tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 7, 2015 6:00am-7:01am EST
reading this that go on trip ad visors? >> i would imagine very few. >> so what is the point? if we know nobody is reading it why are we not working at knack making this -- have you thought about making a stab of making the terms of service as forthcoming and clear as the rest of your website? >> we would welcome making privacy clear. we take it seriously in giving us the ability to moderate our content according to our guidelines. i believe that in the case of a bill like this, what you often
senator mccaskill: one of the reason that contracts are so successful is because they are very -- buried in a way that the average person is never going to understand what is being done to them. i think many of them would run in horror -- i think ms. palmer would have run in horror if she would have realized what that company was purporting to do. it seems this is something we really have to work on. because this is a lot of waste. nobody is reading this stuff. why are we doing it if it is not providing the service that it needs to provide to the consumers that it is designed for? we have got to work on that. >> in your case, they added this long after the transaction occurred, correct? ms. palmer: yes. i read through the terms of service three times to make sure there is nothing in there that would have invented -- that would have prevented me -- especially since i did not purchase the items, my husband did. so i did read through it several times. when they came back three years later and said, you violated this non-disparagement clause, i looked at my husband and say, that did not exist. there was no non-disparagement clause. >> you actually read those agreements. that is most impressive. sen. thune: my neighbor to the
south, senator fischer. senator fischer: you have mentioned that small businesses in particular may make use of these non-disparagement clauses as many of them view it as personal when they get negative feedback. i am on the small business committee here in the senate and i fully understand how important small businesses are to the state of nebraska and also to the economy here in our country. while i agree that the use of these non-disparagement clauses is a practice that should be discouraged, i would like your views on whether this will -- bill contains sufficient protections for small businesses that are out there. do you think it does? on whether this bill contains sufficient, protections for small businesses out there. you think it does? >> in the end, the goal to create a level playing field for small businesses. in the end there are competitors who are distorting their persona by using these clauses and it is actually hurting the overall market place and the opportunity
for businesses to go on their side of the equation. i think the bill is essential for making and preserving the vitality of small business community and making sure markets are open for them to enter. >> do you think those protections are in the spell question work. >> i support this bill as it is drafted. i did write some drafts on how it could be tweaked. i think it deserves further discussion, even if it doesn't don't do that i think it will be super helpful. >> thank you, mr. atkinson to have any comments about her small businesses, to believe they are protected under the spell the this bill the way it is drafted? why will we are still making sure to let consumers express their views without being punished you mark. >> i would echo the comments that the damage from these
clauses are harming small business competitors who are doing a good job. consumers do not have a job to see who is better. it might hurt a particular small business but help other. >> secondly, there still legal remedies that a company can use if they feel someone is on the line. a bill doesn't prohibit a company for taking action that way. as we said before there's evidence that small businesses are active, small business owner post something because we're concerned about where concerned about that, we don't agree with that review. it really can minimize the damage of the company's sincere and what they want to do. >> do think small businesses have the resources where they would be able to respond to those negative comments and i really can't take action? it is hard for consumers to take action. we have heard that, it is difficult, lawsuits or expenses expensive.
