant was an agent could actually end up apprehending the same person three or four times in the same shift, because there was no consequences. no deterrence. so to do a vr today, just doesn't make sense. >> so what is the alternative there? is that something we need to fix in statute? >> so i -- i think statutorily, you know, i guess we could have a dialogue to just remove that as an option in its entirety, it wouldn't be necessarily -- >> it has been a concern and a lot of dialogue about what you
just said. voluntary return, someone is picked up, they know the term, as you mentioned before, they're coached on what terms to use, whether it be fear or asylum, all the different statements, voluntary return, they're able to cross back over, come back again and get picked up again. how many times do you think that should be allowed? because you know you're dealing with a person that is aware, there is a border there, they are aware they've crossed the border illegally and should they be able do it 20 times 5, times, 3 times. >> from our perspective, not ever, right. the first time you cross, there should be some type of consequence that leads to a deterrence. >> okay, thank you. any other comment about that ms. provost? >> no, i would echo what the chief was saying in relation to that. we do utilize much more now expedited removal, which has been a huge benefit for us, having that ability over the last decade. >> terrific. you both have mentioned at the beginning of this in the opening testimony your concern about
terrorism and terrorist activities or materials moving across the border as well as drugs. we've talked about the movement of drug smuggling as well as human smuggling, terrorism. do you have any other details about that? >> challenge in an unclassified study, but again, i'll going back to that approach about why it is so important to be that threat driven approach. again, we spend a lot of time talking about, you know, uacs and family units. again, i'll go back, don't see that six year old at midnight as a national security threat, but i'll go to the northern border for example. there are stuff -- it is open source. we know individuals in canada that are self-radicalized, we know that. we know there are connections to international terrorists organizations, open source. so it is that type of threat that concerns me. and so when we're dealing with our matrix, dealing with our
strategies, again, not only do we have to talk about the numbers, that's always going to be a component, but we need to focus on the threat and what i can say is there is -- there are threats out there that concern me. >> let me dig deeper. you've been asked a couple of times just about what you need, and you've mentioned partnerships, cooperation. can i take that down to the next level. what does partnership mean for snu is that additional personnel to be able to have a partnership in relationship, co locating in situations? is that materials? what is needed when you talk about additional partnerships and cooperation? >> all of that. >> okay, i know senator portman mentioned, his request, let me ask to it at well, can you submit back to us in writing for us to do our job effectively, we think we need this, that gives us greater clarity? even when we talk about technology needs, there has been a tremendous amount of experimentation with technology,
variety in aviation, whether that's been unmanned, multiple platforms for helicopter and aircraft, and fixed wing, trying to figure out what is the most effective, maintain all? more effective than another one? all of those things come into it as we try to make decisions on this committee, not just we need to help you with partnership, but the mechanics of what it means. the more detail, the better. let me back up to technology and aircraft. because there has been a lot of debate, whether it is fixed wing, rotor, unmanned, what's the most effective, the least -- most efficient, least cost in it, to get best bang for the buck. and then other technology pieces that are actually getting you a good return now. if we go back four years ago, we were spending a billion dollars on a program that didn't work what technology is work singh. >> yes, sir, i agree with what you just said. i don't need to say it. it is so niek frunique from sec sector.
there could be areas where rotoring aircraft isn't effective. but yet a small unmanned platform would be more effective. so it really is, it is a complicated process to determine to be smart about it, to use the money wisely, to figure out what asset we need where. that's part of the cgap process, the capabilities initiative that we're doing. and we're well underway to that. it will be able to provide this committee with exactly that information. but i could tell you, we do need additional stuff. we need additional assets, operational assets, the horses, the canines, et cetera. technology, yes. infrastructure, yes. the bodies, it is tougher to say right now exactly what we need and how much and where, and we're working through that. >> terrific. that report will be finalized when? >> i'm not sure. >> okay, give me a guess?
a year, ten years? >> fy 17. >> okay, that helps. can i also ask you to take into consideration sustainment when do you that as well? there is a lot of conversation about what this is what we need, how many people does it take to maintain that, what is the sustainment long-term and keep it into the ongoing preparation. thanks for the extra 20 seconds. >> senator. >> thank you both. earlier this month, i visited portal. i've talked about portal a lot in this committee, because we're particularly challenged in those areas, whether it is the grand forks sector in terms of personnel. and it is absolutely critical that we have an employment plan, and i want to reiterate what senator tester already said. we can find good folks right there. senator langford and i held a hearing where we talked about employment regarding recruitment of millennials, and your
personnel officer from dhs came with a new burst of energy so we're looking forward to hearing her report, and what she is doing. some republic some really creative ideas. i do want to point out again the northern border. the bill that will inevitably get signed into law by the president will put demands on you to inform the public and inform this committee and the congress about what those threats are. and what it takes in terms of personnel and equipment and technology to basically meet those threats. and so i just want to, once again, encourage you to not only meet the deadline in the bill, but maybe bring it in a little early, because as you can see, there is a great deal of concern. a great deal of publicity about what is happening on the northern border.
