tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 26, 2016 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT
length of our terminal front. having the ability to do that would be mr. carter: great. have any of you had problems with private security? sorry, say again. >> a few of the airports have private security. mr. carter: can you give me your impression, what have been the results? ms. philipovitch: i'll just use san francisco as an example because that's probably the one i'm most familiar with. because the privatized airports, the way the privatized model is today follows the same procedures and staffing allocation models as other airports -- mr. carter: i hope that my colleagues heard that. they have to follow the same rules and regulations, the training is the same, everything is the same. and t.s.a. oversees it, correct? ms. philipovitch: that's my understanding. mr. carter: i'm sorry. continue.
ms. philipovitch: so we really see as long as the operation is properly resourced, we're able to have both effective and efficient screening in either model. it's really the key is making sure that the resource allocation meets the peak needs of the operation. mr. carter: ok. the screening partnership program, mr. cox, i'm going to ask you directly. can you give me an idea why it appears to me and from what i have heard they do a better job and that they save money on top of that? have you had any experience with this? mr. cox: sir, we believe that the t.s.o.'s that are employed by the federal government, number one, is a professionalized work force. they do a great job. they have been trained to do that. and i think the record speaks very clearly for themselves, since 9/11, we have not had acts of terrorism in this country. we had a privatized work force on 9/11, and we saw what happened.
this country was brought to its knees. the government has been taking care of that, been doing that. part of our real problem right now is a lack of staffing, not enough staff to do the work properly. mr. carter: but -- and i understand and i appreciate what you're saying, but at the same time i'm convinced that the private industry can do this just as well with oversight with t.s.a. and save money and improve customer service and decrease the long lines that we are experiencing at our airports. and i don't -- and they go through the same training. t.s.a. still has oversight, the responsibility. i think it's unfair to compare what happened on 9/11 between privatization and being run by the public. i mean, that took us all. we were all asleep at the wheel then, you have to admit that. mr. cox: i agree. i was watching fox news last sunday and one of the commentators was at the san francisco airport, was
complaining about the long lines, the rudeness of the officers and the various incidents that was going on and said this is a classic example of why it needs to be privatized. and i busted out laughing because it is a privatized airport. and all the problems that she was referring to was at a privatized airport. she wasn't in atlanta or miami, one of those that was not privatized. she was in san francisco complaining, saying it was a classic example of why it should be privatized. mr. carter: well, you know, what i'd like to see is some comparisons. this is something that is very important, and if we can improve it -- because you mentioned the disconnect. i brought up the disconnect and you commented on the disconnect between washington and the local officials. this is something that we got to work on. this is what happens when the bureaucracy gets out of control, and that's what i think we're headed with and we're at right
now with the t.s.a. is the bureaucracy is out of control. we need to get it under control. mr. chairman, i know i've gone past my time but this is just a very important subject to me, so i appreciate your input on that. mr. cox, what you're telling me i'm having different views expressed to me by other people. so i'm going to continue to search on this and continue to try to see what we can come up with. mr. chairman, i yield back and thank you. mr. katko: thank you, mr. carter. i ask unanimous consent that the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee, be allowed to sit today on this hearing and without objection, so ordered. ms. jackson lee: let me express my appreciation for the chairman and ranking member for your courtesies. this is a committee that i have a great affection for because i indicated before that the t.s.o.'s are the first line of
defense, if you will, for the neighborhood, for the nation's aviation security. so let me thank all of you for your presence here. i have some direct questions and then i want to raise a series of questions for mr. cox. thank you very much for representing very fine professional staff which i want to be more professional. less part time, increased salaries and the numbers would you like to have. so i would ask the representative from the chicago, illinois, the admiral was here just yesterday -- excuse me -- just yesterday and i understand that the wait has gone to 15 minutes. i'd like to see what you're obviously here today, thursday, i'd like to hear your assessment. have the lines improved, the times and wait improved? ms. callahan: oh, considerably, ma'am.