how do we reach a balance here? >> i think a way a lot of online trading platforms work is you can monitor what people and your customers are saying what a about you. that is something that every business needs to do. you are not going to search the web every day for everything, there are platforms that you should can and should monitor as a small business owner. doing that is not overly burdensome and a quick reply, just one minute kind of reply every once in a while. you don't get negative reviews every day. i don't think it's burdensome for companies to do that. i think it is good practice and in the internet age. >> thank you. in the senate version of this bill, we are looking at enforcement of the prohibition on non- disparagement clauses by the federal trade commission. in the house version we have the enforcement by the department of justice, do you have an opinion one way or another on who would be the best position to assume
that role? >> i don't have no opinion on that. the person who really leads this work first is daniel castro who has not been able to be here. i would be happy to talk with him and get back to. >> that would be great. thank you for being here. >> thank you senator fisher. >> chairman, thank you very much. thank you for hosting this hearing and pursuing the concepts contained in this legislation. on the topic of small business, i would assume small business actually uses reviews as well. they are a consumer. small businesses need information about what business, larger or smaller they may want to deal with and online reviews may be helpful to a small business and making business decisions. while several outline some ideas of how this is harmful or not beneficial, another way is small business cannot make a mistake. it is more difficult to enter
into a agreement for purchase with another corporation that turns out to be a bad deal. the consequences are greater and harder to recover from. i assume small businesses also utilize reviews to make purchases and services. people are shaking their head, does anyone want to disagree with that. then, let me ask about state laws. perhaps this is to the professor, california, i think in particular has state laws dealing with this issue? >> yes california is the only state. >> others pursuing or considering the? >> i have not done a survey. >> is there anything we could learn from what has transpired from california and away that this law has been written, interpreted or enforced. >> i do not believe there has been any enforcement action. we do not have data part of how it is in the field. it is relatively new so it is
early in the process. i will call attention to a statutory damages provision in the california statute that awards consumers who are subject to these clauses to obtain statutory damages. i think that is a topic worth discussion at this committee whether that would be a helpful addition. >> in addition to that suggestion lemmie ask a broader question. while we are focused on non- disparagement clauses, in this world of online reviews, are there other or similar issues that the commerce committee should be paying attention to? a couple that have been mentioned previously, fake reviews, false reviews, are there issues that surround this new development? certainly in my life, particularly in a rural, small town resident these reviews occurred. they occurred after church, at the grocery store, at the café,
and people in our community would talk about what service they got or didn't get. how the quality of the product was or wasn't. today i suppose the consequences are magnified because of the volume of information that is available. is there something that we're missing as we only look in the legislation as to this issue of non- disparagement clauses? >> if i may, i will reiterate my interest in the federal anti- flax solution. the idea would be to be lawsuits that alleging defamation or other types of harm like that that are on the content that would be of social interest to be taught early and to shift if they're illegitimate. so the real way reviews get scrubbed off the internet is not through these clauses. these clauses are problematic but because people who post them are striving to take them off line, like ms. palmer. she could not review them but
that was unusual. and all other cases when consumers get those threats the content comes down instantly. the federal anti- flap law would mean that they would not be bullied off of the internet. >> i would just second mr. goldman's point on that. they released a report last year on the issue of anti- flap and that issue it has has on the economy commerce. i think we did agree with that. i was it both pieces of legislation are important. >> thank you very much. thank you for this hearing and i apologize for you for intruding in your commentary on the royals. it just really impossible to not have the kansas city battle from the senator from missouri. >> i would have it any other way.
>> thank you mr. chairman p ms. palmer thank you for your courage and clarity. i know you have been through a lot. i imagine it has been a difficult several years. we appreciate everything you're doing. your case perfectly illustrates why we need a law because individual consumers are in no position to fight this injustice. your case also shows well we need federal law and a patchwork of individual statues are not going to work. my first question is for mr. atkinson, we have been talking a about two things, one that consumers do not know what rights they may be waving as they click i agree or they sign a contract at the hotel desk. another question related to intimidation and admonishing or warning customers against a negative online review. those are different tactical approaches, so which is it that these companies are really
employing? are they tricking customers into signing away their rights? or, are they warning customers against negative online review because they cannot be doing both at the same time, it seems to me. >> i think, first off we do not know there really hasn't been enough surveys of this. there are a lot of anecdotes and quite compelling and i have heard one here and other folks i've talked that i've talked about. i think there's a lot there i we don't know exactly which strategy companies are using more of. i think one of the reasons this bill is so important is it's not just the fact that even if there were no laws, if people think they are being gone after, we are at a point that if we do not sell the problem soon, there could be something to most consumers minds where he gives it gives them a little bit of doubt and fear. well i heard of someone getting sued, i am not going to take the risk.
you hear someone contributing a review, there been a public being a public citizen. they're contributing to the public good, they're taking their time. then i tried to help themselves. if we have a collective climate here then people are not good to be up to do it. >> fair enough, but it does point out that we are operating at the beginning of this problem. therefore, we are lacking good decision-support on exactly the size and scope of the problem. speaking of that, does anyone on the panel know primarily if these clauses are being employed by small or large enterprises? it seems to me that is a pretty important question to. i two. i would imagine the reputational risks of a big national and international brand would probably cause bigger companies not to utilize these, but i would like to know whether some of the bigger companies are using them? does anybody know?
