tv U.S. House of Representatives Morning Hour CSPAN February 10, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EST
to be are promising things that will not get done. and iwe hear your point will jump in and let you go because the house is about to come in for their morning session. we will have live coverage here on c-span. thank you for all your calls this morning. we will be back tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern time. host[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's room, washington, d.c., february 10, 2016. i hereby appoint the honorable speaker ighs to act as pro tempore on this day,
signed, paul d. ryan, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the the of january 6, 2016, chair will alternate recognition between parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and the minority whip limited to five minutes, but in no event shall the debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m. the chair recognizes the gentleman from oregon, mr. lumenauer, for five minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, mr. speaker. i came to congress committed to helping the federal government do a better job dealing with water and sanitation. we've had great success internationally, raising the profile and directing more money in a more effective way to deal with water and sanitation for poor countries, making a difference in millions of lives. in the united states we often
take those conditions for granted. but as has been demonstrated recently in flint, michigan, we do so at our peril, because we have serious problems right here in the united states, and it's not just flint, michigan. there are up to 10 million lead water lines that remain where even a slight change in the water chemistry, even from just repairing it, can damage lead pipes enough to start contaminating people's water. what's underground and out of sight is actually in worse condition than our crumbling roads and bridges. america leaks more water than we drink every day. in the aftermath of the recession, we've seen states cut drinking water budgets and staff. the federal government has cut our investment in drinking water infrastructure by more 1980.00% by -- 80% by
this, despite the fact that ours is a growing country with aging infrastructure that was rated d by the american society of civil engineers in their latest report. now, i'm pleased that the administration, in its budget, would put a little extra money to help replace lead pipes. sadly, that's being financed by cutting even more from the clean water state reinvolving fund, essentially -- revolving fund, essentially keeping water clean in the first place. we should look at our water infrastructure as an entire system, and increased federal investment is long overdue. we would have to increase our funding 500% to reach the level of spending during jimmy carter's presidency. i've long advocated the development of a water infrastructure trust fund. we've reintroduced a bipartisan budget neutral solution to
create a dedicated water infrastructure trust fund to provide additional revenue to state and local water and sanitation projects. it's financed by a voluntary program where businesses that rely heavily on clean water, like the beverage industry, for example, they have a keen interest in maintaining water infrastructure, would on a voluntary basis pay a minuscule fee. in exchange, they would be designated as supporting the clean water trust fund. it's estimated that this could generate up to $7 billion annually in new revenue that could go to state and local governments as grants and loans which in turn could leverage even more money. this legislation would also give direction and resources for e.p.a. to deal with the affordability gap. we can actually finance much of the needed water and infrastructure improvements,
but we're hamstrung because there's understandable reluctance to raise rates that fall too much on the poorest of citizens. thus, we're in a cycle of unpaid water and sewer bills that leaves nobody with satisfactory alternatives. this legislation would give more money to state and local governments, allowing them to leverage additional money and to focus on ways to deal with the very substantial problem of low income for whom access to safe drinking water and sanitation is every bit as fundamental a human right as what we're doing to help poor people overseas achieve. mr. speaker, i celebrate secretary clinton and a number of our colleagues going to flint, michigan, to focus on the problem. i applaud people who are looking at where the system failed. but i would hope we would put as much attention to the systematic failure of congress and at the state level to attach priority to this fundamental building block for
a livable community. i hope my colleagues will join me, not only co-sponsoring h.r. 446, but enacting the trust fund and fighting for budgets that represent the resources this crisis demands. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from north carolina, ms. foxx, for five minutes. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. chair. mr. speaker, next week marks an important milestone in the history of north carolina's piedmont region, the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town of salem. in 1752, church leaders purchased a 100,000 acre tract in north carolina from a british lord. a february 19, 1776, 12 from nearby settlement made the eight-mile track to salem. the church leaders decided the new town should have the
convenience of running water to the buildings. the town built a water works which was constructed by baring hallowed log from springs located about a mile away. this addition to salem's infrastructure attracted the attention of president george washington who visited in 1793. however, washington was not the first famous visitor to salem. in 1767, the royal governor william trion heard the building going on in north carolina's northwest wilderness. he and his wife made the long journey from newburn to exam their new settlement firsthand. along with its advanced plumbing, salem was also at the forefront of innovative medicine and was home to the first university educated physician in western north carolina. in addition, salem was known across the colonial south as a place of commerce and trade, renowned for its pottery,
furniture, silver and other artistic trades. in 1913, the town of salem would focus on craftsmanship, sustainability, education and religion, merged with the fast pace industrial town of winston, thus becoming winston-salem. today it is the fifth largest city in north carolina. it is home to six colleges and universities, including salem college, the oldest continuously running women's college in the united states. as well as the prestigious wake forest university in wince and winston-salem state university. forging boldly ahead, the city continues to build a diverse business space, leading in the areas of nanotechnology research, the original settlement is a living history museum that engages visitors and an educational historic experience about those who lived and worked in the early south. during the year-long anniversary celebration, the
church, old salem, the city of winston-salem will honor important milestones in the town's 250-year history. such as george washington's two-night visit to salem in 1793, and the nation's first public july fourth celebration that took place in 1783. but most importantly, the local community will come together to celebrate and reflect on how salem's past informs its present and shapes its future. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from puerto rico, mr. pierluisi, for five minutes. mr. pure luisy: mr. speaker -- mr. pierluisi: mr. speaker, congress will hold its eight hearing on puerto rico later this month. the natural resources committee will then lead an effort to craft legislation for the territory. there is not a single crisis in puerto rico but a series of
intertwined crises. it's an economic crisis, a fiscal crisis, a liquidity crisis, a debt crisis, immigration crisis and a public administration crisis. if you visualize puerto rico as a tree and each crisis as a withering branch, the root of the tree is puerto rico's political status. while the immediate aim is to mend the branches, ultimately we will need to attack the problem at its root and that means puerto rico must become a state or a sovereign nation. last week, antonio wise, a senior treasury department official, stated as follows -- there's no question that stat suss vitally important. why are we proposing that restructuring authorities and the earned income tax credit and fair medicaid treatment be provided to puerto rico? well, as a territory, puerto rico's status does not afford
adequate tools in those three areas, so we believe we need to afford the commonwealth those tools that it needs so it can navigate this crisis, and we agree that over a long period of time status has contributed to this crisis. since the problem in puerto rico has multiple dimensions, the legislative solution should as well. first, the bill must empower puerto rico to restructure a meaningful portion of its debt. the bill could provide a period in which consensual negotiators, mediated by neutral experts can take place. if those negotiations do not bear fruit, the puerto rico government should be empowered to adjust their debt under chapter 9 of the federal bankruptcy code. puerto rico's connelly approved constitution -- congressionally approved constitution, they are
required to receive priority payment. what binds us together as americans and port -- puerto ricans are american citizens, and i do expect all creditor classes, including g.o. bond holders to make concessions for the public good that will ultimately benefit all stakeholders. i sense that a bipartisan consensus is finally emerging in support of reasonable debt restructuring authority for puerto rico. econd, the bill should address the outrageous federal programs, a main driver of our deficits and debt. consider that historically. puerto rico received $300 billion in annual medicaid funding while similar sized oregon receives $5 billion. i challenge any state to run a decent medicaid program with that insulting sum without overborrowing in the capital
markets. impossible. finally, the puerto rico government has a record of fiscal mismanagement. this is a painful fact but a fact nonetheless. we must face up to it, resolve to do better and welcome some temporary assistance. i would support the creation of an independent board to approve puerto rico's government's financial plan and annual budgets and to help ensure they are adhered to. but past is not always the problem. there is no reason why future puerto rico leaders cannot embrace fiscal discipline as -- and rapidly put the oversight board out of business. and congress should be careful about casting moral judgment on puerto rico since the federal government has a $14 trillion debt that is 75% of the g.d.p. we in puerto rico are responsible for our actions, but congress is responsible for its actions and inaction as
well. a balanced board will obtain buy in from government, business and labor leaders in puerto rico and can serve as a bridge to a brighter future. however, a punitive board that disrespects my constituents and tramples on the principle of states' rights will transform me from an ally to an adversary very quickly. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from alabama, mr. brooks, for five minutes. mr. speaker, american trusted republicans with the house in had 2010 and the senate in 20 -- in 2010 and the senate in 2014. they lost congress because their financially irresponsible conduct and trillion-dollar deficits threaten american with a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy.
