tv US House of Representatives Special Orders CSPAN February 10, 2016 7:00pm-7:59pm EST
of your mind? in here, it basically for the very first time said one of the major, one of the major trust funds is out of money in the 10-year window. look at this. if you plan to be around nine years from now, medicare part a which covers your hospital, those types of sections in medicare, it's gone. the trust fund is gone. so all of a sudden now, are we willing to do what speaker ryan has talked about for years, premium support, some way to reform the way we price and cost and the benefits we receive and how we allocate them and price theory? sort of these thinking like an economist but things that make sure you get your earned benefit it is in nine years.ustainable.
if you plan to live for nine more years, medicare, part a, the trust fund, is gone. nd our calculations could be 30% cut and what is able to be paid out. i need a heart valve. oh, by the way, going to be paid 0% less. do you understand the role of what we are putting our seniors in. how many presidential appeds ave you seen, talked about this. i haven't season this. >> let's talk about the trust report.t was in the
remember how we did it. billen and d $114 moved it over and the dugs around here. thought i we fixed around here. and with the money and it's gone in 58 months. ick, you and i were the most were the most articulate and the ways we could help our brothers nd sisters, to move into a participation and not hit a liff so in the future, might
cost us, which deposit do it and now we are boat on the tread melment >> i have a question. ap shows the mid care trust fund some e stunning to think, social security -- >> that's stunning. between 2021 and 2025 we are going to have the social go broke. nd last time we fixed that in making the fixed zribblet by robbing from old-aged retirement, where are he with we going to rob where we have them
oing bust within a couple of months? t is gsh look, the utility mailt driver of all these trust funds for everything around us growth. economic >> where are the assumptions? >> it turns out to be much more complicated. >> and 016 and 4 knife 5 percent growth, we are going to be ok. i don't think it's ever been done. and in this environment, when year,urth quarter of last we were at .7. this year stands, they revised
the last quarter's numbers, that 15 will be the 0th year in a year without % growth. if that turps out to be the case and go 10 years, it will be the first time in the midst of the nation that that that has happened. and then you try to have your conversation. you don't think the regulatory state affects us. there is great literature that says the tax hike that this body did for every dollar, a dollar as lost in economic growth and owed down our growth and
costing us. and it could be in the trillions. >> you brought up the graph. can can you explain the trust fund. we set ikert: in 2011 up a team in our office and we actually grind out these numbers ap watch them and we do something when the reports come ut and a mazing group. n 2011, i har some of my staff laughing. in 2011. this was the chart. what's the direction? the trust fund was to go grow and grow and grow. there was supposed to be more
money. and we were telling the financial markets five years ago. take a look when we look at the new market projection. if these trust funds are going to grow. i think the social security trust fund was supposed to sur vife. and we have taken off the numbers. this is the new number. we start to months, dip in and in 14 years and you'll see that in the next hart and ahad to do our next projections, the trust fund is gone. you talked about how the trust fund works.
>> the trust fund is and they don't think it works. it is real. and the accumulated the access accumulations. and we major overhaul ve taken moremon in social taxes. f you take it in you have 2 in left over. and now when people say it doesn't exist, it's not true. you can't keep paper money in an an account. we inscress and the om the administration is allowed to invest is is u.s. treasury.
and most of the buildings in west virginia and it is full of treasuries. >> you don't mind me calling you that. carry you on. mr. schweikert: it was helicopters, wasn't it? my calculations as of right now, it is under $2.8 trillion of notes that have en given to the treasury notes. and the notes have gone into the fica taxes. it took us a while to find that number. we are payingures ourselves.
