tv House Session CSPAN January 8, 2015 5:00pm-9:01pm EST
penny-wage sweat shops behind the iron curtain of anonymous towns in distant countries most americans will never visit. anonymity worker exploitation and hidden squalor are fundamental to free trade. and so are the stories of americans who struggle to earn a live, who lose their jobs and are forgotten. are forgotten in their plight. in our country, the impact on the average american family has been a los of real income of $7,000 a year. imagine that. the public knows it. the people who elected me to congress, and i thank them have allowed me to be a voice, to put the ugly puzzle of outsourcing together, and i have made it my mission to travel the world, to find the companies that fled our shores, and i travel to find them and i have lots of photos and i have lots of interviews and i've had time to talk to unemployed americans too. .
and to visit the plants that have been displaced. the titans that run these global transnational corporations, they are operatives and the wall street giants that finance them could care less about workers anywhere or the community in which they live. and frankly, these new bosses of global production don't care about democracy or the rule of law either. they pay whatever they want and they can pay off as they see fit. i've seen workers in making may tag washing machines in monterey, mexico. they used to be made in newton, iowa. those workers don't make enough to buy the washing machines they make. the poverty rate in newton has dramatically increased in the
town that paul may tag built. the quality of those machines has gone down too. who can be proud of what is happening? i visited the homes of those workers from monterey lived and other maquilla factory zones and seen firsthand their impofferished living standards. i stood at a surreal location in mexico witnessed the jobs outsourced in our country at a windshield wiper factory from new york. i met women in honduras and el salvador who earn 10 cents for every t-shirt they produce in those sweatshops out there barricaded off behind bashed wire and outsourced from places like the carolinas, the women are being paid 10 cents an hour for every t-shirt that comes in here and is sold at $20 each at stores and shopping centers around this country. meanwhile, the booming garment and textile industry of the
carolinas like the furniture industry too, has all but disappeared and the tens of thousands of jobs that went with them. i visited those massive shutter factories and they reminded me of the auto plant that exists in our industrial region. i tracked furniture jobs to vietnam and seen child laborers perched with their bare feet on the large bowls spraying with lacquer paints breathing in the fumes and chemicals certain to damage their fragile bodies. let me say in closing as an ohio representative we lost five million jobs alone in northern ohio since the passage of nafta which i fout with every ounce of being that i had here in 1993. we lost that fight. 12 votes would have made a difference. and as i speak here today, another global company, hugo boss, a german-owned company,
is shutting down a factory in brooklyn ohio, where workers had their pay cut 17%. you can walk into any hugo boss outlet and you can see men's suits selling for $1,200 a piece. what a tragedy. what a tragedy for our country. what our tragedy for workers globally. i will say to my wonderful colleague, mr. pocan, thank you so much for doing this. in terms of china -- and others will cover this more completely -- just in the past year of 2013, the latest complete year of data $319 billion of trade deficit our country assumed with the nation of china just in that year. just in that year with that one country. we lost an additional 1,590,000 more american jobs just with that one country in one year. the answer to balanced growth is to pay workers a living wage and to respect their worth, not exploit it. the answer to balanced growth
is to stop the outsourcing of u.s. jobs and to pry open the closed markets of the world, starting with japan, china, korea and the answer to balanced growth in fair trade is to stop the hemorrhage of more jobs from this country by defeating any more deals like nafta and all of its offspring and the fast tracking of more jobs that they're trying to do in the transpacific partnership. it's time for america to stand up and for this congress to stand up with the american workers and communities. i yield back my remaining time to the gentleman and thank him so very much for yielding me some of his precious minutes this evening. mr. pocan: and thank you, represent itf kaptur for all that you've done. you've been an articulate spokesperson on behalf of jobs and the effects of these bad trade deals on jobs. i'm really glad you brought up the tax tile industry because when we talk about the need to work together in this congress, this is an issue where democrats and republicans can
absolutely unite. about 12 years ago i was on a delegation, american council of young political leaders, and one of the people on the delegation was a very conservative judge from the state of mississippi. and she and i and the group had met with some sweatshop workers in indonesia to talk about all the mills that have left especially the southern part of the united states, and those jobs are pretty much gone forever. i've been in business for 27 years since i had hair. i've had a small business. and in that role we screened print t-shirts. i watched over the years all the mills that made t-shirts in the united states pretty much leave. it's pretty hard to find clothes still made in the u.s.a. even harder to find them union made in the u.s.a. and this is something that unites people of different political ideologies because we see those jobs leaving. doesn't matter not a democratic job or a republican job. these bad trade deals too often just cost us jobs and i
appreciate you bringing it up and thank you, again for all you do. next i'd like to yield some time to someone who's been an extraordinary leader in this area, she's helped to coordinate members of congress like no one else, not just on this issue but on many other issues but she's an absolutely tireless advocate for the american public and to make sure that congress has the proper role when it comes to trade agreements. it is someone who i'm extremely honored to have as a colleague and a friend. i'd like to yield some time to the great representative rosa delauro from the state of connecticut. ms. delauro: thank you so much to the gentleman from wisconsin. again, it is resiprycal. it's an honor to serve with you. we are simpatico with regard to this issue and so many others. i'm honored to be able to serve with you and to be tied together on this critically important issue. and earlier today when i look
at my colleagues who are on the floor here tonight and some have left but who have spoken, we were all at a press conference today, earlier today and i think we can say with one voice that it was one of the broadest advocacy coalitions that we have seen come together. it certainly is true for me in my 24 years in the house. and the advocacy groups, the members of congress coming together to oppose fast track. and it included faith groups, human rights groups labor unions, environmental groups consumer protection groups and the purpose, as i said, was to oppose the policy known as fast track for trade deal. under this fast track umbrella, if you will what happens? members of congress are denied the opportunity to debate and
vote in detail on the text of these deals. we cannot have a serious debate nor can we amend the process. negotiations are going on right now between the united states and 11 other countries. if these negotiations are successful, it will create the largest trade deal in history. something called the transpacific partnership. yet, the details of this trade agreement remain a secret from the american people from the representatives of the american people in this body. the contours of the deal are being sketched out in secret, as i said but a who's who of wall street firms big pharmaceutical companies, energy companies and other
corporate interests. they want to ram the agreement through the congress, again, without amendment and with little opportunity for debate. to me that is the very opposite of what we have been sent here to do. i've always opposed fast track no matter who is in the oval office. iloppose it again. -- i will oppose it again. we cannot and must not really sign away our constitutional duties. we must retain the ability to scrutinize trade deals page by page, line by line, word by word. we should do that for all legislation, let alone legislation with such far-reaching implications for american workers. some of us remember the debate on this floor or going back home on the debate on health care and when our constituents would say to us and our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would say to us, have you read the bill? have you read the bill? how can you vote on a bill that
you have not read? and the t.t.p. is 1,000 pages. 1,000 pages. we want to read the bill. that's what we are asking for. make no mistake, bad trade deals can have grave consequences for our people and it used to be that the working class family became middle class by finding work that paid off to buy a home in a safe neighborhood send their kid to college, leave the generation better off. next jobs have been sent overseas where labor has been cheap and they've abused labor rights polluting the environment risking public health or manipulating their currencies. a recent g.a.o. report tells us that of unpunished violence against trade unionists in colombia of union suppression
in guatemala, of abuses against foreign workers in oman, these are all countries that we have a trade deal with. agreements under which they promised they promised to improve their record. we haven't held them accountable on these promises. i'm not against free trade. i'm in favor of fair trade on a level playing field. hardworking americans will win nine times out of 10, but the competition must be fair. a recent gallup poll shows that in freen the issues americans most often identified as the biggest problem facing our country was quote, poor government leadership. today 80% of americans disapprove of the job that this institution is doing. why? because far too often we are seen as working not for all americans but for a primpled
few. tax breaks for millionaires -- privileged few. tax breaks for millionaires, benefit cuts for the poorest, unprecedented paydays for those at the top, dwindling paychecks for everyone else. the big economic problem today is that jobs that people have do not pay enough to them so they can live on. and fast tracking this trade agreement will exacerbate that problem. for a narrow band of wealthy individuals, big corporations means to invest beyond the borders they do wonders. for the rest of us they spell disaster. they send our jobs overseas, they erode our ability to protect our workers, consumers and the environment. worst of all, they threaten to saw the legs off the ladder of opportunity that leads to the middle class. fast tracking these deals would be yet another insult for american workers. another sign of how little their political leaders really
care about them. instead of our be a dough indicating our -- and indicating our responsibility, enough is enough. no more nafta-style trade deals. no more fast track. let us focus on helping american workers, not throwing their jobs away. i thank the gentleman from wisconsin for all of his efforts, and it's a privilege to work with you on this issue. i yield back. mr. pocan: again, thank you so much representative delauro, for all your leadership. you are helping to coordinate all of our voices in this battle, and we really appreciate that and all your efforts. i thank you so much. you brought up the public opinion of congress, there's no question. if you were actually to explain this process to anyone, regardless of their political ideology, that for the last two years about 600 people in this country, from america's biggest corporations and wall street's
biggest banks have been involved in trying to craft this legislation that we haven't seen and the american public hasn't seen and we're going to be asked to vote on something that would take away our availability, sight unseen, to limit our ability to debate and to amend any kind of trade agreement that's exactly what's wrong with washington. that's why people i think is so disgusted with washington and we need to stand up, democrats and republicans together to make sure that we have our ability to have our voices heard, which is the public's voices, through members of congress. so your efforts on fast track, on t.t.p., on food safety and so many others, thank you so much. again, i appreciate it. another one of our leaders of our caucus is here who has been an articulate fighter on so many progressive issues, i'd like to yield time to my colleague from the state of maryland, representative donna edwards. ms. edwards: i want to thank you, mr.
ms. edwards: thank you for talking about what fair trade means to american paychecks. i was sitting in my office and listening to my colleagues speak eloquently about the need for congress individual members of congress, representing 725,000 americans to have a voice in a process that is so important to american paychecks. as i sat there, i thought i owed it to my constituents in the 4th congressional district in mad to come to this floor to stand on their side for their paychecks. as i listen to one of my colleagues, one of the things i heard said was to talk about the job loss in the -- in the
manufacturing sector in the clothing, textile sector in the carolinas. i represent a district in maryland, but my family is from north carolina. a lot of my family members had those good-paying jobs in the mills, making t-shirts and hats and all lost their jobs. and all those jobs went someplace else, but they didn't stay in north carolina. it was a tragedy. it was a tragedy for my family and tragedy for families all across this country. i remember the nafta debate and so many members of congress -- i wasn't in congress at the time. mr. pocan, you weren't in congress at the time. i remember the date. they told us there would be other jobs that would be created. don't worry about jobs that
would be lost. they said the jobs in the service sector would grow and they would stay. almost one of the first things to happen after nafta went into effect, all of those call centers served. those were service sector jobs. and they left along with millions of manufacturing jobs. in my home state of maryland, we lost 70,000 jobs, and we're a small state. but we lost those just to nafta. when people tell me now as a member of congress, we want you to just fast track this trade deal, this transpacific partnership deal and trust us that the partnership is going to work and all you have to do is rubber stamp the trade deal, i remember, and mr. pocan, you remember, and that's what requires us to say no way that we cannot give fast track
authority over -- hand it over and say whatever the deal that has been negotiated, we will just take that deal for the american people. while you and i know better. one of the things that has long concerned me is getting wind that our trade representative on behalf of my constituents and your constituents, were negotiating away buy american provisions, negotiating them away, without us having a voice in that conversation. and let's look at those buy america provisions. in 2012, 68 of our colleagues joined us in saying to president obama don't negotiate away the buy america provision. and then just last year, 120 members of congress said, mr. president, don't negotiate away the buy america provision. and so i see that the wind is
beneath our sails because the american people understand that when you negotiate away buy america, what you do is negotiate the buying power and jobs of american workers. you trade what is in effect billions of dollars of american taxpayer buying power for very little buying power coming from the other direction. and so, i am troubled that we have a trade representative that just wants to say, take the deal and run. and those of us who stand in the steps of american workers, we're in their place. we're representing them. we have their voice. we need to have their voice and have to have their back and say no to fast track and say no to t.p.p. and no to provisions that would trade away what we know what the statistics are.
the u.s. procurement market is more than 10 times larger than all the t.p.p. procurement markets combined. that means we would trade away preferential access to 556 billion in federal government procurement for $53 billion in return. we have to say no to this deal. i want to thank you for bringing us together. and it's good that we're doing this from day one in the united states house of representatives, because what we're saying to american workers is that not only will we stand with you on the first day of the congress and the next day of the congress, but all the way to the end to keep from trading away millions of our jobs. thank you very much. and i yield back. mr. pocan: thank you so much. when you talk about the job loss in maryland, we lost nearly
75,000 manufacturing jobs through the nafta-w.t.o. period. when i was a state legislator, it was a buy america law that i passed with a bipartisan vote. and the fact that we are going to give up to have that law and multinational corporation can sue any local unit of government so they can contest those laws, i think the average person if they knew that was being discussed, would be opposed to that, much less the other 28 chapters in addition to procurement that are included in this transpacific partnership. thank you for the work you have done on this and making people away of the hidden gems that if we don't have the ability to have a full and fair debate in this house, things could happen. so thank you so much. the progressive caucus is going to be everything we can in the coming months to fight this, to
make sure that congress has a say. we aren't against trade. we want fair trade. but the so-called fair trade that is being drafted by corporate c.e.o.'s and wall street banks, doesn't include the public and congress, but it needs to to have every single person represented. we are the voices of the american people. we need to have a full debate in this body and be able to amend any deal that we don't like the particular deals that have been decided by others, by corporate leaders in this country. the american public has to be included. before i ever came to congress, last 27 years, i ran a small business a small specialty printing business. we source american-made and union-made products for people. and i watched over the 27 years, companies leave this country over and over and over whether it be the mills that i mentioned from the south that made
t-shirts, to things as simple aspens like parker pence, used to have up to 1,000 jobs in wisconsin, that now have all gone out of this country. those are the types of jobs that we have seen leave over and over. when you go back into these communities they are not replaced with the same quality paying jobs and that's why we have a problem, while the economy has been coming back, a lot of people are being left behind and not having the same wages that they need out there. the transpacific partnership is 29 chapters and five of those relate to trade. much of what we talked about is about the job impact and income impacts of a trade deal. but this covers environmental law currency law intellectual property law, food safety, the ability of procurement as we talked about on buy america laws
and on and on and on. this congress, i think, can work together, democrats and republicans who have a concern about giving authority to simply the u.s. trade representative and the white house and leaving the people out, leaving the congress out of that conversation. so we are going to continue to fight this and to talk about this and make sure that people understand what fast track is and what it isn't and make sure that those myths that may be out there about how to create yobs may not be true. there are a lot more ramifications out there. mr. speaker, we thank you for this time this evening and appreciate the ability to talk about this on the floor of congress. and i yield back our remaining time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6 2015, the gentlewoman from north carolina,
mrs. foxx is recognized as the designee of the majority leader. ms. foxx: like my colleague before me, i'm grateful for the opportunity to be here on the floor to speak about issues that are of concern to the american people. my colleague from california, mr. lamalfa is joining me for a short period of time and i would like to give him the opportunity to speak for a few minutes. i believe he has some important things to say. and i would like him to share those. i now yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from california mr. lamalfa. mr. lamalfa: i appreciate it. thank you to my colleague from north carolina and you are gracious in yielding me some time. thank you, mr. speaker, and those assembled here tonight.
