tv Senate Committee Considers FEMA and White House Budget Office Nominations CSPAN June 9, 2017 8:01pm-9:56pm EDT
[inaudible conversations] good morning we will call the hearing to order we're waiting for senator hatch to >> good morning, we'll call this meeting to order. i just want to welcome the nominees. i want to thank you for your willingness to serve this country, and this is absolutely true. i've been very impressed with the quality of individuals that work for the federal government. this nomination process is not easy as you're well aware of. but the fact we've got so many
patriots that are willing to step up plate and serve in the federal government for probably a whole lot less than you'd make in the private is sector shows your dedication for this government. so i want to thank you for that. specifically i want to welcome all your family member. and leave it to you -- don't forget to introduce all your family members. i want to quickly read the description of the jobs, basically you're going to be filling, what the agencies basically do. now i turn it over to my ranking member senator mccatskill, and hopefully senator hatch will be here. we'll proceed. we'll be making three nominations. one is deputy director for office management and omb, and the third is office for information and regulatory affairs. now, the fema administration serves as a principle advisor to
the president and secretary of homeland security on administration management. it includes the national response coordination center, the effective support of all emergency support functions, and more generally protection for and response to and recovery from all hazard incidents. the administration is also responsible for homeland security and providing an annual estimate for the resources for providing government, state response. fema is 20% of the overall budge m. appreciate you willing to take it on. the deputy director of office management budget, the role of that individual varies from administration to administration but is viewed as a general deputy to the director. the deputy director is primarily sfaubl for budget development
and execution. in addition the deputy director oversees eight officers. economic policy, legislative reference, budget review, and performs in personnel management. it's overseen by the deputy of director of management. from my standpoint, the reason i came here, is we're looking at your children's fuchler with $110 trillion in debt, and the projected number for the future $129 trillion in debt. and finally the office of information regulatory affairs was created as part of the 1980 reduction act to curb the amount of paperwork requirements imposed on agencies of the public. it oversees requests of agencies on administration paperwork and
requirements. administration also oversees requirements from other agenciesmism ensuring the anal ssis and legal basis to identify sound rules is consistent with requirements and rules of executive orders going back to 1993. this includes using well-established methods instead of using potential market actions. the administrator also may decide to improve the rule or return to the agency for recommended changes. from my standpoint, whatever solution of whatever problem we're talking about in this nation is economic growth. i think the number one impediment to growth is over regulation. almost $15,000 per year per household. so you've got your challenges ahead of you as well, making
sure we only issue regulations to certain and private sector. hopefully we can roll back that harms economic growth. with that i see our colleague, steve hatch has come -- with respect to your time, i think you want to make an introduction, and i'll let you so right now. >> well, thank you, mr. chairman. it's my pleasure to introduce professor raoh at today's hearing. since then the professor has distinguished herself in private practice, government service, and academia. her experiences have prepared her well for the important and challenging task ahead. for the position of oriraw may not receive as much fanfare as other nominations, but it plays
a critical role in modern policymaking. this administration has said it would get serious about regulatory reform. republicans in congress have said the same. the professor's confirmation will be a serious step. she attended the university of chicago law school and then clerked for judge harvey willenson iii. after serving for three years on special practice, she served as private assistant and then began in academia. she's also the founder and director of the center for the study of the administrative state. mr. chairman, there is little doubt at this point that our
system for regulating policy is simply unacceptable. for years businesses have complained about an administrative process that is opaque and unresponsible. for years this has produced results that have too often harmed economic growth. over the span of past administrations where the consensus that formed that the important step of streamlining and improving the legislative process is improving an orira administrator. under her watch, we can expect orira to carefully scrutinize rules, to ensure they satisfy cost-benefit analysis. we can't take our eye off the ball here in congress. we will need more exceptional
candidates like the professor. i'm pleased to sponsor the regulatory accountability act along with other centers. the committee reported the legislation of the full senate last month. and i'm hopeful that the rest of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join us into making it into law -- making it law. the ira is a carefully regulated to codify existing policy and streamline the legislation process. the restoration act will begin a conversation about the growth of federal regulation enabled by the chevron doctrine and enabled by broad delegation, just like the confirmation of professor rauh, these efforts are not
about politics. regardless of which controls policy, regardless of which controls congress, our administrative process is broken. our time to fix it is now. in conchugz, mr. chairman i'll say one more time i'm very proud to be here to today to recommend professor rauh to this post. i want to thank you very much for this opportunity to testify today and your kindness to go forward. and i wish you the best. you'll do just great. thanks, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator hatch. we certainly appreciate that. i do want to recognize the fact that senator burr had a conflict. so he's unable to attend. but i'll ask consent to enter -- and we'll also enter his written statement and recommendation to
the record as well. we also have some other letters 6 recommendation to the nominee. with that i'll turn to our esteemed ranking member senator catskill. >> thank you, mr. chairman. fs it a pleasure to meet all your families. i am painfully aware that public service is a family affair. [ inaudible ]. >> mr. long, we are holding this hearing 1 week into hurricane season. so far this year we've already had several floods in missouri and several is states as well as devastating tornadoes across the country. we have seen an up tick in the number of serious disasters in our state, especially flooding. i do not think the pace of
natural disasters in this country is going to slow down. i think that pace is going to increase because of what is going on in our environment. you've had career in environmental management at fema consulting for state, cities, and private entities. i think you bring a wealth of experience to this responsibility. if you're confirmed i look forward to working with you as missouri recovers from flood damaging, having recently having the disaster recommendation submitted to the federal government for the many counties that were devastated by the recent floods. mr. vought, you have been as a valued member of the beach head team and a senior advisor working on the budget proposal. without knowing as much about you as i may in the future, that alone raises concerns for me.
the budget released two weeks ago is highly problematic. the core assumptions underpinning it is financial. a republican senator put it kindly at the first hearing following the release of the budget saying it presumes a goldy locks economy and they're perfectly aligned with regard to economic drivers. and since the budget was released key members of the administration have been unable to agree exactly how it accomplishes the growth and revenue that it projects, the very under pinnings of that budget. on top of that the budget cuts key programs that dramatically impact rural missouri and america. it slashes medicaid that will hit hospitals and limits access for the elderly poor. it targets cuts to programs that have paid for infrastructure development in small cities and
towns across missouri. and it cuts the budget for -- mr. vought, the most essential role of a budget officer is to get the budget right. i'd like to hear that you will bring a new level of openness to the budget process, but knowing that you are closely involved in the drafting of this one, it causes me great concern. if anything else, i would hope there would be a reconsideration of some of the fundamental assumptions in the budget where numbers seem to have been counted twice, where assumptions that are made have no evidentiary backing, i where if you actually believe what is being put on paper, it still has devastating impacts to the rural areas in my state. if you are confirmed, i will continue to watch omb closely. i particularly, i know my colleague is going to talk about
this, but we are particularly frusitated that we worked hard on a bipartisan basis to get a permitting bill passed that ease permitting regulations across the country. the obama administration failed to stand that up. so far there's been so inclination of the trump administration to stand that up. and the irony is the president has called a press conference talking about how their going to ease for projects. and we're saying hello, pass the law. make it happen. i know my colleague in this committee will be watching that bill to make sure it's implemented quickly and efficiently. orirahas a significant and determinative role in the rule making process for most federal agencies. it cardinates agency work and ensures agency regulations
properly develop and make sure they do not put an undue burden oon the public and reflects the regulations and policies of the president. as we discussed yesterday, i am the first to say we have reform in regulatory prauz. i'm proud of the efforts that i have made along with my colleagues to clean out some of the silly regulations that have caused so many problems or to stop other regulations from coming to pass. and i will not argue that the process in place today is not anywhere near perfect. i know many americans especially small business owners in my state feel like more pass every year to make it harder. that being said, i have deep concerns about dismantling regulations.