that is part of the revenue and the the major trust funds. and paying $3.1 trust funds. so we are pay-go a fifth and still burning through our cash. that's why this is up, to show you how different the number is in just this last august, how fast the numbers have moved. in we go back to 2011, we hought we were talking 2038. and could have been -- >> could have been mr. buck's age. mr. schweikert: we are afraid of it. but this is important. if there is someone out there he the right or left and getting
they need to nd take the seriously. that becomes the most powerful thing. horrible. rs are the math doesn't work for it. >> thn and it shows a dramatic goes into e and it deck a. and this mr. williams: happen. and and so forth. mr. mulvaney: demavend of the presidential candidates, what their plan is, call or write our
member of coming. i have gotten one. have you gotten any? amazing. kert: it's i think zero. and i had this experience and mr. perry hood this experience we we had well over 100 and had a discussion about it ap i had a individual go to the microphone and say i don't care about any grand kid, i want every dime. and part of the aweden laughed. and fabe that was an discussion where it was about your grandkids. you have to understand, the
emotion of these numbers because of the growing of these benefits and the horrible economic rowth, this is no longer futer generations, this is us. i didn't relled you were so old. this slide shows -- mr. schweikert: our number is 030, 2031, social security trust fund is gone. > what happens on that date? mr. schweikert: your benefits are decreased, whatever that amount is on that time. mr. perry: probably between 20% and 0%.
swigeswiring let's do it. the social security receive muse will be subto the whims. you might have one month where you are pay-go out more. you also have no longer the interest receive now. $8 manneded you 2 point trillion, that is what is going into the trust fund. this is the dwubble whammy. and that is why you don't want to get near these numbers. every day we get, and remember, my calculations are 22 months, we start to move in. we start eeding our seed corn and every day the calculations
get more difficult. >> giving a presentation like this and it was back during the first ryan budgets where we lked about raising the age slowly. and a gentleman said i don't want to work another 2, 3 years. m asking me to work an extra year and trip lets. can't you do that? will that fix things? that will go a long way. he got angry. and nobody explained him. and even angryier. it would be -- if we wait nother 20 years, you can never fix it.
mr. schweikert: it's 14 years now. look, i'm the proud father of an infant. when she reaches her peak earning years, her tax rates will be double what i pay. and that's already done. we've already done that to our children. you've got to understand the scale of what we've done. but doesn't she have the right to participate in some of the same earned benefits that we hope, actually, we should have earned, and hopefully will be there because we're going to find a way to fix them? and it's not like the left gets behind television cameras and screams at us or puts up television commercials of a paul ryan look-a-like pushing grandma off the cliff, that's political rhetoric. they're basically pulling a scam on you. this is math. i know we get folks, i don't know if you've had them at your town hall, which will fuss at you and say, it doesn't feel right. i don't have a feelings button on my calculator.
i've said that over and over to try to make the point. if you want to -- us to protect your retirement future, you got to demand that we step up and do it and it can be done by a series of little things, i mean, the reality -- social security's easy to fix. it just -- you can create a little board of policy. some might be age, some might be certain folks with certain assets being -- opting out. there's a whole series of really creative things you can do. giving some options to young people. because those who now are going to live in sort of the gig economy, the ability to put, you know, 50 cents every time they have a transaction, or using technology, using these supercomputers we all carry in our pocket. >> will the gentleman yield? many of our constituents hear from time to time, whether it's the president, whether it's people on the other side, frankly, the people on our side. look, we are reducing the deficits. they hear this. if they don't come to your town hall meeting they say, well,
the deficit is smaller, right? so that's good. what's all this harry kerry about social security and debt and what's all the, you know, what's all the historyonics? mr. schweikert: we're going to get to that in a second. understand how much the deficit has gone up this year. we have a slide somewhere here that's going to tell us that. and forgive me for one second. can i ask the speaker, how much time do we have? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 12 minutes remaining. mr. mulvaney has zero time. mr. schweikert: we're ok with that. we'll explain that procedure a little bit later. ok, let's actually run through these. let's use our last 12 minutes and get to exactly your point of where we're at and what's been going on. this one i put up just especially for my friend who
fussed and complained about this thing called sequestration. how it was the end of the world. basically western civilization was going to be collapsed to its knees. ok. what you see is the red is sequestration and the green is discretionary spending without sequestration. if you see the blue bars there, that's mandatory spending. that's social security, medicare, medicaid, the new health care law. interest on the debt. other transfer programs. it explodes off the charts. if our friends who complained about sequestration so much cared, they would have talked about mandatory spending. the entitlement. but if you look, the differential between that red and green is tiny. and the fact of the matter is, this year and next year it's actually gone. >> hold on a second. i don't think you explained the green part of sequestration, as