i just wanted to talk about some of the issues we have going on in the west, in northern california. but first of all, the excitement we have of coming in as a new congress. it's another -- a new direction for our country, i think. we have a stronger majority in the house of representatives the republican house. a different majority over in the senate. and a lot of people aren't so concerned what party it is or partisan issues, they want to see results. that's what i'm looking for. for many bills that were sent out of the house last session and languished over on the desk on the senate side, i think we will see action on those. commonsense measures, help people get out from under the grip of government power and government regulation that is just killing their hopes, killing their ideas. so we are looking for that in
this new session and we expect it will happen. it's not going to be a miracle and get the results we hope for, but things on the record that have gone through this house and over to the senate and showing the american people what our agenda is. i represent the 1st district in the northeast portion of the state. a beautiful district, very proud to have been legitimated for a second time to represent the 1st. and it's an area that has a lot of great resources for -- that benefit our whole state, even our whole country. so to be able to have my family here with me in washington attending the honor of being sworn in and getting started getting the fast start and getting to work in this new 114th has been a real delight. what we need to be happening in california is better, wiser use
of our resources. you may have seen at the end of the last session, we were working towards better management of our water supply. now, we have a deluge of rain once in a while, even though we are suffering drought for the last few years in california. the water seems to all come at once. if it isn't being saved in snow pack, it will come quickly via rain through our streams. and that's an opportunity for us that we should be retaining it behind the dams and the water that gets down the sacramento river can be transferred and put to use later. we have the ability to have the water allocated for fish and habitat and excess water needs to be stored. i don't know why that is the automatic protocol, but a bill i co-sponsored reminding the bureau of reclamation and others that they need to extra water.
it isn't needed for fish, so we'll have more stored later. that's what we will continue to work for. i go back to the vision that people before us had that have given us shasta dam and the state water project and central valley project that we have in our state that we have benefited from for so many years. everybody benefits from, whether you are an environmentalist, a farmer or a person who lives in the city or someone who has a tap in the country, you are probably benefiting, because we have the vision to build them and didn't have nearly the roadblocks. we have great environmental concerns and environmental awareness to do things better than we did in the 1850's or 1880's. we know how to do these things. but it doesn't mean because of a handful of people that don't want to see anything happen
should stop the progress for the rest of us. that's what we will be pushing forward, to build more water storage. we can do that in california. there are projects that can be enhanced to retain water and smarter ways to make the water go farther, because it's necessary. the way california is suffering in droughts the ag land is the first thing to go. . whatever water gets to agriculture to meet other needs around the state, we have to take care of people first, we have to take care of cities. when we see so much being run down out through the golden gates that could be saved or for questionable tactics on fish that really haven't been proven, for that kind of habitat, then we're missing the mark. so we will be working very hard to add to our water storage, to be smarter with our water we
have available to us because we can't count on a record rainfall this year. we had -- we're very thankful, we've been blessed with good rainfall in november and early part of december, but it's tailed off lately. we have to have tremendous rainfall through the rest of the season up through the spring to have the kind of water stored that we will need to get through a good crop year. so in the meantime, we should be doing everything possible in government to enhance, to retain, to be smarter with our water that we have. when we hear ideas of removing dams in the north part of the state, part of which is in my district that produce hydroelectric power because of dubious studies that might benefit fish, we're hurting our region of the state. we're hurting the power grid by taking enough renewable electricity off the grid that would somehow need to be replaced with other green power
to manage 70,000 homes in the state. because of dubious lack of science. we need to battle through this and have smarter use of our resources. another thing we're very rich in our part of the state is timber. each summer we see the crisis of nonmanagement of our timber, what that looks like. it's in the air. it's in our brown skies. we get to breathe that. the people that live in those communities are wondering why their mills are shut down, why their storefronts are boreded up why they couldn't -- boarded up, why they don't have jobs, why you have things like domestic violence increasing because people don't have the worth in those communities sometimes because their industry's been taken away from them. i sit on the natural resources committee to get after both of these and other issues, our water, our timber use, our other resources that are so necessary to our rural part of the state, the rural west that
we've been languishing for many years. ever since the endangered species act was passed in 1973 for good reason at the time, to save the bald eagle. we have bald eagles in our rice field where i live at home. we've gone so far beyond what's reasonable that we're suffering rural america is suffering from this type of regulation that isn't even proven to help recover a single species. indeed, somewhere around 1% at best the specie has been recovered after 40-plus years of the endangered species act. that's pretty deplorable of what the cost has been to the people, to the jobs, to the communities and their values. but the -- but i'm still optimistic that we're turning the corner that america is seeing things a bit differently, that the jobs need to come back home, the jobs that were home need to be
revised once again because as a grower of grain myself, we look at our alternatives. do we want to be in a situation where in the past we're dependent on oil from people that don't like us much, do we want to be in position to have our grain crops, the breadbasket of our nation do we want to be more dependent on that to people that maybe aren't reliable allies. wheat from russia. rice from china. do we want to rely upon that? or do we want to do the best we can? my fellow farmers across the country in my area, they're good stewards of the land. many have been there for many many generations. some of the ranchers i know, their families have been farming and ranching for over 160 years in northern california. my own family, 80-plus years. we know how to take care of the land. we know what needs to be done. it's sustainable, to use that
buzz word that goes along. if it wasn't sustainable the land wouldn't produce, would it? so this is the type of thing we're fighting for. because we don't have a breadbasket in this country, what will america rely on to keep us fed? the unrest we have in the world, ultimately, if we can't field our own armies to become -- were it to become necessary, what position will we be in to defend ourselves, like israel, like in japan, like those we have great trade with? we're in great peril. we need to use the resources we have. as i look at the young people that are in the audience here tonight and meet with them out in the district, one of the first things i'm reminded of, we're running an $18 trillion national debt that we've lived for the future in the present
on someone else's money. and so every dollar we have, every dollar that comes in, we got to be good stewards of, much better than in the past. so every dollar has to go for the type of infrastructure that will improve our transportation system, our water system, our flood control system, keep our communities safe and not on frivolous things. i'm reminded in california instead of this water infrastructure we so desperately need, we have so many years of drought, they're still trying to pursue a high-speed rail system in california. as a former state legislator, we were right in the middle of that as it was coming to a head. what will the rail cost? voters were told then $33 billion to go from san francisco to los angeles at 220 miles per hour. it isn't even close to being that project anymore and the price has tripled at least from $33 billion to at least $98
billion by the admission of the rail authority in a hearing we had in the state legislature back then. they're still chasing this dream. now, they tried to downsize it to be a $68 billion project. at this day right now they still only identified $13 billion $10 billion from the state bond, $3 billion from the state government via the stimulus act of 2009. $13 billion of a needed downsized $68 billion project. they're $55 billion short and they still think today they'll go and find that money from the private sector, they're staying away in droves. there's no way that this is going to be built anywhere near on time and on budget and the riders will be able to ride it. why don't we take a fraction of that money, of the $13 billion, or the $68 billion or whatever number it is and put it towards the water storage we need? we could build two really nice
dams for $68 billion especially with private sector money that wants to come in and be a partner on this. let's get it done. because this is the infrastructure that will help our state, that will help the people, that will help bring jobs back to rural california, rural america. so i'm looking for help from our other colleagues from other states especially our other than western states that have water infrastructure needs, let's work together on this. this is what made us great back in the day. we've had these huge projects that have made so much height row electric power. we like green power, right? we like renewable power. when it rains behind a dam, you got renewable power. and it's reliable. it's low cost. much more so than windmills solar panels that require government assistance to put them in and keep them going. let's do the right thing here and allow these things to happen, allow that private sector to happen. i'm optimistic in this congress
we can make that case and put that in front of the american people and ask the president to join us on helping with that, whether it's that or the further development of energy that we need in this country to stay ahead of the curve. we're seeing prices come down amazingly. hydraulic fracturing has paid a big part of that -- played a big part in us seeing the price of fuel in some areas -- not california, but other states going below $2 a gallon. california we're still taxing ourselves and thinking upcap and trade measures to drive the cost up so we'll be our own island of high cost but the other 49 states, god bless you. you're going to have it pretty good. the vision that we had to do these things because when we're productive, like what we can produce in northern california, with agriculture, with timber, with our mind resources, all
the other things that come from the land, that sets the table with everything else across our district, across the state, across our whole country. let's put us back to work again. we have trillions of dollars offshore that would love to be repatriated back to this country if we had any kind of conscience to what our tax burden would be for those dollars, for those businesses, for investments that could be here, the consistency for them to predict -- put 30-year loans and 30-year infrastructure in place, would they be able to do business five years from now? we'll be bringing american jobs back if we can repatriate that money back here so let's get it done. we don't come here in congress -- at least i haven't -- because it's nice to wear a suit and tie. we come here to get results. we need to be results oriented.
we need to use real facts, real budgets, real numbers to get to the core of what we're supposed to be doing, as what the founders had set for our government. the government's doing a lot more things it has no business doing and it can't do well. let's make sure that we're doing -- we have the economy, we have the engine here to generate so we can have a functioning school system, has the funding it needs at fair levels at proper levels. for our law enforcement so they're not left wanting for the equipment or the backup they need and for those folks deployed overseas defending our borders as well as helping our allies. we shouldn't leave them wanting while they're deployed and certainly with the mess that the v.a. system is that when they come back home that promise that was made to them was broken and the shame that we should all feel when our veterans, so many of them are left homeless or simply begging to have their claims processed.
i'm confident in this new congress with the house and the senate that can work together and put these ideas forward, put them out in front of the american people, have the accountability, have the oversight that our job demands we will get there. so whether it's now or two years from now, i challenge the president to look at these things from a commonsense way of thinking. think about america first. what we'll be doing in this house as well as over in the senate. so from northern california to the rest of the country, help us all to be productive and to live the lives we choose, to give our kids a chance to live at home to find jobs and opportunity in their own community farming, ranching mining, whatever it is or the related industries in those small towns that you see so many is boarded up now, let
them have that chance to live at home, not have to go somewhere else, a big city somewhere, a different state or even overseas to try and find good employment so they would have the dream they see fit and the one their parents would like to pass along to them. so my colleague from north carolina, i appreciate the time tonight to be able to talk a little bit about my district and the things we need to be doing there as well as what we need to do for our country. so i would yield back and bid you a good evening. thank you. ms. foxx: i want to thank my colleague, mr. lamalfa from california. i have heard him speak on the floor and invited him to speak and do one-minutes because i'm in charge of people getting to the floor and do one-minutes.
i'm grateful to hear him speak little bit longer time, because i found out how much we agree on issues. i'm a person -- i'm particularly keen about the water issue that he spent some time talking about. i grew up in a house with no electricity and no running water. i grew up carrying water. and water has always been a precious, precious commodity to me. we are the most fortunate people in the world, in the united states, that we have the greatest resources available to us. and many times i don't think we appreciate the scarcity of some of those resources or the need to husband those resources in a way that protects them, not only for ourselves, but for future generations. and i have always felt that people who are farmers are among
the most eloquent speakers for our environment. as mr. lamalfa said, and i completely agree with him and said it many times myself that farmers are the best stewards of our land. they believe in sustainability. they believed in sustainability long before sustainability became a catch word in the community, because if they didn't keep the land as sustainable, then they wouldn't have the land in order for their own livelihood. i'm a person who also grew up farming, sometimes on a very small scale, but my husband and i still have a garden every year, and we certainly understand the importance of taking care of all of our resources, but particularly our natural resources. and i think so often
republicans don't get the credit that they deserve for being good stewards and for looking after our land and all of our resources. and i also am very keen on the fact that we have a diversity of people serving in congress again. i think it's very important that we have people from all walks of life serving in here because it's the diversity of experiences that are so important to us in terms of having the different points of view as we consider legislation. so that there are people who grew up in cities who have no idea what it's like to farm. have no idea where food comes from exactly. and it's important for us to get the different points of view. we need farmers, we need educators. we do need some lawyers, but we
need people who have had all kinds of experiences. we need people who are train engineers. every kind of diversity that's at all possible here. and i think it's very important that we have particularly a large share of farmers. and our numbers of farmers have gone down over the years obviously, as we have left the farm. and as farmers have become so incredibly productive in this country. they provide so much more than they have in the past. so i really appreciate the eloquence of my colleague from california in presenting the issues that he has presented. i want to talk a little bit about some of the other things that he talked about. he talked about our need for jobs and for again, maintaining
what we can in this country improving the economy. and i want to talk about the three focuses that we in the majority have in this session of congress. the three initiatives that we are going to be working on. energy, jobs and the economy and regulatory reform. and this week already we have passed two bills that we think will help us with the creation of jobs and the economy. on our first day here, on tuesday, it got very little attention, but we passed the bill, the jobs for heroes act. the idea for it came from a constituent of one of our colleagues from illinois. and the constituent said, look, i was a veteran, couldn't get a
job because the employer was concerned about going over the 50 limit or hitting the limit of 50, which then we would be subject -- his company would be subject to obamacare. and companies are avoiding becoming subject to obamacare. so we introduced a bill introduced by rodney davis, saying veterans don't have to be included in the 50-member persons in ar business to then kick them into being forced to go into obamacare. if they are covered by tricare, then they don't have to do that. that's a positive bill to help create jobs. today, we passed another bill that we think will help with employment in this country. as many people know, obamacare
has told employers if people are working 30 hours or more, then you have to cover them with obamacare. so we changed the definition of full-time employment from 30 hours to restore the traditional 40-hour workweek. as i have said in other comments that i have made from add junk professors to hourly -- adjunct professors and i have talked to my constituents, their work hours are being reduced. obamacare has placed an undue burden on employers and their employees by undermining the traditional 40-hour workweek, which has long been the standard for full-time work. this legislation will help
protect the estimated 2.6 million americans at risk for lost hours and wages at work under this destructive rule. the employer mandate in obamacare defines a full-time employee as someone who works an average of at least 30 hours a week. but h.r. 30, the save american workers' act, which passed the house today by a vote of 252-172, changes that definition. and that's a good thing for american workers. as i said, we have three big initiatives. energy, jobs and the economy and regulatory reform. and so the american people are going to see us passing bills all this year and next year
focused on these three issues, in addition to the other things that we work on. we work on a plethora of subjects here. but i introduced a bill on the first day which will help us with regulatory reform. it's a bill i'm proud to say has passed the house before with bipartisan support. and i'm very proud to say that when i introduced the bill on tuesday it had bipartisan original co-sponsors. i'm very pleased that congresswoman loretta sanchez from mr. lamalfa's state of california joined me in introducing legislation to shed light on how federal policies impact the budgets of state and local governments and private sector employers. the bill is called the unfunded
mandate information and transparency act. it's h.r. 50, which would fix loopholes within the bipartisan regulatory reform act, which passed in 1995. i introduced this legislation in the past four congresses and it has successfully passed the house with bipartisan support on three separate occasions. every year washington imposes thousands of rules on local governments and small businesses. hidden in those rules are costly mandates that stretch state and city budgets and make it harder for north carolina businesses to hire. while congress cannot create prosperity, we can work to ensure entrepreneurs and employers aren't crushed under costly regulations. this legislation will help restore transparency and hold
congress -- hold washington bureaucrats accountable for the true costs in dollars and in jobs that federal dictates pose to the economy. americans are better served when regulators are required to measure and consider the cost of rules they create. the bill increases transparency in the regulatory process and protects state and local governments from the burden of unfunded and often unnecessary mandates that waste time and money, is what my colleague loretta sanchez said. h.r. 50, would increase transparency about the costs imposed by unfunded mandates and holds the federal government accountable for considering those costs before passing them on to local governments and small businesses. the legislation would make it
easier for people to determine how much these regulations are going to cost and make sure that we're not imposing unnecessary rules and regulations on both state and local governments and the private sector. so i'm very pleased that that bill has passed. and it's going to be a part of the regulatory reform package that passes this house. and i encourage people watching this to contact your member of congress if you're aware of unnecessary rules and regulations that are out there that we could do something about. obvious we need rules and
regulations and we need to have safe food that the airlines are flying correctly and safely. we want to make sure the railroads are operating safely and make sure our cars are safe to drive in. as we all know, often, bureaucrats in washington and sometimes at the state and local level, look for ways to create jobs for themselves, create a reason for their being and pass along rules and regulations that are simply unnecessary for the health and safety of the people in this country. so what we want to do is reduce those rules and regulations. that reduces costs. that helps with our emphasis on jobs and the economy. and i believe that's going to be very important to us in getting our economy going again. and as i mentioned, we're going
to be working hard on our third initiative energy. and we will be passing the -- another version of the keystone x.l. pipeline. we'll do that tomorrow. and that bill will then go to the senate. and the senate is already holding hearings on the bill. the senate does work a little bit slower than we do here in the house. and we hope very much that the president will work with us in a bipartisan fashion and sign that bill. we're all very happy about the cost of gasoline having gone down in our country in the past few months. it, of course doubled under president obama and now it's coming back down. it's because for many cases, we have been able in the private
sector, to create more energy supply and that's been helping bring down the cost. we know that the economies in europe and asia have slowed down considerably so there is less demand. so we are very grateful for the price of gasoline going down. i'm very grateful for it. every member of congress is grateful. so what we hope is to help that cause even further bypassing the -- by passing the keystone x.l. pipeline. republicans have always believed in all of the above as mr. lamalfa said. we want solar, wind and all those other things, but they are primarily operating now because of giant government subsidies. we would like to see renewable and sustainable energy that
doesn't require government subsidies. and we believe keystone x.l. pipeline will help us along those lines. i'm looking forward very much to our passing that legislation. and the senate passing that legislation. and our being able to send that bill to the president for his signature and hoping that he will sign it. . now i get get people oftentimes quoting the constitution to me and talking about what the constitution says. and particularly i hear from people a lot about the role of the house of representatives. and i want to talk a little bit about that in terms of our work in appropriations. particularly the last few weeks, many people have expressed
genuine concerns to me about the appropriations bill that passed congress in december. unfortunately many special interest groups are confusing the matter of what happened in december with the omnibus bill we pass pass -- passed, with incomplete and sometimes false messages aimed more at fundraising for themselves than uniting behind our shared goal of stopping president obama's executive overreach on immigration. one of the most misleading and commonly circulating suggestions is that the constitution grants the house of representatives alone the, quote, power of the purse. giving the house exclusive
authority to withhold funding for targeted initiatives. this is not unlike, and i'm going to be reading a part of the constitution in a moment that relates to this, but i want to read another part of the constitution that i think often gets misquoted to prove this example. we often hear the quote from the first amendment, congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. this comes often times from groups who protest 10 commandments being placed in public buildings or creches being placed on public land system of they often quote that. but they usually forget to quote the second part of that sentence, which says, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
so congress has a dual responsibility there. it's the same when people i believe, are attempting to quote the constitution when it comes to their version of what they call the power of the purse. and as i said, they are, i believe, misconstruing a part of the constitution, specifically, article 1 section 7. clause 1 of the constitution. which states, all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of representatives. now i believe many well-meaning people believe that that means the house of representatives has total control over what happens with appropriations.
