tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 26, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EDT
problems, the wait time and other the reprogramming has helped considerably. it has allowed me to immediately put resources into it. the most effective approach is to get part-time to full-time so i can get trained people working longer hours. that reduces my attrition rate. my ability to avoid churn. it allows me to redeploy some of my canine teams. >> after the airlines and lamented baggage fees people
rather than paying the fee are taking additional baggage onto the plane? time ofe the wait getting to that plane increases in baggage. have you all look at that? enforcing the one plus one rule. that is very important. you bring for things through the checkpoint a couple of those things are probably going to get a check anyhow. we have to look at as a committee is the airlines are making several billion dollars annually offer these fees. to the waitributes
times and additional things i think we should look at whether they can make a contribution toward this effort. i can look forward to this committee looking at that as a possibility. your analysis of the bdo's. there has been a lot of comments and criticism quite frankly. they are being deployed this crisis. with this wait time issue. can you tell me what the airlines are doing to help them
address this problem. as far as tsa is concerned? >> i've been very pleased with what the airlines have been aggressively doing lately. quite a few the airlines have thathiring contract staff frees up the tso to get back on the checkpoint. allowing people to run the bins from one area to the other. that can slow things down if you are not prepared by the time you get there. we human psychology is such that
once your online you don't want to leave that line to go to another one because you might find yourself in a longer one. catching them before they get in line is important. also helping us to do a huge increase in enrollments a lot of people walk into a standard line not knowing that it would be an automatic pre-check lane. 15% walking into a mr.dard lane by mistake thank you for your testimony here today. in new york my understanding is that at jfk airport is 82% increase in the maximum time
between 2015 in 2016. can you quantify what impact you expect from the additional offices you will be sending there. we're ready seeing a dramatic improvement at jfk. sawmaximum line weight we was 39 minutes in a standard lane. the next #we saw in a pre-check lane was five minutes. we're only seeing a dramatic improvement there. every day. that with very high volume coming through. it is a combination of changing some operational procedures and so using the personal more
effectively. one of the things that this national incident approach is to rapidlylows us move good ideas around the system. new personnel are coming in. in terms of moving passengers. if we can try to quantify. what impact without half. >> he could dramatically transform the system. we can have many lanes open. that would represent roughly 50% of the daily traveling volume. if you got the 25 million people.
gives me a known population. if you in today's world. king: could you say what you are doing on the insider threat? the inspector general report. what happened to charles de gaulle airport. we have a most a million people behind the scenes that are insiders. how effective is our vetting process for them? >> i think it is much more effective this year than last year. just under a million people that hold bad axis of any type through our airports. it is not universal access. we now have full access to the so-called category. databasehe extended
that doesn't necessarily indicate you are indicated to a known or suspected terrorists. mid-to-upper current betting against that as well. the current betting against criminal databases. i want that to be recurrent as well. assuming that goes well, we will implement that first time by the end of this calendar year. that will be continuous betting against those criminal databases as well. mr. king: are there training procedures in place for these personnel and the armored police at the airport? tsa is not armed, they can make arrests. how quick is the time response with the police officer's? >> it can vary by airport. we have duress alarm on every single lane in the nation.
we completed the installation of those just before the end of the calendar year. we train every day with police departments. i just that with the association long forced officers at the conference. we have very good relationship and the largest airports. the potential for that is great. can check outou the relationship between tsa and the port authority police in new york i would appreciate it. ms. jackson lee: i think the chairman and ranking member. thank you for your service. i've often said that the transportation security administration are the first
responders of aviation security. that is important to convey to the management and to the line who go outd others every day to do this work. they have led an enormously bipartisan committee that only focuses on the security of the nation. that makes this a pleasant experience because we are committed to getting the job done. i want to emphasize the thought that it is difficult you call yourself the reprogrammed government. it is hard to reprogram for infectious diseases. it is hard to reprogram for the military.
we might even get some more. i understand we may be getting a point 1600 and 2500. can you tell us when these numbers will come to add to the tso's? the 768 we are hiring right now should all be on board by june 15. we are hiring them now. they are rolling into the system. that's in addition to the normal hiring we are already doing.
that gives me additional capability on top of that. we are moving those people in right now. the conversion of part-time to full-time. we have quite a few part-timers and look to be full-time. ms. shut -- ms. jackson lee: training not only the new recruits for training the existing tso's. that ties into the numbers that we reflected on dealing with accuracy. that will make a general point. i would be just in your general point on accuracy. i would hope that we could actively engaging training ex military and i indicated some time ago college recruits. chicago was the epicenter.
everybody's eyes were on chicago. you can finish her questions by saying what is the point in the immediate response to chicago? this is an example of what other cities are facing. we're also doing the same thing at the other top airports. chicago was a preventable incidents in my opinion. when you look at what happened the search was anticipated it was known. 58 of those individuals are coming in to chicago by the end of this week. it will be a total of 58 new ones. we converted a hundred of our part-time officers to full-time officers. we put in a lot of overtime hours there. burnt outwant to pull
your full-time workforce. we have moved some additional canine teams in. the total of that has resulted in a significant change in the chicago picture. the chicago tribune reported in today's paper that the longest wait time was 15 minutes. yesterday. that was with significantly higher volume. with some targeted additional resources efficient use of those a management then team that understands how to run that daily technical operation. you can make a big difference. we do not seem to have trouble meeting our recruiting targets. we have a large pool of people that is prevented. we can rapidly begin to hire those people.
large pool of available applicants that had already been screened. to work on bringing more of that back in houston is currently done. as you know we work through a private contractor to do our hiring and recruiting right now. ms. jackson lee: i will get your other answers in writing. institute in georgia. how you can utilize that better. me conclude by thanking the tso's all across america. >> i think you are a good man who's been given an impossible task to minister the tsa. the tsa has wallowed in its own bureaucracy for more than a decade. it is built up a lot of bad
habits. you spoke in your opening statement about making the tsa more responsive i want help you do that. i plan to introduce legislation performingm the tsa and greatly expanding the screening partnership. having worked on these issues for more than a decade i have seen the tsa can do a mission when it is given a clean system commissioned to do. my bill is going to allow more people to hire contractors were capable of managing workers. these changes will get more out of your organization than any rushed band-aid bill could ever do. conducting covert testing and building effective strategies.
tsa is not fairly comparing the cost of government run screening operations with their privately run counterparts. in november i requested the tsa release more accurate cost data to congress. your agency promise to deliver that information within six months. but it never came. i sent you a letter to remind you of that. it still hasn't showed up. it is been 191 days since i requested that information. can you tell me when i will receive that cost comparison? gao that wewith needed to do a better job. we are working very closely with them in order to meet the deadline. we are trying to ensure that
they concur with our findings. that meets with the recommendation that they made of the accurate accounting of the cost. i went to lackland the couple months ago. looking at some of the training they are doing. what you referred to as passenger screening canines. that is been held out as the weber weight canines. what i saw was nothing comparable. you have to go to the passenger smell them personally or right at them.