so with that said, i want to talk about canada. we had a great conversation, i think yesterday. but i think for the record here, if you would reiterate the kinds of things that you're doing with your counterparts in canada that can in fact expand personnel and provide more situational awareless. we've got a huge advantage, a trusted long-term partner in terms of keeping the border secure. so if you could give us a run down on your work with kane in addition -- canadian officials. >> i talked about yet, the international border enforcement team, canadian law enforcement and u.s. forces, mainly border patrol, a few other entities in there. it is a great initiative. it is part of a, you know, quintessential task force environment, and you're right.
trusted ally, and served to be effective. we need to continue to expand on that. when it comes to national security intelligence information, that's probably an area that we need to continue to expand on. it can be a little cumbersome at times, it has to go up to a more of a national level, and it doesn't always get down to the folks on the line as expeditiously as it should. but we recognize that and working towards that. we're looking for a more opportunities where we can actually do, you know, integrated operations, right? more of that not just about sharing information and intelligence, it is taking that, analyzing, and then really true network operation, right? across the border and be able do more of that. we're doing some of that. we should and can do more of that going forward. those are just a couple of efforts we're doing. >> i want to reiterate what you've been talking about earlier, which is there are
tasks that are being performed by guys and gals wearing badges that really could be done by other professionals, especially as it relates to the unaccompanied minors issue. and so just really encouraged when you're looking at this report to look very closely at those tasks that guys in green should be performing, and where we can transfer out. i'm going to be really specific on this. it does concern me. one of the biggest concerns from the border patrol agents i talked to when i was at portal is communications. many times on the border, you'll get bounced off a canadian tower, off a radio tower in north dakota and they're out there with no cell coverage and no radio coverage. that is not a formula for success, especially when they're going to have to rely on the sheriff to give them back up if they -- if they encounter an events. so can you please look into communications on the northern
border, especially in remote locations. we owe it to those people who put on a badge and walk out the door everyday, not knowing their family not knowing whether they're going come back. we owe it to them to give them the best equipment. i want to turn to the southern border, because i spent a fair amount of time down there. chief, you'll probably laugh at this, but can you paint your cars a different color than white? you did, but i'm serious about this. because i think -- you know, because i think that obviously, you know, not that you should be clandesti clandestine, but if you are a spotter on a hill in mexico and you're walking drugs across the border and see a white truck coming on the border, it is pretty easy to radio down to the guys carrying the contraband and say avoid this or that. i do think there is some
advantage to having a vehicle that is less likely to be spotted, and we know this happens. they're up on the hill, right? they're watching you every minute. especially if they're moving product of any kind of value. and so your ability to move in a way that -- and respond to it in a way without early detection can be enormously valuable. i'm just passing it on, and this is a problem. i want to encourage you to continue and i know you have, and i'm grateful for that. your ongoing outreach to the ranchers, both on the southern and northern border. see something, say something, we've got to create relationships where people are all in this together. i think you were down, you visited with the rarcnchers on e southern border. good reports coming back, so thank you. keep up the dialogue and keep up
the open communication. those guys know a lot. that he have been on the land as tester said. they know the land like the back of their hand. thank you both of you for putting on the uniform everyday, representing all of us and doing the toughest work that's done in mark. really appreciate it. >> i just have two further lines of questioning. one has do with the incentives. we talked earlier about the fact that we have no expedited removal for, you know, kids and family units from central america, you know, the nose of the pier, you get into the country, you stay. what about sanctuary cities? to what extent does that, again, incentivize people to come here? because they know they've got jurisdictions, they're not going to be deported? can you speak to that? >> sure, i think probably from a perspective of the united states border patrol, when we look at those factors, i probably don't
really look beyond the fact of a notice to appear. >> okay. >> that's -- >> more question for i.c.e. >> yes, sir. >> let me talk about the ways that the smugglers, human traffickers really defeat customs border patrol using minors. overloading the system, when we were traveling with one of the sheriffs, the claim was that we don't prosecute unless it is at least 500 pounds of marijuana. talk a little bit about some of those, incentives or just impediments to enforcement. >> yes, sir. thresholds are always an issue. each jurisdiction sets their own threshold for a variety of reasons that they have limitations, personnel and funding as well. you can see from one jurisdiction to another different thresholds for basically the same activity,