>> i don't think trip advisors seize any evidence one way or another. small businesses up to potentially large businesses want to in effect, distort consumer opinions on line. by getting negative reviews withheld. >> let me move on to the way trip advisor work in terms of, you have a pop-up screen that warns consumers if there's a particular hotel or travel company that has a non- disparagement clause, is that correct. >> that is correct. we put a red badge on the property warning consumers so they can make an informed decision as to whether to day there. >> how do you figure out whether the company has a non- disparagement clause? is that based on consumer complaints or do you have a process internally, because i
would imagine it was a resource question for you to have a team of lawyers scrubbing all of their individual contracts. is it just based on if something pops up then you notify the public? >> it is based on consumers reporting that to us and then us investigating. that speaks more so why we need this legislation. we only see a small percentage of these contracts that may exist. some consumers may not notice the clause, or may be too fearful to report it. so widespread and banishment of these clauses is important. >> i think that is the most important point here with respect to whether or not there's a private sector and sort of internet -based solution. it seems to me there is not without a statue. you just can't make the trip advisor or anyone else responsible for reviewing legal language in any company that may or may not be mentioned on your platform. >> i would wholeheartedly agree.
it would be a game of whack a mole. >> thank you. >> thank you senator. >> thank you mr. chairman, this is really an treating subject today. i spent a number of years with customer experience, we are selling to organizations that touched hundreds of thousands of consumers. as you suggest the customer is in charge, we know that now, now it is a cliché. but i think feedback is a gift. i think it is insecure companies like bullies on a playground are insecure, would have these anti- disparagement clauses. welcome to the free market and the internet, let's compete and let the consumer has its voice. frankly, i think it is condescending to consumers to suggest that the consumer -- i
think consumers can weed through , let the consumer sort that out is my view on it. recognizing there still a problem with companies that, some companies posting false claims to prop it up. competitors posting claims that are disparaging. having said that, i can tell you that in montana's viewpoint, tourism is one of our largest business. $4 billion. people are going on mine, they are booking trips, they are relying on online reviews. i spoke to a small business owner a few weeks ago, and ask your place in montana. how is your summer? best summer ever. i said why? is that we had it online reviews. people went and they found us. yellowstone national park has a 4.5 out of five rating on yelp.
a little advertising there. anyway, i guess i am curious about how we ought to approach fake, online reviews. is there best practices, whether businesses are paying for positive reviews or competitors who are writing false, negative reviews. curious, can you share some best practices, policies, procedures, that you would recommend that should be used to come back fake , online reviews question what. >> so a few things. your first point of about consumers becoming more sophisticated, they are becoming more sophisticated. they know there are bad reviews and good reviews. as people get more comfortable with the internet economy they will be able to assist through that. in terms of what companies are doing, companies like yelp and
others who have sophisticated algorithms, they have software engineers, data scientist to use technologies to plague these reviews that are at high risk of being false. then taking them off automatically. there are companies in technology now that companies are employing that simply those reviews will never be posted. >> i would like to first point out that no matter how big the problem is with fake reviews, anti- review clauses are never the solution. so, this i think it is a legitimate concern. i want to stress how important this bill is irrespective of any concern someone has a fake reviews. with fake reviews we should recognize that consumer reviews are still relatively new phenomenon. we can take them back maybe as may be as far as 20 years ago. the modern consumer review of the economy is maybe a dozen years old. if you think about it in those terms, we are seeing the evolution of reviews in developing better and more
aggressive techniques and managing consumer reviews. in the end, they are the solution. we need to have trustworthy platforms for reviews. we need to see improvement on that front every day. >> i work for procter worked for procter & gamble for 12 years, you think about the incredible valuable data. you pay a lot of money to focus groups were. now we get it in real time, on edited, right at the face of the consumer experience. that's why these disparagement clauses and we need to deal with that. this is part of the new economy, this is a gift i think. if you want to become a world-class company, embrace it. >> we see over and over again stories like you told, businesses in remote places and places that consumers would not have thought of traveling to or would not have had the courage
