tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 10, 2014 4:00am-6:01am EDT
to create categories of kids, whether they are gang bangers coming in here to seek a new level of contribution in terms of the underground and crime. are they kids who aren't just being smuggled? because there's a difference between smuggling and trafficking. so we just need to make that clear. it doesn't mean that kids who are being smuggled don't eventually become trafficked, but how many of these kids are actually initiated into this process in a trafficking category? and then what are their ages? so can you just kind of give me what your sense is right now? >> my sense having watched it pretty carefully in mcallen, brownsville, and other places and watching these experienced border patrol agents interview and talk with these young people is they're -- they're very sophisticated, these agents at being able to determine
information. 14 and above, they're all fingerprinted. those fingerprints are run against the databases here in the united states. so that if it was somebody a little bit older that had been deported or had been arrested or was involved in a gang. we need better cooperation, better communication with those other three countries to make sure the vast majority of what we're seeing are not in that threat category, but we have to be very careful. >> well, as has been reported and i don't have any personal knowledge of this, that the number of drug seizures on the border since this crisis has decreased because resources have been deployed to deal with the emergency of this crisis. is that correct? >> the number of drug seizures has decreased in that particular sector, but a couple things. actually having watched it pretty carefully for the five years i served as the president's drug policy adviser, those numbers fluctuate a lot. now that we have two state where
is you can grow your own marijuana, i'm not so sure that marijuana coming in from mexico is going to continue at the amount that it did. so i think there are a lot of things going on. but i'm also confident in chief kevin oakes and in the rio grande valley and his determination that he will make every available resource. rio grande valley, by the way, has had an additional 500 border patrol agents over the last several years. they'll make every effort to make sure we're also doing our due diligence and our border security. i'll watch it carefully. >> but this wouldn't be the first time someone created or helped augment a crisis so that they could run the border and seek access for other kind of illegal activity across the border. >> you're right. the smugglers are very smart. the people involved in drug trafficking work every day to try and beat the system, yes, ma'am. >> my point is, as we're trying to deal with this humanitarian
crisis for those who truly are there in that category, we need to double down on the law enforcement portion of this so that we know what, in fact, we're dealing with. and those of who who have been involved in law enforcement know that a jufl can be just as dangerous as an adult. and we need to be very, very careful about who we're letting into this country on documented. the final thing i want to point out, because i'm running out of time, is i had the honor of going down to mexico with cindy mccain and amy klobuchar. we received a number of briefings about the kinds of activities that the mexican government is engaged in on the southern border, their southern border strategy. obviously, their southern border strategy in this case is -- it may be -- their efforts may have caused this surge. i don't know. we should be asking that question. but where are the mexican officials on pursuing their southern border strategy, and how do you see that as a tactic
to basically dispel this crisis? >> thank you, senator. mexican president nieto announced finally on monday this long-await the southern strategy his government had been working on for some time. we expect that it will allow the mexican government to improve its interdiction capabilities along the border, that they're going to be dedicating more resources to disrupting some of the alien smuggling networks and the traditional routes they use up through grauatemala, through southern mexico. in addition, they're trying to also implement better documentation of people who are crossing their border so that they can track them better in the country. there's no question, it is a very big border with guatemala
and belize. it is open in a lot of places. so they have quite a job in front of them. >> i would suggest that there would be a huge incentive to continue that effort on the south border if the refugees were stopped at our border. because one of the things that concerns the state of mexico or the country of mexico is having these refugees in their jurisdiction. so everything that we can do to assist them in their border security but also sending a message that safe passage -- not being accusatory, but turning a blind eye to the movement of young children north won't be something that's in the best interest of the united states of america, the country of mexico, and the children of central america. and somehow that message needs to be a lot clearer than what
it's been. >> president obama has spoken with president nieto about this issue. earlier i mentioned that mexico had deported over the year 2013 85,000 adults and children. the numbers i have of unaccompanied children are over 8,000 were deported last year. its national migration institute operates 35 detention centers. they are committed to working with us to improve their detention rates and return rates to central america as well. >> i can tell you just from having been on the border, unaccompanied minors, it's not a new issue. it's in crisis because of the numbers. but we haven't been dealing with unaccompanied minors very well in this country or in mexico or all through, i think, the
region. so we need to have a regional response to this crisis. and it can't just be the united states responding and processing. it has to be regional. and obviously, all the discussion that you have had here today about prevention, how do you build a better society? but again, i am very concerned that we not categorize all these kids in one basket. that is critically important we understand that this is more complicated than just a number of children being smuggled in for a better life in the united states of america. >> thank you. i have a question for those of you that work in homeland security because i'm getting a lot of reports of pushback from homeland security from the whistleblowers. so i have two questions for all of you. do you believe that employees at dhs have the right to communicate with us as members of congress?
>> yes, senator. >> yes. >> yes, sir. >> do dhs employees have the right to communicate with the dhs office of inspector general? >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> finally, will you make sure that message is sent down the chain in your organizations? >> we'll re-emphasize it. >> thank you. commissioner, this past weekend, a member of congress in oklahoma attempted to visit the site. he was refused access. would you comment on that? >> it's a dod facility, so i actually could not comment. i wouldn't be familiar with it. and it would not be under the jurisdiction of customs and border protection, but i'd be happy to work with people to find out exactly what occurred. >> all right. anybody else have any knowledge on that? >> senator, it is a dod facility that is being operated by an hhs
grantee. we are making available tours for members of congress, but we can ensure they are structured in a way that the needed tour guides are in place and that it is consistent with the sent of responsibilities that the staff at the facility have. >> so actually it's hhs's jurisdiction to make sure you want to accomplish what you want to accomplish. but the fact a member of congress shows up for an acute problem of us under homeland security in a supposedly humanitarian crisis and he's denied access. can you explain that? >> we absolutely want to ensure that members of congress are able to visit the facility -- >> except when he showed up. >> we are structuring towards on a regular basis for members of congress and would very much
want to ensure for him and for any other member of congress that we can facilitate making towards available. >> so again, so i understand, so i can report to the congressman, it was because it wasn't structured is the reason he was denied access? >> it is, as i understand it, arriving at the facility without it being a scheduled tour. again, we would want to provide for a scheduled tour. >> i think you would want members of congress to come on an unscheduled basis just to provide a check. >> we want to encourage members of congress to take tours. we are actually very -- >> only at your time convenience. >> excuse me, sir? >> only at your time convenience. i'm saying a random check by a member of congress is great for this country because they get to see what it is, not what it's prepared to be to show.
>> senator coburn, i should say we are proud of the facilities. we encourage members of congress to come and see them. we believe that members of congress will be pleased by what they see if they come. >> i think you made agr grievou error in denying access to the facility. i don't know who made the decision, but first of all, i think it was illegal to keep a member of congress from visiting one of these camps, regardless if they come at 3:00 in the morning, they should have access. i want to cover a couple areas with you on the demographics of the unaccompanied children. the administration reports in 2014 there's been increase in the number of uac who are girls and those under the age of 13. according to crs in a june 3rd press release, the administration claims the
demographic change of the uac population has influenced the response to the increase in the usa crossing border. however, crs was unable to find any data to illustrate the change, so it noted, it is unclear whether the increase in girls and children under 13 is simply because of the number of all uac is increased or if the number of girls and children under 13 has increased as a proportion of all uac. according to a june 25th demographics report from the nogales processing center, out of the total number of children in their custody at that time, the overwhelming majority were older than age 12, 887, and 557 were male. so yesterday an i.c.e. memo reported that males between the ages of 15 and 17 compromised 47% of all of the other than mexican uacs.
nearly 30% were 10 to 13. so three questions for you. why would the administration claim the demographic of the children as increasingly young when, in fact, it's not, and female? based on the response to their situation on that data when, in fact, the demographic appears to be quite the opposite. that's the first question. second, can you provide us with the actual statistics that show how much of this uac population is actually female and under 13? and according to the conference calls with congressional staff, if a uac turns 18 in the custody of hhs, he or she is turned over to dhs custody. what happens to these unaccompanied children who are returned to dhs custody after turning 18? are they released on their own recog sans? >> i can respond to the first two questions. first, senator, thank you for giving that question in advance because it involved calls from
the white house. it involves crs data, i.c.e. data, data from us. i tried very hard to drill down into that to make sure i could find with all of these different sources exactly what was what and give you the information. so what i can tell you is that in that group, we are seeing far more mothers and far more younger children than we have seen in the past and that i will -- >> so those aren't unaccompanied children. >> both. >> i know, but i'm saying mothers with their young children are not considered unaccompanied children. >> family units. we consider them family yauunit. you're right, senator. the other part as far as when someone turns 18 in hhs custody, i think i would ask that you ask mr. winn cow ski. i believe they'd be turned over to i.c.e. >> senator, thank you for that
question. when they turn 18, they hand it over to us. we issue the nta and put them in removal proceedings. >> okay. all right. one question. what is the percentage over the last year or the year before that of those that don't show for their hearing? >> the overall percentage for the entire population that is issued a notice to appear and is required to appear before an immigration judge is the no-show rate is 17%. that means that 83% do show. as i mentioned earlier, percentage is a little higher for juveniles. >> but you said you didn't know exactly that number, is that correct? >> well, we do have the number of juveniles, meaning the case is coded as a juvenile case in our database. that's something i mentioned earlier. what we don't have a good handle on because the data is not there is unaccompanied minors.