same amount. it can get frustrating. it can actually serve as a moral challenge for the rank and file out there risking their lives every single day and then something not prosecuted, what can pair to be an arbitrary threshold. >> what about use of minors what, can possibly be done about that? what do we try to do about it? >> well, in relation to the amount of unaccompanied children you're talking about, sir, coming? >> no, i'm actually talking about minors using as -- >> to smuggle, yes, that's been a tactic that they've used for as long as i have been in the border patrol, because they do know that at least criminally, they're not going to receive a prosecution, because they're minors. that's a tactic that the dtos and asos and alien smuggling organizations have used for as
long as i can remember. specifically for that reason. because if they are -- if they are a minor, they are not going to receive a prosecution. that's a difficult one for us. it is something that is a tactic that we pay attention to. i would not say that it is increased, it is a common practice across the bored when it comes to bringing groups in local guides as we call them. >> it works, unfortunately. chief, you talked about morale. let's talk about some of the issues of morale. i hear about the policy in terms of guiot a ways, agents on the ground level, they have to call in a supervisor if there is more than 20. and that creates, again, they're pulled off, i don't know all the ramifications, but it sounds like it create ace huge incentive not to report got a ways more than 20. can you speak to that? >> yes, sir. i just, at this point, i have a
challenge really with several of the major matrix we're doing. not just the impact on the ats, perception and reality on that but really, is it really capturing what it should be capturing. and so we are unfortunately i'm going to use the word again, i'm taking a look at that from a holistic approach. but yes, i've heard some of those same concerns. >> chief provost, when i had the chief in my office, anybody continuing to shift basis, when you have a continuing shift, my way of thinking, you need four shifts. we don't have that customs border patrol. what is your basic viewpoint of how we staff in the areas of customs border patrol that are continuing to shift. you use three, overtime, not an effective -- in industry, you don't do that. why do we do it in government? >> so for the most part, we use
three shifts. there are areas we do have four shifts depending on the location. the individual sector and chief takes into consideration how operations work best, the resources that they have, as we know, our men and women are also a resource that we utilize. the fact that we have established bortder patrol agents work a ten hour day helps with the coverage for the shift changes, but there are areas where the remoteness of the border have an impact and we run four shifts in some of those locations so that our -- >> do you see a difference in morale, you find it works better for you? >> in my conversations with agents, i've seen both sides of the fence, i guess, on that. some agents would prefer four and some would prefer three. we try to look at it in an aspect of what makes sense for that specific area of operations. >> okay, well, i'll ask you to
work with me on that and something well worth exploring looking into. in your joint testimony, your losses are currently out pacing gains, downward staffing trend and we talked a number of reasons for that. something we really want to work with you on. in my final minute, i want to address fencing, because again, fencing works. a better wall works. and it also will help relief the personnel issues, too. so we did pass a secure fence act. i don't think we've built the type of fencing that will actually work. i'm not suggesting 1,700 miles, but i think we need better fence anything more areas. i want a quick comment on that. >> yes, sir, agree. i'll give you a quick example, when i visited san diego sector, an area of a few miles where
they have a primary fence and secondary pedestrian fence. not only did it work to stem the flow elsewhere, but by doing so, the chief told me at that point he was actually able to take 100 agents and put them elsewhere, because it didn't require that level of deployment there. go to another sector, where they actually told me that at one point, the free market across on the u.s. side had all but dried up. an area where they put fencing up and the flow had all but stopped, now was a thriving shopping center once again. so it works on multiple levels, not just on the flow in our ability do our job, but also has other aspects. so yes, do we need more fencing. yes. does it work. yes. do we need it everywhere. no. >> is it the sole answer. no. it is a multi layered strategy. i always tongue and cheek the
fence is great, but if we don't have access roads to get to the fence, it is not as good. >> you both mentioned that. so you know, i hope you work with this committee as we move forward to identify where we do need additional fencing, how it should be designed, how do we have the roads, so we can relief the pressure from the standpoint of staffing. i guess is my ranking member -- i'll continue, then. again, i want to go back to incentives, because -- oh, he is back. i'll let you go. >> thanks so much. i have a couple of questions for the record. i'm going ask for each of you, not now, about leadership and what led you to follow this path and how auto we can encourage more women to follow the path that you've set out on. i just have a yes or no question. i think one of the questions was