to travel to pre-internet. in fact, the best businesses leverage a platform like a trip advisor to embrace consumer reviews and use it as a free marketing tool, to encourage people to share their opinion and set their expectation of what the triple be like so that you feel safe to venture to some of these more remote places that are amazing experiences. we hear this over and over again for business owners. what makes that possible is the scale of our platforms. the free ability for consumers to share their opinions without being sued by owners who may not like every piece of feedback. the best businesses hate that feedback on an ongoing basis and make their business better. they improve their service, they change things about their property. they remodel, they view that as feedback tool that would otherwise companies would have paid millions of dollars for. >> thank you. >> thank you senator. in our line of work we get
plenty of feedback. >> we do. >> i'm going to embrace the idea that it is a gift. >> all staff of your facebook, you step a mind. >> in mind. >> fair enough. >> thank you. senator from minnesota. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i was thinking the exact same thing when you said it was a gift. i was thinking of some of the hilarious tweets and facebook post that i get, i won't go into them right now but i collect them because they are so amusing. this is a very important bill and i want to thank the chairman and senator for the work they have done on this, i guess i start with ms. palmer, your experience sounds like quite an
ordeal, i read about it. the scale of the cause was initially a 20-dollar purchase is astounding. your persistence in finding a solution is extraordinary. in response to the initial demand to take on the review before they made the negative reports to the credit rating agency, how much time we just meet you in your time spent researching a responding to the demand question i. >> it was several hours, between i had chosen a report.com seemingly at random, so to find out they do not allow reviews to come down it took me several hours to find out what options i had. to the point of actually e-mailing them and say here's my problem, i'm now being bullied, what options do i have? they had to respond to me and spell out and say, well this is what our policy and link it languages little convoluted. we don't allow you to take it down and here's why. we want to make sure that people
are free to post a review without feeling bullied and without feeling like they can take it down, without allowing businesses to remove it. so it was several hours. >> so this is a supple question, do you think most consumers are likely to be as persistent as the palmers in response to threats from companies seeking to enforce non- disparagement clauses? what will likely have been if they are not. >> the palmers story is remarkable. i wish all consumers acted like she did. it was quite amazing. most people give up, because they are not to pursue they'll do whatever they can to move on with their lives, they're not going, they won tried to seek legal help and she couldn't get it. they were just walkway from the problem. probably, like ms. palmer, stop poster reviews. that would really have a chilling effect from consumers to doing it again.
i think mrs. palmer is unique and we should applaud her for her behavior. >> very good, thank you. remember i once had a similar thing with a bill and i found some people who have pursued things like ms. palmer did and to talk about, is like cramming in phone bills, it was was a lutheran minister and a math teacher, they had gone to the depths to see these tiny little charges that added up over time. you are in good company i guess. i understand the concerns of small business owners who worry that unfair or frost reviews can hurt their livelihood. was it you mr. atkinson who cited a study showing that one star increase in the restaurants rating at yelp can lead to a five to 9% increase in revenue. to put a less rosy star, one star decrease a one star decrease can have serious consequence of the bottom line. besides non- disparagement
clauses what tools do you think small business owners have to address on fair or false reviews question. >> will first of all, and the share of these ratings they are accurate reviews so the most important thing in restaurant could do is to improve their service or their quality of their food or whatever else they are getting a bad review. again, few people said that is valuable information for company to continuously's improve their service. secondly, lot of these platforms including yelp, trip advisor have mechanisms in place where you can challenge reviews that have been bad but not taken someone to court, thirdly, companies can and do post and say we do not agree with this review and here's why. or here's why agree with it and here's why. >> i was looking at some last night, not in preparation for this hearing but, i would like to say it was.