you can see it moves above the red line on occasion, on about 2017 there. that difference. mr. schweikert: basically, let's look at 2016-2017. there is no sequestration. we increased our spending. we blew up the sequestration caps this last fall. and last year. we wanted to spend more money. so the one thing that was holding us back on discretionary spend something gone. but under the law, it actually comes back in 2018. so that little tiny differential you see on that chart between the red and the green, that's sequestration. mr. mulvaney: would you like to wage ar guess as to the likelihood of that staying in law is? mr. schweikert: it's got to enrage us that you if really you about the country, would have the two conversations we're demanding. your willingness to change the
tax code and the regulartory -- regulatory code. the things that help grow the economy. and two, how are you going to deal with the mandatory spending, the entitlements that are blowing off the charts? >> the bigger point of this slide is even with sequestration, you can see that it's, first of all, not very different from the normal program spending that has absolutely nothing to do with the huge portion of spending, which is mandatory, which eclipses everything we do regardless. mr. schweikert: yep. as mr. mulvaney and i have been having a running conversation about how we put together a budget for this coming year, and one of the discussionses that we've been trying to calculate is, ok, they blew up some of the spending caps last year. it is what it is. but if they had paid for those increased spendings, with reforms in entitlements, that is something that goes on and on and on and multiplies out in
the future. and actually there's a little bit to help our future -- does a little bit to help our future and save the entitlements. it has sort of a multiplier effect. because it lives in perpetuityy -- in perpetuity. and it's fascinating because some of us are trying to pitch that idea of give us a few things that we know actually have a multiplier effect in the future, as a way to start to deal with these numbers. the reason i put this chart up, this is the -- this is last year. and we're just going to do this real quickly and we'll have this on our website and i'll ask both of you if you're willing to do it. you're at your town hall. you have the group walking in you're office demanding more money -- into your office demanding more money. that happens all day long. every 15 minutes there's another meeting of another group that wants more money. and i will get groups that will come in and demand, saying, we want more money and, well, well, if you would just get rid of, um, foreign aid, we'll be just fine. and then you pull this board
out and say, ok, you see the little red line there? that's every dime of the state department's budget. that's military foreign aid, that's foreign aid to israel, that's humanitarian foreign aid. that's food aid. and all the embassies and their staff and this and that. t doesn't do anything. it's great rhetorical rhetoric. it's a shiny object. it does not do anything. unless you're talking about social security, medicare, medicaid, other welfare programs, obamacare, interest on the debt, and understand, we are incredibly lucky. interest on the debt this year was supposed to be somewhere in the $600 billion range. and our projection for 2016 budget is maybe about $260 billion. so, we've been really lucky. >> that's the benefit of a weak economy. the only benefit of a weak economy. that i can find. mr. mulvaney: it's also the
benefit of a totally accommodative federal reserve which sets the price of interest through things like quantitative easing, which is nothing more than printing money. they have unnaturally depressed interest rates, which depressed interest rates is nothing more than the cost of money. and one of the direct beneficiaries of that has been this body. it's been much easier for us to run up these huge deficits, which is the annual debt. and the overall debt. simply because it's essentially been free money for the last six or seven years. mr. schweikert: would you agree that the cheap money, the artificial liquidity, has kept congress from doing what it knew it had to do in reforming the entitlement program? mr. mulvaney: there's no question. at $15 trillion, $16 trillion of debt, roughly, ok, which is the debt, the public debt right now, you're talking about interest rates below 2%. mr. schweikert: if you want to get geeky, it's getting shorter because they're going shorter on the weighted daily average. they're selling shorter and shorter. the first time interest rates
spike, we're -- we get -- mr. mulvaney: and the 40-year rolling average is 60%. that's what money normally costs the united states of america. about 6%. if you look at it over a generational length of time. if we regress to the mean, and end up with money costing us about 6%, you're talking about more than $1 trillion a year in just interest payments. mr. schweikert: it's coming. this goes back to my friend from pennsylvania, what you were commenting on. so what are we looking at this year? this year -- the year we're in right now? fuppingsally we're going to be borrowing about -- functionally we're going to be borrowing about $445 billion this year. and this was supposed to be one of the good years. understand, the inflexion doesn't happen until 2018 when the debt starts to explode. this is one of the good years. do you understand what $540 billion is? no one does. that's a lot of zeros. ,000,000 a day.