your academic writings display a healthy distrust of regulatory agencies and disregard for the complex reasons why regulations can be necessary in a market based economy. i hope if confirmed as the administrator of orira you keep it in mind that public safety is important. thank you, mr. chairman, bh i look forward to questioning the nominees. >> thanks, senator mccatskill. it you all rise and raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony you will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> i do. >> you may be seated. our first nominee is mr. brock long. mr. long has more than 60 careers of experience working at
the local and state level. from 2008 to 2011 he was the director of alabama's emergency management agency. he also gained experience serving as fema's hurricane 4 planner and response team leader and response team leader and emergency coordinator. mr. long. >> chairman johnson, ranking member mccatskill and ranking members of the chitty, it's truly an honor to be recommended by the president for this job. first, i would like to take a minute to recognize my wife of 14 years and my boys of 11 and 7. i don't know if sleeping is allowed. >> it is. >> it happens up here sometimes. >> thank you. so i have almost over two decades worth of experience in emergencyma. and it's unique experience. it's not just in the public
sector. it's also in the private sector. i started with georgia emergency management. i excelled and probably served the fema region -- probably, i saw it agency at its best time and at its worst. i also served as the director of alabama emergency agency, which allowed me to actually visualize and see how federal resources could be maximized at the state level and be passed down to our state partners who are dealing with disasters. for the last six years i feel like this experience has truly helped me to put my fingers on the post of emergency management in the community and also the first responders of which we serve. not only have i been a part of teams to help communities, design operations plans, evaluate those plans, i've also helped them to interpret fema guidance whether its on the
preparedness side or to help them navigate. i believe the staff inside that agency are the most important asset. i look forward to working with them. i think they're very service oriented individuals regardless of the criticism they may receive. they get up, dust themselves off, go to work and try to truly protect america and save lives in times of their greatest need. i look forward, if confirmed, leading them and helping the nation achieve resilience to a much higher standard than where we currently are. so with that i'll standby for your questions. thank you. >> thank you, mr. long. our next is rustle vought. he worked as a policy drerk for the house republican conference, the executive director for the republican committee, staffer for several members of congress
most recently senator -- mr. vought. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you you am members of committee for the honor of appearing before it. i also want to thank my family for enduring this process with me. my wife mary is here, my daughter ela, two sisters and many friends are here in support. i worked my first four years of my career in this distinguished body, mostly for senator phil gram. i spent hours on the senate floor in committee and at my desk learning how the senate works its will, how an institution protects the rights of minority to be heard and how statesman ought to debate their colleagues to move the vote and shape public opinion. here it was how i developed a love for public policy, seeing how it could help people of this country live freer and prosperous lives. it is an honor to be nominated
for the director of office budget. i am humble that president trump and director mulvaney asked me to serve. i know the quality of the men and women who have previously served in this particular role, and i want to contribute to that long line of distinguished public service. my career has readied me for this moment. i spent over 12 years working in the house and senate with a specific emphasis on budget policy. i was a republican policy budget director, writing its r resolutions and writing on policy. i went onto be the director of -- all of these roles afforded me the opportunity to handle a wide range of policies issues and manage policy development processes that ensured a wide variety of viewpoints were heard. that is very much the job of the director of omb, to develop a
process that ensures the president and his advisers receive all of the best analysis so that the best decision can be made. i also have experience managing a large organization. i spent the last seven years managing many aspects of heritage action for america, including staff and 17,000 volunteers across this conty. volunteers are, in fact, volunteers. they have their own vumts and ideas. i and you don't get very far working with them if you don't have the preparedness of a leader in your own right. as for the job to be done, it is immense. our country faces a $20 trillion national debt. that debt will wreck our country if it is not tackled. that burden will fall on my children and grandchildren if today's policy makers do not
change the current path. it will mean a lower standard of living for them and less time for the truly important things in life such as family and community. that is not the american way. i have spent my entire career caring about taxpayers and families. i have fought to save them money and ensure that their tax dollars are well spent. i come from a blue collar family. i'm the son of electrician and a public schoolteacher. i know what they went through to balance their budget and save for the future. my parents worked really long hours to put me through school, but they also worked long hours to pay for the high levels of government in their own life. my own boss called them the wagon pullers in our country. others have referred to them as the forgotten men and women. they have always been my test for federal spending. did a particular program or spending increase help the nameless wagon pullers across our country, working hard at
their job, trying to provide for their family and future without the luxury of watching cspan at that particular moment to know we might increase their burden at that moment, how would they vote? yea or nay? we have too often failed that simple test, and it is the reason we're facing a $20 trill krn debt. thank you for considering my nomination, and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, mr. vought. our final nominee is a professor previously at gorge mason university. from 2005 to 2006 professor row worked as a counsel for nominations and kounsitutional law on the senate committee on
judiciary clerking for the hawn rbal justice thomas on the united states supreme court. professor. >> thank you very much. chairman johnson, ranking members of the committee, it is an honor to appear before you as the administrator of regulation and regulatory affairs. i learned about law making and music making and living a good life. it means a lot to me to have the support of such a distinguished and respected member of this body. also to like to thank the members of the committee and staff tafor taking the time to meet with me. for those of you i did not have a chance to meet, i hope we may have an opportunity after the hearing. if confirmed, i look forward to
working closely with members of the committee on issues of regulatory and information policy. if you'll indulge me, i'll take a moment to recognize my family. i'm here today with my husband and my two children. allen's unwavering support has made it possible for me to consider the demands of public service. i remember also my mother who died too soon of cancer and wish she could have been here to share this day. my parents arrived in detroit in the middle of a no storm without winter jackets with $16 and optimism of the recently married. they also imposed the -- i've
been george mason law school. it's focussed on the framework of axability. about two years ago i founded the center for the administrative state. it brings together scholars, practitioners, and government officials to analyze and debate difficult questions of administrative law. prior to my academic career i worked in the office of the white house council where i oversaw the legal work of a number of agencies and helped to coordinate. i also served on the senate judiciary committee for nominations and constitutional law. my other experience includes working for several years at a law firm in london. and also in the u.s. court of
appeals in the fourth circuit. it has help mead understand the regulatory process and the prospective role of congress and the courts and administration. since they've established in 1980, it's operated to improve regulatory review and the coordination of policy. orira plays an important role to make sure they follow the law, and fulfill presidential priorities. within the requirements set by congress, oriraworks with an overarching goal of cretting the greatest benefits for american people while minimizing regulatory burdens. reading through the statutory responsibility as well as executive orders i've been struck by the principles guiding the office across
administrations. perhaps this is one reason why so many talented individuals work at orira and often stay for many years serving different parties. i'm humbled to be nominated for this role. if confirmed, i would work to assure the continuability of irira and continuing the process that has developed. i also look forward to continuing regulation and other issues. thank you for your consideration. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, professor rao. i'll read each question and then ask for a verbalal response from each of you. first question. is there anything you're aware of in your background that might present a conflict of interest to the duties you've been nominated? >> no. >> no.
>> no. >> of anything personal and otherwise that would prevent you from discharging to the office of abilities for which you've been nominated? >> no. >> no. >> no. >> testify before any duly -- >> i do. >> i do. >> yes. >> good. appreciate it. appreciate your anxiousness to answer the question. and actually let me start with you mr. long. last congress the administration passed what's known as ipause, that would authorize and enhance the public warning system. the key parts of the law have not been implemented and deadlines have been missed. this responsibility falls under
fema. so will you commit to the committee if confirmed you will assure these provisions are fully implemented? >> thank you, chairman johnson. i'm very familiar with the ipause program, and believe making sure we have clear lines of communicating and redundancy is the clear way to getting through response and disasters. i also with my previous experience as the state director of alabama emergency management worked through a couple of pilot problems with the ipause program. it's an incredibly important program. obviously at this point, if confirmed i would be happy to evaluate where we are, but i'm not familiar with the deadlines we're missing. >> okay. one of the reasons i bring it up is i was with chairman pine, and they brought this up. they want to make sure it gets implemented. so i realize you're a nominee, but i want that commitment you'll follow the law and, you
know, implement these procedures. professor rao, in president trump's executive order regarding the one and two out rule, this committee has heard two hourings out. everything in washington, d.c. is basically additive. you've got regulators. they regulate. you've gut legislators. they legislate. everything is additive. and the problem we have is layer upon layer of rules, regulation, law. we spend billions of procurement procedures so we don't waste a buck, and it just doesn't work. and we were unable to update our computer systems. would you speak a little bit how you would review the rule and how that would be implemented? >> thank you, senator. i think the one and two out is an important step for considering how to reduce the
overall regulatory burden that you're speaking of. and i think it will -- it can work. omb has issued guidance on this matter and the way i think it'll work in practice is agencies will identify regulations to regulate. and those might pea ineffective ones or burdensome, and they'll be a cost benefit analysis for deregulation before they're going to impose any regulatory burdens. >> so this would be a subtractive process, i don't know how many regulations i've seen in the books that are basically gathering dust but doing harm to our economy. almost every meeting we take with constituents, the number one concern on their minds is, you know, the one regulation after the other that's putting them out of business. we have the chancellor of vw madison coming in and testify. they issued a study.
