tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 24, 2016 9:00pm-12:01am EDT
and back in 2001, the estimate as $-- 2014, the estimate is $30 billion and most people say it isn't going to work. so we have sink holes for money and we have black holes for money and this is the ultimate black hole into which $30 billion will be spent and at the end of the day it will create more problems and not solve the problems of the 30 metric tons. that came out of bombs that were dismantled. it calls for $30 million to be spent on a facility the department of energy says shouldn't be built. but, hey, we're the congress, we can throw around $340 million
with great aplum and not even worry -- aplomb and not even worry about it this doesn't save us the $340 billion which is what we ought to do, what this amendment does is say, don't spend it on further constructing his useless -- well, not useless but totally expensive facility, don't waste the money on this boondoggle. and we can spend the money on maybe what the department of energy thinks we ought to do, to dilute and dispose. or maybe build a fast reactor, which we've had in the past and which russia is using to dispose of their plutonium. they're generating energy and doing so while getting rid of their unused plutonium. so why don't we just accept this amendment and eliminate the construction clause, keep the $340 million in south carolina
so they can be happy, maybe they can spend it on something that might actually work. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman eserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? >> i'm in opposition and yield myself such time as i may use. the chair: the gentleman is ecognized. >> mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this amendment for the mixed on scythe fabrication facility located in south carolina adjacent to augusta, georgia. i support the facility for a very simple reason, it's the only viable method of permanently disposing of weapons grade plutonium and turning it into green fuel for nuclear reactors. mr. wilson: furthermore it's the upholding our
nuclear nonproliferation agreement with russia. i say this having served as the deputy general of the department of energy and being the only one in congress who has worked at the savanna river site. we agreed there would be a place to remove the plutonium. after years of promises, to to the close this with no viable alternative makes south carolina the repository for nuclear waste. there's been a shortsighted decision to terminate the project without appropriate considerations. the administration has failed to complete a rebaselining of the project as required by law. the administration has failed to consult key partners, including the e.p.a., for oh state of new
mexico as a receiving location. the administration cannot definitely state that the waste isolation pilot plan has the capacity for 34 tons of weapons grade plutonium or if it will reopen. the administration has failed to communicate with russia about the plan to close this, causing vladimir putin to not attend the recent nuclear summit in washington. pew sin himself stated, quote, this is not what we agreed on. but serious issues, especially with regard to nuclear arms, should be able to meet one's obligations, end of quote. this is a proven technology, it's worked overseas. it's crucial for our national security in any decision to halt or alter its mission should only be carried out after a thorough and careful evaluation. i urge my colleagues to support this project, to stand up for our national security initiatives, to support the only viable alternative for plutonium
disposition and to reject the amendment. i'm grateful that today the u.s. chamber of commerce issued a let for the support of this project, quote, the chamber opposes any efforts to reduce funding for the national nuclear security administration's mixed ox side fuel facility at the site at savannah river this project is crucial to honoring the united states plutonium disposition protocol and advancement of domestic nuclear fuel production, end of quote. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? mr. garamendi: to inquire about think my remaining time. the chair: the gentleman has one and three quarters minutes remaining. mr. garamendi: thank you, mr. chairman. with great respect for my friend from south carolina who is a most able advocate for his
neighborhood, the facility is the ultimate sink hole for federal dollars and in fact there is a viable alternative and there are quite preble two different viable alternatives. one is the russian fast reactor, we have our own fast reactor, it clearly is disposing of the plutonium stockpile in russia. and creating energy along the way that they're using. we also have our own fast ea re-actor systems that have been built in the past and they are -- they could be viable, could be located that the savannah river facility to dispose of the plutonium. we're going to need to come to some conclusion here. this is a debate we must have. the senate has two different versions, the house has two different versions about what to do. maybe the gentleman and i can wrestle and decide which is the version we would actually take on here. this does not stop the facility. it simply says stop
construction, use the money to look at designs, use the money to look for ongoing solutions, which the gentleman, i believe is incorrect but if he's right it could be this facility. but we need to solve this problem, it's a very, very serious problem, we're required by a treaty with russia to dispose of unused plutonium and i would suggest to all of us that we ought to be careful about make manager of it, which is another amendment i'll take up at the offend the tai but ul take about that much later tonight. do i have any time left? the chair: the gentleman has five seconds remaining. mr. gare men tee: would the gentleman -- mr. garamendi: would the gentleman care to close for five seconds? mr. wilson: i would, i know if the gentleman listens to what we're saying, i yield to congressman jody hice. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired.
the gentleman from idaho seek recognition? mr. simpson: i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. simpson: this is a debate that's been going on for a while. i appreciate what the gentleman is saying. some of it is -- yeah. the problem is, i've been having this debate with the secretary of energy for some time. understand, i understand where the people from south carolina are coming from. we're talking about jobs and economy. i don't have a dog in this fight. what i do have is a responsibility as chairman of this committee. five years from now, we're not sitting up here talking about the same thing, or another chairman, another secretary of energy and another president. the department of energy is famous for starting programs, getting halfway down it, spending billions on them then walking away. yucca mountain is the biggest ole in the ground they spent $14 billion on.
that's not the only thing the department of energy has done. but they come to us now and say hey we have a plan that's going to be cheaper. we think this will cost $30 billion, other says no, we're look manager like $20 billion no one can get the moneys right. we ask them to rebaseline it. they haven't done that. but they say we've got a plan. we think what we ought to do is dilute this stuff and then dispose of it. ok. great. what is that going to take? first of all, we've got a treaty with russia have the russians agreed to this? no, but we think they will you know, there's a lot of things i think my wife will agree to that she doesn't in the long run. so we're going to go out, we're going to scaup construction on this in the hope that russians will agree. we have such a good relationship with them. the department says, i think they'll be ok. they've indicated their willing to talk. then ok we're going to dispose
of it. where are we going to dispose of t. whip. that's shut down but we'll reopen it. is that large enough to hold this? will rewe have to do another land withdrawal in new mexico? is the state of new mexico ok with this? we don't know, we haven't talked to them system of you want to stop this before you've got a plan of what you want to do with it. and that's just crazy. and that's my problem. if the department would come to us and say, the russians have treaty, new nd the mexico has agreed that they will take the stuff, then maybe we could have a serious discussion. but right now it's just all pie in the sky. i'll tell you if you really don't care about the treaty and don't care where they dispose of it, dispose of it in new mexico, the cheapest thing to do is just store it. but nobody wants to do that. so all we're saying is, let's be
reasonable on this and let's recognize that you've got a facility here that's 67%, i think the gentleman said, 67% omplete. i think we ought to continue going down that same road. we look at the $340 million, it's probably going to end up being $500 million and some will say that's taking money out of my town, so let's stop that so my favorite project will get more money. i know there's a lot of that going on too. so while i think -- i understand where the gentleman is coming from, there's other people that agree with him. there are people on my side of the aisle that say why are we spending money on that boon degreele? it's not. it's supposed to create fuel. and while the department says there are no energy companies that want the mox fuel that's
not true. there are some who would sign agreements left arm agreements, the problem is, they see this debate of whether we're going to have any or not. but that's the problem. is the department won't come to us with a solid proposal that we can rely on that that's an alternative that we can weigh one against the other. i don't want five years 10 years from now a chairman of the energy and water committee at that time and a secretary of nrning to be down on the street corner arguing about well, gee, we stopped mox. we got that big cement pile out there. we stopped construction on that and we got a problem with new mexico and the russians turn on our back, won't do anything about the treaty, what are we going to do? let's think of something else. so until somebody has a reasonable alternative they can compare it to and the cost to, we need to continue with this mox project and that's why the funding is in there.
that's why we'll fight for it in conference. even though the senate wants to stop it and do other things system of anyway, that's why that's there. i appreciate what the gentleman is doing. i understand his concerns. other people have those concerns. but the right path for us to follow is to continue the project that currently exists. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman -- for what purpose does the gentlewoman from ohio seek recognition? ms. kaptur: i seek recognition, to strike the last word. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. kaptur: i have great respect for congressman garamendi. and i know how thoughtful he is, normally i do support his efforts. i have to say that in this instance i think the priority has to be on completing construction of mox.
0%, i think there was a reference made tonight, 67% of the construction is already completed. 90% of the equipment has been procured. 50% of the equipment is on site. are directly employed. 4,000 american contractors are being utilized in 43 states. mox is the only proven pathway we have for dispose og of the weapons grade plutonium in a pragmatic way. one of my goals in supporting this effort, having worked now with the department of energy on a number of programs, my goodness, it seems never to be able to finish anything. so we talk about yucca mountain, the chairman of the subcommittee made significant reference to that. billions of dollars, the hole sits in the ground, unused. back when jimmy carter was president he, had a goal of putting solar panels on the department of energy.
it didn't happen until recently. three decades, four decades, before they can even finish something like that. we look at hanniford and the cleanup necessary there. how many more centuries is it going to take? so one thing we can say about mox, it's treaty required and we're trying to meet our treaty obligations, and -- but it's moving toward completion. this is a miracle for the department of energy. perhaps a fast reactor might be better. but how do we know it won't cost an equal amount or more? we know south carolina wants this, the congressman from the region is here. if we talk about whip, how do we know they even want the material? we have all these problems like yucca mountain. we have material we want to bury in the ground and then the people say in the state that you build the facility, well, now we don't want it. so frankly, of all the
subcommittees i've served on, our full committee, i've served on a majority of them, i have never seen a department that can't get its act together and get the work done. so, as much as i respect you, congressman gar mendy, and you are right -- garamendi, and you are right on so many efforts, i think to stop this project now with more than 2/3 of it constructed and hundreds of contracts with venleders in 43 states -- vendors in 43 states, canceling those would expose our government to major liability and court costs from lawsuits and so forth. the house bill prioritizes funds for national security to allow the united states to uphold its worthy nonproliferation and disarmament goals, which we share. and focuses on completing the mox facility at the savannah river site. the most -- in the most cost effective manner that the department is capable of doing. so i really think that we need to get it done. and we are close to doing that.
we don't need another disaster sitting out there, that is unused or this delay and stop and delay and hesitation and uncertainty and so forth. we need to complete this. and we need to take care of the spent plutonium in a very responsible manner. so i share the chairman's perspective on this and continue to hold the author of the amendment, congressman garamendi, in the highest regard and i share your desire for nonproliferation. i think one of the best things we can do is get this material processed and leave the world a safer place in our time and generation. i yield back my remaining time and do oppose the amendment. the chair: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. he amendment is not agreed to.