an hour. illion but think of this. and my favorite one is when you, you know, it's $1 million a minute. but it's $17,000 a second. and understand, this goes up in nine years, it basically triples. this triples in nine years. so we're borrowing -- stop breaking things. we're borrowing $17,000 a second and that number triples in nine years. so, how many of us, when we're doing -- i threw these together because i figured we'd have a little bit of fun here. so, we're holding a town hall. and we get some of the groups that come in and fuss at us and say, well, i saw somewhere on some news article that said, if would you get rid of subsidies for fossil fuels, ok, first
off, it's depreciation, just like every business has. but let's say you took away that depreciation from the production of narling gas. and oil -- natural gas and oil. and you took it all the way. ok. we're borrowing functionally $1.5 billion every single day. and you took it all the way, it would buy 12 minutes and 41 seconds of borrowing coverage a day. there's 1,440 minutes in a day and you just came up with a way to cover 13 minutes. it shows you how fake many of these rhetorical things that we hear from the political class, particularly the left. so, let's actually take the next step. what about green energy? did you know green energy has three times the subsidies of fossil fuels? but let's say you took every $36,700,000 a day
that green energy gets. that buys you almost 35 minutes a day. so there's 1,440 minutes in a day and we just, by getting rid of those subsidies, you know, we took care of 12 minutes by getting rid of the tax deductions, the depreciation for fossil fuels, got rid of 35 minutes and 24 seconds, if you got rid of all renewable. my point is, much of the rhetorical gifts we hear from the president, from our friends n left, are completely fraud athematically. and we have to understand something very, very simple. we're borrowing more than a half a trillion dollars this year. and in 20 months the debt starts to explode.
mr. mulvaney, when you've been in front of your audiences in south carolina, have you ever shown them the chart that this year and next year were supposed to be the good years. it was supposed to be fairly flat and then it explodes. mr. mulvaney: i've been showing that chart since 2011 because the number has not changed significantly. when you and i arrived and served on budget together in 2011, we could have told people roughly what the deficit would have been this year. because the projections have not changed. mr. schweikert: and what happened between last august and now, that all of a sudden, remember, last year the deficit was about $150 billion lower than we're going to run this year. multiple things happened. we didn't come close to the economic growth we had built and modeled. the movement of our citizens into certain programs has been greater than expected and fewer velocity in, you know, we say
unemployment is this but when we actually look at the actual tax revenues coming from it, there's a disconnect. there's something horribly wrong there. so, there's something wrong in economic growth. and then we blew up many of the sequestration caps last year, well, ultimately we went from, 30 billion had a $4 deficit last year, which was still stunning, and now we're going to be $545 billion. >> these are big numbers and makes your brian hurt. and they are uncomfortable. mr. schweikert: it is stunning and gets worst. we hit what was called the infleck shon. population y boom
has moved in and received their earned benefit and start adding and le new borrowing blows. >> any last words? >> thank you for giving me. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yeelt back. mr. speaker. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona. >> i move the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the ayes have it. e house adjourns until 10:00
independent of that. and then separately consider -- what to do about flint in that we'll probably include money but it's hard to see where that's going right now. because democrats initially wanted to attach it to the nergy bills. sort of a must-pass, relatively easy thing to pass so they could get through on that. but the negotiations are still ongoing. on both the flint side of things and the energy side of things. in the senate right now. st: energy and environment
reporter, read more at the hill -- thehill.com and follow him at twitter. thanks for that update. guest: thanks. >> after that interview, the house went on to pass the safe drinking water bill by a 416-2 vote. we'll know somehow you -- we'll now show you floor debate from earlier today on that legislation beginning with remarks from energy committee chair and michigan congressman fred upton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i wish we weren't here today. i really wish we weren't. i wish this bill was not necessary. but it is. and our heart, all of us, go out to the folks of flint, michigan, the system let them down at every level. and that is frankly unacceptable. all folks want is the peace of mind that their governments are looking out for their best interest and their water is safe. this bill is the first step. imagine if you went to draw a cup of cold water from your kitchen faucet and suddenly to think about whether it's safe to drink or not.