house republicans inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit in 2011, cut it to $1.1 trillion in 2012, cut it to $680 billion in 2013, cut it to $485 billion in 2014 and cut it to $439 billion in 2015. house republicans did what the american people elected them to do, and in each election thereafter, we were entrusted with two more years of a house republican majority. unfortunately, newly released data from the nonpart san congressional budget office reveals america's financial condition has taken a sharp turn for the worse. . according to the c.b.o., the first quarter fiscal year 2016 deficit deteriorated by $36 billion compared to 2015's first quart deficit. -- quarter deficit. if extrapolated to a full year, america's f.y. 2016 deficit,
would be $583 billion, that's $144 billion worse than in f.y. 2015. out of control spending was the problem, not taxes. during the first quarter, tax revenues were up 4%, but 7%.ding was up even more at now for the first time since i have been in congress, republicans compromises and surrenders to obama and democrats have made america's deficits worse not better. this dong broke open our kids' biggie -- congress broke open our kids' piggy banks, stole money we cannot play pay back, and used it to pay for an omnibus spending bill that adds tens of billions of dollars to 2016's deficits, i am proud i voted against the financiallyers responsible omnibus. mr. speaker, america's comptroller general and the c.b.o. repeatedly warned that
america's financial path is, quote, unsustainable, meaning america faces a debilitating insolvency in bankruptcy unless we get our financial house in order. further, the c.b.o. warns that absent correction america's debt service cost also increase by $600 billion per year within a decade, roughly what america spends on national defense. which begs the question, where will the money come from for an additional annual $600 billion debt service payment? america's total debt approached $14 trillion when i was elected to congress in 2010. we have blown through the $19 trillion mark. now the c.b.o. projects america will blow through the $29 trillion debt mark in a decade. for emphasis, washington is engaged in the worst generational theft in america
history. washington steals from our children and grandchildren with a callous devil may care attitude so we can, today, live high on the hog even though it forces our children into hardship and poverty. economic principles don't care if you are a family, business, or country. if you borrow more money than you can pay back, you go bankrupt. time is running out. washington must balance the budget before america's debt burden spirals out of control before it is too late to prevent the debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy that awaits us. mr. speaker, americans are rightfully angry at washington elected officials who care more about special interest campaign contributions than american voters or america's future. will the american people channel their anger in the 2016 elections and elect washington officials who both understand the threat posed by deficits and debt and have the backbone to fix it?
the answer to that question determines whether america continues as a great nation and world power or declines into the dust bin of history. mr. speaker, i can't speak for anyone else but as for me, mo brooks from alabama's fifth congressional district, i fight for financial responsibility and prosperity and against an american bankruptcy and economic depression. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from hawaii, ms. gabbard, for five minutes. ms. gabbard: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to strongly urge my colleagues to support the president's emergency request of $1.8 billion to fight the spread of the zika virus. a dangerous mosquito borne illness that surfaced in my home state of hawaii and at least 12 other states across the country. the symptoms and effects of the
zika virus which have prompted an international public health emergency from the world health organization are not dissimilar to another mosquito-borne disease, den gay fever. it is spread through the very same mosquito as carries the zika virus, as well as other mosquito variations, and like the virus, the fever symptoms include fevers, rashes, joint and muscle pains, severe headaches, and other painful symptoms. now, the c.d.c. has reported the harmful symptoms and effects of both zika and deng yea and the ability of both these diseases to spread very rapidly through mosquitos present in regions of the united states, including in my home district. so far there have been around 50 cases of zika virus confirmed in the united states. but in the past 16 weeks there of been 252 known cases
denge fever on hawaii island alone. now, the mayor, on monday announced the state of emergency for the county to deploy more resources to battle this outbreak. i have asked our governor to declare a state of emergency in response to the outbreak so that the people of hawaii can receive every resource available to protect themselves, to eradicate this mosquito and breeding grounds, and stop the spread of den gay fever which has become the largest outbreak in the state of hawaii since the 1940's. the c.d.c. has ack have i tated its emergency operations center to level one status. now, to put this level one status in context, the c.d.c. has only raised the emergency level to one three times in the past. during the ebola outbreak in 2014. during the h-1-n-1 pandemic in 2009 and hurricane katrina in 2005.
the president's leadership and emergency request on this urgen issue is warranted and necessary to respond aggressively to the zika virus early on. he's treating this with the seriousness it deserves. recognizing this global public health threat, the impacts, and long lasting effects of which still are in the fully known. at the end of last year, congress came together and passed a bipartisan omnibus spending bill that increased funding for public health preparedness and response by more than $52 million than the previous fiscal year. but this additional emergency funding request is necessary now in communities like mine on hawaii island and in different parts of the country to combat this disease transmitting mosquito virus like zika. it's imperative that congress, federal agencies, local governments, and private sector partners, partner together to take action now to deal with the
outbreaks we already have and prevent something from far worse from occurring. i look forward to working with my colleagues to push this critical public health funding forward. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this week i introduced legislation in the house to expand the pfc joseph p. dwire pier support program. mr. zeldin: he was from mount sinai, new york, located in my home district. pfc dwire served in iraq and received nationwide recognition for a photograph that went viral showing him cradling a wounded iraqi boy while his unit was fighting its way up to the capital city of baghdad. sadly after returning home and struggling with ptsd, pfc dwire e -- dwire and left behind a
2-year-old daughter. i created the program as part of the 2012-2013 state budget. originally in four counties, including suffolk, this program has since expanded to over a dozen counties throughout new york. the program is a peer to peer support program for veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress distoward and traumatic brain injury. the program provides a safe, confidential, and educational platform where all veterans are welcomed to build vet-to-vet relationships, supporting each other's transition from service to post service life. during the first year alone, we were able to conduct 148 group sessions, serving 450 veterans just within suffolk. since 2013, the program has helped over 1,500 veterans in new york sit battling ptsd and t.b.i. with the success that we have had in new york, i know that if we make this program national we will ensure that every veteran across america will eventually
have access to a pier-to-pier support group. with the v.a. reporting an estimated 22 veterans a day commit suicide, this national effort is long overdue. we must ensure that all veterans across america receive the proper care they need and deserve. i'll be working hard to spread awareness of my bill, gather co-sponsors, and support veteran groups and mental health organization from all across the country so that we can pass this bill as soon as possible. shifting gears on a completely separate topic, i also rise today to discuss the mosquito-borne zika virus which has spread at rapid rates across south america, and the caribbean, affecting individuals in more than 25 countries. it has caused widespread alarm across the global community after brazil reported a rise in the reported cases, a disease that leads tragically to a baby being born with an usually small head and brain damage. what is so concerning about the zika virus is how easily it can
spread. the virus is spread not only through a mosquito bite, but also by contact with infected blood or sexual contact. furthermore, there is currently no vaccine to prevent or any medicine to treat the virus. all these factors have led to world health organization to declare the zika virus a public health emergency. confirmed cases of the zika virus have been popping up across the u.s., including at least three confirmed cases in my home district of suffolk county, long identify lan. with the recent outbreaks, a number of zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the united states, it's only a matter of time before this becomes a widespread epidemic right here at home. this is why we must act now. i recently introduced legislation, the counterterrorism screening and assistance act of 2016, h.r. 4314, which passed the house foreign affairs committee with bipartisan support. one key aspect of this legislation ask that the bill would put in place a monitoring system that would screen for infectious diseases abroad to
contain and prevent any potential outbreaks. the bill also helps quarantine a virus, authorizing the secretary of homeland security to provide equipment and supplies to mitigate the risk or threat of an infectious disease such as zika. this is a measure that's long overdue to protect not only our homeland from terrorism but also to ensure that we are prepared to combat the spread of any infectious diseases. with this bill's passage out of committee, it's clear that my colleagues in congress share my view. i'll continue to push for full passage of my counterterrorism screening and assistance act in the house and urge my colleagues to bring this bipartisan bill to the house floor for a vote. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. dold, for five minutes. mr. dold: mr. speaker, in recent years the boycott divestment and sanctions movement, more commonly known as the b.d.s.
movement, has been employed as a hateful weapon to delegitimatize the state of israel and all those who stand with her. the b.d.a. movement has neither brought israelis and palestinians closer to peace nor advance the laudable goal of improving dialogue between the supporters of both sides. instead, it has served as a means to democrat mog israel and inflame tensions in communities and college campuses around our nation. rather than sit back and react to the b.d.s. movement's aggressive efforts to foment hatred for israel, it's time to take charge and simply say enough. it's time to go on offense against the b.d.s. movement's ongoing economic warfare targeting israel. that's why i'm proud to announce that combating b.d.s. act of 2016. bipartisan legislation that i'm introducing with congressman juan vargas of california, a courageous leader in the anti- b.d.s. movement. the combating b.d.s. act of 2016
affirms the -- on the federal level the authority of state and local governments to divest public funds or entities that engage in commerce or investment related boycott, divestment, or sanctions activity targeting israel. here is why this idea is so important. similar to previous local efforts to divest from companies doing business with iran, we are now seeing a growing movement in state and local governments throughout the nation. to enact measures to divest public funds from entities participating in anti-b.d.s. in israel. the combating b.d.s. act of 2016 strengthens these efforts by affirming the legal authority of state and local governments to act on divestment without running afoul of any potential federal limitations. this important legislation empowers community leaders and individuals who seek to counter the hateful targeting and delegitimate -- delegitimatization against israel and sends an unquestionable message about where the united states congress
stands on b.d.s. this is not about left versus right, this is about right versus wrong and it must remain bipartisan. as the author of the combating b.d.s. act of 2016, i look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance this powerful and important legislation. i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. roskam, for five minutes. mr. roskam: mr. speaker, i rise today to speak about the islamic republic of iran, its past and its future. february 11 is just an ordinary day for americans but tomorrow in iran it's anything but ordinary. litary parades and mass of state sponsor of celebrations fill the states of tehran. in just a few hours it will be islamic revolutionary victory day in iran.