asked about fencing and walls. you want to make sure it is done thoughtfully and ways contributing. you may have mentioned, chief morgan, i think somebody mentioned san diego, able to take 100 border patrol officers, and put them in deployment in other ways. that's smart. what else would be smart, all these border patrols, daycare operator operators. that ain't smart. one of the ways to reduce the need for doing that is for us to do our part to help make sure that all those little kids and the bigger brother and sisters actually have a future. that's part of the solution as well. i think immigration reform is part of the solution, including the ability for workers in hon
d -- honduras. i think technology is part of it. talk about the folks on the spotters, the idea of standing up on piloted vehicles to be able to fly up there, identify ghi guys, bring in direct fire, you can use that kind of technology. whatever, you know, figure out what works and do more of that. part of what we're asking to you do is tell us what you need more and less of. i would hope at the end of the day that actually it includes the other side of the equation. and the lesson we learned from mexico. we used to have tons of people coming up here from mexico. tons of most of the folks who came here for years were from mexico. they don't come anymore. they're going back to mexico. the reason is because they have a future now. they have a solid middle class we've been helpful in helping them ensure that happens, and to benefit them and us as well. just what i've said, make any sense?
if you say no, i'm not -- i'll leave. does that make sense? >> everything you made sense, sir. >> all right. chief deputy? >> yes, no, i concur with you. >> i didn't want to conclude before i can thank you both for being here. a breath of fresh air. we appreciate your leadership and the way you approached this. as the chairman mentioned earlier, i think it is probably the last hearing i'll be the ranking member, just to say how much i've enjoyed working with him and all of the colleagues. i'm not going to get off the committee. i'll be the ranking member on environment public works and look to be active in supporting all of my colleagues in this committee. but i want to acknowledge the help of certainly our minority staff, and led by gabrielle batkin. but i also want to acknowledge the hard work of the chairman and the folks that he has helped lead. he want to mention, i can't mention them all, but i want to
thank each of my staff and our staff, and his staff for the way that they work together, still working, even as we gather here today, trying to get things done before we adjourn. i particularly want to thank chris hixon, i want to thank gabby. >> just gabby. >> patrick bailey, i want to thank david lucky, who has left, i think just a week or two, came and said goodbye. brooke erickson and all the other folks on the staff, who have contributed for our country. finally, i want to thank laura. laura, the best third baseman i've seen on -- congressional softball team. and then all the years i've been here, she has an arm like a rifle. as long as she is on our team, we're in good shape. they keep the committee running smoothly and efficiently. it has been a joy.
a real joy. we've done good work together and look forward to doing a whole lot more. >> thank you, senator carper. it would be nice if people have simple names to pronounce. i do want to thank both of the witnesses for many years of service to the nation. it is actually appreciated. your thoughtful testimony, your answers to the questions, and truly look forward to working with you certainly in the next congress, over the next few years. again, thank you. that being said, the hearing record will remain open until december 15th, 5:00 p.m. for submission of statements. this hearing is adjourned.
tonight on american history tv, veteran stories, from world war ii, corey yeah vietnam, afghanistan and iraq medal of honor recipients and military women, it all starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern. this week on c-span. tonight, states count their elector votes for president of the united states. we'll have coverage in illinois, pennsylvania, michigan and virginia at 8:00 p.m. eastern. tuesday night at 8:00, jerry greenfield, co founder of ben & jerry's ice cream. >> the idea that we couldn't sell enough ice cream in the summer in vermont to stay in business, that that forced us to look for other markets. >> wednesday night, former vice-president, dick cheney and leon panetta. >> the challenges are very great, and i think we have
unfortunately over the course of the last many years done serious damage to our capabilities to be able to meet those threats. >> we're living from that period, a lot of flash points, and a new administration is going to have to look at that kind of world. and obviously define policy that we need in order to deal with that, but then develop the defense policy to confront that kind of work. >> thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a look at the career of vice-president elect mike pence. >> amid the shifting stands of contemporary culture of law, we have stood without apology for the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage and freedom of religion. >> on friday night, beginning at 8:00, farewell speeches to several outgoing senators, including harry reid, barbara boxer, kelly ayotte and dan coats. this week in primetime, on c-span.