we've seen wait times less than 15 minutes. ms. beairsto: oh, considerably, ma'am. we've seen wait times less than 15 minutes. ms. jackson lee: and we need to see a fix. ms. beairsto: a permanent fix. ms. jackson lee: i understand there's a task force and he's added more employees, is that correct? ms. beairsto: and may i correct, it's a temporary right now. we need permanent fix. ms. jackson lee: oh, so you were saying we need a permanent fix? ms. beairsto: yes. ms. jackson lee: the truth is you added more personnel? ms. beairsto: yeah. the extended overtime added. ms. jackson lee: 700 will be by july so you are aware you will get additional t.s.o.'s and that will help the circumstance. is there a problem with the baggage check? there is a screening and there is a baggage check. is there a problem on the baggage check as well? ms. beairsto: it's not surfaced at our level. we can certainly find out
additional information. ms. jackson lee: thank you. but the problem has been at least relieved for a moment and we expect to continue to work with you for that. ms. beairsto: and midway airport is still waiting for additional resources. ms. jackson lee: additional resources. would you say your t.s.o.'s are profession at management level? ms. beairsto: yes, absolutely. ms. jackson lee: and they were attempting to correct the problem? ms. beairsto: yes. ms. jackson lee: thank you. the airlines -- i see other airports. there is a representative from american airlines. have you been able to work by way of getting your concerns to t.s.a.? should we have a better or different protocol? ms. philipovitch: we've been working with admiral neffenger. we're working in collaboration with the t.s.a. and also promoting many of the actions that t.s.a. is suggesting and already taking and also the actions that are contained in
chairman katko's proposed legislation which we're in favor of as well. ms. jackson lee: which means you would be willing to pay for overtime for t.s.o.'s? ms. philipovitch: you know, right now we really want to get more transparency into the staffing model and understand how resources are being deployed. we need to make sure that we have an analytical model that puts resources where they need to be to meet the peak demands of our customers. ms. jackson lee: and i agree with you. and more flexibility with the f.s.d.'s, would that be helpful? ms. philipovitch: in cooperation with the airline partners, yes. ms. jackson lee: would you join with us? because i heard the point being made there needs to be data regarding baggage fees. i think there should be a study on the baggage fees as to whether or not they increase the number of bags coming through by hand carry. would you work with us on that? ms. philipovitch: may i comment on the checked baggage? general? the airlines have been charging checked baggage fees since 2008, and the line wait we're
experiencing with t.s.a. this year are unprecedented. so i think it would be inaccurate to say that bag fees are leading to the current line waits that we are experiencing. you mentioned -- ms. jackson lee: can i interject for a moment? we note that we had a sizeable increase in passenger travel between 2008 -- already between 2011 and 2016. my only question is, we all have our different perspectives. i'm not offering any perspective. i'm offering, would you participate and collaborate on getting the data we need to understand the question better? ms. philipovitch: we're interested in collaborating to solve the problem. i do want to note that baggage screening, as you noted, is also a core function of t.s.a. and even though we had heard from my colleague from chicago that we haven't had severe issues there. some of our other airports have experienced significant backlogs. in some cases worse like miami and -- ms. jackson lee: we want to fix the problem and i know you have
hubs like miami so we want to fix the problem. let me quickly move to mr. cox, if i might. mr. cox, i traveled to many of your airports. i take the opportunity to speak to t.s.o.'s everywhere i go, including supervisors and managers, and i will say that i ran into one individual, his name was vincent, a world war ii veteran came and was in a wheelchair -- dropped off by his family, was traveling by himself and he said, i don't want anybody else. i want a t.s.o. t.s.o. that means come out to the curb. and so a t.s.o. went out to the curb and took him with the wheelchair all the way through security, etc., etc. getting down to the gate down to the door of the plane and he
noted that this proud world war ii veteran who had been dropped off by his family members -- i'm sure they meant well -- he could not walk. and your t.s.o. agent lifted him up and took him and put him on the plane. i think these are the stories that need to be told. if the chairman will yield me for a moment. mr. katko: we're crunched for time and ms. mcsally needs to speak. votes are coming up. ms. jackson lee: i support a professional staff, not privatization. would you respond to that quickly please? mr. cox: we clearly believe that a professional staff that our government employs that this is an inherently governmental function to keep the american public safe. these people are well-trained. they do a great job. they love their job. they just need to have adequate staffing to be able to do their jobs and to do them properly. and i think if the committee really wants to get legislation that tries to get the input and the collaboration that it would
be important that afge and the employees that it represents be included in the legislation as one of the partners trying to resolve the problem. ms. jackson lee: thank you. thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you so very much. more funding is important. i yield back to mr. chairman and, mr. ranking member, thank you. mr. katko: thank you, ms. jackson lee. the chair recognizes the patient ms. mcsally from arizona. ms. mcsally: in the roundtable last week and today we heard one of the main issues is flexibility with the f.s.d.'s. they can make decisions on the ground. not just the f.s.d.'s, but the supervisors in airports like tucson. admiral neffinger was asked this question yesterday and said he was giving flexibility to them. he believes they already have that flexibility. it is unbelievable to me that it
would take an act of congress to actually direct them to provide flexibility. this is just leadership 101. but he sincerely believes he's given that authority. i specifically asked him yesterday about this and the spoke airports like tucson and he said they have all the authority they need. maybe they're just not getting the message. he just recently removed kelly hogan who potentially is the barrier to this direction being communicated down to all of you. but i want to say we need your immediate feedback. he gave his promise yesterday he was going to follow up on this and make sure they understood his guidance that they have that flexibility. ms. allin, can you share -- you've given some examples. if we had the flexibility with our senior t.s.a. rep on the ground in the last few months, at what instance -- other instances were their hands tied and what -- what have you been able to do that in order to alleviate the problems that we're having? ms. allin: thank you, representative mcsally. when we were experiencing the extreme lines and the challenge that our local representative
with t.s.a. had, which is not an f.s.d., as you noted, was the fact there are specific models a certain through-put passengers per hour have to go through the lane before the second lane can be opened up. and that with one standard lane, then a second standard lane had to be opened before precheck. where precheck is the quick resolution because the lane was cut in half when the precheck lane was opened. ms. mcsally: and that direction came from d.c. or phoenix, do you know? ms. allin: phoenix came down when the passengers were calling the media from the lines and the media began showing up. it all exploded. ms. mcsally: is that still the case? ms. allin: yes. they are limited on staffing and they can't open the precheck because it requires more people. i'm sorry.
