tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 26, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EDT
this committee coming from john miller managing director of the management, mr. miller, who oversees over $113 billion of tax exempt municipal investments in america. this is one of the largest testified to he contrary. it will stabblize puerto rico itself the government but it will also have a pozz give pact elsewhere. mutual funds respected traditional mutual funds like ally ns and have also stated that there's not going to be any impact in the municipal markets at large if we approve
this legislation as is. "wall street journal" and bloomberg have also issued editorials supporting this legislation and saying that it is not going to have a negative impact in the municipal markets at large. to the contrary, if we don't do anything, that could have an impact in the markets because the bonds are held by thousands of investors, institutional and individual, all over america. and we need to get the house in order. now, in terms of the status of puerto rico, again, i have to say this is not going to set a precedent for the state. i hate that that is the case because i would love puerto rico to be a state. but puerto rico is a territory. and as a territory, we can do -- we can treat puerto rico differently than the states so long as we have a rational
basis for doing so. that has been the position of the u.s. supreme court for ages now. when we talk about constitutional debt coming from puerto rico it's not the same as constitutional debt coming from the states because puerto rico's constitution is subject to the u.s. constitution, and particularly the territorial clause in the u.s. constitution. that is why we have the power to treat general obligation bond holders differently than they are treated elsewhere in america. stly, i am not promoting being unfair to any class of creditors. all i'm saying is that all of them should be part of the solution not part of the problem. we cannot be listening to one particular class over the others. we should be encouraging them all to engage in negotiations.
and once, for example, two thirds of them agree on a potential restructuring of the debt of any government entity of puerto rico, then this bill allows the board to take that deal to court and enforce it on all the creditors. that's going to be good for any debt issuer of puerto rico. lastly, when we talk about chapter nine, i introduced chapter 9 so that puerto rico would be treated as a state and it was in congress' will to do so. so that is not what we are talking about now. we are talking about something similar but again is in the hands of the board. that wouldn't happen in any state. it is happening only in puerto rico as a territory. i oppose this amendment. >> is there further discussion? mr. fleming. >> well, let me say first of
all that the fact that puerto rico is a territory and not a state does not in any way prevent these actions being taken for a state as well. there is no constitutional or legal barrier to doing that. this opens the way psychologically and in every other way to do that. with respect to the general bond holders deciding to sell out to other funds on the way because they heard rumors of congress beginning to intervene, that's the whole problem here. if congress -- if word gets out there that congress is willing to intervene and to create a 9 o gressive chapter bankruptcy system, then of ourse all of that is being eroded and no longer applies. because if it can be reversed at any point then what does it
begin with? i yield my time. >> mr. chairman, i want to address the argument that while the states are different in territories and this can't possibly apply, that chapter 9 can't possibly apply to a state. well of course chapter 9 can be applied to states. chapter 9 was specifically written for municipalities which are subdivisions of states. the only reason that chapter 9 has not applied to the states is because congress has never threatened to do so because doing so undermines the full faith and credit guarantees of their state constitutions. this measure makes clear that congress is now changed that status quo, that it is now willing to breach that faith and once we have done so full faith and credit is no longer an iron-clad guarantee that your bonds will be backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing entity. the claim that this couldn't possibly happen ig no, sir the
fact that it is already happening. as i stated, we're watching the insurance instruments for state general obligation bonds already increasing just on the process of us taking this action. six state governors have already issued wanchings that this will affect their states. and as i said i think the virnlen islands clearly understands the threat to their own debt of this measure and the spiraling interest costs that it will mean. so again, if you don't want to protect the full faith and credit of the state vote for this measure, but accept responsibility for the aftermath. >> further discussion? >> mr. chairman, i know we've been at this for a while. but i think this is important enough that i want to speak on it as well. this needs to fail for the same reason the similar amendment failed.
we're trying to play judge and jury. we're trying to decide among 20 plus classes of a bond holder here. and i understand the intent, but we simply are not equipped to adjudicate all of the different claims of all the different bond holders sitting in this room today. for example, very briefly, let's take a widow who happened to buy the very first general obligation bond that was issued in excess of puerto rico's constitutional limit because some bonds were sold in excess of what they were allowed. that widow bought her bond. it's one bond after it was constitutionally guaranteed. she thought she was buying a general obligation bond. and let's compare to her to a hedge fund. a hedge fund who bought four times removed a general obligation bond from somebody else. it was bought from puerto rico
and then sold and sold and sold and a hedge fund buys it. he wants to adjudicate the rights of those parties here and now by declaration. it's a mistake for us to do that. let the control board apply the letter that we've laid down here in the bill that the respective rights of the parties have to be honored, and let them adjudicate. let them certify claims that go to the court for further review. but let's not try to exclude nearly 20% of the bonds by fiat here in the committee room. yeebled. >> let me reiterate that i have to vote in opposition to this as well for the reasons he said. it goes too far in exempting an entire class which may or may not have been legally done and allows -- does not allow the
>> is there anyone who hasn't voted? the clerk will report. >> mr. chairman, on this vote the yeas are 12 and the nays are 27. >> the amendment does not pass. i'm going to ask at this point for the clerk to pass out all of the remaining ones that were filed late, specifically fleming 80, fleming 92, fleming 92, bishop 2 and fleming 91. the revised. and then as soon as that is done, i think mr. labbeddor i think you're the next one. and labbeddor 042. no that's the next one we'll be doing.