42% of research time at research universities is spent with complying with federal regulations, the paperwork, which is just an unbelievable burden. but, again, i really encourage you to take a look at that seriously and utilize that executive authority to remove the two regulations of the new one. and hopefully the new one over writes some bad ones as well. mr. vought, i appreciate in your testimony how you concentrated on the $20 trillion in debt. as i mentioned in my opening comments the projected deficit over the next 20 years is $129 trillion. you spoke of your responsibility for providing good analysis for good policymaking. i've been here for six years, going to number seven now. it is depressing how very few people are focusing on and taking about that $20 trillden debt bird squn the projected deficit. we budget for now less than 30% for what the federal government
spends. 70% is completely out of control. can you just speak to how you intend to convey that to white house, to the administration so we start getting serious about not mortgaging our children's future? >> thank you, senator. i think this budget is a great example of this administration's commitment to dealing with deficits and debt over the next ten years and into the future. this budget has more reductions in entitlement savings than any budget that's ever been proposed by a president. it has more reductions as a pearceage of the base than any president's budget since president reagan. so i think it shows this administration is very serious about tackling the debt and dealing with the deficits that are projected to rise greatly over the next ten years if nothing is done.
as an administration, the fact that it balances, we have begun to get back to having a conversation as country about what it takes to balance our books. and i think that's another aspect of this as well. and i've noticed being a participate in compiling some of the options for the director to decide upon presenting to the president, that the whole focus on balance leads to a commitment to finding savings and reductions wherever you can and then finding a way to justify them and be able to think through what are the tradeoffs with a given policy proposal. and think that's hemty and i think that's one of the ways we begin to tackle the debt. >> my closing thought to all of crow, what we're trying to do in this committee is through a hearing process, lay out realities. it's the first step in this problem solving process which starts with gathering information, find the problem, do root cause analysis, thing
like swat analysis, that type of thing. lay out that reality, based on that reality, set achievable goals. and then you start working out the legislation, the rules, the legislation. so if confirmed in your role, i want you to utilize the committee to confirm what you've seen in your agencies. it starts with that information, laying out those raels. now i turn it over to senator mccatskill. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my background is a prosecutor and auditor. so when i came to the stand i began doing the meat and potatoes of my work here, which was oversight. and i really moved, mr., in our opening statement that you
expressed emotion for the senate. the way the senate protects the rights of the minority to be heard. so you can imagine if i had done oversight on day one -- by the way, talking about saving money, billions and billions in more time contracting that we worked on and accomplished in terms of changing the way be do procurement in our military. i can give you lists and lists of examples where we are faired it out, billions and billions of dollars being poured down ratholes in the federal government. so you can imagine my concern when i hear that the white house is telling executive agencies to not respond to ranking members' requests for information. so we asked that question to all of you, and we ask do you agree without reservation to apply to anyerably request of a ranking member to a duly ranking member of congress. mr. long, you said yes
inequivocally? >> esyes. >> thank you for that answer. mr. long, you said subject to the discretion of the director and advice of counsel, as a lawyer do you agree with legal counsels and decision that just because i'm a democrat, i'm not entitled to information that allows me to do over sight as the united states senate as the ranking member of the oversight committee? >> thank you, senator. i haven't actually read the opinion on that. but in the administration it is controlling right now in terms of the guidance that has been given out as to how the agency should respond to oversight requests and having them go through the chairman and to have the oversight process flow that direction. >> are you ever aware in the history of the senate that there has been an administration that has said we will not provide information to the ranking member on the committee on
government oversight? are you aware that ever occurring before? did you ever work for a senator that was in the minority? >> i did work for a senator in the minority. >> and do you think that senator would have taken that sitting down, if an administration would have said, i'm sorry, you can't request information from the government, define waste, fraud and abuse if you're a democrat, if you're in the minority? >> i look forward to fairing out with you in terms of waste reform and abuse. i'm merely reflecting the administration's policy in regard to the opinion. >> we've had one nominee say yes unequivocally. i've had the nominee of homeland security say yes in this committee hearing and to me personally, and his rank, frankly, is higher than yours. so if you can't give me a straight answer, do you think --
let me ask you this, do you think it's right that an administration would say that a ranking member of the oefb sight committee on the senate is not entitled? do you think that's a correct decision? >> senator, i think the rule of law is important -- >> do you think it's the rule of law? >> if olc has an opinion, senator, of which it has put forth in this administration as it pertains to oversight request, then that is merely what i'm responding to. >> okay, well we have a huge problem. if you can't even say out loud even though the secretary of homeland security has unequivocally said absolutely, we'll get you information and does so on a regular basis. we have a huge problem if you can't even say whether you think it's right or wrong. you can't say whether you think it's right or wrong? >> senator, i have said i'm looking forward if this committee confirms me in working
in an open and trance parent way. i'm reflecting the fact this administration is under an olc opinion that has instructed the agency on how best to respond to requests. >> well, the people that have sent me here have not expected me to take that answer lying down. if this administration thinks they going to up hold information from the ranking member of oversight government because they want to make sure we never find out anything -- i think the chairman will back me up. i know senator portman will back me up, i did aggressive oversight of the obama administration. the notion we're going to our partisan corners on oversight is disgusting. so i'm disappointed with your answer. let me ask you, ms. rao, how do you feel about providing information to the ranking member of the oversight senate?
>> well, senatorcastical, if confirmed i would do my best to provide information. the office of legal council memorandum that was spoken about, i think speaks to whether there was a requirement to do that. but it leaves discretion with agency, and i'm committed to working with this committee on their requests. >> well, i would love your analysis as somebody who has spent a great deal of time with the law as to the underlying legal basis for that opinion. i think it's hogwash. i've looked at it. it's just trying to shutoff information to people who want to find problems. welcome to the big leagues, administration. this is what happens. you get oversight. it is the function of the congress to do oversight. so i'm hopeful that -- you know, so far we've had a few problems but not to the extent my colleagues have had on other
committees. and it would be really bold for this administration to cop administration to this committee no matter whether it's a republican or democrat. i know i'm out of time. i didn't expect that to take as long as it did. but i will come back to ask you about fema and budget questions. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator, portman. the. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the nomies willingness to serve. just a brief comment. i have not looked at the olc legal opinion, and probably i shouldn't speak, but i will. it was often frustrating dealing with congress, but i felt it was my responsibility to provide information. and the branch that you're now before has the opportunity to confirm you or deny your confirmation. and that's because that's the way the founders set it up. and they also set it up so we would have the opportunity to do oversight. and the elected representatives
each of us representing my case, over 11 million people expect us to do the over sight. so i do hope the information will be forthcoming to this committee. and the chairman feels the same way, that this is our responsibility. i've got so many questions. but let me just start if i could with you mr. vought. again, you're stepping up to take on a very tough job. as you know, there's a daep ety for management and also one more for budget functions and you'll have interactions with orira should you be confirmed. i'm glad you're sitting next to each other. let me focus on one thing that was mentioned earlier, infrastructure. he's going to talk about hopefully broad, infrastructure questions.