which one of those juveniles are unaccompanied minors. >> and you're going to try to find that data out for us? >> we're working with our partner agencies to try to get more specific data on that. that is a -- yeah. >> i have one more question. i don't know if we sent this one to you. i think we did. we had asked for some information on our internal cpb memo on bottlenecks and the unaccompanied child transfer process. several press reports reported on this memo on may 30th from the deputy chief of cpb. staff asked for this document. yesterday, staff meeting with you objected saying it's p predecisional material and an inside document, which according to the congressional rules is not a legitimate reason to deny a congressional request. it is for a foyer request but
not for a congressional request. the washington times and other news outlets have reported on the contents of the documents, reportedly waiving any privilege. c at a minimum, i would request that the department of homeland security explain the decision to me in writing, citing the actual legal authority that allows you to withhold that document from congress. and i would appreciate it if you would do that. i have some questions on the basis of that, which i think most of them we have covered because we asked for the statistics. one of the things that was concerning to me in that press reports in that memo that the uac crisis is compromising dhs' capabilities to address other
transborder criminal areas. i think we've pretty well addressed that in your answers. i think my time is up. the chairman's back and he's voted, right? >> i have. they'll be happy to receive your vote. >> i have other questions for the record i'd like to submit. >> no problem at all. no problem. i just don't think you've been asked enough questions. i really -- let me say how much i appreciate your willingness to rearrange your schedule in order to be here for the entire hearing. what i'd like to do is i want to come back to this. one of our colleagues, senator landrieu raised this question, but try and understand your role and the appropriations of funds and the authorization of appropriations of those funds. she thinks a lot about hurricanes in the gulf of mexico. we think about them on the east coast. we're very mindful of the great
work you and your team did in response to superstorm sandy. one of the questions we would ask is in terms of the expenses that flow from this all hands on deck operation, how does that affect, if at all, fema's ability to do some of your other work in terms of disaster relief, whether it's hurricanes or nor'easters, that kind of thing. how does it affect it, if at all? >> there's always an effect, but senator you built and fund fema to handle multiple disasters. we've really used the tools you've given us to support the inner agency. we have about 75 people that have been working on this as well as our fema core teams, which we've surged to support custom and boards and detention areas and in the processing faciliti facilities. we're very much aware that we have to be ready for the catastrophic disasters, but you
have built capacity and capabilities into fema that allows us to support this as well as our ongoing responsibilities. >> all right. thanks for that response. thank you for your willingness to take it on in addition to your other responsibility, the overseeing of this difficult challenge and our response to it. question, if i could, for a man who goes by paco. i was struck by a report from the u.n. not long ago that the u.s. is not the only country seeing a huge increase in migration of unaccompanied minors from guatemala, el salvador, and honduras. i saw somewhere where the number of asylum seekers in mexico, nicaragua, belize, had gone up by over 700%, if i'm not mistaken. what does that say about what's happening in the three central american countries that we focused on today? >> i think it just further confirms that the endemic
violence in these societies, the street crime, the gang intimidation and forced recruitment, the lack of educational opportunity, the poor job prospects in these countries for young people are driving people away and out of these countries. and we've got to do a better job working with these countries to address these basic systemic problems that they're confronting. the supplemental has $295 million that tries to get at a better prosperity agenda that improves economic opportunity but also at the same time maintaining our efforts to address the security conditions in the countries. i have to admit, i was not aware
of the high increase in asylum requests in other countries. >> it's a low base but a substantial increase. >> i will look into that and try to get additional data for you. i do know that the mexicans have seen an increase, and i was aware of that. >> all right. in my opening statement, you may recall we spent about a quarter of $1 trillion over the last decade enforcing our immigration laws, trying to strengthen our nation's borders, especially on our southern border. we spent a whole lot less, far less, helping central american countries like the three we're talking about today to address the root causes of immigration. as i understand it during the same decade that we've been spending $225 billion to protect and strengthen our borders along mexico, we have spent about $2 billion across all of central america, not just in el salvador, guatemala, and
honduras, but roughly 1% of what we've spent just on the border. most after that is focused on improving security in those three countries, not on broader economic development and job creation to help give people a reason to stay there and want to live there. let me ask you to react to that. >> senator, i share your views on the need for us to have a better balance in our strategy toward the region. the security investments are important. we've got to improve their abilities to control their own borders, to interdict all kinds of elicit activities that is both trafficking and smuggling people and other -- and drugs across their borders. but i think it is time for us to take a long look at if there's more that we can be doing on the economic growth side and in
atta attacking the corruption in these governments so social service delivery is better, so that education is better in these countries. by holding these governments accountable. i think you had it right in your opening statement, senator, this has to be a shared responsibility. the united states can't fix this problem, but i think we can be a part of the solution with mexico, with colombia, as you mentioned, and we'll do our part at the state department. >> thank you. a quick follow-up, if i could. of the 300 million in the president's supplemental emergency request, any idea how much will go toward addressing the root causes we've been talking about here today? they're in part behind the surge in migration from central america. >> all of the assistance is designed to focus on having an immediate impact.
120 million of it is for the economic growth side, which contains funds that do get at root causes but also contain funds for the youth outreach centers and for some of the vocational education that we think can help address immediate issues related to the immediate flow of people as well as the longer term solution. i believe there's an additional 70 million more or less for governance activities, and then the rest is in security, which we consider very important. i know my i.c.e. colleagues will agree. we have to be able to expand the repatriation capability of the three countries. that is, we have to expand their ability to receive more people as our process gears up to return them more quickly and more efficiently. >> i was in -- i'm not sure if
it was el salvador or guatemala, where they receive people coming back in. >> the guatemala system is really -- the guatemalans have gotten it down. it's a testament to the seriousness with which they understand the risks their citizens face in making that journey and wanting to welcome them back and helping them reinsert them into their country. but it is guatemala, senator. >> all right. thank you. we talked a little bit already about truth campaigns to message clearly, repeatedly, particularly to the parents of these three central american countries, the perils their children face in trying to send them north. the likely reception they'll get here, the likelihood they'll be returned ultimately. but the most important message, i think, is to convey a message
of hope. there's not frankly in those countries much reason to be all that hopeful. we have law enforcement officers that are corrupt. in too many cases, the judges are corrupt. i remember sitting in a meeting with the president of guatemal . and his interior minister and talking about corruption in their prisons. i said, mr. president, some of your prisons here, the inmates run the prisons. they receive or pay for indirectly some of the guards to bring in cell phones. they operate their illegal activities from the prisons, using cell phones provided by the guards. i said, mr. president, you know, there's technology that can be used to basically wipe out the ability to use cell phones from a prison. i said, you have that capability in your prisons, and you don't use it. you don't use it. there's a lot of work that needs to be done.
we could do so much. they need to do their share as well. key to the success of almost any entity i've ever come across, whether it was government, business, athletics, church, schools. leadership. we have a responsibility certainly to provide leadership as a nation, but frankly these countries need some leadership of their own. fortunately at a time when colombia was on the ropes and it looked like they may go down for the count not that long ago, you'll recall -- i don't know, it was about 20 years or so ago. a group of gunmen rounded up the supreme court of the country of colombia, took them in a room, and shot them to death. 20 years later, colombia's, i think, by most people's judgment s a successful country. economically strong, viable, great trading partner with us, great ally with us. they're in a position now, having been helped by us through the colombia campaign, to turn
north and provide the same kind of assistance to others. i think they're willing to do that. we need to make sure that they do. i think what i'd like to do here is close out. i'm going to ask each of you to give us a closing statement. sometimes i use closing statements, about a minute from each of you, if you would, but i look for this as an opportunity to see where the consensus lies and where the consensus may lie in term of what we should be doing, our responsibilities here on the legislative side, to address the immediate -- not just the immediate problems on the border but also the underlying causes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to just note that i've been doing this job for a while. i've never seen an inner agency effort coordinated the way this effort is being done from the top down. it's pretty impressive.