the clerk will read. the clerk: page 54, line 1, $1,420,120,000. deral salaries and expenses, $382,387,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado seek recognition? mr. polis: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. polis of colorado. after the dollar amount insert, reduced by $1 million. page 56, line 1, after the dollar amount insert, increased
by $500,000. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 743, the gentleman from colorado and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: thank you, mr. speaker. the $500,000 in funds will be for sites where remediation is currently being conducted by the office of legacy management at d.o.e. in accordance with the comprehensive environmental response compensation and rcla lity act called ce sites or rcra. .here are eight of them in colorado, rocky flats, which is now a shuttered nuclear weapons plant, has oversight by
d.o.e. they do some water testing, but downwind and down stream communities have concerns about potential contamination. and these funds will help complete testing which is vital for scientific knowledge, for public confidence, and for public health. and we need them as we move forward with various uses of the land and properties in the area, including in the case of rocky flats, opening to ex tensive public -- extensive public visitation. several municipals -- municipalities in my district have voted for more soil samples. the portion they've asked for this regarding is both on fish and wildlife and d.o.e. managed areas. i personally have got to hear from many scientists, residents, even somebody who investigated former rocky flats plant 30 years ago, who feel that it's very important that we make sure that the down stream areas and the site are not still contaminated and not hazardous for human visitors and we need to have the proper science by testing the air,
water and soil. relatively low-cost propositions that would be funded by this small change from administrative accounts. these funds, to be clear, would be applied to all cercla lands such as rocky flats and the others. and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. any member seek recognition? the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: i yield to the gentlelady from ohio. no, we're good. ok. to conclude, i'm very grateful to work with the committee and their staff on this important testing for cercla and rcra lands. like those at rocky flats. and in the other seven states. and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from colorado. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. he amendment is agreed to. the clerk will read. the clerk: page 54, line 17, environmental and other defense activities, defense vironmental cleanup, $5,226,950,000. ther defense activities, $776,425,000. power marketing, administrations, bondville power administration fund, expenditures not to exceed $5,000. operation and maintenance, southeastern power, administration, $1 million. operation and maintenance, southwestern power, administration, $45,643,000. construction, rehabilitation, operation maintenance, western area power, administration,
$307,144,000. falcon and amstad operating and aintenance fund, $4,070,000. federal energy regulatory commission, salaries and expenses, $346,800,000. general provisions, department of energy, including transfer and rescission of funds, section 301, no appropriation for the department shall be used to initiate any program, if the program has not been unded by congress. section 302, unexpended balances may be available for such activities established pursuant to this title, section 303, funds appropriated for an intelligence activity are deemed to be specifically authorized for purposes of section 504 of the national security act of 1947. section 304, none of the funds shall be used for e construction of facilities
classified as high hazard nuclear facilities under 10-cfr part 830. section 305 none of the funds may be used to approve critical decision to or critical decision three under department of energy order 413.3-b. for construction projects, where the total project cost exceeds $100 million, section 306, none of the funds may be made available to enter into new contracts with the russian federation. section 307, new regional reserves, the secretary may not establish any new regional petroleum product reserve unless funding is explicitly requested in advance and approved by the congress. section 308, any unobligated balances from amounts appropriated in prior fiscal years are hereby rescinded. section 309, not to exceed $2 million may be made available for the consolidated energy
operations center. title 4. independent agencies, appalachian regional commission, $146 million. defense nuclear facilities, salaries and expenses, $31 million to remain available until september 30, 2018. delta regional authority, salaries and expenses, $15 million. denali commission, $11 million. northern border regional commission, $5 million. southeast crescent regional commission, $250,000. nuclear regulatory commission, salaries and expenses, $936,121,000. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? >> mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. keating of massachusetts.
on page 72, line 24, after the dollar amount, insert, reduced by $1 million, increased by $1 million. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 743, the gentleman from massachusetts and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. keating: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise today to offer an amendment with my friend from vermont and a champion of these issues, representive welch. our amendment is simple and straightforward. it seeks to provide adequate resources for the nuclear regulatory commission in order to ensure the safe and effective decommissioning of nuclear power plants. last year the owner and operator of the pilgrim nuclear power plant in plymouth, massachusetts, after facing severe losses and revenue and plagued by serious -- in revenue and plagued by serious safety concerns, announced that the plant would be decommissioned by 2019. since coming to congress, i've been concerned about the safety of pilgrim's day to day
operations, as well as the security of its spent fuel storage. following the announcement, i've worked with state and local representatives from southeastern massachusetts to prioritize the safety of the decommissioning process, security of the plant spent fuel, and displacement of over 600 workers employed at this site. just this week, the attention is focused on the recent report that revealed that the pilgrim nuclear power station came up short yet again during the investigation of their follow-through on critical systems maintenance. while this infraction ultimately falls on the responsibility of entergy, it's equally important that the n.r.c. has the necessary resources to address concerns as they arise, including through cooperation with local communities. as we've often cited, decommissioning of nuclear power plants has an enormous economic and financial impact on host communities.
we've urged that decommissioning funds be used strictly for removal of spent fuel from wet storage to dry, restoration and remediation of the site, and maintenance of emergency preparedness and security resources throughout the entire process. finally, it's my hope that the n.r.c. prioritizes work force development opportunities, as the number of decommissioned plants increases, so too will thousands of high-skilled, well-paying jobs. with that, i thank my colleagues for the consideration of this amendment and urge their support. i yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from vermont, mr. welch. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. welch: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman. we've got a lot of merchant nuclear plants that are now starting to get decommissioned. the first one that got decommissioned was in vermont. we've now got pilgrim. and the communities there face .normous challenges
one, we lose a lot of good jobs. number two, there's a question of how do you get that asset back in production? that's where the local community, like select board citizen groups, are enormous concerned and rightly so. it's their community. and they want to get it back operational. the purpose of this amendment is to try to get the n.r.c., the resources it need -- n.r.c. the resources it needs and also the process it needs for citizen community involvement to be central accepted. they're in -- to be accepted. they're in a new area. generally n.r.c. has been about regulating the safety of the plant. now we're moving into the era where they have to deal with the decommissioning of the plant. safety issues continue to be of paramount concern, but economic vitality into the future is an urgent concern. our goal here is to make certain that those folks who are in the community, and their elected representatives, have the capacity for significant
input. we're very pleased that the n.r.c. is starting a rulemaking process to try to open it up a bit. we want to encourage them to do so. this legislation is a big step toward that. i reserve the balance of my time. or yield to the gentleman from massachusetts. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding, i want to thank chairman simpson and ranking member kaptur for their consideration, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the sque on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. he amendment is agreed to. clerk will read. the clerk: page 74, line 9, office of inspector general,
$12,309,000 to remain available until 2018. nuclear review board, general provisions, independent agencies, section 401, the nuclear regula tear commission shall comply with internal commission procedures when responding to congressional requests. section 402, amounts made available may be reprogrammed for any program and the commission shall notify the committees at least 30 days prior to the use of any prere-programming that would cause any program funding level to increase or decrease by more than $500,000. the chair: for what purpose -- the clerk: title 5, general pr visions, section 501. none of the funds may be used to of uence, section 502, none the funds in title 3 may be transferred except pursuant to a transfer made by or transfer
authority provided in this act. section 503. none of the funds may be used in contravention of executive order number 12898 of february 11, 1994. section 504. none of the funds may be used to maintain a computer network unless such network blocks the view offeringprornography. section 505. none of the funds may be used to conduct closure of adjudicatory functions or support activities associated with yucca mountain repository license application. none of the funds may be used to further implementation of the coastal and marine spirble planning components of the national ocean policy developed under executive order number 13547 of july 19, 201 1. >> mr. speaker. i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: the -- the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1
printed in the congressional record offered by mr. farr of california. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 743, the gentleman from california and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. farr: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i rise again, one again, because every year we face this amendment and it does get knocked out in conference. but i rise with concern that it keeps coming back because i think it's based on a lot of misunderstanding and it really can cause serious problems. what it is is that for many years, congress has been struggling with all these sort the sea, s at different government agencies have different responsibilities, some for coastal protection, some for buoys, and they complained there was a conflict of seas.
congress appointed a commission to review these, a bipartisan commission. the commission, the membership was appointed by president bush. the commission came back with an oceans report indicating we had to avoid these conflicts among agencies and what we would do is create a national ocean policy which required all the federal agencies to look at their responsibilities and to make sure that they were all coordinate sod that the they could carry out the instructions -- functions they're responsible for, carry them out in a timely fashion. what this bill says this language in the bill, says you can't carry out these responsibilities under the national ocean policy. it's really stupid to knock it out because what it's doing, it's going to cost the people who want permits from the federal government a lot more time and money. and in fact what it really does is jeopardize our national security because believe it or not, one of the ways that the people are sneaking in to our excuse i economic zone is through fishing boats and
fishing boats are the responsibility more of national marine fisheries and coast guard and they have to be able to communicate with each other on issues. so it's just one thing after another. so i'm really asking, let's knock this language out. the other thing i'd like to say is, i hate to make this thing partisan but i was just at a huge oceans conference in monterey, the district i represent. with a lot of national scientists and n.g.o.'s. the one thing they pointed out time after time is how the republicans are just tacking issues on the oceans, on marine fishery, on oil and gas development, and so on. and a policy like this is not something that's actually beneficial to try to get bureaucracy to work in knocking it out so it goes back to the old bureaucracy, it's harmful for the government, it's harmful for userser of the the oceans resources, and it's more harmful for people trying to get a handle on what's killing our oceans and killing our fish.
so we spend absolutely no money on oceans planning. the national ocean policy does not supersede any local state regulations or create any new federal regulations. it just creates a mechanism by which 41 numerous ocean agencies, departments and working groups and committees can coordinate and communicate to manage effectively. it's a bottoms up, not top-down process. national ocean policy leverages taxpayer dollars by reducing duplication between federal, state and local agents by streamlining data collection, by strengthening public volvement, by actually resulting in better decision making in a more timely decision make, less costly decision making. national ocean policy is a tool for planning, not a mandate to strip local and stake holder control from our oceans resource. it was supported by president bush, it's been supported by president obama, it's bipartisan, bicameral, bi
everything and this language just makes it impossible to carry on the responsibilities that we have in using our natural resources in a responsible fashion. soy ask that the amendment be adopted and i reserve whatever i have to reserve to respond to the magnificent chair of the ther committee who obviously objects to my amendment. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from idaho rise? mr. simpson: i rise in opposition to the amendment. while there may be instances in which the greater coordination would be help to feel ensure our ocean and coastal resources are available to future generations, any such coordination must be done carefully to protect against federal overreach. as we've seen recently with the proposed rule to redefine watt orse they have united states, congressional oversight is needed to ensure we protect private property rights. unfortunately, the way this
organization developed its national policy increases opportunity for national overreach. the implementation is so brd and sweeping, it may allow them to affect practices of anyone whose actions may have an impact directly or indirectly on the oceans. the administration did not work with congress to develop this plan and has even refused to provide relevant information to congress. so we can't be sure how sweeping it actually will be. that's why i support the language in the underlying bill and oppose the amendment and suggest that the committee of natural resources is the one who should be taking this up if they want to develop a national ocean policy. >> will the gentleman yield? mr. simpson: i'm happy to yield. mr. farr: whoever wrote your state suspect wrong on the facts. i was here. this report that was done by the bush administration was brug to the united states congress, to the resources committee, i was a member, the chairman would not
allow admiral watkins, chairman of the committee, to testify on it. would not allow a bill carried by republican members, mr. greenwood, and others, to be heard. mr. saxson. every attempt was made to bring that report to congress to enact as a bill. and the resources committee rejected it. slammed the door. what president obama did is he can't -- there was more in the recommendations because there was a way of governing regional areas much like the national marine fisheries does with their regional fishery boards. he only used his executive order to get all the federal agency together to come up with a national ocean policy and not a thing in that law or that policy mentions any of those things. mr. simpson: we claiming my time. we were not wrong. congress did not approve a national ocean panel. we could argue about whether they should have or shouldn't have, whether the champlee
should have brought it up or shouldn't have. it's the way the process works arn here. there are things that aren't brought up that i think ought to be. i've got a wild fire funding bill that i think ought to be brought up. that doesn't mean that the administration can say, that's the right thing to do, we'll do it by executive order. that's the problem with this administration. they've got a phone, they've got a pen if they don't get what they want out of congress and kuok decides not to act for whatever reason, we didn't act on immigration, i think that was wrong. i think we should have. but guess what, we didn't. that doesn't free the president to say, well if you won't do it, i'm going to do it. and that's kind of what he did with the national ocean policy. that's the problem we have here. that's why i oppose this amendment. even though it might be the right thing for us to do in the long run. with that, i yield back the balance of my time and urge a no vote on this amendment. the chair: the gentleman yields back. r what purpose does the -- mr. farr: i yield one minute of
time to mr. cicilline. the chair: the gentleman only has one minute. mr. farr: i yield that one minute to mr. cicilline to close, he's magnificent. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cicilline: i rise in strong support of the amendment offered by my colleague which would strike this misguided provision which permits better coordination among federal agency responseable for coastal planning this would undermine the national oceanic and atmospheric participation in planning. it would keep states like rhode island from managing their own resources in the way that best fit theirs needs and priorities. the administration made it clear the national ocean policy doesn't create new regulations or modify any agency's established jurisdictional authority. it helps coordinate the implementation of existing to establish a more efficient and effective decision making process. in the neevet, our regional ocean downle is aloud our states
to pool resources and businesses have a voice in decision making and it's coordinated with federal partners to ensure all stake hold verse a voice in the process and was the first in the nation to release a draft regional ocean plan. it's astounding to me that since 2012, more than 15 riders undermining ocean plans have been introduced in house bills. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and thank the gentleman for yielding. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mr. farr: i can for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to claus 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california will e postponed. clerk will read. the clerk: page 80, line 4, section 50 .