now put yourself into the shoes of a parent whose son or daughter has already take an drink from that faucet or made coffee or infant formula. what health risk has your child already been exposed to? what do we do now? how can we expect a family to live day to day without safe drinking water? after all those initial concerns, you begin asking yourself, how is that situation possible in the 21st century, in the united states of america? we've been looking, seeking answers to that question from e.p.a., from the state of michigan, and from others. but in the meantime, we know that part of the answer, certainly not the whole story, is that there was a terrible breakdown in communication at every level of government. it is sickening and it breaks your heart, with thousands of kids who indeed could be at
risk. being poisoned from faucets that they thought were safe. government officials knew there was a serious cause for concern and failed to inform the people of flint. many of those officials did not even seem to be effectively communicating and sharing data among themselves. the e.p.a. regional office was not telling headquarters about everything. the state was not telling e.p.a. everything. and we don't know yet what the city of flint was telling the state or e.p.a. that's got to be fixed. and it's got to be fixed now. the safe drinking water act improved compliance -- improved compliance awareness act ensures the public learns of excessive lead levels in their drinking water by setting forth how and when states, e.p.a. and blic water utilities commune
kate their findings. the bill also strengthens public notification rules when lead levels are exceeded, individual consumers will be told when their own house tests positive for lead problems, and if the community or states fail to notify the public, e.p.a. will step in and do so. they're required to do that. the bill also requires e.p.a. to create a strategic plan for handling and improving information flow among water utilities, the states, e.p.a. and affected drinking water consumers before there is an enforceable lead exceedance in drinking water. let me repeat that. before lead levels get too high. finally, this bipartisan bill requires consumer notification when water being transported in a lead pipe is so corrosive that in fact it could get into public drinking water. i want to thank all members of the house for their support, especially my michigan colleagues, every one of which, from both parties, signed as an
original co-sponsor of this legislation. i want to particularly thank mr. kildee,. and i want to thank frank pallone, mr. shimkus, mr. tonko, for their collaboration and sport. i want to thank mccarthy. two mccarthys. kevin mccarthy, scheduling this at almost a moments notice, and the lead counsel on this legislation, dave mccarthy, who helped write and improve the bill as it was originally introduced. what is said on this floor today will not do anything to ease the mind of a parent in flint. the entire situation breaks your heart but it has a responsibility working together as republicans and democrats to fix the problem. this bill is an important step. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york is
ecognized. mr. tonko: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. i rise in support of the safe drinking water act improved compliance awareness, introduced last week by our colleague, representative kildee, with the support of other members of the michigan delegation. this bill would strengthen requirements to have the e.p.a. notify the public when concentrations of lead exceed federal standards. that's notifying the public. while i support this legislation and urge my colleagues to support it, far more than this is needed to address the many failings that led to the tragic circumstances that are still being experienced by the residents of flint, michigan. a situation that has drawn the nation's attention and drawn compassion for children and their families. this should never have occurred in any city in our nation. as with any such tragic
failure, there is an attempt to assess blame. while accountability is important, those who failed in their responsibility should be held accountable. but no one here has yet taken part, bility for our congress' part in this event. this congress as well as many previous congresses have failed to maintain federal support for the maintenance and improvements of our water infrastructure. we have been underfunding these systems for decades. the poor condition of the water treatment and distribution system in flint set the stage for this tragedy. we are doing this in an attempt to save money. well, in fact, we are wasting many millions of dollars more by allowing essential infrastructure to deteriorate to the extent where a constant stream of emergency responses and repairs are required to keep these systems working. finally, we need to do something for the people of flint. the state of michigan and president obama's
administration have both begun to mobilize resources to deal with the immediate need for safe drinking water. and they are working to eliminate lead from the water distribution system. but we still don't know if essential corrosion control can be re-established and bottled water does not solve flint's problems. the residents of flint need a fully functioning public water system that delivers safe, clean water to their homes, to their schools and their businesses. we need to work with the state of michigan to make that happen, and we need to care for the people who were exposed to lead, especially our children who are most vulnerable to lead exposure. they need treatment and sustained assistance to deal with the health problems they may experience as a result of this man-made disaster. the conditions that enabled this crisis to happen are not unique to flint, and while this bill is a first step to help communities that may face these problems in the future, it