>> the committee will come back to order. i recognize the gentleman fromive to explain the amendment. without objection the amendment is considered as read. >> thank you madam chair. my amendment is attempting to clarify language to require the fiscal plan to endeavor to provide for pension benefits projected to become due and payable during the plan. i will be withdrawing the amendment. i just want to put this on the record. as the bill curnly states, the fiscal plan is supposed to provide adequate funding of public pensions. that is what the pension is. i have not been able to get a real definition of what adequate funding means. i understand the history of this was the white house was attempting to protect the
pensions like they were protected in detroit and we said no, which is what the intent of this committee is not to protect the pensions like they were protectd in detroit. so i just want to make it clear. my language was attempting to make it clear that what happened in detroit is not going to happen because in -- by the oversight board or in the boards. i have talked to a few experts who told me my language may be less clarifying than the language already in the bill. so that's why i'm withdrawing. but i have been assured by the author and the committee that some language will go into the report that will strongly stay, that we will not -- the committee report that will strongly state that our intent was to make sure that detroit does not happen in puerto rico. because then we will have a bond crisis if that's what happens. as the bond experts have told
us, what happened in detroit was an anomaly and that's why the bond market did not react to detroit because it was a one-time event. if the same thing happens in puerto rico then it will be a pattern and then the bond markets will react in a very the negative way and that will affect each one of our constituents. so with that in mind i will be wids drawing the amendment but i want to make sure that we have the strong statement in the report. yield. >> the gentleman withstraws. the next amendment for our conversation is offered by mr. bishop of utah. it is bishop number 2. i recognize myself for five minutes to explain the amendment and without objection the amendment is considered as read. this is a minor technical fix. it ensures the deal is
protected. that deal has taken two years to negotiate. it reet rates and clarifies the purpose of paragraph 3. which is to protect preexisting oluntary agreements. i ask for your support. is there further discussion? the question is on the amendment. all in favor say aye. those opposed no. the ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. there are further amendments and i am going to return the chair to the chairman. >> thank you vice chair. o the next one is 091 as
revised. the revised 91. mr. fleming. >> i consulted with mr. labrador that he supported 91 in the change of -- in the aspect supplied here changing the word respect to comply with. and therefore we have agreed upon this as a good substitute for my 91. and ask that it -- we make it in order and pass it. > is there further discussion? >> mr. chairman just for clarification purposes are we talking about amendment 91? >> the revised version, which is just the first two lines on age 37 line 22 strikes
inspects and puts comply with. >> i rise in opposition. my concern with this language is that it could be interpreted at meaning that you cannot restructure any of the general bligation bonded debt. and as i have stated before, it is one thing to say that we're going to respect priorities and treat bond holders differently depending on the type of securities you are holding and their rights. it's quite in order to say they cannot be part of any restructuring. everybody should be at the table and i anticipate that there will be differences in the treatment to all the bond holders or the classes of bond holders that puerto rico have. so again for the purpose of
broad g that we have orderly legal restructuring of the debt owed by the puerto rico government instrumentalities i have to oppose this amendment. yield back. >> mr. wittman. >> i would like to recognize the gentleman from louisiana dr. fleming. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. again, the word respect is a weasel word here. it has no meaning. simply put if you don't have the requirement to comply with those priorities then the general obligation bond holders have no priority whatsoever. they could slide to the bottom and pensioners slide to the top. something all of us have a concern here that there would in fact be no meaning to a general obligation bond holders which is full faith and credit.
so for that reason this bill this law should require that those priorities be fully put in place and complied with rather than at the last minute through some shell game be moved about. just like we saw in the general motors situation where priorities were turned upside down against law. i yield back. >> mr. chairman i yield back. >> is there further discussion? >> look, i'm going to weigh in with one word. because, to be honest, i don't know what to do on this one. originally i said this was can you believe. i'm now being told we may have problems if it goes forward on the floor. so -- i don't know what i'm willing to do. i will be willing to work with you on this particular language. if it's not adopted i will be working with you on this
particular language. i think i am going to have to vote now simply because i don't know what i'm doing. >> the gentleman from louisiana i would be happy to support this if you would be willing to add at the beginning practicable. so to the extent practkble to comply with. i would be happy to vote if that provides any comfort. >> if the gentleman would yield, i think that's adding more adjustment language either it complies with the law in the constitution or it doesn't. and i would prefer to move forward. >> is there further discussion? >> mr. chairman. >> i intend to vote for this because of the word relative. relative is still in there. so it will say comply with the relative lawful priorities or lawful leins as may be applicable. so the word relative to me is
>> is there anyone who hasn't voted or wants to change? the clerk will report. >> mr. chairman on this vote the yeas are 16 nos 23. >> the amendment is not agreed to. but i would like to see if we can still explore going forward with this. number 80. the next ones we have from herein are yours. o let's go with number 80.