on friday he's supposed to be talking about permitting. i know you're not there yet. and you guys actually opposed the highway bill that had the senate. i hope you didn't oppose the -- bill. but title 41 of the fast act has the permitting reform that was talk about earlier, and it is absolutely needed. we have projects on the high river, for example, including some of our dams that have taken six, seven, is eight, ten years, and capital is not that patient anymore. it goes somewhere else, and it goes to another country. i did on a bipartisan basis, for five years worked on it. we also had the trades building council with us because they wanted jobs. we took the statute from four
years down to six years. that's a change right there. we have this dashboard now where citizens are able to get transparency to see what the status of a project is, one agent in charge. you know, the effort is just to make it more efficient. and we setup the permitting requirements. it sits at omb. and i fought hard to get it to omb. we believed omb had some leverage. and i think senator catskill will tell you, we went back and forth on this quite a bit. and she took some damage. so are you, one, aware of this issue of the permitting reform, the need for it, and the
legislation we've already passed? and are you aware of the fact this organization has not been stood up, we don't have an acting director now, do you have thoughts on why that is and why we can't get this going? >> thank you, senator. i am aware of the permitting council. i'm aware of its priority for the administration. funding was included in the president's budget for it. specifically in regard to the impact that it has in order to leverage the types of reforms and spending that we need as an administration to be able to get $1 trill krn of investment into infrastructure spending. i can't speak to why there's been delay in setting up the council, but from a funding aspect it's been a priority of the administration. >> well, i'm glad to hearia say that. and i hope you personally will roll-up your sleeves and get
involved in this. because it's incredibly important. i mean the dollar is going to be much more valuable if it's in the context of a permitting reform are you looking for any additional authorities, do you know? any other thing we need to do in congress? >> it's not something i've inquired of yet because i haven't been confirmed. if confirmed it would be something i would want to inquire upon and to seek advice within the omb as to ways we can improve the statute. >> i appreciate that. i'm asking for your personal commitment that you will be responsible for getting it set up and using the authorities we've given you on a bipartisan basis, which is rare around here. to actually make a difference. and not just talk about it, but actually implement it? >> you have that, senator. >> i appreciate that. ms. rao thank you for your willingness to serve. what a background. you've been involved in regulatory affairs for a long time. we have legislation that senator
hatch talked about. he's one of the original co-sponsors. i assume you're aware of the accountability act. have you followed that? >> yes, i have. >> i know that there is a lot of interest in trying to find some way to get the independent agencies into a more systematic cost benefit analysis like executive branch agencies. do you support what we're trying to do there to tell the independent agencies they too have to go through a cost benefit analysis? >> thank you, senator. i think that the question about the independent agencies is a very important one and have been considered over the years, pretty much since the inception of i.r.a. should we be including the independent agencies. i think it makes a lot of sense to have the independent agencies follow the same cost benefit analysis of other agencies and that was reflected in the obama administration. it's a position, you know, i
know that is in the regulatory accountability act as well. >> with regard to looking back, senator hidecamp improved the legislation of putting the retrospective review in requiring agencies review the most expensive items on the books. >> because the outset when a regulation is proposed even with the best analysis there is a prediction about cost and benefits. being able to look back to see how regulation is actually worked, what it's actually effects were is very important, especially to reducing the regulatory burden as ineffective. >> i have stolen senator hidecamp's question, she's mad at me. would you commit to work with us on a bipartisan basis to try to get this regulatory accountability act through the process? it was marked up by this committee two weeks ago with your support and help, thank you.
and it's, you know, it's commonsense stuff. we need help from the administration to insure we can get this done. do you make that commitment today? >> i would be happy to commit to work ing with the committee. >> senator hidecamp. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. voight i'm going to give you a second chance here. and i think we all kind of sat stunned because we certainly expected a different answer to the question that senator mccaskill asked you. i think you heard professor rao's response to the same question saying in her opinion that legal opinion gave her discretion and that she was going to use that discretion to be cooperative with this committee. do you want to restate your position? is your position you're never going to deal with the minority and that that legal opinion prevents you from dealing with the minority? >> of course not.
that's not my position at all. i look forward to work ing with this if committee in an open and transparent way. senator mccaskill was asking me specifically to response to former oversight letters and as it pertained to the olc memorandum. >> let's get to that. so you're saying that as it relates to formal requests from the minority party from this committee, that you have no intention of responding to those requests? >> senator, i'm going to look to the direction of our legal team and the director in how we respond to various oversight levels and one of the things we'll be looking to is the olc opinion. >> so my question is, do you think that yesterday when secretary kelly gave us an unequivocal answer that he intends to cooperate with the minority party to respond to any requests that he's violating that legal important and doing something illegal in making that commitment to us? >> senator, i don't know what secretary kelly said.
he is running his department and agency -- >> under the same legal guidelines from the office of legal counsel, correct? that opinion applies equally to you and secretary kelly. >> correct. >> is that correct? >> yes, ma'am. >> why is your distinction different than secretary kelly's? >> we have been given directions from olc in terms of how we should deal with formal -- >> you've been -- and the opinion itself, as outlined by professor rao, gives you discretion. we're asking you to make a commitment today that in your discretion you will deal equally with the minority and majority parties of this committee. >> senator, i would be willing to commit to working equally in dealing with you to cooperate in oversight as it pertains to certain formal oversight letters. i'm going to seek, if confirmed, to my responsibilities i'm going to seek our legal team's advice
is and the advice from the director. >> i think anyone on either side of the aisle -- i've been both in a situation where i served where the president was of my political party, now i'm serving where the president is -- i think what you're saying is absolutely outrageous. i mean, i just have to tell you that it is very, very troubling. and it should be troubling not just for the minority party today, but that party that could be minority party in two years or four years or six years. and so i am very troubled by your response to this line of questioning. and find it almost disqualifying in supporting your nomination, quite honestly. i was going to ask you a series of questions on cost benefit analysis. i'll save those for the office
of management and budget. i don't think that you can come here and say you respect the senate and take the position that you have just taken as a matter of law when other people has senator mccaskill has said who out rank you have taken a different position. i'm going to turn to professor rao. i have to tell you, i'm always -- i can't see your families, but i certainly could see your family on this side. the pride and love that they have for you is so overwhelming. and as somebody who lost her father at a very young age, and i want you to know i'm pretty sure your mom knows what a great success and what a great pride she has in you, also.
i'm going to run through just a series of questions because i don't have a lot of time on cost benefit analysis. as senator portman has said we want to continue to work on this effort. as i've told you in my office believe that the gimmicks of two in one out are not going to be particularly successful. we need to be more surgical. i also have told you that i'm very concerned about ongoing regulation that has to exist as a result of out dated law that we expect you to come to us with a list of statutory changes that need to be made to eliminate burdensome regulation. we have to be in this together. do you believe that cost benefit analysis is appropriate for deregulation actions? >> yes, senator i do. >> thank you. do you believe that cost benefit analysis for deregulation actions deserve the same level of scrutiny as if you were enacting a major legislation? >> yes, senator. and that has been the position that omb has taken in its guidance on the new executive orders. >> correct. do you believe that incorrect cost and benefits should be taken into consideration when conducting cost benefit analysis? >> i do, and that is again part of the long-standing practice of the agencies, to take those -- >> do you believe that there's a
role for qualitative and non-monetized benefits in cost benefit analysis? >> yes, i do believe. >> do you believe in the principles set forth in executive order 12866 should be reaffirmed by the administration? >> yes, i think those principles are very solid and have in fact been reaffirmed by this administration. >> the same thing with circular a 4 given that it's only guidance, if tasked with drafting a new guidance to instruct agencies, would you reaffirm the same principles that are in circular a 4? >> i think the basic core of that is solid. >> one more question. and this goes to the very important work, there's no one on this dais who doesn't rely. we have great bipartisan interaction, you're stepping into a critically important position. i have long maintained that you're understaffed.
can you tell me what you're going to do to try and either manage this important job with the staff that you have or advocate for a few more folks who could actually save you money in the long run, you know, this is the push pull of investments? >> thank you, senator. i think the president's budget does call for an increase in -- >> do you think it's adequate? >> i'm not sure as to the precise resource needs. i understand that former administrators believe that the office could use some more support and so i commit to looking into that. >> and we commit to helping you. i hope -- senator langford is not here but we commit to helping you in the future. we expect that we're going to see you a lot in our subcommittee. we're very excited about the expertise you bring to this job and excited about getting to
work with you going forward. thank you so much for agreeing to accept this position. i have a lot of questions for fema. i'll reserve those maybe if we get to a second round. thank you. >> senator? >> thank you, mr. chair. and thank you to all the nominees for being here. and also a special thank you to the families who are here, because it is family affair to serve and we're very grateful. just at the outset, i will add my concern about your answer on the olc's guidance. we were elected to represent republicans and democrats. and it's my view that the administration serves members of both parties in their oversight role. and i am hoping that you will rethink your response. i wanted to spend some time on issues concerning fema. mr. long, it was so nice to meet with you yesterday. and i just want to talk a little bit about predisaster mitigation, something we touched on yesterday. i think we can all agree that the frequency and intensity of natural disasters are on the
rise. if we're going to blunt the effects of these disasters, we're going to have to make a sustained investment in our infrastructure prior to the disasters happening, right? as governor, i often found myself dealing with the same flooded areas in new hampshire year after year. we'd clean it up and then it would flood again. federal support came only in the aftermath of these crisis. leading it up to our state to address the front end investments in infrastructure that would have helped mitigate the crisis in the first place. we took steps to launch a hazard mitigation in new hampshire that would help us to inventory our most at risk locations during natural disasters and help us develop a way to target our limited resources more effectively. from my experience, our federal programs may not be properly incentivizing our states to make
the necessary investments in our infrastructure that will help to mitigate the long-term consequences after these disasters. i should note one of the key programs that actually does encourage this kind of investment, the predisaster mitigation grant program was cut in half in the 2018 budget. can you talk to me about your approach to predisaster mitigation investments and whether you support a federal role for incentivizing these kinds of investments? >> thank you, senator. i believe that mitigation is the foundation of emergency management. let's just say the cornerstone. if we want to reduce costs in the future for disasters, we have to do more mitigation. i believe that mitigation is a -- it's a community effort. it can't just be upon the federal government to supply funding to our state and local partners, travel partners. we have to all take action as the whole community.