the regime celebrates 37 years since the violent coupe that the ayatollah khomeini into power and brought iran into a theocracy and the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism. it's a dark period of history, mr. speaker. thousands of innocent people were killed as the revolutionaries consolidated power. the u.s. embassy was overrun and more than 50 americans were held hostage for 444 days. the united states has seen six presidents since 1979, reflecting a broad range of leadership styles and governing philosophies and yet the islamic republic has been led by two supreme leaders, both zealots, fanatic committed to the revolutionary ideas beingess spoused being celebrated on the streets of iran today. make no has take, mr. speaker, we're dealing with the same -- make no mistake, mr. speaker, we're dealing with the same
iran today as we were in 1979. implement day as president obama's dangerous nuclear deal has now come and gone. the world is much more dangerous because of it. iran, the leading patron of global terrorism, just received $100 billion check. the mullahs continue to foment violence and i could os against the middle east and their nuclear structure remains intact. the obama administration long argued that we only would be giving them only $50 billion, but even they've conceded that it's closer to $100 billion or more. we're also told that iran would moderate its behavior as a result of this capitulation, but just in the past few weeks, humiliated and american soldiers, illegally
launched ballistic missiles, fired rockets within 1,500 yards of u.s. ships, flew a drone over a u.s. carrier, and the list goes on and on. iranian military forces continue to slaughter syrians. over 200,000 have been killed so far. iranian-backed militias are response for kipping 300 contractors in iraq. it doesn't take much imagination to know what they would do with another $100 billion, this windfall they're about to receive. as president obama and secretary kerry have both begudgingly admitted, it's nearly certain that the iranians will use this money to sow the seeds of even more death and destruction. think about that. nearly certain that part of this $100 billion will go there. the islamic republic is not our friend, mr. speaker. it's a dangerous geopolitical foe, it's led by a cult of extremists that are hell-bent on our annihilation, yet, president obama will do nothing to stem the tide of the
ayatollah's ambitions. when faced with an adversary whose theology are fundamentally incompatible with peace and world order, the united states, under president obama's leadership, chose a path of appeasement, and i truly believe president obama has made perhaps the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in our lifetime. we're now facing a newly embolden cash-rich, radical islamic regime fully committed to weakening our nation, terrorizing the west and destroying our way of life. mr. speaker, it's up to congress to do everything in our power to keep as much of this money as possible out of the hands of iran's terrorist proxies. the congress must move swiftly to strengthen terrorism and human rights-related sanctions against iran and its islamic revolutionary guard corps. congress must maintain strict oversight over irans a nuclear program -- iran's nuclear
program as its infrastructure remains intact. iran's hostility must be combated, mr. speaker, and this body should not abrogate this responsibility, even if our president already has. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. fitzpatrick, for five minutes. , . fitzpatrick: mr. speaker in light of recent reports of isis entering europe disguised as refugees and a terrorist having just tried to take down an aircraft, i think it's important to understand the threats that we face but also to learn from the past. in the had 9/11 report, al qaeda mastermind khalid sheikh mohammed told al qaeda terrorists to watch the cockpit doors at takeoff and landing, to observe whether the captain went into the laughtory during the flight and to note whether the flight attendants brought food into the cockpit. we all know what happened when these attackers stormed the
flight deck and turned our airliners into weapons of war. but today more than 14 years after the attacks of september 11, the f.a.a. still admits the cockpit is vulnerable when the reinforced door has to be opened. and that's unacceptable. we know the terrorists study our vulnerabilities and make their plans accordingly. yet, even after the recommendations of the 9/11 commission emphasized the importance of a layered security system, we have not taken the simple cost-effective step to protect the skies above us with the installation of secondary barrier doors. these light-weight wire-meshed gates can be closed whenever the cockpit is opened and protect against a terrorist or a team of terrorists rushing the cockpit by providing the pilot enough time to recognize the threat and re-enter and lock the reinforced cockpit door. they are easy to deploy and stow and provide the layered
protection that experts agree is needed. that is why i have introduced the aviation safety act. this is a one-page bill named after my constituent, united states airliners pilot victor whose life was taken when his aircraft was hijacked and flown into the south tower of the world trade center on september 11. it requires that these cost-effective secondary barriers be included on large passenger aircraft. we promised to never forget those lost on 9/11, and the lessons learned by all of us on that tragic day. yet, after years and more than 40 hijacking attempts around the world, including five that were successful, we're still not taking this threat seriously. mr. speaker, i will continue to advocate for the adoption of this commonsense policy, both as a stand-alone bill or as part of a larger piece of legislation, like the f.a.a.
re-authorization, and urge my colleagues to join me. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. perry, for five minutes. mr. perry: thank you, mr. speaker. one of the most often repeated campaign promises from 2008 campaign 's was his determination to close the u.s. guantanamo bay detention facility. congress, a co-equal branch of government, representing each citizen and re-elected every two years, hasn't come to the same conclusion as president obama about the status of gitmo moving forward. because of this, we blocked funding for its closure year after year after year. we have strong reasons for concern. last september, the director of national intelligence reported that 117 of transferred detainees are confirmed to be re-engaging in terrorist activities with another 79
suspected to have done so. disturbingly, this amounts to a full 30% of transferred detainees either confirmed or suspected of re-engaging in terrorist activities. the director's report clearly shows that the detainee transfer process is obviously deeply flawed and poses a significant unnecessary, unnecessary and unacceptable risk to the security of our nation and quite frankly the world. the high percentage of re-engagement clearly exposes the fact that we have just simply failed to properly identify the threat posed by transferred detainees and provide necessary safeguards to protect our citizens. safeguards that should have been in place before one single transfer ever took place. now, given the dire national security implication posed by these detainee transfers, i sent a letter last week with 23 of my colleagues in this house to president obama requesting to see the terms of agreements
made with countries where detainees have and will be transferred. 55 countries, by the way -- i mean, 55 countries, including the likes of yemen, smolia, pakistan, libya -- somalia, pakistan, libya, iraq and iran. i mean, yemen, really? libya. it's a failed state, one which we may have a great part in creating, and we're sending terrorists there to be detained? i mean, think about it. what incentive would it take for you to bring a terrorist to your country, to your neighborhood, to your home? now, in particular, i'm interested in the agreements and provisions to mitigate the inherent detainee transfers. specifically, what provisions to prevent re-engagement? were there then? what about the assurances by the home country? at did these nations prevent commouncation with terrorists
and how did these nations ensure -- how did these nations ensure these countries often no form of aid and assistance to terrorist organizations? now, the president says detaining these people is a recruiting mag nent. well, i -- magnet. well, i wonder if we shouldn't detain gang members? it's a rite of passage to go to prison if you're in a gang. it just creates more. and also detaining them indefinitely without a trial violates america's principles. and you know what, he's right. you ought to ask yourself as a taxpayer, why did we build millions of dollars for state-of-the-art court facilities for sensitive and top secret information during a trial and yet no one's been put on trial? it's right there next to the detention facility. i walked through it myself. why can't the military tribunals take place and we find out what the deal is with these people and have them incarcerated correctly or set them free? but it doesn't happen at all.
