tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 17, 2015 2:30am-4:31am EDT
speech. he mentioned that he has a phd student, in this case. a project he was describing that he wanted the phd student to do good the student said, i do not know if i could do that. and he said, i would not have asked you to do it if i did not think you could do it. there is a profoundly validating element of pushing people that is a great management style in itself. can i ask you one more question about culture and then we will open it up to the floor? we have a lot of questions and thoughts in the room. when you think about your goal on the senior team in helping to shape, strengthen, and keep healthy the culture, the norms and values within twitter, can you say a little bit about how you think about that part of your role, that inward-facing role? gabriel: culture is a living
breathing thing. especially in the technology world, where you have companies like twitter that are young. twitter will turn 9 later this year. some of you in this room think it has been here forever, but it has not been here forever. not even close. because of the truncated cycles of our world in the media and technology full -- fold, there is a sense of attachment to things, including culture. even in cultures like ours, there is this poll to preserve parts of our culture. at twitter, we have certain -- like you have these core values, at twitter, we have a number of them too.
we want to create a culture where those values can continue to exist, but that is different from preserving the culture. i actually think -- so, inwardly facing, our responsibility as a leadership team is to create an environment where those types of values can continue to flourish. also, being really open-minded about some of these things are falling down. i will give you a specific example. we have two core values which are deliberately in opposition to one another. one of which is to be rigorous and get it right. another is to ship it. we talk about launching things as shipping things. ship it, just get it out the door. be rigorous and get it right is a different kind of value. those two things are at odds
with one another. as a company, we felt like, hey the fact that these two things are at odds with one another is slowing us down, creating tension that we do not need, building headwinds that are counterproductive. our responsibility is one, to a knowledge of this -- to acknowledge this. these things, through a passive voice, exist. these things are happening. no, it is not happening. you are building this. if you are standing by, you are facilitating this apparently counterproductive thing to happen. it acknowledges this is going on and acknowledges to everyone outside that room that it is going on. and it says, hey, look, this is
something we are thinking about and trying to address. part of us, as a culture, we were talking earlier about our external transparency report. we tried to be radically transparent internally, too. as a leadership team, we are deliberating a number of things that impact our culture. we try whenever possible to share that with the company as passing. >> that is a great internal norm, i think. some of the difficult conversations that are not usually framed that way. normally, when we hear the phrase difficult conversations we are thinking about a manager and a report and something did not go right. this notion that this is a tension in our work environment and we do not know the answer yet, but let's talk about it, that is great. let's open it up. i would ask you to use the microphones.
i would ask you to capture it in video. we also have the ability for questions to come in from remote. >> a recent article on npr highlighted the role that twitter was playing interest -- in citizen journalism in mexico with the cartel violence that was erupting. one woman's account was hacked and it stated that she had died. i was curious, in these violent situations, what response, if any, does twitter have? >> i am not familiar with this one. the material that was going out from her account was not true? what she was reporting on the violence. no one was entirely clear if she ever was a real person or not. gabriel: i see. in the context of violence or any kind of crisis situation part of us -- we get this
question a lot. i will give you a slightly more tame example than violence in mexico, but still relates. in the aftermath of hurricane sandy, there were accounts on twitter of flooding in this place. people even had these falsified photos of places that were underwater. there, like in the case of mexico, you have these questions where twitter and social media seem to be giving rise to potential misinformation. it is, i really believe, one of the most extraordinary viral platforms that has ever existed. as such, it can be a vector for the viral spread of misinformation. but what i always point out in this context is the spread of misinformation in the context of some kind of a crisis, breaking news situation is not new.
it far predates certainly social media and the example i would give from sometime after i graduated from here was the bombing of the federal building in oklahoma city. before social media, you had established media and the news accounts at the time said that there were people of a current -- a certain ethnicity who purportedly executed that bombing. the difference though, and i think this is the key distinction of the double-edged sword of social media is, you are right. it can be this vector of misinformation. but if you go back, i promise you it was not minutes until that misinformation was out there. it seems to me it may have in -- may have been days in many
circles. the fundamental change is that you have, on one hand, with platforms like twitter, an opportunity for incredible, on the ground reporting. i am standing on the hudson river. there is a plane. it just landed there. here is a picture. we later find out this is true. or i am standing on the corner of bleecker street and we are underwater. ps, it is not true. the beauty of social media is that it has accelerated the time in debunking these things. i would argue that we could rewind the tape to the oklahoma city bombing and that tragedy. i think you might have accelerated the time it took to debunk these -- this misinformation that was out there. so yes, this misinformation is
out there, but it can be put in its place more quickly now. >> thank you for that. can you use the microphone? thank you. i'm sorry. >> thank you. i am wondering, what is your view on google withdrawing from china? more specifically, to provide limited but more superior service to the people compared to no service at all. gabriel: that was definitely the most challenging captor of my time at google, without a doubt. you know, it was a source of real social change at the company and what i can tell you is -- first, let me tell you where we stand on this at twitter and i will shed some light on how that upset google. twitter is currently blocked in china.
as much as we would love for people in china to access twitter, they cannot. what we have said is we are unwilling to make the kinds of sacrifices that we believe we would need to make in order to be unblocked there. perhaps there is not a world in which twitter could be unblocked , but it would require sacrifices that we are not -- not prepared to commit to because of our values. in the case of google, i would say it was very similar. the difference was, for us, at the time, to continue operating there, it was requiring levels of sacrifice that we were unwilling to continue to sign up for. you can absolutely argue, as it was argued extensively internally at the time, that
being there even in this diminished capacity and giving people some access to the service is better than nothing. but what i will tell you about the experience at the time was we -- the premise of it was we will be there and hopefully the trendline will be one of greater openness and yet we viewed the opposite. that coinciding with our presence was a move towards more and more closed the savior -- behavior and limited access. finally, at the time when we decided to take the action that we did, actual targeting of activists and dissidents. for many of us there at the time, the question was, what for? why are we doing this? what was the benefit that was coming from our presence? and it did not seem like it was benefiting the people in mainland china and it did not
seem like it was benefiting people outside of mainland china either. it is a perfectly valid question and it was one that required literally years of deliberation on our part. but that was the conclusion that we came to. i would say it is a similar conclusion that we have come to at twitter. >> thank you for that. gabriel: feel free to lineup if you want to -- >> one of the things which twitter that is interesting is you have been seeing a decline -- or at least not the growth people want to see for monthly active users. i have heard that one of the trends around syndication, how is twitter being integrated into tv shows etc., the greater impact of the measure that twitter is having. now you are talking about the free speech movement. do you have any idea what metrics you could use to more quantitatively measure how
twitter is being used as a movement and whether it is where you want to see it and the kind of impact it is having as a company? gabriel: this is a great question. i was saying before that i feel like being a publicly-traded company has not changed us, but the spotlight is maybe brighter. this is a great example. we love the growth that we are seeing with the company. there are people who, in the investment and analyst community, have their own ideas of what that group should look like. i think the disconnect is, if you just view twitter through the lens of monthly active users , it is missing a whole part of the equation and it certainly misses it in the -- in the context of this water movement. for us, when we think about the impact that we have and how best
to measure it, it has much more to do with the total audience associated with any given moment then it does -- than it does the specific number of monthly active users that are exposed to something. it has much more to do with the kind of people who got to view and interact with a tweet associated with the oscars or the super bowl or elections in the u.k. than the individual number of people who produced a tweet. it has much more to do with this total audience than it does this limited slice of a user base. that is more of how we think about it. most recently, you saw -- started to experiment with different kinds of a logout experience that would allow you, if you are not a monthly active come along-in user, that would allow you to experience this.