from my own experience as a former director of alabama emergency management agency, i was director of a state that continuously seemed to be hit with disasters and we had several disaster declarations. and for us, mitigation funding came in the form of post disaster -- 404, 406 funding as we call it in the field. we had much more post disaster mitigation funding, which seems regressive to me. than we -- then really we wanted in the predisaster side of the house. we focused mostly on the post disaster funding to put that to work, according to the mitigation plans we've designed. if confirmed i would like to work with the committee to evaluate all of the mitigation funding, not just predisaster mitigation funding, but how do we possibly budgetize all of it up front to do more work to reduce disaster costs, rather than basically having to get hit to be accessing the mitigation funding that's there. >> great, thank you. we talked a little bit yesterday as well about employee morale at fema.
in 2016 the partnership for public service releases its survey for the best places to work, fema came in 284th out of 305 federal agencies. we talked a little bit about it, but could you just briefly touch on what your thoughts are about how to improve the morale there? obviously, the employees at fema do such critical work for our country and we want them to have high morale. >> thank you, senator. yes, they do. first of all, with my own experience within fema, you know, previously working for region iv >> yes, they do. first of all with my own experience within fema, previously working for region four and reflecting back on that experience, i believe that we have to be able to immediately, upon onboarding and hiring with staff to make sure that they fully understand the mission of the agency but where their job specifically fits in. they also need to be able to see a career ladder. and i also believe that the
agency over the past eight years has done a great job of not only providing a blue sky day job when they are not responding but also the response job. i believe that the response piece is very important the making people feel a part of overall mission. if confirmed my type of leadership is very diplomatic. i like to get out, kick -- you know, get out, be out with the staff that's there to understand how we can open up lines of communication from all parts of the agency to make sure that, you know, if confirmed my team would be able to understand how to improve the agency from all parts of -- all parts of it. >> okay. thank you very much. and professor rao, again, i enjoyed your conversation yesterday very much, and i appreciated you taking the time to meet with me. and i appreciated very much your answers to senator hide camp's line of questioning, particularly your affirmation of executive order 12866 as good precedent for aira. i want to turn in the little bit
of time i have left to something we talked about yesterday, which was we spoke about the importance of allowing agencies to be agile and move quickly if the needs arise. that's one of the great challenges as we talk about regulation and when we look at bills that in some ways perhaps could increases transparency but could also slow things down. an example i think of is in terms of the ongoing opioid epidemic we need to be sure the public health and safety rules can keep up for instance with the entry of new synthetic drugs into the marketplace and make sure that old rules aren't holding us back when it comes to responding effectively to other public health challenges. if confirmed as administrator, how will you ensure that agencies are able to move quickly to change or implement needed rules as the need arises? >> thank you senator. yeah, i think one of the ways
that the agency can do that is to provide its review process in an expeditious american. when agencies bring us their rules to make sure we are moving through them quickly and appropriately based on the need for the regulation. >> thank you very much. again, thank you all for being here today. >> senator peters. >> thank you mr. chairman and ranking member mccaskell for bringing the meeting together and to each of you it's good to have an opportunity to ask you some questions. i'm happy to say if you are confirmed by senate i look forward to working with all three of you on some very important issues that you will be confronted with. i serve as the ranking member on the subcommittee on fema. mr. long i'm going to start with you on my first question because we'll be interacting more than with the other two. i'm sure you will well aware of the ongoing crisis we are experiencing in my state n the city of flint, water crisis of unimaginable proportions as a
result of very bad decision made by the state of michigan that led to lead contamination throughout the city which children are going to be suffering from for the rest of their lives. and while i was pleased that michigan received an emergency declaration, i was very disappointed that they did not receive a major disaster declaration from the president because the disaster was quote not a result of a natural catastrophe nor caused by fire, flood, or explosion. but, certainly, by any other definition this was a major disaster looking into the eyes of a child who is suffering from lead poisoning and will be dealing with that their whole life. that child doesn't care whether or not it was man made or natural, it's a disaster. the parents and grand parents of those children don't care what caused it. it is still a disaster. i know you note in your written statement fema is charged with
helping communities recover in times of their greatest need and major disaster declaration could have been critical in certainly getting more timely help for the people of flint. i'm just curious, what is your view on allowing the president to issue a major disaster declaration for a man made disaster not caused by fire, flood, or explosion? and i bring this up because we've actually proposed some legislation that i have cosponsored in the past dealing with lead in drinking water. and that is an extraordinary situation, and we may find other communities across the country that are going to be faced with this type of crisis as well going forward. which will have unimaginable impacts just as it has had in flint. and i know you are concern -- in flint, i know you are concerned about opening up the flood gates to all sorts of assistance which is an instance we all have to be concerned about. but i think if we set forth well crafted procedures to help cities like flint we make sure
the american people stand hyped other americans who are suffering their greatest need. what are your thoughts? >> senator thank you for question. i have a lot of thoughts about this. first of all, i believe that the stafford act is a very general document that was dined to be scaleable and zoomible for many different -- to help communities overcome many types of disasters. regarding this specific situation with flint, i was not privy, obviously, to why the decisions were made for just an e.m. declaration or why hhs was put in charge as a public health emergency. regarding that, i would be happy to sit down with you, if confirmed, to be able to understand your concerns more deeply. but also to work with the staff within fema to understand the decisions that were made ultimately that you have received, the e.m. declaration. personally, i have been through several non-stafford disaster
acts or events, one of those being deep water horizon, one of those being a h 1 n 1 public health emergency event. and i have grown to realize at that the local and state level, that emergency managers and first responders can't afford to sit one out just because we delineate whether it is stafford or non-disaster stafford act. if confirmed i do have direct experience with similar events that were not caused by nature, and i would be happy to evaluate the situation and meet with you. >> i appreciate that. so it sounds as if you do have concerns with the way the act may be written now to respond to some extreme emergencies? >> senator, yes. i would be willing to sit down with you to understand your concerns. >> right. i appreciate that mr. long. >> yeah. >> i will conquer with some of
my colleagues who are very concerned about your comments in terms of responding to requests in senator mccaskell's questioning that if we really are doing our job as oversight and my job as ranking member of federal spending oversight to make sure the taxpayer money is being spent properly, that the appropriations made by congress is done in a way that makes sense. and in order to do that we need information. so i'm extremely troubled by comments that if you are in the minority party that questions related to specific documents that i may need in order to do my job and my colleagues need to did our job in federal spending oversight or technical comments, briefings for some reason might not be made available to us. i represent isn't the entire state of michigan. my colleagues represent the whole country. the people expect us and rightly
so to work in a non-partisan way when it comes to overseeing the federal government, asking the tough questions, making sure that money is being spent appropriately. so i'm extremely troubled that you believe that if a minority member asks those kinds of questions you are not under any obligation to give that information. is that accurate? >> i don't think it is accurate, senator. i believe strongly in the oversight process. i believe strongly in working on a bipartisan basis and transparentally to reform programs and find ways for finding abuse where we find them and part part in as many of these processes that the congress sees fit to initiate. what i was merely responding to was the question about alc's memorandum as it pertains to certain forms of oversight requests in which i would seek
legal counsel within our agency about how to respond to those. >> well, i hope that if confirmed that you fully appreciate the need for us to work in a cooperative way. the only way we are going to do this job appropriately for the american people is if we work in that manner. and i'm concerned about a statement made by director mulvaney recently suggesting that one of the agencies that we have always looked at in coming as being a non-partisan policy analysis shop is the congressional budget office. and i believe director mulvaney suggested that, quote, the day of the cbo has come and gone, and that he may not be looking to analysis done by the cbo. in your role as deputy director, would you consider the cbo scores as an integral part of the onb's tool kit in making policy decisions? what's your view of cbo? >> it is an important institution in the legislative process, onb relies on cbo's information. i think the director's comments
go to when there are very big legislative packages in custom the cbo's non-partisan analysis ends up causing political ramifications based on some of its conclusions that in this case we disagree with as an administration, but that is not in any way to suggest that cbo does gnat have a valuable role in the legislative process. as a congressional staffer i relied on them heavily to assess a bill's cost and the impact of what the bill would do if it was enacted. >> so, if i hear your comments correctly, the cbo is a valuable non-partisan policy analysis organization, unless you disagree with our conclusions and therefore it's illegitimate? >> no, sir, i don't think that's what i said. i think that cbo, like any other organization and institution,
needs to be able to defend its methodology and its analysis. and what this administration has been engaged in is a conversation with the american people about what cbo's conclusions are with regards to the aca and the administration believes those conclusions are wrong and has put forward its case with regard to coverage numbers and some other impacts cbo said the hca would have on our health care system. >> if confirmed i hope that you treat facts as facts and not being merely inconvenient and not supporting your opinions. thank you. >> senator hoeven. >> thanks mr. chairman. mr. long, i want to commend you on your service in alabama, and you know, your work on behalf of the people there. look forward to working with you at fema. it's great your family is here. they look pretty awesome.