i can't tell you how many more than a standard lane. ms. mcsally: have you seen any other situation where you saw their hands were signed where tied where they could move b.d.o.'s to checking i.d.'s or something else? have they given you flexibility locally? ms. allin: yes, ma'am. we've been asking for b.d.o.'s to be document checkers since the problems first started with the holidays prior to our season coming and our f.s.d. in phoenix refused saying it was important for them to be observing the line, the people in line as opposed to being able to be document checkers. i think all that has changed by the admiral and we appreciate that greatly. ms. mcsally: ok, great. ms. beairsto, you say you appreciate the assistance. you know, there was a big media attention to the problems at chicago and then additional agents and k-9 teams came to the rescue. however, they were pulled from
somewhere else. what we heard from the roundtable last week is the feeling is that this sort of squeaky wheel, let's move assets around whoever is on tv today allows, i think one of the airport managers said something along the lines, we all get a turn to be the worst is that kind of model which means that you're going to create a crisis somewhere else. so i am concerned about that, that this is more like a back a -- whack a mole scenario and we're not going to address the bigger airports that end up on tv. can anyone sort of provide some perspectives on this and we should be more reactive to this? ms. beairsto: if i could give you an example? the k-9 example, those kinds of resources really need to be allocated based on airport passenger through-put and the security risk, right?
so those are the kinds of things t.s.a. should consider. ms. mcsally: great. mr. cox, i asked the admiral something that was troubling that i discovered this week which is we have instances of at least 250 through april that have been reported where t.s.a. agents have been pulled away from their primary mission which is the security of air travel and the efficiency and safety of passengers and air travel to support things like presidential campaign rallies and we've heard reports of other events, concerts and sporting events. this is nowhere in their core competency. can you comment on your perspective when someone signs up to be a t.s.a. agent and t.s.o., are they expected to be at a campaign rally or are they expected to be doing their core mission and how you all feel about that? mr. cox: we expected them to do their core mission, to do their
core work. as with any situation, you do understand the workers don't get to drive the train. they just show up and do what the boss man tells them to do. i know our t.s.o.'s, they want to be at the airport doing their mission and taking care of it. it upsets them when those lines are long and passengers are waiting because passengers get more frustrated with them. and i would say if you really want to resolve a lot of these problems, you can talk to f.s.d.'s, you can talk to the administrator, but congress probably needs to mandate groups made up of t.s.o.'s themselves, the people who actually do the work, can tell you how to improve the processes. i know american airlines does that all the time. i know all these airports do that. we need to be talking to the front line employees, and they
could give a lot of solutions. they can't necessarily give more resources or more people, but i'm sure they know how to improve the work processes. ms. mcsally: great. i agree with you. we need to make sure that large-scale events have safety and security, but there are other ways to do that than to be pulling agents that its core responsibility is the safety of air travel in order to do that. so i'll be following up on that and i appreciate the leverage, mr. chairman. mr. katko: thank you, ms. mcsally. i'd like to thank the witnesses for their thoughtful testimony. members of the committee may have additional questions for all of you and we will be asking you to respond. the record will be held open for 10 days. before we close a couple observations. first of all, if we had more time -- we could go on this all day long. the beauty of this meeting is we had the input to have the stakeholders at the table and those sitting in the audience last week which let us become very prepared for this testimony. people look at congress and say congress is broken, nothing gets done.
nobody is listening to us. what transpired last week, we looked at a crisis, we got the stakeholders in here, we crafted a bill in responding to what you have to say and it's going to have immediate impact if we can get it passed. and i'm excited about that. the frustration is that we're moving these things and we're getting this stuff done and so i ask all of you to be advocates for the senate to tell the senate to do their job as well because we don't want to hear any more of these wait time issues. when we can act like this in a collaborative manner, that's when congress can work and come to a positive conclusion. thank you all for coming here. i know it was an early flight for some of you. if there was any consolation, we were working until 12:30 last night and i was up at 5:00 this morning. we all had busy days. so thank you all, very much. mr. payne: an observation before we close. ms. mcsally, you should have not left homeland.
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this sunday night on q&a, u.s. senate has story and betty senate history and the work her office does. >> i came in june 1998 as a newly minted senate historian. my colleagues said it would be nice and quiet with an election coming up and i would have a lot of time to get comfortable in my job. within a few weeks, the house had decided to impeach bill clinton and we got very busy very quickly. we had to do a good deal of research on impeachment trials. 1868 inot had one since the senate leaders at that time, trent lot and tom daschle, really wanted to follow historical precedent as much as they could. >> sunday night on c-span's q&a. next, a look at efforts to
stop the spread of the zika virus. spoke at theman national press club on thursday. this is about an hour. today, we welcome to our podium, an expert in safeguarding the health of the american people. he is especially concerned these days about the growing threat virus poses to americans and the world's population. as many of you know, the virus can now caused severe worth effects. microcephaly. did i say that correctly? i am getting there. being bornof babies with abnormally developed brains. the virus has also been linked to another syndrome, a neurological disorder that can result in paralysis and death.