jon hunts mman, in the wakef election, they talk about the first 100 days of donald trump's white house. and what ways the legislative branch can work with the administration. the women's national basketball association, and vice chair, lisa borders. ♪ good afternoon, everybody. are we in our seats? no, we're not. good afternoon, everybody. thank you. it is a privilege to be with all of you. i think we are all getting to our seats, but while we are doing that, have we not had a
terrific morning? have we not had a terrific morning? so let me welcome you to our lunch session. i have the privilege of leading the wnba, and that's a group of professional women athletes, and i often remind them that there are two international languages. music and sports. we have the benefit of playing sports. but what we have to recognize on a regular basis is that our teams can't win unless everyone is engaged. basketball is a team sport. i would submit to you that democracy is also a team endeavor. and so we are delighted that you are here with us today to have these conversations about we're going as a nation, and you have been willing to step forth,
engage, participate yourself, and bring others along with you. is my assumption correct? are you sure? are you going to bring another person to this movement? you're going listen, learn today, and lead by example? okay, i'm going to make you all stop eat anything a minute and really make you listen to me. so without further adieu, we are delighted to have you here today. we have an opportunity truly to listen to some exceptional colleagues to hear what they have to say, synthesize, internalize what they have to say and then bring that back to our own communities and spheres of influence. and so without further adieu, i would like to bring my teammate andy bursky to start our program. give him a warm welcome, if you would. ♪ ♪
good afternoon. it is great to be here. it is tremendously exciting to seat progress that no labels has made over the last five years. testament to that is your presence here with us today. center to our efforts is to create a durable center core of bipartisan action that can work through compromise to effect positive legislation. that supports the no labels national strategic agenda, and in particular, growth. i want to talk briefly about the two sharpest tools in our tool kit. the problem solvers caucus, and our supervisor pac. they have been meeting now for several years, and up until now, it has been an opportunity for our congressional leaders to
build trust, to get to know each other, and to lay a course for forward progress. what is most exciting to me is they are ready and we're ready see them take on the tougher challenges, the big issues, and to create a durable block that can be an enabler of positive legislation in the upcoming congress. the second big tool, if you've read your wall street journal this morning, was announced the $50 million super pac that will provide the kind of air cover that will enable our congressional leaders to make the tough decisions. and for that matter, to take out those who don't. we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to nelson peltz, who has provided guidance, leadership, and great commitment to this effort. nelson is an icon of american
business, a pre-eminent finan financer, so without further adieu, nelson peltz. ♪ ♪ thank you, andy. thank you all for being with us today. i know that i'm really excited. when i first met nancy jacobson years ago, i met with her out of frustration, because i like all of you, didn't like the way things were going. and here we are. the new major turning point in america. we've got a new president, new congress. and new labels has really come together. as andy talked about this pac,
this super pac, has really put some bite behind our bark, and i think that we all know there is a lot of capital on the left and a lot of capital on the right and we are going to be p capital in the middle to bring everyone together. i thank you, and andy, peter may, lewis bacon, many others have had a very important hand here. so without further adieu, i want to introduce our two co-chairs, joe lieberman and jon huntsman, two term governor of utah, joe served as state of connecticut for 26 years in the senate, as i like to think of him as a real independent. he was no labels before we ever thought of this place. and so without further adieu,
let me bring them both out. [ applause ] ♪ ♪ it's a beautiful day >> that's such an auspicious song "beautiful day" by u2. that's the song i had when i ran for governor. auspicious because we won that election. it was pretty good. following nelson peltz and and andy bursky, what a special moment. people like that, mark and others who are here, whether they take this effort seriously, you know what we're doing is a serious purpose and intent. all of new this room, you don't waste your time. you want to be part of something purposeful that is going toward a -- in a drildirection that wi good for the country. i'm delighted here to be here with joe lieberman, my friend, my big brother, hadassa, if you're here, we love you toochlt
you're terrific. there she is. let me just remind you of a couple of things that is so significant about why we are here today. number one, there is a new center of gravity emerging in american politics. now, it is by virtue of how things have played out not over one administration, but over many administrations, and it has brought us to where we are today. it is called unclaimed real estate, and it is center right, center left, where the deals get done, where business is transacted. i can tell you that at the state level as governor, that's where we got all of our work done and we're here to plant our flag in that real estate. so make no mistake about what we're doing when you walk out. this is where we are. it is a claim to this real estate. number two, no labels is leading the effort. i don't know of another organization or undertaking quite like what nancy and her
team have put together. it is prepared. organized. it has the energy to make things happen with respect to this new political real estate. number three, this new political real estate, this new center of gravity is represented by an emerging problem solvers caucus who have had a couple of years of let's say pretrial exercise. some of them are here. they've been working together, b bu burnishing up -- they've got the resolve and play a significant role as the problem solvers caucus on capitol hill, the go to group that could change the balance of power on important issues, whether it is tax reform, infrastructure, immigration or health care. number four and finally, we couldn't be doing any of this without defensive mechanisms in place. make no mistake about it. this is where we have not
adequately the right systems. that is protecting the center lane in primaries with an unprecedented new super pac, we've talked about it and talked about it. we've even thrown numbers out there, and members of the media are starting to report on those numbers. i'm here to tell you, if we can bring it altogether, claiming center right, center left, this new real estate right down the center lane, deals are done and problems are solved, if we can keep the problem solver caucus alive, organize dollars and focused on the mission, and if we can build these defensive mechanisms, folks, we will be an organization to be reckoned with. and then the amount of good we can do for the american people, for the good taxpayer, the folks who make everything else happen. i think it will be very consequential, and important longer term. so thank you for being here. it's a great pleasure to serve as a co-chair of no labels.