none of the funds may be used for the removal of any federally owned or operated dam, spening reduction account section 508. the amount by which the applicable allocation of new budget authority made by the committee on appropriation is zero dollars. the chair: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> mr. chairman i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. amendment offered by ms. brownlee of california. at the end of the bill before the short title insert the following, section, none of the funds made available by this act may be used in contravention of section 2102 of the water resources reform and development act of 2014 or section 210 of the water resources development act of 1986. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 743, the gentlelady
from california and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from california. ms. brownlee: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise to offer a very brief amendment to the bill. i offer this amendment on behalf of myself and my good friend from california, mrs. napolitano. many of my colleagues, especially those who are members of the congressional ports caucus have worked very hard in recent years to ensure that the army corps of engineers has the funding necessary for operations and maintenance of our waterways. achieved a great victory in wwrda 2014 which set annual targets for harbor maintenance trust fund use aling. -- usage. it's vitally weren't we not only hit those targets but that we also ensure that the army corps and white house officer of management and budget allocate arbor maintenance trust funds
resources properly according to the authorizing statute. the brownlee-napolitano amendment simply directs that none of the funds in the bill can be spent contrary to existing law. our amendment is supported by the american association of port authorities, i urge our colleagues to support this commonsense amendment to ensure that the army corps and o.m.b. follow the direction provided by congress in the 2014 law which passed the house in a vote of 412 vets -- votes to four. mr. chairman, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlelady reserves. does any member seek recognition? the gentlelady from california. ms. brownley: thank you, mr. chairman. again, it's critically important for congress to ensure that the administration follows the law. this amendment is intended to ensure that the corps and the administration and o.m.b. implement the law as directed
by congress. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. burgess: mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. burgess of texas. at the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the following new section. section, none of the funds made available in this act may be used, one, to implement or enforce section 430.32-x of title 10, code of federal regulations or, two, to implement or enforce the standards established by the tables contained in section 325-i-1-b of the energy policy and conservation act, 42, u.s.c., 6295-i, or to implement
or enforce section 430.32-n of title 10, code of federal regulations, with respect to bpar incandescent reflector lamps and e.r. incan dessenlt reflector lamps. -- incandescent reflector lamps. the chair: the gentleman from texas and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. burgess: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise today to offer an amendment that will actually maintain current law. since the passage in 2007, i have heard from tens of thousands of constituents about how the language of the 2007 energy independence security act takes away consumer choice when deciding what type of light bulb to use in their homes. mr. chairman, they are right. while the government has passed energy efficiency standards in other realms over the years, they have never moved so far and lowered standards so
drastically. it is to pint where technology is still years away -- to the point where technology is still years away from making price bubbles at a price point americans can afford. this claims that 2007 language didn't ban the incandescent bubble. that is true. it banned the sale of the 100-watt to 60-watt and the 45-watt bubble. the replacement bubbles are -- bulbs. the replacement bulbs are far from economically efficient even if they're regarded as energy efficient. a family living paycheck to paycheck simply cannot afford the replacement costs of these bulbs. but the economics of the light bulb mandate are only part of the story. with the extreme expansion of federal powers undertaken by the obama administration during the first two years of the obama administration, americans woke up to just how far the constitution's commerce clause has been manipulated from its original intent. the light bulb mandate is the perfect example of this. the commerce clause was intended by our founding fathers to be a limitation to
federal authority, not a catch-all nod to allow for any topic to be regulated by washington. indeed, it is clear that the founding fathers never intended this clause to be used to allow the federal government to regulate and pass mandates on consumer products that do not pose a risk to either human health or safety. this exact amendment has been accepted for the past four years by the house. the first four years it was accepted by a voice vote. it has been included in the annual appropriations legislation, signed into law by president obama every year since its first inclusion in 2011, it allows consumers to continue to have a choice and to have a say about what they put in their homes. it is just common sense. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlelady from ohio seek recognition? ms. kaptur: i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. kaptur: yes. mr. chairman, i strongly oppose this damaging rider which would block the department of energy from implementing or enforcing commonsense energy efficiency
standards for light bulbs and i have the highest respect for dr. burgess, but not on this particular topic. this rider was a bad idea when it was first offered five years ago, and it is even more unsupportable now. every claim made by proponents of this rider has been proven wrong. dr. burgess told us that the energy efficiency standards would ban incandescent light bulbs. that is simply false. you can go to any store today and see shelves of modern energy efficient incandescent light bulbs that meet the standard. i bought them myself. they are the same as the old bubbles -- bulbs, except they last longer, they use less electricity, and they save consumers money. we've heard for years that the energy efficiency standards restrict consumer choice. but if you shop for light bulbs lately, you know that simply isn't true. modern incan dessenlt bulbs --
incandescent bulbs and l.e.d.'s of every shape, size and color are now available. consumers have never had more choice. the efficiency standards spurred innovation that dramatically expanded options for consumers. critics of the efficiency standards claimed that they would cost consumers money. in fact, the opposite is true. when the standards are in full effect, the average american family will save about $100 every year and that comes to $13 billion in savings nationwide every year. but this rider threaten -- threatens those savings and that's why consumer groups have consistently opposed this rider. here's the reality. the 2007 consensus energy efficiency standards for light bulbs were enact with bipartisan support and continue -- enacted with bipartisan support and continue to receive overwhelming industry support. u.s. manufacturers are already meeting the efficiency standards and the effect of the rider is to allow foreign
manufacturers to seldom old, inefficient light bulbs in the united states that violate the efficiency standards. that is unfair to domestic manufacturers who have invested millions of dollars in the united states in those plants, to make efficient bubbles -- bulbs here that meet the standards. why on earth would we want to pass a ride that are favors foreign manufacturers who ignore our laws and penalizes u.s. manufacturers who are following our laws? but it even gets worse. the rider now poses an additional threat to u.s. manufacturing. the bipartisan 2007 energy bill required the department of energy to establish updated light bulb efficiency standards by january 1 of next year. it also provided that its final updated standards are not issued by then, a more stringent standard of 45 lumens per watt automatically takes effect. incan dessenlt light bulbs couldn't -- incandescent liables cannot meet this standard. this blocks d.o.e. from issuing the required efficiency standards and ensures that the back stop will kick in. ironically, it is this rider
that could effectively ban the incandescent light bulb. the burgess rider directly threatens existing light bulb manufacturing jobs in pentagon, ohio, -- pennsylvania, ohio, illinois, across our region. it would punish companies that invested in domestic manufacturing. this rider aims to reverse years of technological progress, only to kill jobs, increase electricity bills for our constituents, and worsen pollution. it's time to choose common sense over rigid ideology and it's time to listen to the manufacturing companies, consumer groups and efficiency advocates who all agree that this rider is harmful. i urge all members to vote no on the burgess light bulb rider, no matter how well sbenledsed. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. burgess: mr. chairman, i would merely observe that in calendar year 2007, the political analyst george will
opined at the end of this year that the american congress essentially had two mandates. to deliver the mail and defend the borders, it failed miserably at both jobs. instead of performing either of those jobs, it banned the incandescent bulb. probably the single greatest invention ever to have occurred in the -- in america in the 1800's. this is a commonsense bill. our constituents have asked for this. the congress has supported it. it has -- the amendment in fact maintains current law. i urge all members to support it. i will yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields ack the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from ohio is recognized. ms. kaptur: i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. he amendment is agreed to.
for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. garamendi: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: can the gentleman specify which amendment? mr. garamendi: number 109. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. garamendi of california. at the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the following, section, none of the funds made available by this act may be used to expend plutonium pit production apacity at the pf-4 facility in los alamos national laboratory. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 743, the gentleman from california and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. garamendi: thank you, mr. chairman. about an hour and a half ago we had a very important debate on
this floor concerning some 0-plus metric tons of unused surplus plutonium, to be disposed of in south carolina at the oxide fuel facility. -- mixed oxide fuel if a sifment the debate went on -- facility. the debate went on. i want to thank my colleagues on the majority side for bringing to our attention that we've got some 34 metric tons of plutonium lying around in various depositories around the united states. and from our discussion earlier, it's pretty clear it's not going to be disposed of any time soon. now, this bill would set about the united states putting together facilities that would create even more plutonium. somewhere in the range of 80 nuclear bomb pits, this is the
essential element in a nuclear bomb, for what purpose? well, we really probably can't talk about it here in this public setting. but it appears to be a rather unclear purpose as to why we would need to build a new ity lity at a mull billion-dollar cost for -- at a multibillion-dollar cost for the production of new plutonium pits when we have 34 metric tons of them sitting in various depositories. so i guess i just ask why are we doing that? this amendment would simply los the pf-4 facility in alamos, new mexico, to no more than 10 pits a year. which they can produce. probably a little bit of refurbishing will be necessary as the years progress. but we really do not need to spend a few billion dollars on a brand new facility to make plutonium tomic bomb
pits. why would we do that? well, i don't think we do need to do that. we can get by with 10 a year. and i suppose if we really got into a situation where we need to build more, we could run two shifts a day. or maybe even three shifts a day and get production up to some 20. and nobody's really bothered to explain in detail why we need more than 10. certainly nobody's explained in detail why we need 80. so that's what this amendment does. it simply says, let's save our money, let's not put it into a facility that we don't need. and go about our business of making just nine or 10 new nuclear plutonium pits a year. i reserve the balance of my time. the gentleman
reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from idaho seek recognition? mr. simpson: claim time in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. simpson: mr. chairman, i oppose this amendment because i'm concerned that the amendment would limit the activities that may be necessary to maintain our nuclear weapons stockpile. that's basically it. we need to be modernizing the legacy facilities of the national nuclear security administration, and these are old facilities. if we are going to have a credible nuclear deterrent. and that's what this is all about. is keeping our nuclear deterrent. and making sure that we have facilities to produce those things that are necessary. it's as simple as that. i urge my members to vote no on this amendment. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. garamendi: reclaiming my time. the chair: the gentleman from california. mr. garamendi: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman has
two minutes remaining. mr. garamendi: well, two minutes is probably insufficient to persuade my colleagues on the majority side that my argument is worthy of support. but nonetheless, i'll take a shot at it. we can build nine or 10 pits a year now. -- to two shifts, we can build 20. the only reason we would need 80 has to do with a revamped, refurbished nuclear bomb. which i'll talk about tomorrow morning, because at the request of the majority i was asked to put it off until tomorrow morning. and that's the -- in any case, where are we today? we have enough nuclear weapons to pretty much destroy the entire world or any enemy that would like to take us on. do we need to have 80 new nuclear pits a year?
