tv Newsmakers CSPAN March 28, 2010 10:00am-10:30am EDT
march but you know what? it's about black men and poverty. host: we'll stop there only because we're short on time. would you like to respond? guest: i think it's tragic the first woman speaker turned out to be such a disappointment but i think you will see a whole new generation of energetic women this fall and i think they're going to be men andwoman and black and white and will have a better insight and do a better job. host: log on to freedom works dot.com. that cans for joining us on c-span. we'll take a look how health care is playing out over the eastern passover recess. we'll have specifically, health care and medicaid. doctor scott gotleb with the
american's institute and john leery attended an editorial we referred about 75 major u.s. government officials. some have succeeded and some have failed. john leery is with harvard kennedy school. thanks for joining us on this sunday morning. we hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend as spring arrives up and down the east coast, we hope you have a great weekend. ♪ ♪ .no carrierringconnect 2400
cannot go unless i am escorted. >> cbs news national-security correspondent on covering the military in the u.s. and in iraq and afghanistan, at 8:00 p.m. on c-span's "q&a". guesthost: joining us on this sy is federal emergency management agency's administrator craig fugate. i thought we would start off in the new orleans and broaden it out from there. guest: we have done a lot to improved fema's standing in new orleans. one of the things going on is an effort to we have -- rewrite the stafford act. the mayor which called for the
right, and one of the things they talked about was creating something so the rules are different and you could expedite the money and make the availability quicker. do you think regrading the stafford act is a good idea -- rewriting the stafford act is a good idea. guest: is it the act that is at fault or is it the way we implemented it? with the administration coming in it, looking back at all that, we were able to move over $2 billion already in funds that had been held up. it was nothing about the stafford act. it was looking at, applying more common sense to the production -- the project.
we have a responsibility to be accountable for the tax dollars. and we found ourselves at loggerheads over a process with local and state officials. maybe not the stafford act as much as the process we were using to get the job done. host: following up, the biggest ticket item was the charity hospital, which was not so visible for the last 4.5 years. they were at loggerheads with the state and fee offering -- fema offereining $150 million. the arbiters declared that the state wins for $250 million. does that suggest that you should institutionalize that arbitration more broadly? guest: coming in, when i got
this, this was in process. we had already settled one arbitration. we went back and looked back at the first one, with charity. we said, why are we are doing this? -- are we arguing this? we got away from what we thought we should be doing in the first place. we looked at why we ended up with that decision at charity and why did we get it returned. if you get professional engineers and giving you information, that should have a lot of weight as to what decisions you are making about what is related to the loss of the impact and what should be the obligation of federal government. if a professional engineer is signing off on this, we should be looking at that with a heavier weight then come back and say, are folks have something different. the professional engineer is what the court recognized was
that credible source of information. guest: challenging the credibility of those independent sources at the same time. guest: licensed professional engineer as well write down this finding. there should carry a lot more weight and we should recognize that in our findings. guest: the administration has put ford of $5 billion supplemental on the hilt -- put forward a $5 billion supplemental on the hill. what is that funded need for -- funding needed for? guest: in our disasters, going back earlier than katrina, you have of various projects coming on line -- we do reimbursements. we do not put money up front always. two big issues came was
arbitration findings for charity. and we also reached the recovery school district, which we considered a model way of approaching complex issues, and that would be over $1 billion itself instead of doing a project school by school. that is coming through. the open disasters and new disasters, as well. the outstanding requirement right now, about $5 billion for existing disasters. what we expect to be paid out before the end of the fiscal year would be additional work being done from the floods, in the dakotas, as well as new and packed from this year. guest: the additional supplemental is something that occurs every year. members of congress are saying, isn't there a more rational way to approach this, to incorporate
this additional funding that will be needed into the base budget for the homeland security department? the chairman of the house appropriations committee has a proposal to come up with a proposal or the states would pay into a fund and draw out of that fund in order to cover expenses for disasters. is there a more rational way to approach the money that is needed, rather than doing it through supplemental? guest: it comes back to how you want to develop a baseline budget. with katrina and other disasters, as those see me out of the system, you will see a rapid dropoff. do you fund for the a bubble which would skew all of your budget numbers? or did you look at the average mean for the responses you are carrying out, and look for
those of bubbles, catastrophic areas in a different way? in hurricane andrew, when we carried those huge imbalances that moved to the system, it created distortions in the budget that reflected a single event, not the baseline budget for l your funding. as we way that against -- how do account for that, without pushing down other activities? you have this one-time surge moving to your budget. guest: in future years, do you think you will not need this additional $5 billion every year. guest: as we close out these disasters and get big construction projects, those dollars will drop out. if you build it into your base budget, you did a bubble moving to your budget and it will drop down as those projects are built out. unless you have the same activity in these big disasters,
you run the risks of how do you showed you need these dollars in a way you create a huge distortion that moves through the system in a period of five years that may not be there for 10 years in budget projections? guest: in the fiscal year 2011 budget, you have a proposal for potential terrorist trials in new york city what can you tell us about -- what can you tell us about that? guest: they are contingency based. as a grants administrator, we would be required to administer the grant to the city of new york of that comes about. i would refer back to, if grants or beat -- were to be administered for any trial, we are the grants administrator. guest: i have a question about disaster loans provided for
communities. earlier this year, vice president biden was in new orleans to announce the loans being forgiven. they said, just do not worry, sent the paper work. in jefferson, they grew because people were displaced into those parishes, but they still have great needs. they may not qualify. i did not know if there are ways to look more, in the same way you're talking about greater flexibility in arbitration, on public assistance, is there a way to look more holistic way at those situations and not be legalistic about -- if he did not have an operating budget for two years, you can have those loans be forgiven. guest: i tried to make sure i follow the law. some people say because of that, i will lose my job.