three months ago, the world health organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. there is no vaccine or cure. as of mid-may, the cdc reported it is monitoring to a just 79 pregnant women in u.s. states and territories for possible infection. the agency has increased as testing capacity in the u.s. as the summer of mosquito season begins. he has been the director of the cdc for the past seven years. a physician with training in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology, he has worked to from theealth results leading causes of suffering in the u.s. and around the world. he is tasked with improving health security globally. and rapidly responding
to health threats such as disease, and health care acquired infections. reducing the leading causes of dell's -- death and illness among americans. including obesity, motor vehicle and hiv and a's. strengthening the public health collaboration by integrating public health and health care. for being upgraded to the have -- head of this agency, he was a cdc detective. includingions outbreaks of measles, typhoid, and multidrug resistant tuberculosis. while working in india for five --, the program in india has treated more than 10 million patients and saved more than 3 million lives. was theing the cdc, he commissioner of the new york city health department.
he reduced the number of smokers smoking0 and cut team in half. he is a graduate of oberlin college. infectious disease training at yell university. this is the fourth time -- at university. this is the fourth time he has spoken at the national press club. please welcome to the national press club podium. >> when an earthquake hits, we understand the need to respond. imagine, it if you had the power to stop an earthquake. using the tools of public health have the power to
stop the health of equivalent of many earthquakes that happen around the world. challenge we are dealing with is zika. it is unprecedented and tragic. there have been more than 50 years since we have identified any pathogen that can cause a birth defect. we have never before identified a situation where a mosquito bite could result in and of -- in an infection that causes a devastating earth defect. it is unprecedented, tragic, and it is now proven. we know that it causes microcephaly and other birth defects. there is an in norma's that we still do not know. we are still learning more every day about what it causes and how to prevent it. the top priority is to protect pregnant women. and that focus has to be our guiding principle for our work
everywhere there is risk for zika. memorial day weekend heralds the start of mosquito season in the u.s. we have a narrow window of opportunity to scale up effective zika prevention measures and that window of opportunity is closing. i want to spend a moment to recognize a remarkably generous donation by bayer to the c.d.c. foundation to support a comprehensive program to confront the zika threat in puerto rico. bayer is making a very substantial donation that will enable us to do a number of things that control mosquitoes, to support women who choose not to become pregnant during this time with effective, modern contraception, they also are one of our sponsors for the zika action plan summit at c.d.c.
where ed was present along with 30 other state officials, accelerating the work to protect people in this country. it's an example of the public sector, the private sector, philanthropic sector coming together effectively and doing together what none of us could do as effectively alone system round ofuld like a applause for ray carrons and new foundation c.e.o. monroe for their important work. \[applause] it has been less than five months since we first saw conclusive evidence that zika may be the cause of microcephaly. in those five months we've learned an enormous amount and i'll take you through 10 things we have learned in those five months. first, it is an extraordinarily complex response. in fact, of all the responses i have overseen, it's probably the most complex. we have involved almost every
single part of c.d.c. we've had more than 1,000 of our staff involved. whether it's mosquito controlled or viral or sexual transmission or obstetrics or newborn care. many, many parts of our agency are fully activated to support the response. second, it's now clear that zika causes microcephaly and other birth defects. i vividly remember sitting with our chief infectious disease pathologist and having him show me the special stain he is had done to show the zika virus actually invading the neural tissue of newborn infants and destroying it. this is a horrible thing to see. it is just the kind of thing you would never want to see and yet to understand that when a child is born with microcephaly, it's
not because the skull was malformed, it's because the virus destroyed the brain cells and the skull collapsed around the demolished or devastated brain. it's a horrible situation. third, we have now seen clear evidence that even asymptomatic infection with zika during pregnancy can result in microcephaly and four out of five cases of zika are asymptomatic. they don't know. fourth, zika certainly causes guillain-barre. what's so unusual about that is the threat to pregnant women. five, diagnosing zika is hard but we've made enormous progress. c.d.c. laboratory scientists have optimized tests so we now
have a rapid, highly sensitive test that can be used in urine or blood that can detect the virus in someone who is acutely infected accurately. we've also made them and disseminated them to 100 labs around the u.s. and nearly 100 countries around the world. we've also improved the c.d.c. test to try to test for recent infection. it's not perfect but it's the best test out there. as well as a more complex test to try to determine which of several similar infections the person may have had. we've provided more than a million of those tests. so testing is hard but we're making progress. six. controlling this mosquito is really hard. it's the cockroach of mosquitoes. it lives indoors and outdoors. it bites in the daytime and
nighttime. it's eggs can last for more than a year. they can hatch in a drop of water. in parts of the u.s., and puerto rico, they're highly resistant to certain insecticides. they prefer people so they generate -- they generally spread disease among people and when they take a blood meal they will often bite four or five people at once. so they're capable of rapidly spreading the infection. there is no example of effective control of this mosquito in the modern era. and i vividly remember in a trip to puerto rico our lab team had set up laboratories, hatched the mosquitoes and were testing them for resistance. we put them in a bottle coated with insecticide and we see whether they're knocked down or not. and to see them in a bottle that had been coated with what should be a very effective insecticide happily flying around minute after minute, hour after hour,
shows us how important it is that we improve the methods we have of controlling mosquitoes. seventh. there are also other routes of transmission. we did not expect that sexual transmission would be as common as we've seen it. we have 10 documented cases in the u.s. we've never had sexual transmission of dengue or west nile but in zika it can spread sexually. that adds a new level of risk and a new message that if your partner is pregnant and you've been in an area with zika, use a condom. also blood safety. theoretically it's possible that there could be transfusion-associated zika. that's why we're grateful for roche and the f.d.a., they've come out with a terrific, highly sensitive test that is already being used in puerto rico to screen the blood supply to keep the blood supply safe. puerto rico has a particular challenge, they were debt a bad hand by nature when it comes to mosquito borne diseases.