i can't begin to thank you enough for what you're doing in your own individual ways, and i would now like to turn the microphone over to migrate friend, joe liber man, thank you. >> thank you, john. thanks, ladies and gentlemen. great honor, really, to be co-chair of no labels with john huntsman and even better to be his friend. i want to take my text from my brief remarks this noon from a holiday card that i got from my former colleague in the senate, tom carper, of delaware. on the card, he quoted this afric african proverb. if you want to go fast, go alone. if you want to go far, go together. and i think that really sums up what no labels has been about,
and what we are doing here today. there has to be a new center in american politics where people with good intentions, even if they have different ideas, can work together to get things done for our country. because if we don't have a center in american politics, we don't really have a functioning democracy. we just have a never ending battle of factions trying to impose their narrow views on one another. and that too often in recent years is exactly what it has felt like in america. it feels like we're coming together -- coming apart, when we should be coming together to solve our problems. but here is the hopeful fact
beneath all the partisan slashing back and forth. at the level of the american people, we are not really as divided as a lot of people would suggest. if you look at the polling, the majority of people in america are in the center right to center left. they're not at the extremes. but in washington, it doesn't feel that way. it feels like that majority has been squeezed out by the extremes. so what i'm saying is, we have the numbers. what we need is the will and the organization to put those numbers and the common sense that comes with them back into our government. and that really is what no labels has been about, and why this day is such a moment of
great opportunity. it is a different day. it is a beautiful day and it is a different day. why? because we've got leaders in congress and no label supporters across the country, stepping up like never before. we've got the problem solvers caucus working together. we've got the political action committee. ready to help those who are problem solvers and fight those who are extremists and who are not. i can tell you, having been there, that at the moment when a member of congress faces a big decision about a vote and he or she feels that what is in the best interest of their constituents in our country is what they want to vote for, but the party leadership, interest groups are telling them to vote the other way, too often, that's
what they do. it at that moment, we want them to know that the problem solvers caucus is with them, and at a very real and tangible way, the super pac that we're forming will be with them at their backs the next time they run for office. there is another reason why this is a moment of real opportunity for no labels. in the last election, whether you supported hillary clinton, as i did, or donald trump, the election of donald trump is a disruptive event for a political system that has needed to be disrupted. it opens the door to enormous change. and if president trump wants to carry that change forward, he can't listen to the people in the republican party who say let's just shove it down their throats, and he won't benefit
and won't be able to get anything done if the voices in the democratic party that are calling for resistance obstruction at all costs prevail. he needs a group in congress from both parties to come together to work with him to take america forward. so i would say that today marks a new and exciting chapter in the history of no labels. we have a lot to build on. but we've got a lot of great things we can do for the country. to go back to the african proverb, we can and must go far, but we can only do it if we go together. thank you very much. [ applause ] welcome from the great state
of texas, kay bailey hutchinson. ♪ >> well, thank you, everyone and welcome. i think this is a very exciting opportunity for our country to reboot as joe lieberman just said. it's been disrupted and so now let's go forward in a positive way. and i think this panel today is an example of the diversity, geographically in our country, in the party diversity as well.
and our task is to talk about what to expect in the first hundred days. raise your hand if you would like to predict what will happen in the next hundred days after watching this campaign of the last year and a half. kind of hard to predict right now. but that's what this group of experts who are sitting in congress today can enlighten us on what can the president-elect actually do without congress? what can he do maybe with the consultation of congress, work with congress to do, and then what can he not do at all without a congressional way forward? so with that, let me introduce this panel. first to my left is my friend and former colleague roy blunt, senator who has just re-elected from missouri.