within that structure, we tried to find where there were lines that we could not cross, options to work with communities as we factor this in. we had the requirements that were laid down that we have to accomplish. as we work through this system, if the law says we cannot do something, we cannot do it. if it gives us opportunities to look at things, we will take every advantage to see how we can help with those loans and those communities. guest: eleanor homes norton, the delegate from washington, who is a critic of the mob, as she suggested -- critic of fema, she suggested that both sides agree to an expert and bring it to arbitration. is that a durable way to go about -- a doable way to go about it?
guest: : as the administration change, i would look at the projects we brought up. we were able to come to resolution rather quickly. in many cases, we got hung up on the process, not the outcome. we were able to clear those up. i would suggest that, as we go through this, we are trying to separate -- our interpretation and policies that may have unintended consequences. what does the stafford act say? we have been able to work with applicants and a better outcomes. in the hurricane season in 2005, i worked with the mud and i know what the challenges are. we have -- i worked with fema and i know what the challenges
are. being a customer, how do we go forward with previous programs? it is how we change into our business and work with communities and get solutions. we are responsible to the taxpayer. it is simple to me. it is eligible. our job is to make sure we get these projects done quickly and get communities back on their feet. what we do not want to have happen is we provide funding that later was not appropriate and we have something that is a de-obligation. that is almost as bad to ask for the money back. host:guest: i want to go back te terror trial issue. your budget is $200 million to bring the guantanamo trial to new york city. the administration is already
saying that it does not look like new york will be the location. are you intending to still use those funds for security for those trials? guest: no. i am a grants administrator. i do not make the decisions about that. if the trials are not done, the money will go back into treasury. i am the grants administrator for many of the state and local grants. if the decision was made it to do anything that would require additional funding that congress is provided for security, i would do the grants under the direction of the secretary of homeland security. the role of dhs and that issue are the two pieces. if the decision is made and funding will be transferred, we are the grants administration to do the funds transfer. guest: they are looking at using those funds to increase firefighter grants. do you see any areas where that
$200 million could be better used? guest: i will wait for the leadership as to where they want to put the money. if they want to revert back to the treasury, applied to other parts of the program. once they have told me where they want the funds to see me, my problem is to -- my job is to get the money there. guest: -- can you preview the grants process in the next few weeks. guest: the stafford act is not the only program the federal government has and a post- disaster environment. often, states are not aware of those programs. we have responses were the federal government comes
together to help the state governors. in the longer term, how do you get them to come together -- we do temporary housing assistance but we do not do permanent work for housing -- yet, who in the federal government has those programs? hud and various federal loan programs have a piece of that. we put people into temporary housing, but we are not working at what the long-term housing solutions at that time. you end up with people who are still in temporary housing well past the point at which we would want them to be. in response, when in recovery, we have to work as a team. the stafford act is not the only tool. we need to bring all lot more of the federal government together so that local and state governments are facing challenges -- when they are facing those challenges, they will not have to find programs
that have to help them. host: we recorded this interview as the spring is under way. can you tell us about the spring flood season? how bad is it going to be? guest: some of the red river areas will not be quite as bad. they did a very serious flood fight, so they minimize it. we have a lot of snowpack and we're still getting a lot of rain across the region. we are having more rural-type flooding. we're watching the mississippi, the red river, as many had crested or cme into flood stage. we're not seeing the impact we saw last year -- as they come into flood stage. guest: you talked about having
as a staid administrator, from the other end, are you able to do what you might be able to do if you are advising the state director, or are you looking and realizing that some of the complaints are reasonably remedied? guest: by -- as i have always known, it is a challenge in any situation to make rapid change. i have been added for 10 months. more than anything else, the testament is the folks that the recovery office -- the the amount of change that was made at a short period of time. many of the changes i credit the team with. it is working with state and local and getting the work done. we are moving in the right direction. people say, now that you work for the federal government, have you changed your point of view? no. my view is how do we support the
survivors? it is a shared responsibility. we under play the role of local and state government. i get asked a lot of this in the dakotas, what is fema doing? we are on the bench, guys. the first-end team is doing the hard work. we support this team. if they think fema is going to be the premier response, they do not understand our role. we would support a governor and local teen. but we are not the primary response. in many disasters, there may be people other than providing financial assistance -- peopl4 e go, if fema didn't go, it must not be dead. it takes away the work that local and state officials do. it may not reach the national headlines, but fema did not