the technology we use here the capital and union station. the canine doesn't have to come close to the passenger. they can detect the air from 15 or 20 minutes away. thatou tell me why technology is being trained at lackland and that more narrow scope instead of the more effective paper weight training. >> here's how i understand it. i speaking without the benefit of an expert next may. when you look at a passenger screening line. it is a fundamentally different dynamic. you have enclosed line of people. they are moving their head around a lot because they are checking for vapor. panelically put a closed
where possible. or an enclosed checkpoint behind the panel. the dog is doing two things. it is checking the vapor is some because by that is also sniffing the general vapor in the air. that's a modified somewhat for the very specific nature of the way people line up in use. better and you a more complete answer that. >> that is much better than doing nothing. you can put these assets out in the field before people even get to the line. they can detect the air that is been disturbed by someone who has walked by recently, 15 or 20 minutes. without having to come up to the person. that is a very valuable deterrent. putting the passenger checkpoints in case the machine does not detect something. these are assets that don't have to go to the person. unfortunately for some people is
uncomfortable to have a dog to come up instead of them. it wouldn't bother me. i'm from alabama. some folks would be bothered by it. >> i grew my colleagues that you have an impossible task but very important one. the wait times airports the people are having to do with unacceptable. my constituents and people around the country are demanding a quicker line and i know that is our goal. one of the priorities that you and secretary johnson laid out.
can you preview some of all we can expect. >> i do think we need to better andof both research development and incentivizing the private sector to come forward with ideas. here's an example of what we can say. if you look at the atlanta airport today. we opened two new automated screening lanes down there. this is not something new. this is a fully automated system. the bin returns automatically. it's got a barcode. it ties in directly to you. there is a photograph taken of your stuff as well as an x-ray. their five places where people can line up so you don't have to go single file. you can take five people at a time of to the checkpoint they
cycled through the checkpoint. london heathrow has said they have seen on average anywhere from a 20 to 25% increase in throughput at the same level of effectiveness. we are very excited about that. as you look at increased passenger volumes. capacityoint you reach with a manual system. then you have to look to automate things. the tsa needs to work closely with these systems to get a more automated and bring more technology in. >> that part is automated but there is still a human being in the loop checking? >> they're still somebody reading next ray. working with software company to determine how effective machines can become an identifying prohibited items.
we're also looking at changing the way we do identity matching. i look at airports and i see those kiosks that distribute boarding passes. there is typically some kind of an id reader on all of those. there are things we can do that can automate the identity check process. tsa has publicly stated its goal for free check as having 25 million. mr. king asked about the pre-check system and what that would mean. cap 25 million. have 2.7 6hey million people enrolled. what is tsa's plan for expanding the pre-check program to reach that goal of 25 million enrolled people? >> the 25 million is all trusted
travelers. global entry. right now we are at about 9.5 million trusted travelers. we can expand the enrollment opportunities. i don't think we have enough enrollment centers out there. we currently have one vendor. hoping to expand that this year to additional vendors. second thing is to make those centers more available. westreamline even further can show it to do your fingerprints. microsoft corporation really bought three check for all that strapless.
to enroll in pre-check the individual has to pay a fee of $85. to be enrolled for five years. for those who apply once or twice a year this may not be feasible or practical. it could distract from tsa's efforts to broaden enrollment. has tsa thought of any alternative policies. >> most of those fees go directly to cover program costs right now. it would be challenging under to changeng contract the fee structure. we encourage people to look at the trusted traveler programs. stuff that is being offered through various programs. to get direct reimbursement or vouchers for pre-check. going back to the technology question. how can we ensure that we avoid the mistakes?
perry: let's talk about bonuses. tsa requested almost $80 million for bonuses. for fiscal 2017. as of sure you're aware it has been revealed that the assistant administrator received almost $90,000 in bonuses over 13 month. . what you do to get a bonus? $90,000 just in bonuses. we can hire one with the bonus. most of the american people would view that as a historical critical failure looking at these lines in the throughput. i wonder what you have to do to get a bonus.
>> when i discovered that in my opinion that was an unjustifiable action. i think it is appropriate to have the ability to reward good performance. in any line of business. my belief is first of all you follow-up up with these policies and opm. the first thing i did was eliminate the practice of multiple bonuses standing for any one individual. goal is to push more reward bonuses after the people in the organization that you some of the real frontline work. i can't justify this level of bonuses. i stopped that. i watched very carefully. i put insignificant management controls. requiring oversight by the department of homeland security of anything. i don't want anything happening inside tsa when it comes to bonuses to senior executives. >> so the program does still
exist. know how much was spent by tsa last year on bonuses? i'm trying to justify that with the $34 million for reprogramming and trying to get a comparison. >> i can get you the number for bonuses. >> moving on there was a gao report regarding employee misconduct specifically attendance and leave. misconduct and failure to attend are lower than tsa's own guidance and recommendations. two unexcused absences and turning us create problems in staffing the checkpoints. >> it can. it depends on what the reasons are for it.
if you have significant numbers individuals able dramatically affect your ability to staff. >> that is correlated to increase to wait times. is that something that has affected to the point where you are taking a look at it? >> we are technology. understand that if we don't have staff to take place we need to have them in place what is the reasoning behind that. do we inadvertently give people leave coronation and leave. did they not show up. what would be the reason for that? date --are ready for a daily tactical operation. >> what is the policy for employees with excessive in excuse -- unexcused absences? the penalties for misconduct have been lower than the guidance. when you get guidance
sometimes it will give you the maximum penalty allowable. you may or may not need to go all the way. it is done on a case-by-case basis. when you have specific cases you are interested in i will be happy to take that for the record. my opinion is this. there may be a valid reason why somebody doesn't show up on time. even if it causes you problems. maybe they should have called in the call. the level of discipline or punishment it really is a case-by-case basis. it is hard to give a blanket answer. >> i was kind of looking for a range there. the subcommittee i chair is conducting our investigation into the misconduct and the penalties associated with those actions. potential correlation with increased wait times. we look forward to working with you. i want to get to the root of management issues throughout the organization.
: you have acoleman questio very difficult job and i am glad you are the one who is in it. i'm very concerned about the wait times. i really believe that the airlines by allowing people to carry two or three bags rather than one bag contributes to the weight and the amount of time it takes to go through-line. i know you need additional resources. i'm interested in the answer to mr. thompson's question. i know that this uneven sometimes in going through the pre-check lines where they are telling you take your shoes off and take your belt off. thought that's why i was in pre-check. so i wouldn't have to do that. i'm happy that you are training people now.
question about the issue partnerships. have been a few instances where airports have threatened to privatize. as an alternative to federalize screeners which i'm more comfortable with. they're also been articles and statements that they provide marginal if any benefits in terms of providing wait times. programs versus federalized screeners. certain that they would be equally as concerned with the security measures as with the convenience of getting through the line quickly. it's important to understand that even a private screening contractor works for the tsa. it is contracted to the federal government.
from my perspective the national security is a federal function. you need to national standards when it comes to that. we train them to the same standards. they train at our tsa academy. the flex ability i get with the federal workforce is that i can have this deployment foresight and the tso's and volunteered to be deployed. for search events and for others. 250 of those. i can do that with a federal workforce. i can't reach into a private workforce without hitting a contract issue. if i need to search it gives me the ability to do that. personnel more rapidly from place to place if i need to. that is arspective benefit as a manager of having a workforce that works directly for me rather than contracted to me. coleman: there's only
one vendor you work with other pre-check program. the $85 that one has to pay really only covers the administrative expenses. going to expand this opportunity to other vendors, do you think that will create competition and reduce the costs associated with that. >> i really hope so. that is one of the things we don't into the request. looking for ways to reduce the fee. i think competition can do that. coleman: allowing some of that feed to be used to ensure that you will have the resources you need to do the job that needs to be done. look forward flexible options for how you could fund this and pay for. coleman: i know that part-time employment is something you really have a lot of turnover in. people need full-time jobs.