as you said, it is an all hands on deck approach. we're ready to do our part in the immigration court system by prioritizing these cases of recent borders crossers. we think that will have an effect over time. we ask for your support through the supplemental funding p inin requested by the president. >> all right. thank you. >> mr. chairman, i have an acute personal interest in the work that o.r.r. is doing and hhs and fema is doing and zbp and i.c.e. my mother arrived as a legal immigrant but was orphaned as a teenager in the united states. the work these people are doing to protect these children is really outstanding work. >> thank you. >> mr. greenberg. senator johnson, what we're doing is asking them to give us a one-minute closing statement, just guidance and advice for us, trying to put it all together.
go ahead. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the children that are arriving are an enormously vulnerable group of children. while most of them are older boys, we have seen an increasing number of girls. we have seen an increasing number of very young children. they come with significant needs. it's important we address those needs when they arrive just as at the same time it's important we enforce our nation's immigration laws. >> thanks. >> first of all, mr. chairman, thank you for holding the hearing. i thought it was really a great hearing. really, just several issues i think we need to be mindful of. number one, this -- we're focusing on central america right now for obvious reasons. but i believe it's important for the committee to also realize that we have other hot spots around the world. this is not going to go away.
lots of people want to come to america, and the flows are all changing, as i had mentioned before. the flows of mexicans coming in. now we're seeing other than mexicans. you see hot spots around the world. india, other locations. and we've had some experience with that already. that problem -- those challengers are going to continue to get larger and larger. i think we really need to play a leadership role, not only from our standpoint but from the state department standpoint of capacity building and things of that nature. so that's number one. number two, i think we have some tough choices to make. these are very, very difficult issues. i'm a father. i understand why these children want to come. i've walked the halls of the air force base with secretary johnson. i've been down to mcallen and other locations. it's absolutely heartbreaking.
however, if we want to make an impact here, make sop end roads here, we have to make some tough decisions. you know, we've got to work very closely with guatemala and others. guatemala to shore up their northern border, mexico to shore up their border. we have to be proactive from a standpoint of investigating the networks. and when these individuals make it into the country, we've got to make sure they have their due process, and once a decision is made to remove, be able to remove quickly. i think when you look at the issues that were faced in 2006 with the bazillions and years before that we had a rash of hondurans. what changed the dynamic of it all was the ability to apprehend, detain, and deport quickly.
i believe we need to have more discussion on that. i think that's, to me, the critical issue that we all face. of course, needing the funding and supporting the supplemental. thank you very much. >> thank you very, very much. >> having spent five years in the white house and now working for secretary johnson, i can tell you that we could not ask for better leadership, more heartfelt compassion, more support for the work that we're doing. it's very clear i'm in the twilight of my career, and to be in this position -- >> it hopefully a long twilight. >> and to be in this position and to be able to work with not only the people at the table but quite frankly whether it was watching a border patrol agent or a customs official who was encountering a child walking up a bridge from mexico, to see the work they're doing really -- it makes you incredibly proud.
i would last say that we appreciate the tough questions from the members of congress. we're prepared to answer them to the very best of our ability and to be as forthcoming with you all as we can be. >> thanks. thanks gil. craig? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i don't approach this as these are acronyms. i don't approach this as this is a policy issue. i don't approach this as to why it's happening. it has happened, it is happening. we have very, very small children who early in this process were spending far too long in a detention cell, sharing a toilet and eating food that was microwaved because that's all the agents could provide in the initial push. our focus has been on meeting the immediate needs of these children. we have to constantly remind ourselves these are somebody's
child, often triatimes trying t reunited with a family member here who took a journey none of us could imagine. and when they came here, we should have the compassion to be able to take care of their basic needs while we focus on the whys. but i have to focus in on the now. and until we have enough capacity to ensure that these children are not kept in detention, that there's a bed, medical care, decent food, a shower, clean clothes, we fail these children. the president's supplemental request is very specific and ensuring we have the capacity within the agencies, particularly within custom and borders, but more importantly within the office of refugee resettlement, to ensure these children are properly cared for while they are in our custody until final determination is made. that has been my focus, and that will continue to be the focus until such time as we have stabilized this. but we should never forget these are children. they're now in our custody.
it is our duty to make sure these children are cared for properly. thank you, sir. >> thank you for that comment and thought. all right, senator johnson. then i'll say a few words and we'll close it out. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. foou gait, first of all, i think we all share your sentiment. we're a compassionate society. we understand these are children. we want to show true compassion. i think the point that a lot of us are making here today is true compassion really would be to prevent this from happening, to actually attack the root cause, which i'll restate again is the incentives we're creating for parents to send their children on this arduous journey. i have to agree with senator coburn. as nice as those posters look, they'll do nothing, nothing in comparison to what plane load after plane load of children being returned to their families in guatemala, honduras, and el salvador would do. that is the most important thing we could do to deter parents from doing this to their children. i do want to get back to -- also, i understand that, you know, you folks are working hard
and we appreciate your service and you are constrained by the laws, which we must change expeditiously. you're also constrained by executive orders that i think were misguided. so you're following the law. i understand that. appreciate your efforts. but we have to change those laws. we have to undo some of these executive orders so we have a more rational system to reduce or eliminate those incentives for illegal immigration. i want to go back a little bit to mexico in terms of what they're doing to help stem the tide. if we've got bus loads of children -- i've seen the pictures of children hanging on to trains. i'm actually surprised that they've turned back 85,000. is there any documented instances where mexico officials have actually interdicted a bus and sent it back? where are we getting this from? >> the mexican authorities regularly send bus loads of
interdicted, undocumented migrants moving through their country to guatemala, honduras, and el salvador. i don't have a specific anecdotal case of a bus of children that was perhaps on its way to the u.s. border having been stopped, but we do know that on a regular basis, mexico sends bus loads of people back to all thee countries. >> but we're basically relying on their statistics in terms of how many people we send back? >> their statistics are i.c.e., attaches in mexico city. they work with and talk to these people as well. i don't think it's just a statistical base. they also have the direct personal relationships that i think are critical to making sure mexico does follow through. >> one thing we've learned is mexico does a pretty good job
securing its northern border as the marine sergeant found out. i'm hoping he gets released immediately. if he's not released, what is the department of justice going to do? what is president obama going to do to secure his release? >> i know that the state department has facilitated visits for him with his attorneys, with his family. we will continue to provide the full range of american citizen services we would provide to any and every american detained in a similar situation. >> is the state department, is president obama as outraged as many americans are by the mexican government's mistreatment of the sergeant? i've seen the videos. i've seen how easy it was for him to accidently get into that lane. this is outrageous. he's been held for over 100 days. are we going to show that time
of -- demonstrate that kind of outrage and demand his hurricref he's not returned today? >> it i know my colleagues in tijuana and washington are working vigorously on this case to expedite a speedy resolution to it as we can. >> i hope if he's not released they act more vigorously. let's put it that way. i want to go back to -- as long as we're talking about the state department here, the $300 million request for, i guess, improving conditions if those central american countries. we're finding we're not particularly good at improving our own economy. isn't that a pipe dream to spend $295 million trying to improve the conditions and expecting that is going to solve the problem as opposed to sending plane loads full of these kids back to their families? >> i think we need to be doing everything we can on all levels, both promoting better economic
growth, expanding repatriation, sending more people back. all of these things have to be done. this is a complex problem, and there is no easy, simple solution. >> but there are things that are going to be far more effective and less costly. let's go through the numbers. the president is asking $65,000 per unaccompanied child. if we buy a plane ticket, put them up with a hotel room, give them some good meals, let's say we send $1,000 per child. that would be $75 million to return the children to their families. isn't that far more effective spending? wouldn't we be better off to improve the immigration services in those countries so there's a place for us to return the unaccompanied children? why don't we kind of reorient our thinking, realize that we can't spend $300 million and really expect to even make a dent in improving the conditions
of those countries, and as senator coburn said, the most effective message we can send as opposed to a slick little poster there is literally sending plane loads in a very humane fashion of these children back to their families. >> part of the request will expand the capacity of these governments to receive additional repatriation flights. so that is envisioned in the request. i think what we think a more balanced approach that tries to address some of the underlying root causes is also essential, not just at stopping the current problem, but to creating the conditions so that in the future these people have a better alternative in their homes. >> haven't we been doing that for years? i mean, literally, haven't we been trying to do these things for years? >> we have, and the scale of how we have provided our assistance,
the youth outreach centers is an excellent example. it just doesn't reach a broad enough segment of these countries to make a difference. expanding some of that assistance, we think, can make a difference. >> i'm out of time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks more those questions and your participation. i think we'll come to the end. again, i want to say a special thanks to craig fugate for changing his schedule to be with us and your participation. for all of you, for your participation. this extraordinary panel, good people, hard jobs. we're glad you're willing to do them. we commend you and the teams you lead in service to our country. it's not easy, is it? there frankly aren't a lot of easy answers, but there are answers. we've had a chance to chew on some of those today. i think it's been called by me and others an all hands on deck moment. all hands are on deck.