but they have forgotten that there's another phrase there. and it is, but the senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills. so while the house may pass an appropriations bill, it still has to go to the senate for the senate to pass. and as we all learned in civics, the bill has to pass the house and pass the senate in exactly the same form and be signed by the president in exactly the same form. now there's another clause that people are often thinking about also article 1, section 9, clause 7 states, no money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.
so those two are often talked about as power of the purse, meaning that's what people are talking about when they talk about power of the purse. so as i said, all bills, including the appropriations bills, that pass the house must also pass the senate and be signed by the president in the exact same form. so what happened particularly last year, is the democrat-controlled senate could reject a house-passed bill, it could pass liberal amendments and return it to the house forcing the house either to accept a worsened product or risk a federal government shutdown, which would still not stop the president's executive overreach.
so what we did last december was, we passed the bill that would fund the rest of the government except for the department of homeland security in a negotiation with the senate. because we needed to not shut down the government. and most of what was in that bill had already been passed by the house. we passed seven appropriations bills, sent them to the senate. the senate had refused to act. we'd also passed four more appropriations bills out of committee but hadn't taken them up on the floor because they take so many hours to pass and once the senate made it clear they wouldn't take any of our appropriations bills, we thought we shouldn't waste additional time. so while h.r. 83 was not a perfect bill, we're all faced
here with making decisions on what is presented to us rather than what we would like to be presented. we did have a lot of conservative victories in h.r. 83. it continued our track record of cutting wasteful discretionary spending by $165 billion since f.y. 2010. but it's no small achievement that the republican-led house has been able to implement overall spending cuts to save taxpayers more than $2 trillion other the next 10 years since taking the majority four years ago. certainly, we want to do more. but we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of think good. so we cut back spending to the
internal revenue service to pre-2008 funding levels. we blocked the environmental protection agency from regulating farm ponds and ditches. there was no new funding for obamacare and a host of pro-life and conservative pro-gun policy riders were protected in that bill also. house republicans have worked extremely hard in the past four years to stop president obama and the senate democrats from furthering the damage they did to this country when they and nancy pelosi were in control. in fact nancy pelosi and elizabeth warren both stridently opposed that legislation. however, unfortunately, when people focus on the perfect,
instead of the good, they don't give credit to us and we were criticized by the liberal media and the conservative media. despite the short time we have had, the obstacles we've faced, and the enormity of our task, house republicans have still managed a number of con servetive victories. last summer -- conservative victories. last summer a bill i authored was passed. it stream lined the work force program eliminate 15g duplicative programs, i would have liked to eliminate more than that but we take the victories we can get. it's like being on a football team. you get the ball, you look downfield, and you think gosh, i can't score a touchdown. so i just sit down because i can't score a touchdown.
no, that's not what the receiver does he therefor -- the receiver says, if i can make a few yards if i can make a yard, i'm moving in the right direction. that's what republicans have been doing for the past four years. moving us in the right direction. occasionally we're going to score a touchdown but if we're moving in the right direction, totally, then we're going to win this game and that's what we're doing. we wish we could have done more but we're going to have greater opportunities over the next two years with a republican-led house and senate. this 114th congress offers us new chances to pass legislation that will lead our country down a road of economic recovery. we're going to work to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. protect against executive overreach. reform federal spending. and keep america strong.
this is america's congress. and we're going to be addressing the american people's greatest priority in the 114th congress. we're going to work hard to build a better future for america's families. and i believe we will accomplish that. with that mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back her time. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6 2015, the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert for 30 minutes.
mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. speaker. i have great appreciation and affection for my friend from north carolina, dr. foxx. and appreciate her comments and actually didn't realize at the time but some of the things she said leads right into some rather painful things to talk about this evening, mr. speaker. but mr. speaker i've been greatly encouraged, first of all, over the last few days, to find out that americans are paying attention. they realize what's at risk. they realize there's a great deal at stake in this country. and now maybe not more than ever, but as much as ever, we
need to be about the business of getting this country on track. and i've mentioned before, mr. speaker, but in recent years, maybe three or so ago, my wife and i had gone to togo, west africa. by nigeria. and mercy ships headquartered in my district, just an awesome charitable institution, they bring a huge medical, hospital, really, ship, into a dock, into a third world country, usually in africa, and it's controlled by christians. it's operated by christians. they don't proselytize but they do the job of reaching out
administering, after the ship's been there the blind can see. the lame can walk. people with massive tumors that were about to have their breathing cut off by the massive tumor are able to live. women who had a child and developed a small hole in either the urinary tract or the colon when having a child, that had been banned from families, sometimes 20 years, they were not allowed to be with the family they were considered unclean, would have the fistula repaired and for the first time after rather emotional ceremonies, they would be reunited with family members sometimes, like i say, they haven't seen in 20 years, specific occasions like that.
and it's an amazing thing to watch. i was there for a week well, it was less to help out with a number -- well i was blessed -- blessed to help out with a number of different things. some of the west africans wanted to talk to me. they were perplexed to see a member of congress, they were told he was a member of congress, but to see him back there watching dishes in the kitchen. but my late mother once said, i'm noit going to have you bunch of boys grow up and not be able to cook and wash dishes. she made sure we could, and we can. but we had a meeting with the west africans and the oldest senior citizen hard-working man, after we had a really nice visit he concluded in essence by saying, we were so
thrilled when you elected your first black president, his words , but since then we've seen america getting weaker. it appears you're getting weaker and weaker. and the weaker it appears america gets, the more we suffer. please, please go back to washington and tell your friends there, stop getting weaker, because we know where we go when we die but our only chance of having peace in this world is if america is strong. don't try to shove my religious beliefs on others, but it is part of who i am as it was for most of our founding fathers and those that went before us. but we were founded on jude
o-christian beliefs. if -- judeo christian believes. if you look at the declaration of independence is critical. we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. but the treaty of paris 1783, that was after the revolutionary war that america had won. britains had the most powerful army and navy, what's to say they wouldn't come back. it was critical that a document be signed. and something put in that document that was so important, that would be such an oath that the leaders of great britain
would not dare break that oath that they truly wol recognize the united states as being independent and free of great britain. and i didn't know until i got to congress. i read history books. i love to learn more all the time, but i was struck when our pastor and his wife were up here and wanted to go on a tour of the state department. i never was there before. i went with them. and there was an original copy of the treaty of paris, the actual treaty or we were told it was an original copy. and i was surprised at the huge big bold letters that started
the document. because that document if that is not signed, we are not free and independent, regardless of what the declaration of independence says. it mean britain is going to come in any time they want to. it had to be something so important put in that together so when they signed it, they wouldn't dare want to break it. the words that started the treaty of paris in 1783 were, in the name of the most holy and undivided trinity. that's a christian belief. that was so important and held with such reference that neat they are side would want to break -- that net they are side
would want to break an oath under the name of the most wholly and undivided trinity. mr. speaker, for those who don't know, i know you do, but that means the father, the son and the holy ghost. that's how the treaty of paris started that established not just our hopes and aspirations and principles as the declaration of independence did. this was the treaty that gave us the independence. so yeah, we got back into a fight with great britain. war of 1812. 1814, part of that war. this building was burned and apparently if it had not been for a massive thunderstorm or rain storm that night, this would have gone the way -- this actual wing didn't come into
existence for about 44 years or so, but the reason we didn't get a big wing up here what was once called jenkins hill. the storm put out the fire. the roof was damaged. sandstone marble doesn't burn in the presence of extreme heat. you get cracks -- we didn't get a big ruin because of the rain storm. some thought we ought to move the capitol back to philadelphia or new york. but others felt that what was here was preserved for a reason. so it was built back. part of our founding. and what we have seen in the last six years as this noble
effort by a president wanting to bring peace throughout the world by showing how nice we were, by showing that we meant them know harm, we would be glad to meet with them, sit down, we'll give them offices, give them things, let murderers go from prison and those type things will show our enemies how really decent and good we are. so they'll want to be our friends and will not want to be at war with us. the only problem is that may work in some common core type of thing taught in school, but it's not in touch with reality. because there is evil in this world. and that evil has been most recently manifested repeatedly
in radical islamic jihadist actions. and there is no way around it. and the more the people in this administration refuse to rise up and call evil what it is the more the evil rises up. and last june, i was asked to go to nigeria and meet with 23 of the mothers of daughters who were kidnapped by boko har all a -- haram a radical islamic group. and i hope those around this town especially those at the end of pennsylvania avenue will develop the courage and understanding that we're not going to bring peace to christians and jews throughout
the world and we're not going to bring peace to moderate muslims who want to stand up to radical islamists, but they know they go to the top of the death chart. but we have got to have people in the executive branch understand this is evil and it's done in the name of islam, and it is radical and it is what they believe is jihad. yes, it is their religion. it's not the religion of moderate muslims, but to them, it's their religion. it's their religion. it's their politics. it's their world view. and under their world view, you don't have freedom of expression. and ultimately shari'a law will prevail and either they will
wipe you out and kill you as dogs or some of the more moderate of the radicals will allow you to pay a tax, admit that you are subserve yent to the is lambists and let you live in peace unless you are being led by a religious fanatic to do otherwise. things around the world have gotten worse for christians and jews because we had an administration as nobel and i'd is particular as it -- ideal is particular as it wanted to be, as wonderful as you want to be at peace and we'll turn the other cheek. that is not for a government to do even a christian-based
government as this one started and was for most of this country's existence. for christians, there is an obligation to follow the teesks of christ. but -- the teachings christ. but some get confused and think it is the government's role and people get killed and say we probably did he served it. it does not. it gets worst. people need to begin. there is evil and people are being killed and tortured and women and girls raped and their livedsfolen from them. christians and jews being persecuted than any time in the
world's existence. not greater percentage, but greater numbers. and i met with many of the people of nigeria who have been adversely affected by this radical islamist group, boko haram. and make no mistake, i'm not advocating for sending troops into nigeria but we can help them. they need intelligence. we might use a drone and drop a bomb. that might help save many christians from the horrors they are experiencing. we could work with the southern -- with part of the nigerian government at least, to help
save those people. and i mentioned before, i asked -- these were all christians, i asked, did they attack this girls' school because i know they don't believe girls should be educated. they said they don't believe girls should be educated, but attacked the school because they knew it was a christian school. and usually when they attack a school there are boys, they kill the boys and then sell them into sex slavery. and in the case of these innocent children, these girls, they took them captive. they raped them repeatedly. they abused them severely. and demanded that they convert from christianity to islam. i asked the christian pastor -- and we were a couple hours
outside of town where i had to go without state department or other people that would not have wanted me to put myself in that situation but getting out to the remote location secret location where these survivors were, i said where are their fathers, to the pastor. and he said that's another part of the tragedy. they know the girls are being raped sexually abused. abused in so many ways. they left their homes and went into the bush because they are the fathers. they were supposed to protect their children. and they feel guilty and don't believe they deserve to be in a bed or a home while their daughters are being abused like they are. that's a real human tragedy. and then as we hear of not just
violent action in paris, france. it was a terrorist action committed by radical islamic jihaddists who are being taught so many of them, as tiny children growing up to hate the west. to hate western civilization. to hate america. that it's a good thing to kill innocent americans and that somehow in their weird religious belief and this evil, that they somehow benefit by killing and harming what are really innocent people. . there's a story from cns news january 8 in the wake of the terrorist attack on the offices
of french satirist paper "charlie hebdo," one muslim cleric justified the murders under islamic law. mr. speaker, for those who don't understand when they say they're justifying this under islamic law, it means to them it's their religion. yes, it is their religion. "usa today" published a column by avowed radical muslim cler irk titled "people know the consequences" asked why france would allow the paper to mock islam and further excuse the systematic murders as justified under islamic law. it quotes him muslims consider the honor of the prophet muhammad to be dearer to them an that of their parents or even themselves. to defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. the strigget punishment if found
guilty of this crime under sharia law is capital punishment implementable by an islamic state. this is because the messenger muhammad said, quote, whoever insults a prophet killed -- kill him, unquote. now for those who don't understand those are people who are saying, this is our religion, it's our state, it's our lives. and until the people leading this administration understand that, it's going to get worse. and i do believe what's in the bible, that to whom much is given, of them much will be required. and we have been put here in america in such a place and time that if we stand strong we don't have to send american troops who then end up being seen as occupiers, but we can
help, we can give them intelligence, we can give them the ability as we did in africa within about four or five months, we with less than 500 american special ops people and intelligence, they defeated the taliban. by february, 2002. and then we became occupiers added tens of thousands of troops, ended up eventually with over 100,000 in this administration and occupiers don't do well in that part of the world and if we tried to be occupiers in nigeria, we wouldn't do very well, but we can help with information. if we get weapons in the right hands, and i'm not talking about sending weapons to the free syrian army that is working, frequently, with the islamic state i'm talking about putting them in the hands of people that are our friends. send them directly to those that
we can be sure are our friends in nigeria send them to erbil, where i was two or three weeks ago in northern iraq with the kurds. they didn't throw down their weapons or hand them over to the islamic state. they stood and fought. they're still standing and fighting. they helped clear an avenue to free some people who were trapped on a mountain while i was there. and my dear friend dana rohrabacher set the trip up, he and i travel sod many places, my friend steve king was there gregory meeks was -- gregory meek was there, good man, and we also were in kabul new york afghanistan. there's hope there. but we have got to be smart about the way that we help, but it does not help when we can't even recognize the enemy.
i warned about one of the homeland security advisors, top advisors, for a number of years. and finally, after all this time in fact, i believe it was in august when he tweeted out with the islamic state beheading and killing people this advisor top advisor in the obama administration tweeted out that hey, you know, the islamic caliphate is inevitable, so just relax. words to that effect. and finally, that was enough. they let him re-sign and not renew his term again. thank goodness. but today, i've been talking with people in nigeria, emailing
and have great hopes, girls i met with, young girls, that they're going to come out of it, they're still traumatized the families are still traumatized. the girls have not been released. doesn't appear this administration has done anything to really help. as i was communicating with friends african friends in nigeria we get word of this story. this one from nbc news more than 2,000 people are unaccounted for after radical islamic sect boko haram torched more than 10 towns and villages in nigeria, a local lawmaker told nbc news. a senator for borno the state
where the attack happened, say the militants razed the town of baga as well as 10 other communities in the country's rural northeast over the past phi days. these towns are just gone. burned down. the whole area is covered in bodies. look, i know that there are people in this administration including our president that think you can win over evil by just being nice to it. offering to buy offices in qatar. offering to release the evil forces -- force's murderers from captivity and that such wonderful, gallant gestures will tush the tide -- turn the tide. well individuals in the government are supposed to protect the people.
and we in america and it's causing this weakness to grow which allows evil to grow around the world, there's a vacuum being filled as we have lost our leadership role around the world and it's being filled with evil religious nastiness called radical islam. and as this administration continues to act as if it's not a religion and we can win them over with kindness, more people die. now they're saying maybe 2000 nigerians have died today.
so i couldn't help but reflect back to my senior citizen friend in togo and his words his imploring, stop getting weaker. when america gets weaker, we suffer. how much suffering is this administration going to allow before it wakes up to the reality of what radical islam is? until such time this congress needs to stand up and say, we're not going to keep supplying weapons to radical islamists who are working with the islamic state in syria we'll help our friends like the kurds, we're not going to keep supplying
weapons to people that may have them end up with the taliban. we are going to help our friends like we did the northern alliance in afghanistan. it's time to wake up to the reality of evil that is radical islam because until this administration does it's going to get worse. with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. gohmert: mr. speaker, i would move that we do now heesh adjourn. -- hereby adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted.