in all the testimony i've heard in the various classified sessions, the answer is, we'd like to have it, we'd like to have that capability, because sometime, maybe somehow we may have a nuclear war and we'll expend all of our existing bombs and we'll need to somehow make more. i'm not exactly sure why we would be making more after nuclear war. but anyway, there's some who would argue that would be necessary. i don't i don't get it. oh i really don't understand -- i really don't understand, when we have the cape to believe the build nuclear components, why we'd want to spend a few billion dollars, an unknown number, by the way, not unlike the mox fa stillity, likely to rapidly escalate, but our los alamos scientists would like to have something new and fancy when something old is quite necessary. my wife always said there's a
choice between nice and necessary. i've yet to hear the argument for necessary. why we should set our path on spending several billion dollars on a new pit production facility. i'm sure there's some argument to be made, in any case, i have a sense that i might lose this vote on the floor when i'll ask for a vote. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. he amendment is not agreed to. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment buffered athe gentleman from california will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from idaho seek recognition? mr. simpson: i move that the committee do now rise. the chair: the question is on the motion that the committee rise. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the committee rises. the speaker pro tempore: the committee of the whole house on the state of the union having -- the chair: the committee of the whole house on the state of the union having had under consideration directs me to report it has come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house on the state of the union reports that the committee has had under consideration h.r. 5055 and has come no no esolution thereon.
the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leave of absence requested for mr. payne of new jersey for the first series of votes for today. ms. waters of kale for monday, may 23. and ms. maxine waters of california for today. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the requests are granted. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota seek
this bill funds the energy department, the army corps of engineers, and nuclear energy programs like nuclear weapons and the nuclear laboratories. about 37 point $5 billion, a slight increase over last year. pretty close to what is in the senate bill. >> close on the funding there. you write a bit about some of the environmental aspects of the
bill, the renewable's, the global climate change. what do you think we will see in this bill in terms of environment and what do you think we will see in terms of the amendment coming up? >> it's quite similar to last year. for example, a controversial rule with republicans regarding how epa can recommend bodies of water. look to a tweet
you posted about texas republicans brian babbitt talking about offering amendments that deal with the iran nuclear deal. what if the congressman trying to do here? >> we did see it in the senate. ethan attempted by republicans to discredit or week in the iranian nuclear deal that the administration made a few years back now to sort of limit their nuclear production and exchange for lifting sanctions. republicans have not been fans of this deal. what this would do is part of the u.s. from certain contracts as a resultreements of the deal. one of the main issues being the u.s. is about to buy heavy
components used in nuclear reactors. republicans want to block that. way toconcede as a question the deal. >> a different asked we will see amendments on, the california drought. >> the california drought will definitely come up as well. there's already some republican language in the bill trying to toirect within the state areas that have been hard hit. the issue is how to do that without starting wars in the state and while protecting the environment. republicans argue what is the precious commodity.
kevin mccarthy is from the central valley in california. he is involved in some of these drought legislative efforts. >> the house will be considering this for two days. what other amendment should we keep our eye open for? there is a bill related to flint, michigan where there is a major water crisis going on with led and found in the water there. we recently learned that will not come up on this bill. i believe democrat sam farr
would restore some funding the republicans try to cut for implementing administration osha policies. the army corps of engineers portion of this bill tends to attract a lot of local amendments from lawmakers looking to direct funding to local projects. i thank you will see some .fforts there is there a way to get more money for, is there a way to get there faster? they traditionally have come up on this bill a lot. it's questionable whether those will pass. togress is so reluctant direct money toward specific projects. >> we will keep following you looking for the latest. here is your twitter handle.
at eene reporting ws.net. >> coming up, the house adiciary committee holds hearing. after that, a house small business committee hearing on challenges facing shared ipsy.sses like uber and then, representative john mica on wait times at u.s. airports. jason chaffetz testified tuesday on the conduct of irs commissioner john costa and. the congressman appear before the house judiciary committee to urge the impeachment of the commissioner. is hearing 2.5 hours.
i will begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement. the constitution sets forth a system of checks and balances which grants each branch of government tools to ensure no branch of government obtains too much power. the legislative branches tools include the power to write the laws, the impeachment power, and censor among others. these tools empower congress to exert oversight over the executive and judicial branches. the duty to serve as a check on
the other branches, including against corruption and abuse, is a solemn one and congress does not and must not take this responsibility lightly. that is why this committee has scheduled a hearing today. the american people first learn their own government had been angling out conservative groups for heightened review by the irs tax exemptlied for status. this targeting scandal was shocking.ort of it was a political plan to silence the voices of groups representing millions of americans. conservative groups across the nation were impacted by this targeting, resulting in , overlyk requirements burdensome information request, and long, unwarranted delays and applications. in the wake of the scandal, lois lerner stepped down from her position but questions remain about this the abuses by the irs.
the allegations of misconduct are serious and include the following. on his watch, volume of information crucial to the investigation were destroyed. before the tapes were destroyed, congressional demand, including subpoenas or information about the irs targeting scandal went unanswered. cost and then provided misleading testimony before the government reform committee concerning irs efforts to provide information to congress. these are very serious allegations of misconduct in this committee has taken these allegations seriously. this committee has taken leslie for through thousands of pages of information, produced by the investigation into this matter resulting in this hearing which will give the house oversight and government reform committee the opportunity to formally present its findings and evidence to the members of this committee.
we will hear from the chairman of the house oversight and government perform committee and representative ron desantis. have 10 minutes to discuss the evidence there committee investigation has uncovered. present aan will also video regarding this matter. it is worth noting that the commissioners also invited to has declined the invitation. following the witness's testimony, each committee member will be allowed to ask the witnesses questions for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman. , iore i begin my statement ask consent to enter into the record the statement of irs commissioner john andrew kosten
n and elijah cummings. >> i reserve the right to object. the gentleman wishes to be recognized. >> i wish to be recognized. >> the objection is noted. >> at the gentleman would yield. a point of inquiry related to my objection -- the witness was invited to come and has delivered us instead a self-serving written statement while telling us he respects the committee, he is refusing to be here for his own impeachment inquiry, on what basis would we allow unsworn testimony for what should have been a sworn witness under the penalty of perjury? colleague that, the gentleman who
is a subject of this, this is not an impeachment inquiry. >> is an inquiry into the recommendation for impeachment. >> the title of the hearing is examining the allegations of misconduct against the iris .ommissioner >> the he is in fact the subject of referral from another committee with specificity and was called as a witness to have an opportunity underwrote to clear that up. i guess my question is where would we normally accept from a witness who declined in unsworn statement, one that would be candid,ving and to be this is sort of lois lerner
revisited. the opportunity to say what you want to say and not be cross examined. obviously, he can say whatever he once. the question -- this is an inquiry on the allegations of his misconduct and its pursuant to a referral to another committee to a serious referral. is -- i'm saying he was not given the customary two-week notice. he just came back from china last week. i'm not making excuses for his absence. noti'm saying is since he's here and he has a statement, i would like to put it in the
record. if you think that's something he doesn't deserve, i am bound by your objection. ask if that opening statement may be placed in the record with a provision alongside it for the record that he was invited, declined, and as aetter has to be taken self-serving of his not being here. this is a self-serving statement by somebody who chose not to be here. i don't want it to be seen as an opening statement because frankly, this written statement should not have the same credibility. >> he gentleman has the right to
object. >> that itself would be subject to -- >> i would ask unanimous consent that the pairing be placed in said this could be placed in the record. >> mr. chairman, i object to the unanimous consent that the statement be put into record at all. the ranking member also asked unanimous consent to have the statement of mr. elijah cummings in his statement. i don't object to that being part of the record, only the statement of the irs commissioner without any provisions. he had the chance to be here and
is not. >> the chair will ask if there is objection to the unanimous consent request of the gentleman from michigan to place ranking member cummings statement for the record. therefore it will not be placed in the record. if there are further discussions regarding under what conditions might be made part of the record, the chair will be happy to entertain that. at this point, objection is heard and it will not be made a part of the record. >> in the history of our republic, the house of representatives has voted to impeach a federal official only 19 times.
i have the honor of having served on this committee to consider six of those 19 resolutions. voted in favor of five of them . i hope to draft articles of impeachment against then sitting president richard nixon. articleshree of those to the house floor. lessons i draw from these andriences are hard-earned the power of edge peach mint is a solid responsibility entrusted by the house of constitution and to this committee by our peers.
formal impeachment process is not to be joined lightly. we do not rush into it for short-term political game -- gain. we can approve any resolution, it's our to prove they underlying allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. i suspect that is why this hearing is titled the way it is and is moving in that direction to examine the allegations of misconduct, which i think is not unfair. responsibility to prove underlying allegations even of misconduct with great think beyond a reasonable dell.
once the house authorizes us to do so, we must carefully and thependently review evidence, even if it's already been analyzed by our colleagues on other committees. and we can only address allegations that are actually supported by the record. we have to prove it. a successful process must transcend party lines. article one of the constitution requires two thirds of the articleo convict on any suggesting impeachment. many in the public know this
also. when this committee comes together and decides to examine , ourmove a federal officer constituents know that we take the job seriously. when a vote such as this is divided on party lines as it was in my service on this committee, we undermine our credibility and make it all but impossible to secure conviction in the senate. mr. chairman, we are here today because a group of members, a to take up, want us house resolution 494, a resolution to impeach the iris commissioner.
fails by every measure that i have learned of hearingsurse of the over the years. say from thed to worst partisan instincts. it is not based in the fax. virtually no chance of success, in my view, in the senate. they commissioner, from what i can determine, is a good and decent civil servant. months after the so-called targeting scandal had concluded. he then undertook a massive
effort to respond to each of the investigations. we are here today to consider the allegation that the commissioner deliberately misled congress as a part of those efforts. it is not that we disagree with his decisions or that we question the speed and completeness with which his agency provided answers, but that he knowingly and withtionally supplied us false information. chairman and my colleagues, the record simply does not support this charge. the treasury inspector general for tax administration investigated these allegations. , nooncluded, and i quote evidence was undercover --
uncover that any irs employees had been directed to destroy or ,ide information from congress the department of justice, or the inspector general. in addition, career investigators at the department of justice also looked into these claims. it's no wonder then that we have read reports of speaker brian his best to make certain this measure never reaches the floor of the house as the speaker before him.