president obama declared to america in 2013 that his administration is the most transparent administration in history. i'll take some issue with that, but despite that fact, the president has clearly not lived up to this standard recently. i sincerely hope the president will give his promise of transparency higher priority an the priority given to unilaterally closing gitmo as part of a final year -- final year legacy driven agenda. it's not about his agenda. it's about the security of our nation. it should be about the security of the world. these folks should not be let out. they should be given due process and they certainly shouldn't be sent to countries that are terrorist in nature in and of themselves. and finally, the american people should know what the deal is, how much is this costing them? are we sending arms to these countries? what are the arrangements? 55 countries. why would they take these terrorists? with that, mr. speaker, i yield
back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. thompson, for five minutes. thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, this past monday, february 8, is recognized by many as national boy scouts day. marking the incorporation of the boy scouts of america 106 years ago. now, i spent more than three decades in scouting. closer to four decades at this int as a scoutmaster, as a council president and as a scouting dad. my wife and i are scouting parents with three sons. we're very proud of who are eagle scouts today. in my own scouting experience, i was honored to become one of just 2,000 people since 1969 to receive the national distinguished eagle scout
award. it was my experience with scouting that first sparked my interest in public service. in the vain of the boy scout promise that urges us in part to do our duty to god, to do our duty to country, and do our duty in the service of other people. it started around the turn of the last century last to british army officer general robert stevenson smythe powell. now, as scouting history has it, in 1909, a chicago business man, a publisher, who actually grew up in western pennsylvania, lost his way in dense fog in london. a young boy came do his aid guiding him to his destination and in the end when he offered that young boy a tip, a coin, the boy refused the tip offered y him stating that, sir, i'm a scout. and scouts do not take rewards
for going -- doing good turns. well, that young boy was a scout. we don't know his identity today. he certainly has changed our country. that single act of volunteerism gave birth to what became the boy scouts of america, incorporated in 1910. . in 2013, there were more than 2.6 million boy scouts in america. the program serves not just boys but also girls in our scouting venturing program. in a time which has in many ways been highlighted by a decline of volunteerism and criticism of perhaps our younger, newest generations, i know that our nation's future is in good hands with those who live and dedicate themselves to the scout o oath or scout promise which they start at the beginning of every meeting and they end with. and the words since that time
that are, on my honor, will i do my best to do my duty, to god and my country, and to obey the scout law. to help other people at all times. to keep myself physically strong, meptally awake, and morrallly straight. as scouting prepares you to be productive and successful members of the work force. the program introduces our youth to countless career opportunities, including the stem field. as a scoutmaster for almost three decades, i have seen where these 11-year-old youth to the time they become 18 and go on into life, their career paths they were exposed to for the first time, whether it was medicine or teaching or professional firefighting or across the board, through the scouting experience. what employee would not -- what employer would not been fit from an employee with practical exposure from an organization to
emphasizes values, service, and leadership. scouting fosters the values that makes communities strong and preferred for families to set down roots and to contribute. scouting offers the world's finest leadership training for adults and for youth. leadership training that can be generalized to any occupations, including the united states house of representatives. as frequently said, scouting is outing. scouting is the youth leadership program that is grounded not just in values but in the beauty and the nature of the outdoors. building appreciation and respect for god's creation and for active lives, for being physically activity that is so -- active that is so desperately needed today. it is my hope that this wonderful organization continues to contribute to the lives of young men and young ladies for generations to come. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my
time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from west virginia, mr. mooney, for five minutes. mr. mooney: thank you, mr. speaker. every morning countless west virginians wake up fearing they lost a loved one to drugs the night before. and every morning, far too many west virginians find this fear has come true. the prescription drug abuse epidemic in our state is a tragedy that we cannot afford to ignore. it ravages our communities, rips families apart, stunts the development of our youth, and further ruptures our states already ailing economy. overuse of prescription pain medication is one of the leading causes of opioid aparticular. when a patient has more narcotic pain medication than they need after a medical event, this excess medication can fall into the wrong hands. and the narcotic pain medication in the wrong hands often leads
to addiction. in fact, the national institute on drug abuse has found that one in 15 people who take nonmedical prescription pain relievers will try heroin. last year the number of fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers increased by 16% from heroin and 28% in the united states. in west virginia, the story is even worse. according to a recent study by the trust for america's health, the mountain state has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the entire united states. this issue is above party politics. it's a plague that all americans must come together to solve. that is why yesterday i introduced h.r. 4499, the promoting responsible opioid prescribing act. this bipartisan bill strikes a harmful provision of obamacare that places unnecessary pressure
on doctors and hospitals to prescribe narcotic pain medicine. this concern was brought to my attention while meeting with doctors and other health care professional workers in charleston, west virginia. who were active in our state's medical society. in other words, this was their idea. i thank them for bringing this to my attention and i encourage others to bring any ideas to help fight back against the opium epidemic to your local congressman. in 2006, the centers for medicare and medicaid services, c.m.s., and the department of health and human services developed a survey called the hospital consumer survey of health care providers and systems, pronounced h caps for short. it's a standardized survey used to measure patient perspectives and satisfaction on the care they receive in hospital settings. at first hospitals use this survey on an optional basis. however, when obamacare became law in 2010, it put in place,
quote pay for performance provisions that use these survey results as a factor in calculating medicare reimbursement rates for physicians and hospitals on quality measures. this provision of obamacare was intended to save money and to force improvements on hospital performance. however, it has led to unintended consequences in the area of pain management. the hcap survey contains three questions on pain management, one during this hospital stay did you need medicine for pain? two, during this hospital stay how often was your pain well controlled? three, during this hospital stay how often did the hospital staff do everything they could to help you with your pain? because of the tie to reum burstments, hospitals and physicians are pressured to perform well you under the h-caps including the pain management questions. however, doctors not the federal government know how best to treat patients.
and that includes the question of how best to use narcotic pain medication. the prop act would remove these pain management questions from consideration when c.m.s. is conducting reimbursement analysis. however, the patient would still answer the survey questions so that hospitals can monitor patient satisfaction. by severing the relationship between hcap's questions on pain management and reimbursement, doctors would no longer feel the undue pressure to overprescribe opioid narcotics to people they believe may be abusing it. this simple change will help produce access to narcotic pain medication for patients who do not need it thereby reducing the risk of addiction. i'd like to thank the bipartisan ms. nsor of this bill, kuster, tim ryan, and barbara comstock. it's been endorsed by the american medical association and american society of addiction medicine. i encourage my colleagues in the
house to consider co-sponsoring by bill, 4499, the prop act. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah, mr. stuart -- stewart, for five minutes. on august 14, 2004, david, a student at brinkam young university, disappeared without explanation while hiking in the providence of southwest china. david is an outstanding young man who speaks fluent korean and spent the summers studying mandarin in beijing with plans to return to the us in august to finish his degree. he paid a housing deposit. the u.s. state department and chinese government eventually concluded that david fell into a gorge while hiking, but david's family conducted their own exhaustive investigation. david's father and two older brothers flying to china shortly after his disappearance to
retrace his steps. in the course of talking with numerous eyewitnesses, david's family discovered facts which contradict the official explanation and which i believe are compelling evidence of another possibility which i'll get to in a moment. my staff and i met david's family and heard his story soon after i was elected three years ago. they are remarkable people of great faith who have continued to pursue an explanation for david's disappearance for the past 11 years. the resolution i am introducing today regarding david's disappearance is a result of the hard work and diligence of david's parents, siblings, and cousins. they deserve answers. they deserve to have their government do everything possible to determine what happened to david. i should also add that david's story is personal to me. he was a close friend of my oldest son, sean. in fact, following david's two-year missionary service in south korea, david taught my son, sean, the korean language, as he was preparing to begin his own missionary service in south
korea. though i have not met david, i'm grateful for the impact he had on sean's life. over the past three years i have had various opportunities to meet with state department personnel to discuss david's disappearance. they are good people and i commend them for their help, particularly in the immediate aftermath of his disappearance. while they repeatedly pressured the chinese government to pursue the various leads identified by david's family. however, i'm concerned that bureaucratic inertia has made the state department complacent in this case. i'm concerned the state department leadership has not done all they can do to purrual all of the possible explanations for his disappearance. one of the unexplored possibilities is that david was abducted by agents in north korea regime, something which a number of respected experts on north korea have advanced in recent years. while this may sound like an outlandish theory, it's becoming very plausible when you understand the regime's long history of abducting foreign citizens to use in training their own foreign agents.
for man years north korea systematically kidnapped japanese citizens and used captives to train their intelligence operatives in japanese language and culture. the regime finally admitted to the abductions in 2002 and returned five of the japanese citizens. there are numerous other facts which when combined make north korea's involvement conceivable. north korean agents are known to operate in the province. david disappeared during a long time of heightened tensions between u.s. and north korea. just weeks after his house -- this house passed the north korean human rights act. and david disappeared one month after north korea released charles jenkins, an american deserter from the korean war being held and used precisely as japanese citizens, as large wang teacher for north korean milary cadets and spies. jenkins was the last of the known americans being held for this purpose and it's possible the regim needed a replacement for him.
just this past sunday, north korea's rocket launch in defiance of sanctions and aginst explicit council of the international community reminded us that north korea doesn't operate on the same norms that govern diplomacy for the rester world they are ariminal enterprise and they can do nothing for their own people let alone other nations. mr. speaker, i don't raise the possibility regarding david's disappearance lightly. i didn't sponsor this resoluti litly. i recognize the words we speak on foreign policy have consequences far beyond this room. but david is the only american to disappear in china without explanation since the normalization of relations during the nixon administtion. this is not a fact to be taken lightly. my resolution lays out the facts of his disapprance and asks three essential actions byhe state department and intelligee community. first, that they continue to investigate and consider all possible explanations for david's disaparance. including potential abduction by
north korea. second, that they coordinate their efforts with the government of japan, south korea, and particularly china, the country known thave at least some influence over north korea. and finally, that they kep the congress and family informed of these efforts. i'd like to thank senator lee for sponsoring companion bill in the senate and the rest of the utah delegation for joining me as co-sponsors. i think i can speak for the delegation when i say that david's family deserves a thorough effort from their own government to discover what happened to him. this is the very least that we can ask. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. pursuant to clause 12-tafment of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until noon
also today in the house, a bill dealing with federal funding for scientific research. we'll have live coverage of the house when they gavel back in in about an hour here on c-span. and just wrapping up some election results last night, they say cruz finishes third in new hampshire's g.o.p. primary. bush takes fourth. rubio ends fifth and a tweet from abc news in philadelphia channel 6 saying they learned that governor chris christie expects to formally suspend his presidential campaign as early s today. treasury secretary jack lew appearing on your screen before the senate finance committee discussing the revenue proposals in the just-released presidential budget. it came out yesterday. ive coverage here on c-span.
secretary lew: as we've gone through this as a technical level both with your teams and others in congress, we've aired issues to find room to work through this but what doesn't rk is to say puerto rico should solve the fiscal dilemma without some broad restructuring authority because puerto rico's debt is principally the thing that is drawing down its ability to stay solvent. it's a case of insolvency where the debt is just beyond what they can support. and unless it's restructured in an orderly way, they'll have different stakeholders with different bondholder interest will be suing the commonwealth in court. you'll have a lost decade where i don't know if the
commonwealth can recover from a five, 10-year period of litigation. so there's an urgent need to address this and we would look forward to working with you and with others in congress. i know i've had conversations probably with 50 members of the house and senate. maybe more than that. there's a broad understanding that something needs to be done here. i guess what i just want to make clear is, when we act we have to act in a way that works or else the problem will be right back coming back at us and i don't think that will serve anyone's interest. we share the concern there will be oversight to make sure the future is a path which is sustainable and i look forward others. g with you and senator hatch: thank you. my time is up. senator wyden. senator wyden: secretary lew, as i indicated in my statement, you and i have talked about, when it comes to finding issues
that democrats and republicans ought to be able to work together on, this corporate tax gap comes front and center. 2/3 of a trillion dollars owed in corporate taxes goes unpaid over a decade. and i recently sent a letter to the i.r.s. commissioner concerning the agency's apparent lack of tracking of these corporate tax issues. and i think there's questions -- and i know we can't in five minutes get into all of the details that i think would be very helpful to get on the record because i think there's some questions about whether the agency really knows the sources, the major sources of this corporate tax gap. based on your current knowledge, what are the major sources of corporate tax avoidance contributing to this vast sum of money that goes unpaid?