the risk is still to pregnant women but it is an enormous challenge in puerto rico. we're continuing to see women infected with zika in puerto rico and very concerned about what the coming months will hold. ninth. the rule of globalization and urbanization is crucial. we have at least 40 million visits from the u.s. to places around the world where zika is spreading. we're not going to stop the world because we want to get off. globalization and global travel has a lot of benefits, economic productivity, in interchange among people, in the ability to do what we do in the world. but it does also have the inevitability of bringing risks closer to home. disease threat anywhere in the world may be just a plane ride away and the greater urbanization of the world is also facilitating outbreaks of
yellow fever in the ebola epidemic, it was the first time we had seen urban spread of ebola, which was enormously challenging to control. finally, i'd like to say a word about the remarkable innovations going on through c.d.c. scientists, doctors and other researchers. we often think of c.d.c. as the agency with boots on the ground, working 24-7 protect you, and we are that. but we also have developed new tools, new diagnostics, using cutting edge technologies of virus-like particles and chimeri viruses. we've developed new traps that are effective and actually can knock down the spread of diseases, spread like zika, by half, very simply, at a low cost. and now we're going to see if that can be implemented on a broad scale. and we've been working for many years on a new class of insecticide that appears to be nontoxic, food trade, smells a bit like grapefruit and may be
as effective as deet. we'd like to see how quickly we can get that to the market. rapid cycle approaches, innovations, are going to be crucially important to protecting ourselves because the mike robes are changing and -- the microbes are changing and we need to adapt also. we are learning more each kay. - each day. we still don't know what proportion of women who are infected with zika will give birth to an infected child. we don't know what proportion of the infants born without microcephaly will have some impact later in life. it may be months or decades before we know that we don't know why some women are more affected but we're working closely with colombia, brazil, and the u.s. to learn. the quicker we learn the better we can protect american women. public health emergency, speed is critical. a day, a week, a month can make all the difference.
when ebola -- when ebola was getting out of control in july of 2014, said that we needed 300 ebola beds in west africa. 100 in each country. and we needed them within 30 days. it didn't happen. and within a few months we needed 3,000 beds. the fact that we can, today, potentially prevent dozens or hundreds or even thousands of birth defects make this is an enormously urgent challenge. at c.d.c. we are the centers for disease control and prevention and we have the national center for birth defects and developmental disabilities. and the experts there tell me that in their 30 years of working on birth defects, they have not had a situation this urgent. i want to particularly thank dr. mccabe from the march of dimes and his colleagues for all they're doing to really make clear how extraordinarily
unusual and urgent this situation is. we now know that there are more than 300 women in the u.s. including territories who have evidence of infection with zika and that number will only increase. we need to ensure that we have the resources needed to treat this emergency as it should be treated and if you just look at the definition of what an emergency is for supplemental funding request, it has three categories. it has to be unexpected. this is not only unexpected, it was -- it's completely unprecedented. it has to be catastrophic. and if you talk to any family of a child born with a severe birth defect, there could be no better or more exact definition of a catastrophe. and it has to be permanent damage. sadly, damage to developing brain is as permanent as anything. when we began preparing the emergency supplemental request, it was a high level meeting i
was at and there was some discussion on how it would go, what we would do and i asked, well, how long is this going to take? and they said, oh, it's moving very quickly. probably three months. and my jaw dropped, literally. three months in an epidemic is an eternity. zika threatens that too many parents will have to have the experience of not seeing their child grow to their full potential. graduate. get married. go to school. and we need to make sure that all of us are doing everything in our power to minimize the number of families affected. we're not going to eliminate zika in the near future. it's going to be a challenge. but we can reduce risk. we can protect women. and to do that, government funding is essential. private funding is essential.
philanthropic funding is essential. congress did the right thing with ebola. and i hope in the end they will do the right thing with zika. and they'll do that without making us stop a battle in one part of the world to fight a battle in another part of the world. you don't stop fighting terrorism in the middle east to fight terrorism in africa. one of the things we had to do because -- when we found out it would be at least three month for a supplemental was to borrow money from other parts of c.d.c. that includes emergency preparedness dollars that go out to all the states to deal with things like leading the response, doing lab test, tracking for outbreaks, responding to the health effects of natural disasters. we had to take $50 million of that money. but we had no choice. we have to take money and use it, trusting we'd get it back
from congress, and ebola is not over. the most recent cluster emerged when a man who had survived ebola 15 months earlier had sexual relations with a woman. she developed ebola as a result and she died. her family members died. it ended up spreading to two countries. we had to start five command and control centers. we had to upgrade 50 facilities to be able to diagnose ebola. we identified over 1,500 contacts all emerging from one case. and the outbreak wouldn't spread. and we were able to stop the outbreak. but if we let down our guard it could come roaring back. and that same dynamic of letting
it spread for a few days or weeks and then it takes months or years to control could have occurred. we're also, with the funding that congress provided for ebola, making excellent progress on a critically important initiative called the global in health security agenda. this is about stopping outbreaks there so we don't have to fight a them here. i was on the phone with my team in uganda a few days ago and really encouraged to hear the is kind of thing that's going on. they have had an outbreak of yellow fever in uganda. a few years ago, they had an outbreak of yellow fever, it spread widely, killed a lot of is people and was a huge problem. now they identified it quickly, controlled it quickly and were and able to do whole genome sequencing and rapidly realized it's not related to the angola outbreak. we're in a new world of being able to find and stop threats where they first emerge and the better we do that, the safer we'll be at home.