>> congress is debating the keystone xl pipeline. we are joined by the hill's laura lopez, who covers energy and environment issues. why is the keystone bill one of the first bills to come up in congress and who is leading the effort in the house? >> thanks for having me. keystone is the first bill to come up because since after the midterms last year, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said it was the first item he
wanted to send to president obama's desk, although there will likely be a veto, but republicans want to push the president on this and they finally have the votes to pass it through all of congress. right now in the house the bill is cosponsored by a number of republicans, including representative upton and sessions. they're scheduled to vote on the keystone xl bill on friday. >> that was one of the last issues they dealt with in the 113th in the house, somewhere around 30 democrats supporting it last time around. is there anything different in terms of democratic votes for the measure in the house? >> i would not say there is anything different in the house when it comes to the democrats that will vote for or against the bill. the ones that are opposed to it in the house are sticking to that line. the one such as are presented peter defazio, who are not on board with this bill and never
have been, don't land on changing -- plan on changing. >> there were electoral considerations with the midterms coming up. the white house did not issue a veto threat. what was specifically objected to in this keystone bill? >> the reason the white house issued the veto threat is because they feel this bill circumvents the ongoing process at the state department, and that this is an administrative review, that the president is the one who has the authority to say whether or not this pipeline is in the best interest of the nation because it crosses the border from canada to the u.s. trade they're also upset because there is ongoing litigation in nebraska, and they want that to be resolved before the state department issues its final recommendation to the president. >> on the senate side of things, you cover the senate energy markup on the bill with a headline the senate panel advances the keystone bill 13-9 votes.
republican john hoeven on the keystone pipeline saying it has gone through the process for six years and it is still not through the process. americans won world war ii and shorter amount of time. -- in a shorter amount of time. was there by patterson support for the measure -- there bipartisan support for the measure? >> senator manchin is also a cosponsor. he is cosponsoring it was senator hoven. there are a number of democrats on the bill. there's a total of 9 that are behind it, 6 that are cosponsors. only one of them is on the committee that you were talking about. the rest of the democrats on the committee voted against the measure. >> perhaps it's too far down the road to look at this. assuming it passes the house and
senate, lands on the president's desk and he vetoes the bill, will the senate have the votes to override a veto? >> that's a tricky one. right now with all the democrats the senators say support the bill, there are 63 behind passing the keystone xl bill and sending it to the president's desk in the senate. that means they have a filibuster proof majority. it's going to be a hard push to get it to the 67 needed. even if that were to happen, the house doesn't have the votes to override the president's veto. >> laura lopez, energy and environment reporter for "the hill." read more at thehill.com. thanks for the update. >> thank you. >> earlier today we heard more about the keystone pipeline bill during speaker john boehner's weekly briefing with reporters. he spoke for about 10 minutes. >> welcome to the new american
congress right this week the house is passing commonsense jobs bills that provide an obvious bipartisan starting point for both parties. these measures would also provide president obama a chance to begin the final years of his presidency by taking some steps to build a stronger economy. unfortunately, the president has been taking steps towards more confrontation rather than bipartisan cooperation on jobs. earlier in the week as we were taking our oath of office for this new congress, the white house threatened to veto two of these bipartisan bills. even the chance to start with the first of bipartisan productivity, the president turned his back on the american people's mayor. today the president is in phoenix, talking about the economy that we all know could be doing better. he won't be far from the phoenix
-- he won't be far from the phoenix v.a. facility, the epicenter of the v.a. scandal. last year the house and senate took positive steps in the right direction, but the system is still broken. it needs to be fundamentally transformed in a way that puts the needs of veterans before the needs of their bureaucracy. we call on our president to offer a long-term vision for reforming the systemic problems at the v.a. we have yet to see it. we have also yet to see an authorization for the use of military force to defeat our terrorist enemies from this white house. i have continued to remind the president that historically the commander-in-chief as i have identified the need for military force written a new authorization for that force and typically also worked to build bipartisan support.
i would urge them to do so. if so, republicans will be willing to work with him to get it approved. the house will soon take action aimed at stopping the president's unilateral action when it comes to immigration. republicans are in agreement this is a gravely serious matter. the president's unilateral actions were in affront to the rule of law and our system of government. the american people don't support it. as the representatives cannot let it stand. we have new majorities in the house and senate. >> mr. speaker? >> yes? >> gas taxes are historically low and the highway trust fund is almost insolvent. is this the right time to consider increasing the gas tax? >> i have never voted to raise the gas tax. funding a highway bill is critically important. it is a priority for this year.
how we will fund it, we will have to work our way through this. >> what is your timeline on the aumf? how long are you willing to wait before you and senator mcconnell do it yourselves? >> i made it pretty clear last fall and today that the white house typically will ask for the use of military force and write the resolution. i would hope the white house will move quickly. >> what if they don't? >> we will see. >> you said you never voted for an increase in the gas tax, but it doesn't sound like you are ruling out the possibility of including it in a tax reform deal. >> the democrats had total control of the congress, they could not find the votes to raise the [indiscernible] it is doubtful the votes will raise the gas tax again. >> [indiscernible] decreasing the income tax? >> there are a lot of people with a lot of ideas.
we've got to find a way to deal with america's crumbling infrastructure. we need to do it in a long-term program that is funded. >> is that immigration is a priority. -- you said immigration is a priority. is this a time to be putting the budget of the homeland security department at risk? the head of the department said it posed a real risk to have a continuing resolution without certainty. is there any validity to this argument? >> i don't believe the funding of the department is at risk. what is at risk is the rule of law and the sanctity of america's constitution. the president has taken actions that are beyond the scope of his ability and congress cannot just sit here and look the other way. you have to take action, and we do. >> can you imagine something like this happening after 9/11? can you imagine the homeland
security budget being up for debate a month after or a day after something like that happened? >> the issue isn't about funding the department of homeland security. members of congress support funding the department. but we cannot continue to allow the president to go around the congress and go around the law and take unilateral action like he has. >> [indiscernible] is a truly democratic obstruction? >> the president, at a minimum he could've waited a few hours, maybe could have waited a few days. we were taking our oath of office. they were issuing veto threats. come on. >> speaker boehner about 25
members of your own conference voted against you. there's a lot of opposition, like sean hannity. why is there such a position to your speakership -- opposition to your speakership? >> i have given some thought to this. the american people are very frustrated. they are frustrated with a struggling economy, they're frustrated because they don't think washington is listening, and they want action. i talk to americans every day talk to my constituents every day, and his frustration out there, they need to take it out on somebody. they take it out on the president, take it out on me. >> you are one of the most conservative members of the last 20 years -- >> during my years here when i voted, i have the eight most conservative voting record in the congress. it does pain me to be described as squish.
what gets me the most is when they describe me as the establishment. i'm the most antiestablishment speaker we've ever had. who is the guy that believes in regular order? no. who believes in allowing more members to participate in the process from both sides of the aisle? me. i am pretty comfortable in my own skin. i'm going to do my best to show all of our members, democrats and republicans and those members who voted against me, that i'm up to the job i was given. >> on immigration this did not get 60 votes in the senate. >> will you never pass the bill that doesn't include some sort of provision on that? >> the house is going to work its will.
the way the process works is once the senate has work its will, the house works its will. we can take the senate bill. there are a lot of options available to us. when we pass our bill, we will see what the senate can do with it, and we will act. >> will you allow an open rule on the homeland security bill? >> the rules committee will decide, i've got my doubts it will be a truly open rule, but i suspect there will be amendments. >> you said yesterday you know this man you have defended him publicly. what do you say about his votes in the past against the creation of the martin luther king holiday with the holiday right around the corner? >> i'm not familiar with his
votes in the past. >> talk about the vetoes that came down while you are taking oath of office. has there been any effort by you or the white house to have any conversations on any of these pills or any discussion -- bills or any discussion? >> the leaders of both parties will be at the white house next week to meet with the president. i would imagine there will be some discussion about this. >> mr. speaker, right after the speaker's vote, [indiscernible] you are talking about having discussions. some of your members want actions taken, so don't -- some don't. have you made a decision about how you are going to unify going forward? >> i have not. my focus is on the american people prosperity's. -- people's priorities.
we have an economy that is improving a bit, but americans aren't seeing it. we're going to remain focused on the american people's priorities. this family conversation will continue and we will come to some resolution in the days and weeks ahead. thanks. >> now, house minority leader nancy pelosi and her weekly briefing. she said earlier today the democrats will be able to sustain the president's veto on republican-backed bills on the health care law, wall street reform, and the keystone pipeline. as she was leaving, she was informed by reporters of the retirement of california democratic senator barbara boxer. this is just shy of half an hour. >> good morning, everyone.
we are all sort of shaking. the world was shocked by the terrorist attack in paris. this was a horrible assaults on freedom of the press, but also freedom of expression for everyone and a real attack on the principles of civil society. our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 12 people who were killed, and with the people of france. this week we start a new congress and a new year, a new fresh opportunity to work together for the good of the american people. part of that working together is to make clear where we have common ground and where we do not. from day one the republicans put forth their same old trickle-down tax breaks for the
rich, and the democratic distinction is a clear one. bigger paychecks better infrastructure good jobs in our country. we had two pieces of legislation which have shared bipartisan support over time that a ceo cannot make over a million dollars and make it be tax-deductible unless he enables his workers to get a wage increase and stopping inversions, stopping those going overseas with our tax dollars and using that money to build infrastructure in our country. very clear. better infrastructure is -- infrastructure, better change -- paychecks versus tax cuts for
the rich, trickle-down. we have seen manifestation again this week with the 11 bill wall street giveaway, which was defeated yesterday. i'm sure they will bring it back. same thing with the keystone pipeline. whatever you think about the keystone pipeline, this isn't a bill that says, do you approve of it or not, it's a bill that puts forth a proposal that exempts -- that does not address the fact that this keystone pipeline, transcanada does not have to contribute to the oil spill liability trust fund. so if there's any spill it's paid for by others. it is subsidized by others. and that's just not right. again, there will be another bill to dismantle a.c.a. and we'll sustain the
president's veto on that to change the -- it will increase the ranks of the uninsured up to half a million people. that's not right. so we see a blueprint for where we go forward. we want to build infrastructure, significant infrastructure. that's always been bipartisan. in fact, nonpartisan. and that's why we have that as one of our priorities and we want to do so in a way that increases, makes patriots your -- paychecks bigger in our country, to address the growing disparity of income in our country and that's really important. i share with my colleagues a christmas greeting that i received from a friend that really just said that we have to recognizes that in the christmas season, what puts merry into christmas is the consumer economy, that people have the
opportunity to build, to spend to build demand, to create jobs. and that, again, is a cycle of disposable income injected into the economy creating jobs and that's why we are focusing on its the paycheck that we want to -- so in any case, already there is the distinction -- tax cuts for the rich, same old, same old warmed over stew. dynamic scoring is one way to characterize it versus building infrastructure, bigger paychecks. we had a vote yesterday as you know that will sustain the president's veto on yet again another wall street give away to undermine the volcker act, to postpone for two more years. the regulators have already
given the financial institutions two years in order to address the volcker act rules. the volcker act saying that financial institutions have to use their own money to make investments that are risky and not money that is covered by the taxpayer. so with that, started to but -- here we start again tell output but hopefully, really, we can find some common ground and some other ways. paychecks, i don't know why that would be controversial or partisan. infrastructure, it's never, until recently, but the history has always been of bipartisanship in that regard. again, it's a very sad day when you see the aftermath of what happened in paris. again, our prayers are with and people of france and with the families of those affected.
any questions? yes, ma'am. court where giving a lot of people talk to the quirks we -- >> we are getting a lot of people talking about coming together, working together getting things done. why won't the president sign my bill? why won't they pass bills the president will sign. you haven't heard anybody about talking together. do you get any indication there is going to be any type of actual negotiations? do you think actually can get done -- >> i certainly hope so. we have a responsibility to the american people to try to find common ground. but as i said in my remarks from the podium, that does not mean that all disagreement and all debate goes away. in fact, our democracy is strong because we have beliefs and we have principles and we debate them, but we are also have to have the humility to try to find a solution coming together to find a solution that may not be exactly what we would have written ourselves. we had a great deal of success with president bush, president
george w. bush. we passed 1on of the biggest energy bills in the history of our country. we passed a stimulus that was very positive for low-income people. we passed the tarp, working with him, with his own party deserted him on the tarp, the democrats came through. is in recent memory a time when the opposing party worked with the president of the united states to get some things done. and that's what we would hope they would do with president obama. so far they have not. but let us hope that we can find -- and the biggest -- i think the biggest force for all of that are the american people. lincoln said public sentiment is is everything. they want to see how we can work together. but if their first shot out of the box is tax cuts for the rich and that's how we create jobs in our country, we have a disagreement there.