we're finding out how well this team works. i'm encouraged that given the magnitude of the challenge, it's working pretty well. everything i do, i know i can do better. i think it's true for all of us and true for responses like this. we have to just focus on how to do better as we go along. senator johnson has heard me say more than a few times, find out what works and do more of that. somehow, something worked in mexico. something has worked in mexico. as we've seen the tide surge of mexicans coming across our border has largely stopped. not entirely, but largely stopped. we have a bunch of mexicans that want to go back to mexico. there's some lessons to be learned there. my hope is we're going to learn thos those. in terms of laws we pass and appropriations that we make. i want to close with -- i think i'll close with a scriptural reference here.
believe it or not, we have a bible study group that meets here in the capitol. democrats and republicans get together and pray together, read scripture. we have a prayer breakfast. i don't usually get to meet because they meet early on wednesday morning, and i'm usually on a train. but our chaplain here is always reminding us of the most important rules, commandments in the bible. one of those is found in the new testament, to love the lord thy god with all thy heart, all thy soul, all thy mind. the second one is to love thy neighbor as thyself. that was the response by jesus in response to a bunch of for pharocees. when he said love thy neighbor as theis, he says, who's our neighbor? you'll recall he famously told the story of the parable of the good samaritan. and it's a good question for us to ask today. who is our neighbor?
if we really love our neighbor as ourselves, how do we treat them? the folks in mexico, in canada, and these three central american countries, they're our neighbor. so are the people on the other side of the world. we have a reputation as a nation of trying to treat others, not just in our own neighborhoods, not just in our own communities and states, but other countries as well as neighbors. we have to be very careful here in making sure that we're responding in the way that the scripture would admonish us to do, that we don't create a situation where parents in honduras and guatemala and el salvador literally take their flesh and blood and put them on top of a freight train or in one of these buses in the hands of people they don't know and send them through all kinds of peril to get to the u.s. border. we have to change that dynamic. and there are a lot of ways to do that. we talked about some of them today. a week from today we'll have a
hearing on some -- how we might do that further, how we might further change that climate, that dynamic so that hopefully ten years from now we're not going to have a hearing here that revisits this issue and say, why are we still wrestling with this problem? we want to be able to say, we learned something about mexico a number of years ago. we didn't entirely fix that. we largely have. but we had problems with colombia. we helped solve that, largely. we can do this as well. again, last word i would say, this is not on our backs alone. we have a responsibility. we have a moral imperative, if you will, to try to do the right thing here. we have fiscal imperative because we don't have unlimited resources. we have a fiscal imperative to do is in a cost-effective way. find out what works, do more of that. we have to make darn sure that other countries that have a dog in fight, mexico, colombia,
nonprofit organizations, that they're involved in this as well. we do this together. we'll make great progress. we can feel good about what we've done somewhere down the road and hopefully the folks we've tried to help will feel a lot better as well. with that, the hearing record is going to remain for 15 days until july 24th, 5:00 p.m., for submission of statements and questions for the record. we're grateful for everyone who's participated to make it so. thank you so much. we're adjourned.
>> $34 billion. how different is that from what the white house requested? >> just slightly under, a couple million under. >> the white house just shortly a while ago before we talked issued a veto threat against the bill you're writing about that. what is the white house primarily concerned about? >> probably two different aspects. one is the policy writers. the first is that as they have done in the past the house cut provisions for energy efficiency and renewable energy by about 5% and increased spend fog -- spending for fossil research. there's about a 5% increase to further hired fracking, coal technology, those kinds of things. so that's one of the main objections of the white house. the second are these provisions which would affect the way that
our relations with russia because of issues going on the in the ukraine the house attempted to block all aid to russia. some of that has to do with nonproliferation so the white house objected to that idea is to continue the nonproliferation efforts even as tensions are heightened over ue crape. and then there's also a policy writer that would try to block changes by the e.p.a. and the army corps over the waters of the united states rule which has to do with jurisdiction that falls under the e.p.a. and army corps. >> and on that russia issue the house of representatives appropriations on another issue. what's the provision we're hearing about that would allow firearms to be carried on lands overseen by the army corps of
engineers? >> there's an attempt at the can he level to allow that. and that something has been debated in the past the argument that there's already hunting that's allowed so that's something that's -- that we may see again here at this level. >> a couple of concerns here on the clean water act. what would the 2015 spending bill on energy and water say? >> there are two different riders there one which has come before which is the redefinition of fill material as rie relates to mountain mining the second is related to an attempt this spring e.p.a. and army corps of engineers
issued an intention that they are going to redefine what are navigable waters under the clean water act. a part of this saying this is going to cause broad overreach that all of a sudden e.p.a. is going to be regulating the ditch and some farmers feel. but proponents, democrats in the house as well as the administration say this is necessary to help clarify some ambiguities that exist under previous regulations that got thrown out. >> how many amendments will get debate and is there one or two that we should look for? >> right now there are about 10 or 15 amendments in, there's talk about 170 amendments as you probably said it's an open rule. at some point they're going to limit the debate. there are some key amendments some which would try and understood do elements as we discussed that the administration opposes. there's several brought by representative bill cassidy who is in a tight race against mary
land rue in the senate for her senate seat. he's trying to get everything he can to benefit louisiana. he also has an interesting amendment that would bar energy department conversation of a greenhouse gas emissions as they consider liquefied natural gas export permits. and also, there is an amendment -- from 9 million into he nuclear security into submarine nuclear reactor research, which is considered to be possibly underfunded. there's concerns raised yesterday that nuclear research r submarines is critically underfunded. >> covering the debate on the energy and water spending bill for 2015.
thank you for joining us. >> thank you very much. >> today a hearing on mental . alth care for veterans the house veterans affair can hes hearing begins at 9:15 eastern on c-span-3. >> next, a hearing examining the impact of federal, state, and private charitable programs on reducing poverty. this house budget commitee hearing is about two hours. >> welcome, everybody. it is good to see a great full capacity crowd. this is our fifth hearing on the war on poverty.
over the past year we have heard from a number of voices, policy experts, community groups, federal officials, and today we are going to hear from people in the middle. people in the private sect who are work with the public sector, people who coordinate state programs with private charity. we're also going to hear from especially important voice, ms. turner. i was very happy to meet her. we got to meet earlier this year and i'm excited to hear her testimony. i want to quote from her previous written testimony because i think she hits the nail on the head. poverty is not just one issue that can be solved at one time. it's not just an issue of jobs or food osh housing or energy assistance and safety. it's a people issue. and you can't slice people up into issues. we are whole human beings. poverty has to do with a whole person who is in a family in a
neighborhood in a community. i couldn't have said it better myself. i think that's exactly right. for too long the federal government has treated people as numbers instead of whole people with wholly connected needs. that is why i'm excited to hear from heather reynolds, the president of catholic charities of fort worth putting together a pilot project to test how case management can expand opportunities for working families. as she urges ms. reynolds program sees people as whole human beings who deserve time and care not just another client to usher through the door. and the results speak for themselves. in 2013, 90% of the people in the refugee program became self-sufficient within six months. i would also like to welcome jennifer tiller from america works. america works has pin nired two key concepts that are crucial to real reform. work first and accountability.
they get paid only if they succeed. i can't find beater definition of success than their own definition. success is an individual moving to employment, maintaining a self-sufficient lifestyle and progressing in their desired career trajectory. i think we should insist on the same kind of accountability from our federal programs as we do from these community groups. one last thing. at a previous hearing some of at a previous hearing some of my colleagues kept asking about federal aid. the point is not to question whether the government should help, the point is to figure out the best way they can help. with that, i hope we can listen and learn from our witnesses today, because i think each of these three ladies have so much to offer us. >> i thank you, mr. chairman, and i want to thank all the witnesses for being here today, as the chairman said, this is our fifth hearing on the
question of how we can better address poverty in america. as i have in the past, i want to begin on two points of agreement. the first is the best anti-poverty measure is a job, in fact, a job that pays a living wage, a job that can support individuals and a family. and second, if there are better ways to channel resources to get better results in terms of our fight on poverty, we welcome that conversation. and case management may be a very successful way of doing that. while it's our fifth hearing, we've still got a huge disconnect between the goal cited by many republican colleagues of reducing poverty and the republican budget that passed out of this committee and passed out of this house that dramatically cuts funding for programs that help people limb out of poverty.
mr. chairman, the fact remains the budget you presented would cut the areas of the budget that would help provide the kind of case management we're watching today, dramatic cuts in the discretionary part of the budget, funded at lower than two times the sequester cuts, and deep cuts in programs like food and nutrition. we want to have a discussion here about how to better use existing resources to help people climb out of poverty. we welcome that conversation. what we don't welcome is using that conversation as a pretext or a means to dramatically cut funding for those programs, whether it's medicaid or food and nutrition programs. as the chairman indicated, we've had witnesses who have received important federal funding.