secretary lew: senator, i think the challenge is not just one or two causes. there are manies a pkts of our economy that are just not on the books. there are many aspects of our economy where businesses are organized to avoid taxes. if they do it legally, that's a different issue than if they do it illegally. one of the basic challenges we had at the i.r.s. over the last few years is by being deprived of resources, we lack visibility into things that we should have more visibility into. i think it's a very good thing that at the end of the year we saw some restoration of recognition that in order to have an effective tax service you need to fund it so you can do enforcement, you can do oversight, you can get the data you need to answer the kinds of questions you're asking. i totally agree with you, we should put more resources on identifying sources of the tax
gap, if there are enforcement mechanisms to get at it, to use our enforcement tools to do that. but enforcement is people. you know, you don't enforce by turning on a computer. you enforce by having revenue agents. you enforce by having teams that can do investigative work. and i'm grateful for the increase we got, but frankly, it wasn't for those purposes. the increases we got was for very important things. dealing with cybersecurity. being able to answer our phones. we still have gaps in the i.r.s. budget that just don't give us the resources we need to enforce as effectively as we should. senator wyden: does the i.r.s., in working with the treasury, have a modern database to track the major sources of the corporate tax gap? because based on the letter and the communication we've had with the i.r.s., i don't think that's clear. i'm going to get into it this afternoon, but i know you look at that very substantial sum of money as i do and say not only
is that not right, it's not fair to taxpayers who, as i indicated, just have their taxes pulled right out of their paycheck, you know, directly, but it also would be an opportunity to show that we can make tough choices. we can make tough choices, we can raise money certainly by collecting, you know, taxes owed and then make judgments about future priorities. so is there a database, a modern database to track the sources of corporate tax avoidance? secretary lew: well, we obviously do have databases at the i.r.s., but as you know, they're old systems. they're systems that i think the team at the i.r.s. does a very good job making look more modern than they are by making it more accessible to taxpayers and others who are looking for information. pu behind it is a very old -- but behind it is a very old commuter system. one of the things we will be doing mostly with the focus for
cybersecurity and identity theft is upgrading the computer system with some of the additional fund we have. but this has been an ongoing issue at the i.r.s. that it is app old computer system. i don't want to say it's a system that can't give us the ability to do this analysis, but i -- i would defer to commissioner coskin on the details of what needs there would be in terms of the data processing capacities. but overall it is a system that needs investment. senator wyden: one last question, if i might. as you know there's a big difference between the tax on wages and the tax on investment income. and the gap, of course, has increased and particularly it ought to be put in the context in the last major tax reform when ronald reagan decided in conjunction with a lot of democrats, bob packwin, a whole host of people that he was going to have equal treatment in terms of taxes for somebody who makes a wage and somebody
who has investments. in your view, what does the president's budget do to begin the effort to close this gap in taxation between taxes on wage and tax on investment income? secretary lew: senator wyden, the budget are some repeat proposals from the past, some like changing the capital gains tax rate, dealing with stepped up basis. and some are new, like our provisions that try to get at all forms of income no matter how it's structured so that you can't avoid self-employment taxes or taxes that were put in lace to pay for health care by categorizing your income a certain way. i think it's a real problem in terms of the concentration of income we see today at the very top and the fact that the income comes in a form that is
very -- is taxed very differently. the system doesn't look fair to working people who just pay tax on every dollar that comes in. that doesn't mean we should have a punitive standard towards unearned income, but when you convert earned income to unearned income to create a different tax rate it becomes a real problem. senator wyden: it's worth noting, in the last reform effort, democrats and republicans said there was an opportunity for everybody in america to get ahead and one of the ways they did it was to treat wage income and investment income the same. thank you, senator mr. chairman. senator hatch: senator roberts. senator roberts: thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing. mr. secretary, thank you very much. i want to register right off my opposition to place
a tax on oil. that's popular, given the presidential race. i don't think it's an extraordinary opportunity. i think it is another blow to the oil and gas industry, which is hurting. now, i've read and heard the economists talk about placing a tax on carbon in order to, quote, address market failures and to properly account for the alleged cost of carbon-based energy sources. same economists contend this would have little impact on the economy and that these costs, which they readily acknowledge, would be passed through to consumers. can be implemented in a manner to minimize the impact on lower income taxpayers. i've also heard it said with the price of oil so low, now is the best time to implement an oil tax -- this is a quote -- fewer people will notice this tax. well, you know, i know, they may not see it but they sure as heck is going to feel it. just because the tax hit would be less visible under the
current market conditions doesn't mean its impact would be less severe. i want to take a quick look at how this proposal will impact my state of kansas where we still endeavor to produce oil and gas despite the war against oil and gas by the administration. the oil and gas industry is major component of the economy, our producers on average invest over $700 million annually in the state. 10% of the work force is employed in oil and gas production either directly or in downstream industries. that's 118,000 workers that would be affected. that amounts to about 12% of kansas' payrolls and over 15% of the state's tax revenue. all told, this is about $3 billion in family income in my state. it's no secret that global oil prices and supply and demand issues have hit the kansas oil and gas industry hard as well as many other states. some of the state's oil and gas
companies have laid off as much as 50% of their work force and some have seen layoffs of 20% to 25% of their work force. kansas production has dropped about 5.5% and state tax revenue from the industry has dropped by over 50%. these are real impacts, very severe impacts happening right now. this is just directly within the industry. think of the related servicing industry. it's a massive new tax and make no mistake, it will significantly burden the economy, everything that's produced or transported within our economy. the kansas oil and gas industry is already hurting. i think this proposal would only make things worse. i find that unacceptable and hope we certainly do not approve this. my question, as described in your treasury general explanation, 15% of the revenue
from the tax would be dedicated for relief for households with particularly heavy industry costs. sort of like a new national liheap program. i do not view this as an extraordinary opportunity. in kansas, most of the oil exploration and production companies are considered by any standard small businesses. my question is, does your department propose to set aside y of the revenue from this tax to assist oil and gas industry workers or workers who lose their jobs or otherwise harmed by the new oil tax? secretary lew: senator, i think if you look at the price of oil over the last year, over the last even days, you've seen movements that are far more dramatic than the impact of the $10 fee over five years. $10 will be phased in over five years. i mean, i think we all know that we're watching oil prices
moving by bigger amounts than that almost on an instantaneous basis every day now. so i don't think we should exaggerate what the size of the fee is. we do think it's important at a time when particularly when oil prices are low to put in place a mechanism that will both help to capture the benefit of making, you know, the price signal one that contributes to better usage but also to put in place a mechanism for us to invest in the technology and infrastructure that we need going forward in this country. it would put our highway trust fund in a more balanced safe, sound place, and it would give us the renewable technologies and the new technologies of the future. it would apply to imported oil as well as to u.s. developed oil so it doesn't have a differential impact -- senator roberts: are you going to help the oil and gas
industry to small businesses that are hurt by this tax? secretary lew: we have help for those who are low income who no income to ve bear it. i'm happy to look at a proposal that you have along those lines and be happy to get into a discussion about it. senator roberts: if it's low income that you are going to help on a liheap program, i think you ought to take a look at the harm this tax will have on the oil and gas industry and maybe actually help those folks as well. secretary lew: well, first, we don't know what the exact amount that will be passed on oil prices. that's going to depend on -- senator roberts: my time has expired. thank you for your response. senator hatch: thank you. senator schumer. senator schumer: first question on tax reform, international tax reform and you and i talked about that at great length over the last year. to summarize, i think we need
it for two reasons. first, american multinational companies should pay the taxes they owe. right now our companies making profits overseas can keep that money stashed off-shore, avoid taxation altogether. that's unacceptable. second, we have to protect american jobs and the future of our nation's economy. as you're aware, probably more than anybody else, more and more of the nation's multinational companies are leaving our shores altogether. partnering up with foreign companies to pay lower taxes in foreign jurisdictions, moving headquarters, jobs and intellectual property overseas. so you, secretary lew, and the administration, the president have put forward a very serious international proposal, tax reform proposal that would transition to a new form of international taxation. house republicans have proposed similar solutions. i've been pleased to work with a bipartisan group including on this committee senator wyden, senator brown, senator carper and senator warner.