hopefully we will let people experience that part of the global conversation. >> when you use the term audience, you are not just thinking collective followership. it is retweets, expressions of engagement. gabriel: look at it like this. if you are barack obama and you want to tell the world that you have just been reelected as president of the united states, you take to twitter to do so and you tweet out four more years as he did. you take to twitter to do so not because it is your x million followers and active users, but you do so because that tweet gets syndicated around the web around the world broadcast on television. that is your audience that is exposed to that particular
expression. our users already think of it in this way. it is just a question of -- i think your question is totally valid but what are the ways to quantify that? we are certainly thinking along those lines. >> rate question. we have time for a few more questions. we have talked about if you things that might keep one up at night. then you give us some examples that, as you look out on the horizon, might be worries? gabriel: i think the china example is a fair one. we have been blocked, at various times, by various countries around the world. these are things that keep us up because, when, suddenly, people are unable to access this platform that gives their voice this broader sort of megaphone it is really challenging for us
on how to navigate those waters. and how we do that while continuing to uphold our values. i think those are things, certainly for me, that are really challenging. >> especially for you. you get the first call, right? gabriel: what do you think? it is remarkable. >> how often do you tweet? gabriel: several times a day. one of you was tweeting that you were excited to have me here. so thank you. was that you? >> yes. gabriel: i am excited to meet you in the real world. i should say hey again, just to tread lightly and question the status quo.
partly because, for me, what is a visible position, i am a private person. i end up using twitter more for professional purposes. so you will see me tweeting out and's like, hey, we just issued our transparency report. that is the kind of thing i want people to know about. i know there are a lot of people who are tweeting about seeing their daughters first steps. my daughter's first steps were experienced by me in the comfort of my own home and were not disseminated that way. that is up to each and their own. that is my particular message. >> i tend to use it professionally as well. occasionally, i will tweet about my kids. it feels and sounds authentic to them. i think they respond favorably to that. gabriel: it is lovely.
as a user, some of those moments where i get to see this unvarnished look of people who i never would have access to -- i love those kind of experiences to be able to be exposed to interactions between people. i love those experiences too. to the extent that there is an appetite to see that unvarnished look at me, i am happy to catch up over coffee sometime. >> are there any tweets that you regret? gabriel: that is a great question. honestly no. i am a fairly cautious person. no. there are certainly none that i regret. there are plenty that i regret other people having done, but no. i stand by that. >> that is great. this is a relatively recent
tweet of mine and i thought it was relatively harmless. my daughter was 11. she had a civilizations history textbook. i picked it up and started reading through it. it mentioned that, as best experts can tell, that christ was not born in the year 0, but the year 5 b.c. or that is the best guest. -- best guess. i tweeted that i had just learned this. the birthdate of christ is a pretty important date for a lot of people in the world. [laughter] i got a little response to that tweet. i was trying to be the scientist. it was one of those things, it got a little bit more responsive than i expected. [laughter] gabriel: if it makes you feel any better, we had dr. pendergrass and he came by the
office. i asked him about this extraordinary exchange he had -- you may have seen this. i think it was less christmas. he tweeted out in his inimitable way that, in this day, we celebrate -- just understand this is the spirit of it for all you actors. on this day, we celebrate a man who was born by the time he was 30 revolutionized the world. happy birthday, isaac newton. it turns out that people had signed very special value to december 25. he heard an earful about it. to your question, any tweets that we or others regret, he certainly was unapologetic in having made that.
you know, i think again, people are provocative in their lives. he is certainly a provocative member of our society. i think he is probably just as provocative now as he was before twitter. it is just that we all get to experience it along with him. those types of behaviors i love seeing. >> that is part of why the university is such an exciting place. the marketplace for ideas is opened. that is why we love it here so much. thank you very much for being here. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> federal communications commission's chair tom wheeler testifies on capitol hill at a hearing examining new fcc rules
and is and what role the white house played. then we are live at the senate commerce, science, and transportation committee wednesday at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> coming up on c-span, a conversation with transportation secretary anthony foxx. then, labor secretary thomas perez on worker rights and safety issues. that is followed by a panel discussion on employment protections from members of the lgbt community. >> on the next "washington journal," congressman steve king will discuss a range of issues, including his recent trip to egypt, the ongoing iran nuclear negotiations, and immigration. after that representative brad sherman of california talks about the israeli elections, the iran nuclear program, and the president's request to use
military force against isis. later, a conversation with daniel metcalf, former founding director of the justice department office of information and privacy. he will talk about the personal e-mail server used by hillary clinton and what it means for transparency and availability of government information. "washington journal" is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern every morning on c-span. you can join the conversation with your phone calls and comments on facebook and twitter. >> the senate debate over the nomination of loretta lynch to serve as attorney general and human trafficking. martin matishak is following capitol hill for the newspaper. thank you very much for being with us. martin: thank you for having me. >> i want to begin with the house armed services committee. we will hear from ashton carter. we heard last week from john kerry, who has been working on a deal with iran. he has been in switzerland.
also we will hear from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general martin dempsey. just how contentious will this hearing the -- be? martin: this could be a contentious hearing for secretary carter and martin dempsey. they were up before the senate on late relations committee. they were up for four hours. it raise more questions than it answered about military force against islamic militants. the house armed services committee is pretty full of veterans that have served in iraq and afghanistan. they will take these officials to the mat and grill them on specific language. >> the white house continues to insist that it can move forward with action against isis without congressional approval. why is it insistent on having authorization for military force? why does it want congress to weigh in on this issue? martin: what we saw last week is
the white house feels that that would send a signal to our allies and the world that washington and the united states is united and we can lead on this issue. secretary kerry said that this should not be a party line vote. this should be an overwhelming bipartisan vote. congressmen should come in and sign off on their strategy. we can all move forward with defeating islamic militants. >> the general consensus is that republicans feel that it does not go far enough. democrats fear that it goes too far. is that a recipe for failure in congress? martin: it might just be. i think that senator bob corker of tennessee said, i do not know of a single democrat who supports this. i do not know if in my caucus there is anyone who supports it. it seems to be going nowhere fast.
last week's meeting did nothing to assuage fears. there are more questions including what we have had since last summer. what is this really doing if we pass this or not? it has been panned by members of both parties. >> the house services committee will take place on wednesday and thursday. the senate armed services committee focusing on classified issues yelling with china and russia and shipbuilding capabilities and the air force's modernization efforts. walk us through those topics. martin: this is really the senate armed services committee unpacking the pentagon's request. there was a hearing the past few weeks. last week, they had some service members as well as u.s. southern command, u.s. northern command.
really asking what are you , asking us to approve in terms of money? what are you going to do with that? it is also a chance for john mccain, the chairman of the committee, to highlight the problem of sequestration. the spending caps are put in place up for the cap. he has brought these military leaders of their and said, how bad is it going to get if we do not do something about sequester? it has been doom and gloom. they have painted a bleak picture if these spending caps are not lifted. the senate armed services getting down into the weeds even more of how the navy shipbuilding will be affected. air force modernization has been very contentious on capitol hill. how will this happen in the years and months ahead if we do not do something about sequestration? >> we are talking with martin matishak. we heard from administration officials, the president, the vice president, secretary john kerry was in utter disbelief about the letter from republican
leadership to the iranian government. we will hear more when tony lincoln testifies before the house of foreign affairs committee. i would expect that is going to be a very contentious issue and a very contentious hearing. martin: yes. that is putting that mildly. he will be grilled by members of both parties. we are coming up on the third self-imposed deadline that negotiators have given themselves. there was the deadline. there was last week's letter from the 40 gop senators. general anxiety about getting a deal done. it could be a perfect storm of anxiety and angst and worry about where these talks are. he is someone who they are going to look to to say we are so close are we are not close. trust us, we are doing everything we can. republicans are terrified that
the administration and international partners will agree to a bad deal. democrats are also concerned about that. the letter has come into play in the past 10 days. >> what about the issue of sanctions? i would presume that would come up. the iranian government wanted lifted as part of these negotiations. martin: how quickly can sanctions be reimposed or how much time will it take for sentence to come off? will we round them up again if iran violates an agreement between international partners. also, what his opinion is in terms of these bills on capitol hill right now about yes or no votes on the deal. what sanctions will come up first. it goes over this concern of reaching the arms program.