apparently there's no disagreement here that the federal government can play an important role in helping people climb out of poverty. at the hard to do that same time that you have a budget that dramatically cuts funding for those programs. so reform, better use of existing resources to help more people and have more effective results, yes. but a conversation that doesn't answer the question about how deep cuts to anti-poverty programs will advance that goal is something we will continue to ask about. finally, as i also join the chairman, i am pleased that ms. gaines turner is here today. i think she's the first witness of the series of five hearings who herself has experienced the struggles of poverty and the effort to climb out of poverty, so we think your personal
testimony is especially mportant in that regard. you can at least have a job that supports the family. one of the things we try to do is at least raise the minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour, which is lower purchasing power than when harry truman was president. we'd like to raise that to $10.10 an hour, which still doesn't, in many cases, provide a living wage, but at least provides greater opportunities for people working to take care of themselves and their families. we're still hoping to have a vote on that and many other issues that support work, but really pleased to have all these witnesses here today to talk about how we can tackle this important challenge that's before us, so thank you, mr.
chairman, and look forward to he conversation. >> to make sure everyone knows, we have begun a new committee practice in all of the committees, not just this one, swearing in all of our witnesses. this does not reflect any distrust that we have in any particular witness. we're taking this step because of recent legal guidance we have been given from the department of justice. i'd like to ask the three of you if you wouldn't mind standing so we can swear in our testimony. please raise your rfpbled do you solemnly swear or affirm the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? let the record reflect the witnesses have answered in the affirmative. that's a formality that we have to engage in now. heather, why don't we start with you and move this way.
>> poverty is complex and often cyclical. poor parents have poor children, and poor children often become poor parents. this cycle continues unless it is broken. this is the critical element in moving someone from government dependency to self-sufficiency. that is why we believe that case management has got to be an integral part of the conversation on how we reform our approach to poverty. first, case management allows us to work to the client in an individualized way. every day in fort worth, texas, we have over 300 people coming o our organization for help.
we typically see three main types of poverty. chronic poverty, which results from the combination of factors , such as age, significant disability, or mental illness. people who are going to need safety net services throughout the course of their life. the second type of poverty is situational poverty, caused by divorce, unexpected healthcare expenses, and the loss of a job. with a quick intervention, families can be put back on track. the third time of poverty is generational poverty, people in generational poverty are those who have had two or more people living in poverty. it is passed down from parent to child. it is the mindset of living in the moment, being prosecutetough, setting goals and plan ago head are simply not in the frame of reference. understanding these types of poverty is critical for understanding how to combat it. case smgget most needed for
those in situational and generational poverty. those in generational poverty need a deeper level of case management, because it requires mindset change. second, case management allows us to serve in a way that's holistic n. most cases, people who come to catholic charities fort worth face complex challenges. clients receive services for each of their needs independently from other problems they're facing. case management helps transform interventions from an array of stand-alone services to a comprehensive plan to get families to achieve their fullest potential. as a process in which the client and case management worked to holistically move a family forward and out of poverty permanently. third, case management gets results, for example, the matching grant program for refugees, which we participate
in in fort worth, is the successfully federally funded anti-poverty program. in fort worth, our success rate of moving individuals from poverty to self-sufficiency is high because of case anagement. from my experience, many federal programs are not designed and measured for the end goal impact. how can we set our goal of homelessness? how can we have a goal of families thriving and then count it success whfl they sign up for public benefits? that is why it is my firm belief that research in a focus on results has got to be paired with ssms at catholic charities, our main partner in this effort is the lab for economic opportunities at notre dame. one of the initiatives being evaluated is our stay the course program aimed at increasing persistence in degree attainment among
low-income students by reducing the chance that events outside of school derail a college education. this is achieved through holistic case management and emergency financial assistance. the pilot is tracking outcomes for randomly assigned students receiving services and a control group of students not receiving support in order to measure the true impact of these services on academic performance, educational attainment, employment, and earnings. students receiving case management services, not only average more credit hours in the treatment group, but they were more likely to persist in their education. case management was the difference, and there is not a better way to get someone out of poverty than to help ensure they graduate with a degree that can get them a job that pays them not enough to survive, but enough to actually thrive.
poor parents have poor kids, and more often than not, poor kids become poor parents. the cycle continues unless it's true and purposely broken. thank you for your time today, and thank you for what you are doing to bring attention to the important issue of ending poverty. >> thank you. ms. tiller? >> america works and its network of companies, including america works of washington, d.c., have successfully managed retention programs throughout the united states since 1984. under the mission of changing people's lives by lifting them from dependence into the productive world of employment, america works and its network of companies have placed over 400,000 people into jobs nationwide. the rapid attach at some time work program allows individuals to be placed quickly into the workforce. america works believes that work should be the central
focus, wraparound services including, but not limited to, mental health, shelter services, substance abuse services, child care, and educational endeavors are addressed simultaneously. over the years, america works has taken on tough social jobs, which cost taxpayers bill yors of dollars with a belief that if a job is provided, dependency on the government diminishes and disappears. to that end, we have rapidly attached ex-offenders to work, therefore reducing recidivism. we have taken people with a lifelong benefit of social security disability benefits and moved them towards self-sufficiency by way of employment. america works shows that by providing jobs we decrease the cost of home theness. if work were the central social policies through which each program is examined, we could decrease expenses. america works pioneered the program, while simultaneously
providing them with supportive services as necessary. this has been critical to erasing years in which welfare recipients were in and out of training programs which seldom lead to jobs. when regulations were being written for reform, states were limited to a very small percentage of people allowed to be in education and training. this forced employment and training later or simultaneously for upgrading and improving your prospects. america works also pioneered performance-based government contracting, a business model that says still not commonly used in the social services field. states and cities pay only when people move from dependency into employment. most other contractors are paid when clients may enroll in their programs regardless of whether they ever enter mployment. it's a responsibility of government to ensure equity in our society. well, this was written in context to the obesity epidemic, and it holds true for welfare programs. but government involvement
should not stop with the management of funding and/or the programs. it should also champion personal responsibility. the personal responsibility and work opportunity act aimed to encourage rather than discourage employment, as well by way of pients time limits. in order to move from depend tones independence, we must revisit the premise of the personal responsibility and work opportunity act accountability. what is the definition of success for a recipient, for the government? success is an individual moving to employment, maintaining a self-sufficient lifestyle, and progressing in their desired career trajectory. charlene dorsey, assigned to america works of washington, d.c., shares her success, and i would like share it with members of the committee. i've been a parting of the america works the past two years. when i first started the program, i was not focused on the steps i needed to take to
work towards self-sufficiency. after several moss of "messing around" i came to the realization that i had had enough. i finally realized that i could no longer rely on this as a way to support me or my children. i had for then tired of my lifestyle of dependency, and after speaking with the director, jennifer tiller, decided to start taking the program more seriously. i began working very closely with the staff at america works and put all of my energy into gaining employment. within one week i had a job. i started working as a cashier. when i was searching for employment, food service was my last resort, but after working for only a few months, i realized that i loved my job and that i had the potential to grow within the company. i've been working there for nine months now, and i'm currently in the training program to become a manager at my location. i love my supervisors and the staff that i work with, and i really enjoy getting up and oing to work each day.