[ applause ] senator steve daines -- i guess i should say party affiliation. roy blunt is a republican. senator steve daines from montana also a republican. [ applause ] we are expecting senator joe manchin, a democratic from west virginia. he is running a little late. if he gets here, he'll be on the chair at the end. congressman ami bera, democrat from california. congressman kurt schrader, democrat from oregon. and congressman peter welch, a democrat from vermont.
and we are being moderated today by ryan clancy who is one of the chief strategists for no labels. i think he's going to start us off, let everybody say what they think the lay of the land is off, let everybody say what they think the lay of the land is then be ready to ask the questions that you would like to answer or make the statements, brief statements with a question to follow, as well. >> thank you very much, senator. i want to start with senator blunt and daines. i think for anybody that's been following the news, we have a sense of what's on the docket in the first 100 days, tax reform, infrastructure, some other things. i think what's more interesting to people is not only what is going to get done, but how. is the republican party, does it see an opening with your senate democrat colleagues to get something done together? we'd love to hear your perspective and conversations you have with senator schumer and other folks on the other side what you think you could work on on the first 100 days.
>> i want to say first, i thought senator lieberman's observation about the importance of the disruptive event, and disruption not a bad thing. in fact, i've got a good friend who has an investment group he calls the disruptors. it's an important thing in an economy to keep it vital. i do think there is a synergy available here that would not be available under other circumstances. i think the new president makes us think about different ways to look at things because he's got to look at things in different ways. i would think on the senate side, a lot of the first hundred days will be the personnel business that we're involved in, that the house isn't involved in, trying to get move forward with appropriate speed to get a government in place, very
possibly we'll have a supreme court nomination to deal with in that hundred days. we will probably pass two different budgets. we have an opportunity to pass a budget in january that frankly gives us a vehicle to do something to move forward with health care, and then we'll pass the budget for the budget year that begins next september or next october 1 after that. that's about all we'll be able to get done in the first hundred days. when you think about the inclusiveness of that, that's going to be a big moment. what do you think? >> i do. i come from a state, montana, if you think about no labels, we are a state that's notorious ticket-splitting state. we elect democrats, we elect republicans. in fact, i was the first republican elected to this u.s. senate seat in 101 years. in fact, i say about my home state, we're a little bit of john denver, a little bit of
merl haggard. i love the outdoors. i love to backpack with my wife. we have the environment and we need jobs. that's the merle haggard side. i'm also a chemical engineer. i'm trained to solve problems. i think this last election governor huntsman and senator lieberman alluded to was less about ideology. president trump's message was pragmatic, staying focused on american jobs, energy security, about the need to secure and save social security, medicare, and the need to responsibly manage the fiscal house here in washington in achieving a balanced budget. so i hope we can stay focused on
these bigger picture issues. this town suffers from attention deficit disorder. i think the question about the first 100 days very important as roy mentioned. the presidential appointees will consume a lot of our time, at least in the senate. we've got to think beyond 100 days. the issues we face in this nation are going to take longer than 100 days to solve. more in terms of five and ten year horizons. >> sure. okay. question for the congressman. because you face a different set of challenges in the house. there are certainly elements the democrat party who do not want to see democrats work under any circumstances with the new president. where do you see the opportunity where you can work with the new president and your colleagues here in the senate? >> i'll start. peter welch. the first thing is not the where, it's the whether. republicans have a major decision to make and so do the democrats. there is a tendency when one party gets power to overreach.