cannot be our last step. we must embrace our responsibility to support federal investment in drinking water systems. the public health and future prosperity of the people of flint and thousands of other communities across our great nation are continuing to suffer the concerns and are counting on our progressive actions. i look forward to continuing this discussion, and with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield three minutes to the gentleman from michigan, a co-sponsor of the bill, mr. walberg. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for three minutes. mrs. walorski: thank you, mr. speaker. -- mr. walberg: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank the chairman as well. i want to thank by thanking my friends, dan kildee and chairman upton for their work on this bipartisan legislation and ensuring a swift congressional response to the ongoing water crisis in flint, michigan. what have we learned and what
will we do both now and in the future, mr. speaker, is the question. what happened in flint is not a natural disaster. it's a human disaster and a failure of government at every level. in my questioning at last week's oversight and government reform hearing it became very clear that individuals with the e.p.a. knew about the high levels of the -- lead levels in the drinking water for months but failed to communicate this information to the people of flint. even under repeated freedom of information act requests. the bill we are considering today takes important steps to strengthen federal requirements on the e.p.a. to notify the public when concentrations of lead in drinking water are above federal requirements. i'm glad the entire michigan delegation's backing this bill,
and i'm committed to continuing to work together to get answers and help the families in flint who need clean water, and for that matter, mr. speaker, learning from this the families in the entire united states to make sure this doesn't happen to them as well. mr. speaker and america, in the 21st century children should not have to worry about safe and clean drinking water. the flint water crisis never should have happened, and we must take action to ensure it never happens again. making things right must be a cooperative effort at every level and this bill takes important steps to ensure proper coordination going forward. i offer all of my support, all of my assistance, all of my help and my votes to make sure this happens and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. walberg, yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized.
mr. tonko: yes, mr. speaker, i have a copy of the comments from representative frank pallone, ranker to the energy and commerce committee, and i ask unanimous consent that his statement be entered into the record. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's request is covered by general leave. topping tonk thank you. with that -- mr. tonko: thank you. with that i yield five minutes of time to representative dan kildee who has carried the concern and the emotion of this situation as the representative in the house of flint, michigan . his energetic efforts, his determination, his obvious passion for getting this done, getting some relief, relief essential for flint done is tremendously moving. and so i yield five minutes to my colleague from michigan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. kildee, is recognized for five minutes. mr. kilmer: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, tonko, for your comments and your support and leadership on this issue, and please extend my thanks to
ranking member pallone for his effort and his support. i know he's dealing with a difficult time himself right now. and we extend our best wishes to him. and i want to thank all of my michigan colleagues for joining as original co-sponsors of this legislation. particularly thank chairman upton for his help, his guidance, his assistance and really collaboration on getting a piece of legislation put together that we think is very helpful in preventing another situation such as what has occurred in my hometown from ever happening again in the united states. so thank you, mr. upton, for your assistance and leadership on this. flint is my home. the people i represent are the people i grew up with in flint, michigan. it's a great community. it's been through some struggles for sure the last few decades, but we've never dealt with anything quite like this,
something so fundamental as safe drinking water that we take for granted. turn on the faucet, as mr. upton said, you expect the water that comes out of that faucet to be safe for yourself, for your children, to make formula, to cook food, to drink. and because of a series of decisions that really are almost incomprehensible in their impact, people in flint, michigan, can't drink their water. 100,000 people can't drink the water. the thing that makes me most upset, sad, yes, but also angry is that this crisis, this situation which will last for decades on its impact was completely avoidable. unlike a lot of the other struggles that my hometown has faced as a result of big changes in the economy, development patterns, etc.,