even though field service was not the field of work i was initially in, i became to the realization that work was better and that i could provide a much better lifestyle for myself and my children by keeping the job that i had. i am so happy at my job now, and i'm looking forward to all of the opportunities that i will have to advance my career there. i'm so grateful for the assistance that the staff at america works gave me. they were patient. they helped me. they provided case management services. miss dorsey has not received benefits since october of 2013, and she's never completion of her management training program. america works recommends continued emphasis on work requirements for those receiving transfer payments and public subsidies, as long as they're deemed eligible for employment. thank you again for your invitation to speak. >> ms. gaines turner? >> good morning distinguished members of the house budget committee. thank you very much for
inviting me to come give formal testimony. my name is tiana gaines turner, and i'm a member of witnesses to hunger. let's get down to birks shall we? i will be talking about a large array of different things that are important to me and my family. let's talk about jobs and wages. the fact that we call it minimum wage to me is just a problem. we need to invest where people cannot have a minimum wage, but have a living wage. we need to make sure we have paid sick leave so that a scommore a father who are taking care of a care give kerr take take off of work and not worry about losing their job. we also need to address affordable child care for those who are children with disabilities and those entering into the workforce. afety net, where do i begin? the food stamp program is very important to me and my family. no one wakes up in the morning and says we want to be on poverty, we want to stand in a two-hour line at a food pantry to get to the front just to be
told there is not any food. i know for a fact that food stamps is a very important part of my life t. helps me and my husband to make sure we can feed our children, three of them with medical disabilities, nutrition and adequate food. w. c., w.i.c. is another important program. i know this firsthand, for having twins, myself who were born premature, my twin son was -- he had open heart surgery when he was 2 weeks old. i was able to breast feed and get a pump, which is something i know i would not be able to afford through the w.i.c. program. healthcare, as you look on the screen right now, that is my son. i took this photo because i thought it was very important for people to understand the many struggles that a family has to go through every day. i thook photograph minutes after my son had suffered his second seizure. when you are a parent and you have children with disabilities, it's very difficult. it is not easy to wake up every day and not know, do you pay the phone bill or do you pay
for -- or you have constant challenges. i would be proud to sit and here say my mother was never on food stamps when i was a child. i watched her struggle every day working, sometimes one or two jobs. i feel we need to have a conversation on things that are wrong, the cliff effect. why when a person enters the job force, they make just maybe 50 or a quarter over their cut, their food stamps are cut dramatically, their medical may be cut. technology, why when by to the county assistance office and i give them a receipt, a stamped receipt, and they tell me they have gotten my paperwork, someone is scanning it, putting it into a document, why a month later i talk to my case worker and she has no knowledge of it. it is sitting somewhere on her desk with an abundance of paperwork. we need to make sure we get the case workers in welfare office, we are not treated like
unhuman, we are treated as individuals. we need to make sure they understand we are here for a moment, not for a lifetime. educational programs, we need to make sure that we don't push people into these ready to work programs that simply don't work. we need to make sure we don't put people into programs to become a c.n.a. and then not compete with others in that ategory. savings, let's make sure we are able to open up a savings and banking account, to be able to save money to own our own homes, to be able to save for our children's college fund without a case worker telling us, baufs a savings account, you are not eligible for certain programs. i feel like right now in america, that there should be no child that goes to sleep hungry, that there should be no one that will have to face the troubles every day of not knowing.
this photograph is a photo of my children. my children are everything to me. i would like say that we need to break the cycle. we need to make sure that we all remember what the american dream is, values, family values. i am not a number, i am not a statistic. i am not a food stamp recipient. i am an individual who lives in the inner city who just so happens to be right now struggling, just as so many americans are struggling. we need to get back to the core values of remembering that we are people who do not want to be looked at as someone who is on welfare, who is lazy, who wants to sit back and collect benefits. i never wake up every day, when my day starts at 7:00 a.m. in the morning and say that i want o be on public assistance. this is a peculiarity of my husband and father on father's day. my husband is a strong african-american man who can relate to everyone in this room just as i can. he gets up every day and goes
to work. he makes sure that he wants the same thing that you want for your children as we want for our children, safe and affordable housing. we want equal pay. we want to be brought to the table when there is a decision made. there should be no decision made without someone sitting at the table who are going through these struggles. thank you so much for having me. >> thank you. how old are your kids? >> my twins are 6 years old and my son is 10. >> great age. let me get started. why don't i start with you, tiana? the cliff, i'm really interested in what you mean when you talk about the cliff, and you said before, you give this example about how if you baby-sit a friend for $40, you can lose your whole welfare check. a lot of programs are layered on top of each other, not necessarily in con groups with each other, connected to each other, and so you have this situation where you can have just a cold cutoff of benefits if you take a step forward and earn some money.
give me a sense of how you see the cliff and what it sends to me, the wrongen? tizz it gives, but more important, do you have any ideas about a better way of coordinating, or do you think we should better coordinate these things to have a smoother system so people aren't facing these cliffs? what kind of decisions is this forcing upon people? >> well, it's very strenuous, because it doesn't encourage people to be able to have savings accounts. they stack their money under their mattress because they're scared that the case worker is going to find out. to give you an example of a cliff effect, i was letting $793 in food stamps, which is for my whole family to feed. once i began working, when the first cut went through, i went own from $793 to $220. when the second consult went through, i went from $200 to $200. >> did you exceed that with your paycheck or not? >> i'm sorry? >> did you make more with your paycheck, or were you worse off? >> no, i feel like i was doing a good thing, because i was
working. i didn't want to be on cash benefits. i wanted to be able to get out there in the workforce and work, but the point i'm making, as soon as i got right there to start being able to put a little bit away or be able to do some things with my children and, you know, put them in camp and things like that, i was cut just like that. so i feel like we need to make sure that we patent a program and make sure that just because a person may make 10 cents over the amount in which the guidelines say, they shouldn't ose everything right away. we should measure the different programs and see where a person get a not push them to job. you cut off food stamps, and it seems like everything is just right underneath you. diminished. t is this is the third or fourth time we met. i am very intrigue with the model that catholic charities
has done with case management. walk us through this. what can the government do to help facilitate more of that? >> sure. i think -- thank you for that question. one of the most critical pieces is making sure that you hire private, nonprofit organizations are hiring case managers who really have a heart for the client and have a thousand standing work with folks for a mind
change, but also creating this idea that you can get out. for us, we've seen a thorough assessment to understand the client, then a service plan developed that further takes into account, what are your strengths? sometimes we treat clients like deficits and weaknesses, and i don't think that's a healthy way to do things. our folks really focus on a strength-based model. what are your strengths? what assets do you possess? then what assets do you need to gain? then our biggest change, as we've been moving forward in a new pilot with the university of notre dame is what the success really looks like, what are we really trying to achieve, and we've really made a change internal until our organization that success looks like making a way where you can actually support your family, not on any public benefits or social service benefits, having three months of savings, as well as no debt. i think the biggest thing the federal government can do to assist in that is to allow us to serve, by al louse us to
pull more together. the other thing is, for case management, we need more time. i quoted the refugee success with a six-month mark. those folks are a very unique population. for us, for people who have been in generational poverty, we need time to work with folks. >> like what? >> on average about, a two-year process. situational poverty might look little different. i would say back in savings with the decrease in public benefits as did you forward, i think that makes it a very conomically sensible things. that can be really quick. >> six months, situational, yes. you need more time to walk a person through whether it's getting an associate's degree or a g.e.d. work, and then being able to cut -- when we
think customizeable case management, this person might have transportation and daycare problems that she person might have education and food problems, be able to customize the benefits to tailor what heir specific needs are. your goal is to figure out where there's an opportunity, help them build those things so they can accomplish that, and many times, if it's something like a associate degree or certificate program, that takes ime. >> correct me if i'm wrong, but the problem with the government is there's a patchwork of different cutoffs, different requirements that you have to spend all this time navigating that. if you could more of a flexible benefit so you could customize, that's basic what will you're trying to do. >> absolutely. if a family doesn't qualify for something that they need, but they qualify for something lse, it does them no good.
>> ms. tiller, i visited your facility in dfpblg it's really amazing to watch the folks who come in and then leave with a job and then get on that ladder of life. if there are a couple of things you can do to change the federal aid system, what would they be? you're already doing this. i know you contract with counties and cities, but if there's just one or two things you could change to facilitate this transition to work, escalate out of poverty, what are the things that you would do? >> well, thank you for your compliment, first of all. i think as i mentioned in the testimony, accountability and making sure that that's championed from everywhere. and also, when it comes to things like perhaps time limits, or as heather was saying, with case management, ensuring it is individualized,
every person who comes in is looked at individually, because everyone who's coming in has a very different skill set, very different education background, people are from all different walks of life in terms of where they're from in the nation, so we have to make sure that serve getting that individualized service, and we will continue to do that, so i think championing that, plus accountability would be of great benefit. >> so ms. reynolds, let me go back to measurement, that's the ig issue, right? how do you measure success? we have a measurement system on the war on poverty, for lack of a better phrase, which is we measure input. we measure how much money we're spending, how much programs we're creating, how many beds are we filling, versus outcomes, how many people are we truly getting out of poverty in a lasting way, but it's that outcome measurement that is something that is new. you have this institute at notre dame that's doing, it not just at notre dame, but around the country.
what are the keys to measuring this successfully? what does success look like as you see it, and is it the original design of the program that is key to getting up at the right measurement at the end of the day? we want to have a system that truly is outcome-based, where we're not chasing statistics, we're not trying to chase metrics and things like that. we see this as other government agencies. we don't want to be chasing just some spreadsheet to say, see, my job is done, we want the outcome, which is did this person get out of poverty? are they tapping their potential? are they in a self-sufficient lifestyle they want to attain? how do you do that? >> i think one of the most important ideas is not just evaluation and outcome, but you've got to pair that with vigorous research. that's why we're partnering with notre dame. for example, in fort worth, we have a control group and a treatment group. most of us who are in the nonprofit sector, we're saying no to people every day because the resources is limited. we automatically have a control group.