and that's another part of the ebolsupplemental dollars that need to be protected. we can't be letting down our guard in one place to fight another battle. we also need to make sure that there is enough money in the supplemental so we can do the projects that are going to be hard but have to start now. understanding all of the effects of zika on women and the infants who are born. developing better diagnostic tests so we can figure out if someone has been infected in the past. we don't currently have the ability to do that. using our current mosquito control tools in a mix and match way to figure out how we can knock down the mosquito enough to protect women and infants. and developing new vector controls as well as a new vaccine. none of these are easy, none of them will be quick. but the sooner we start the sooner we can have an answer. i also do think that we have to be very clear about what we can and can't do in zika. at c.d.c. we always try to tell
it like it is. we don't sugar over the truth. we will tell you what we know, when we know it. we'll tell you what we don't know what we're trying to do to find it out. within literally days of reviewing that slide that showed the zika virus invading the fetal and also infant tissue, we issued a travel advisory on january 15 saying that pregnant women should not travel to places where zika is spreading. i can't tell you exactly how many pregnant women didn't travel for that reason, i can tell you that of the 300 women who we know of with zika infection the great majority traveled before that time. so we believe that that public health action has prevented cases of zika. that means that babies whose names none of us will ever know will grow up healthy because we
took the duty to warn seriously and we did it promptly, as soon as we had sufficient information to take public health action. now, it's been pointed out that just in recent years, we've had h1n1, ebola, zika, we've had mers, h5n1. we don't know where the next health threat will come from. we don't know when it will come. we don't know what pathogen it will be. but we are 100% certain there will be a next one. and it's our responsibility to be as ready as we possibly can be. and the two key areas for that are the global health security agenda, building up the capacity of countries to find, stop, and prevent health threats and putting in place an accountability framework so that the whole world can know which countries are ready, what
they're not ready for, and help for those countries that dent don't have the resources. it's in all of our interests to help build up those resources. for those providing the assistance to know if our assistance has been effective with an objective accountability framework. and we also need to ensure that we can surge in when country capacity is overwhelmed. at c.d.c. we've scraped together existing resources to create what we call the grit, the global rapid response team. we currently have more than 300 staff rostered for this. we have 50 people on call at any one time. we've already deployed them at least five times to deal with ebola, zika, polio, yellow fever, and they've spent more than 600 days in the field helping out with local response system of we've begun doing things. but we lost time fighting ebola because we couldn't immediately move rapidly. and i fear that we're losing time with zika because we can't move as rapidly as we'd like to.
congress did the right thing with ebola. i hope they will do the right thing with zika and they will d it soon. there's been talk that some of this should happen in the 17 process. this isn't an either-or issue. the senate bill doesn't fully fund the administration request. if some of that were rolled into the 2017 process that would be a good thing too. we have to be sure we pay back the money we borrow and have money to respond effectively. interestingly, i've been hearing from both sides of the aisle, both houses of congress, interest in thinking about new ways to do things, including having some form of public health disaster rapid response resource. this has sometimes been called a fema for public health. it would need to cover both domestic and global. it would need to have not only some resources available but authorities. authorities make a big difference. there's good reasons for the administrative procedure that we
follow in the government but they don't always match with emergencies. in the zika response, for example, we've been authorized to use what's called direct hiring authority. as a result, we have more than 70 people who joined c.d.c. to work full time on this. that makes a big different. one of our lessons, internally from ebola is that we wore our staff out. we had 4,000 staff work on ebola. 20 staff work on ebola in regular time. 1,400 people went to west africa. they spent 75,000 work day there is. we didn't have any serious injuries, we didn't have any ebola infections, but it was exhausting for the staff. we need to bring new staff onboard. zika won't be a one month or one-year problem. we need to get people working on it now who will be able to work on it long-term. there are administrative authorities as well as funding. kevin mccarthy in the house, dr. cassidy in the senate have both spoken about this issue. i don't know whether it will happen, how it will happen, but
i do know if we have money and mechanisms in advance, it minimizes the need for us to run to congress for supplemental and do something outside of the usual process. it allows us to put our focus where it should be, on adapting rapidly to the response. one of the key characteristics of responding to infectious disease threats is you have to adapt the response. with ebola, for example, we rapidly realized we needed a phased response when it was out of control. we need to deal with safe and dignified burial first. better care next. then rigorous contact investigation and tracing. and that phased response allowed us to first break the back of the epidemic and then mop it up, clean it up, protect communities and keep it in check. there is the ability to change the shape of the epidemic curve in public health. but the sooner you get there, the more dramatic impact you can make saving lives and ultimately reducing costs.