>> martin martishak has been following all of this and his work is available online at thehill.com. thank you for being with us. >> transportation secretary anthony foxx called on congress to pass a long-term transportation funding bill. he participated in a one-on-one interview with the council on foreign relations on monday where he highlighted the 30 year plan to update u.s. transportation infrastructure. this is one hour. mr. slade: good evening. we are pleased to have the secretary of transportation, mr. anthony foxx, as part of our renewing america series, to discuss beyond traffic, and how
the current state of our u.s. infrastructure is so very important to our u.s. competitiveness abroad. i guess you have been all given the housekeeping rules already. i guess i would add it is as important as ever to turn on -- turn off your phones or to vibrate, because it is on record and you would be on record as someone that failed to turn off their phone. so, mr. secretary, welcome to the council on foreign relations. secretary foxx: thank you. mr. slade: i have seen you speak on other occasions and you are a very impressive speaker, so we are looking forward to this. secretary foxx: thank you. mr. slade: before we take a deep dive into "beyond traffic," this is a group of international enthusiasts and foreign policy wonks, maybe you could remind us why it is that our infrastructure is so important
to us and internationally, our competitive position abroad. secretary foxx: thank you for the question. i want to thank the the council on foreign relations for having me. it is great to talk about -- talk to an audience who focuses on so many things happening across the world. to spend a little time talk -- talking about the role u.s. infrastructure plays in the global space -- look, we as a country were the inventors of the modern aviation system, the automobile, and many other innovations that have occurred in modes of transit and transportation. so, just from the standpoint of america continuing to create and
innovate within transportation i think the entire world has seen the impact of this country's focus on that. beyond that, we are very much aware that as the global market expands, as goods need to move across the world in a timely efficient, and safe way, that american transportation networks are going to be critical. our rail systems and highway systems are sometimes referred to as a land bridge for international travel because their goods, literally, cross our surface systems to get to another point in the world. we have ports that are going to increasingly become important. we saw, just recently, with the west coast ports and the labor issues there, that what happens when some of our ports start to slow down and become less
productive -- we also have challenges with east coast ports being drenched to a level of depth that will be receptive to the vessels moving around the earth soon. we have an aviation system that continues to evolve, and international standard-setting that now happens at iko, but innovations that continue to be worked through such as next gen, and a lot of the discussion we have had because of recent flights that were lost, in some cases, about the use of technology and tracking planes.
so, there is a lot of innovation that i think is still out there to be embedded in the world, and again, i think the u.s.'s role is as an innovator, idea generator, bringing innovations into the marketplace, but just the sheer importance of our physical infrastructure cannot be understated because we literally literally help the world move. mr. slade: well, mr. secretary you have only been secretary now for a year and a half, but you have been a busy secretary. let's talk a little bit about "beyond traffic, a very impressive document -- all 300 pages of it. there is a shorter version on the web. it is jampacked full of trends impacts on our system. from those trends, you call them the choices we have to make -- maybe you can share the contents of that document, and what it is. secretary foxx: so, "beyond traffic," is the latest effort to assess the condition of the american transportation system
and to forecast over a longer horizon than we typically have the ability to do on capitol hill and out in our communities, what trends are happening to us that we need to think about now and adjust to. just a couple of things we were able to find out in the course of doing this study -- first, we are growing. this country is going to have 70 million more people trying to move around in the next 30 years, so what i say to people is that commute that takes one hour today, get ready, it will be longer 30 years from now if we do not do more. in some cases doing more mean some of the things we have done historically, which means adding lane miles to our highway systems. in some cases, there are areas that are more constrained now --
mostly urban areas where it is impractical, and you now need to think about doing something different with modal choices adding pedestrian features different choices, different ways of moving around -- so, the sheer growth the country will experience is, i think, a troubling trend given how much we are investing and how we are investing today. there are generational differences in how each generation uses transportation. i am still from the school -- you know, when i was 16, the thing to do was to go get a car. that is how you got the girls. you know, that is what you did. mr. slade: i am glad you got the girls. secretary foxx: some people did. depending on what kind of car you had. but, anyway -- this generation
this millennial generation, has a totally different perspective on transportation, and many of them are not looking to go buy a car. frankly, some of them are not even going to buy a house these days. they have a different they have a different relationship to space so they are more likely to be on the interior of an urban metropolis, use bicycles, transit facilities. this generation is looking for a quality of life, so to speak that allows them to move fairly organically between things, and they do not want to have a lot of accoutrements on top of that. anyway, the bottom line is i think that is a trend. we will have to see how long it sticks, but assuming that it does, we have some challenges with how we are spending because right now out of a $70 billion budget, we are putting $40 billion into a highway system, and if we have a generation of
folks that will not be as focused on the use of that -- we still have commerce that needs to move that way, obviously -- that may need we need to think about a balance that involves a little more transit, too. mr. slade: as secretary, you have responsibility over a lot of different modes of transportation throughout the united states -- not just highways, but airport, rail, seaports. it would be unfair to expect you to fix everything in the united states, right? as you also know from your period as the very successful mayor of charlotte, north carolina, there are a lot of local and state authorities as well. so, could you talk a little bit, so we get the groundwork here, what are the respective roles of the federal department of transportation versus the state
so that people do not set their expectations too high? secretary foxx: it is a great point, and one way refer to in "beyond traffic." by the way, this is a real page turner. >> it does not have cliff notes. secretary foxx: there is a cliff notes version. to answer your question squarely, how things are built depends on the mode of transportation you are talking about, so for instance, freight rail systems are largely privately owned. so, a lot of our engagement with the freight rail system is on private sector engagement. our highway system is largely state-driven, so the states have a huge role to play in the maintenance, as well as the continued expansion of our highway system. our transit systems are, yet again, a different level of governance because those are mostly local. so, the large transit systems
across the country are largely a creature of local government, or some type of authority that except an area of local government. so, we are all over the map when it comes to how governance shapes transportation. i think that is one difference you find in the u.s. versus another part of the world. a lot of places -- you know, france, they build french highways. they do not referring to a state. we do that, and that makes things more complicated. mr. slade: yeah. one of the fascinating statistics were projections in "beyond traffic" is that in 30 years 75% of the u.s. population
is expected to live in these mega-regions, the northeast corridor, the gulf coast, the chicago of -- hub, so that is going to rejigger this federal state divide even more, right? there will have to be even more state cooperation, but what you think the federal government can, or should be doing to facilitate that cooperation? it is really going to change the map. secretary foxx: the "beyond traffic" study does not say this because it is intended to be more of a descriptive document than a prescript to document, -- prescriptive document, but what i believe is the federal government -- actually, although government, is going to need to be -- all of government is going to be more attuned to these issues. i come from a city that is on the border near south carolina and part of our influence was from south carolina. the reality is the economy does not always tickets at two political jurisdictions.