that manya surprise in the republican conference have been critical of these tactics that forced this hearing. for thetatives subcommittee on tax policy have argued this hearing is a waste potentially damaging to our priorities. he told our reporters last week, if we do this, it will further delay the investigation. senator orrin hatch, the senator of the chairman finance committee, has said there is simply no
interest. two thirds would be required for any conviction. have our disagreements but that does not mean there is an impeachable offense. added, for the most part he has been very cooperative. summarize, mr. chairman, the byposed articles itself independent investigators. resolution faces stiff bipartisan opposition in the house and even worse odds in the united states senate. there are precious few working .ays left in this congress i am personally disappointed -- that we plan to not just spend one day but an
-- inonal day in jail june discussing the unsubstantiated charges. if at all possible, please consider returning d second day to the substantive work of this committee. thise you to lead us past distraction quickly and back to the work of benefit to the american people. i thank you for the time and you'll back. you.ank without objection, all other members opening statements will be made part of the record. we welcome our distinguished witnesses. wecustom, please rise and will begin by swearing you win. end interviews where that the testimony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so happy god? much.you very
please receded and let the record reflect both witnesses responded in the affirmative. witness is the honorable jason chaffetz. he is been a member of the committee since 2009 when he first came to congress. representing the third district of utah, he is be met for homeland security, crime, and investigations. he has served as chairman of the house oversight and government reform committee. our next witnesses the honorable ronald d santos. since 2012, he has served on the judiciary, foreign affairs, and government reform committee. he is currently the chair of the national subcommittee and bias chair of subcommittee on the constitution and civil justice. welcome to you both. your written testimony will be and id in its entirety
ask you both summarize your testimony in the time your allotted. to help you stay within that time, there is a timing light on your table. you know how it works. read signals your timing has expired but given the importance , we have additional time to issue at hand the video the chairman has brought. will begin with chairman chafe its. chaffetz.hairman thank you. chairman chaffetz: thank you. i appreciate your friendship. , itthrough the good work was an important step and we would not be here today quite frankly without the good work of
daryl isil. this is a simple case in my mind. when congress asks you a question, you are expected to give you a truthful answer and went congress issues a subpoena, compliance is not optional. imagine if a taxpayer fails to reply to a summons. and they asked for materials, you are expected to produce those materials and if you do not they will take you to court and they will probably win. .he irs scandal was on american it is the most feared and two june the night at state's were trampled upon. mr. crossconnect, as commissioner of the irs was not targeting.he he was brought in by president obama to fix the problem. he did not ask the problem. he made it worse. there have been numerous letters issued by committees. the iris is no stranger to a
summons or a subpoena. they know how this works. 66,000, they issue about summons and subpoenas per year sinceey have done so 2010. bill you to obey and irs summons is a criminal investigation under a section and carries a fine of up to $6,000 and one year of imprisonment. if you do not comply, the irs will come after you. they do prosecute. they prevailed in 97% of the cases. ispliance with a subpoena not optional. providing false testimony comes with consequence, at least it should. crime. mr. crossconnect did not tell the truth. he provided false testimony and failed to comply with a subpoena. he did not tell the truth. rightfullyre
frustrated. the case before us is about mr. kosinen and what he did and did thedo which prevents american people from understanding and congress from holding people accountable. there cannot be full accounting because the evidence was mr.royed under crossconnect's watch. mr. koskinen's watch. there is a safety valve, impeachment. we must stand up for ourselves.
to give background, i will show a 10 minute video. then we will get into the specifics. [video clip] >> lois lerner. >> where is lois lerner? >> the possibility of criminal activity. >> the whole truth and nothing but retrieve. let the record show the witness incident near from affirmative. >> i respectfully exercise my fifth amendment right. nerve.lore >> bits of these is over the years. what does it look altogether. let's rewind. in 2013, the irs admitted to the selective intentional targeting of american taxpayers based on their political beliefs. this is lois lerner. she of intentional tampering and
she was unwilling to cooperate. to get to the truth, come inside to obtain and review documents. was a sequence of obscure occasion, destruction, and hiding of evidence. the people were left with no real answers as to why there first of amendment right was violated. of targeting percolating in june 2011, ways and means chairman wrote a withr to the irs allegations of the irs mistreatment of conservative groups. nine months later, in march 2012, chairman darrell isaiah oversightrman of the committee sent a letter. by may 2013 come the irs admits to targeting and the chairman sends another letter requesting information. the president acknowledges wrongdoing and pledges
cooperation. inexcusable.it is we have to work hand-in-hand with congress to get this fixed. first subpoenahe was issued and congress sends a letter to the secretary reminding him of the obligation to preserve all e-mails. at this point, three committees, the inspector general, and the had investigations underway. president obama states in a february 2014 interview that there is not a smidgen of corruption. pres. obama: mass corruption? there is not even a smidgen of corruption. five is that all investigations are still open and even the investigation he ordered was incomplete. so how did he arrive at this conclusion? koskinenssioner
appeared and promised to provide low as learners documents. >> are you going to provide the documents? inen: yes.er kosk we're working hard to do so. ask are you or are you not? >> are you or are you not? ommissioner koskine: we are working on it. >> then he says he cannot. received.ils could be it was recycled and destroyed. destroyed?oes it we >> that was my understanding. >> what could possibly have happened for him to make such a ?tatement
remember that first letter in june 2011? coincidentally, lois lerner's hard drive crashed eight days later. what are the odds this hard band forl sit in a nearly eight months before it is destroyed. in april 20 13, 1 month before admitting to the targeting, lois lerner reminds employees to be cautious of what they say in e-mails. no,er responded when told "perfect." the irs had admitted to targeting, the president provided cooperation, lois lerner pleads the fifth. nearly two years after congress started asking questions, the rs issued a nondestructive order to all personnel. with an admission of targeting,
subpoenas, and investigation underway, we returned to the peculiar comments. >> not even a smidgen of corruption. >> on the same day, the irs discovers a problem. lois lerner's. thousands of e-mails are missing from the critical time in 2011. remember, her hard drive crashed . they recognize the need to collect backup tapes. for theng nondestructive order and the subpoena from congress or during the preservation of documents but on march 4, 2014, backup tapes are destroyed. this is 30 days after realizing there is a gap and eight months after the nondestructive order and subpoena. how did this happen? general says it is an unbelievable set of circumstances. inspector general: how in the world did they destroy these are
smart >> it is an unbelievable site of circumstances. >> and wasn't commissioner koskinen appearing in front of congress assuring the irs would turnover e-mails? did he intentionally mislead? did the rs new lois lerner's e-mails had been destroyed at the time of the testimony? the ig was also investigating various aspects of the targeting scandal. they started looking for e-mails in june 2014. here is their story. in june 2014, the eiji opened the investigation into the missing e-mails. commissioner koskinen confirmed lois lerner's e-mails could not be recovered and describe the great lengths the rs went to to find him. koskinen: we spent 18 million dollars responding. we had over 250 employees involved.
or 200,000 hours. we retraced the process for producing her e-mails twice to make sure no e-mail was missing. we understand the importance of the investigation. we've have gone to great lengths and spent it a significant amount of money to make sure there is no e-mail required not it is. find any.d not meanwhile, the eiji was looking -- meanwhile,es the inspector general was looking for backup tapes. they asked for backup tapes for lois lerner e-mails. they are handed 744 backup tapes. of all theossession identified 744 backup tapes. at attendance at the facility said no one had across them for the tapes that along. lefte irs letter said it
no stone unturned to recover the e-mails. was untrue? were able to uncover e-mails so it appears that statement was not true. >> irs officials testified it confirmed the e-mails were unrecoverable. data ist recoverable still existed, was that statement true? >> it would not appear to be true. which i quote, and recover them. was that true? >> it would appear to be. have established multiple incidents where the irs did not tell the truth. throughout the investigation, the inspector general recovers 1000 unique e-mails never turned over to the irs. >> what did they do with the e-mails? >> to the best of my knowledge, they did not look for them. over 1000 e-mails we found on the backup tapes, we look for them.
they had them. they were under subpoena. what a coincidence. >> remember the tapes destroyed needed tors knew they turnover e-mails and after the subpoena? if those had been properly preserved, an additional 24,000 e-mails would've been recovered and maybe there would be answers but the american people will never know because the irs did not turn over the information. also it was concluded the irs neglected to search sources drive for as learners answers. >> how many others existed? blackberry, backup tapes, server drives, backup tapes for server drives and finally, the loaner laptops. >> how many did the research? >> where not aware they searched for >> they did not look backup tapes, they did not look at the blackberry, they did not
look at the server or the loaner laptop. what great lengths did they really go to? of my counsel,e i respectfully exercise my fifth amendment right and refused to answer the question. didks bottom line, the irs not fulfill its obligation. they did not preserve information. to findnot try information. they misled congress for years. a conspired to leave the american people in the dark about how their rights are trampled on. or must the accountability. chairman, thank you for allowing us to show the video. i want to drill down further on mr. koskinen testimony. a subpoena had been in place since august 2013.
the subpoena was provided to mr. koskinen after he was confirmed, that was more than five months. 2013, itbowl sunday was realized there was a problem with low as's e-mails and some were missing. commissionero the at the time it was basically managing the irs production to congress. the next day, february 3, missed to vault told her colleagues about the problems. she told the information technology people. the chief counsel. the deputy associate chief counsel. the next day, thomas kane figured out that low as learners -- that's low as learners hard drive had crashed and that was why many of the e-mails were missing. so the irs february there was a problem. he knewinen testified in february. this is his quote at a july 2013 hearing.
what i was advised and new and february that when you look at the e-mails provided in investigations instead of looking by search terms by date, it was clear there were a few between 2011ime and subsequently. also i was told there had been a problem of lois learners computer. the question is what did mr. koskinen, under testimony, do about it? he knew what was missing and you would expect him to spring into action. let us start with what he did not do according to the treasury inspector general, he failed to look in five of the six places the e-mails could have existed. backup tapes, blackberry, server, backup server, loaner laptop. in fact, the irs barely looked for missing e-mails at all according to this.