my hope is that the republicans won't do that. paul ryan is going to have his work cut out for him, even though he continues to have a majority because he's going to have a wing in that party that is going to push him too far. and if he makes the decision to try to get some bipartisan progress he'll work with democrats willing to work with him, that is going to be a huge advantage for us to get practical things done. the second, the challenge for the democrats is do we fight for failure or do we put out an affirmative agenda that we're advocating on all these topics we know need to be addressed? and that remains to be seen. the democratic party is in some turmoil now. we are now a bicoastal party. we got hammered with a group of
americans the democrats like to think we represent, working class americans. we have white hispanic, working class americans. we have soul searching to do. we don't have the answers credible to a lot of people we think we represent. the bottom line here is a big decision by mr. ryan, will he work to get things done and be willing to get votes from democrats in order to accomplish that? something john boehner did at the high point of the last congress. and will democrats be smart enough to know that we don't need to be criticizing trump. he's going to do well or he's not. that's going to be on the basis of what he does, not on the basis of what we accuse him of having failed on. so big decision for us, are we going to have a constructive agenda going forward? >> congressman schrader, any thoughts where that space is to be constructed? >> if i play off what peter just shared, we're on the democratic side going to experience what the republicans experienced in 2008 we are going to get a
radical tea party equivalent that will clamor for just straight opposition, oppose, oppose, oppose. speaker ryan is going to have a lot of say in whether he wants to invite democrats to be part of the solution. president-elect trump is going to have some say based on what he chooses to focus on. i think we all know just for politics, the affordable care act, politically they have to do some kind of symbol quick repeal of that. but then beyond that, if the president-elect focuses in on deportations and some of the social issues, i think it's going to be very difficult for democrats to come to the table. on the flip side, if the president-elect sets the agenda on infrastructure and tax reform, it does create and the speaker on our side allows us to be part of that conversation, i actually think it sets a different tone. because we're going to, those of
us that are willing to thing it's better for us to be sitting at the table and participating in these conversations as opposed to yelling at the door, we're going to feel some heat as much as republicans did eight years ago. >> congressman? >> there are things the president is going to do without us, a lot of executive orders that the current president has put in play. you're going to see rescinded or modified, whether it's overtime rules, carpet rules, what have you. we'll have little to say over that. you may have a bigger say over that. actually, your input might be very interesting because you made a lot of business decisions based on what you thought was going to happen, and this could change radically. you have to evaluate if that's good for you or not. on the actual party side as mentioned, there will be a reconciliation bill that only takes 51 votes in the senate.
probably coming out early, primarily dealing with health care. then that's the only reconciliation bill allowed this year. after that, every vote in the senate will take 60 votes. to my colleague's point on the house side, there's at least 40 maybe more freedom caucus members that are not interested in governing. they're interested in ideology. anathema to no labels. that will require speaker ryan to work hopefully with some of the no labels democrats that are willing to cross the aisle at some peril to themselves. name of the game is leadership, reward lock step behavior and punish people that actually will step out for the greater good of the country. it's a problem. it's a discussion i know this group has had. the super pac announcement earlier will hopefully be a sign that some of us that are willing to step up for the good of the country are not left behind. i think there's a lot of great
bills. the appropriations bills will hopefully become more bipartisan as a result of that. that committee has had a history believe it or not of working bipartisanly. i'm on energy and commerce. we've got a great new chairman, great ranking member. there will be bipartisan opportunities there. i think there is an opportunity with this relatively blank sheet of paper we have out there, whether it's the president, the congress, house, senate, democrat, republican, for no labels to step in with common sense broad appeal items that senator daines outlined, that we could do quite a bit of work on. i think it's exciting new time. >> congressman schrader talked about the critical threshold in the senate. there are some things that can be moved to reconciliation with only 50 votes. there's limits on what can be moved. you can't create new programs. most things require 60. senator manchin, that would mean you're looking at seven or eight democrats that need to come over for most big things to get done.
you're on the leadership team with senator schumer. what are the conversations you're having about where you work together early next year? >> on the leadership team, i'm taking up one side trying to bring it back to the middle. chuck asked me to do that and i was pleased to be able to do that. i look at all of this. this is a big change. this is a big change in our country right now. with every change comes opportunity. i'm looking at the opportunity to get something done. i really am. i'm so pleased with all my colleagues here. i think everybody here knows that i'll do whatever i can to help my country. no labels will play a tremendous part whether we'll be successful the next two or three years. you'll find that quickly which way we're going to go. the 60 rule, that was senator bird, my predecessor. i didn't vote for the nuclear
option. i thought it would destroy the functions and purpose of the senate. i was one of the few democrats that wouldn't go along with that. i understand where my republican friends are right now. fine, you've given us this, we'll use it when we can. that makes sense. i understand that. with that being said, we have to be careful how we go down this road. if we do use the nuclear option and it's -- i'll give you a perfect example. if we have a supreme court nominee and the one thing we were able to talk harry out of is doing a nuclear option on the supreme court, but say some of my democrat friends hunker down and say no, no, and hell no. i can understand they are going to say, wait a minute. we've got a pretty good person here. what are we going to do? those types of things i'm hoping we can avoid that before we get to it and get in this dysfunction we've been in. i can tell you speaking from the moderate centrist democrats, some of us work more