anould like to know how much incoming tso gets. as a full-time or. i don't want to get the number roll off the top of my head. it depends on location. let me get you that number for the record. it is around $30,000. our full-time workforce is pretty stable. it runs between 89% turnover. we have a 25% turnover rate part-time workforce. coleman: the relationship you have with the police. the port authority police in new york and new jersey. i had meetings with them and they say there is one police -- assigned to a terminal. you find to there are enough police to assist in the
terminals? >> i have been looking that that pretty hard. various lawthe enforcement agencies that work in the airports. some have more capacity than others. there's no doubt about it. when finding of a large airports is that for the most part they understand their mission. they take it seriously. they're working in the public areas of the airport. whichever reimbursement program as you know. the time they spend in and around the checkpoint. we put to rest alarms into every single checkpoint. so there is as rapid response as possible. i agree thatleman: you have an extremely important job to do. i don't care sometime about being inconvenienced. i want to get on the airplane and know that i'm going to get there safely. i appreciate what you have to contend with. i just want to make sure i understand what you need so i
can fight for what you need. want to say i could appreciate the collaborative effort of working out with my subcommittee the meeting we had a your offices and i appreciate the frank discussion in the give-and-take. your commitment to trying to get things done. putting politics aside. something pete my curiosity. the fees surrounding pre-check. there is a pre-check bill sitting over the senate that is ostensibly because they want the fees to go to the general treasury. i was to talk about this fees for a second. what does that $85 golf records. -- go towards. there is a fixed fee that the
fbi charges for background checks. feee is a component of the that covers tsa's administrative costs and the self funding program. it is for the overhead of the staff. fee goes to the vendor to cover their costs. to cover the physical enrollment centers and their personnel. away that $85 was taken who would pay for all those costs? >> we would have to find the money someplace. >> lets say the $85 is in fact the cost. means $850 million you have defined elsewhere in your budget. it is kind of insane. i like self-funded programs. the bill would direct tsa to
partner more closely with the private sector. having competition in the pre-check program. that is a goal. do believe that bill would help you? >> what that bill does is codify what we're trying to do right now. to increase competition. with the hope of driving the cost down. >> with respect to the bonuses that were given out. tsa wherebyystem of subordinates can nominate superiors for bonuses. >> apparently there was a system that allowed that. that system doesn't exist under my leadership. i commend you for stopping that. >> right now it requires approval by me and then seconding by the department. for any bonuses awarded to
senior executives. >> it certifies a minimum level of competence at the airports. thatu rely on that level is it? >> we are signatories to the eye ko'd treaty. that sets a standard around the world for safety. we have to pay attention to these standards and try to drive up even higher. iko council.e i pushed for an aggressive security agenda. advance of that, we look at every place that services the u.s. directly and we put significant additional requirements in place to ensure we are comfortable with the screening and feel the standards that they are using.
>> we have a bill that has been submitted in the senate. how important are these body scanners at the airport. i scanners may be the right answer depending on where you are looking. what i'm most concerned with his are they effectively screening area i can understand why in some places they might not have a full body scan because if you don't have one they have other things to take place. you can do that by phone body pat downs. would like to see that. we've been working with foreign partners to push that type of equipment out. i want to see some very stringent additional requirements that would make up
for the lack of that. better --t document verification machines? >> that is important to me. summaries flying in the united states and want to know who they are. >> if you had an airport that didn't have i scanners and didn't have the trace equipment. didn't have document verification machines. not incompetent canine teams. those types of airports that have those things lacking. with that because of concern. >> i would pay very close attention to airports like that. i want to know they meet appropriate standards. >> the personnel of those airports. is important for you to know how those personnel are trained. that is part of four we to verify.
you have a very difficult job here. that a lot ofknow us appreciate your efforts. that the final checkpoint before our citizens get on the airplanes is safe. along with the tso's. tso's areted that the being integrated into the checkpoints with document checkers. you also said fsd std's have been granted unprecedented flexibility. would you have a problem with
checkpointsing screening itself. >> if they determine that is their highest need at that point, they have the 30 to do that. -- the authority to do that. >> they are read designated liberty airport in my district controlel two slot airport. potentially increasing the number of flights arriving. from the home. how is tsa prepared to deal with in the larger number of passengers that will newark liberty airport? another of the great efforts over the past week to alleviate some of these problems. you looking at
that and trying to be helpful. if this comes in october naturally what we have done to this point will need to be reevaluated and looked at again. several tso's are coming online as well. as we move forward. what would you do to take a look at that? this increased collaboration with the airlines and airports is helping us to foresee problems like this. i don't want to get caught by surprise by something like that. if you increase flights dramatically we've got to be prepared to receive those. we've been working very closely with the airports to understand what that might look like. when we think we will begin to see that so we can get well in advance of that. a couple of the major airlines
are already considering something that they might do with respect to increase automation at the checkpoint lanes. we are pushing resources into newark and we will continue to do so. payne: we had an incredible subcommittee hearing. we had several of the airports come in and really share with us with the chairman there heard a willingness to try to work with tsa on these issues. there are quite a few major airports and hubs they were here. to speak. moving forward, we would like to continue to get that collaboration that we think might not have been there. to this point. not to the level that it needs to be. we reallyt say also
need to look at our tso's. see what the compensation level is for them. they have a very important job. they are the last line of defense for some catastrophic problem. i don't know how many people can what we might on think is $30,000. we need to look at the compensation of the tso's. understanding that they have a thankless job. they are on the front lines. they should be compensated in a manner reflecting the importance
of their jobs. >> you said your first point of focus is the mission. i pulled up your mission statement. it says protect the nation's transportation systems. reports thateading your agents in the midst of this crisis were making sure increasing terrorism threats that people are able to fly safe. we don't have another terrorist attack in america. people are able to move quickly to get to a need to be. i have seen reports that your agents are being polled to support presidential campaign events concerts sporting events and other things. i don't see that anywhere within your core mission. authority is tsa screening americans on their way
into a concert or presidential campaign rally. where does that fit into the priorities? todayhing we've heard about the importance of keeping our transportation safe. making sure that people can get there a timely manner. where is the priority of supporting these events that have nothing to do with your core mission? we provide support to the secret service when they ask for it. detailed on standby. 75 people on standby. to assist with presidential security events over the course of the summer. likely asked to do this is the conventions. we have supported events around the country. i've been working with the people who are working with us that we are and are in crisis
right now. we would like to have as many of those people back as possible. >> you don't get to say no? >> we support the secret service because that is a pretty important mission. the federal government we are the screening experts. >> look i agree it is important to make sure the people attending these events are safe. i don't see that anywhere within the core mission of tsa. >> our core mission is transportation security. on a better way to make sure the people going to concerts are safe? >> i would like that. >> i sent you a letter on april 12 asking a number of questions relating to the issues that are hearing today. i asked if you get back to me by april 26. that was 29 days ago. i have not heard back from you yet. i was wondering when i might get an answer to that letter. consent to put
my letter into the record. tomorrow the subcommittee will be holding a hearing on some of the representatives of airports. she participated in the roundtable we had last week. a very fruitful and vigorous discussion of some of their concerns and ideas. things we're seeing going on in a small airport in tucson. people are paying $85 to go through pre-check. then they are showing up at the airport and the pre-check lane is closed. on average the pre-check lane is only open five hours a day for the two terminals. little to no flexibility. are hearingncern we from around the country. are you aware of this issue? >> i am aware. my goal is to get those pre-check lanes open throughout
the day. so they are available when passengers arrive. some of that is a scheduling issue. now onus we are putting dearly hourly operations is showing us where we are having a problem. best practices across the system. dramatically changing the way we move people through. you move them right to the front of the line and you get them through in a pre-checked way. opening up the pre-check lane line it if you don't have enough people to open that lay at that moment. you have to build enough capacity. pullingolume to justify the bodies off to open the pre-check lane. is to make sure that if we're going to promise a service to people we can deliver that service. >> what are the other themes that roundtable is the feeling
by the airlines in the airport authorities that the lack of flexibility by the fsd's to work in partnership with the airlines to make tactical decisions. they feel like there's a top-down approach coming from washington dc. were part of this operation thee fsd's in phoenix leader down in tucson is still stuck with these top-down answers coming out of washington dc. are you willing to sort of relieve some of that and allow more bottom-up decision-making silver sphere on the ground for tsa at that airport. >> that is the message i've been sending out consistently. if i'm a field commander and i have resources and i know what my mission is i want a vehicle to do that to the best of my ability. >> they see their hands are tied. they are being directed by washington dc. >> i have a leadership that is not following that model.