i think we've got three more to do. right? they're all in fleming's so let's go with number 80. you're recognized. >> mr. chairman, thank you. as my staff and i researched got here, d how we it quickly became apparent that fishy.ng was you see, puerto rico like other territories and states has a balanced budget requirement. yet they continue to grow their debt in fishy. you an astronomicalcal rate that shouldn't be possible. it turns out that the english language constitution that congress approved requires that revenues match expenditures. in other words, their budget must balance each year. however, the spanish language translation of the constitution recursos, which means revenues. but the puerto rican government has interpreted it to more broadly mean resources.
in some crazy stretch of imagination they count debt as a resource and therefore they are able to balance their budget, in quotes, by issuing more and more debt. this has to stop. my amendment would require puerto rico, the government to correctly interpret their constitution going forward. if they will not the oversight board and its restructuring authority will sunset after two years. this is more than reasonable because the oversight board is supposed to balance the puerto rican budget as part of the fiscal plan. so it should be a simple matter for puerto rican government to certify to the chair and ranking member of this committee that they will honor the balanced budget requirement in the puerto rican constitution going forward. if they cannot or will not then it is clear that puerto rico is not serious about keeping their fiscal house in order after the oversight board completes its work and we will end up right back here in the same place. specifically, the amendment
states that the government of puerto rico must certify to the appropriate congressional committees that they will honored the balanced budget requirement in article 6 section 7 of the puerto rican constitution and that they will not interpret this to include debt issued by the government of puerto rico. if they will not do these simple things then the authority of the oversight board will sunset along with its debt restructuring ability and we will have to negotiate a whole new approach. the requirement to interpret their constitution should have been a precondition for any congressional action. but this amendment seems like a reasonable compromise. i yield back. >> is there further discussion? >> in opposition to this amendment, let me state that the financial situation of puerto rico is complex and messy. achieving a balanced budget in two years that may not be
realistic at all. if they fail to achieve a balanced budget this would abolish the oversight board and the entity task of achieving a balanced budget for the commonwealth. this amendment is not intended to be helpful. it is like other amendments designed to kill this legislation. finally, i would note that the people of puerto rico don't need clarification of the interpret wation of their own constitution. they frankly need congress to take the necessary steps to ensure future financial stability. i would also note that a 2-year limit in fact the budget proposed by the majority here don't balance within two years. not even close to it. if that's the measurement that we're using here, then obviously it's not applicable to puerto rico, either. the amendment is not intended to achieve the goals stated. it's intended to kill the
legislation. i oppose it and i yield back. >> i oppose the amendment and let me explain why. first of all, this legislation creates the board that is in charge of approving a long-term fiscal plan for puerto rico. at least five years worth of budgets and fiscal discipline. and one of the factors that the board is told it has to take into account is puerto rico's ability to balance its budget. it is one of the factors laid out. no fiscal plan will be approved by the board unless the government of puerto rico is balancing its books. it is as simple as that. then the board as well is in charge of approving the budget of the government of puerto rico on a yearly basis.
and ensuring that they're prop lir balanced. so that is the board's job. and we should be expecting the board to do what is -- and trusted to do. now, in terms of puerto rico's constitution, that is a matter for the supreme court of puerto rico to handle. the supreme court of puerto rico is the ultimate interpreter of our own constitution. and this language that you are laying out hasn't been ruled yet or held yet by the supreme court of puerto rico. so let's focus on the important thing. we want fiscal discipline in puerto rico. the board will be overseen the government of puerto rico. in fact, the board can only cease to exist after puerto rico manages to balance its budget for five consecutive years, four consecutive years,
and it have adequate access to the markets. that is the bill that we are providing for. we don't need this amendment. and i agree with the ranking member that i just believed this is more geared towards messing with our purpose and the bill's prospects on the loor and in. i yield back. >> any further discussion? i yield to the gentleman from louisiana dr. fleming. >> the hard-working people in louisiana, and we're going through some difficult times. we're having to close a $2 billion budget gap annual gap. by law and by constitution. we have to actually balance our budget every year. and we're not allowed to go out and borrow money and consider that revenue, which is exactly what puerto rico does. so all this amendment does is it correctly defines what ref
new and resources are and currently the territory is considering borrowed money, the money that people had lent in good faith to this territory who are going to lose much of their principal, in many cases widows and retirees. all it says is let's be honest about what a balanced budget really is. the state of louisiana and the hard-working people that i represent know what a balanced budget is and they know they're having to go through the tough times. so what we're saying here is, well, we're going to put this oversight board in place. but puerto rico doesn't have to live up by the same standard as the state of louisiana and the people of the united states. and make no mistake about it. there are a number of states that are nearing the situation in puerto rico. maybe as many as 15. and they're going to be saying.