in north dakota we have a number of flood project. we flood up there pretty regular. although this year is looking like drought unfortunately. and in kind the fargo moor head area, north dakota, minnesota, red river and north. we have had roy up there who directs the fema insurance operations. he's really good. and we have coordinated the flood mapping and if fema insurance with building the flood project. >> right. >> in mina where we had a flood in 2011 and 4,000 homes -- 4,000 homes, that's a lot more people. we're building flood protection in phases. we need you all to work with us on the remapping. so that people don't really get hammered with increasing fema premium. i'm asking for your commitment to -- i understand you have got
a job to do, you have got to do it by law and regulation. we need a problem solver. we need your help now to do kind of the same thing we did in the red river valley in their valley to help those people. i'm asking for your commitment to that to do that. >> yes, i can commit to working with you to understand the need. >> good. then you are going to get off easy. ms. rao. we are now doing p 3 projects, public private partnerships. the administration, the president wanted to do p 3 projects. we've been working on this for a while. we have passed into law p 3 projects. again for the red river valley, this is a $2.2 billion flood protection project that affects both north dakota and minnesota. it's underway. and the federal share was originally $900 million. but now it's $450 million. how does that sound?
does that sound good? in other words the cost to the federal government has been cut in half. does that sound like a good thing or not? >> i think that sounds lying a good thing. >> particularly when the corps has a huge backlog in projects. if we could cut that backlog in half like that it would be a good thing, wouldn't it? >> yes, it would. >> we need help to do that. >> right now that $2.2 billion project is $450 million to the federal government and the state and local financing is in place because it is a public private partnership. the onb still scores projects when they come up from the corps, even projects the corps really wants to do, like this one, they still use the benefit cost ratio without taking into effect or account the p 3 benefit. so when they score our project, they are scoring it as if the federal government has the come up with $900 million when they only have to come up with $450 million. do you think that makes sense? >> senator, that's an interesting issue. i'm not familiar with that particular form of scoring.
but it's something that i would be happy to look into the i'm confirmed. >> good. because both the onb and the director of the white house committed to me they will do it and the corps in fact is working on it. i want your support for it. >> i'm happy to work with onb. >> again, i commend you on ourious standing experience and look forward the working with you, thank you for coming by to visit with me. appreciate it mr. long, thanks for being here. appreciate it. i just want to ask you about the cfpb. i have serious concerns about the cfpb. i'm on appropriations. and we don't have jurisdiction over their appropriation. that makes no sense to me. i cannot fathom why we would not have authority when it comes to appropriating over the cfpb. can you give me your thoughts on that? >> thank you senator. i agree with you. i think that the cfpb is something that should be subject to the appropriations process.
i think one of the reasons why it has the perception of being unaccountable is that it's not accountable to the annual appropriations process. that's one of the reasons why the president's budget calls for that specific reform. i think it is a very important issue that you raise. >> i want to thank all three you for being here. i look forward very much to working with you. thank you. >> senator danes. >> thank you mr. chairman, ranking member mccaskell. thank you to each nominee for your testimony overseeing the budget management regulation and information policy onb is is a cornerstone of the trump administration's drain the swamp initiatives. i hope you are all investing in very large pumps. there is a lot of swamp that needs to be drained. whether it is a government reorg or rolling back the obama regulations that are truly inhibiting economic growth. it is a boot on the neck of small businesses across the
country. no less important the fema administrative will be responsible for assisting those in times of crisis and serve to get our communities back on their feet when disaster strikes. we saw that happen in fact in southeast montana last summer. june of 2016, when a tornado came through fallon county. we aren't known for our tornadoes in montana like oklahoma might be. but it was devastating to the community. and we were grateful for the support of fema. it is my hope that each of you will receive speedy confirmation. i want to start and talk about the budget process reform. i spent 28 years in the private sector before coming to washington. in fact the last election i won prior to winning the congressional in '12 was student body president of my high school. i'm the only msu bobcat in congress. i'm also the only chemical engineer. i spent 28 years managing business held accountable for
producing a budget each year, and then ensuring that we didn't spend more than we were taking in. in fact n the private sector you have to take in more than you spend because that's called profit. we are a long ways from that here in washington, d.c. there is a growing sentiment in congress that the congressional budge process is broken from start to finish. i think using the word broken is a kind word. according to a january 2017 cbo report by this september 30th, well over half of our discretionary spending $648 billion will be appropriated to unauthorized programs. congress hasn't passed all 12 appropriation bills since 1996. for those of you playing at home, that's 21 years. in addition, the process lead to brinkmanship, with do or die passage of an annual, if we're lucky, omnibus bill that does not allow for targeted congressional oversight. 13 of my 28 years i spend in the private sector was with a
company called proctor and gamble. in fact, i was in the -- i was part of the shampoo operations for a number of years. on the back of a bottle of shampoo, it oftentimes will say, lather, rinse, repeat. it sure feels a lot that way here in washington, d.c. i will guarantee you i'll put a lot of money on the table that we back to a cr kind of discussion here coming soon as we approach the end of our fiscal year, and we go through this repeated cycle of insanity in this country. and the people of our great country deserve much, much better. mr. vogt, you have seen the shortcomings of our budget firsthand in coming.
do you agree the congressional budget process is in need of an overhaul? >> yes, senator, i do. >> where will budget process reform fall in your priorities at onb? can we count on onb to actively participate in the reform efforts? >> you can senator. it is a very important issue for onb to think through. typically, the onb has an entire chapter about budget process reforms that it intends to propose this. year our budget process reform chapter was smaller because the administration was so new and the prior was centered around getting the budget done. but next year, if the senate confirms me i really do want to have a much broader conversation internally and with this committee about ways that we can reform the budget process, ways that we can remove brinksmanship from the process. ways we can get unauthorized spending which is actually banned in the housee but they wave the rule almost on every appropriations bill. it is a major problem and we need to have new and creative ways to address it. >> you know, i was struck by d.c.'s continuing ineptitude -- and this institution's failure just this last budgeting cycle -- i'm on the appropriations committee. -- that we were seven months
into current fiscal year before an omnibus was passed. i just can't imagine in my days in working for a fortune 20 company, and then i worked in the family construction business, part of a cloud computing business, a start-up, grew a lot of jobs. i can't imagine the doctor, fo showing up at the board meeting and saying well first, we don't have a budget. and we're seven months into the fiscal year before we even basically authorize the funds. it's ludicrous. and this broken process has produced you know, $20 trillion of debt. and the projections are frankly ominous as we go forward now in terms of the fiscal condition this country because of the inability of this institution to let alone balance a budget, but to even pass one in a timely fashion.
i want to shift gears and talk about the debt ceiling reforms. recently, treasury secretary mnuchin indicated congress may need to raise the debt ceiling by the end of july. i am a strong believer we need to continue budget reforce with any debt ceiling increase to get to the crux of the issue and that the next administration will play an important roll in making that happen. mr. vogt, do you believe we should pursue budget reforms in the context of raising the debt ceiling.