now, we'll see what happens on the homeland security bill. homeland security, we take an oath, protect and defend. this is really an important responsibility for members of congress to protect and defend. and the homeland security bill some of the resources that are there are there to protect the american people. and if they want to play politics with it by contending that president obama overstepped in what he did on immigration, it isn't true, it isn't true. he was acting under the law. he is acting under the law and he is is acting in a manner that republican presidents have. president reagan, president george herbert walker bush president george w. bush in recent memory. and so that will, i think, be one of the tests. how do we honor our oath to protect and defend, passing a homeland security bill without getting involved in the issue of
the president's authorityle to have an executive order to protect immigrants in our country. >> you haven't actually seen any "steps happening so far. -- only those steps happening so far. >> we have been here three days. no, two. first day they did the roll. we made our distinction. yesterday, they brought a bill -- really, we found out about it the night before for all of the openness and three-day rule and all that, we found out about it the night before. i would hope that at least from a standpoint of transparency and openness, which the american people expect us to have, that we could have a debate on these issues where you can fco is good for the base although democrats who vote i'll work with you guys, and democrats for the keystone, there would be vetoes coming from the white house and filibuster in the senate, be that the party is portrayed as the party of no. the reblicans are now in control and they can't get things done and the president vetoes. >> the republicans are the party of no because they said right
from the start that to prevent the president from being a success was the most important thing they could do and that's their path. we have a we want to -- we have a half we want a path to yes. how do we have a path to yes? to get something done in a positive way? the president has always extended the hand of friendship. some think too much. but he's the president of the united states and there's an opportunity -- i think there's plenty of opportunity to get things done. but that doesn't mean that we are going to say yes--just say you have a blueprint, road map where we go from here. this is the conversation in our caucus. we want to have an approach that has oneness, that has
integrity, that is integral, that everything people see the relationship of one thing to another in the bill. you give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in our country, it could be several hundred billion dollars, it could be a trillion dollars, the increases the deficit, it's an opportunity lost and cost in terms of investments in education and the rest, and in order not to reduce -- increase the deficit, the middle class is going to have to pay for it. so everybody has to see the relationship of one thing to the other. and we totally debunked the theory that trickle down reduces the deficit. if you want to reduce the deficit, the most important thing you can do is to invest in the education of the american people. it is an investment. they will say it's a cost. but nothing brings more to the treasury than the education of the american people. so looking at a budget as a statement of values, as a oneness that says we cannot give tax breaks to the high end on the theory it's going to trickle down, and as the speaker said,
when they did this before, he said, if it creates jobs, that would be good. if it doesn't, so be it. we had buttons made, so be it. so this is not a secret comment that he made. if it doesn't, so be it. well, we have a moral imperative to create good paying jobs in our country. that sense of community is something that even adam smith recognized. when he wrote "wealth of nations," he talked about the economy driving everything, the invisible hand, but he also, that laisez faire he also wrote the book moral principles in which he said we have a responsibility to other people. i don't know if you read that book. i should have brought it down dear so you could see it. i wish had he written one book both of them together. this sense of community, this sense just even to take it to an
economic side again, the fact that people have disposable income, that they can consume, and because the consumer economy has not come back because paychecks are not big enough is one of the reasons we have not had the recovery that we could trouble although -- who would have had to come out although -- that we could have had although we had 57 straight months of private sector job growth. it's been going on for a long time. i just leader mcconnell realized it is taking credit for it but but it has been going on for a long time. >> do you share the view of some of your democratic colleagues at this hour that promote authority, which we believe the president will be seeking without the republicans, is -- genetical -- inimical to better
paychecks. >> i think we have to put -- you said one of the criteria. one of a judgment, whatever it is we are doing. is it a bigger paycheck for the american worker. obviously we want to see what negotiation is on the trade. you know how complicated that issue is. bought i do think the burden of -- but i do think the burden of proof is on those who want us to sign up for something like that that it really will increase the paychecks of the american people. but again, let's see what they are proposing and i'm not at that press conference, don't know what is being said. i don't know what information they have. but i do know that i have not, myself seen enough assurance of what -- talking about europe? asia? talking about both? >> madam leader, on that point , are you worried that debate, though, could divide your caucus similar to what we saw during the cromnibus? because there are a lot of
progressives that do not like the fact that the administration is going to be dabbling in this. and they expect it to be mentioned quite loudly in the state of the union as something that could be a compromise to the republican congress. >> but i don't accept notion that we were divided on the cromnibus. we had 71% of the house democrats voted against that bill. we didn't lobby it. we didn't lobby. we didn't advocate. we just said to people vote the way you vote. many people, appropriators, had worked hard -- the appropriations part of the bill was a good effort. it was the dark of night provisions that were objectionable to us. but i would say you're not going to see unanimity all the time on the part of democrats, we'll have our disagreements. yesterday, 80% of the democrats voted against a bill that -- we didn't lobby against because when we saw what it said, but, still, it's hard to reach everyone.
i think we would have gotten more votes if we had more time. but we wouldn't expect everyone to vote. this is a democratic caucus. but we do expect uphold the the expect to -- you expect to uphold the president's vetoes on these issues. this is the reverse. the president's proposing something and i said to president bush a long time ago president george w. bush, do you have the votes on your side? do you have a large number of votes on your side? because all we are asking for is consultation, transparency, when we are talking about trade agreements. and that's what people want to see. i don't know that most people in our caucus have made up -- many have, yeah, but they have made up their minds they want to see transparency, they want to see consultation, they want to see fairness, they want to see what this means to the american paycheck. about -- but we are not opposed to trade. john f. kennedy proclaimed us a party of trade.
i was raised in a city of trade clipper ships in baltimore maryland, san francisco, a big trade city. so we all know that we live in a global economy. we also have to know about whatever we are doing we have to make a judgment as to how it affects the american worker. and that's -- i think the administration has been engaged in some good discussion with our members on that score. one more because the speaker's coming. >> you mentioned that, in budgets, there is an ecosystem everything is connected. here's a connection. there are some very prominent republicans who are ready to raise the gas tax. they want it connected to a controllers and -- a decrease in income tax. maybe middle class people, not sure. how about that tradeoff? >> you don't even know what they said. how do i know what it is? they say you're going to raise the gas tax and we are going to lower taxes for the wealthy?
>> no -- i don't think so. the middle class. >> i can't respond to their proposal because i don't know what it is. but i do think that if there's ever going to be an opportunity to raise the gas tax, a time when gas prices are so low, oil prices are so low, is the time to do it. i can tell you my experience over the years. our friends from oil states would say, when the price is low , how could you do this to us? now the price of oil is so low. when the price of oil is high, how can you do this to us how because the price of gas is so high? but i'm glad to see they might be willing -- one half of that equation to actually the decrease in the gas tax is a tax decrease -- decrease in the price of gasoline is a tax break for the middle class.
it is. people are so excited about the travel they could do over the holiday and the rest. >> as a general proposition, the trade off of marginal increase in the gas tax for decrease in income tax, is that something -- >> what i would be interested in seeing is something serious , not something showbiz, which would be how do you relate the gas tax to the highway trust fund? that's the relationship that is real. because we have until may, something like may for the highway trust fund to be flowing. and that's where we need to have -- if there is to be an increase in the gas tax, that's where those resources should be used. and we'd love to talk to them about we have many proposals for middle income tax cuts. you'll be hearing from our
ranking member on budget, mr. van hollen, on that subject. he has a very important speech to make on monday in that regard. stay tuned for that. but in any case it is -- the financial stability of america's families that is what is important to our country. is -- it is the economy, the family economy, how families survive sending their kids to school, are able to pay their bills, and be part of the consumer society -- economy. which again really lifts all boats. so that's why we are saying , better infrastructure creates a lot of good-paying jobs, improves the quality of life and bigger paychecks. that's where families are directly affected.
and again the price of oil, the price of gas tax relate to the highway trust fund which is really important for building that infrastructure. so again everything comes around. it's all very connected. and again you indicated there are even republicans who might be interested in one part of this or another, and we have to try to find as much common ground. after the minnesota bill -- bridge caved in, you remember that tragedy? a democrat and republican went to the floor calling for five cent increase? mr. young and mr. oberstar, and that was the end of that. it lasted as long as the discussion that they had on the floor. so we shall see. but it is, again, a new year new congress, a new opportunity, a responsibility to find common ground where we can, again, to stand our ground where we can't.
but it is -- we all are here to get something done. these issues are bigger than democrats and republicans. they are about the american people and our character of our country in terms of a sense of community. that it's not just about the rich getting richer and the middle class getting squeezed. it's about how we relate to each other and how that benefits our entire society. so we are very excited about the prospect of how we have this -- oneness, this integrity, this connection, this system of where the budget is. the statement of values that it is. and look forward to continuing that conversation on that score. thank you-all very much. what's your reaction to senator boxer's retirement -- >> your reaction to senator boxer's retirement? >> what? that's funny.
she called me, said you want to talk to me personally. i thought maybe wanted to have dinner tonight or something. [laughter] omar. -- oh my. her decision. it's an important one for her and her family. it's all personal and individual. senator boxer has been such a champion for the people of california and indeed for our entire country. she has -- i have always said congresswoman boxer, senator boxer, i came to congress, congresswoman, senator boxer that she is -- this will sound like an oxymoron to you, she is one of the most unselfish politicians i have ever known of. she has always shared her ideas. she has always shared the credit. she's always tried to help people succeed with their ideas. she's reached across the aisle. she's reached across our state which is a glorious state. and her leaving will be a great loss to the congress of the
united states. people of california. and to our country. what -- but i wish, as she goes i assume she's not running but will be here the next two years, and in the course of that time there will be real recognition of the difference that she has made for fairness in our economy, protection of our environment, respect for our men and women in uniform. she's really a great leader for our country. she is small in size but a giant in terms of her contribution to the country. i did not know. as i said, i had was a call from her, but i did not want to keep you waiting. it's a real loss, i think. was to reform -- but god bless
her for her decision and i wish her and stuart and their family well. thank you. my goddaughter just took her grandson out for their sixth birthday. they were born a couple months apart. so we are very close from a family standpoint. barbara -- senator boxer had a shower for my daughter alexandra -- christine, four days ago -- five days ago, that would be in six years, and the next day her daughter nicole had the baby. sawyer. so they are just very close in age. and our family celebrations have been together over time whether it's weddings or babies or whatever. so a close personal friendship. and of course i wish the best for her in that regard personally. officially i didn't get the big boss for the country. but she knows her timetable. thank you very much.
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> nancy pelosi there responding to the announcement by senator boxer that he will be retiring also from opolitico, their declined to discuss the interest in the seat being vacated and instead criticized her tenure in office. there has been a vacancy for two decades, he said. the fact that she is not running is not change the fact that it has been a vacant office. in response to the announcement, senate minority leader harry reid said that some is one of the finest -- senator barbara
boxer is one of the finest public officials the state of california has ever seen. the house is finished with work for the earlier, members has to go that changes the duck passed a -- pascagoula changes the definition of full-time employment from 30 to 40 hours a week. president obama has threatened to veto that go. on friday, will be a reading of the institution. the senate resources committee voted to move the keystone go out of committee -- bill committee 13-9. we will show you that right at it but eastern on c-span -- at
8:00 eastern on c-span. >> friends countrymen, thank you for sending me here. >> is an important for this country. many senators took the, 13 for the first time. and a new republican majority accepted its responsibility. we recognize the enormity of the task before us. we know hard-working awaits and important opportunities await as well. >> follow the gop led congress and see the new members. the best practices on c-span television, radio, and c-span.org.
>> on the next "washington journal" tom cole from oklahoma thoughts about tax and budget issues being taken up in congress and the challenges do speaker banners leadership reelection -- to speaker boehner's reelection. and then she allison on his agenda -- keith ellison on his agenda. we take your calls and comments on facebook and twitter. earlier today, the defense department announced it will scale down the u.s. military infrastructure in europe with operations at airbases closing and the joint strike fighter being based in europe permanently. >> ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
welcome to the pentagon. the topic today is european infrastructure consolidation and the action taken that derive from that. our briefers today, we have the assistant secretary of defense, for international security affairs, mr. derek chollet. on his left is mr. john conger, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for energy installations and environments. they'll make opening statements. we'll have time for questions afterwards. and let me know if there's questions beyond that if we run out of time. mr. chollet, if you'd like to begin. >> good morning. this on? >> yes. >> okay. good morning. european and trans atlantic security is more important than ever. the united states remains committed to nato and our presence in europe. for generations, you the us service members have lived with, trained with and fought alongside european allies and partners. we currently have approximately 67,000 military personnel stationed in europe and our
troops train and deploy with european counterparts across the globe. our european allies remain our strong partners in addressing shared security challenges whether in responded to russia's actions against ukraine or the operations in iraq and syria where european countries are a vital part of the coalition. u.s. basing and access to facilities in europe are an integral component of that partnership. they enable the united states military and our allies to respond quickly and our operational presence in europe is critical to our common global security goals. at the same time we must ensure we pursue these goals in a way that is as efficient and effective as possible. that is why two years ago the department initiated a process to review our facilities in europe known as the european infrastructure consolidation or e.i.c. today we are announcing the results of the e.i.c. process,
which aims to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of our presence in europe by consolidating and realigning excess infrastructure. in this process, the department maintained a close and consistent engagement with the congress with the state department with the joint staff, with the services, with ucomm and our european partners. over the past several years secretary hagel has discussed these issues with his european counterparts and just yesterday he had phone conversations with the defense ministers of the united kingdom, germany, italy, and portugal. we will continue this engagement as e.i.c. implementation occurs over the next several years. with these e.i.c. decisions, we are consolidating and reducing some existing support infrastructure in order to be more efficient but we are not affecting our operational capability. the e.i.c. adjustments do not diminish our ability to meet our commitments to allies and
partners. in fact, these decisions will produce savings that will enable us to maintain a robust force presence in europe. we are also investing in new infrastructure and expanding and enhancing our partnerships and joint and combined training opportunities across europe. this cr includes investments in infrastructure, greater rotational presence in air land and sea and enhanced exercises. such efforts will be supported by the nearly 1 billion in additional funds that congress provided at the end of last year. and through the e.i.c., we ensure that the united states will retain the infrastructure in europe needed to support our permanently stationed forces, additional rotational forces, and contingency requirements. on that note, today we are announcing that the united states air force will permanently base the f-35 joint strike fighter in europe and that the secretary of defense has selected the united kingdom as the first location to host two squadrons of f-35's.
this decision is just the latest example of the special relationship between the united states and the united kingdom. the presence of u.s. f-35's will lead to new possibilities for collaboration with the united kingdom such as a potential for greater training and wider support opportunities. taken together, these decisions on force presence in europe will enhance operational readiness and mission posture at reduced funding levels all toward the objective of maintaining a strong trans atlantic alliance and meeting our common security interests. with that i'll turn it over to john conger for details on the prose esand decisions made here. >> thanks. >> so i'm john conger and responsible for installations and infrastructure at the department. i've had the responsibility for managing the e.i.c. process as it unfolded over the last few years.
changing security environments and the ongoing tough fiscal climate led to the department of defense undertaking a comprehensive review of infrastructure requirements necessary to support u.s. forces and missions in and around europe. let me add a point here for context. we have continually sought efficiencies as we manage installations worldwide. that's one of the reasons we have requested base realignment and closure from congress to do a review of our u.s. installations. in this fiscal environment it would be irresponsible not to look for such savings. similarly we thought a review of our infrastructure in europe was important to conduct. we used the process very similar to the proven u.s. brac process in analyzing bases in europe. we looked at capacity requirements military value cost, and at the diplomatic dine amics involved with each action. the bottom line for us was we wanted to preserve our
operational capability while reducing the cost of supporting it. therefore, as we consolidate our footprint, the infrastructure remaining in place will continue to support our operational requirements and strategic commitments. we did not contemplate changes that reduced fighting capability. that was a fundamental constraint of the analysis. the largest installation that is part of this announcement is our return of mildenhall to the u.s.a. approximately 3200 u.s. personnel from mildenhall will be restationed elsewhere partly offset by the addition of about 1200 personnel to support the f-35's being stationed in lakenheath. both of these events will occur in the 2018-2021 time frame. there are a number of divestitures that will be occurring but this is the largest example. the overall e.i.c. process will see the d.o.d. divesting excess
infrastructure, will save the department approximately $#00 million a year. all while maintaining the same operational capability. as a result, we will not need as many support personnel to maintain a reduced infrastructure in terms of less military and civilian personnel and host nation employees. approximately 1200 u.s. military and civilian support positions will be eliminated. about 6,000 more u.s. personnel will be relocated within europe. up to 1100 host nation positions could also be eliminated and approximately 1500 additional europeans working for the u.s. could end up being impacted over the next several years as many of their positions are relocated to areas we need to maintain for the long term. as i stated earlier the largest local national job reductions will come from the closure of mildenhall in the u.k., but that will be partly offset with the f-35 base. you may have questions about
exactly how many u.s. or host nation personnel will be affected by each installation or site, but for that level of detail, i'd refer you to the u.s. european command and their component commands. these recommendations will be executed over the next several years. that does not mean everything will remain static while the changes occur. there were consolidations made before e.i.c. and there will undoubtedly be future basing actions. however, today we're talking about the holistic review we conducted over the last two years, which i believe will strengthen our posture in europe. thank you very much for your attention. >> question? joe? >> mr. sholet, as you may know, the threat that is facing europe now and could face europe in the future is a threat from nonconventional groups such as al qaeda or isol or other groups. how do you explain the reason or the purpose for keeping
67,000 troops in europe? what's the objective for that? >> there are several objectives. clearly, we continue to have security interests in europe and security threats to europe. the recent crisis in ukraine over the last year illustrates that. and so part of our force presence is to work with and reassure our nato allies who we have treaty obble gags to defend in europe. but also it's important to note that europe is a critical platform for u.s. military operations, particularly in the middle east and north africa, where european facilities, bases, and capabilities that we station in europe are absolutely critical to military operations throughout the middle east and north africa and, in fact, the world as transit points to asia and elsewhere. so i think our military presence of course has come down in europe significantly since the end of the cold war over the last quarter century but maintaining a strong, robust force presence in europe is absolutely vital to our
national security interests. >> do you think with the e.i.c. process it would be better to face the infiltration throughout europe? >> i'm not sure i understand the question. >> with the e.i.c. process do you think we'd expect the strategy to counter the infiltration of terrorists throughout europe? >> so two separate issues. the e.i.c. process is about infrastructure and gaining greater efficiencies to allow us to maintain a strong force presence in europe into the future. separate set of issues about asymetric threats, unconventional threats. that's something i know the general breedlove here in this room has talked about and secretary hagel has talked about as challenges for the nato alliance. it's something that nato partners talked about at the summit in wales last year and will certainly talk about later this year at the defense ministerial in february.