what mr.lk about koskinen did do. in april, they notified the treasury department and white house that lois lerner's e-mails were missing. than he waited and waited more until june when the irs finally told congress by burying a couple sentences in the fifth page of an attachment in a letter to the senate finance committee on june 13, 2014. that triggered a flurry of hearings in congress and mr. koskinen came to testify to explain and then he lied. we have three quotes i want to share with you among many. let us look at what he told us on june 20, 2014, seven days after finally telling congress that lois learners e-mails were missing, he said that since the start of the investigation, every e-mail was preserved. nothing lost, nothing destroyed. that is not true. began in maytion
2012. inspector general found the irs destroyed evidence. 422 backup tapes that contained as many as 24,000 e-mails to and from ms. lerner. on march 4, 2014, after they discovered there was a problem. the second quote. on the same day, june 20, 2014. mr. cusk and then testified before congress. quote, we confirm backup tapes from 2011 no longer existed". that was not true either. were intactapes until march 4, 2014, almost two years after the congressional investigation began and nearly one month after the irs new there was a problem with lois learners e-mails. at best, this is gross negligence. of theuote, to be one most troubling. this is july 23, four months
afterwards. july 23, 2014. he was asked what was meant by the word confirmed. he said, confirmed meant somebody went back and looked and made sure that in fact any back up tapes had been recycled. that was false. nobody at the irs went back and confirmed the tapes had been destroyed. the inspector general interview the people responsible and they said nobody had ever asked for the backup tapes. fact, all told, the inspector general took 13 days to find them and did recover e-mails. thank you, you can take that down. if they had done so after learning some of lois learners e-mails were missing in early february, they could have found the backup tapes before they were destroyed. we know this because it took the inspector general 15 days. the deputy inspector for
investigations summed it up by testifying quote, the best we can determine through the investigation, they simply did not look for the e-mails. thousand e-mails we found, we found because we look for them. ". failed to comply with the duly issued cap -- subpoena and when he knew there was a problem, he failed to inform congress in a timely manner. in fact i would say he purposefully misled congress. by all ofes to stand these statements. they are not true. look at the testimony that was not entered into the record. sentence three of the testimony he tried to put forward says, i stand by ready to cooperate with the committee in regards to any actions you deem appropriate. but i notice he did not shop at the hearing today value is invited and for him to say later
on page four, i testify to his land the best of my knowledge in regards to the questions about my searching. he still does not get it because that is not true. >> mr. chairman. regular order, sir. >> that was my concluding comment. thank you. thanks thechair chairman of the oversight committee and is pleased to recognize and welcome on lisbon he santos. congressman disanto's: although i did not know at the time, the first exposure i had to the irs targeting scandal occurred long before may 2013 when lois lerner publicly revealed the existence of a proper targeting by the irs. she did this by planning a legal conference to preempt the generaling inspector report. the rs had improperly treated american citizens who were doing nothing more than properly
putting forward their rights. i made a point to speak to as many groups as i could. the leaders of one group dedicated to educating their americans on the verge is of a constitutional government were apprehensive when i requested to speak. they explained my speaking could cause problems with the irs, and agency they felt had mistreated their group i refusing to grant them tax-exempt status. i was in disbelief. they seem to be paranoid. why would they be scared of the groupout a tax-exempt seeking proper status? i have thought about that as we have done this investigation. as a member of the oversight committee, i join my colleagues in seeking to ascertain the truth about the colleagues of likers and the employees lois lerner. way theyutlined the
have stonewalled attempts by congress to find out the truth about the congress at the irs. mr. koskinen-- pledged to alert but he failed to alert them about the gap in lois learners e-mails for four months. the irs destroyed over 400 backup tapes, containing as many as 24,000 of lois learners e-mails at march 2014. these e-mails were the subject of an internal preservation will order and to subpoenas. the backup tapes had been recycled pursuant to normal irs policy, the backup tapes were until march 20 14. moreover, the inspector general was able, by doing a cursory retrieve tapesto
not destroyed. mr. koskinen had said the irs had gone to great lengths. they failed to look at the mobile device, backup server, laptop. -- backup server, servers and devices. commissioner koskinen made several statements before congress that are false and the iris failed to produce all of the e-mails in possession as well as failing to do basic due diligence by not looking in obvious laces for lois learners e-mail. this is kind and dried. affront to the authority of this house. the american people has the right to get the facts and the withs a duty to comply congressional investigation. instead, the irs stonewalled. thousands of e-mails destroyed. the american people may never get the truth as it relates to the scandal. it would be unthinkable for the
taxpayer to treat an irs audit the way the irs has treated the congressional investigation. if a taxpayer destroyed documents prior to a summons, the taxpayer would be in a world of hurt. if the taxpayer made false statements in response and investigation, it is safe to say the taxpayer would not aware of that. if a taxpayer's shirked compliance, it is a good bet the investigation would not simply end. is it acceptable for the head of one of the most powerful pieces of government to not comply? i have no doubt american taxpayers find such an arrangement to be unacceptable. surely the house should also find it an acceptable. not a single individual has been held accountable for what happened with the irs. if commissioner koskinen can get away with this, then other agencies will have a blueprint on how to stymie congress. destroy therther
power of congress which arguably nadir.ts the power, it is a matter of accountability and self respect. i thank you chairman, for the time. chairman: thank you, gentlemen. now proceed under the five-minute rule for questions with witnesses and i will begin by recognizing myself. the report of the investigation by the treasury inspector its 2015oncluded in report as follows and i quote, the investigation revealed that the backup tapes were destroyed as a result of irs management failing to ensure that a mate 22, 20 13, e-mail directive from the chief technology officer concerning the preservation of
electronic e-mail was fully understood and followed by all of the irs employees responsible handling and following electronic backup media. and of course. quote.of thenderstanding was commissioner was broadened to restore the credibility of the irs following the horrific scandal and that part of restoring that credibility would .e coming clean making sure the investigations conducted by various committees here in the house of the representatives were responded to appropriately with the information they requested and that in doing so, one would follow all of the chains of evidence within one's organization he was now the head of to find where that might go people there and say, what do you have. according to the evidence you brought forward today, that was
never done. i would like to hear from each as to your understanding what extent commissioner koskinen is responsible for the performance of the irs and for this management failure. thank you. he has a duty he had legal obligation under a subpoena to comply with that subpoena and do everything in his power to make sure he is doing that. he testified multiple times in addition to letters saying he was making every effort. that he has spent $18 million. christ did he ever break that down for you? i saw the statements as part of the video. did this anday, we this and this? cane cannot find this nor the commissioner
did anything to recover the states from the source of which they were destroyed. the inspector general, start to finish, it took 15 days to go fine. the commissioner had years and millions of dollars and it not even ask at the basic source. does it for me is you have these backup tapes and west virginia and the inspector general testified about what he did. he got in his car, drove to west virginia, and as for the backup tapes. spendingou talk about $18 million, what does it cost for gas to get to west virginia and back? $50? $60? he recovered some of the tapes, but of course others were destroyed. backupple at the facility said the irs never even requested any of the backup tapes and so i think that says a lot about his leadership and undercuts his claim they went to great lengths to get the information.
specifically, with regards to that facility, to report,quote from the although they existed until march 4, 2014, the backup tapes containing low as learners e-mails were destroyed because tapesployees to shift the did not understand their responsibility to reply with the officers mayogy 2013 e-mail directive to preserve electronic media. the employees who destroyed the misinterpreted the director. as you understand it, who was responsible for making sure irs employees understood that may 2013 director -- directive? >> the commissioner. >> i concur. i thank you very much. i now reckon -- i now recognize michigan, mr.from
conyers. mr. conyers: i think my colleagues for their testimony and concern in this matter. is c that we can mr. determine who was on the tapehaffetz, you played for 10 minutes? ask the question is, who was on the tape? : yes.nyers who was the woman on the tape was interpreting it? >> the voiceover? the oversight for committee. well, i did not know that before just now and i
am sorry i did not -- i do not want to raise any more objections then have already been raised here this morning, bitit seemed a little unusual that this was a tape that you did not identify who it was before it started playing. is what i am concerned with -- are we talking about issues in irs which is under usual -- the usual criticism and these recent circumstances, even more than the normal criticism that they usually receive -- are we , we do not like
the way they are doing business and we think they made some mistakes and that they may have made even a misstatement or the present commissioner have made --tements that should be that we should be questioning or challenging as we normally do in that seems to and me to be the just of that -- the gist of the comments i have received from my two learned colleagues on the committee that have testified here today. we do not like what happened. only -- and i put some color on that a little bit? mr. conyers: yes, please do.
>> it is important to understand the context of why these e-mails are important. the americans, this suppression of first amendment rights, in a bipartisan way we take very seriously. fact that impeachment goes solely to what mr. koskinen did or did not do when he was under subpoena. there was a lot of gross negligence. things you should have done, could have done. he should have done. could have done. mr. conyers: is gross negligence impeachable? >> yes. there is a report that talks about the standard under which an impeachment can be held and i happen to agree with that. mr. conyers: i have not recalled it, but i was there for that and -- >> you are the only one.
mr. conyers: that is right. was seven-years-old. i was playing soccer. mr. conyers: well, you are excused for not knowing about it until much later. a -- of 19le idea of impeachment hearings being held almost a couple hundred years -- is this a little heavy-handed about this matter? can disagreebably with some of the irs commissioners views and conduct examining, but we are the allegations of misconduct against the irs commissioner and i feel that if we are talking
about another hearing on the me asubject, it seems to little bit overbroad and i think that we ought to move a little bit more carefully on this. going to have to examine all of the statements made here that wed it seems to me move with a to little more discretion. there have been statements of allegations that, nother they are provable or i just do not know and i am trying to find out the end of course give you the benefit of passioncause of your
and great work you have done on it since you were seven-years old in this area. laughter] mr. conyers: do you see what i am describing? chaffetz: ive understand what you're saying but we were misled in congress that there was gross negligence. issue is that they send 60,000 summons and subpoenas the year, they understand how this works. youconyers: i agree with that we ought to look at these much more carefully but it is sort of hard at this point for me to accept them or say that they are probably right or that mistakes were made and i am sure
there seemske but an anti-irs commissioner environment here that makes it very difficult for me to go anward without in investigation of all that has been said this morning and i think the gentleman. >> chair thanks the gentleman and recognizes the gentleman forcalifornia, mr. issa, five minutes. issa: i recommend the report from 2014 be -- 2015 be
placed in the record. not cover up, but what we had ,lready discovered, in june 20 2014, since the start of this investigation every e-mail has been preserved. that is a quote under it from the commissioner, correct? >> yes. sa: according to wikipedia, the definition of --h crimes and miss misdemeanors covers conduct, particularly of official such as perjury, and use of authority, bribery, misuse of assets, failure to supervise dereliction -- failure to supervise, failure to of duty, obey an order. i want to go through the last several.
is it your understanding that high crimes and misdemeanors include failure to supervise? dereliction of duty? conduct unbecoming? refusal to obey a lawful order? >> yes. issa: i'm during your chairmanship, did we in fact not issue subpoenas or not obey? >> yes. ssa: i issued a 2014 staff report, i ask it be placed in the record. we not as a, had committee already recognize that there had been failure to preserve, and other words, failure to obey the subpoena, a lawful order? had we not already found there had been conduct unbecoming by lois lerner? had we not already determined the commissioner and his
politically appointed subordinates had failed to supervise and were guilty of dereliction of duty? and in july and believe of last year, didn't you call on the commissioner to resign? i just. issa: and the ranking member aptly mentioned we have only had 18 impeachments in the great history of this republic and he had participated in many. in the history of impeachment, haven't we threatened impeachment are called on the resignation of cabin and subcabinet members hundreds and hundreds of times and judges hundreds and hundreds of time and hadn't they and the ordinary course been fired or resigned? >> yes. issa: so you are here after almost a year ago, after countless hours, you had determined that they had
targeted conservatives at the irs, the commissioner had been guilty of failure to properly supervise. given his small statement that either he knew was false or he was too lazy and negligent to in fact verify? >> yes. --resentative fisa: so if iss soa then i understand: . >> congress gave us told to take care of ourselves, defend -- provideprovided, consequences. issa: the law said the u.s. attorney from the district of columbia shall provide to lois lerner articles, what happened
to those? was no criminal referral, after 10 months they decided not to present those to the grand jury. >> so even know they had delivered a document that ordered the u.s. attorney g -- two provide an act, they did not. >> that is correct. >> so if you were to do similarly and refer the irs commissioner specifically for if youls statements and found it for criminal purposes, you would expect the same to happen. that it would not be presented? >> perhaps. different members have different views. i look at it as the remedy the founders gave us. it has not been exercised for a wild but that is the tool they gave us. >> and you are here today, thatrtisan, found conservative groups are still being targeted as we speak.
is that correct? >> that is correct. it's" could select organizations and in unfair manner based on an view.zational's it continues today. based on the most latest comments, he does not think he misspoke and any way, shape, or form. praxis so you were here because you have exhausted other remedies and the remedy for someone who is lost confidence in congress, lost confidence in the american people, failed to fix the problem and 42 years or failed to supervise, conduct unbecoming, and a refusal to obey lawful orders. that is why you're here, isn't it? >> it is. it is important to note that most members erroneously believe that when people's and steps down, the commissioner would do that as well. that is not true. when he was confirmed in ,ecember 2013, his commission
being the commissioner continues until november 2017. so the remedy is, i think, urgent. we have 90,000 good, hard-working people at the irs that they are mismanaged and being read by somebody who is lying to congress. >> final question, kate devault discovered on super bowl sunday, more than one month before the tapes were destroyed, that they had this gap. she a non-confirmed but political appointee directly of this commissioner? >> yes, she was. >> thank you. i yield back. gentlewoman the from texas, ms. jackson lee, for five minutes. ms. jackson lee: i thank my colleagues for the presentation in service to the nation. i hold the responsibilities of the judiciary committee of great monument
and responsibility. we are the protectors of the constitution and as the authority given to us, without the house having the bold , though ito impeach note very clearly that this is not an impeachment hearing, i'd take the responsibility very seriously. mr. conyers, let me say i associate itself with your line of reasoning and i promise not to hold your wisdom, experience, or legal scholarship against you. i thank you very much for all the love offered to us. , it inappropriate answers offered to my very fine witnesses may be grounds for being in contempt of congress in any other admonition that we give. i hold to two points that you
have made. aat is there must be relationship between witnesses from the administration come in a matter which administration it is. i also hold to the point that the first amendment, freedom of speech and thought, are, again, a very high calling for this nation and probably why so many have tried to emigrate to this nation, because of the freedoms we give. it is the think responsibility of the congress to be factual and temperate. so let me read this letter to you coming from the department of justice recently. and that is, in collaboration with the treasury and inspector general, the department, writes rightson -- the civil division spent 60,000 hours of staff work. we conducted more than 100 staff interviews.