i am checking on that to make sure things like that happen. >> this should not take an act of congress. mr. keating: thank you and your staff for helping us and providing feedback on this. it had already bypassed of the committee. two things about the wait times. establishing a more formal process where airports and carriers can share predicted data. how many seats on the flight? trying to make that his lifetime and functional as possible. we want to know where you are on that. how easily that can be done given your personnel.
utilizefederal agencies private explosion detection programs. we use this in the state department. some of the most dangerous places in the world. to help keep our people safe. there is a willingness to turn to these types of programs. had committee testimony where the airlines for american and cargo association testified and expressed their support for that. council votedity six to one but growing somewhat if they had or own ears open. demand how to incorporate the situation. whether or not there is an openness to these programs? >> i am open to that program.
we had a lot of conversations with people about private screenings. if my resources you mean an thesight staff we've got staff i have that manages the current canine program. they can work with private vendors that are interested. the challenge associated with that is that we also have to work through local law enforcement because as you know there has to be protocols established for if it don't find something. what i do now? local law enforcement has a say in this as well. airport by airports that works for that. >> so the inhibiting factor is not money. it is just for knitting with local and law-enforcement? >> i think part of it is the willingness of tsa to explore this. i'm willing to do this. how valuable that would be.
and how would improve safety. particularly when you're thinking about cargo screening and other types of things that are often airport property. it has to be done. there's value there. we work in this committee was joint terrorism task force. it seems to me would be able to function with this as well can provide any assistance or anything like that. the task force models are very helpful. >> there's no doubt with dog. with respect to predictive data, it is relatively straightforward. we're doing that right now with the airlines so the operational cell i've got focused daily now , which i intend to become a permanent feature, includes airlines and airports to provide that predictive data. but in more real-time, not just after the fact. it doesn't help me to find out what happened last week.
it's more important to have out what's coming and do something about it in near realtime. >> if you could keep me k-9ormed, in terms of the program, i would really appreciate that. thank you for everything you're doing. thank you for the success you're doing under tough situations. and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> the chair recognizes mr. donovan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. admiral, thank you for your testimony and your candidness with this committee. we saw with the shooting at lax last year and what happened in brussels the vulnerability of the non-secure areas of our transportation hubs. is that the total jurisdiction of the state and local officials , or does the tsa have a role in the nonsecure areas in the airports? >> we have a role in setting standards and expectations. my primary role is at the checkpoint down in the baggage area and out in the secure areas of the airport. we work very closely with local law enforcement to patrol and guard the public areas of the
airport as well. >> i know last summer, it may have happened actually before your appointment, there was the covert testing with the tsa and the vulnerabilities of the things going through. some changes have been made. have you found those changes have improved our ability to detect things going through our checkpoints that shouldn't? is there data that supports that? >> there is. and i won't get into details in an open setting. but i can tell you that our own internal testing tells us we have improved significantly. but it a ways to go yet, is significantly improved. the measures that we took and the changes in focus have helped considerably. i recently met with of the inspector general. they're about to kick off a new round of tests, specifically testing our improvement. that will take place over the course of the next few months. they don't tell you the exact schedule for obvious reasons. i look forward to working with him in understanding what he is
finding and understanding if he is validating anything that we are finding. >> wonderful. my last question is with your efforts to get more people on prescreening, and off the standard lines, is that just move the delay over to prescreening? >> no, it actually dramatically improves the ability to move. you can move almost double the speed on a precheck line that we do. for example, right now, even with the dramatically increased numbers that have enrolled in precheck. 92% across the entire system of people in precheck wait less than five minutes for screening. that's a significant improvement. >> with the increase of people going to prescreening, you think that standard would uphold? >> i do. we can now more consistently to we cangressman's point, more consistently open the project lines and open more of them. you need volume to keep the lanes open. >> thank you very much, i yield
back to the remainder of my time. recognizes> the chair mr. richmond. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, admiral. i represent baton rouge in new orleans. new orleans, one of our biggest economies is the tourism industry. our airport is vitally important. if you are talking mardi gras, events,t, or any of the the last thing we want is people to come down and have a good time and then have a bad taste in their mouth because they awaited in a airport line and then missed their flight. the fsd'slly, do have the ability to grant overtime if they need more employees? >> they do. i pushed a lot of overtime out to the fsd's. you've got a great fsd down there, by the way. >> we do. and we have some hard-working tsa's. unfortunately, we had the incident last year. >> you did. >> where we had to use deadly force and it was done by the book. what about k-9 teams? that's another thing that they expressed.
we had it for jazz fest. it worked tremendously well. so, the question becomes, can we get a permanent one and as you expand your 10 point plan, or implement it, where would we fall on the list? >> i'll get you the exact priorities on the list for the record. i would tell you i like to expand our k-9 program beyond what we currently have. right now, i pushed k-9's to the largest airports where we're experiencing shome of the biggest problems. my plan is to backfill those as we can bring more k-9's on board. i will find out where new orleans is on the priority list. >> i have read and i know about your goal to increase pre-check passengers. one idea that i think that, you know, let me just say off hand , i am opposed to the baggage fees. i think it's abominable. the price of gas has gone down
and has been very low for the last year. prices haveticket remained the same. i think baggage fees is another way to dig into the american people's pockets and make excessive money. but i think it pushes the carry-ons through our security checkpoints. which means our margin of error, if it's 1% or .1%, now that we have millions more bags because airlines are doing their fees, i think at some point i want to just prohibit them. but if we want to push people to pre-check, why don't we just say, anybody who has pre-check, the airlines cannot charge you baggage fees. that would drive people to enroll in precheck. but we get to help the american people. but do you think that the number of bags going through our checkpoints is problematic? >> there's a lot of pressure on
the checkpoints. we see a lot of bags coming through the checkpoint. four times the checkpoint of what gets checked. and so, this is why we encourage the airlines to help enforce that one plus one rule. because every additional bag coming through the checkpoint is a potential slow down to the processing of people through. >> what i noticed, probably many of the people on the committee , since we travel so much. we notice that once you get to the gate, when they make the announcements, most of them say that the flight is pretty full ary they will complement check your bag. you have had this back up at the checkpoint and once you get through the checkpoint and get to the gate they say how about we check your bags are for you now for free. well, if they're going to do that they might as well do it on the front end, alleviate your pressure and also help us protect the american people. so, i really would hope that you look at that. let me switch topics a little bit. and i know that you are going out for bid on -- you have an
yourut for your i.t. on security flight program. and i would ask that you look at using shared services with the national finance center which already i think does your pay roll and other things for you. they have great software development team. it's already branch of government. i think they can help you get your needs to market, or they can service you a little bit faster than the process you are going to go in. i think they will save you a tremendous amount of money. so, i would just ask that you are really entertaining using a shared service with national finance center to develop the software for the secure flight program that you are looking for. yieldhat, mr. chairman, i back. >> gentlemen, the chair recognizes mr. carter. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. neffenger, thank you for being here.