>> is there any element in this realignment, reorganization, that either you worry hinders your military intelligence counterterrorism capability or is there anything where maybe on the other hand you might have saved some money, realigned things, and it might actually enhance it and free something up for you? >> yes. one of the challenges or the efforts here was to match both the desire to gain greater efficiencies in infrastructure while still maintaining what we believe is the infrastructure to allow the force presence to ensure we can defend our national security interests. so none of the infrastructure consolidation efficiencies we'll be getting will have any bearing on our ability to -- operational ability to defend our interests, our intelligence capabilities. the savings we will be gaining in this process will allow us
to maintain a strong force presence into the future. >> you folks have made it very clear that you're consolidating but not reducing operational capability, the security of europe etcetera. obvious question is, how? simply a matter of finding left over stuff from the cold war that has been sitting idle? or is it, you know, a more -- is there more to it in terms of cutting infrastructure without actually getting rid of stuff that you need? >> let me take that one. it's closer to the first idea you floated. we looked at capacity versus requirements. we we found we were able to consolidate the same capability on fewer locations. there were some places. i'm not sure i would
characterize it as left over from the cold war but there are certainly a lot of individual sites that are smaller in our european foot print. that way we are able to collapse together and some of them were small. a lot of the things you'll see in the list, the general public may not be familiar with. there were several recommendations that added together had a larger impact. mildenhall is the one most people will have heard of. when you leave a site that reduces the requirements not for supporting that site. so the security, the public works, etcetera, etcetera, individual staffs that are at that particular location are duplicative. >> but where did the small, inefficient bases come from in the first place? didn't they have a point when first created? >> i can't speak to the initiation of the hundreds of
sites we have in europe and why we had them there at the beginning but i understand that it's a, in some respects a characteristic of the end of the world war ii. >> in the scheme of the department's overall budget, $500 million doesn't sound like a whole lot. have you contemplated closing more installations but changed course because of what's going on in the ukraine and russia? >> i don't think so. keep in mind that this was not an effort designed to solve the entire fiscal problem of the department. we have lacked for base closure authority in the past which would have obviously had a larger impact. this was a practical sensible, holistic look we could do on a subset of our footprint and we took that action.
$500 million a year is while not large compared to the rest of the department at large, is certainly not an amount of money to sneeze at. >> could we talk more about the relationship between this and the european reassurance initiative? are these savings specifically designed to bolster that effort? do you expect the $500 million a year you'll be able to redirect that annually? totally separate processes. this effort is over two years in the making. the e.r.i. of course is something that president obama asked for the additional funds last summer from congress. certainly greater efficiencies help -- the savings help. but they're disconnected. so the $1 billion, nearly $1 billion that we've received from our congress at the end of last year will enable us to have some infrastructure improvements, in facilities that we use for our rotational
presence particularly in central and eastern europe. also help fund a robust exercise schedule. so separate processes but savings is savings. though they're not directly connected, the more efficiencies we can get out of our system and the less we are spending money on things that we judge are obsolete, the better off we'll be and more able we'll be to spend money on things we believe will be more consistent with presumably our interests in the future. >> will you be able to redirect these savings to your knowledge? are these going to end up body cuts? >> they're not connected. not connected. >> should we expect another round of e.i.c.'s? you said undoubtedly there would be more basing decisions. >> we're not planning an e.i.c. 2, per se. my point is that this was not the first time anybody looked at european infrastructure. this was not the first time that any installation was returned in europe. and it won't be the last time
that anybody looks at european infrastructure. >> if i could just add, this is an evolutionary process. just as we have been undertaking this effort to take a look at the existing infrastructure, we've been looking at how to upgrade new infrastructure to support our efforts in central and eastern europe. so a lot changed from a year ago and who knows what 2015 will hold here? >> i have a little different question. you said the process has been going on for more than two years. how did the process change at all after russia invaded ukraine? >> i can speak to that. obviously, when events occurred in the ukraine, we took a look and asked the question to ourselves, you know, should we pause this? we decided to continue with the analysis because the going in conditions were not particularly affected by the
events in the world. the question we were asking ourselves is how can we do the same thing for less money? that question is still pertinent. we weren't talking about reducing our ability to conduct the mission. we were talking about our ability to do that same mission for less money. and that was an effort worth continuing. we conducted, we then decided to complete the analysis and then allow the secretary to decide whether to go forward in whatever the current context would be at that time. and the secretary approved the recommendations we came up with. >> on a different subject, have the decisions all been communicated to the host country? >> yes. we have been, as i mentioned in my opening statement, we've been engaging with our host countries' yournt parts throughout the entire process and secretary hagel has been doing so at all of his meetings with the affected countries and just yesterday he had these phone conversations with the four countries that are most affected by this. and it's been an open process so far and we'll continue this
as these get implemented. these changes aren't going to happen overnight. we'll take time to work with these countries as much as we can. there will be job losses in these countries. it will affect local communities and we have an interest in doing what we can to try to help them mitigate the negative consequences. >> just one quick followup then a question. can you tell us when you expect to know where the next batch of f-35's will go? you said the first will go to lakenheath. when will the department know where in italy the next aircraft will be deployed? >> we haven't made a decision on the next round yet. there has been a decision for italy to host a maintenance facility. that was announced last month for the f-35 but the future deployment positions have not been made. >> with respect to brac and the department's repeated requests to congress for more rounds of brac, do you believe, does the department believe this process
will strengthen its hand politically in going back this year with a budget and asking for brac again because you'll be able to say we consolidated infrastructure in europe and now we want to turn our attention to the united states? >> i think so. i think that's a fair statement. congress has raised several issues with regard to brac in the past one of which was please look at what your access is overseas before you start looking at the domestic installations again. this was in part in response to that and i think it was a responsible effort that we can go back to congress with. >> thank you. >> just a clarification, mr. conger. when you say it won't be the last time people look at european infrastructure, does that necessarily -- does that mean reducing or not necessarily so? you mentioned adding some infrastructure in eastern europe. then also, my question would
be, how much will it cost to close the facilities and when do we expect to see the savings? >> so two parts of your question. let me answer the first one first. i wasn't alluding to a particular action. heck, you can look at the f-35 basing as a separate, none.i.c. action that is an example of a basing action that occurred in parallel at the same time but not part of the e.i.c. process. we're announcing it today but it wasn't part of our announcement. that's the case in point. with regard to cost, we project a cost over the entire time period to implement the closures to go along with the $500 million in recurring savings. a pretty good payback. i would say slightly more than one-third of that is military so it's not like we're building $1.4 billion worth of buildings to accommodate this. it's a smaller figure. >> overall $500 million in
savings annually. when will that start? >> the full implementation of the recommendations is expected by the early 2020's i would say. just after 2020. these are -- the smaller recommendations will be implemented more quickly. the larger ones will take more time. so the entirety you'll see the entirety of those recommendations in all of the recurring savings probably in five or six years. >> thank you. mr. chollet, i believe you said in the u.k. there would be a down sizing of about 3200 jobs and then you would be bringing in 1200. what kind of jobs are being eliminated? and the 1200 is that entirely related to the f-35? >> overall on the specifics of the job, the jobs being consolidated as well as the new jobs i'm going to have to defer
to ucomm. on the f-35 issue we have a colleague here today, not sure where he is, who could follow up with you specifically afterwards on some of the f-35 decisions. >> do you have a breakdown of how many military and civilians are being affected? >> i don't. that's an issue you can follow up on. >> so if we contact ucomm they have all of this information available? >> yes. >> you said that the current force levels of active duty troops is 67,000. do you have a number overall for what it would be at the end of all of this? and, also, could i ask you to talk a little more about the rotational presence? is there any long-term plan to have that rotational presence there beyond the 12-month time line or is that something that will just be addressed on the annual budgetary basis? >> at the end of this process it will be -- our numbers of
forces in europe 67,000, will be roughly the same. it's not always exactly 67,000. so roughly the same. in terms of the rotational presence, the intent is to continue this rotational presence into the future. in fact, some of the infrastructure improvements we are seeking to do as part of the european reassurance initiative will enable us to continue the rotational presence by building facilities that would allow our rotating troops to live and work. so that is our plan. of course we'll over time have to seek funding for that. and as things change in europe, things get better, perhaps things get worse, we may adjust accordingly. we probably will. >> does that plan call for the rotational troops to be moving in the eastern europe from existing ucomm forces or did you plan in as much detail to know whether that would be troops coming from outside uco m.
m? >> i don't think that's planned yet. the rotations that have occurred up to now have been both from within europe as well as from the united states. >> go ahead. >> thanks. could you elaborate a little bit on why you decided to close molesworth and mildenhall? >> i can talk to -- well let me speak broadly. i know that ucomm is going to be speaking to the specifics of any of the individual recommendations, but the analysis at large looked at excess capacity and it also looked at military value. we essentially were trying to make sure that the assets that we needed were at the locations that had the highest military value. that was based on a complicated numerical -- a lot of different factors. the result of that allowed us to collapse the assets from mildenhall into other locations
and to recommend divestiture of that installation. the molesworth recommendation i'll actually speak to a little bit more because we -- it's part of -- was part of last year's congressional budget request to start the construction at crouton and to collapse the intelligence activities for molesworth and alconbury into the facility at crouton. that is a fairly self-contained set of recommendations into collapsing multiple locations into a single one in the same geographic area. >> thank you. is this a plan, do you have to go to congress for approval on any of this or is this something you can move forward with immediately? >> congress always has the right to decide what we get propose rated. that -- by definition congress
will have a role in anything we do. the decision to close an installation overseas is not a particular one you need, quote-unquote, permission from congress. but that doesn't mean we haven't been talking to them for the last few years about each step of the way and working with the committees to tell them what we could about the analysis as it was ongoing. so do we need an authorization of legislation from congress? no. do we need an appropriation to make these moves? yes. >> you mentioned several times e.r.i. is going to some infrastructure improvements. so, you know, you take it then you give. i'm curious, could you give us some examples of the kinds of things you were adding even to some of these other installations that date back not up to can carry. that's the kinds of things we'll be seeking to do that
will enable us down the road to continue our rotational presence but at a lower cost. >> as opposed to paying for ad hoc solutions. any sort of transportation infrastructure going on in terms of rail head, in terms of -- >> i'll have to get back to you on the specifics. i don't have those with me. >> i'd like to ask you about how the e.i.c. process changed a little about like marcus asked how it changed when russia invaded ukraine. clearly this started out as an infrastructure exercise and then you had russia and ukraine and allies calling for more capability. i'm wondering if at any point you considered increasing the capability. you said a couple times you didn't. you're decreasing it. is it fair to look at this announcement today as a policy decision by the department or a strategic decision that europe
does not need more u.s. military capability or is that essentially a separate discussion occurring elsewhere in the department? >> i guess two thoughts. first, in terms of what changed, i would argue that the urgency of the e.i.c. became more apparent because as we were more focused on maintaining our force structure in europe we needed to take a close look at infrastructure and ensure we were spending our money wisely. and general breed love who i know has released a statement this morning in support of this -- these e.i.c. recommendations was very clear to us that he wanted to protect force structure. he wanted us to take a very close look at infrastructure. if anything over the last year it put more focus on our necessity of having savings. i would argue that the purpose of e.i.c. is a reaffirmation of
having a robust force presence in europe. and the importance of the trans atlantic relationship to us. in order to ensure that we're able to be there for the future and we have the funding and resources to be there for the future we need to ensure to ourselves, to the congress, the american people that we are there as efficiently as we can be. >> any final questions? all right. folks, thank you very much for coming. as mr. chollet was kind enough to mention the air force has been gracious enough to provide an expert here to talk about the f-35 basing if anyone has any questions to that. thank you very much for your time. >> thank you. >> folks, thank you for coming. that concludes our briefing for today. >> coming up tonight on c-span, the markup of the keystone xl
pipeline bill. after that house speaker john boehner weighs in. and after that, the keystone pipeline legislation in the u.s. senate. there was one alone democrat to vote with republicans on this debate on the senate floor. from "little co. -- "politico," a discussion on the situation called keystone on the brink. a presidential veto would require a hefty 66 votes from the senate.
corralling for other yes both will prove difficult and perhaps an impossible task. now the senate energy and natural resources committee on markup, regarding the keystone xl pipeline. this is two hours and 15 at minutes. -- 15 minutes. >> the committee will come to order. the committee will come to order. it is good to be together. the first hearing of this 115th congress. i welcome our new members to the committee. it is good to see such great attendance. it is also nice to see a packed house. my prediction for this new year is that energy will be a subject , an issue, an area that will
draw great attention. it's not only is important here in this congress, but it is important to our nation's economy, it is important to our nation's security and it is an issue that we will take up in this committee issues that will be front and center moving forward. i am pleased that we have got an opportunity today to talk about energy in a broad perspective but recognizing that we have members that have other issues in front of them, other committees that they will go to. i want to give you just a brief outline of how i would like to conduct this hearing this morning. i would like to lay a little bit of the groundwork here for where the committee will proceed in this congress.