perform our response, that is a testament to the state and local responders. guest: if there was another major disaster, hurricane katrina, would you still use trailers? guest: yes. \ if we cannot bring enough housing to the population fast enough to stabilize it, what you do? you do not have to of many options. i do not know why people think there is some magic solution. you run into a hard decision you have to make fairly early in the disaster, and if you cannot repair housing or get some sort of house think going quick enough in a disaster area, you'll have to move people to where housing is. the tendency, if you do not have a good game plan upfront, you get people to move somewhere else. never plan on getting them home. for local officials, it is a
very hard decision. they do not want the local population to leave. there's only so much you can do to get some form of housing backup, but once you exceed that, you have to start moving people. that became so consuming that it was difficult to start thinking, what we need to achieve to get people to come back home? why are we having this big lag? if we saw something like that, where we knew we were going to have to move people for durations, you want to minimize how long they are way. you need to start planning now. what will it take to get them home? it is not just housing -- u.s. schools, jobs, public safety, infrastructure -- you have schools. you need to bring a lot of the programs together so we can get people back to communities. guest: on the question of communications, were first responders can communicate in times of crisis.
are you confident that we have interoperable communications know? guest: it is having the right people talk to the right people. this is two pieces -- it is a technology and a planning piece. the department of homeland security has been moving towards the big pieces, working back to the states and local and regional governments, to support the technology and big plans. it is doable. in katrina, we had close to 6000 responders from the state of florida. a variety of agencies, the national guard. we had interoperable communication, but with our mississippi partners, we had communications coming back to the florida state emergency center in real times. these were at technologies built after 9/11 that were deployed two states over. it is doable. the technology is there. in many parts of the country, it
has become more robust, but it has to be based on good plans of who will communicate with whom at what level and how we make sure the information moves in the right direction and that technology supports that? as we move through multiple generations, into the next generation of communication technologies, we have to build the communication plan, not just a technological solution. we have seen from time to time, where we have a great technology solution, but we do not have the right people communicating. host: we have three minutes left with our guest craig fugate. guest: one of your first priorities was to get individuals to take responsibility for developing plans, all emergency plans pur. i do not know if you can measure success at this point on something like that? have you figured out a way to
communicate effectively what you are trying to do? guest: i do not know. there is not going to be any other way to get where we need to go. if you look at what happens in most disasters, the people that should have and could have got ready -- were the most vulnerable assistance. -- vulnerable citizens. when you get to a storm the size of katrina, that even if government is working efficiently, we cannot get to everybody fast enough. who suffers? the week, the poor, small children, people with disabilities, the elderly. we have to stop looking at the public as the viability and as a reason -- and look at them as our resources. i went down to haiti. i saw haitians taking care of themselves. doing such things as figure out how the charge cell phones, using power strips to keep cell phones charged.
we tended to look as the public as is something we have to take care of. i realize, the public is good at taking care of themselves. we need to harness that so we can focus on the most vulnerable citizens who will need more help gue. guest: about $30 billion has been spent on grants since 9/11. there is no way to measure effectiveness, says congress. how do you respond to criticism? guest: the only thing you can come back to and say, did i said something up that says, i am trying to change this out, and this is my matrix i will measure against ? every time you try to apply this matrices, we will step back and invite the community itself -- state and local officials -- and say, how do we quantify what we are doing? we have spending is a matrix.
how much risk have we been able to address, what kind of capabilities have we build? if you try to measure individual component, it will tell you, just because i am a piece of technology in place, does not mean i have the plan and training to support that. the best way to do that is through aggressive exercising and practicing and demonstrating capabilities. we are looking at the response community at the local state -- local and state managers to help us demonstrate what it is, that as we build these matrices and how we test against this, that we have a good way to test for that. host: craig fugate, wii thank you for joining us. -- we thank you for joining us. guest: i think there was a sense that after katrina, the response
was not particularly good, and in particular with the recovery. this administration prides itself on having, and the people in various departments. with your janet napolitano and others at hud to figure out a better way to respond in to move into more permanent housing situations. they need to report back sometime in april. host: will they report back any changes? guest: the idea is, yes. it is primarily administrative. how the administration would go about working together, without these artificial bureaucratic lines. host: report for the "new orleans times-picayune