well, now if puerto rico can bail out of that situation, why can't we? we're going to have squints they're going to have to -- constituents that they have to face. it doesn't make sense. so this is a very common-sense amendment and i think is very appropriate for this bill. >> i yield back. >> is there further discussion? let me express once again my opposition of this, two years s not a lot. any amendments? if not we will vote. in the opinion of the chair the no's have it. let's go to number 92 by in fleming. this is passed out. you all got it in paper form. >> mr. chairman, my second amendment related to the
priority of creditors has some additional changes throughout title 2 to clarify the relative priority of pensions. again, i am motivated by the memory of the gm bailout. and while i hope union retirees will be able to receive what they have been promised the fact is that they made promises that they couldn't afford to pay. and parenthetically that's true all across america. politicians have made promises to the american people and the people they represent that they could never live up to and future politicians as well. now they are hoping to swindle the very people who lent them money in order to pay the pension benefits in the first place. the evidence is that puerto rico just released their fiscal year 2017 budget this week that increase it is government spending across the board, including pensions for government workers. just what we were talking about a moment ago. while puerto rico is in this ry dire strait they're
increasing their spending, including money flowing into the pensions. this budget proves that the current government of puerto rico is trying to live out a fantasy in which actions don't have consequences. this, not congress' failure to act, is the root of their problems. my amendment claferse that the oversight board will provide adequate funding or reasonable alternatives to satisfy obligations but solely to the extent that such contributions are due under the terms of the applicable pension plan which may be restructured. it also tight ns the language to ensure that funds are not transferred among entities to pay for hention shortfall. finally it puts a delay on bailing out underfunded pensions until after the board is able to complete analysis and determines how it is going to hontr constitutional debt. again, this has proved
necessary by the budget just proposed by the governor which defaults on debt. i urge adoption. >> is there further discussion? >> i rise in opposition to the amendment. this amendment attempts to throw pensioners to the bottom of the barrel and flies in the face of hard-earned bipartisan agreements on this bill. not to mention denying pensioners hard-earned savings. if you want to place conditions on who should be getting paid back, pensioners simply cannot be the ones taking the hit. i oppose the legislation. it is -- and yield back. >> is there further discussion? very briefly. >> i will be brief. this bill is not picking winners and losers. it has the right framework and
it provides for fair restructuring and all stakeholders are involved. there's lurge by the way prohibitting interdebter transfers. so you can have this -- your concern about transferring assets just to favor one set of creditors over another. and we shouldn't be expecting that the board will be making the wrong calls. on the contrary, the board -- we should trust the board, a federally appointed board, to do the right thing. if you get to the legalities of this, the supreme court of puerto rico have held that once your pension is vested you have a property right in it. you have the contract trull right. and so pension holders will be treated accordingly. that doesn't mean that they are totally out of the equation but we should make -- we should allow the board to review the
pension systems in puerto rico and study them. they are seriously underfunded. and as the bill provides, ensuring that the fiscal plan and the budgets of the government of puerto rico provide this pension system adequate fund sog they -- the system ks honor their obligations. throwing 330,000 american citizens in puerto rico under the bus cannot be a solution. obviously there is a crisis. we are suffering through it. including the retirees. but we shouldn't be -- we shouldn't view this bill as picking winners and losers and we shouldn't be harming or intentionally harming pension ers in puerto rico. i oppose the amendment. >> let mow just respond as well. i'm voting now, and it deals with priorities and the interdebt transfer as well as alternatives that's duplicative language already in the bill.
and it would have the practical event of those currently on pensions to actually go four months without receiving one if they're currently on it. so i urge a no vote. is there any further discussion? the no's have it. e have one amendment left. >> i know the hour is late. but i move to strike the last word. >> the hour is early in the afternoon but it's late for all of us. you have that right. go for it. thank you, mr. chairman. while i am happy to be having this very important discussion on puerto rico today, i still have significant reservations about the oversight board provisions in this bill. for one, i am concerned with how members of the puerto rico oversight board would be chosen as the bill is currently written there is nothing
guaranteing that the board members represent a diverse set of background and experiences. while there are several fields that members can come from, including experts in finance, municipal bopped markets management law business and government, there is still nothing to say that all members can't come from just one of those fields. for example, all members could come from the financial services sector or law. the oversight board should reflect the diverse interests of puerto rico and a long-term commitment to the commonwealth. the board should look like puerto rico and as it is currently written there is no guarantee that it will. i am also concerned that under is current proposal future appointments could circumstance
vent. while all ice are on puerto rico right now i am sure they all have the best intentions of bringing the commonwealth out of this crisis. what happens when this issue is out of the public spotlight? we are leaving the board open to political gamesmanship and manipulation. i know it has taken us a lot of work on both sides of the aisle and with the administration to get us to this point. but we cannot afford to make puerto rico solvent only to set it up to fail once again. i hope my concerns are taking into conversation as this legislation moves forward. and i ask for assurance from you mr. chairman that this committee will provide the necessary long-term oversight to the board to make sure that it truly is addressing the needs of the puerto rican people. i yield back. thank you.
>> thank you. all right. we're now to the last amente amendment 093. i reserve a point of order against in fleming. >> mr. president, i thank my colleague for approaching me with this bill that would prevent future bailouts. h.r. 5276. in an effort to keep within the scope of this build i limit his approach. but his original bill would apply to state and local government as it should. the stated purpose is to ensure that taxpayers never have to make a direct payment to puerto rico to bail them out for their poor fiscal management and bloated government spending. this would prevent that from happening by prohibitting the direct lines of debt or using the federal reserve to purchase their bonds. it is a simple amendment. and i do understand there is a point of order by the
parliamentarian. >> is there any discussion? e point of order is -- violates rule 10. discussion of areas not in the jurisdiction of this committee. the amendment is -- falls. we're now to the point are there any other amendments? good. all right. the question is adoption reporting the bill as amended. we're going to do this quickly. the bill as amended the no's have it. you want a roll call vote? all right. call the roll quickly. roll call.