selected more than 100 million pages of documents. analyzed almost 500 tax exemption applications. our investigation uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment, and institutional inertia, leading to the belief that poor management was not a crime. [indiscernible] -- attempted to obstruct justice. based on the evidence of this investigation, career prosecutors and supervising attorneys -- will not seek any criminal charges. i realize it is not impeachment but let me say this, no evidence
was encumbered that any irs employees were directed to destroy or hide information from congress or the department of justice. do you want to quarrel with that? >> i think you are conflating two different topics. what we are most concerned about is mr. koskinen's action under the subpoena. that is not what the fbi -- ms. jackson-lee: i looked at the 10 minute presentation. just answer yes or no. the premises all the information and charges made against discriminating against conservative groups. so, the basis of which the doj investigated, they found no evidence to suggest any crime and so in respect to the then his answers
cannot be part of a crime if they found no basis for such crime and if he is answering to the best of his knowledge, then attributed, maybe too bad behavior but not too in impeachable offense. >> i would disagree with that. is why wen-lee: that have the right of disagreement. this is the impeachment committee. you said if we have -- yes. if that turns out to be untrue, have you given. testimony you should you be removed from office? >> i hope i have given everything accurate but if i find there is some inaccurate, i have a duty and obligation to correct the record he and and this case of mr. koskinen, he still stands by the statements i showed you. he does not believe he has made any misstatements and i think that is the difference.
i respect your: work, i respect you, i respect mr. santos as well. i do not want to see any group be discriminated against. materials, ithese believe, even know this is not an mps representing, there are no impeachable offenses as we have defined them in the madison papers and i would also say there is no definitive proof about him being connected to the underlying premise and to the best of his ability, all of the materials we have, including even though the doj did not point is directly to the subpoena, suggesting answered as effectively and truthfully as he could. >> with the gentleman yield? ms. jackson-lee: i would be happy to you. >> thank you. in the case of the scooter libby conviction, my understanding is to haveor was alleged
given untruthful statements about what was ultimately determined not to be a crime. in revealing the valerie play a identity and yet he still was disbarred and criminally and i did. understanding is, false testimony orderly action of duty is still impeachable whether or not the justice department determines there is a crime. i think mr. conyers would confirm that -- i do not believe that is a question before us as to the commissioners possibility of being found to have failed to meet his obligations. the allegation that underlines the term. i yield back. ms. jackson-lee: if i may, scooter libby had personal knowledge of the underlying fact. this is the point i was making. i do not see any proof for, including the 10 minute presentation, to prove that
commissioner koskinen had any personal knowledge of the fact and occurrences to the best of his ability being the 160issioner, he directed thousand hours, $20 million, and could not find and represented that he presented what he could find and previously the doj and treasury inspector general found nothing that said the irs discriminated against conservative groups and liberal groups. i stand with the president, which says it was being done to >> time has expired for the gentlewoman. >> i your back. recognizes the gentleman from iowa, mr. king, for a witness. mr. king: i thank you for your due and diligent effort on this. in leading on this, i say this goes deep. as i listen to testimony and try to make sense of the timeline i would like to back up and ask the first date the
public became aware or you became aware that there was a problem with the irs potentially targeting conservative organizations? chaffetz: -- >> it must've been in the public eye prior to that. probably a half a year ahead of that time? hon. chaffetz: i do not recall when it first came in but groups were complaining their applications were being held for unknown reasons. a couple ofe been different commissioners through this process. so, i would turn to this. the tapes were destroyed. do we know the exact date they were historic? thanks yes. i believe it was march 4, if i recall, 2014. >> march 4, 2014, if we know the exact rate then do we know the
name of the person who physically destroy them? >> inspector general did interview some people work there. i do not have the name at my fingertips but i believe it is in the report. i would have to confront that. but they didn't. we are relying on the inspector general, who interviewed these people. >> but we think we do know the name of the individual. the inspector general knows the name of the individual. when you have any knowledge as to whether commissioner koskinen has confronted that individual to ascertain the truth? >> i believe the inspector general testified, as i recall, that they saw no evidence that there was any attempt or communication with them to confirm the existence of these takes and again, the inspector general found them >> so we're dealing with other allegations here. perjury and obstruction of justice.
and i would ask if you speculated as to why one would leave themselves vulnerable for such charges? what could be more imposing than such charges and either witness be happy to hear? >> it's hard to understand nor can i definitively identify the motive. but i also think there's an underlying belief in the executive branch that the legislative branch isn't going to stand up for itself. i think that permeates far beyond this. i think they know they can run out the clock. they can provide or not provide and just ignore. i mean, for this hearing here today, the i.r.s. commissioner was invited to testify. and he just said no. >> i just believe it would be completely possible to impeach him without inviting him back again. and i would just encourage that. and if he were to invite himself we should consider his request. mr. de sanctis, do you have something to add to this --
that i've left out? >> well, i just think that it's frustrating because if a taxpayer treated the i.r.s. the way the i.r.s. has treated the congress, that just wouldn't fly. i think we all know that. you can talk to people who've had dealings with the i.r.s. and the private sector, and they laugh when you say, could you just destroy allowed -- allow evidence to be destroyed that was the subject of a summons? what if you made false statements stharks fine? or what if they ask you to do certain things and you decided not to do it? and i have yet to find somebody that thinks that's acceptable. >> are we addressing the real central point? i think there's another point. and i think it is that there must have been a motive. if the i.r.s. comes to me, and insists that they have my documents, and i'm going to provide them because it's easier to do so than it is to face the wrath of the i.r.s. and each of you have testified. but when you're appointed to clean up the agency of the i.r.s., as their commissioner, you know there's a problem that
you've inherited. and there's 24,000 missing emails in that, is it possible that those emails could trace back and thread to the highest reaches of government at the most famous address in the united states of america perhaps? >> i've seen no evidence of that. but i will tell you that you look at what happened with lois lerner. she pled the fifth. that's her constitutional right and i respect that. but you can also see correspondence where it was skr perfect" that they -- it was "perfect" that they couldn't search her text messages. within days of the dave camp letter going to the i.r.s., her hard drive crashed. i mean, what a coincidence. but i have seen no direct evidence that i can point to and nor is it central to the impeachment resolution which goes directly to what mr. koskinen did and did not do under a subpoena and his
testimony before congress. >> and in brief conclusion, what's the statute of limitations on these charges that have been chronicled here? >> i have no idea. >> thank you, witnesses, thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back the balance of my time of. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i found the video to be very artistic and -- >> well, thank you. i take that as a huge compliment. thank you. both pleased to hear that. >> i would say it was professionally produced. what staffer was it that was responsible for the production of this video? >> we have -- i'll get you the names. but we have a number of people on our staff. and come with me. and i'll show you and i'll introduce them to you myself. >> who was primarily responsible for the production of that video? >> well, rebecca edgar is the head of the communications group. we have m.j. henshaw who's very
involved. we have alex. we have ashton. we have a number of people. and right after this hearing if you want i'll walk back and introduce them to you. >> and those names that you just mentioned, all of those people are on congressional staff, is that correct? >> the question is did we produce it internally? >> no. my question is all of the people who you just named are on congressional staff? >> yes. >> and they were the ones responsible? >> yes. i believe there's one person who worked on it who no longer works for congress. but when he worked on it he did work for congress. >> did anybody work on that video who was not a member of congressional staff? >> i don't believe so. i don't believe so. the voiceover was alex, and i'll introduce you to her if you like. >> ok. and -- now, was in a congressional -- was that video produced by those congressional employees while they were on congressional time or --
>> oh, yes, absolutely. >> ok. was any of it produced outside of congressional time? >> i don't believe so. >> and what equipment was used to produce that video? >> we have a lot of apple products. and i can show them to you. i can't name them off the top of my head. >> were they all congressionally owned? >> yes. >> equipment? >> yeah. and how has that video been used outside of congress? >> we have made it public a few months ago. it's available on our website. we tweeted out, facebook, instagram. it's out there pretty far and wide. just over 9,000 hits on it. >> all of that is on congressional social media, is that correct? >> ibbles. i would like to get it out more. i'm glad you're talking about it. go to oversight.house.gov and go see it yourself. >> has the video under the direction of congressional
employees ever been used for a noncongressional purpose? to your knowledge? >> i couldn't testify about that. i have -- once it's out there in the public, and on the website, there are untold number of people that can cite that link and -- >> was any of the footage that was edited and used in this production derived from congressional sources? or was it solely noncongressional sources that the -- >> there are clips, for instance, at the beginning -- >> yeah. >> of news media. >> uh-huh. those were obviously not congressional video? >> correct. > but were there any video that was used or were there any
clips of congressional video that was used in the production of this video that we saw today? >> i'd have to go look. there are an awful lot of clips in there. but i would have to go look. >> let me ask you this question. the senate finance committee investigated this -- this i.r.s. issue, correct? >> yeah. >> and the treasury inspector general, the treasury department, inspector general, also investigated it, isn't that correct? >> let me amend the previous answer and tell you that what we looked at was what mr. koskinen did and did not -- you want clarity, i'll give it to you. >> i just want you to answer my question. isn't it a fact that d.o.j., department of justice, investigated this i.r.s. issue? >> what i'm trying to say --
>> yes or no? >> there's two parts to this. >> ok. >> you don't want to answer my question -- >> i do. i want to give you a complete answer -- >> the d.o.j. and treasury inspector general all three of those entities investigated this show called scandal involving the i.r.s. and each one -- >> no. that's not true. >> that's not true. >> each one came to the conclusion that there was no criminal -- >> disagree. >> intent on anyone's part. >> mr. chairman -- s isn't that correct? >> can we have regular order? the gentleman is over his time? >> the time of the gentleman has expired. >> i ask the chairman for an additional one minute to finish eliciting responses to the questions that i asked. >> and i would object, mr. chairman. >> will you let him answer? >> i would love for him to answer the question that i ask. as opposed to filibustering. talk. him
gentleman is recognized for an additional minute and the understanding that the gentleman will yield to the witness so they can answer your question. >> i will restate my question. and thank you, mr. chairman. isn't it a fact that the senate finance committee, the department of justice, and the treasury inspector general all investigated this alleged i.r.s. scandal that is the subject of this hearing today and each one of those entities found that there is no evidence whatsoever that anyone acted with criminal intent? isn't that a fact? >> no. what the senate finance committee said there was "bipartisan agreement that the i.r.s. showed a lack of candor." >> you didn't answer my question. >> give me time to answer that question. >> that requires a yes or no. >> it requires a complete answer because you're conflating two issues. one issue was the investigation into lois lerner and her actions on her emails.