now, it is as some have noticed near the end of a second term of the administration. i've had the incredible privilege to lead the c.d.c. for the past seven years. that marks about 20 years i've been working at c.d.c. and i'm still learning the great things that our dedicated staff do. they continue to inspire me and humble me with their sense of mission, their expertise, their creativity, their hard work, their intelligence, c.d.c. is a great buy for the federal dollar. the taxpayers get their money's worth. people work hard. and are committed to what they do. and we've made a lot of progress. not just stopping ebola but in other areas as well. i thought since i'd given an earlier list of 10, i'll give a list of 10 things that we've done that have helped americans be safer and healthier. one, we've made progress and in all of these i would say not successes but progress, because there's still more to do. one, we've made progress
reducing the number of health care associated infections. one of the most serious of these, mrsa in intensive care units is down by half. more to go but americans alive today because we along with c.m.s., hospitals throughout the u.s., doctors, have improved practice. second, we've begun using whole genome sequencing to find and stop outbreaks faster. this allows you to trace the path of pathogen in a way we never could before. we did a proof of principle with listeria, sequencing every isolate in the country. as a result we found contaminated food before we would have found it otherwise. we got it off the shelves and today there are meshes alive who would have died if that hadn't happened. we went to congress three years
ago saying this was our top priority, they funded it and americans are alive today as a result of their foresight in doing that. three, tobacco use. just announced this week, smoking is at an all-time low in the u.s., 15.1%. still a leading preventable cause of death but millions of americans don't smoke who smoked just seven years ago. the tips from former smokers campaign that c.d.c. ran, the first ever national paid campaign against tobacco, has been incredibly effective. it has helped about 400,000 americans smoke and helped change the conversation about smoking. it has saved hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs. and the cost per life saved is a tiny fraction of what's usually used as a benchmark. four, motor vehicle accidents or injuries, i should say. motor vehicle deaths, dropped sharply until 2013. we have to look at more recent trends which are concerning, but motor vehicle crashes are an example of what we can do when we come together as a society and we
think about how we attack a problem from all angles, law enforcement, community action, design, road design, industry, coming together to make driving much, must have safer. five, teen pregnancy. the lowest rate ever. down 42% since 2007. all too often, teen pregnancy perpetuates poverty in a community. so the decline in teen pregnancy has many positive ramifications throughout society. six, h.i.v. we've been promoting testing and now a greater proportion of people with h.i.v. know they have it. it used to be that only about one in five people living with h.i.v. didn't know they have it. now it's about one in eight. progress. polio. number seven. we're closer to eradication than ever. when i began, when we began the effort in 19 8, there were 1988 there were 350,000
children disabled each year by polio. last year, there were 74. this year, so far, 17. when i began at c.d.c. director, didn't look like we could get over the finish line in india. we surged into india and got to zero. india got to zero. incredible effort. they put in $1 billion to polio eradication. then we said, if india can do it, nigeria should be able to do it. we surged into nigeria and that polio eradication infrastructure in nigeria stopped ebola in nigeria as well. it has great, great benefits for all. now the challenge is getting over the finish line in afghanistan and pakistan and we're close. whether or not it will happen this year hangs in the balance, but it can. eight. haiti. you don't often hear haiti and progress in the same sentence. but little known, since the earthquake, we have indeed helped them build back better. they have introduced new vaccines that will save more than 40,000 children's lives. and though you wouldn't think of the word elimination of a disease and haiti in the same
sentence, they are on the path to eliminate three terrible diseases, malaria, which we think can be eliminated from haiti and hispanola. infant h.i.v., and filarisis, a terribly disabling disease. nine, pepfar. started in the previous administration, continued in this one has made great strides in the global initiative, we have many countries involved making the world a safer place. imagine if the c.d.c. were fully funded, how many earthquakes and hurricanes we could stop. there are still major, unfinished pieces of business. i'll mention fourth, opiate overdose continues to be on the rise and is devastating families and communities. cardiovascular disease is still our leading killer, yet we could control it for very little money. we should be able to do much
better than we do preventing and preventing and treating high blood pressure and other leading causes of heart disease. three, antibiotic resistance. we risk being in a post-antibiotic world and that wouldn't just be for infections that you think of as bad infections, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. that's bad enough. that could be for the 600,000 americans a year who need cancer treatment. for whom we just assume we'll be able to treat infections. we may lose that ability. just a few hours ago, the department of defense released information about a woman with no travel outside of the u.s. who is the first documented human case in the united states
of having a urinary tract infection or any infection with an organism resistant to every antibiotic, including the last one we have, coliston. it was an old antibiotic, but was last one we had left for the bad bacteria. what the defense department did, they took organisms that were resistant to c.r.e., and they tested them for resistant to that. in the first six they did, one was resistant. and this patient hadn't traveled. they'd done just three weeks of testing. and we know now that the more we look, the more we're going to find. and the more we look at drug resistance, the more concerned we are. we need to do a very comprehensive job protecting antibiotics so we can have them and our children can have them. we need to make new antibiotics but we need better stewardship and identification of outbreaks we'll lose these miracle drugs.