it focuses a lot more on workforce, assets within a given region, what have you. unfortunately, a lot of our decision-making right now is just within political jurisdictions. so, another feature of all we have proposed last year in legislation was an effort to encourage local communities to organize their transportation thinking along a regional cluster as opposed to just one county, or one city, starting to look at themselves as clusters of regional activity, and making transportation decisions that adjusted to that. i think that is a trend we will need to bend towards as a country to be as successful as possible. mr. slade: i do not want to go off on a tangent, but recently in the press there was a governmental and -- side on the
detroit crossing. on the one side we had the u.s. and she can, and the other canada, -- michigan, and the other, canada. would you use that as an example that it is tougher to get things done on our side than it is on there's? secretary foxx: i think we have many examples. there was a bridge project that was supposed to happen between the state of washington and the state of oregon. the politics outlined for a point in time, and then the state house, or state senate changed in the state of washington. they did not want to do the project. the project sort of falls apart. we find these types of challenges all the time. so, the windsor project is a little different, because it has an international dimension to it. mr. slade: which is why i raised
it for this -- secretary foxx: i understand. it is a little different because the canadians are really putting up a significant amount of the capital cost of doing this project, and notwithstanding a lot of efforts we undertook as an administration to figure out a way to do more cost-sharing. mr. slade: yeah. well, if we could, maybe, for a moment, focus on, probably the most, or biggest from a budgetary perspective, mode of transportation, the highway system, and move from a proscriptive -- proscriptive to a prescript of, because there is a bill -- prescriptive because there is a bill before congress the administration has put there to reauthorize the transportation system. it is still sitting in congress while the current authorization runs out in two months, right? could you talk about some of the
key features of that bill and what will happen if you do not get something done in two months? secretary foxx: yeah. well, anybody find a pothole on the way here? [laughter] secretary foxx: seriously. potholes all over this country are atrocious, and they are getting worse all over the place. what a lot of people do not realize is the transportation infrastructure, the road systems they use, are really and amalgam of the federal, local, states and governments working together. we have had 32 short-term measures passed by congress on surface transportation, and having been a mayor, this is what it means. if you have a one of $2 million
were more project -- if you have a $100 million or more project you might sit on it because if you do not know what is coming it makes it harder to design a project, go through the headaches of public input, the push-pull of getting a project done. so, i think what washington has told the rest of the country is just stop, and that is the opposite of what we need to be doing. within that context, the president has opposed the grow america act, reflecting a 50% increase over current levels. we think we should be doing ia -- doing a whole lot more highway maintenance. we should have a national freight plan that has money behind it as a country so we can make sure we maintain our place as the most efficient, effective, and save system of moving commercial goods across the world. we think we should have funding
set aside for these local communities that have figured out how to cluster themselves along areas of economic spheres of influence, and we think we should have some greater protections for safety for the traveling public that we do not currently have as a public today. so, the grow america act is a huge step forward, but we need congress to pass it, and if they are not going to pass that, pass something. mr. slade: yeah. maybe if we could talk for a minute about one of the elephants in the room, the federal highway trust fund. that, by way of background, ever since eisenhower, our federal highway interstate system has been built out through this trust fund, which is funded solely by a gas? tax, right i -- gas tax, right?
if i recall correctly, from "beyond traffic," there is $30 billion of revenue currently being generated by the gas tax. $40 billion is being spent just to keep the current spending but $80 billion if we are going to make the vestment that we need, so we have -- the investment that we need, so we have a real problem with the gas fund. it is basically insolvent. so, what are some of your thoughts, the administration's thoughts, anyway, on how to plug the gap? an increase in the gas tax? there seems to be a bipartisan lack of support for that. it will it be hitting up the general fund continually? the president has proposed a one-off, 14% income tax on
foreign income, which might spark interest in this room, too, or tolls, right? there is the possibility of revisiting the tolling system for the interstate highway system. secretary foxx: well, this is a very important point. the highway trust fund has been roughly running 15 billion dollars short on an annual basis, and in recent years congress has tried to patch together -- patch it together using a variety of legislative duct tape and chewing gum to keep it afloat. i would say in response to the question, i think it is misguided on our part to think that plugging the highway trust fund is a substitute for making the investments in our infrastructure that we should take.
somewhere along the lines we got this impression that if we just got the trust fund plussed up, that would resolve our problems. the reality is if you just got the trust fund level off into last year's numbers, you would still be about $11 billion, $12 billion short, just on the maintenance that needs to happen on an annual basis in this country. i think the problem we have is everyone wants things to be like they were in 1956, and we are not in 1956 anymore. we are in 2015. i will say one other thing. just -- you know, i had an opportunity to watch a little basketball over the weekend, and i watched duke play a game, and for the first 24 minutes, coach k looked like he would prefer to be someplace else. at the end of the game, he said it was like an out of body experience -- the team was not doing anything we told them to do for 24 minutes. the last 16 were fine.
as the secretary of transportation, i am having an out of body experience every day because i go to these places, i see the bridges, the roads, the potholes, and it is, like, not the country that i grew up in. i am criticized for being such a champion of congress not doing something on this, but it is not -- the country really needs this. our kids need this. if they do not have it, we will be taking something away from them that they need, and i do not think that is right. mr. slade: you do not think the low price of gas right now is going to encourage congress to up the gas tax? secretary foxx: you know, look the reality is i think we're going to have to have a
different system, and, you know, look, we have proposed a system that would, at least, for six years, give us a substantial bump in the amount of money that goes into our trust fund using pro-growth business tax reform. you know, i think it is, like, everyone wants the ribbon-cutting, but nobody wants to do what it takes to get there, and i think we are at a point right now, what we are in a much deeper hole then most of the country realizes. we are in a much deeper hole. it is a serious problem, and i would be committing malpractice if i did not continue to try to say it. mr. slade: i forgot to mention that you are a lawyer. malpractice is on your mind. [laughter] mr. slade: maybe we can go back for a moment to the question of the state, federal, local divide, because some would argue
one of the reasons why congress resists reauthorization is two in effect, encourage the de-evolution of funding responsibility at the state level, and, in fact, that seems to be happening. senator wicker recently referred to the fact that the states are a laboratory for fiscal innovation here, passing taxes experimenting with tolls, and that sort of thing. is that, maybe, de facto what is going to happen? is it, to some extent, realignment of responsibility in a direction where it is ok? secretary foxx: i wish we were having a real conversation about what that means, because what that means, in my view, is that we will do even the same maintenance of effort we have been doing.
i think the revolution means we will be doing less -- less maintenance, less new capacity building. look, you look around the globe, there are countries that are experiencing population declines, and maybe that is a decent strategy for a country experiencing population declines, or declines in the amount of commercial goods movement, but we are expecting exponential increases in both of those areas. so, it is, like, what do we not get about this? i am promising you, it is going to be more expensive for us to doubt all around for years years, and years, then it would be to just bite the bullet develop a strategy, stick to the strategy, pay now, because it is
going to be a lot cheaper than trying to pay later. i have this conversation with secretary duncan a lot because i think education and transportation have a lot in common in the sense that they are both long-term. if you do not invest today, you will see the outcome tomorrow. you will see it in increased costs, and i just think that for the country -- if we get those two issues right, the country has a very bright future. but, if we keep battling along it is going to be a tough time. mr. slade: now we get to my favorite topic, which is public/private partnerships. this administration has been a big supporter of ppp's as one way of encouraging capital into the transportation secretary -- sector. there has been a lot of high profile 3p -- the solution in pennsylvania, the rapid bridge program, which has been high-profile, i think, with you. i think, some 34 states
throughout the country have 3p programs, and other countries, canada, and a lot of countries in europe have relied heavily on this system. so, what does the administration think about this? are there things in the pipeline to encourage further development of this technique? secretary foxx: yeah, we think there is an increased role for the department of transportation to play in public/private partnerships, and i will give you a couple of examples. first, you know, while there are increasing numbers of states that are setting up public/private partnership offices, there is still a little bit of residual fear out there
in the public realm around public/private partnerships. part of what we think we can do as a department is to help remote best practices -- promote best practices, to help issue model legislation, or at least put model legislation out there that states could at least take up, and to try to help create an atmosphere through which public/private partnerships gain greater acceptance at the delivery level. secondly, we have a lot of permitting work we do with the department with interagency partners. one thing we have learned is when you talk about the cost of a project, oftentimes there is a lot of permitting costs associated with it, and there is a reason we have some of the regulatory requirements we have. we think you can get faster results without doing an injustice to those equities, and that means having all of the
agencies sitting at the table at the same time, looking at a permit, making their comments. the tappan zee bridge project in new york is an example of this as it had four or five years of permitting that would not have happened under the regular course of things. we were able to get that permitted in 18 months and that is an example of something we would like to replicate. that is giving the private sector confidence that the public sector can actually deliver. third, one of the roles i am hopeful the department can play a better facilitation role is helping the private sector and the public sector find each other. there are a lot of projects looking for resources. a lot of private-sector sponsors would like to think about a partnership that might not have the tools to figure that out. we want to help them, while we are also helping to figure out where the deal flow might come from.