mr. neffenger, as you know, i represent georgia. of course, hartsfield jackson airport the busiest airport in the world, this is a major problem. the back log we have there. in fact i just went out, stepped outside a few minutes ago to have a picture taken with some visitors from georgia. they were telling me this morning, this morning, you know, one of them commented "i only had to wait 30 minutes in line." you know, it is unacceptable what is happening care. i just want to make sure we are on the same page here. at hartsfield recently, they just opened up the south checkpoint. they started using a new system, the radiofrequency identification on the bins, so they can put their stuff in their and they don't have to load the bins. i hope that is going to help some. you and i have spoken before about privatization, and as you know, and full disclosure i'm big on privatization. atlanta and the bigger airports are indicating to us, at least
to me, that it's beyond the scope of a bureaucracy to be able to do this. and i just don't get warm and fuzzy feelings that you are embracing privatization here. congress passed the screening partnership program. tell me what you're doing to implement that. we need to get to a point where you are on the other side of the table, you are asking the questions and overseeing this, as opposed to being here, answering the questions from us. >> we've made a lot of changes to streamline that process. i was concerned it takes a long lon time because it has to go out on bid and contract and the like. i have said repeatedly, the law allows this and i will work with any airport that is interested. in fact, i have directed airports like atlanta to go out and talk to san francisco, because that is the only large category airport that has a contracted screening force and
we will continue to work with them. i think there are things we can do. we are somewhat hammered by the way the rules work. that's a work force that's contracted to the federal government. not -- >> hold on a minute, i don't mean to interrupt you. you say you're hampered. i want to know how i can help you to become unhampered. if that is a word. >> we follow the contractors rules for under the federal contracting requirements. it's a contract to the federal government. i want to make sure it's fair and open competition and you have to give people the opportunity to participate. we will work with anybody who wants to do that. >> understand, i want to work with you so we can streamline the process. i still don't get the feeling you're embracing it. i want to know what you're doing to encourage it. the privatization of it. >> well, again, it's up to the airport to determine whether they want to do it. we advertise its availability. we make availability information about it. there's a screening private partnership office that manages that. what i can offer you is to bring the person who is running that office up to outline what's changed over the past year.
and what we do to make that information available to airports, if they're interested and inclined. other things, really quickly. as you know, you do your training in my district. it's a great facility. we still incorporate that even in the private sector. i mean, they can still be trained down there. >> i trained the private screeners as well. >> absolutely. absolutely. so, you know, it's not as if they're not going to get the same kind of training we currently get for the employees. it's just going to be management. it appears to me by the conversations i've had with some of the smaller airports that that's where the problem is. that there is a void, a gap, if you will, between the local senior tsa reps and between the management up here in d.c. they are not communicating. can you speak to that? >> you mean the fsd's in the
field? >> yes. >> well, i felt the same thing. that is why i have made some leadership changes and structural changes. i have pushed a lot of authority. they already have that authority, in my opinion. they needed to know they could use that authority. identify been trying to drive less operations because you can't drive from headquarters. you have to provide guidance and resources. >> absolutely. i'm glad to hear you say that. again, i feel like what's happening here is is we're creating this bureaucracy that at some point, we are not going to be able to break it down. and now is the time for us to start going more toward privatization, so that we don't get this giant bureaucracy that obviously, is not performing to the level we want it to perform two. one of the first things they taught us in the georgia legislature was, if you are in a hole, stop digging. so, we need to stop dating because it is not working the way we wanted to work now. i encourage you to push the privatization. that's the route i would see us
needing to go. >> yes, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. cart hurd. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have some basic questions. i love your comments on the philosophy of getting passengers through checkpoints quickly, versus security effectiveness and how you balance that. >> oh, well. first and foremost, you have to be effective at what you do and we learned that the hard way when the inspector general report came out last year. so, it was imperative that we refocus. it's not the fault of the front line workforce. they were doing what they were told to do, get people through the line fast. and if you do that, you might get people through the line fast, that you might not do your job very well. that was the first thing. but you still have to ensure it you do it as efficiently as possible.
those two things are not exclusive, in my and m mind. there are efficiencies in the way we deploy our people and employ them and the way they are managed. i think an awful lot of the work i'm doing is in really reforming and transforming the management piece because that's where the greatest opportunity. the greatest opportunity for fixing that is. and then there's a technological piece as well. tsa is still operating equipment that was operated for the past 30 years in terms of with the exception of some of the upgrades to the software and x-ray machines. the baseic system is a manual system. there are things we can do that will dramatically improve our ability to process people more efficiently, while still doing our job really well. >> the next question, and i know, this is about how tsa works with individual airports. and i know the answer is going to be, it depends.
but are you getting the kind of support from airports when they build a new terminal, are you getting the opportunity to provide input and guidance on how to design it in such a way that would improve efficiencies of security? are you also -- do you get the kind of support -- you don't run the airport, and i think folks forget that. are you getting the kind of support from the airport personnel on non security tasks? i just welcome your general thoughts on that. >> with respect to the last point, we have gotten some great support from airlines and airports over the last few months to provide assistance for nonsecurity related duties. everything from monitoring exit lanes to bin running to ep helping guide people into the appropriate check points. i've been pleased with that. what i believe is that tsa needed to do a better job of engaging at the local level as well as at the federal level.
we have always had good relations with the big associations, but it's on the ground at the individual airport where the difference is made. so, we have been working very hard at pushing our feet. going back to the comment about the fsd's and the local authorities, we are going to get them back engaged with people, share with them their staffing models, share with them their current challenges and learn from each other and more importantly, find out when they have plans to modernize or improve their infrastructure because that's an opportunity to build in new capability and some new space that would allow us to operate better. >> great.. and my last is a comment, not a question. i would like to say, thank you for working with us on getting some tsa agents back into small airports in small towns. we have been talking a lot about wait lines at big airports, but i'm looking forward to flying back to washington, d.c. from del rio, texas, once that gets set up.
i appreciate your willingness to work with us and making sure these small-town airports and these small-town benefit from the economic advantages of having a functioning airport. so, thank you and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. walker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here today. earlier this week, kelly hogan was removed from his post as head of security operations. another committee recent hearing -- in fact, we talked about that and some of the questions there. we talked about the $90,000 bonuses as well. not where i want to stay or camp too much this morning, but i do want to ask a couple questions in regard. what is mr. hogan's annual salary? >> he's an ses level, so his annual salary is right around $180,000. >> i have $181,000.