>> is that everybody? the clerk will report. -- ctually after this e've got to do this. >> mr. chairman on this vote the yeas are 29 and the nays are 10. >> the bill is approved as amended. ordered favorably reported. without objection the motion is considered laid on the table. if you want to vote i still have to do some of the crap here. you might as well leave. minority. wait wait i don't have time for that. just go vote. minority has a motion. >> i hereby reserve the right of the minority to file additional views and the measure ordered reported by the committee today.
>> please vote quietly. i mean, go away quietly. i ask unanimous consent the staff be allowed -- ord ordered. i ask unanimous consent the staff be allowed to make changes to the board today subject to the approval of the minority. i also ask unanimous consent that for any bill reported today be considered with an amendment to strike out all after the enacting clause with its perfecting amendment. hearing no objection so ordered. i give a heartfelt thanks to the office of legislative council for their tireless work on this bill. that is noff easy task. if there is no objection the committee stands adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national able satellite corp. 2016] captioning performed by the
>> the committee on homeland security will come to order. committee's meeting to examine the security challenges brought forth by increased passenger screening and checkpoint wait times. but before i begin my opening statement, i'd like to take a moment of silence for the victims and their families of egypt air 804. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. today we face a crisis at our airports. we've all read the headlines. three-hour long security lines. 430 american airline passengers stranded overnight at o' are. travelers waiting forever to be screened causing missing flights and further delays. more than 3,000 bags have failed to get loaded on to planes in time to phoenix. and 80% an increase in wait times at j.f.k. airport compared to this time last year. this is unacceptable.
and it is time for congress to act. the administrator of the american people are angry and frustrated as we head into the busiest travel season of the year. starting this memorial day weekend and they deserve answers. this crisis didn't just come out of nowhere. airports and airlines have been sounding the alarm for months. there's no doubt that part of the challenge we face is a high terror threat environment. but wait times are not soaring simply because security is much tighter. it's because the t.s.a. bureaucracy has gotten weaker. the agency has struggled to keep up with the high demand and has been unable to put the right people, the right place at the right time. change is not happening fast enough. admiral neffenger, i know you're working hard to reform t.s.a.'s broken brock schism and today i hope i will hear how you will confront this
crisis swiftly. but congress will not sit back as the situation gets worse. and that's why this committee and the house of representatives passed legislation to fix this problem. i commend my colleague for offering these bills. among other measures our legislation would accelerate t.s.a.'s precheck program which helps reduce wait times but putting low risk travelers through expedited screening. unfortunately, the senate has failed to pass these bills which in my judgment is unconscienable. and today i'd like to send my message to my colleagues in the other body. it's time to get moving because the american people are fed up with this. this week, we'll introduce yet another bill to attack this problem. and i hope that this time we can give to the president's desk more quickly. and in the coming months we will take a broorder look at t.s.a. including first authorization
of the agency which will give us an opportunity to make wider reforms and long-term changes. additionally we land to take up legislation to enhance t.s.a.'s screening partnership program. but as i noted we must also take into account serious aviation threats that we ace. and i think the events of the egyptian airliner demonstrate that. although investigators are still working to determine the cause of the egypt air crash, one fact is clear, terrorists are trying to bring down airplanes and the aviation sector is their crown jewel target. this month i led a congressional del gigse the middle east and northern africa to examine the spread of terror safe havens and we walked away concerned that screenings are inadequate with direct flights into the united states. for instance, airports like cairo lack full body scanners to detect nonmetallic i.e.d.'s and they don't have a watch
list for screening their employees. this is a concern we know because militants are trying to recruit insiders and inside jobs to take down passenger ets. we seen this twice in recent months including an attack in somalia and one against a russian jet in egypt. but this is not just a problem in the middle east or northern africa. this is in an airplane in paris which has 50 direct flights to the united states every day. they fired 70 employees who were suspected of having extremists connections. 70. we have to help our foreign partners weed out these extremists. again, the house and the committee passed two bills to
ramp up security at overseas airports and yet again, these bills are sitting in the senate stalling waiting for action. it is unconscionable, time for the senate to act. and the president will sign them into law. we cannot afford further delay because american lives are at risk. and as we adapt to the evolving threat, we must make sure that agencies like t.s.a. adapt their business models to keep business flowing smoothly. terrorists would like to undermine our economy by allowing air transportation to grind to a haul. we asked to make screening more efficient. congress granted real estate cent request to reallocate $34 million to hire new t.s.a.