this impeachment resolution that we have put forward deals with mr. koskinen and his actions. his ability to tell the truth and how he misled congress. that is not something the f.b.i. looked at. in fact -- >> you're not answering my question. >> yes, i am. and it would be duly noted that the f.b.i. never interviewed mr. koskinen. never interviewed him. >> i didn't mention the f.b.i. i said the d.o.j. >> you said department of justice. >> d.o.j. >> they're part of the department of justice. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. gomert, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. i appreciate the witnesses being here today. because this is important since the internal revenue service is the only entity of which i'm aware in the federal government that can ignore the onstitution as part of its job. nobody else gets to ignore the
constitution. but they can take people's money without due process. they can take their property. they can move in and destroy a business that took a lifetime to build. and they have done that. so it is particularly important that the agents that worked for such an agency, it can ignore the constitution, must itself with letely overwhelmed integrity. and what we've seen is not the case. i know and have known i.r.s. agents who were as fine and people as onest of walked the worth. i've known i.r.s. faiths furious privately to see the kind of corruption and dishonesty that has overwhelmed the top of the internal revenue service because as one told me, when she just filed an amended
tax return because she had forgotten $600, even though she still had a refund coming back, she was called in and was going to be fired because i.r.s. agents have to be so above board that their integrity could never be questioned until you get to the supervisors and above. and that's where the rot is occurring and the stink is getting overwhelming. one of the judges in tyler, texas, federal judge william wayne justice, he did legislate from the bench was wrong. but that man had such an incredible sense of integrity, had he been listening to commissioner koskinen, the man would have spent time in jail before he finished his testimony. he had no use for people that would come in and obfuscate as this man has done. w, back under the bush
administration, in this committee, we had an attorney general come in here and under questioning about the national security letters, he testified from the very table our witnesses are sitting at that there were no known abuses of the national security letter. they were something like the i.r.s. might use demanding production of documents without going through a judge. he testified similarly in front of chuck schumer's committee. and then it was later found, and i watched replay of the testimony late one night, where he testified oh, well, it turns out that he had an i.g. report on his desk three days before he testified before the senate that indicated there were thousands of abuses of the national security letter. and that he didn't know that and under very tough
questioning from senator schumer, he said look, it was on my desk for three days, that's true, but i never really looked at it so i didn't know i wasn't lying. i was so outraged at the lack of neck rit or the incompetence, whichever, of something that important, i called the white house chief of staff and said you got to get rid of this guy. he cannot be defended by republicans again. this is outrageous. and my question, not just to the witnesses, but to all my colleagues across the aisle, is where is the democrat with the righteous indignation for in kind of obfuscation and dishonesty that will call the white house and say, as i did, the attorney general, this man has to go and within a month that attorney general was gone. i would love to see the democrat that still has that
kind of righteous indignation to stand up and call it as it is without regard to party. i yield back. >> the chair thanks the the man and recognizes gentlewoman from washington. >> thank you, mr. chair. and commang said the i.r.s. -- of organizations seeking tax exempt status as opposed to whatever you would like to call this grandstanding on impeachment. because let's remember this is not even an impeachment hearing. and i agree with our colleague from louisiana, you can think whatever you like about commissioner koskinen, but what we're doing today does absolutely nothing to bring truth to light except maybe show that the record our witnesses have presented is thin at best. i think senator hatch summed it
up well. he said "we can have our disagreements with him. but that doesn't mean there's an impeachable offense." the real elephant in the room today is that the i.r.s. actually does have significant issues. substantiated ones that congress should be talking about. i regularly hear from constituents who are worried about identity theft after their data the i.r.s. was compromised and others who find it infuriating that they have to pay money to expert just to file their taxes because the tax code is so complicated. and even worse constituents who can't even get through to the i.r.s. by phone for assistance during filing season because the agency has become so underfunded it can barely serve american tax pairings. if we really want to improve government accountability and efficiency for the benefit of the american people, let's start talking about getting our constituents a good return on their investment. let's commit in earnest to solving some of these issues and let's stop wasting time on
circuses like this. when the vast majority of the house and the senate republicans and democrats alike can agree that the evidence to support impeaching commissioner koskinen is not there, i think it's time to move on from these games and do some real work. i yield bark. >> the chair thanks the gentlewoman and recognizes the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan, for five minutes. >> i thank the chairman and thank chairman gilte for having this important hearing. john koskinen had several duties. he reached every single one. he had a duty to preserve documents under subpoena. he had a duty to produce those documents that were under subpoena. he had a duty to disclose to congress if he couldn't preserve and produce those documents that were under subpoena. he had a duty to do that in a timely fashion. he had a duty to do testify accurately and correct the record if he testified in an inaccurate fashion. he breached every single duty he had and that's what congressman chaffetz and congressman de sanctis have
outlined for us all here this morning. no wonder the guy didn't show up. if i had that kind of record i don't think i would have shown up today, either. never forget what happened here. the internal revenue service and the power that it has over american citizens' lives systematically targeted fellow citizens for their political beliefs. they did it for a sustained period of time. and they got caught. and when they got caught, they did what a lot of people do when they get caught they lied about it. may 10. three years ago this month, may 10 lois lerner, bar association speech here in town, trying to get ahead of the story, before the first report and not the one we're talking about today but the first report, trying to get ahead of the story, the central figure at a bar association meeting has a friend ask a planted question and lois lerner says what? it wasn't me. it wasn't washington. it was those folks in cincinnati. complete lie.
12 days later, may 22, she takes the fifth. interestingly enough the same day that the i.r.s. tells themselves, preserve all documents. same day lois lerner is taking the fifth the i.r.s. said preserve all documents. may 22, of 2013. now, when the central figure lies, and then takes the fifth, it sort of puts a premium on getting the documents and the information and all her communication. right? and so then comes in mr. koskinen. and when he's -- when he is hired, when he's confirmed, here's what the president said. we need "new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward." that's what he was brought in to do. and i would argue based on all six duties he had he has done nothing to restore confidence. so what happened? he allows 422 backup tapes to be destroyed. when he learns about it he
waits four months before he tells us the congress doing an investigation. he doesn't even -- and he doesn't even check on any other backup tapes that exist because he said -- we found out there were 700 others that weren't destroyed that could have helped us. he didn't even check when he told us that some of these had been destroyed. which leads us to the one question i have. and i want to thank the chairman again for this hearing and the second hearing that's coming. but mr. de sanctis, is this standard in your judgment, is this standard for impeachment a criminal intent standard? >> no. i think that's pretty clear. if you look at alexander hamilton and the federalist, he said that impeachment was about the violation of public trust and that those offenses are inherently political as they relate more to injuries done to the society in the way the government works. and then joseph story, in his commentaries on the constitution several decades later, said that these need to be thought of as political offenses. growing out of misconduct or gross negligence.
or usurpation or other disregard for the public interest. and he said that they must be examined on very broad and comprehensive principles of public policy and duty. >> gross negligence, dereliction of duty, breach of public trust, right? >> sure. >> mr. chaffetz, do you think -- do you think mr. koskinen exhibited some gross negligence in his conduct over the last several months in trying to help us get to the bottom of this scandal? >> absolutely. >> do you think there was a dereliction of duty? >> yes. >> it seems to me dereliction of duty when you wait four months to tell congress, right? his chief counsel knew in february of 2014 that there were problems and gap in lerner's emails, and he doesn't tell us until june? his chief lawyer knew? and he waits four months? the reason he told us he waited four months is he was doing his due diligence to make sure that actually happened and part of that due diligence wasn't checking to make sure if there were backup tapes available? i think that's dereliction of
duty. when you look at this and here's the other thing. breach of public trust. oh, my goodness. we just heard the democrats talk about problems at the i.r.s. they said the cyber security breach. we had g.a.o. say the tax gap at i.r.s.'s 385 -- $385 billion and fundamental duty is to collect revenue due the federal treasury and they can't fulfill that but time to target people and make sure they destroy backup tapes in the course of an investigation? i mean, for goodness' sake this is certainly breach of public trust and dereliction of duty and negligence gross form. i want to thank you for this first hearing. look forward to the second one. we will have some experts, i believe, come in and talk about the standard that has to be met to get rid of somebody who has conducted himself the way mr. koskinen has. i thank you for this and look forward to the next hearing. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. jefferies, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've had the opportunity to serve in the congress now for about 3 1/2 years. and to me, i think the greatest evidence of gross negligence,
dereliction of duty, breach of public trust was when members of this body in october of 2013 decided for purely political reasons that you were going to shut down the government for 16 days and cost the economy $24 billion in lost economic activity. and yet we have to sit here at this hearing and be lectured about alleged gross negligence and breach of trust. people need to look at their own conduct, their own behavior and how that's impacted the american people and their bottom line rather than subject us to this taxpayer-funded fishing expedition. because there's an addiction that some have, not the distinguished chairman who's sitting before us right now, but there's an addiction that some have in this body to impeachment. now, let me ask mr. de sanctis a question. do you think that president barack obama has committed
impeachable offense during his seven plus years in office? >> i've never argued that. and really irrelevant. i think the i.r.s. is within the context of the i.r.s. and that's what we're focusing on. >> ok. now, the chairman of the senate finance committee is orrin hatch, is that correct? >> yes. >> and he's got jurisdiction over the i.r.s. as chairman of the finance committee, is that right? >> yes. >> and he's a well respected member of congress, correct? >> yes. >> man of integrity? >> yes. >> and he stated we can have our disagreements with him, meaning the i.r.s. commissioner. but that doesn't make it an impeachable offense, is that correct? >> i think what senator hatch and the senate finance committee may be looking at may be different than what we're looking at. many of these statements that i believe were false and misleading happened in the house of representatives. and i would also note that the
senate finance committee came to a conclusion that "bipartisan agreement that i.r.s. shoud showed a lack of candor." now, the essence of this controversy as i understand it relates to the possibility destruction of documents, do you believe that destruction was intentional or was it incompetence? >> the i.r.s. would argue that it's accidental. and let's take their word for it for a moment. that's not acceptable. when there's a duly issued subpoena they have a legal obligation to protect and preserve. and they did not do that. >> now, in terms of what the i.r.s. may have said let's put that to the side for a second, jay russell george is the treasury department inspector general. is that correct? >> yes. >> man of integrity? >> yes. ibbles. >> -- i believe so. well respected inspector
general? >> he had previously worked for the government oversight and reform committee at one point. >> republican appointee. now, did the report that he issued uncover any evidence of intentional destruction of evidence by the i.r.s.? >> i was very careful in my mments to -- to separate out what had happened with lois lerner and emails and the actions by mr. koskinen himself. the inspector general did not look and investigate what mr. koskinen -- the totality of what's in our resolution. >> now, the inspector general's report concluded "the investigation did not uncover evidence that the i.r.s. and its employees purposely erased the tapes in order to conceal responsive emails from the congress, the d.o.j., or the inspector general."
is that correct? that finding in the report, page three? paragraph two? >> i believe you have stated that accurately. >> ok. so what i'm trying to understand is we're here nsidering an impeachment proceeding. perhaps the most severe remedy available to congress as it relates to a separate but co-equal branch of government, where a republican appointed inspector general concluded that the underlying act that we should all be concerned about was accidental, not intentional. but we then have a theory that even the republican-appointed inspector general concluded that the underlying act, if anything, was based on incompetence, it wasn't intentional, that the i.r.s. commissioner subsequently came before congress to conceal
something that itself while incompetent wasn't criminal according to the republican appointed inspector general. i just think that this is respectfully a remedy in search of a problem. and that we have better things that we could be doing with our taxpayer dollars to put the american people in a better place in terms of their quality of life. and i yield back. >> mr. chairman, can i respond to that? >> the time of the gentleman has expired. but the witness can answer briefly. >> were documents sfroid as a result of the subpoena, yes, whether that was accidental or congressional that will be for the next hearing next month about what is the standard for impeachment. i don't believe you have to prove intent in order to get there. and to the 0,000 people -- 60,000 people, constituents of yours and mine and others, that will get a subpoena and that will get a summons from the
i.r.s., is it good enough for them to just come back and say, you know, i had those documents, and by golly, it was an accident, i destroyed them all? do you think that's going to fly? heck no. no way. and so that's a fairly weak argument. the question is did they destroy documents that were under subpoena? the answer is yes. did they provide false and misleading testimony to congress? yes. and on more than one occasion. and if that -- that testimony was not accurate, and they wanted to correct it they had a duty and obligation to do it and they never did do it. and i could go on. >> the chair thanks the gentleman and recognizers the gentleman from
the method by which we can address these matters. under the constitution and the separation of powers congress has no direct role in federal in enforcement nor triggering or initiating the appointment of any prosecutor for a particular matter. congress has a legislative role in deciding the statutory mechanism for the appointment of independent counsels or special prosecutors. in title vi of the ethics in government act of 1978. the attorney general was directed to go to a special three-judge panel of the court of appeals name independent counsel upon receipt of credible allegations of criminal misconduct by certain high-level personnel in the executive