can you confirm if he's on paid administrative leave? >> he is currently on paid administrative leave. >> that's about $500 a day. according to the dhs administration poll su of 2015, i am sure you are familiar with that. >> yes, sir. >> i would like to read it for the record, if that is ok, mr. chairman. the policy states managers must decide whether the continued presence of the employee in a workplace might pose a threat to the employee or others, result in loss or damage to government property, or otherwise jeopardize government interests. if such a risk or not to exist, the employee should remain in the workplace. so, in the case of mr. hogan, which of these instances applies? >> we are resolving this. i wanted to make a leadership change. i made that leadership change. it was my opinion that i needed a new direction going forward. we are working to process with respect to mr. hogan and i will work that process very rapidly.>> so let me rephrase the question here.
theis it that you have made choice to put him on paid administrative leave when there does not seem to be any threat to the organization? >> it is a very short-term decision for the next steps. i can move forward with the new direction that i need to ensure we meet the challenges coming forward. >> i want to respect that. when you say short-term, can you give us a ballpark idea? what does that mean? >> i intend to determine that this week. >> ok. i want to go back also, where there's tough places to dig out, but also where i want to commend you for the past the tsa has had with involuntary or voluntary moving expenses of $200,000. i believe the one gentleman testified from maine that he had $100,000 relocation expense. is it my recollection that you're no longer operating under that particular mind set or those procedures? >> i discontinued that practice. and i have capped relocation expenses.
>> i appreciate you doing that. let me follow up with one more question. the same mo that announced mr. assistant no longer administrator, you announced in chief of operations that announced screening operations and the responsibility to oversee daily operations. according to your website, tsa's security operations is responsible for, "airport checkpoint and baggage screening operations." is that true? is that a fair statement? >> yes, sir. >> and concluding with mr. hoggan, before we move on to some thing else air. are you at a place where you can reveal any long-term plans with mr. hoggan at this point? >> at this time i cannot, sir. >> at this time, i will respect that. half and inute and a want to give you the opportunity. the overall culture of the tsa has not been where the american people or congress expected.
briefly, can you tell me from a philosophical perspective, why are you able to turn this tide? that doesn't encourage you much today. obviously, with your background, you would have not taken on this position unless you felt like there were improvements that could be made and things that could be done. you can say or share a couple specifics if you would like, but i would like to hear a general perview of why you think you are able to turn the ship in the right direction. >> let me start by talking about the workforce. we have a really tremendous workforce. i don't say that lightly. i have been meeting with them in the 10 months plus i have had the job. i go out to the front lines. we have people that come from all walks of life. there are people with graduate degrees, undergraduate degrees, high school graduates, former military, people in their second careers. so, what gave me immediate hope was seeing not only the passion
and the dedication of that workforce, but their resilience. i believe they have one of the toughest jobs in government. the average screener at a large airport sees more than 13,000 individuals each day. and they have to remain professional and they have to remain committed and these are true public servants. that said, i think they needed a clear sense of mission, a clear focus from leadership on mission. they needed that focus to stay constant and straight forward. i think about my time in the military. what is it that makes the military able to take people from all walks of life and focus them on their duties and have the kind of response that we have that has created the best military in the world? it is a clear sense of purpose and mission. the reminder of that and engagement of the across the workforce. so, i was surprised to discover when i came to the tsa, that there was no true, formal training program at any level of the organization. to me, that is foundational to creating culture and engagement. i am really pleased that congress agreed that founding a tsa academy for the first time
ever was a very important first step. it's a first step. i wanted to get that workforce back in gauge and connected in a way they hadn't been before. we were training people all over the country individually and inconsistently. now we have a consistent training program. you need to do that across the entire workforce. i started for the first time ever this year a rising leader development program, which looks at all of the midgrade employees and starts to teach them about what it means to be in charge and leading. we need to do leadership training, skills training, and we need to do it consistently. the reason i believe the ship can turn is i look to where the united states military was post thvietnam. everybody said it was a broken organization. it turned itself around by doing exactly those things. focusing on the mission, reengaging with the workforce, going back to fundamentals and training across the board. i believe that is the answer. it doesn't happen overnight, but we're already seeing some good e new with some of th
people that have been coming out of the academy. i should share with you some of the e-mails i'm getting. >> i will say my time has expired, it would be up to the chairman to extend that. but i appreciate your answers. the yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. radcliffe. >> i would like to thank the chair. neffenger, thank you for being here today. we have had meetings over security breaches caused by improper screenings by airport employees and vendors. we have had hearings about the agency's trouble with excessive waste and cost and some security failures. specifically, we had a hearing investigations that should we had as many as 95% of some banned security items enabled to get through and with aviation markers with links to terrorism not being disclosed.
i say all that, not to lay blame with you, but to highlight that you were brought in at a very challenging time at the tsa. and clearly, there is a lot of work to be done here and i do want to say that i have noticed that you have taken proactive steps to try and rectify some of these problems. but now today we have another problem to talk about, these long lines. they are not just an inconvenience to travelers. they do pose a security risk. hundreds of passengers standing close together in an unsecure area, we saw what happened in brussels with respect to that. i know the tsa is working every day to try and prevent those things from happening here today. but i do want to follow up in this particular area because you have attributed some of the long lines to personnel departure at the tsa in previous years.
the agency has not yet replaced some of those folks. i know through the appropriations committee, we repurposed -- congress has repurposed some $34 million to allow for the hiring of additional tsa agents. i have some concerns about the allocation of additional agents. it is not just about getting screeners to the airport, but about allocating those resources strategically to alleviate some of the long lines that we're seeing right now. to that point, i know there was a transportation security roundtable last week where stake holders repeatedly said they thought the staffing model at the tsa was fundamentally flawed. no one wants to sacrifice security simply to lower wait times at the airport. but if you, or if we, can improve efficiency of security processes without sacrificing
safety, i know that is something we all want to get to. so, i have heard in the past that tsa had the capability to schedule its workforce to match up with the airline flight schedules and passenger load, but it dropped that. and instead, now it uses electronic time and attendance system that has a lot of -- it requires a lot of manual changes to deal with employees on leave and the regular operations and weather-related delays. first of all, is that correct. electronic do use an and time and attendance system. but we still have the flexibility to meet them. i do still think we did it very well. >> are you looking at any commercial technology solutions that would align workforce needs with airline and airport passenger flow? and if so, when would that be deployed? >> will we have done immediately
is we are working with the airlines directly and the airports. we've opened up the full staffing model to the airlines in particular about two months ago. we had all of the major airlines in at a very senior-level to say, "here it is." airport by airport, anybody wants to look at it, looking at that staffing model as well. i think there is work to be done on the staffing model. and is to be flexible enough to meet the demands as they arise. the i am learning is that airlines are exceptionally good at predicting and responding. we can learn a lot from them and they are helping us adjust the staffing model. we even saw in chicago, a couple of the key adjustments that we made, right after that day that we had all of the challenges, it dramatically decreased the line waits. >> i am glad to hear you are engaging the airports and airlines in that regard.