officers before july and to pay for additional overtime for existing personnel. today, we expect you to tell us how you are putting these resources to work and how you're going address the crisis at our airports once and for all. i want to thank the admiral for being here today. we between thank you for your service to our country. and with that the chair recognizes the ranking member of the committee. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i'd like to thank you for calling today's hearing. i'd also like to welcome administrator neffenger and thank him in advance for his testimony. to be clearing the flying public expects real estate -- reliable air transit. as you know most administrator, the importance of this role can hardly be understated. the agency is in a critical point. t.s.a. is still implements reforms after covert testing last year revealed serious gap in security screening.
now, long lines and record wait times at airports checkpointsar throughout our entire aviation ystem. passengers are understandably anxious as they hear stories about fellow passengers who despite their best effort missed flights asking passengers to arrive three hours before a domestic departure is unacceptable. in addition to the stress on passengers to wear the right clothes, decide whether to check a bag, pay exorbitant baggage fees, and make tight connections, the stress on the
flying public is felt most severely by aerial and airport personnel. unfortunately, if the men and women who are the face of t.s.a. who get blamed. the transportation secure officers. travel volume substantially increased. yet t.s.a. has failed to keep pace with this result. as a result, there's an insufficient number of transportation security officers in our in addition's airports. the current situation where is we have too far screeners and too many passengers did not occur without warning. in fiscal year 2011. there were approximately 45,000 t.s.o.'s screening 642 million passengers. they screened 740 million anticipated passengers. almost 100 million more
passengers and 3,000 fewer screeners. in fy-2017,. the s.a. requested funding to hire an additional 320 t.s.o. this di not seem like enough. more recently t.s.a. as the chairman indicated has announced its plan to onboard 768 t.s.o.'s by june 15. increasing staffing resources is certainly a good thing but only if the proper investigate and training occur before more t.s.o.'s add it. administrator neffenger, i want
to know if t.s.a. has the money necessary to achieve its mission. at secretary johnson's requested congress reprogrammed $34 million in t.s.a.'s account to pay for overtime and other costs associated with responding to the wait time crisis. while these funds will surely aid t.s.a. in addressing staff and shortages in the short-term moving money around is not a substitute for infusing new money into an operation. t.s.a. should have access to all of the aviation security fees collected by the flying public to boast the secure. yet, the passage of the budget act of 2013, t.s.a. is required to divert $13 billion collected and secure the fees towards the deficit reduction for the next 10 years. this year alone $1.25 billion has been devoted.
personally i'm working with peter defosio the ranking member on the transportation committee and his efforts to insure that t.s.a. can retain the fees it collects and put it back in the aviation system in the absence of new, more resources are important. congress an t.s.a. with band-aid fixes. patching an filling holes is not the answer. moreover dismantling t.s.a. is not the answer. many of think mi colleagues on the other side of the aisle are calling for a return to the pre-911 privatization manner. this would not be the way to o.
as one prominent airport commissioner recently cknowledged, the benefits of privatization are very marginal and there's a huge cost in time associated with the transition. we need to look for long-term solutions. one solution as i've indicated and have written a let tore you, mr. administrator, is to assign the nearly 2,500 t.f.o.'s as behavior detection officers. as you hoe the spot program has been subject to a d.a.o. review. and it's questionable about its success. but we spent $1 billion on this program. and we could put that money to good use. so i look forward, mr. neffenger, look around the
committee room here. all our members use the airports to come to work every week. and i'm sure like i, they are anxiously awaiting your testimony. i yield back. >> i thank the ranking member. other members are reminded that opening statements may be submitted to the record. i'm pleased to have admiral neffenger on this very important and timely topic. admiral peter neffenger serves as a sixth administrator of the transportation security dministration where he leads operations at more than 150 airplanes within the united states and a workforce of almost 60,000 employees. prior to joining t.s.a., the admiral served as the 25 vice commandant of the coast guard and the deputy coast commandant. we thank you, sir for being here today.
and we thank you for your service. your full written statement appears in the record. the chair now recognizes admiral neffenger. admiral neffenger: thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. i sincerely appreciate the operations insuring that our operation has the resources. since taking the oath of office, i have traveled throughout the country and around the worldle to meet with employees at all levels of our agency and they are truly impressive. their patriotism, their sense of duty and their commitment is exemplary. but we need a an enterprise for unwavering support from their leaders. last week, egypt 805 crash into the med terrain yain. it was a tragic loss of life. and while we don't yet know what happened to that airplane it is a stark reminder of the importance of t.s.a.'s daily mission.