this is big because in a time of scarce resources, if we could convert even 5% or 10% of the transportation work and to private/public partnerships, that is 5% or 10% that we do not have to find someplace else, and friendly, if the deal works for everybody, all the better, so i think this is a space where there is a lot of opportunity. mr. slade: we know you are supportive of that technique and we have for it with the department of transportation to develop this model guide for highway 3p's, and i know you know because i just reminded you in the other room. [laughter] mr. slade: what we are finding working with transportation projects throughout the states is there is an increasing use or federal support that comes in
the form of credit assistance, you know, as opposed to grant-funding in the past. twotwo there have been -- there have been two programs in particular that we see a lot of, private activity bonds, a form of tax-exempt financing. does the grow america act increase the caps, encourage further use? the you see that sort of trend? secretary foxx: absolutely making big expansions in both programs and the idea is to create more facility so that we can get more projects going. again, though, i want to say one other caveat to migrate believes that public/private partnerships are going to be the wave of the
future, which is to say they have to be undergirded with a public-sector commitment to transportation. in other words, if you do not get a long-term highway bill and you just rely on the public/private partnerships, the problem will be the private sector will not undertake the risk to plan those projects. so there still needs to be an underpinning of a public-sector commitment to the long-term for it all to work. mr. slade: right. well, i guess i should warn you all that in about several minutes i will start turning it to the floor for questions, but i do have one more question. i have to admit, i watched your recent interview with eric schmidt, and there was one question i thought that was hilarious. shifting gears to our rail system a little bit, why is it that it takes only three hours to get from paris to marseille
and that is 536 miles, and the boston to d.c. express takes seven hours for just 437 miles? i think i got the numbers right. [laughter] secretary foxx: well, this is a vision that the president and i both share, which is that weekends read up these times. you know, look, when the rail system -- that we can speed up these times. you know, look, when the rail system was created, at some point people decided to put both of those things on the same grade, so in some cases speeds will be limited -- limited because you do not want to have rail traffic going at such a high speed at greater that is intersecting with vehicular traffic.
having said that, the cost of getting there is going to be significant, but, again, as you point out, the rest of the world has figured out that there are ways to get there. i think the the future for high-speed rail in the u.s. is actually pretty bright, but it is going to take some funds, some commitment, a lot of time. but we will get there. we always do. mr. slade: at this point in the program, i would like to turn it out to the audience. i would remind you that when you ask a question, please stand and give your name and affiliation. this lady right here. nancy: thank you. i am with the navy postgraduate school. i was lucky enough to work with the acting secretary of transportation as well as the acting deputy secretary of defense and secretary of the
navy -- he was a really smart guy. secretary foxx: yeah. nancy: he told all of us about the importance of maintenance. we became so committed to the issue. i sit here listening, why don't we understand that? i'm here -- i am into story-telling. first of all, i did not know about this document. nobody has time to read 300 pages, so the question is what are the essential messages that you want all of us to understand? you ought to think about writing stories for children, middle school kids. if the middle school kids can understand, the rest of the population can, and you need to get mike getting your stories onto pbs. again, that is short, but you have to figure out how to tell these in a short time, and is your information department
working on that? secretary foxx: actually, it is a great question, and we are working on that. here is the thing about transportation that is hard. if i give you a statistic -- i am going to make one up -- the average commute times -- i am totally making this up, so do not quote me on this -- the average commute time has gone up 20% in the u.s. over 10 years. that means something on one level, but it means nothing on another level. a lot of our story-telling, has to be told that a very localized level. it has to be almost micro-targeted, in a sense. this road, in your neighborhood, that the state has been talking about for 10 years, has not gotten done because the money does not exist. if the money where their, you could get the road done. you would have 15 minutes save then your commute, or whatever. i think one of the challenges we have is that the country is so vast, and there are so many different ways which
transportation impacts people, that we have to figure out a way to talk about this that reaches people where they are, but i think there is a way to do that. our team is working on it, and i appreciate the point. thank you. mr. slade: in fact, there is a 10-page, shorter version of this that a person like me was able to access and read quickly. nancy: where do we find them? secretary foxx: on our website. dot.gov/beyondtraffic. nancy: what do i call it? secretary foxx: ma'am, if you go to "beyond traffic," on our website, there is the long version and the short version. mr. slade: this gentleman. charlie: i am concerned about
cyber hacking and its impact on our infrastructure, and i guess my question is -- how -- well, in the premises, virtually every corporation has been hacked, apparently. a lot of times we do not even know. how vulnerable is our american infrastructure to cyber-hacking, and what are we doing about it? secretary foxx: it is a great question, and it is an area that we are spending an awful lot of time on. if i were looking at circles the smallest one being data systems within u.s. dot, which extend from everything from faa, doing flight management all day long, to other parts of all work. we are certainly not perfect. we certainly have had some
high-profile vulnerabilities exposed to us recently, we always want to make sure we stay ahead of who is trying to get into our systems. that is an effort that will continue. longer term, as we become more technologically connected -- you know, you talk about connected vehicles -- we are having conversations about vehicles that talk to the infrastructure. next gen, which takes the aviation system off of world war ii radar onto a gps system -- just about every mode of transportation is going to become more automated in some way. and, as we do that, we have to be triply focused on making sure there are protections built in there to prevent the type of hacking that you are talking about. now, i would say, as we are working to build through next
gen, a lot of that work is ongoing and is in the process of working that out. we will have to work with the industry. we have encouraged the auto industry, for instance, to form an alliance that allows them to share information on cyber security issues with our support because it will take that kind of partnership within industry to help us get there, but we are working on that issue all the time. mr. slade: this woman right there. reeva: hi. i am from georgetown university. where are we now with the north american transportation system? when nafta was passed, it also had a lot of policy cooperation, and regulatory cooperation, and the area of transport was one of the -- you know, intermodal transport was one of the things that was supposed to give the
north american region competitiveness in terms of global trade and industry, so i am just curious, where we are with that now, and with the pending transatlantic trade agreement? i'm sure the europeans have a lot of things they want to have in place in terms of compatibility, port systems, surface transport, and aviation. so, anyway, that is just what i wanted to ask. secretary foxx: you are right. there is an awful lot of opportunity in north america for cooperation. i want to talk about two areas where we are working with mexico, for instance, and then to talk more generally about how we are looking at our own national freight plan in the context of the continent, not just the u.s. one of nafta's requirements was that we created cross-border
trucking program with the country of mexico, and just this year, after many fits and starts, we have moved forward with creating that program and that work is ongoing to stand it up. that essentially means that mexican trucking companies will be at able to go from mexico to a point in the u.s. bringing or taking goods from one point to the other. that is a big development, by the way, because that has been a long, standing issue. the other issue is that we are working with mexico to develop an aviation agreement that opens up more access for both mexican
carriers, as well as u.s. carriers, and we are very, very encouraged by the work that has been done on that. so, i agree, there are plenty of opportunities. as we have begun looking at our own national freight plan -- i talked about it earlier -- one of the things that we have discovered is that we cannot look at u.s. borders. we have to look at canada, mexico. we have to think about how these different connections intersect. if we build a road, it is supposed to go and mexico, but their main road is coming up through someplace else, maybe that will not be the best way to do it. we have to have some level of international discussion about how that freight plan comes together, so that is a big take-home for us, l we are -- and we are certainly paying attention to it. mr. slade: this gentleman right here.