not going on too long, but giving you as committee members my focus, my perspective. obviously, this is a business meeting, taking up the keystone xl pipeline, and we need to process that. there have been a couple of amendments presented by members. i want to make sure that we have an opportunity to get through the business portion of this meeting. what i also want to make very clear to each of you that i want to extend the courtesy to you to make your statements, your comments not only about the keystone xl pipeline and the legislation before us, that the committee itself and perhaps your interests with that. i just wanted to lay that out to you that i would like you to know that this is not just an opportunity for me as your chairman to have the microphone
and to my partner and ranking member, senator cantwell and to each of you as well. with that said, i will tell you that i am extremely honored to be the second chairman murkowski for this standing committee. it is quite an honor and a privilege to me. i have been a member of this committee since i came to the senate. it has been my number one priority, when you come from a producing state like alaska that is understandable. but it has also been an extraordinary opportunity to come to embrace all aspects of the energy sector, whether it be trying to figure out how to deal with nuclear waste and disposal issues, how we move towards a more efficient energy system, how we work to build out our energy if the structure --
energy infrastructure and our energy grid. there is so much of that is included in this energy sector. it is not just the natural resources that we deal with. it is the other aspect of our portfolio here within this committee. sometimes people forget that the public lands piece is huge particularly those of us in the west. the territories. we have a senator from hawaii who has a -- who has joined the committee, and i welcome her. i also recognize as someone from the other noncontiguous states, hence our territories get overlooked. we have jurisdiction over them and we will not forget them. i do again thank you for the opportunity to help direct our energy agenda for these next couple of years here. and i look forward to looking --
to working with senator cantwell. our geographic neighbors so to speak with so much shared interests between the states of washington and alaska. we have a lot that we can be working on collaboratively. to -- i have a very strong collaborative relationship with my colleague from oregon senator wyden, from the committee. i think we set a good tone for this committee, in terms of how we build things and how we work to advance initiatives throughout the process. having said that, as we embark on their first business meeting, our markup, i think it is a little unfortunate that we move to markup first, that we did not have the opportunity for the hearing was scheduled yesterday. we had already laid that groundwork, we had invited our
agreed-upon witnesses, we circulated a background memo that i hope each of you had an opportunity to read and review. it was written by joint staff in preparation for the hearing. we had already gotten testimony from our witnesses, the association of oil pipeline, the center for american progress and the labors international union of america. i submitted on the floor during a clue the -- during a color look the -- a colloquy yesterday that it would become part of that record. we want to submit an original bill to approve the keystone xl pipeline. the text of this bill is identical to the original bill
reported by this committee last year on a pipe part -- bipartisan vote. it fell one vote short in the senate. i think it is fair to say that the world, and the country, but also the world is watching the united states to see if we are ready to lead on -- as a global energy superpower, which i think we recognize we have become. we certainly are viewed in the eyes of many outside this country. and an energy superpower that respects its neighbors, and the trade with its allies, else necessary if the structure -- necessary infrastructure such as the pipeline. i think the congress is ready to send the signal on a bipartisan
manner in a way that is strong. i think the american people are ready, that we continue to be blocked by this administration. there is already a veto threat out there, but i don't think that the threat did to deter us from our initiative both as a committee, as the senate, and is a congress. this long-delayed keystone xl project is far from being the only issue that demands our attention today. in my state of alaska, we got a considerable oil pipeline, 800 mile pipeline that has been around for 35-40 plus years. it is surrounded by literally billions of untapped oil on federal lands and out in our federal waters. but we appear to be butting heads with federal government at every step and at every turn, limiting our ability to bring on new production. what we have seen with that pipeline is that the flow has declined dramatically. we are less than half full in
the transatlantic -- trans-alaska pipeline. it is costing us at. it threatens our state's legend. it has prompted "the new york times" to write about the economic anxiety that afflicts alaska. this is not just alaskans thinking about these issues. it is recognized by others outside as well. i think you all know that those of you who worked with me for appearing of time that i am passionate about alaska and i am very passionate about my state. it alaska will not be my only priority. having said that, iowa going to be working very hard with each of you to remind you all that we are and arctic nation because of of alaska -- because of alaska. what that means to you, whether you are in maine, or elsewhere is i welcome my friends and
colleague, and senator king with his interest on the arctic issues and the ranking member senator cantwell. also, we have keen interest in how we are going to build out our arctic opportunities. the queue should expect the committee to devote january and february on hearings for a wide variety of issues. one thing to expect next week will be a notice for legislative hearings to be held closer to the end of the month on senator barrasso's bipartisan expert legislation. i think that it is clearly an issue that is timely and has been teed up. other potential topics for hearings include electric grid innovation. this is something that senator cantwell and i have discussed at length. also, nuclear waste policy which is something that senator alexander has been working on with a small group of us, authorizer's and appropriators
-- authorizers and appropriators. i want to make sure that we don't use traction there. revenue-sharing from louisiana and our new member senator kassie. we will continue to build on work that senators have worked on for years there. and i want us to get back to the practice where we bring in the secretary of energy, we bring in the secretary of the interior, and we do it regularly to appear before the panel, not just once when the budget is presented. i have been asked as i have wondered through the hallways here in this past few days, what are the priorities? what are your priorities? i don't think it has been any
secret to those of you who have been on my committee, my energy 2020 book, i am kind of proud of my energy 2020 book but it is not out yet even though we have published it a couple of years ago. it outlines much of my philosophy and it is pretty simple. 115 pages, but i will distill it to one per sticker for you. energy is good. it is vital to the prosperity and to the assets for us to help her allies. we want to continue to make our energy of abundant, affordable clean diverse, and secure. so there is no acronym of there but it is arranged alphabetically, so you can remember that. but i do think that we should be confident as a committee confident as a congress, that we can make progress towards these goals by strengthening supply, modernizing our if a structure
and supporting efficiency and securing accountability. these four focus areas, supply infrastructure efficiency, and accountability will form the basis of the hill that i am hopeful that we can get to an end. i'm going to sit down with each and everyone of you to understand your priorities for legislation, both within these four categories and within our committee's jurisdiction and your interests. taste on that feedback, i intend to assemble a chairman's mark for each of the four titles. those will then be the subject of legislative. subsequently considered, amended, voted on by our committee, and this is going to be -- subject of a legislative legislative hearings, and considered on, and voted on by our committee. this is going to be good work. it will take work from each and every one of us.
we are prepared to move on a work product. i know this is an aggressive schedule. i think it is very achievable. if we move ahead with it, i am optimistic that we are going to find common ground. we are going to find common ground as a starting point. we know there is going to be areas that we are butting heads on, and that we are not going to find the unanimous support. that is why we engaged in negotiation, conduct both, and have a process here. we carry out institutional functions expected of us as a legislative hottie. as i mentioned, we have got a multitask job here. i will not for the record that it is to women that are leading this committee. i'm not going to say that women are better at multitasking than men, but most women i know are better at multitasking than men.
so we are going to help you along here. when you think about the jurisdiction of this committee it is more than jurisdiction, it is more than minerals, we've got public lands water forests grazing, hunting territories and other issues. all of them command our attention. just a couple of quick examples as they relate to those of forest land management reforms we left that on the table in the last congress and i think we have got to get back to work on it. there is bipartisan agreement that we have to improve the management of air force. that includes getting the timber harvest up and that is something that senator wyden has led on. we have got to get a handle on the wildfire problem. we all know we do not want to wait too long for the next catastrophic wildfire. we've got to protect our water supplies and work to sustain our rural communities. although there may be a need for-based solutions, i think we need a shaun white forest reform
legislation. and securing schools is another area that i have talked to many about. we did not extend the next congress, and communities and schools are dependent on that support and they are watching us closely. and one point that i would be remiss if i did not mention is the defense authorization bill. that would be the national park reform something that senator coburn even though he was not april of our committee, really did some serious review of our -- he was not a part of our committee, really did some serious review of our park system. it is celebrating the anniversary next year. this is a historic anniversary to celebrate. we need to recognize that this is also an agency that is struggling with multiple systemic issues. this would be a good time to focus on this and said national
park reform legislation to the president. so throughout all of this, i intend to uphold the reputation of this committee that, through history, has done some very good, good things. good for the congress, good for the country, working in a very collaborative member. our ranking member, senator cantwell, and i agree that there are good opportunities for us to be engaging in productive work product that will make a difference for the long-term. and i want to ensure that each of you feels that you have shared weight and responsibility as we address the energy issue for our country and our nation. i can promise you that i will never have as long an opening statement as i have just given this morning, but i felt it important to kind of layout some of where i believe the committee
is headed in the next couple of years. and with that, i am pleased to turn to my ranking member, senator cantwell, for her comments. >> thank you madam chair and congratulations on your comments. thank you and congratulations on your chairmanship. this is the second time i have called a murkowski chair of this committee. i am sure your father is very proud of you at this morning -- this moment. i'm sure all of alaskans are happy at the outcome of your taking over this committee. we recognize that special moment for all of them. i look forward to working with you on this committee on
opportunities and issues you just mentioned. i want to welcome the new members to the committee on our side. senator warren, senator king, senator barrasso, obviously from different parts of the united states. i'm certainly going to count on senator warren's help in implementing if you recolor, market manipulation of authority, that continues to allow them to police markets with senator king on issues of biomass and keen interest in making sure we continue to have a leadership role in keeping energy prices down in his region of the world by looking at i/o mass alternatives. and i look forward to working with new members on your side, senators daines, cassidy gardner, and capito. i want to express my feelings of prayers and heartbroken sorrow to senator capito for the loss of her father. i know she could not be with us today.
i so appreciate what you had to say about the energy agenda moving forward for the committee. we certainly will look forward as you said, there is a lot of what is in common between washington and alaska, everything from sustainable fisheries to the interests in the arctic, to our public lands, to hydropower. i actually think i read somewhere that your father was born in seattle and migrated up to alaska. to say that our states are in her -- to say that our states are interconnected with the economies is a big understatement. there are years and years and decades of interdependence between our regions. hopefully our energy policy we can work together and put forth will represent not just the interest of our regions, but the entire country. i certainly look forward to proposing ideas as part of that. our clean energy solutions will
do two things, to help the united states accomplish a leadership position in energy issues and to protect consumers from unnecessary energy price spikes. so you mentioned a lot of those things as very broad range of issues that we will be addressing, and i look forward to working with you on those. obviously, needless to say, this week did not go as we would like. i apologize to our colleagues for the changes in the short notice. i hope that we will adhere to regular order. this is something that we all know is very important for our congress moving forward. we are here today to discuss whether congress should prematurely intervene in the pipeline setting process for a special business interest, transcanada corporation. the keystone xl proposal has changed substantively over the years and has an updated route through nebraska. this has been much debated as a topic here in this committee and a much debated topic in local
governments, state commissions and now state ports. i think it has been much debated for good reason. if a u.s. company tried to find a pipeline, it would have to go through local laws and environmental regulations. so a foreign business should do the same. all of the discussion started to happen when transcanada's first proposal went through a lot of local interest in the state of nebraska and it objected. the pipeline travels through 875 miles of america's agricultural heartland's, including sensitive areas like the sand hill region of nebraska. this is some of the richest agricultural lands in the country and has a fresh drinking water and supplies eight states and provides the groundwater for irrigation. this is why transcanada
corporation had to revise its original route. this new route through nebraska is also challenge because the nebraska legislation give their governor the authority to cite the pipeline over the regulatory commission in the state, the nebraska public service corporation. that is the state agency that is dedicated to protecting the public interest, not the special interests, but the public interest on issues of safety environment, and eminent domain. now the nebraska supreme court is set to decide whether this proposed route through nebraska will stand, depending on their interpretation, whether the legislation and governor acted according to their constitution. if we want to place the blame today about a slow process, we should start thinking about transcanada corporation and what proposal should have been in the first place. congress has succeeded in trying to prematurely decide what is in the state's interests for this
pipeline, which is what congress proposal would have been before, and we would have approved the sand hill pipeline route. so i think that what we need to realize is what the emergency here is for congress to assert a process and become a exciting committee and approve a pipeline for a route that is not yet approved. the are too many important environmental issues to consider, instead of giving a foreign country special interest, a sweetheart deal from congress that u.s. businesses have not gotten. my message to transcanada corporation is to play by the rules. my colleagues know well that we don't know how to clean up car stands and oil spill's in water. in michigan in 2010, the tires -- the tar sand spill is has -- has been called one of the biggest inland oil spill's in
u.s. history. a pipeline owned by you different canadian company ruptured and spilled 800,000 gallons of tar sands into the kalamazoo river. in that spill, the in bridge found that tar sands sank to the bottom of the river. the only way to clean was to dredge the river and that cost want to get dollars. the bill in front of us would the act -- is back at the same risk. the same thing that kalamazoo went through, the canadian corporation behind it would not have to pay a penny as part of the american oil spill trust and. that is because currently there is a loophole in our law that says that tar sand spill don't have to pay into the oil spill trust funds. so the keystone xl pipeline would escape pain hundreds of millions of dollars into that trust fund.
i plan to introduce legislation that those tar sands have to pay into the oil spill trust fund. even the current keystone project environment, there are many questions. recently, i would like to submit -- i don't know if we are going to have a record this morning, because it is an executive session and not a hearing -- but i will pass out to colleagues a recent story in "business week" saying that the current sister keystone project during a week in september was three quarters of the well on the safest pipeline in the world and it required redoing. so all we are expanding is lots more safety issues and concerns. so again i say, why the hurry? americans are bearing that risk of transporting canada's dirty oil to a world market, and the oil industry is pushing to allow u.s. crude oil to export it at
the same time and they say the pipeline is vital to u.s. interests. the fact that transcanada is going to export lots of oil through our country and their goal is to sell oil to the highest bidder. this could ultimately raise the price of gas. in fact i am at the last markup, and i pointed this out to many of my colleagues because currently the mid west and industrial base has a better price and i am sure it is very concerning about what the price would be in the midwest if so much of the oil was exported out of the country. are those that think that safety issues have been resolved, to think that all of these issues about getting rid of tar sand oil spill's have been resolved, according to the state department impact, will can also him it global warming pollution and it is 81% higher than the average use in the refineries. so today madam chairman, i asked today that this is a premature efforts.
we are trying as a congress to decide a sighting issue that has taken a long time for a very important environmental and safety and public issues, to say nothing of imminent debates to be resolved. like nebraska is finding out and you try to push those environmental laws it ends up taking a longer because the support processes and the processes that we have to go through. so madam chairman, i thank you for the opportunity to make a statement about this, and i would just like to add that i really do look forward to working with you on this legislation that this committee could afford in a comprehensive way, to lead to real job creation. when i think about i encourage colleagues on both sides to look at what was accomplished in a bipartisan effort during that time period. but we were able and working with other colleagues to help bolster a hybrid and electric vehicle industry that added 260,000 jobs in the last five
years. that 2005 and 2007 bills also hope -- helped support 450,000 jobs with energy efficiency laws we passed. we also helped save clean energy technology development through efforts of the wind energy tax credit working with our colleague on the finance committee, the former chair of this committee, senator widen , that has helped increase 50,000 jobs in the united states of america. so i really think this 21st century energy strategy for our country will help produce that cleaner energy, help us not be so subject to price spikes of the future, and help us lead our country forward. so i know it's unfortunate how all of this week came together and that at this first meeting we're having such a contentious issue, but i think you and i working together after this legislation moves through will really embrace working across the aisle in a bipartisan fashion with all of our
colleagues to show that we can move our country forward on comp comprehensive -- comprehensive energy strategy. thank you. congratulations. >> thank you. and i think with the challenges that we have in front of us, it just makes the opportunities to make some good things happen that much better. so i appreciate the opportunity to be working with you on really weighty things. as far as moving forward with amendments, i do want to make sure we are respectful of member's times and recognition that we're all busy. but you do again want -- but i do again want give members an opportunity to speak to the measure in front of us, the keystone excel pipeline. ordinarily i would operate by the early bird rule, he or she
thought -- that comes first gets recognized first. but we all came in about the same time so today i'd like to recognize members by order of committee seniority going from side to side. but if there are members that do have to leave early, please let me know it so that we might be able to accommodate you as well. looking around the table, this could be a long morning for us to get to amendments, so i ask for your indulgence with brief comments. i turned my colleague from wyoming. >> deferring to others. already being the complete gentleman and recognizing. >> thank you. madam, colleagues my remarks , will be shorter than the time it takes for the oregon ducks to score on ohio state. >> well, wait a minute. wait a minute. [laughter] >> and i will also say stay tuned for the friendly wager
that will soon be announced between the oregon senators and ohio senators and my friend senator portman and i are going to be part of that. being the methuselah of this committee at this point, i look forward to all new members democratic side, you know, republican side, and i think senator murkowski and senator cantwell have great opportunities to lead us in a bipartisan way. i just want to make a few comments with respect to this issue before us today. because we have sent in his room now -- sat in this room now for years, and the argument has been made that america greatly needs keystone because prices at pump were too high for consumers. now fortunately our country has , become the babe ruth for oil and gas production. prices at the pump now represent the best tax cut that working
families have seen in a long time. now, i think it's important to acknowledge the debate involves differences between reasonable people. some experts are saying build keystone, and prices at the pump will fall further. there are other experts who make a pretty persuasive different case and very -- they say prices at pump are going to rise in some parts of the country. my colleague mentioned the midwest. my question is, and i think we've got to ask it today, why does it make sense for the congress to do something that could put at risk the better days that consumers are seeing at gas pumps across the country right now? that's number one. number two, and i'll wrap up with just these two quick
additional points, madame chair. there are a number of us who have been involved in the whole debate with respect to jobs. senator franken has been very concerned and very eloquent with respect to the project being built with americans do -- american steel. i've had the finance committee staff working on it. at some point, whether on the committee or floor, and i'm open to this, there ought to be annual reporting by the transportation on safety used on the project requiring disclosure of the origins of products used. the amendment assures americans get the facts about how much u.s. steel is utilized in construction and maintenance of the pipeline. this provides real transparency and would help the congress insure the claims being made about jobs and opportunities are actually born out tomorrow. second, it seems to me to be important to create requirements for transcanada to follow. this would insuppliers of steel
-- ensure suppliers of steel for project that paid duty import taxes and fees and not vieding u.s. antidumping and counter vailing duty laws. recent trade cases involve oil , country tubular goods reminder of the risk this particular project presents inviting more unfairly traded goods in our country. certainly, it is not in the interest of our country for this project to be used by companies that themselves do not a bide by our nation's trade laws to unfairly compete with american manufactures by taking the steps prescribed here, i'd be happy to show this to colleagues of both sides. the finance staff has been working on. congress will insure this forges and path toward job creation and does not become a pipeline for unfairly goods that skirt american trade rules. point number two deals with oil spills. and this is a matter senator
cantwell mentions that involves finance jurisdiction and energy jurisdiction. nobody is given a good reason why oil sans refiners do not oil sands every other refiner in fact -- refiners do not share responsibility for oil spills like every other refiner in the united states. this ought to be corrected. it can be done by the finance committee and energy committee on a bipartisan basis. the last point i make, it's important to insure the public gets full value for oil and gas produced on federal lands. and at some point i'm going to offer amendment to that effect. having been involved in this for a number of years, i've been pushing bureau of land management to revise its onshore order number nine to reduce the waste of natural gas on public lands, make sure the taxpayer gets full value for public resource. and again, i think i think this is can be tackled in bipartisan way. again, to the chair and the ranking minority member, good wishes. i look forward to the session. >> thank you senator widen. and i'm going to use chairman's
discretion here and change the order already. if my good friend from idaho will allow me to recognize the sponsor of the keystone excel pipeline to perhaps go ahead of you. but i'm looking at you. and if you're -- >> i'll yield the floor. i'm anxious to hear when he has to say. >> i think we are all anxious although we have had years of listening to the well articulated comments from the sponsor of this legislation who has encouraged many of us to see the broader picture of the benefits the keystone excel will bring us. with that, i would ask the senator hogan for his comment s this morning. >> thank you madame chairman. congratulations as the chairman of this energy committee.