>> senator thank you. i do believe. that i believe that tracks with history in terms of many of the times we have raised the debt limit we have included budget process reforms. other spending reductions over time. my old boss was authored, grant ruddman hollings that was attached to a debt -- we don't want brinksmanship in the legislative process but using the debt reduction process -- the debt limit needs to be raised but it doesn't seem smart at the same time to then not take account and try to fix the problem. >> i'm going the squeeze in a quick question, ms. rao you are going to spearhead the administration's efforts rolling back obama era regs, gdp growth of under 1.5% during the tenure of the last administration. specific question. would you support legislative efforts to streamline the
retractions of regulations? >> well, senator, that is an interesting proposal. it's one i would be interested to working on you with. >> all right thank you i'm out of time. >> senator carper. >> i want to go back in time. harry truman used to say the only thing that's new in the world is the history we forgot or never learned. let's back up. we had balanced budgets 16, 17 years ago. we had four of them. we have not balanced budgets since 1968 we had four in a row. i am a recovering governor. i governed delaware from '93 to 2001, we had eight years of balanced budgets, cut taxes. paid down some of our debt get a triple a rating. clinton administration balanced the budge. we matched revenues and we matched expenditures.
grew the economy. huge jobs. more jobs created in that eight years than any other eight years in the history of this country. we did exciting thing on environmental reforms and regulatory reforms. the guy who helped drive the deal, the budget deal during those years wassers kin bowls. the president asked him to do the deal and negotiate with republicans. he did. juan of the key republicans was john kasich, personal friend of mine. i was elected to the congress arew him. still my friend. you had democrats and republicans working together who were determined to balance the budget. and they succeeded because of bipartisan support. this administration, i'll tell you -- i know some others have been asking questions about responsiveness.
this is the worst responsiveness i've ever seen. if we had a democratic administration and republicans were trying to get information and do oversight over this democratic administration and got the kind of responses we've been getting, non-responses, you guys would shut the place down. you guys would shut the place down. we probably ought to do that as well. so talking about draining the swamp, give me a break. they are creating the swamp. these folks are creating the swamp. that's not a dispersion on the people before us today. but i just -- i just can sit here and listen to what i've just heard and say nothing in response. barack obama -- everybody makes mistakes, what did richard nixon used to say, the only people who don't make mistakes are the people who don't do anything. last president did a lot. you can look at the last eight years almost without a scintilla of scandal.
he was a moral person, tried to make sure the people around him behaved accordingly. he did not embrace bowls simpson. if we had embraced it i think the rest of us would have fallen in line and finally when it got to buoyant of negotiate on the bowls simpson with john boehner, speaker of the house and they negotiated basically a bowls simpson deal. restraint on spending, entitle men reform, revenues. those are the three corners of the agreement. john took -- the speaker took the deal back to the house. you were probably there, and couldn't sell it came back and tried to renegotiate it. couldn't sell it. i give john boehner credit. i give president obama credit. if we had somehow been able to do that deal we wouldn't be having these negotiations this situation right now with $20 trillion in debt. i want to say, i don't know who
to direct this to, maybe mr. voting to you. if this lack of responsiveness continues, i don't -- i hesitate to think what we're going to do in response. it's just unacceptable. i am a big believer in golden rule, treat other people the way we wanted to be treated. if we had a republican -- if we had a democratic house, a democratic senate and we had a democratic president, and the republicans were trying to do oversight from the house and the senate to oversight on a democratic administration and you got no responses from the -- the republican congress got no responses to their inquiries or lack of responses, pityful response, you guys would go nuts. and you should. you should. maybe we should as well. it is a message i wanted to share with you. don't mean to take out anything -- >> so i am grateful for governors who serve in the senate on both sides. >> i'm grateful for business leaders who serve.
>> i will say i think -- >> how about you a editors. >> not so nuts about you a editors. >> i think our path forward here, and the swamp here has been created over years and years and years and you can't point to any one administration that we -- we are at where we are at. but governors that come to the senate, i think bring a very pragmatic approach. i think our solution forward is going to be to get our democratic and republican former governors in the senate to work on some of these budge reforms because you have had to produce a balanced budge, truly. and i appreciate the comments from the gentleman. thanks so much. want to stop the clock so we don't take anything away from senator carpenter's time. the truth is we've done about 80% of simpson bowles and it barely made a debt. >> we have done not done the entitle men reform. >> 80%. >> disagree. >> $750 billion where they want a bit more. we didn't do quarter of a trillion on entitlement reform. that's the only thing we left off the table. it hasn't made a dent. i wanted to challenge that.
simplon bowles barely made a dent, we've done 80% of it. >> let me reclaim my time. >> we have kind of done it. budget control act, fiscal cliff, we have got the revenue. we have got discretionary spending. >> let me reclaim my time. let me reclaim my time. those four years we had balanced budgets spending as percentage of gdp was 22%. those four years we had balanced budget revenues as a percent of gdp, 22%. right now, revenue is 17, 18%, spending is about 22. that's part of the problem. in any event, somewhere down the line we will have a president and the congress that will want to work together, the leaders in the congress and the administration will want to work together. i hope that's sooner rather than later. i will say this. one of the things that is on our to do list is the go high risk list. and the i don't know how familiar you are with it mr.
vogt. are you? >> i am familiar with it, senator. i have read previous reports. i haven't taken a look at the latest report. unfortunately, one of the problems with the gao high risk series -- >> i'm asking if you are familiar with it. okay. hold your fire. they gave us all these ways, ideas of saving money. some of them are defense
spending some non-defense spending. i spent 23 years in the navy, retired navy captain, love the navy, love the military. but we spend more money on defense than the next six, seven or eight nations combined. and this administration's president is asking for an enormous increase, over $50 million more for defense spending. meanwhile you have got one of the gao recommendations in $100 billion in cost overruns in major weapons systems. the department of defense after 70 years still haven't gotten a clean bill of health on their audit. 70 years. harm listen security, they did it in like -- homeland security they did it in six, seven years. three of them now. defense, what you can measure, you can't manage. and they -- we need to do some work there. i hope that this administration will say, well, rather than just giving the department of defense another 55, $60 billion maybe we should go to the gao high risk list and see where we can save some money.
i wanted to mention the high risk list. i think there is interest on this side, democratic and republican to work that list and save a ton of money. i will ask you this question. one of the recommendations they made is -- from gao. and mr. chairman, cut me off when you are ready but i will like to mention this because we discussed this before. we had koss kin in before the finance committee, several times. they tried to impeach him in the house as commissioner of the irs. i think he is one of the most decent people i have met in government he is honorable, smart, business person, great spent a career taking businesses that were wrecked and making something of them. i think he is doing a workmanlike job at the irs. thankless job. one of the recommendations of gao is we can raise revenues if we give the irs the tools they need, the people, the budget, the technology they need. for every dollar we spend in investing there we get back five or six or seven dollars and provide better customer service. people call our offices all the time and say i can't get anybody at the irs to help me. your thoughts on that? >> in the grand scheme of the budget, the irs received -- was basically protected in terms the
amount of reductions that it was asked to live under for fiscal year '18. about 95% of all filers are now doing it on line. and this budget increases operations support by 6%. obviously, there are reductions elsewhere. but we felt that trying to modernize and continue to make efficiencies to move people towards filing their taxes on line can help. and we certainly agree that the irs is crucial in being able to collect the necessary amount of revenue that people owe in paying their taxes. and it's one of the reasons we were very careful as we were with the rest of the budget, to allocate reductions where we saw -- where they made the most sense.