allen: mr. secretary, you mentioned high-speed rail. i frequently take the bus when i go to new york. it is not much slower than amtrak, and the acella is expensive, not comfortable, and not very fast. japan has had high-speed rail since the 1960's. are we ever going to get there? [laughter] secretary foxx: well, look, our administration has taken some pretty forward-leaning steps on high-speed rail. we have not always been patted on the back for it, but the efforts to get high-speed rail connections in california -- for all of the dustup that that created, that project broke ground in january of this year. we are now starting to see states like texas, and, of all states, florida, now coming with proposals to do it through public/private partnerships.
so, we are trying to work with those project sponsors as well. in other words, i think the future of high-speed rail in the u.s., for the foreseeable future, is going to be connecting city pairs. i do not think you will see a wholesale system built out in one false whoop, but i think you will start to see city pairs connected and in some time you will see more of the country connected by high-speed rail. i really bullish on that, and i think it is going to happen. by the way, our bill does actually put passenger rail into the trust fund. one of the challenges we have had in the u.s. is passenger rail has not had a dedicated revenue stream and it is not been able to predict year to year what the funding would be and we created a trust in for a
single system that would have rail, transit, and highways in it. mr. slade: this gentleman in front. david: thank you. david short with fedex. your comment a moment ago prompted me to offer a shout out, a congratulations on the mexico aviation agreement and the work of your team. i know brandon is with us. susan did an amazing job of the mexicans should be trusting her -- charging her income tax because she spent so much time in mexico. the question is about next gen. fedex flies to about 300 airports in the states alone not to mention global reach. with our on-time guarantee, if we do not deliver people's packages on time, we do not get
paid. operating on time is critical. could i ask, mr. secretary, on the reason it has been so difficult to implement nextgen and your thoughts on the progress of implementing that? secretary foxx: so, nextgen has been the horizon, looking back depending on who you talk to, it has been 20 years. it is a difficult thing to think about how you piece together our airspace on a gps-based system. in this administration, i would say we have made more progress in the last few years getting nextgen advanced than we probably have made in so many years combined before. i will not put a number on it. some of the problems nextgen has had has been that the
commitments made to fund the effort for nextgen have not always come through. so, there has been some years where the funding has fell short. some of it has been that it's just complicated. i mean, i was down in houston where we just -- i think we opened up like 60-plus nextgen capabilities in houston which is huge but when they started to -- like, it's the equivalent of taking i-495, i-95 and completely restructuring those and having to go through all of the v.i.s. processes, all the public input processes to do that on more consolidated routes. i mean, that's what they're doing with the air space. even when you get into the technical features of it, it
starts to create a lot of push-pull. and some of that is endemic to any kind of transportation project. so, what i can say to you is, is this is an area of focus for me. i know that we will not get nextgen to the point of absolute completion by the time i leave this department. but one of the things that i have made it my mission to do is to make sure that we've got a clear pathway for nextgen before we leave. and that we're making as much progress every day as we possibly can as an administration. and i think -- by the way, we're starting to see the product of it. you know, we have optimized profile dissents happening around the country today. you may know what that is. but for those of you who don't, this is basically the airplane idles as it lands. this is a capability that nextgen makes possible. it saves fuel. it makes the airplane quieter
and it saves the environment. but these are the type of capabilities that we're now seeing. you know, in memphis where we are able to move the planes closer together because of our work together on that. that also saves fuels an other costs. that's another promise of nextgen. so we're making progress but i won't be here when the bell rings and say nextgen's done. but you're going to see nextgen's capabilities all throughout the next couple of years. mr. slade: this man right here. >> good evening, tom clark with parsons corporation. made a lot of great points this evening, secretary. two in particular resonate with me, one is the length of the service transportation bill and the other one is the funding . what do you see as the optimal length of the bill, number one.
and number two, is there consideration in this bill for a mileage base user fee alternatives to be considered not passed as the source of funding but do some additional study on that and where you stand on that. thank you. secretary foxx: i think we've got to have any minimum of a four or five-year bill. we proposed a four-year bill. we're going to have a new and improved six-year bill. you've got to have multiple years of funding, otherwise you're not going to get the benefit of any single year's funding because these projects take a while to move through the system. aside from that, i think that the country -- i think the problem we have right now actually isn't in washington. that's going to sound a little
heretical but i think -- i think that's part of it. but the bigger part of it is that the country is not on fire about this. and you know, one of the things that really instill i think beyond traffic without any input on my part but it helps to make the case even stronger is this is a generational issue. this is a serious generational issue. and we are literally -- you know, it's as if i took my kids out to a restaurant and i -- out to a restaurant and i asked them for them to get what they wanted and i had more food and i had some nice wine and i even had some port after it was all over. and it's as if i said ok, kids, pay my bill. it's absolutely ridiculous.
but anyway, back to your point. i think a six-year bill would be great. four-year bill is the minimum. so we're starting to see experimenting with this. oregon has a small pilot that they're undertaking now. we don't want to stand in the way of laboratory democracy taking on those -- those types of studies. they're always helpful for us to understand. but at this point, we're really focused on trying to just get a six-year bill that provides the basic level of funding and to try to move forward with something like that. we're not -- we're not getting fancy. >> i'm chris hill from booz allen hamilton. you mentioned the connected vehicle program which is extremely exciting. but you also mentioned the challenges of planning to fix
our highways and failing bridges. how then do we find the investment to build out the infrastructure needed for that program either from the state, local agencies or by incentivizing the private sector? secretary foxx: on the connected vehicles? >> yes. secretary foxx: in theory, the infrastructure would be paid for the same way. so in theory, if we were talking about, for instance, connected vehicle infrastructure connected, it would have paid for using the dollars.
it might be a more technologically updated infrastructure. sitting here right now, i couldn't tell you if there's going to be a high price for technological updated infrastructure. it's going to help us settle some of these questions. for instance, you know, i was talking about the airplanes and how closely they can fly together when you're using nextgen technology. the same principle is at play when it comes to connected vehicles on the surface system. so, you could imagine that our trucks could be moving at greater proximity to each other using technology partly to connect them. and if that would actually create efficiencies on the
system because the distances between cars and trucks wouldn't have to be as great. you know, there are some aspects of technology that may up end what i'm saying. but what i -- i think the point that you're making is that the infrastructure itself is going to need to be maintained and invested in. we may get more out of it using more technology. we're still going to need the basic bones of it. yeah. >> mike with pbs news hour. in response to mittsy's comment we did more stories and series on infrastructures than all the other networks combined even though cars moving ever more slowly doesn't make for riveting television.
what are you -- i'm just back from six weeks in asia. what is the department contemplating doing tapping into the knowledge of friendly countries like singapore, south korea which not only seem to know how to build things but come up with pretty creative ways of financing them perhaps moreso even than the europeans who rely on a level of taxation that probably the united states would never tolerate no matter what kind of train you got? secretary foxx: it's a good question. it relates to the governs discussion we were having. the government of singapore is the government of north carolina or the government of virginia or some other state. a lot of our surface system is state based. and because of that, unlike some of our foreign countries competitors or friends, we don't
have one-stop shopping when it comes to these three things. we actually have 52 different systems around the country when you count the territories that really function more or less independently of each other. so the innovations that you're talking about right now, the default is for those innovations to happen at the state level. the question we're trying to address as an agency is can we play a role in helping to facilitate and encourage those kinds of innovations to happen at the federal level given the history we have with state driven, circle transportation system. i think we're going to get there. it had a lot of hair on it. it had a lot of -- a lot of dollars associated with it, a lot of challenges associated with it.
but it's an example of the kind of financial creativity that needed to get big scale projects done. there's actually the gateway project that the rail tunnels that lead between new jersey and new york. that lead between new jersey and new york. you know, this is an area that i'm concerned about because those tunnels as they sit there have a shelf life and it's not all that long. it may take some ingenuity to figure out a way to get those tunnels paid for and design them differently. i think the reason we can't tap into that today is because we have 52 different systems and what we're trying to do is create a clearinghouse for best practices to help us get to the answers faster and hopefully to the innovations faster. host: we have a firm, fast rule of ending on time. and i've just been given the-five minute warning.