so what happens is we bring, for example, the economists at notre dame, what they are able to do is see not just did this program matter, but because, if they didn't have this program, then what would have happened? having a treatment group and intervention group actually allowed you to tell if not for this intervention, the families would not have improved. i think federal investment, more rigorous research and evaluation with large sample sizes, if we're seeing something in fort worth that's working, how do that we scale at a national level and get it to community colleges throughout the nation so we can see, does this work, and if it does, then let's reform it? >> that gets to the other point, which is don't put me in a program that just pushes me through a program to say you've done it. >> that's exactly right. >> my time expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. again, thank all of you for your testimony today. it's been very instructive. i want to start with ms. gaines turner and thank you for being
here, and i want to thank congresswoman barbara lee to make sure we heard your valuable testimony. the chairman asked and you you were talking about the disincentives to save, for example, because if you put aside something to save, then you might no longer qualify for food and nutrition benefits, is that right? >> right. >> right. just for the benefit of our colleagues, reducing those cliffs, which is something that all of us with support, certainly on the democratic side, may end up costing more money, right? what you're saying is instead of being cut off from food and nutrition programs when you start saving, you would be allowed to continue to save and also continue to receive your food and nutrition benefits until you get to a point where your family is truly at a living wage independently. >> exactly. i want to be very clear here on what i'm saying. what i'm saying is, i've been
hearing a couple of things about generational poverty. i feel that's -- the main reason why i'm sitting here, one, i was invited, but two, we want to break the cycle of that. that's number one. number two, the federal government programs that are running right now, they aren't working. i don't want to put a state, i don't want a state to be involved or to tell me when and when i can't do a certain program. i feel like that is not the way to go. i feel like that didn't work before, and it won't work now. and accountability, we need to hold the big companies like wal-mart and target and these other companies accountable for not paying their employees enough to where they can have medical benefits. you know, a lot of these big companies only pay their employees a certain amount of hours so they don't have to offer them medical. that's another question that we didn't address. the second thing is that we need to make sure that there's
paid sick leave. that's very important. i just want to make sure i cleared up a couple of things right there, because i didn't want anyone misconstruing what i was saying. i wanted to make that very clear. >> thank you, and again, just on the budget point, because we are the budget committee, addressing these issues requires resources. i think all of you would agree with that. and to reduce what the chairman referred to as cliff effects may involve more resources. at the same time our colleagues have proposed a budget that deeply cuts the resources. i just think it's important to take the comprehensive view of this, because while it is very important to figure out whether case management is the best approach or other approaches, all of them require resources and, in fact, to do some of them better may require more, and as miss reynolds suggested, it may require more upfront to get savings potentially down the road. if you could talk a little bit
about the impact the affordable care act has had on your family, i saw that in your written testimony. you may not have had time to address it in your oral testimony. could you talk about how the affordable care act has helped provide additional help for you and your family? >> the affordable care act has definitely helped me and my husband a great bit. i'm very appreciativement for a long period of time, i was paying out of pocket to go to the doctor. you figure if i pay $75 for a doctor visit, then they give me a prescription, i don't have my until coverage. so now i don't have any -- i've paid the $75 to go to the doctor, and now i have to figure out how i'm going to pay for the prescription. i went months without getting the adequate medical that i needed because i didn't qualify for medical due to -- due to the public welfare department. only my children qualified. so now that me and my house are both working, once again, we're working part-time jobs, our hours do fluctuate up and down. i was able to get quality
medical insurance through obamacare. i feel like that's very important. we need obamacare. i know right now some people to want cut obamacare. they're challenging, again, to look into cutting obamacare, and i would like to look at me and my husband as a prime example. if you cut that program, you're taking away to make sure that i'm here to make sure i can do the job that i need to do as a mother for my children. >> thank you. i want to pick up on the point you just made. you're working now, correct? >> yes, i am. >> your husband's working now, correct? >> yes. >> but your combined income still is not sufficient to provide a living wage for the family? >> that is correct, yes. >> and what would happen -- and while you're working now, you're also receiving some food and nutrition benefits. >> yes. >> what would happen to your family, what would be the impact on and you your children if you were to lose the food
and nutrition benefits? >> it would be an even bigger struggle, because now the money -- i'm already struggling enough to pay the rent, pay the bills that are coming in, water, gas, electric. so if i lose my food stamps and that's going out to buy food, like i said before, i don't know how much more i can say it , no one who lives in poverty wants to stay on government assistant programs. we want to be independent, we want to work hard and believe in the american dream that if i work every day, get up at 7:00 in the morning, and my husband gets up and we work, that we will have the same jobs, benefits, wages, paid sick eave as everyone else. a lot of people say, oh, well, you know, they don't need food
stamps, and this person is abusing the program, and this, that, and the third. let's not even go there, because there's a lot of different programs that we can talk about that have been abused that have been passed through, and they're not being held accountable. >> well, i thank you for that testimony, and your testimony demonstrates why it's so important to have somebody before this committee who is currently struggling with these questions and what the impact of the proposed cuts would have. miss reynolds, thank you for the good work catholic charities does around the country and in fort worth, texas. you mentioned in your testimony that the largest federal funding i believe comes in the referee assistance area. i'd like to ask about refugee assistance, since we are facing this crisis at the border, and i do want to just read for the
benefit of the committee, a statement made by national catholic charities, just a little earlier. one year ago today, the senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill moving our nation closer to an improved immigration process. unfortunately, not had a chance to vote on that bill in the house. in the meantime, we do have this crisis on the border. could you talk about catholic charities' view of this issue? i noticed that your chapter had sent out alerts to all the members of the texas congressional delegation, urging them to increase refugee assistance, which would be part of the president's emergency supplemental request. just share what you're doing and your views, sense you're here, you're from texas, and you're in the middle of this issue. >> great, yeah, thank you for
that question. our heart goes out to the kids on the border, because the kids, we have had the opportunity to work with have shared some of the most horrible stories you've ever heard. we had a 7-year-old girl staying in our shelter who talked about how her neighborhood friends would appear, would go missing and then appear dead on her doorstep with their organs missing. the accounts from south america is quite daunting. our organization has been a long-time provider of refugee resettlement since after the vietnam war. in addition to that, we've been a long-time provider of child welfare services. we were approached by the united states conference of catholic bishops in the office of resettlement here at the federal government about 18 months ago to start using our shelter, our 40-bed shelter for some of these children so. we begin about 18 months ago working with eight of these kiddos, and there are eight beds, which usually a kid stays about two to three weeks with us, and then we were approached
again, and we've increased beds, and then june 30 of this year we did increase our beds to 32 beds for these kids, actually converting some catholic charities office space into beds, so we were able to do our part. really, with 32 beds, we will indicate about 400 kiddos will come through this next year who are kids on the border. our main goal is to make sure the kids are taken care of. many have been trafficed. their journey has been amazing. recently we had a 3-year-old girl come. of a 2 1/2-year-old daughter, and i can't imagine her crossing the street without me there. the journey these kids have been on has been a tragedy. it's been a real blessing for our agency to step up and help. >> thank you and to your organization for your work in that area. >> i want to commend you for continuing this series on the war on poverty. and what works and what doesn't work. i want to thank all the witnesses for sharing your personal story about how we
move in the right direction. i think there is a common theme if we listen, and that is that if you work with one individual in poverty, you've worked with one individual in poverty, and need to be ks treated with an individual regimen, and that's where the case comes in. i was really impressed and i thought your testimony was remarkably compelling. you separate out poverty. can you talk about what the percentages are? do you have a percentages, a breakdown of where people fit in those? they differ in how to solve them. >> i don't. i would say in our organization, this is more anecdotal, we see about a third, a third, a third. so, for example, we have a large senior housing program unded by h.u.d. in part.
those seniors are low income, and we need to provide them for a place to live. those are folks in chronic poverty. they are not able to get jobs, but we do involve them in building community and those sort of things. we see a fair number in situational poverty, but a large number are generational poverty we see as well. >> and the success rate varies significantly between the three different categories, i would expect. >> it does, and success looks different. for those in situational and generational poverty, success would look like out of poverty. those in chronic poverty, it's more about ensuring they live with dignity. that's kind of how we distinguish that. that's one of the big reasons we're launching our poverty pilot, is to study that a lot more and understand that a lot more and look at lengths of time a little bit more as we proceed. >> what are the incentives -- can you talk about the incentives that either support
moving toward a case management system or not that seem to make it less likely of getting an individual out of poverty. he would say the case manager motivating a client, working on the development of the service plan after assessing them against the series of assets that we believe families need to possess in order to move out of poverty, setting goals, both short term, so they can have quick wins, medium term and long term, with the ultimate goal of the four-prong strategy. >> and how does that compare to the standard federal program of anti-worth? >> a lot of -- there are so many federal programs that are anti-poverty, so we would it would be difficult to talk about that generally. but you have public assistance programs, which are usually more about outputs, number of people on it, number of people getting services. you have some programs, like a lot of refugee programs, which i believe are a good model, that really is about getting a
point of self-sufficiency is no longer depending on that, and then everything else is in between. it can be shelter beds, it can e things like helping children thrive, a whole variety of things. i'm really impressed with america works and your focus on work. i wonder if you could relate that to the 1996 welfare reform act and compare the work requirement and how you think that is important or not important to successful outcomes. >> i think the work requirement is quite important, because it allows organizations like america works to provide the individualized assistance to an individual, to ensure what it is we want to do. while simultaneously addressing that we discuss here today. i think the work requirement is important for anybody who's deemed eligible to work, and that's where the government comes in, where they're screening people to ensure that hey're eligible to work.