>> thanks so much. let me say in closing, mr. long very nice meeting you this morning. was that your daughter i met? >> no, no, my wife. >> oh, i'm sorry. >> she would appreciate that comment, though, right. [ laughter ] >> and i met your two sons, handsome guys. he went to ach appalachian state university. my father-in-law taught will for years, and my wife grew up on the campus. anxious to get to work with. ms. rao, i don't know you well. i appreciate the time we spent together and if you get confirmed i look forward to having a chance to work with you down the line. mr. vogt, thank you as well. >> i hope you don't think i cut you off, i was just responding -- i stopped the clock, gave you extra time. what i would love to do and we will do this, i want to hold a hearing and we will go through the budgetary history of what all has happened, where spending was as a percent of gdp, why revenue was, why we were able to balance a budget for a brief
moment in time, what happens since. we will lay out the facts and the reality. happy to do that it is a going to be crucial. i know senator mccaskell has more questions. i'll turn it over to senator mccaskell. >> before i get to my fema question, i was struck when you said we are being asked to raise the debt limit. what is asking you to raise the debt limit? >> senator i know congress has asked. >> you are asking us to raise the debt limit. when you say we are being asked, it's you, you mr. vogt are asking us to raise the debt limit. >> the dent limit does need to be raised. >> i think there seems to be a lib of disconnect around here in that for years the debt limb was something nobody wanted to raise and it was being used as a political two by four. even though everybody understands now that you guys are in charge it's painful but you have to face the reality that this is an inappropriate political two by four testimony debt limit has to be raised.
the president of the united states is asking us to raise the debt limb. the republican leadership is asking us to raise the debt limit. and i want to make sure that's on the record clearly. if anybody has somebody else who is asking them to raise the debt limit, they need to let us know because the only people i know that are asking to raise the debt limit at this point is your administration, the republican leadership in congress. are you aware of anybody else who is asking to raise the debt limit? >> no, senator. >> okay. mr. long, given the fact that on friday president trump issued a major disaster declaration for 48 of missouri's 114 counties -- so that gives you some idea of the massive amount of flooding that we had, and the real problem that we're facing in missouri that is way beyond the capability of state and local governments. what we had -- we had a number of bridges completely wiped out. we had roads wash odd you had. we had homes completely washed away.
by the way, let me give you these statistics. 2016 was a major i don't remember for flooding. nationwide flood losses last year were six times greater than 2015. and the number of presidential disaster declarations has tripled over the past decades compared to 20 years prior. so your business is going to be going up, not down. given that statistic, and given that reality, are you concerned about the $600 million in budget cuts that have been proposed for fema in 2018? >> ranking member mccaskell thank you for question. first i fully support the president's budget. but if confirmed i do realize that as fema administrator i have to make sure that the agency can meet the demands, particularly when it comes to saving lives and sustaining life after each disaster. so i have to be able to work with my staff once confirmed to
go in and evaluate where we are. measure out the increasing demands placed upon the agency. if i do perceive a problem i look forward to diplomatically working with this committee to address those issues. >> i think you are going to get a lot of support on a bipartisan basis for the fema budget because all of our states, you know, i'll never forget, we've had -- whether it was katrina or whether it was sappedy, or whether it was flooding, you know, everyone -- there is actually examples of people who voted against funding for those disasters until their state had a disaster. all of a sudden it was like okay we need more federal money. so i'm hopeful that we can work on that budget because i don't think it's realistic in light of the uptick that we see in the data. mr. vogt, i hope that -- and i don't mean to be -- you know, i know i'm coming on very strongly with you this morning, but i'm frustrated as you can probably tell. i'm particularly upset about a lawyer in the justice department telling the entire executive branch i have no authority to do oversight. i think it's outrageous.
and so i got but i am also ginned up about the fact we have two important people in the government saying opposite things about the budget. director mulvaney emphatically asserted that the budget assumed a neutral tax plan that does not rely on economic growth to achieve that deficit neutrality. secretary mnuchin said in the finance committee hearing we are not far along in tax reform to have modelled the impact. just to be clear, when the budget came out we overlaid the administration's plan for growth which were incorporated. that's what is shown here. we don't have tax changes so we did not model tax changes. we now have on the same day two separate hearings one saying they were off yet by economic growth. and on the same day saying we went through exclusions and loopholes that are closed and calculations that are removed and calculated those would close
the gaps. under oath i have got the secretary saying this is economic growth and the head of omb saying that it is the tax policy changes that are in fact neutralizing the revenue losses. so what is going on here? are they not talking to each other? clearly, they are saying 180-degree polar opposite in hearings about the same budget. >> thank you senator. i don't think that's the case. we've been very clear as an administration that this budget does not double count the revenue increase from economic growth twice. you can either use it once or -- for deficit reduction or you can use it to pay for the tax cut. this budget uses the revenue
from economic growth and contributes towards deficit reduction. the tax cut is assumed to be deficit neutral. and what we did under -- in the assumption that we made with regard to the tax proposal was to take the guidelines that were put forward by secretary mnuchin and director cohn which included in those guidelines deficit -- or paying for the tax increase -- or the tax decrease with getting rid of special deductions and credits and loopholes, broadening the base. that is what is meant to pay for the tax cut. >> so seth of the treasury is wrong. this is not revenue growth that will pay for the tax cut. it is revenue growth that will in fact reduce the definite simpson. what i need from you, mr. vogt, is what are -- where is the money coming from in the reduction of loopholes that is paying for the tax cut? what are they?
>> again that's where we get to the fact that the tax proposal has not been developed yet. >> whoa, whoa, whoa, you are saying it's going to pay for itself but you have no idea how it's going to pay for itself? >> the tax proposal which is based on a number of guidelines put part by-second secretary mnuchin and director cohn. >> give me one example, give me one example of how you are going to pay for the tax cut closing loop holes. >> i would go back to the guidelines. >> you have to know it. give me an example. >> the policy is not at that point where we are ready to say specifically which deductions and credits are proposed for elimination. >> you don't have any idea how you are going to pay for the tax cuts then? >> again. >> you are going to pay for it within the tax cut bill by closing loopholes but you can't give me one example of a loophole that you put in the budget is having -- and that's what makes it balance? and you are willing to stand by that, that you are going to tell the american people you are balancing the budget and you
can't give me one example of how you are paying for the tax cut? >> senator, the budget is a set of assumptions, the assumption that we had when we wrote the budget was based on the policy we wrote the budget was based on the policy development process which is where it was at that point which was a set of guidelines and specifics as it was reflected in those guidelines. the rate reductions. they are obviously something -- >> those are specific. >> correct. >> the only thing that is not specific is how you pay for it and you don't have any idea? >> i don't have any specifics on the tax plan. >> you don't have any idea what one might be? >> not at this point. >> how can you expect us to take this document seriously? it sounds like a novel. >> it's a set of policy proposals -- >> you can't say something balances on proposals when you not willing to say outloud what the ploemz is.
you can't even step up to the microphone and give me an idea how that happens. >> the senator development process is underway and i understand your desire to have clarity on that point and we hope that it materializes soon. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i would ask -- i'll give you a sheet here and ask consent to enter this into the record. i'll give his staff a chart showing that we have done about 81% of simpson bowles. $2.1 trillion of discretionary savings. in terms of health care savings, mandatory savings and social security reforms. total difference, $3.4 trillion of savings. we have done about 2.8. the rest is savings on interest.
so we'll enter that into the record but my point being we have done 81% of simpson bowles and have a debt problem. the nominees have made financial disclosures and provided responses to buy graph call and pre-hearing proposals. this information will be a part of the hearing record expect for financial information which will be available. i want to thank the nominees for your willingness to serve. we want to work through the challenges. i want to thank the families. i know, unfortunately, you'll see probably less of your loved ones here. so this is a sacrifice for the entire family as well. thank you for your willingness to serve. with that the hearing record will remain open until noon tomorrow. this hearing is adjourned. adjourned.
on news makers this weekend our guest is ohio congressman steve stivers. he talks about the special elections this spring and summer including one in georgia later this month. watch the interview on c-span. >> this sunday, q & a is at hyde park new york at the franklin roos veroosevelt's library. >> he was still president of the united states when this opened.
fdr had an inquisitive mind. there were 22,000 books. every book in here was selected by fdr to be in this room. this room is almost identical to the way it was on the day that fdr died. nothing has changed. >> watch q & a from hyde park, new york. sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. the weekend ahead in congress includes debate in the senate on legislation that could impose new sanctions on iran. we spoke with a capitol hill reporter to learn more. >> rachel oswald is national security reporter with cq roll call. are these sanctions on iran new and why do senators in both parties feel they're necessary now? >> these senators are coming after -- there was a