but what incentives do you think companies like trip advisor's have to limit on parables reviews question. >> we give consumers the ability to share all of their experience and the intent to ultimately, when we hear about limits to free speech, is to warn and penalize businesses that tried to kill that speech. >> and professor goldman, does your research show what mr. mr. woodrow just talked about question i. >> i'm sorry which aspects. >> will he talked about the fact there is incentive for companies to limit on parables reviews. >> i'm sorry, you're talking about review sites. they are the mechanism for providing feedback to the marketplace. they themselves compete in the marketplace to be reputable and
persuasive. in fact, we hear competition on these sites to convince their consumers that they are trustworthy. that competition actually is a great incentive to fight against the review. >> alright. all right. thank you for all of you. >> thank you mr. chairman, i want to check thank the chairman for lending his support against this new, ingenious wrinkle in the age-old practice and tries to give new meaning to hidden tricks and traps and discourage consumers from informing and warning others. these sorts of sneaking sentences and paragraphs essentially gag them from giving
services or goods a negative view. when they pay for, their disappointed in it and they want to warn other consumers. usually they are buried in the fine print of the sales contract, and invoice, they are a one way racket. they post negative reviews but not positive. so from an economic standpoint they distort the free marketplace. i am supporter of a nonpartisan bill that has been announced, i want to thank him for engaging with me on this bill, my initial arose from the original language of the bill which included a statement related to the attorney general that was concerning to me as i for me attorney general. i believe the language will be
removed when we moved to a markup and so i'm a proud supporter of this bill. the attorney general has a vital and vigorous role in protecting consumers and adding to the resources and intellectual way of the federal government. i very much appreciate the chairman's understanding in that regard. some will raise the question, why'd we need a federal law? the answer is, quite simply the standardized antidefamation provisions may be considered for under boyd under state law but there are number throughout the country and they confuse consumers because consumers have to go to different state laws to know if there are valid in one state or another state.
i would like to simply say that making these per visions a violation of the ftc act is exactly the right thing to do, prohibiting their use in the affect they effect they create in the first place promotes a free market nationally. these products, services, are sold and marketed nationally. the information should be available nationally without impediment of a tax work of different state laws. so, i would like to add mr. goldman could you talk about the virtual of a federal solution here and say a connecticut consumer gets a hotel through a website located in north dakota for a hotel in utah, should a consumer have to research state laws in three different jurisdictions before
he can exercise her free speech right? >> certainly we would think mr. palmer's case is a great example of how difficult it is for a consumer to understand the limits of the clauses and to get relief from them. they do not add any value but to anyone in the ecosystem. they certainly hurt consumers, they probably it certainly hurt other businesses that play by the rules. they depress the overall market. >> thank you. >> i would simply add to the extent that we believe the laws, the clauses may already be illegal that may depend on things like interpretation of unconscionability of public policy. there are significant state and variations of these documents and providing of federal standard would clean up ambiguity. >> thank you.
my time has expired. the subject is one that is extremely important, i think you all for being here today. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman very much, thank you for convening today's hearing. online review sites provide customers with an important and open forum to provide feedback to share experiences and hold businesses accountable. some of these websites allow customers to compare products and prices amongst many service providers, helping consumers select the blessed product at the most affordable price. last week i visited trip advisors headquarters in massachusetts, i saw firsthand their wonderful staff working on key innovations and interfaces needed to ensure consumers have access to online reviews and travel prices. i am proud that one of the largest travel sites in the world is based in massachusetts. i am happy to see trip advisor testifying here today. it has come to my attention that
some airlines may be restricting access to their schedules and prices liking it difficult for all my travel sites like trip advisor to post different flight options online. if a consumer cannot view all of the flight options and prices on one website the consumer may be unable to identify the best travel prices, as a result the consumer may pay too much for the flight. how are consumers and airlines do not provide fair and scheduled information to travel sites. >> consumers are harmed anytime you reduce transparency. in this case, it would be the inability and given the consolidation in the airline industry, particularly in the united states, that limited information and limited visibility around real pricing, real availability, does not help consumers plan trips. it doesn't help the economy grow
through travel tourism. >> are airlines currently preventing travel sites like trip advisor from ad accessing ticket fees and flight schedules? >> yes. increasingly airlines are attempting to withhold that information. and not making it freely available for consumers to price compare and shop. >> should airlines provide travel sites with ancillary fee if information as well? fees on baggage, advancing selection fees and all of those things, should that also be made available so the consumer can see what the total charges going to be to fly? >> absolutely. i can think of any consumer who would not want to know all right what to expect in terms of pricing. >> so, we have gag clauses, provisions buried in contracts
that discourage customers from posting negative reviews online. these ultimately may wind up hurting the consumers and businesses alike. i am concerned about these efforts to stifle america's freedom to post reviews. as we have learned today, some customers are getting penalized for posting honest, but critical reviews and the mere threat of penalizing customers from posting negative reviews may discourage some customers from posting at all. without customers posting their honest assessment of project and services, other customers may not have the information needed to make informed purchasing decision. how can gag clauses also hurt businesses? >> gay causes her businesses by reducing the amount of feedback they get and by distorting the claim that the marketplace for other businesses in that market.