and then people have been told they can't work, but they actually want to, and it's about matching them to an appropriate position, and we've done that successfully for at least about the past seven years about our social security beneficiaries. so i think, again, that individualized approach, which is becoming a common theme, is so important, because it allows us the opportunity to hear what this individual is going through, whereas they might not be heard to the caliber that they expect when they go to apply for the benefits or when, you know, they go to recertify for their benefits. >> is your program, do you think your program is scalable nationwide? >> absolutely. >> we could build it up and have greater success? thank you. >> there's no doubt in my mind ms. turner and
in iller and ms. reynolds a room together at the scene to address the theme of these meetings that we've been having and hearing. the difference of opinions, and there is some common factors in, as the doctor just pointed out, would come up with a better solution than we'd come up with. let's get this straight right now. it's clear, the two parties want to do something about this privy , neither party is to other. but we have widely different ideas about what direction we hould go in. i hear many times the culture of poverty. you better examine the culture
of congress, because the culture of poverty means that there is an essential part of poverty which will continue inevitably. on the other hand, i've heard, how do we become -- how do we help folks become self-sufficient? hat's an interesting term. how do you become self-sufficient? well, how do children 3, 4, 5 years old living in poverty become self-sufficient? how do seniors and n their later years, how do the infirmed, the mentally challenged, the chronically unemployed? i got self-sufficiently coming out of my ears, and it doesn't do what you three people do day in and day out. so thank you for each of you
do. according to not my analysis, public analysis, the budget that this house of representative voted on are 69% of the budget cuts which is $3.3 trillion over the forthcoming years, it cuts it, so you can pontificate all you want, let's deal with the reality of what we have to deal with. i listened to you very, very carefully, miss reynolds, about what you need and what catholic charities -- i'm very familiar with catholic charities, the great job they do all over the country, not just in fort worth. hose cuts are vital, vital for to understand, in medicaid,
culture of poverty, snap program, what you know the snap program, is all of you? you deal with it day in and day out. the social services block grant, which provides states with sending for meals on wheels programs, incidental programs, you know, who needs to eat? and child care for low-income workers. it includes cuts with pell grants, which give low-income students the ability to break the cycle of poverty, culture of poverty, we will hear this. look, we're always going to have poor people, and we always will have poor people. that should not be our incentive to try to do something about the mess that's existing out there. with children, the infirmed, those people who are mentally being challenged, ms. gaines turner, let me ask you this question, because i only have a
ittle time left. >> no, my children receive medical through the medical assistance program. >> my children receive medical through the department of public welfare, so they receive keystone first. >> what happened if we ever cut that program and you couldn't be able to do that? >> what would happen is that my three children, who suffer all from medical disabilities, i have three children with seizure disorder, my twins take life-sustaining medication twice a day. all three of my children have asthma, who take medication every day. a >> i want to thank the three of you for testifying today, but please try to help us change the culture in the congress of the united states and we hope we listen to all three of you. thank you very much.
i've learned a lot. and it's no different today. you know, i believe from hearing all the testimony that one of the foundational reasons government welfare programs can never and will never be able to match the kind of services that you provide to the community is lack of relationship. overnment program cannot love. government program can't demand an expectation, it can't break the cycle necessarily. ms. gaines turner, if i understood your testimony correctly, we want to break that cycle. everyone wants to break that cycle. up to the break that cycle. but we don't want to get off these programs necessarily either. i understand the cliff, but if
i understand you right, if we were to increase by 300%, 400%, 500% all of these programs and get more money into the pockets of people, by definition they would then be out of poverty. and that would be a good thing or a bad thing? >> it would be a good thing if they were out of poverty and moved out of poverty in the right way. don't push them out of poverty. what i mean by pushing them out of poverty, you know, having these programs that you put in order and then you cut them -- >> no, no, that's the cliff. just take my theoretical example, if we were to increase these programs by 500%, people would be out of poverty, and that would be a good thing. >> yes. the programs work, yes, it would good to move them out of poverty. >> but the tendency would certainly be there -- >> the what? >> the cycle of dependency. you wouldn't be independent. >> i'm independent now on the program -- yes, i consider myself to be very independent.
i work just as hard as anybody in this room, and i'm very independent. >> oh, i'm not challenging -- you say you're independent, but you're here testifying that you have to have these programs and you need these programs. >> no, i didn't say i had to have these programs, what i said was these programs work to help people who are in struggling swagse. if a person loses their job and they become unemployed -- >> i'm talking about yours. >> my situation, i have been -- >> what is your job? >> right now i work with young children at a recreation center. my job is to make sure that they are doing their homework after school programs, making sthure the building is taken care of. that is my job. my husband works -- what's your pay amount? >> my pay is $10.88 an hour. >> your husband, i saw from the written testimony, works at a grocery store? >> yes. >> that's full-time as well? >> yes. my job is full-time, but my job is also limited.
i'm a seasonal employee, so i work for six months with my job. >> ok. is that by choice so you can spend more time with your kids or have you tried to get other employment or not? >> i've tried to find a lot of employment, but due to health issues and different things like that, i haven't been able to find adequate jobs with full-time -- >> i saw you're a ward leader in philadelphia's inner city. that stha a paid position? >> no, it's volunteer. >> is that a partisan position? >> i'm a ward leader for the 23rd ward. i go out and make sure that people understand the importance to vote -- >> a member of the republican party or democrat party? >> i'm a democrat, sir. yes, volunteer. >> with the minute i have left, i want to switch gears a little bit and talk about the work opportunity tax credit. ms. tiller, ms. reynolds, are you familiar with this? a lot of folks come into my office and say it's a good
thing it's actually effect enough helping people, or incentivizing employers to hire low-income people or folks that might have been -- that are an ex-felon or something like that, and they get a credit for keeping them on the job. seems to me like a good thing, then there's others that say not so good. i just wanted to get your impressions of the program, and let's start with you, is it complimentary to the work do you in training folks or not? ? >> we make sure that we inform all of our participants, all the individuals about the work pportunity tax credit. there's some embarrassment because of the application process. when you're filling out an application for an employer, some of these questions are asked repeatedly, what is your felon status, misdemeanor status, things that have nature? while personally i think that there could potentially be a benefit down the road, i think right now we would have to
re-evaluate how in essence we are getting to the point the business would accrue that credit. >> thank you. time is expired. the gentlelady from wisconsin is recognized for five minutes. >> let me make an opening statement, just gin the last exchange between one of our and mrs. gaines turner with regard to dependency. just recently, on friday, we're going to be working on yet another tax extender where apparently we are going to in nd 614 billion dollars tax extenders on a permanent -- make them permanent, and put businesses on a permanent welfare. the bills, the latest, bonus depression was temporary in nature to stimulate the economy. as you remember, targeted,
temporary, and timely was what we tried to do to stimulate the economy, but yeah, they want to add $287 billion to the deficit. i'm going put this in the record with your permission, mr. chairman, just to clear that up. i also want to clear some other things up without objection. clear some other things up about the -- because i feel like we've had great testimony from all three of you, but the conversation was sort of trying to steer some of our witnesses into saying that they're just absolutely too many programs, and if we had more flexibility, that they could do a better job. i certainly agree, for example, ms. reynolds, the case management approach, certainly agree with what america works just recently come to milwaukee, some of the things that you do. but be clear, when they talk about flexibility, they're talking about cutting the $299
billion medicaid program that you may need in order to help situational or generational the testimony you read for us, ms. tiller, the young woman -- i think she was probably still on medicaid after she got her job at the fast food restaurant. so you, you know, i don't want you to be lulled into supporting, gutting this while we pay $614 billion in corporate welfare. i do have a question for you, ms. reynolds, about the mind set of the individuals. don't you think we have to change the mind set of the community too? an example i come up with. if you run into a client, for example, who found themselves in the county jail because they had a bar fight and when they come out, don't we have to ghe