and we're trying to bridge over, of course, the divide between existing proposals. there's common ground. i remain at the table ready to work. i assume that's the case for you as well. secretary lew: absolutely, senator. we continue to -- senator schumer: that's called a softball question. you're allowed to answer. secretary lew: we continue to believe that working together to get business tax reform done is absolutely a high priority. we got closer than year than people outside thought. there were good conversations going on. there was a pretty broad sense on where there was agreement on international business tax reform, in a way we would use one-time revenue to pay for infrastructure that we all want to support. not build kind of future liabilities into the tax system that are unsustainable in terms of cost. it was disappointing that at the end of the year there
seemed to be some pulling away from that, but we don't pull away from it. our budget puts in place the proposal -- senator schumer: it's the same proposal as last year but the number of revenues by treasury is modeling increases from 250 350. 205 to secretary lew: that's for the international tax provision. senator schumer: because more companies are moving overseas and keeping their money overseas? secretary lew: it's an assistant how much money is being kept overseas and how much it's being subject to tax overseas and what would come here when the tax is put in place. we need to deal with the problem. senator schumer: that increase in revenues means lost jobs here and it should be a warning signal, a shot across the bow to us. one final point, and this is for our republican colleagues, and i worked with senator portman and many others. you, senator hatch, on this proposal. and that is, i know the
administration feels strongly, as do many of us on this side, that international reform must be coupled with investments in this country because that's the way to take not all of the money but at least some of the money that we gain from getting these revenues. and without it, it's going to be hard to pass something. so has your viewed stayed the same that we won't get a deal on international tax reform this year or forever without pairing it with some significant degree of investment? secretary lew: senator, for several years, we've been advocating linking those issues for two reasons. one is, if you don't use that revenue for a one-time expenditure like an investment in infrastructure, you can't cut rates with that amount or it would be then losing revenue in the long run. so we think that that solves the structural problem of how do you deal with one-time revenue. secondly, we have this enormous infrastructure need that
there's broad bipartisan support for. if we're going to ever get a which is tax reform bill that has real bipartisan support, it has to include the infrastructure investment. so we're very much of that view. senator schumer: i agree. and now speaker but then ways and means chair ryan understood that completely. i just hope people on the other side won't pull away from that because that will be make it much harder to pass it. my final -- go ahead. secretary lew: i was just going to say, while we're going to put every effort we can to get full business tax reform done, urgency of derscore large companies going overseas. we can't wait a year to deal with this. we need to deal with it now. you could, if you wanted to, deal with inversions on its own. i don't think that's ideal. we should deal with business tax reform, but i don't want to be leading in a year watching more companies having moved overseas. i don't think anyone on this committee wants to look at that either.
and the answer is you need legislation. senator schumer: i agree you need it. can you answer this yes or no because my time is running out? essential to getting puerto rico back on track, it is necessary, it may not be everything, is a chapter 9 bankruptcy provision, that is the proposal -- or a broad bankruptcy. and that is the view of many of us here on this side of the aisle. is it the administration's? secretary lew: absolutely. the only thing i would say, there are multiple ways of drafting it. it doesn't have to be drafted as a bankruptcy code amendment it could be drafted in terms of legislation that applies to the territories. the effect would have to be broad restructuring authority. senator hatch: thank you, senator. senator stabenow. senator stabenow: thank you, mr. chairman, ranking members. welcome, secretary. always wonderful to have you before the committee. let me start by thanking you for working with me and leaders in my state to help us on a number of different areas. we very much appreciate it.
and as i start, when you were talking about the unemployment rate, when president obama took office in michigan it was 15.7% and we were at the very erge of losing the major -- verge of losing the major foundation of manufacturing in the country. and with the administration's help, the president's help, we've turned that around. unemployment is now 5.1%. o from 15.7% to 5.1% is a huge change. the challenge, as you know all too well, is not everyone is feeling the recovery and so when people lost the equity of their home, the primary way that middle-class families save, or lost their job or even in the auto industry took major cuts to save the industry and those who have been threatened on all sides, it's very, very difficult even though the broad aggregate numbers are incredibly positive and i want to speak about one of the areas
and ask your -- your comments regarding one area of incredible insecurity for people and that's around pensions. and i know that colleagues of mine as well have spoken with you and i share the concern about the united mine workers. i am particularly -- from the standpoint of michigan -- concerned about the multiemployer pension plans and the reform legislation that passed at the end of last year which, as you know, gave administrators of plans the ability to apply cuts to earned pension benefits for the first time since 1974. and it was unfortunately part of a must-pass appropriations bill to avoid a government shutdown at the time that didn't give us, didn't give congress time to debate the impact on retirees. from my perspective, a pension
is a promise. it's a key cornerstone of how we have had a middle class and the dignity and respect of work in this country. and i'm deeply concerned about what we now face. on monday, treasury held a public meeting in detroit to hear from retirees who would be directly affected. more than 500 people showed up for that meeting. they went into great detail about how they would be hurt by huge cuts. in some cases, 50% to 70% of their proposed pension. these are folks that gave up increases, annual increases in pay to have a secured pension for the future. and so this is incredibly concerning. i mean, it's really an outrage when i look at these numbers. i'd like to know what the administration would propose to address this incredibly serious issue and really broken promises for folks who've worked hard all of their lives and are trying to figure out
how to go on in retirement. secretary lew: senator, as you and i discussed, it is a terrible problem and there's no easy or good answer and as a result of the legislation you described, written in -- co-sponsored in the house by congressman kline and congressman miller, that responsibility now falls to the treasury department to review the plans for working through multiemployer plans that are not able to make their payments. the challenges, they all go to n underfunded pension benefits guarantee corporation fund. and if there's not enough money in the fund to pay the benefits , the question is, do you drain that fund and have nothing for anyone? we are in the process through the hearings you described, we
appointed ken fineberg to administer this for us. he's going around listening and he's listening to heartbreaking stories and in the end we'll have to review the proposals that come forward from the plans and as actions are taken and the first one will come up for review i believe in may. we'll continue looking at what options there are to -- in terms of how to review them. but at the core is this tension between not enough money to pay the benefits and very, very difficult changes in benefits structure to make the plans last longer. and since we don't have additional money to inject into the system, it doesn't give us the option of just saying, you know, kind of continue as you are because that would end up hurting even more people.
so these are terribly difficult decisions, and they're wrenching decisions and i appreciate ken fineberg taking the task to report to me on that and i'll continue to stay close working with all of you. senator stabenow: mr. secretary and mr. chairman, one of the things i hope we'll look at in future hearings is the accounting changes, the laws that were changed in the last several decades that allowed overfunded pension plans to suddenly be available for various other purposes and changes that nothing to do with workers that have created a large part of this so that now we're talking about funding. but there's a lot more to it in terms of how pensions got to this particular point. and i think we've got a lot of hard questions to look at and decisions that were made that were not in the best interest of working people. thank you, mr. chairman. senator hatch: thank you. >> mr. secretary, just a couple
general observations about the budget. $3.4 trillion in new taxes. revenues to g.d.p. end up at 20% which has only happened once in the last 50 years, the 50-year average is 17.4% revenue to g.d.p. spending goes up 22.6% of g.d.p. that's only happened five times century. t half and so spending is up, taxes are up and at the end of the decade, the debt goes from about $19 trillion today to $27.4 trillion. senator thune: so the budget really is more spending, more taxes and more debt. and it just seems to me that you guys are on your way out. i mean, this was a chance to go big and go bold and i just see it as another missed opportunity to do something that really matters what we all know what the fiscal crisis
facing the country is and that's mandatory accounts. it's the mandatory spending. in fact, the budget shifts more spending over into the mandatory accounts. so just some general observations, again. i'm expressing my frustration and disappointment. i do have a question -- this comes back to slightly changing gears here for just a moment. with how the u.s. financial services company are treated under our trade agreements. my understanding is that the treasury department opposed the idea of providing u.s. financial services companies the same protections with respect to ensuring cross-border data flows that most other u.s. companies will benefit from under the t.p.p. agreement. so i'm just wondering if you might be able to clarify treasury's position on the issue. do you believe that u.s. financial services' firms should be protected from foreign laws that impose restrictions on where they can transfer or process customer data? secretary lew: senator, this is a provision in t.p.p. that
we've been working on, talking with the financial services community on but also with our own regulators. one of the issues here is the requirements of or regulators in terms of how they view what they need to have their prudential reviews of financial institutions. so as we are in international space, we can't give away something that our financial regulators would need here in the united states, but we're working with industry and with the regulators as we go through this. we're sensitive to the concerns . it is -- it's certainly not something that is designed to put a burden on -- was meant to put a burden on u.s. financial institutions. we barring ind very hard in t.p.p. to get terms that are very favorable generally to u.s. financial institutions on a global basis.