>> what other attacks on consumer rights are some businesses including in contracts in terms of service? >> this is the end of the line. we have seen it going on for years. clauses that restrict people's ability, arbitration clauses are existing for a long time and have now grown to be widespread across every industry you can imagine where people who have complaints simply cannot get into the public system of justice. it is a real concern. the right to speak is following the right to go to court. i'm not surprised at all by what we are seeing today. >> miss palmer has highlighted one of the features of gag clauses. can you provide other examples of consumers being harassed. >> absently, we have seen in the past with similar gag clauses upwards of $5 million. daily fines of $50,000 to consumers until the reviews are
removed. we have heard of cases from consumers who have contacted us to remove a review because of a threat of a lawsuit or action. in all of these cases the consumer stands by their content to but is but is choosing to remove their content and diminish their own speech so not to end up in the case with a lien against them. >> lean against them. >> thank you. >> a couple of quick questions here and will close this out. this will be directed to mr. atkinson or mr. goldman. are there particular industries where consumer gag clauses are especially pervasive? >> i mentioned in my initial testimony about the medical and healthcare industry where the entire industry was encouraged to adopt the restrictions.
many, i don't know what percentage, many did so. i think that industry has moved on, i would like to think they have recognized the error of their way. i think it is an illustration of how the clauses can sweep an entire industry. once a few people try it other businesses might say, that sounds like a good idea, that gives me the control over my reputation that i want. if i don't do, my competitors will have the glossy reviews while i have the good and bad air out in public. in my opening remarks i mentioned we will see many other industries where the clauses will sweep. where they are driven by small businesses and professional business advisors, lawyers, doctors, et cetera as well as small business owners, places like hotels and bed and breakfast are good fertile grounds for these clauses.
>> anything to add? >> i would agree with that, certainly healthcare, retail, hospitality, personal retail services. areas where you, companies where you are dealing with a service provider. >> i direct this to everybody on the panel. some are familiar with the review we have passed, the question i have is do you believe it strikes an appropriate balance in terms of consumer rights versus the ability of businesses to protect the reputation? >> businesses have already a wide range of tools to protect the reputation. i cannot come up with a single circumstance where it is legitimate to tell consumers they cannot share their honest, truthful feedback. in my mind, the particular
question the bill address, there is no balance that i can see that would be appropriate to be worried about. in my mind it is an abuse of the business consumer relationship to tell consumers we want your money but we do not want you talking about it. >> i agree. i think the bill is a strong bill an important bill. i think it protects consumers and s mr. golden said there are rights that businesses can pursue. now that provision thing where happy to support it. >> miss palmer? >> i would also like to point out that as consumers, we do not have a lot of power when it comes to trying to defend ourselves against a business that would seek to have us remove the review, or come after us. they have more money, they have more money lawyers on staff than we could ever choose to get. knowing there is a law in place that says you cannot come after us just because we told the
truth is extremely empowering to consumers. i believe it will go a long way. >> thanks. >> i agree with mr. goldman. i don't think there is anything here to balance. what your legislation is trying to prevent our things are simply unfair and harmful to consumers. as we have said consumers, businesses have many other options of that this bill would not take away. >> i would just add that not only are consumers harmed but other businesses that play by the rule and want a level playing field are also harmed by the existence of gag clauses. >> thank you all very much, thank you for your testimony today for your responses to the question. miss palmer, thank you for an inspirational story, an example that one person really can make a difference. you are the reason my this issue