first and for most, i have undertaken a system. i set a renewed focus on ecurity. ade investments in new technology and have retrained the entire workforce. we are holding ourselves accountable to high standards of performance. i'm supporting the front line officers. we have invigorated our partnerships with airplanes and the trade and travel industries and are working hard with congress and this committee. i'm investing in our people. wand the help of congress i directed a complete overhaul of our approach of how we train our workforce at all levels of
the agency. we accomplished the first academy in january 1st of this year. this will enable us to develop a common culture, instill our core values and raise the performance across the entire workforce. this has led to a number of significant changes. elimination of the arbitrary yeast use of the assignment. and significant controls on bonuses at all levels. we are overhauling management practices, conducting acquisition program, building a planning, budgeting and execution process and building a human capital system to address assignment and retention. the screening mission require as similar fundamental reassessment. this year we will screen some 740 million people. in 2013, we screened 640 million. that's an increase of is00 million while our workforce has
reduced by more than 12%. that is a significant contributor to what we face today. we have a challenge this summer which we are aggressively meeting head on. >> we have the command center to screen check-point e point operation. and actual wait times which will allow us to address critical concerns in realtime. this includes staffing from associations. and they are conducting daily calls to plan that day's operations and what we foresee in the coming days. our goals are to insure effective screening and to maximize our screening capacity to achieve shorter line waits. additionally we are providing more overtime and new t.s.a. officers. we are converting with the help
of congress. our frontline officers from fart time to full time. they and help improve their retention and moral. and i thank you for supporting these efforts. to perform signal screening functions. and they've done so. and they put it into the screening checkpoints. we have deployed additional canine teams and and asked our reserve to be available in areas of greatest need. we are seeing enrollments that are averaging thr than almost three times what we saw last year at this time. >> i brought in new staff from outside the agency. i have a new deputy administrator, a new chief of staff, a new chief of operations a head of intelligence. i've selected different changes at the national airport levels. meet adjustment -- immediate it has included the passengers
each day. e must match operational apacity to the demands are projected and real screening volume. we are continuing to work closely with the department and a congress to allow us to match resources with mission demands. finally in aggressively pursuing solution, we accepted a task force to explore and develop new approaches. one example is a private partnership where the first two lanes became operational as they. we look forward to the results of those -- of the first coupling of weeks of that operation. we have similar projects. and the airlines and airports
have been huge partners. clearly it's going to be busy. t.s.a. airlines, airplanes. working together can improve the passenger experience? >> wing, we maintain security that we need. t.s.a. is dead indicated and remaining acutely -- the guiding principles are focused in mission, invest in people nd commit to excellence. we are pursuing these objectives every day. as administrator i will continue to do so until we achieve success in every mission, in every office and with every single employee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, admiral. i recognize myself for questions. let me just say first, all
americans experience the horror on 911 of airplanes being turn into cruise missiles and turned against us, bring down the world trade center. hitting the pentagon and attempting to hit this building. it still remains the crown jewel of aviation. >> we know that they're still intent on this. we know that's sys and the sinai were able to pull sharmel sheik. i recently had experience to go to northern sinai where isis exists. i also went to the cairo airport which has a daily flight into j.f.k. airport. and i have to say i'm concerned about the state of security there. i'm also concerned of the state of security at charles dego where 70 extremists were weeded out. and we this is the external operation.
that keeps me up at night can. you tell me, sir, what t.s.a. is doing to protect this last point of departure particularly n these high threat areas. >> yes, sir, thank you. mr. chairman and like you i'm very focused on the safety of inbound flights to the united tates. so we look at -- there are a number of things we. do first and foremost is working through the international community to continually try to race global standards. in addition with respect to last point of departure. we put additional standards for any airport that intent to fly of the united states without any intermediate stuff. that increase screening of the cargo, and the aircraft. and investigate anyone who was on that flight coming to the united states in addition to that following the metro jet
relationships. at certain airports of interest and concerning the airline we have added significant additional requirements of aircraft and personnel intending to fly directly from the united states. >> this legislation i mentioned, the stipulate senate would help you and give you authority to assist these airports with flights coming into the united states. it has not -- it's been stalled. you know, when i didn't see full body scanners in cairo that concerns me because of the nonmetallic i.e.d. threat. this can be fixed. we can't come beat them to properly vet their own employees. i worry about this -- sir. and i hope that i can work with you to expedite this process. i meet with the president and ambassador. they're working in good faith
with the united states to insure the safety of americans as well. with respect to the lines in the present budget request, there was a request for an additional 250 screeners. but t.s.a. came back to the congress and asked for to have 34 million reprogrammed. and we granted that request for 768 t.s.o.'s which will come online i think by the end of june or early july. but this was really not our first rodeo. why didn't we see this coming? >> that's a good question. as you know, when on the heels of the results. it was immediately that one of the challenges we were going to have is enough screening staff.
as you recall we stopped the practice known as managing increase assigning people out of the standards lanes unvetted individuals randomly check into the precheck lanes. was that an unacceptable risk? i knew that that could whoa dramatically increase back in the standard lanes. so i came to congress and congress was very gracious in granting a request to halt any further reductions. we had plan to drop another 16 billion people. and then we immediately had to do accelerated hiring. the 7618 on top for fy-2017. the near term challenge of the increased boy. and moving so to move that. but you know there's a leg associated with getting the funding and getting it fired. >> but you have a lot of part-time employees --
staff. do you intend to make it a second request to reprogram money's that have already been appropriated. t.s.a. to move them part-time to full time. it's i think it's important for them to move to the full-time and it comes from the capability that i could put to use. i'm working with them whether there's a need for a second reprogramming. >> 20% of your employees are part-time, in my judgment they're trained to do the job. seems to me that would cause overnight -- would ramp up your personnel, forced to deal with the long lines. and we know we anticipate those going into the summer. earlier we planned to introduce.