this is actually a case where what we in the united states -- we, meaning the -- not treasury but our independent regulators, require in terms of data availability is one of the issues we have to work around. senator thune: i know generally on cross-border data flows the agreements were things that we really prioritized but it seems the financial services there was a different standard. what you're telling me is that's actually something that you're working with the industry and the regulators to -- secretary lew: other aspects of t.p.p. but very aggressive to make sure that local data requirements aren't put in place, for example, to restrict the ability of a global system like a credit card system to work effectively because we have big industries in that area. this is a -- kind of subissue because of the regulatory requirements here in the united states but we're working
through it. and sensitive to the concerns. if i might, senator, just go back to your observation. i don't mean to take your time. senator thune: but you will. secretary lew: if i could take 30 seconds of it. it's true the budget would trend back up in the end to a 20% revenue percentage of g.d.p. i remember well when we were at 20% of revenues to g.d.p. i was a director at the time. we were on the path toward paying down the national debt and it was a period of great economic growth. i think when you look at the growth of spending you have to recognize that medicare and medicaid for demographic reasons will grow. as a budget we have to look at, are we doing what we need to do? i think that some decisions that were made between 2000 and 2009 made it harder. i think that our budget puts it in the right place, and we don't spend any money that we don't offset. so fiscally it's balanced. and i think these are important conversations for us to have going forward this year and
beyond. senator thune: well, i will just say, though, the tough choices with regard to those parts of the budget that we all know are growing dramatically and in matter of a few years it's all going to be entitlements and interest on the debt that eats up all of our revenue that comes in and everything we spend for defense and discretionary will be borrowed money. which is why we end up with a huge debt at the end. so i mean, part of it, of course, is we got to figure out how to meaningfully rein in reform those programs so they fit the demographics of the future and we got to get growth up to a higher level which obviously i think comes back to some of the issues which i'm out of time. we won't have a chance to get into. but i think tax reform goes squarely at. growing at you're 1% to 2% or slightly -- i think you're saying 2.3%, 2.6% over the course of the next decade,
it just doesn't get there fast enough. thank you, mr. chairman. my time has expired. senator hatch: thank you. senator coons. senator coons: thank you, mr. chairman. i guess what i will do is vent. senator thune laid the precedent for being able to do that. when you said that this is your last presentation here before the committee -- secretary lew: presentation of a budget. senator coons: particularly related to the budget, i would say you're relieved not to come back because every -- senator coats: particularly related to the budget, i would say you're relieved not to come back because every budget has been opposed. you must think to some point what a waste of time and effort goes in to coming up here presenting a budget and not having any support from either party. that's just an observation of ine.
you state this as a vision for the future and i see this as totally discorrected of a reality where we are. senator thune talked about the big gorilla in the room and that is mandatory spending. as you know over the last five or six years, the congress, together with the president, has tried to come to some solution to put some long-term reforms in that would keep us from becoming insolvent and so debt layden that our children and grandchildren simply are not going to begin to have the opportunities that my generation has had. so that's a failure on all of our parts. it's not without trying but the bottom line is it's a failure and it's going to continue to put us in a very, very difficult situation.
so i guess one of my questions is, why do we go through the charade? speaking from my constituents who i think is being reflected in these primaries to simply say, you guys are spending stuff that we no longer accept and whether it's the democrat party or republican party, there are messages being sent out here that's saying, we caught on to this shell game that goes on in washington. they sit there and talk about how to fix the future and the future looks ever more dim. so why can't we -- why can't we sit down here and talk about the real problems that we face and offer some solutions instead of simply saying -- and you said, don't worry because everything we're going to spend in the future is offset. it's offset by $3 trillion of more taxes. and i don't know of an
economist out there that says the way to prosperity and creating innovation and creativity and supporting our -- not only our businesses and innovators but supporting our middle-class families and lower class is not to raise taxes $3 trillion over the next 10 years but to lower taxes. i guess i used most of my time to vent but i'd like to get your response to some of this. i think based on what we watched last night, the public is saying, this is a bunch of jibberish going on up here in washington and we want something different and obviously radically different. both of our established candidates got she lacked in iowa and got she lacked last night. and last ed in iowa night. these people have failed and why can't wet get onto
something that's more related to reality? secretary lew: senator, i recognize we have different views on how we should address the future but i think this budget is a very clear picture of how we believe we should address the future. i think we've also shown over the last couple of years that when we sit down and engage on difficult issues we find pathways to work together and make real progress. we made real progress last year on a number of important issues. so i actually think it's quite relevant to present a coherent vision. it is part of our system that there are different approaches to what the answer for the future is, and if we could get back to the place where you take those differences and you figure out where you can work together, we ought to be able to do business tax reform. there's a lot of overlap between the two sides of the aisle here and between the administration and republicans in congress on how to think about it. we should just sit down and do it i think people would feel better if we had a tax system where we didn't have inversions anymore. there is a lot in the budget --
senator coats: we might be able to do it if you bring forward a budget that gets a majority of support on a bipartisan basis. when you bring forth a budget year after year and it gets zero votes from democrats and republicans, does it give you pause that maybe your vision for the future is not selling with the american people? secretary lew: i've been working on budgets for most of the last 40 years and i haven't known a year when there hasn't been that kind of a difference between parties beginning the year and then you go to work on the things where you can get work meaningfully done -- senator coats: but regarding the major issue we all face, both sides, mandatory spending, over the last 40 years we have not addressed that. secretary lew: well, we actually have over the last 40 years did a lot of things on mandatory spending that made a difference. i was part of the social security reform in 1983 that made a real difference. senator coats: that's legitimate. that's 1983. secretary lew: if you look at the affordable care act, while we may not agree on the policy, it's clear that it helped reduce spending health care in
medicaid. it extended the life of the trust fund. it's the most important turning of the corner on health care in decades. that doesn't mean we don't have more work to do. i actually think when we have an environment where we can work together and the things where there's room to make progress, we can give the american people something they should be proud of. when it's just shutdowns and -- ting at the crisis, it's senator coats: thank you, mr. secretary. senator hatch: thank you. senator menendez. senator menendez: thank you, mr. chairman. secretary, thank you for your good work. i want to talk about puerto rico. 3 1/2 million american citizens -- i underline that -- american citizens who have fought in our armed forces in just about every conflict this country has had for the last century, and if you come take a walk with me
to the vietnam war you will see a disproportionate number of their names on that wall. now, due to a multitude of issues, the american citizens living on the island of puerto rico are now in dire stathes. they have an economic and -- straits. they have an economic and debt crisis that threatens to explode into a full force humanitarian calamity. and that's not politics. that's the reality on the island. it is the reality i hear from many puerto ricans living in the state of new jersey who have loved ones there who tell me about their challenges of their families on the island. now, there are those who contend that puerto rico shouldn't be able to restructure its debt even though they had that right in the law at one time. it was surptishesly stripped out and no one knows why but they had that right and they simply should raise taxes and cut spending to a degree to get
their books in order. the problem to that is that the debt payments in puerto rico are 36% of port rocky's annual revenue, a rate that is six times the u.s. average. so it seems that any solution that doesn't include restructuring authority will be woefully inadequate. and, you know, i know some people say this is being politicized. i think it's being politicized for the hedge funds, the bottom feeders, who -- this has nothing to do with the 3 1/2 million american citizens in puerto rico. and it has nothing to do with the exodus that we are seeing of puerto ricans coming to the main land where they will enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of any other u.s. citizen. which by the way will be far more costly. so i want to get from the administration on the record to make this clear and in fact if puerto rico didn't have to make its debt payments it would actually run a billion-dollar
surplus this year. a billion-dollar surplus. so do you agree that providing puerto rico with the tools to restructure the debt is a necessary component of any successful recovery package? secretary lew: senator, i totally agree. i think there are other things that needs to be part of a comprehensive plan in the long run. there is an immediate crisis in puerto rico. i was just in puerto rico a couple weeks ago. i met with business leaders. i met with working people. i met with all the public officials. it's not a future crisis. it's a current crisis. they talk about hospital wards being shut down, schools being closed, pensions that are being drained of money people paying into pension funds, that are being emptied out to pay for bond payments. this is not sustainable. people are leaving the island. and the economy can't recover if the economy shrinks because people leave. when you're insolvent it's by definition what you said, the bond payments just cannot be
supported any longer. and you have to restructure. that's what happens in the private sector when companies become insolvent. it happens when cities become insolvent. puerto rico has a unique package of debts. it's complicated. there's 18 different series of debt. they could be in court for five to 10 years with litigation. i don't think puerto rico's economy could recover from five to 10 years of protracted litigation. there won't be an economy to talk about. and -- senator menendez: if it's good enough for trump it's good enough for puerto rico? secretary lew: 3 1/2 million americans will be in chaos. senator menendez: chapter 9 authority open to municipalities, that really doesn't meet -- secretary lew: it doesn't really work. it addresses about a third of the debt and that's not -- senator menendez: with large debt payments due in may and july, won't there be a point where we will face the
consequences if we continue to delay and act? secretary lew: they have only managed to be in default on small bond issues that are doing things that are almost unthinkable in terms of financial management. when you talk about prema turrill emptying pension funds to pay bondholders, that's something you won't do if you're not bankrupt. and take money from one boldholder to pay for another bondholder, that can't go on for long. i don't know how long they do these unhealthy kinds of tools. but it can't go on forever. restructuring authority has to be in place that they can trulyly restructure to meet may and july as they come. so i think the first quarter is a meaningful period. if the deadline the speaker set for the house to act in the first quarter is very important. we're willing to work with anyone and everyone who