has taking on a life of its own. certainly why we are here today. thank you to all of the panelist , we spend a spent a lot of time on this committee studying these issues, relating to the internet, how do we keep the internet ecosystem protected how do we look at the potential it offers? you look at the digital economy and how powerful that is and how many people are using that to do business, to purchase products and services, and obviously what is happening out there in terms of these various practices seems to completely contradict what we are trying to accomplish. in terms of creating more freedom and protecting consumers rights out there, but certainly empowering people as they use this powerful tool in a way that can enhance their lives and those around them as well. we appreciate your insights and thank you again for making the
time to be here today. we're going to try her best as we move forward, we have a markup schedule here in a few weeks and we will hopefully try to move this bill to the senate floor and get action on it there. we have a companion bill in the house it be nice to see something we could put on the president's death that we could address an issue that is becoming increasingly important in our digital economy. the hearing record will remain open for two weeks. during this time senators will be asked to cement any questions for the record upon receipt we asked the witnesses to submit their written answers to the committee as soon as possible. thank you all again for being here today. this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversation] and out
colorado are starting to favorite legal marijuana vendors. he argues colorado is drawing black-market operators. >> at the beginning, we heard people say, well it costs too , much in the stores and that is going to result in the underground market. now it costs the same in the stores on the street. now that there are these stores, where do adults want to go? adults who want to use marijuana what to access it in a way similar to adult who use alcohol. you want to find someone and hope it is what they say it is and they are going to give it to you and you will be safe? or do you want to just stop at the store? we are seeing sales -- they started low and have been getting higher and higher because people are starting to , become more accustomed to this system. there is a reason why more people are buying marijuana from the store instead of the underground market. it is because it is preferable in every way. >> if you are a producer in
another place, whether mexico or some other state, and you want the heat to be off of you. you want to lower your overhead by reducing the amount of security you need to operate underground, guess where you're going to come? you're coming to colorado. we know it is happening because we know how much is being exported out of the state. >> a discussion about legalized marijuana in colorado tomorrow -- tonight at 8:30 eastern on c-span. president obama has announced his administration's official rejection of the keystone xl pipeline proposal. in a brief statement he outlined his reasons for the decision. this is 10 minutes. president obama: good morning, everybody. several years ago the state department began a review process for a proposed pipeline
that would carry canadian crude oil through our hartline to the ports of the gulf of mexico, and out into the world market. this morning, senator kerry -- secretary kerry informed me that after extensive public outreach and consultation with other cabinet agencies, the state department has decided that the keystone xl pipeline would not serve the national interest of the united states. i agree with that decision. this morning, i also had the opportunity to speak with prime minister trudeau of canada. while he expressed his disappointment, given canada's position on this issue, we both agreed that our close friendship on a whole range of issues, including energy and climate change, should provide the basis for even closer correlation between our countries going forward. in the coming weeks, senior members of my team will be engaging with theirs in order to help deepen that cooperation.