this was a series of decisions that we could easily identify that could easily have been prevented with just more thought and more care, and in this case, a stronger set of requirements for disclosure when lead levels are elevated in a drinking water system. so this legislation is one step. it is not the total solution. we really have to deal and i hope my colleagues will also join in us putting together a response to the crisis being felt by the people in flint right now. this bill unfortunately is too late to help them, but it can elp the next flint, perhaps. this would require the e.p.a. to provide notice if the state agency, responsible for enforcement of the clean drinking water laws, does not act to provide notice to the citizens affected and to the
water system. and let me just be clear on that. the state of michigan in the case of the flint situation had primacy in terms of enforcing law. they make sure that the clean water is enforced and to do sampling and provide remediation, provide intervention if in fact it's not the case. and so yes, there has been a failure of government, but i think we have to take care not to attempt to create some sort of false sense of equivalency of responsibility. for the city of flint, for example, which is the most local level of government and where the water system is operated, was under the control of an emergency manager a state official appointed to overtake operation of the city of flint. so to the extent that the city
was responsible, the city was the state in this regard. and in terms of the federal role, there was apparent confusion or disagreement as to whether the e.p.a. had authority absent state notification to the public of the data that they had whether the e.p.a. had authority to go public, to make it clear that there was a problem. this legislation addresses that. this legislation strengthens the hand of those who work at the e.p.a. and actually requires them, not simply allows, but requires them to provide notice to the public and to a water system operator in the event that the state ails to do so. had that happened, it would not have prevented the bad decisions that led to this crisis, but it would have prevented them from going on for months and months and months with no action to
protect the people in flint. this is important legislation. we need more. we need help for the people of flint, but this is a step in the right direction in preventing flint from -- what happened in flint from happening to another community with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton, is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i might inquire as to how much time i have remaining on my side. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton, has 13 1/2 minutes. the gentleman from new york has 13 minutes. mr. upton: i yield to the gentleman from michigan, again, an original co-sponsor of the bill, three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for three minutes. >> i thank the gentleman from flint, mr. kildee, for his leadership in this matter, for raising our attention to this and i'd also like to thank chairman upton for his leadership, for the michigan delegation and bringing us together and putting aside any
partisan differences to address a need of our great state and also for the children and families across our country. mr. bishop: i have spent my entire life in the state of michigan. i was born here, raised there -- excuse me. many generations before me the same. born and raised in michigan. my family, my current family, my wife and my kids -- i have three kids who also live in michigan and will also, i'm sure, see to it that their children live here -- live there as well. . when i learned what happened in flint i was absolutely heartbroken and it frightens me to think that a failure of this magnitude could happen in the 21st century and in our state. can you imagine not being able to drink the water from your own tap? what if you weren't able to bathe or take a shower because of fear of what might be in the water? the anger and the frustration
is palpable. and it should be. my district borders on congressman kildee's and i can tell you firsthand the crisis not only affects the impact -- impacts of community of flint, but the entire great lakes state. for weeks i've seen local high schools, veterans groups, concerned citizens, you name it, people from all over michigan are rising to address the crisis and to help the residents, the families and children of flint. when it comes to local, state and federal leadership, we must do everything possible to help as well. every single one of us here today has a duty to ensure that families and children are safe and have access to the essentials. the most basic of which is clean drinking water from household faucets. sure, we can point the fingers and play the blame game. but when it comes down to fixing it, we must do so fast
and we need more actions than words. we need solutions. what chairman upton and congressman kildee have proposed is a first-step solution to ensure this will not happen again. first and foremost, this legislation makes the e.p.a. -- makes sure the e.p.a. will step up and notify the public when they know concentrations of lead in drinking water are above federal requirements. it also streamlines communications between the utilities, the state, the e.p.a. and the affected customers. the entire delegation of the state of michigan in congress agrees, this is a crisis. but to be clear, this is not a democrat or republican issue. and i would say, shame on anyone who attempts to capitalize on this issue or use the families of flint in this crisis to further their own personal agenda. this is about commonsense -- common sense ael