to that point, about the staffing model. are you taking into account the different layout structures of different airports? for example, the dfw airport in my home state of texas has 15 screening checkpoints where i know the denver airport only has three. i am sure that makes a big difference in terms of staffing requirements. is that being taken into account? >> it is and you have to do that. and some airports are big and open and have a lot of opportunities to run efficiently. other airports a very constrained i space and you have multiple small checkpoints distributed across the airport. the have to think very differently about managing those more constrained airports than you do any large open airport. time is expired, but i do want to ask you this question as
well, do you think the federal security director has located the airports should have more flexibility determining the local needs of the airports where they are stationed? >> i have given them complete flexibility. that said, it is important to note that i only have so much stuff around. if they say, i need 500 more people, i have to work with them to get there, but through the current resources, they have abilities to flexible's resources however they need to, working with the local air force and airlines. if they need more, they have the ability to come to me and say, i need for and here is what i need. thanks for being here today and thank you for your candor and answering the questions. i will yield back. >> tomorrow morning at nine :00 a.m., the subcommittee on transportation will be holding a hearing with local airline authorities and airport authorities and airlines. we look forward to that perspective tomorrow. members of the committee may have additional questions. we would ask that you respond in writing and the ranking member
is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would just like unanimous consent to enter into the record a letter to the administrator 19,enger, dated april 2016. >> without objection, that is so ordered. pursuant to committee rule 7-c, the record will be open for ten days for statements and questions from members. admiral, thank you for being here today. i know you're a newcomer to this job. certainly the challenges are great, but i think you are well-equipped to solve those. we look forward to working with you to solve these problems for the nation. we thank you for your service. without objection, the committee stands so. -- the committee stands adjourned.
>> tomorrow, road to the white house is in california for two campaign events. never 4:00 eastern, bernie sanders holds the campaign rally in interest. watch live it c-span 3. 0, live coverage of hillary clinton. you can find all the road to the white house coverage at www.c-span.org. this memorial day weekend, book tv features three days of
nonfiction books and authors. and here are some programs to watch for. on saturday and 10 at 1 p.m. on saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern, how the new working-class will transform america. eastern, at 10:15 interview with kristin action. we discussed the professional duties, as well as his work with jay-z, and the author of the award-winning book. and sunday evening at 10:00 eastern, a book party for steve hilton and his book "more human." he is a former senior adviser to british prime minister david cameron. he recommends we need to reorganize the political systems to meet the needs of americans today. the intellectual
life of thomas jefferson. talk radio hosts on the importance of the 10 commandments and npr's diane reeve. go to booktv.org for the complete weekend schedule. >> in response to the puerto rico debt crisis, members of congress have proposed a bill that would create a federal oversight board to negotiate with bondholders over what they would recover of the $70 billion lent to the island government. today, the house natural resources committee approved the bill, which has received the support of speaker paul ryan and minority leader nancy pelosi. this is the committee's markup session, beginning with chairman rob bishop.
>> this committee is going to come to order. up, we,nced in the mark i'm sorry. we have a quorum here and we are going to have an exciting and fun day. i have not had this much fun since we went over red snapp.er -- red snapper. let's just do red snapper and puerto rico all the time. i've never seen so much frivolity in here. as announced in the mark of notice, i will give priority
recognition to those members who have filed amendments by the amendment deadline of yesterday at 4:00 p.m. thank you for doing that on time. please go back and tell your staff, get the amendments in by 4:00. alright, you have received kind of an order i think that was sent out to you, of which we will take the amendments in here. there are only 32 of them have been filed. it is going to be a piece of cake. um, there are going to be some of those changes. i'm going to make some changes on the fly of the order. some amendments are going to be bipartisan. some amendments are going to be easy to accept and some amendments will be subject to a point of order. so, i'm now ready to start the amendment process on hr 5278. i have to ask, are there amendments to the bill?
this is theman, first of the bipartisan ones. this is amendment. it is o-46, you will have it. mr. graves, you are recognized to explain the amendment and without objection, the amendment is ordered read. >> mr. chairman, this is an amendment. what it does is it directs the gao to th conduct a study on the conditions which led to the financial crisis that we are currently experiencing in puerto rico. the idea here mr. chairman, is that this is a crisis that has a 10-12 year process. to prevent future situations like this from happening, we need to make sure we are learning as many lessons from this is possible. gao to, it directs the
look at a study to look at what led to this financial crisis, to make recommendations to the administration on changes that could be made in the future to avert this in the future. i know everybody enjoys working on puerto rico bills, but i would like to prevent us from being in this situation again. i yield. >> i would like to thank mr. graves for bringing forward this amendment as well. there is an old saying that says, "those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." i hope that in addition to working, we can sort out the rico,ion in kore puerto and one of the actions this study will create is a quality action by the gao to prevent actions on mainland or in the territories by finding out what practices, or what actions by the territory's government, what led to make the situation as bad as it is today in puerto rico?
and it is my hope that other states and territories can learn from this. that will hopefully be a positive legacy of whatever action this body takes. i would like to yield back to my colleague, mr. graves. >> mr. chairman. >> let me take one second to give you a clarification. they have two amendments. 0-46. we were doing this is actually number one on your list. it is a different amendment, still a graves policy amendment number one. i am satisfied with this and am willing to accept it. is there anybody else who has for th further discussion to this amendment? if not, we will vote on all of those in favor of this. this is actually number three on your list. say aye. >> aye.
>> those opposed say nay. >> the motion carries. i'm sorry. yes, i know exactly what i can doing. we are now going to go back to the -- [laughter] knock it off. we are now going to go back to the next bipartisan amendment. mr. graves, you are still up. is is actually graves-meyer, i'm sorry. 0-46, you are recognized for that one. >> we just pass the first one, is that correct? >> yes. >> mr. chairman, this is a bipartisan amendment also with mr. meyer.
this provides the discretionary authority, if it does not require, but it provides the discretionary authority to the oversight board, which is established in the act to conduct an investigation to understand the selling practices and some of the representations that may or may not have been made with investments in puerto rican security that may have lead to or contributed to this information. it may have exacerbated the financial situation we are facing right now. and again, this is all about lessons learned from this disaster. so, it gives the discretion of the oversight board to again, conduct an investigation to look at some of the representations associated with this investment. as we all know, we have pensioners, retirees, and investors. these are all across the united states. that are invested in these securities. we want to make sure that we understand, what type of
representations were made to those investors. under what offices did they invest in the securities? and make the information public to ensure that folks have been upfront and honest about that the dealings with these securities. and i yield to mr. meyer >>. >> thank you, mr. graves. i proudly support the amendment offered by my good friend from louisiana. ofit is in the interest investors, but also the interest of the puerto rican government. and any improper practices involved in the sale of these bonds needs to be but to like.