now for years, the keystone pipeline has occupied what i frankly consider an overinflated role in our political discourse. it became a symbol to often use as a campaign call cold -- a campaign hold rather than a serious policy matter. all this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others. to illustrate this, let me briefly comment on some of the reasons why the state department rejected this pipeline. first, the pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy. so, if congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it. they want to do it, but what we should be doing is passed
bipartisan infrastructure planned that in the short term to create more than 30 times as many jobs per year than the pipeline would and create a better economy for workers for years to come. our business has created 262,000 new jobs last month. they created 13.5 million new jobs over the past 68 straight months -- the longest streak on record. the unemployment rate fell to 5%. this congress should pass a serious infrastructure plan and keep those jobs coming. that would make a difference. the pipeline would not have made a serious impact on those numbers and on the american people's prospects for the future. second, the pipeline would not lower gas prices for american consumers. in fact, gas prices have already been falling steadily. the national average gas price
is down about $.77 over a year ago. it is down one dollar over two years ago. it is down $1.27 over three years ago. today, in 41 states drivers can find a gas station selling gas for less than two dollars a gallon. while our politics has been consumed by debate on whether this pipeline would create jobs and lower gas prices, we have gone ahead and created jobs and lowered gas prices. third, shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase america's energy security. what has increased america's energy security is our strategy over the past several years to reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world. three years ago, i set a goal to cut our oil imports in half by 2020. between producing more oil here
at home and using less oil throughout our economy, we met that goal last year. five years early. in fact for the first time in , two decades, the united states of america now produces more oil than we buy from other countries. the truth is the united states will continue to rely on oil and gas as we transition, as we must transition to a clean energy , economy. that transition will take some time. but it is also going more quickly than many anticipated. think about it. since i took office, we have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas by 2025. tripled the power we generate from the wind, multiplied the power we generate from the sun 20 times over. our biggest and most successful businesses are going all in on clean energy. thanks in part to the investments we have made, there
are already parts of america were clean power from the wind or sun is cheaper than dirtier conventional power. the point is the old rule set -- said we cannot promote economic growth and protect our environment at the same time. the old rule said that we cannot transition to clean energy without squeezing businesses and consumers, but this is america. we have come up with new ways and new technologies to break down the old rules so today, homegrown energy is booming and energy prices are falling over the past decade, even as our economy has continued to grow, america has cut our total carbon pollution more than any other country on earth. today, the united states of america is leading on climate change with our investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. america is leading on climate change with new rules on power plants that will protect our air so that our kids can breathe.
america is leading on climate change with other big emitters , like china to announce new , regulations to reduce greenhouse gas omissions. in part because of that american leadership, more than 150 nations representing global emissions have put forward plans to cut global pollution. america is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action when it comes to fighting climate change. frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership and that is the , biggest risk that we face. not acting. today, we are continuing to lead by example because ultimately if we are going to prevent large parts of this earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes we have to keep some , fossil fuel in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.
as long as i'm president of the united states, america will hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world. three weeks from now, i look forward to joining my fellow world leaders in paris where we have to come together around in -- around an ambitious framework to protect the one planet that we have got while we still can. if we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it is too late, the time to act is now. not later, not someday, but right here, right now. i am optimistic about what we can accomplish together. i'm optimistic because our own country proves every day, one step at a time, that not only do we have the power to combat this threat, but we can do it while creating new jobs, while growing our economy, while saving money, while helping consumers, and most of all, leaving our kids a cleaner, safer planet at the
same time. that is what our own ingenuity and actions can do. that is what we can accomplish. america is prepared to show the rest of the world a way forward. thank you very much. next, your calls and comments journal."ashington been a former nsa director on cyber security and defense technology. then jeb bush at a campaign stop in tampa, florida. every weekend, the c-span network features programs on books, andonfiction
american history. as the nation commemorates veterans day, at 11:00 a.m. eastern, c-span will be live from the national world war ii museum in new orleans as we look back 70 years. we will tour the exhibit and take your calls and tweets. every sunday morning at 10:00 our new program, wrote to the white house rewind, looks at past presidential campaign through archival footage. we look at the ronald reagan 1975 announcement. debate onhe steamboat the legalization of marijuana in colorado and other places around the country. then, former maryland governor and democratic residential candidate martin o'malley will speak at the university in durham. starting at 4:00 eastern,
the boston book festival, featuring nonfiction author presentations, including on the a bookst group isis, and about 2 iraq and afghanistan war veterans who use their military discipline and values to help others. "nd "the nearest thing to life on the connection between fictional writing and life. then a discussion with the former first lady of massachusetts on her book "in this together" on her journey with multiple sclerosis. this morning on "washington journal" chris edwards and talk aboutmo black transportation projects as the house and senate continue to reconcile their versions of a six-year transportation bill. shedd examines
the role of law enforcement in schools. you can join the conversation with phone calls, facebook, and twitter. president obama: the state department has decided that the keystone xl pipeline would not serve the national interest of the united states. i agree with that decision. ♪ host: you just heard president obama announcing at a news conference yesterday that he has rejected the proposal for the bill for the keystone xl pipeline. the controversial project would have run from canada to nebraska and would have moved 800,000 tons of barrels of oil a day. this is our topic of discussion today. you can start darling and now, to less know what you think. if youpo