so we can have a couple more questions. let's go to this gentleman way in the back. >> mr. secretary i'm bob perry. i want to thank you for your remarks on beyond traffic. also we're looking forward to your trip to africa in a few months. a question that has to do between rail and energy and thanks to fracturing we have production in area where is we didn't have pipelines and the rail system is moving it from the dakotas to the east coast markets. that's a win. to say that the accidents that have occurred along the rail system are a problem. they were designed to move coal and grain and now we're dealing with another problem. how do you see the solution on consensus of new safety standards? >> well, it's a big deal. one of the events in my job at
d.o.t. up in canada and it was a horrible day not only for our canadian friends but really for all of us. and from that point forward i had been focused like a laser on trying to help our country get into a better safety posture when it comes to the movement of crude by rail to the point that we've taken 24 short term measures that were thought about as bridges to a long term answer which is ultimately a rule on this. let me just say this just to cut to the chase. you have to have a comprehensive approach to this issue. you know, there's a lot in the news about tank cars and tank car standards but obviously the tank car is a mitigation device. it is not a device that's designed to prevent an accident.
it simply is a device that contains an accident for some period of time. we have to have a prevention strategy. we have to have a mitigation strategy. we have to have an emergency response strategy. and one of the things we've really pushed on this department is to have a comprehensive approach that takes into account all of those areas. and i would say that i think that there's a building consensus both outside of government, within government that a comprehensive approach is the right way to go. so we're still working through what i hope in the later stages of role-making but i certainly have to respect that process but know this is an area of great focus for me. host: we have time for one more question unfortunately. the question at the front table. >> i want to add briefly to the question of cyber security.
there's a very complex mixed ownership in this country depending on the mode. the president's executive orders signed last month brought forward the idea of stronger information sharing and advisory organizations, isao's and i wonder what the department might be able to do to build a sharing organization amongst all the various modes of transportation for which their responsibility because i do think the responsibility is crying out for better information sharing thread information sharing and information sharing about best practices and best results? thank you. secretary foxx: thank you. we are very open to trying to play a stronger role in trying to, you know, assist these conversations across the different modes of transportation.
i would say that just the first thing we've got to do in each of these modes is get the modes you know, within the modes having the discussion because there will be things you need to -- automobiles or to rail cars or to aviation that distinct. but to your point i think there are cross-cutting issues too. you know, our department intends to play an active role on the role cutting part of the conversation as well. host: mr. secretary, i would like to thank you for a very interesting and informative session. [applause] secretary foxx: thank you so much.
>> senator mcconnell laid out a timeline yesterday that suggested it could be mid april at the earliest before her nomination goes to the floor. is that a timeline the white house would be willing to accept, and if not, what is the alternative, or how do you get her nomination voted on earlier? secretary earnest: this is the responsibility of the united states senate to vote on the president's nominees, and there has not been a legitimate question raised about her aptitude for the office, so the delay is unconscionable. it is unexplained. and, the thing that i will -- that warrants mentioning here is, you will recall, as i pointed out, ms. lynch has been waiting 128 days to get a vote in the senate. the reason that time period has been so long is because the president nominated her back in november for this job, and at
that time we saw senator mcconnell himself say ms. lynch would receive fair consideration -- i think it would be hard to say he lived up to that promise -- he also said her nomination should be considered in the new congress through regular order. so you essentially had senator mcconnell in november telling the president he should delay submitting her to congress until the republicans were in the majority. i have been asked a number of times since november whether or not the president trusts senator mcconnell, whether or not senator mcconnell and other members of the republican leadership -- whether their word is good with the president. senator mcconnell said the nomination should be considered in the new congress, but yesterday when senator mcconnell was asked on cnn about whether or not he would act quickly to confirm her, and to explain the delay, he said the nomination
has not taken that long if you consider when it was actually taken up, which was this year. he continued to say "the democrat majority in december had a chance to work on the nomination earlier, but decided to delay it until early this year." he failed to point out that was that his request and he is in position to delay her nomination even further, despite the fact and i will say it again, no legitimate question has been raised about her aptitude for the office. despite she submitted -- despite the fact she submitted eight hours of testimony and answered written questions. there is no question republicans are playing politics with the top law enforcement official in the nation and it has to come to an end. this weekend the c-span tour has partnered to learn about
columbus, georgia. this is an ironclad that was built here. jackson is armed with six rifles the particular rifle they are firing today is one of the guns built specifically for the jackson. it was cast as the selma naval works in selma, alabama and completed in january 1865. there are only four iron crads from the civil war that -- clads from the civil war that we can study right now and the jackson is right here and this is why this facility is here. it is first and foremost to tell story of this particular ironclad and to show people that there are more than just one or two ironclads. there were many.
>> watch all of our events saturday at noon eastern on c-span 2's book tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span 3. >> next, a look at workers rights and safety issues with labor secretary tom perez. he spoke friday at a consumer federation of america conference. his remarks are 45 minutes. >> good morning. it is my privilege to introduce our next keynote speaker, secretary of labor thomas perez.
a recent profile written upon his return from the negotiations on the west coast dock workers strike called him a star in the president's second term cabinet. as a card carrying member of the liberal left, i can personally attest to the accuracy of this assessment. secretary perez has spent virtually his entire career in public service in one capacity or another including his 2009 as a member of the obama administration. but he's only been in his current position for a little less than two years. but he's already had an enormous impact not least the issue that i hold dear and near to my heart which is strengthen protection for retirement savers. the fact that we stand here today with a real fighting chance to make this long embattled effort a reality is due in no small part to his leadership.
from day one secretary perez took on this cause and made it his own. and in doing so he showed the same ability to reach out to opponents, listen to all sides and by bringing together -- people together in a respectful and reasoned conversation, maybe not turn an opponent into instant supporters, not a miracle worker -- close, but at least dial down the volume of opposition so this process that is the potential to move forward. there's no doubt that he brings that same passion and intelligence and deep personal commitment to the broader cause of building an economy that works for everyone. as acme president lee sanders said he's the real deal. so please join me in welcome k secretary tom perez. [applause]
secretary perez: morning. audience: morning. secretary perez: i have a feeling -- first of all, barb thank you for your kind introduction. and barb's the real deal. and she has been a stalwart in so many areas include the retirements base. and i want to thank you because success in building an america that works for everyone is a joint venture. you have to have folks in government like our president who get it and have those values and then you have to have folks outside of government like all of you who get it and share our values. and that is how you devine success. and then you've got to have people working at a state and a local level who get it and share our values and you've got to
have serial activists who are doing the same. i've worked as a county official in montgomery county, maryland. it's seven or eight stops on the metro red line. i've had the privilege working at the state level as the state labor secretary in maryland and now i have this job which is another way of saying the labor secretary has trouble holding a job. but we can have a conversation about that. and i say all of this because i have a profound appreciation for the role of everyone. if we're going to build communities that work for everybody we need to have those searle activists at a local level. one of the proudest things for me when i was in local government is we enhanced and created an office of consumer protection in montgomery county. we enhanced our human rights services so we can build protection first our county residents. we had the nation's first living wage law and things of that nature.
because i'm a firm believer of what i call redundancy in law enforcement. we need federal laws and local laws because laws are only as good of the political will of those who enforce them. at any given time that will may not necessarily be there at certain government levels and so that redundancy in my mind is a good thing. and the constant is all of you. and that's why when barb invited me i was excited to be here because i want to start by saying thank you. you fight many uphill battles. the deck is -- you know, the odds are often long. the days are hard, the setbacks feel like many, but you know what, a week ago last weekend, i was in selma commemorating the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. and if there's anything i learned from going there it's that, you know, the people who
gave their lives in selma, many whose names you know, many whose names we don't, they were extraordinary people. and they were actually -- you know, we have extraordinary people like john lewis who caused what he called good trouble. and then we had people whose names like amelia boigant you may not have heard of her but she was the woman in a wheelchair next to the president last weekend. and so many others who are martyrs in that movement. and what that movement was about was ordinary people doing extraordinary things. ordinary people who had a bold vision of an inclusive america that worked for everybody, an america in which we feel the full team. everybody is treated with dignity. everybody has an opportunity to punch their ticket to the middle-class.