i look forward to working with you as well as ranking member cantwell. i'm particularly pleased we're starting out with approval of the keystone pipeline project. the legislation that we're marking up is legislation that i developed some time ago and have had a variety of cosponsors and many cosponsors. right now the leading cosponsor on the democratic side of the hotel is the -- aisle is the senator from the great state of west virginia, senator mansion. i want to thank him for his leadership and bipartisanship. i truly appreciate it. and for our other sponsors on the legislation, we have 60 sponsors on the legislation. so it truly is bipartisan. and it's an effort not only to approve some important energy infrastructure, it really is an effort to have an open amendment process on the senate floor where we can get back to regular order and all of the senators
can offer their amendments on the floor. we can debate them and have a vote. and if you can get 60 votes, it gets added to the legislation. so whether it's good senator from oregon who just laid down the gauntlet against my good friend from ohio, or anyone else. you know, let's go to the floor. let's have that debate on this legislation. and then let's you know, approve the best bill we can and move this project forward. it's interesting to listen to some of the discussion that's already been put forward about how, why are we taking up this measure rather than just letting it continue to go through the process. well, it's gone through the process for six years. for six years and it's still not through the process. americans won world war ii in a shorter amount of time. and to hear about how gas prices are lower now. how do you think that happened?
it happened because we're producing more oil and gas in this country in places like north dakota, balkin, eager ford eagle ford -- eagle ford and texas. with our best friend and ally in the world, canada, oil is produce there had. as we increase supplies, simple economics says more supply helps bring down prices. every consumer is benefits at pump to the tune of billions of. -- billions of dollars. but you know what? we've got to get that gas, oil from where it's produced to where it's consumed. how you going to do that? to do that you need energy infrastructure and you need the right mix of energy infrastructure. you need pipelines, rail, roads, for electricity, transmission. that's part of our job isn't it? making sure we create a business climate where entrepreneurs and companies can invest and build that infrastructure we need to
get this energy to market. and as others have rightly said, every consumer then benefits. and energy is a foundational industry. we not only create jobs and economic growth and national securities, we produce more energy here at home and work with canada to have north american energy security. but it's the foundational industry that benefits every other industry because energy costs makes our country more competitive in the global economy where we have to compete. and it's so important that we develop that energy here at home, that we develop it with canada so that we don't have to buy energy from places like opec. look what's going on in the world. and to think that gas and oil prices are lower because opec gave us a christmas present. well, that's just wrong. that's not the case. we're producing it here, but we can't keep producing it here if we don't have the infrastructure to do it.
that's part of building the right kind of comprehensive energy plan for the country. that's what this bill is all about. it's just common sense. the most recent poll i've seen shows the american public supports this project by about 68%. i think that's the most recent poll. so almost 70% of the american people wants this done. after six years, after more than six years. transcanada originally filed the application and and -- in september 2008. a lot of us weren't even here then. six years, and we're talking about rushing something? how are we going to have a functioning economy for this nation? how does america continue to be made greatest place in the world -- readthe greatest place in the
world to do business? how do we, you know, have that rising tide that lifts all boats? how do we foster entrepreneurship and the ingenuity of america if we're holding up our business people for six years and saying somehow that's rushing the process? what's going on? what happened to doing business in america? so when we say well, you know, this is just one project, it's a case in point. it's one project. but it's part of are we going to build the infrastructure we need to truly have north american energy security? it's also a test case to see if we can come together on the senate floor, offer amendments in open process, have debates, vote, and find bipartisanship and get something done for the american people. and they're watching. and i want to thank again all of the co-sponsors on this bill particularly starting with senator manchin. it's not always easy to step up and lead, but he's somebody who does that in a bipartisan way. and i just want to say i really appreciate and respect everybody that's joined us in this endeavor. and i hope we can mark this up take it to the floor, and have
that debate. so let's do that. i mean, everybody's got their point. make your point. but let's get the bill to the floor. let's have that debate on the floor. and let's get the important work of this congress started. let's debate, let's vote, let's get it done. >> thank you senator: openhogan. we'll turn to senator sanders. i will remind people in an effort to try to get to the actual bill itself we are keeping the clock moving. so senator sanders. >> let me begin, senator murkowski, by congratulating you on becoming chair of this important committee and welcoming all of our new members to this committee. madam chair, much of what we do here in congress is often
forgotten pretty quickly. it's hard for members to remember what we did last year let alone the american public. but i have a feeling that this particular issue, the keystone xl pipeline, is not going to be forgotten. it is not going to be forgotten by our children and our grandchildren. it is, in fact, not going to be forgotten by history because i have a feeling that our kid and our grandchildren 20, 30, 40 years ago -- 40 years from now they're going to be asking us and hopefully we'll all be here they're going to be asking us what were you guys thinking about? what were you doing? did you not hear what the scientific community all over the world was saying, that climate change is, in fact, the most serious environmental crisis facing this planet? that's not bernie sanders talking. that is virtually every major scientific organization in this country and throughout the world. and virtually without exception, what they are saying is climate
change is real, climate change is caused by carbon emissions and human activity, climate change is already causing devastating problems in the united states of america and around the world. i don't have to remind anybody here that just a year or two years ago we voted $60 billion in order to deal with hurricane sandy. and what the scientific community tells us, if we don't get our act together and start reversing climate change we're going to have more extreme weather disturbances. that's what they're telling us. and then i listen to this debate today. and is this this debate about, ok, how do we go forward in transforming our energy system moving away from fossil fuel into energy efficiency and into sustainable energy. is that the debate that we're hearing today?
is the debate about how we invest more in technology so that we can come up with transportation systems that are more energy efficient? is that the debate we are hearing today? no. what the debate is that we are hearing today and where i fear a majority of the members of this committee will vote is to reject science. and i am very worried about the united states congress turning its back on science, turning its back on those people who tell us that we have got to cut carbon emissions rather than give a green light for the exploration and the production of some of the dirtiest oil on this planet. i think frankly that is crazy. i think we are moving in exactly the wrong direction.
i want to thank president obama for telling us that he will veto this legislation, and i certainly hope that we will have the votes in congress to sustain that veto. and more importantly, i hope very much that we get our act together, transform our energy system, move to energy efficiency, move to weatherization, move to solar, geothermal and other sustainable energies. thank you very much, madam chair. >> thank you, madam chairman. i'll be brief. you know, this exercise we've gone through over the last six years on this bill is a poster child for what's happened in america over the last 30 or 40 years. it just amazes me that we have to pass a law to force the government to get out of the way so that the free market system can work. the decision as to what happens with this pipeline shouldn't be the government's. it ought to be the free market system.
let the free marketplace work. if this is a good thing, it's going to get built, if it's a bad thing it's not going to get built, and like i say, it's for those people who want to control every single aspect of our lives, this is a poster child for how you do it. we need to get out of the way, pass this, and let the marketplace work. thank you, madam chairman. >> thank you very much, madam chair. first, congratulations to you and our ranking member. i really look forward to working with you on a broader energy strategy. i think we've got important work to do. i would just first of all just comment on my friend's comments in terms of the private sector. i think the folks in nebraska who are concerned about safety would like to make sure that they have some input. it's not just private interests in canada or private interests in the united states that should decide what happens in communities in terms of public safety. i think that's something our states feel very strongly about and local communities and that we need to be paying attention to as well.
maybe it's taken six years because it shouldn't be built because there's been concerns that have been raised about a wide variety of things that have already been mentioned including safety. i do want to start, though, by stating the good news that others have said. the reality is that gas prices are down. $1.98 at the pump in lansing. $1.95 at the pump in grand rapids. $1.69 a gallon for my friends in marathon at detroit. that's because we have more american production, and we thank the obama administration for more american production and more energy-efficient vehicles and i'm proud to say a lot of those are made in michigan. so we are seeing us moving forward. we in 2005 had 60% of the oil we were using coming in from opec and other countries, 60%. next year it's going to be 25%. that's a good thing. so the question is how do we move forward in the future in terms of energy or do we go backwards. and i would argue this goes
backward, not fwarlds. -- forwards. first of all, as someone from michigan, we are deeply concerned about prices rising as a result of this. there are certainly many economists who are saying that will happen as well as the concern about unleashing unlimited exports of natural gas which will certainly raise prices for our manufacturers which is also a concern of mine. but i do want to take a moment to speak to the fact that this bill has a lot of risks and very few rewards for americans. and that's my biggest concern. we talk about the oil. we need more oil production to bring prices down. -- ok, let's look at this. transcanada. canada's going to take the oil through our country to a tax-free zone in the gulf and ship it to china where they'll pay more. we're not going to get that oil. there's no requirement in here that we get that oil. in fact, in michigan the estimates are that our prices are going to go up. not a good deal. secondly, we have no requirement that the materials, the steel,
the manufacturing, the jobs will be american. and we know that even though there are important construction jobs, and believe me, i don't take that lightly, we are looking at about 35 permanent jobs, 15 contractors, as opposed to, when we look at the private sector right now, businesses have added almost 11 million jobs in the last 57 months, and i'm pleased to say a lot of those in manufacturing, and if we were to look at clean energy, whether it's biofuels or wind or solar, i've said so many times in the committee but it's true in terms of construction and manufacturing. there's 8,000 parts in a wind turbine. 8,000. somebody's got to make those. we can make them in michigan. i have been to alaska and seen an american-made, a michigan-made wind turbine in alaska. now, we want big-job production, and i appreciate so much our ranking member and everything she said, but talking about
moving forward on a big jobs plan, that's wind and solar and energy efficiency and biofuels and a whole bunch of other things. let me say finally -- and i appreciate very much senator cantwell raising the pipeline issue in michigan -- we've had unfortunately a couple of cases very serious, pristine river kalamazoo river, fishing canoeing, 20 years of renewing this river, one fell swoop 800,000 gallons of tar sands. i had the dubious distinction of going in a helicopter over this with the epa administrator right after it happened. stunning. now. the company has come in and, you know, cleaned up most of what was there. we still can't fish. we still have, people along the river can't use their property their back yards. this is going to take tens of years to clean up. then you can go to the other
side of the state where we have in detroit mounds of what's called petcvoke, petroleum coke from tar sands that was sitting on the detroit river, now not only blowing into the river, blowing into the school, neighborhoods, churches of the southwest side of detroit. now, thanks to my colleague senator peters who's now with us and i was proud to join with him, that pet coke's not sitting there anymore, but it was pet coke from tar sands that blew in two huge areas of detroit. and now we have, madam chair, a real concern in the straits of mackinaw going across our beautiful state from the upper to lower peninsula where we have a very old pipeline. and, again, concerns about the fact there haven't been upgrades since it was first installed very few upgrades since 1953 and what will happen as we see more happening there. so we have a lot of experience with this. and i certainly want jobs, but i can create ten ways in energy
that we can create more jobs and less risk for people in michigan and the american people. and i hope -- i'm looking forward to working with you on that. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, madam chair. i'll be brief. it's my strong belief that hardworking americans desperately need the jobs that would be provided by this legislation, that would be created if this legislation were to take effect. they also need the energy, the reliability that will come from that energy. our energy demands are what they are. we'll continue to buy energy from whatever place we can get it. it might as well be from sources in north america. and i think that's what energy independence is all about. this would help that. this would facilitate that. this would give hardworking american what is they need which is jobs and energy security. i strongly urge my colleagues to support it. thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator?
>> i just want to congratulate you, madam chair. i've been working with you on this committee and admire you and i am looking forward to working with you on all sorts of things including, as senator hogan mentioned, the bakken and the oil and gas that we're getting there. and i point this out a lot. we are able to do that because of research done by the department of energy. and in all kinds of technologies, horizontal drilling, microseismic imaging all came from either directly from the department of energy or from work between the department of energy and the oil and gas industry.
and that speaks to the kind of research and the kind of job that we're going to have on this committee in terms of funding the research that is going to be the answer to what senator sanders brought up, because there's no way to ignore this. i have a grandson who's now 19 months old, and i want to be able to say to him that when he turns what will be 90-something at the turn of the century, i want to -- well, i probably won't be talking to him then but i want him to look at the work they did and know that, you know, we've been around a while and are going to be around a while longer. and we need to have a short-term, a midterm, and a long-term strategy to avoid the tragic consequences of something
that's very real and that we ignore at our own risk. finally, i just want to say that senator widen brought up american steel. we put american steel into our water projects in the werder bill. i don't understand why this can't be built with american steel if, in fact, it gets done. so i look forward to, if this goes to the floor, we'll be talking a lot more about it. but, again, congratulations. >> thank you, senator franken. senator flank. senator danes. >> thank you, madam chair. congratulations and ranking member cantwell, and thank you for holding this hearing. there has been an lot said already about jobs, economic
growth, the environmental soundness of the keystone pipeline, energy independence, but i want to share what it means for the state of montana. the keystone pipeline enters the state of montana, the first tone it enters, -- how it enters that town -- town it enters, morgan, montana, a small little town. montana is 49th or 48th in some surveys in per-capita income in our country. i'll tell you, as i travel around the state in my pickup, you see that not everybody has a fly rod in their hand or is on the ski hill. there's a lot of folks who are struggling month to month to make ends meet. senior citizens, hardworking montanans. what this means for montana, first of all, it's 100,000 barrels a day of montana and north dako