-- bonds needs to be brought to light. i urge support for the amendment. >> thank you. is there any further discussion? let me take the time to say personally, we have three bipartisan amendments. just past the one, but i feel comfortable with all three of these amendments. >> mr. chairman, i will support this, but i have in front of me, the bond issuing documents and it's -- if you read through th em, there was full disclosure. especially if you look at these generalhave a obligation bond of 2014, series a. it was a refunding, which is a refinancing. if you go through all of the documents, it is fully disclosing, these were noninvestment grade bonds. they were rated noninvestment standard andy's fitch.
in all of the disclosure documents, it makes clear how risky these bonds are. and prudent investors buy these bonds because they want a wide variety of maturity dates, of yisk profiles, and they bu and balanceng bonds it off with some higher-yielding bonds and balance the risk. these are professional investors who know what they are doing. and so, i have not heard the kind of allegations that there non adequate disclosure, but if you read the bond documents themselves, it is very clear how risky these bonds were. and any prudent investor that buys these kinds of bonds would
have known that. thank you, i yield back. >> is there any further discussion on this amendment? all of those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> opposed? >> the amendment passes. we are now going to the third of the bipartisan amendment. you are recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as you are aware, in the process of drafting this legislation, there has been a lot of discussion and i have tried to drill down on the issue of including economic road mechanisms for the island of puerto rico. i have you know, concerns that while the art addressing the issue of the outstanding debt, i think it is important that we look at program policies for the island. -- that we look at pro growth policies for the island. a lot of those will not necessarily be in order with this committee, which is why i am offering with my colleague from michigan, an amendment to
improve the task force, which is to come up with federal policy changes that would go through the appropriate committees of jurisdiction to actually create pro-growth economic policies for the island. what we're looking at with this amendment is the composition of this committee, from expanding the committee leadership to include the committee of ways and means, the committee of finance, and the committee of the natural resources committee. in the senate, we love this committee of course. but it is really important to buy in over pro-growth economic policies. it has been frustrating to me that we have not been able to do a lot of the tax incentives and growth policies that are needed. instead of allowing 30 days to appoint a task force member, we shorten that to 15 days, which should be enough. this is an urgent issue. finally, it requires a status update in mid-september, which
is while congress is still in session. congress is here for a couple more weeks and i gives congress a chance to act if congress wants to. and the situation of puerto rico is dire. we want to make sure that in addition to whatever action is body takes now, there is at least the opportunity to look at pro-growth economic policies for puerto rico and i hope the committee supports this. i am happy to yield. l would put my bil puerto rico back on a path to fiscal sanity. while it is incredibly important to work out the immediate crisis the puerto rico finds itself in, we also need to look to the future to help create an economic environment that fosters growth and investment. adding members from the house and ways and means and the senate finance will improve the work that the congressional task force of economic growth in puerto rico will be doing once this bill is sent into law.
i am glad we have been able to work across the aisle. i would like to thank mr. duffy and the committee staff for their work on getting the best possible they'll on the committee -- the best possible bill into the committee. i look forward to continue this work to help puerto rico be successful in the long term. i yield back. >> i reserve the balance of my time, or a yield back, whichever comes first. ok, i will encourage this amendment again. this amendment is very simple. it includes the members of jurisdiction, so that committees that have jurisdiction over the tax policy and the financial services policy can look at this and it's by the processes coming back to us. i am happy to yield back the balance of my time. >> are there any amendments to the enemy? all of those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> the motion carries. i would like to go through four amendment's right now.
i have no problems with these amendments. i lied again. instead, there is an even better amendment, it is a brilliant amendment. it is a technical one under my name, which is number one. this 1 -- i'm sorry, i recognize myself. number one consists of typos, punctuation errors, terms used in the bill. so, any other discussion on the technical amendments? if not, any commitments to the technical amendments? aye.hose in favor say >> aye. >> that one passes. now let me take you to those that i am willing to accept. i will do these four in that order. o-46.go
>> thank you, mr. chairman. >> you are recognized. >> i am offering the common sense amendment that affirms the critical role the puerto rican people play in this process. the task09 establishes force on economic growth to analyze the elements of a stronger economy and help identify stronger opportunities under federal law. i applaud my fellow colleagues in congress and in the administration who have traveled to puerto rico to witness the situation themselves. i believe the members on this task force should bring their opinions to the island. at least one hearing needs to be held in puerto rico. to truly grasp the reality that people are facing, i believe members of the task force must have the chance to speak with the people themselves, and see
barriers on the island and the opportunity for long-term growth and prosperity. i would like to send a message to the puerto rican people that their voices are valued. i think at least one of these hearings should be held on the island. i urge my colleagues to support my amendment and i yield back. >> is there any discussion to this amendment? any amendments to the amendment? all of those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> the amendment passes. let's to your other one, amendment 405. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as we look to address the urgent demand and the crisis facing the brothers and sisters in puerto rico, you must consider the alarming fact facing the health care system that millions depend on. the hospital system has already laid off 10% of its workforce and has been reducing services,
including holding beds, floors, and entire wings of hospitals to cut costs. the government is trying to make their medicaid payments, jeopardizing the entire medicaid program that thousands of families rely on for care on the island. mr. chairman, ultimately, as we all know, the patient's will suffer. the believe section 409 establishes the means for opportunity for congress to re-examine some of the root causes of the current crisis and offer bipartisan solutions. that is why i am offering an amendment that ensures the task force will consider access to health care as part of the mission. health care makes up 18% of the puerto rican economy and employees 84,000 people. that must be an essential part of this task force's mission. issues like the underfunding of medicare, the lack of low income necessity have artie been identified by members of
congress and must be addressed in order to have a sustainable puerto rican health-care system. takesuring the task force on these issues, i believe we can act quickly to solve these long-term problems. on behalf of providers and patients on the island, i urge my colleagues to support my amendment and i yield back. >> is there any other discussion on this amendment? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank my friend and colleague from arizona for offering this commonsense amendment. if we want to ensure this committee is not back here in a few months to deal with puerto rico once again, you must ensure that the root causes of this crisis are addressed. that means supporting provisions that will grow the economy and stop the mass exodus of people from the island. democrats wanted this legislation to ensure puerto rico is treated just like any other state in terms of access to federal health programs.
we push for language to deal with puerto rico's inadequate treatment under medicaid by removing the cap for medicaid funds for the island and increasing the federal medicaid match. unfortunately, none of these provisions are in the final bill. this amendment would require the task force and the economic towth in puerto rico study the health programs as part of the report that looks at all of the impediments in the island. if this report is going to be fair and accurate, the issue of health care in puerto rico must be examined. we have nothing to fear from studying this issue further and i hope my colleagues on the other side of the i'll agree. -- side of the aisle agree. i yield back the remainder of my time. >> mr. chairman, i oppose this amendment. causes in puerto rico
is not that they are not getting enough federal money. the root causes are poor decisions that have been made over years and years and years. i think what this amendment does is it actually puts a stamp on the bill that we're asking for additional money. people have been saying that this bill is a pathway to a bail out. and i think if we actually encourage this task force to look at sending more money to puerto rico, it will become that. i think this amendment should be opposed. >> mr. chair. >> is there any other discussion? >> i hope to strike the last word. >> you are recognized for five minutes. >> i rise in support of this amendment. when you look at this bill, what we are trying to do is to improve puerto rico's fiscal condition. and its undisputed will that the lack of fair, equitable access
to the federal health programs is having a huge impact on the fiscal stability of puerto rico. if you just simply take a look at the medicaid program and you provide puerto rico with equal access up to 100% of the poverty level, not medicaid expansion, simply treating the american citizens of puerto rico falling below the poverty level equally, the same as their fellow american citizens in the states, the government of puerto rico would be receiving in excess of $2 billion extra, additional, each year. right now, the government of puerto rico is struggling to deal with the medical field. if you are going to be creating a task force to look at ways in betteruerto rico can do
, the government of puerto rico can do better, the economy of puerto rico can get back to a growth, definitely, you should be looking at the way that puerto rico is treated under the federal health this is not pre-ordaining everything; it is simply adding the subject matter to the scope of work of this task force. task force will make its recommendations, bu the members of congress will be the ones of the last say, excluding federal health programs from this review was from the work of the task force, and it doesn't make sense if the objective of this bill is the one i just retreat. getting puerto rico back in shape, fiscally and then economically as a result. so i urge my colleagues to support the amendment offered. i yield back.