approaches this with the intention of solving the problem. we know there's going to have to be oversight along with restructuring. i do believe doing something on the medicaid reimbursement and eitc is very important. but i totally agree with you, without restructuring, there's not a solution. senator menendez: mr. chairman, there's a fierce urgency of now on this issue and i just don't get the sense that many of my colleagues understand that. i hope we can awaken them to that fierce urgency of now and the rights that 3 1/2 million american citizens have and would have if they were living here in the united states. it's just fundamentally wrong and so you ask people to done the uniform, shed their blood, risk their lives and at the same time you can't treat them with the same dignity and respect they have something on the main land, something is fundamentally wrong about that. i hope we can -- i hope we can prick the conscience of the senate to move on this issue,
mr. chairman, because this is really consequential to millions of people. senator hatch: you raised a lot of good points. to be honest with you, we're in the process of doing that. i'm going to come up with a different bill than the when we filed which would do the job to a large degree or at least get us started on it in time to do -- so i hope i can enlist your support when we finally get this -- there's no politics as far as i'm concerned. i want to get it done. and i'll -- senator menendez: were chairman, you'll have my support if we give the people of puerto rico the same rights as every american citizen has here. i will work with the chairman on that goal. i just have a real sense of urgency and i can't elaborate on that enough to drive that point home. i appreciate it. senator hatch: i'm trying to get this done before the end of march. we'll see what we can do. senator brown, you're next. senator brown: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to throw in the words
with senator menendez about the 3 1/2 million people of puerto rico, emphasizing these are american citizens and this should be done quickly and the fierce urgency of now that senator menendez talked about. secretary lew, thank you for the work you're doing. in the city of lorraine, city of cleveland. lorraine at one point had a higher percentage of puerto ricans than any city in america where 500 workers, right after world war ii, 500 men from puerto rico came to lorraine to work in u.s. steel. and their girlfriends and families followed to the point there's a vibrant community there. so many of them are still very connected to the island of puerto rico as american citizens. i want to talk for a moment, mr. secretary, about something this committee did, mr. chairman, that was so very, very important. it's part of the bipartisan tax extenders package we made permanent, the temporary extensions of the earned income
tax credit and child tax credit. whether in terms of the people lifted out of poverty or in terms of the additional money they earned in low-income families' pockets. this is the largest anti-poverty advance since the 1993 budget act say the affordable care act. other than the affordable care act, what this committee did bipartisanly last year on eitc and c.t.c. was the most important anti-poverty advance that this country's had. i want to focus of the two on the earned income tax credit. in 2013, the most recent year for which complete data is available, some 27 million families and individuals earned and claimed the eitc. 6.2 million people were lifted out of poverty. half of those were children. but a glaring hole remains in the program. workers who don't claim children on their tax return are the only workers who can be taxed more deeply into poverty. which is ironic considering we always brag about rewarding
work and when we make our speeches around here. it's wrong. nobody works full time should live in poverty. that is a fundamental -- should be a fundamental tenant of american values and i think is. 44 of my 43 of my colleagues and i, including many of us on this committee, introduced a proposal to correct this problem. speaker ryan has offered similar proposals, as has the administration. give us thoughts, if you would, on the proposal, the need it would address and particularly the impact it's had on the economy? secretary lew: senator, i agree with you the significance of making the refundable credits permanent. i don't think there's anything more important than we could have done to deal with poverty in this country and to create an incentive to work which is why there's historically been bipartisan support for the eitc. i think that this is one of those areas where there ought to be a way for us to work in a bipartisan way to get something
done. i've talked to speaker ryan when he was chairman of the ways and means committee and since about this many times he's talked with the president about it, as has been reported. i think this is an area where if we could put some other issues aside and concentrate, we could create a model for how you deal with problems of shared concern that both help deal with an inequity and help get people back in the work force. if you tax people into poverty, you can't then complain that, you know, people aren't becoming part of the work force. i mean, it's not -- one of the reasons eitc was created was to make work pay, to make it so people wouldn't have this kind of perverse taxation of going to work at very low wages. so i don't know there's any more elaborate economic response to it. i think you put a pretty
accurate point on it. if you have a tax that's taxing people into poverty, it's not a good tax. and if you have a solution, it's one there ought to be broad bipartisan support for because everybody supports work. and the earned income tax credit was created in a republican administration. it's been supported in budget -- bipartisan budget agreements for many decades i've bullpen involved in. i hope this is the next chapter and hope we can do it this ear. senator hatch: senator bennet. senator bennet: thank you, mr. chairman. secretary lew, thank you so much for your leadership and for your service over so many years. i want to start with an unrelated issue which is i wonder if you can describe for the committee -- we got a vote tomorrow on the customs bill and whether you could describe the enforcement provisions in that bill and their importance.
secretary lew: yes, senator. thank you. i think that the enforcement provisions are very important because while it is critically important to have trade agreements that open borders for free trade, it's equally important that we have meaningful tools to enforce fair trade and that we use those tools. i mean, anti-dumping countervailing duties are important tools. the customs conference report comes after we've taken some action at the end of last year where we added to the resources we have in our departments to implement the anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws. now when the conference report on customs is passed, there will be another round of enforcement tools. you know, it would give -- it would create accountability for future administrations, this administration and future
administrations for the prosecution of cases of duty evasion. the bill creates deadlines by which the customs and border patrol will have to notify u.s. companies of actions taken to investigate anti-durpg and countervailing duty. it gives the border patrol extra tools to protect intellectual property. it streamlines operations to facilitate the flow of legitimate trade. and, you know, it is -- it gives us tools on issues you helped craft to bring currency issues into sharp focus so we can be even more effective pushing back on any unfair practices in that area. senator bennet: i appreciate your help on that provision. i wanted to go back to the line of questioning that senator thune was talking about. because we are at the moment
cutting our -- across the board we're cutting domestic and defense spending. and from the point of view the next generation of americans, that's certainly not what we ought to be doing. and simultaneously we've now had $19 trillion of debt on the balance sheet which from the point of view of the next generation of americans is a lousy deal. that combination is toxic for the people that are coming after us. and i wonder -- i'd like to give you the opportunity to tell us what advice you're going to give your successor for how they could lead this congress in a bipartisan way to tually begin to address this staggering imbalance that we are proposing to place on the next generation of americans. the time has come for us to actually get this work done. so what's your advice?
lead us out of the wilderness. secretary lew: i think whoever takes my place will be coming into a very different situation than my predecessor and i stepped into. senator bennet: last time we did have a balanced budget you were budget director so that's another reason i'm asking. secretary lew: thank you, senator, for pointing that out. we had 10% of g.d.p. and it looked like the debt would cross 100% of g.d.p. we had a full-blown crisis that we had to get our hands around. we had to steady an economy and then we had to start moving towards deficit reduction, both as the economy recovered and as we could reach political consensus. we're delivering an economy in a very different place. we have a budget which is stable. we got the deficit below 3% of g.d.p. the projections of the deficit as a percentage of g.d.p. stabilize in this 10-year
window, around 75% of g.d.p. i'm not saying that is something we should have for all-time, but it's not like a hockey stick going off. and i think whoever takes my place will be come to a situation where hopefully there won't be crisis management but the kind of long-term planning that where you can say 10 years, 20 years, 30 years down the road, where do we want to be? our budget actually is something of a blueprint for how to think about it. we got to invest in the -- short and median term to get the economy that gives people a chance to have a future that's bright. and to have a debate of what do you do about long-term entitlements? if we turn the corner that so many people feel left out of the economy today, so i think to jump right into dealing with what do we do 10 and 15 years from now when there are real needs in transportation and infrastructure, real needs in education and training, real needs in research that we're not meeting, we got to fill
that space. i think the budget agreement at the end of last year gives us a period of time where we can make progress there. the budget lays out a lot of ideas. let's get progress done on the ones we can agree on and whoever comes in will hopefully be able to take the debate forward. it's not a debate that begins and ends. it goes on. as i said to senator thune, we have to be realistic about what the mix of revenue and spending is. when we balance the budget in the 1990's, we had 20% of g.d.p. revenues, as was pointed out. that was consistent with running what was projected to be a $5.5 trillion surplus the day i left office. if you're looking at a period now where we have the baby boomers retiring, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the demographics are a little rougher. when my generation was born, everybody knew that 65 years later, you know, people were going to be 65. so that's not a surprise.
what we could have done in the 2000 to 2010 period was carry forward the fiscal position we were in in 2001. we didn't do that. then we had a financial crisis. then we had a recession. but we're now in a more stable place. so i actually think it is -- if we can make progress on the short and medium term, we have to work towards the politics that has the civil debate to deal with these issues on a bipartisan basis, which is the nly way it can really be dealt with. senator hatch: thank you. senator casey. senator casey: thank you. i'll be brief because i have to run. i want to commend you for your public service. now this is your third or fourth chapter of significant public service and we're grateful. it's a hard job in any environment but especially the current climate in washington so we commend you for that. i was talking to you earlier today about an issue that i
think -- i know you work on every day and the administration does as well and it probably doesn't get enough attention. e strategy to focus on terrorism financing. our efforts to cut off financing to terrorists and especially now the challenge that isis presents. i guess i'd ask you to answer just one question. if you could kind of update us on your current efforts and, number two, if there's anything we hope we can do, in addition to the obvious thing, the senate has not done which is to confirm adam zubin, you can't talk tough on terrorism and not confirm adam zubin who's the leader on this issue in your department. so in addition to putting an important commercial or focus on adam zubin, which we -- whom we should confirm, if you could give us an update on what's going well -- >> this hearing continues live on c-span.org.
here on c-span, we'll go to capitol hill next. the u.s. gaveling in for legislative work. they'll take up a bill requiring water companies to notify their customers if the e.p.a. finds elevated levels of lead in their water systems. it's being introduced by dan ildee, who represents flint, michigan. also today, a bill that deals with federal funding for scientific research. live coverage now of the u.s. house on c-span. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. god of mercy, we give you thanks for giving us another day. may your special blessings be upon the members of