discrimination is a thing of the past. and so i was inspired last weekend to continue to make sure that we put in place that vision of america and what that vision was about, you know, is a movement and then extraordinary individuals. and every issue i work on, you need that combination of the movement and extraordinary individuals. and -- and that's no different for any issue that i've been involved in. and you are part of that movement. for consumer rights. because you know what, i look at the pillars vital families and vital communities and the dollars are, you know, education security, health care security employment security, housing security, physical security, retirement security. and that's been really the north star for this president. how do we build an america that works for everyone? how do we solidify those pillars of security?
you know, last year, the incarceration rate and the crime rate went down in the same year for the first time in 40 years because this president took a smart on-crime approach. you look at health care security. our rate -- our own insurance rates have dropped at their greatest levels in 40 years as a result of the affordable care act. and you know, i got this thing in my office -- it's an album cover of ronald reagan in the 1960's saying medicare will lead to socialized medicine. actually if you listen to the album -- because i got a little curious an i listened to the album said medicare will lead to socialism in america. he was wrong. medicare led to retirement security in america for millions and has become a staple of who we are. and the a.c.a. is in the process of doing that same thing thanks
to folks in this room. you look at education security. you know, education is the great equalizer. my favorite senator when i was in college was a guy i never met. he was a guy named claiborne pell because without claiborne pell i couldn't have gotten through college. we don't need everybody to have a four-year degree because there are plenty of onramps to the middle-class but under the president we're solidifying that pillar of self-sufficiency. 60 consecutive months of job growth to the tune of 12 million jobs. you look at the depths of the recession, there were seven job seekers for every job opening. now there's 1.8 to 1.7. so the odds are better. businesses are bullish. outsources is yesterday's word. that jeep plant in ohio that
mitt romney said was going to china -- well, i've been to toledo. guess what, he was partially right. the problem they were making in that jeep plant was going overseas but they've added over 1,000 jobs because that's what's happening as we see this manufacturing resurgence in america. you know, you look at the housing issue and we see foreclosures are down significantly. you see what the president did recently for f.h.a. lenders, to help them be able to get access to the american dream. you look at the work we're doing to make sure and rich cord ray and the come assumer financial protection bureau making sure that consumers have a meaningful voice because you know what, the whole consumer space and the mortgage space is a fantastic example of the world of false choices. when we had the wild, wild west of 2005 and 2006 in the absence
of regulation there's this notion that you know you either have a sound business climate for lenders or people go in the tank because regulation, you can't have common sense regulation. having settled the two largest fair lending cases in this nation's system, i had a conversation with a very high-ranking executive who said, you know what, in the depth of the wild, wild west in the mid 2000, i was losing my best people to country wide. country wide was the industry bottom feeder. they had no rules. you could go there for two years and retire basically because you made that much money, preying on people. and so they didn't want to do that because they had ethics. and you know what, and there was nobody mining the shop in the bush administration. it was the wild, wild west. and as a result so many people through the corrosive power of
fine print and fast talk had the american dream translated in the american nightmare because they said, i've got to -- you have to sign on the dotted line. sign these 58 forms. and little did they know that they were signing a fast track to foreclosure. and so we must always reject false choices. when we have common sense rules in place, that doesn't simply help consumers, that helps responsible lenders. and we must always remember that. we live in a world of false choices. we think about policing and i spent a lot of time in that space. and there's this tendency to say we either have safe communities or respect for the constitution. that's a false choice. we can do both. and we have done both. it takes time and it takes persistence. and that brings me to the pillar
that i want to spend the most time on, the pillar of self-sufficiency and that is retirement. because you know, i spend so many time and this president has built so much time building the middle-class, making sure that people can punch their ticket to the middle-class. by the way no escalators, there are no free rides. there are ladders of opportunity for people willing to work hard. and there are jobs out there. the report that we released there are 5 million jobs. 500,000 which are in i.t. which pays 50% more than the average private sector jobs. there's a lot of good jobs out there. and as we move forward as a nation, i want people -- and the president wants people to have good jobs, that pay a decent wage. we want to have aggressive enforcement of our wages in our law.
we want to have safe workplaces so you have a right to know that you're going to come safe and sound at night whether it's from a coal mine or a police department, whether it's from any business that you work at. those are pillars of middle-class security. and when you reach the end of your work life, all that hard-earned money, we want to make sure that you have a good retirement. and you know what times have changed, you know? we're not in the leave it to beaver world anymore. ward and june were together -- you know ward worked 40 years at the office. ward had a divine benefit plan and, you know, at the end o that career, ward got a watch, a handshake and you know what, ward and june didn't have to think about, you know, how am i going to invest my retirement
because it was a divine benefit plan. you multiply 40 years to the formula and it may be 1.5, maybe 2.0 and you got your retirement. well "leave it to beaver" has been replaced by "modern family" in the place of divine contribution plan where people reached the end of a working career and now they have to make decisions on how to invest their money. and i have said many times, i'm the youngest of five. i'm a lawyer. all four of my siblings are doctors. i promise i would never be a plaintiff's personal injury lawyer. and i have kept that promise. i mean no disrespect to all my friends who are plaintiffs' lawyers. they do an important job. but i did make that promise to my family. and so i've tried to do something noble and i'll let you
all decide whether that's the case. but, you know, three of the most important kinds of decisions people make are medical, legal and financial. and so, you know, for lawyers and doctors, the rules are pretty clear. you know, you have to look out for your patients. you have to look out for your client, you know? if i got diagnosed with cancer, i don't wanted her telling me well, this is a suitable treat for you tom. suitability, yes. i want you to tell me what's the maximum way that i can live. and that's what they do. if i got arrested for something, you know, and i'm trying to figure out what my best defense is, i don't want my lawyer to tell me, well, that's suitable. you can do that. well, why do we allow this in the financial space? well, the answer actually is
there are many, many folks who hold themselves up to that highest standard of protecting and looking out for your client's interest. we have a financial planner who is a certified financial planner. and he looks out for us. so for instance, you know, i was in the federal government from 1989 to 2001 and then i left federal service and came back a few years later and we hired him in the early 2000 and one of his first pieces of advice is keep your money in a savings plan because it's a pretty good plan. now, that didn't get him in money, but he was certainly looking out for our best interest when he said that. and so what we've been doing in the consumer space here in the retirement space is we've got to figure out what's in the best interest of the client. and you know, one of the people that i've met in the course of
this journey on this issue, and i think this is one of the most important -- if not the most important thing that we can do in the next two years to help consumers in the retirement space is this rule that we are working on because you know what, you know, i meet people like jack bogel, you know, i think he's been in the business -- i know he's been in the business longer than i've been on the planet because i think he said 64 years he's been in the business. he looks very well, by the way. man. i want his water. and you know, he said something that really kind of simply summarized this whole enterprise which is, you know what, i learned in this business of financial advice that when you put your customers first, that's good for your customers and it's good for business. it's really that simple. and that's what he has done. that's what our advisor has done. he's a certified financial planner.
and you know what, that's what so many people do. and you know what, that's what so many people do. i think it's important in having this discussion not to paint with an unduly broad brush and never to be unfair to the scores of people who are in this space who do fantastic work. i applaud those efforts. and during the course of our outreach and i'm a firm believer that when you are doing a rule the most important thing you need to do is to construct the broadest table possible because if you are not a good listener you're not a good regulator. and that's what we have done over the course of my 18 months on the job. we deliberately slowed this process down because we knew how important it was. we knew the value of listening. and we knew we needed to engage a broader stakeholder. we knew we had to talk to the f.c.c. and we've done that with great regularity. and i have great respect for mary jo white and her team and