and when you met with 30 airplanes and 30 airline representatives. they expressed concerns that there was not the proper coronation at the local level with the field, security directors at t.s.a. that the staffing model didn't reflect the peak. and in large part this would solve a lot of these staffing problems. they weren't empowered to make decisions by a based on what's happening at the local airports. do you agree with that? >> i absolutely agree with that. last time i brought the directors together. o direct them. i like institutionalizing ideas like that so they stay. because i think that's an important way to go
forward. >> that's what this legislation would do. it would require t.s.a. to assess the staffing. allocation model. >> and also demanded to get from the airlines and the airplanes. would you agree with that? >> yes. >> i like to manage that program and roam about the irports. there are if they can be deployed. so a lot of these problems -- i think the ranking member mentioned this. in this statement that they would be in an inappropriate response. >> i think it's important to also note that behavior detection is still an important element but it's how you use it. i can use document checking positions and to serve place where is they can monitor and look at behavior but at the same time directly contribute to the efficiency of the
heckpoint. finally do you support -- do you expect of expanding. it would move a lot of people into the long lines which would solve many of these problems as well. >> absolutely. in fact, that's one of the fundamental priorities is to dramatically and to spend and the ability to enroll people in precheck. >> they're putting a lot of blame on you. we passed a bill out of this committee to expand the precheck program which would have helped the situation. >> there he is. stalled in the senate. >> they could have helped this problem months ago. it's unconsciousness sometimes
they don't listen to us in the house. but for the -- it's time for the senate to act on this important legislation. wand that i'll recognize the anking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. put that chart up. have a chart that kind of crystallizes what i think is the challenge that t.s.a. is faced with. in fy-2011, we had 45,000 t.s.o.'s. 642 million passengers. >> fy-2016, we had 740 million and only 42, 200 t.s.o.'s. i guess the question comes in mind. what do you think the number of t.s.o.'s you need to address the problem we are faced with
now? >> well, thank you for the question. i do think that we are at a lower staffing level than we need to be to meet demands. we're working to determine the right number and how to deploy people. e converted 100 part-timers to full-times. and we're using overtime hours to convert additional and we added a total of 2050 officers. 58 right now. that in connection with some operational adjustments have dramatically increased the situation. i think -- i don't have a an exact number because we're reworking them to. but i do know that we need a higher level than what we currently have.
>> and i look forward to you coming up with the number. do you have presently the resources to address the problems, the wait time and other things presently within your budget? 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? therefore the wait time of etting to that plane increases in baggage. have you all look at that? enforcing the one plus one ule. that is very important. you bring for things through the checkpoint a couple of those things are probably going to get a check anyhow. one thing we have to look at as
a committee is the airlines are making several billion dollars annually offer these fees. if that contributes to the wait 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 been hiring contract staff that 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. e human psychology is such
hat 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 ane. as much as 15% walking into a
standard lane by mistake mr. king: 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 ffices you will be sending there. we're ready seeing a dramatic improvement at jfk. the maximum line weight we saw was 39 minutes in a standard ane. the next #we saw in a pre-check lane was five minutes. we're only seeing a dramatic improvement there.
we will see that every day. 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 doing it allows us to rapidly 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. mr. king: could you say what
you are doing on the insider hreat? the inspector general eport. what happened to charles de aulle 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. ust 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. his is the extended database 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. mr. king: if you can check out 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 officers and others who go out 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 ilitary.
we might even get some more. i understand we may be getting 700 at 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. this is a plus on top of that
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. if 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 f 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. you don't want to pull burnt out 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 resources and then a management 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. we had a large pool of available applicants that had already been screened. i still want 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 our other answers in writing. regarding the institute in georgia. how you can utilize that better. that 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. he 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 to transform the tsa performing 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? >> i agreed with gao that we 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 assenger screening canines. that is been held out as the same as weber weight canines. what i saw was nothing comparable. you have to go to the passenger
smell them personally or right at them. as you know 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. can you tell me why that 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. we typically put a closed panel 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. then he get you a better and more complete answer that. >> that is much better than doing nothing. as you know 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 t. >> 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 job of both research and 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. at some point you reach capacity 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 5 million. mr. king asked about the pre-check system and what that would mean. cap 25 million. currently they have 2.7 6 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. to streamline even further we 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 lternative policies. >> most of those fees go directly to cover program costs right now. it would be challenging under the existing contract to change the fee structure. we encourage people to look at the trusted traveler rograms. 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 he mistakes? mr. 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. my 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. do you 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. penalties for 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 of unexpected 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? how you are ready for a date -- 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. mrs. watson coleman: you have a 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. i 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. i have to question about the issue partnerships. there 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. can we be 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. i can also move personnel more rapidly from place to place if i need to. from my perspective that is a
benefit as a manager of having a workforce that works directly for me rather than contracted to me. ms. watson coleman: there's only one vendor you work with other pre-check program. and that the $85 that one has to pay only covers the administrative expenses. are going to expand this opportunity to other vendors, do you think that will create competition and reduce the cost associated with that? so. really hope that was one of the things being built into the request proposal. to look for ways to reduce the fee. i think competition can do that. >> or, if not reduce the fee, allow that to be used to ensure that you have the resources you need to do the job that needs to be done. workat we look for ex