the medicine cabinet is empty for some patients. it is the end of the road for antibiotics unless we act urgently. fourth, we need to do better at building and openly assessing rapid response capacity around the world. again that global health security agenda. where countries aren't prepared, we're at greater risk. the work is far from finished. one thing that will bring us further along are connections. connections between the health care system and public health. between global and u.s. health. between the immediate needs and long-term needs. between the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. and in all of those kecks, what's going to drive progress is the fundamental concept of accountability. never being afraid to ask, how much difference are we making? are we succeeding? are we getting the results we need? in the private sector if you
don't make a profit, you change your business model. in the public sector, unless you have an accountability frimework, you may not be able to correct what you're doing fast enough to protect people well. now, i'm often asked how i feel as c.d.c. director, dealing with things like ebola and zika. and of course in the heat of the moment, you're mostly concerned about getting the job done. concerned about something or fear about something getting out of control. worry about being able to get the support, the inspiration of dealing with staff who are so focused on what they do. but for me, when faced with emergencies like this, the greatest emotion has been frustration. imagine that you're standing by and you see someone drowning and you have the ability to stop them from drowning but you can't.
now multiply that by a thousand. or 100,000. that's what it feels like to know how to change the course of an epidemic and not be able to do it. for any reason. because of challenges in implementation or funding or administrative details, to challenges to work with partnership with other organizations. right now, the current crisis is zika. we need a robust response to protect american women and reduce to the greatest extent humanly possible the number of families affected. we don't know who those children will be. we don't know where they will grow up. but anything we don't do now we will regret not having done later. and if we don't take this opportunity to learn the lessons
and establish some sort of facility whereby we can respond immediately and surge in when there's a problem, we won't be fully prepared for the next emergency. and we know there will be a next emergency. most of the time in public health we do our work silently. or in the background. all of us are here, healthier today, many of us here alive today, because of things that public health did that we may not think about. whether it's a vaccination or safe water or safer environment. public health keeps us safe, healthy, and productive. now, imagine that you could stop an earthquake. in public health, we have the ability to stop many of the health equivalents of earthquakes. you have that ability.
you in the media. you in the philanthropic sector. you in public health. you in the corporate sector. in fact, public health is everyone who protects the public health. thank you very much. [applause] mr. burr: thank you, doctor. you said that the microbes are changing. is there concern that the zika virus is mutating in ways that would make it even more concerning than it already is? mr. frieden: we don't understand why we're seing this with zika for the first time. there are four different possibilities, maybe the virus changed. we looked at the genome, it hasn't changed much, but we don't understand the genome fully. maybe it was happening in africa
for years and we weren't looking so we didn't realize it. it may be that it was so rare it didn't occur often. or it may be that it was so common that women were infected before childbearing and therefore you didn't see it. we just don't know. these are some things we need to find out going forward. mr. burr: given the forecast for a fairly hot summer and as you might have seen a lot of recent rain, what are your current expectations of how many pregnant women in the united states might get zika this year and how many zika-related cases of fetal defects might we see in the u.s.? mr. frieden: for zika, we will look at how two other viruses, dengue and chikungunya spread. it may not behave the same as those but if it does we expect to see some things. first, zika associated with travel. we have more than 500 cases in the u.s. those are generally symptomatic
cases. 40 million visitors, so you do expect a lot of travel associated cases. in puerto rico and the u.s. territories, where those two diseases spread rapidly, unfortunately, the likelihood is that within a year we will see hundreds of thousands of infections. so that is a real concern. in other parts of the u.s., including hawaii, we've seen yet a different pattern of zika spread -- of dengue spreading, and if zika spreads that way it could spread for months and be difficult to control but at a low level. in parts of the southern u.s. like florida and texas, we've seen clusters of dengue. in the past they have not been widespread, they've been focal, and the local governments, local areas have been effective at doing mosquito control to prevent widespread transmission. that's the most likely scenario
in terms of zika. we do expect there will be some spread through mosquitoes in some part of the continental u.s. we do work closely with the state and local entity there is to try to keep that to the absolute minimum. that's one reason we need robust resources to ensure we are doing everything in our power to minimize the risk to american women. mr. burr: there doesn't seem to be much news, if any, about zika infection, zika infected people in europe or asia or africa. could you help me understand what's going on there. mr. frieden: we have seen, for example, sexually transmitted zika in parts of europe. we're really not sure what's happening in asia. it may be that zika has been around for so long people are immune to it, or it may be they will have a large outbreak. only time will tell. that's one reason we need really good monitoring systems in place to track what's happening. when we improve monitoring systems, it's like civil aviation. if the whole world does it together, the whole world is
safer. that's one thing we have to continue to strengthen in global health. mr. burr: there's a large event happening in brazil this summer. if you were in charge of this year's summer olympics, what would you do? cancel it? move to a safer place? postpone it? mr. frieden: there's no public health reason to cancel or delay the olympics. our recommendation about travel is a recommendation regardless of why you travel. we say if you're pregnant, don't go somewhere where zika is spreading. if you have to go somewhere where zika is spreading, be careful about mosquito bites. if you're a male in a place where zika is spreading and your partner is pregnant, use a condom. i think there's risk to delegations going and athletes is not zero but the risk of any travel isn't zero. but the risk is not particularly high other than for pregnant women. some have said, well, so much travel to the olympics, it might spread the disease. we've looked at this.
travel to the olympics would represent less than one quarter of one percent of all travel to zika affected areas. even if you were to say the olympics won't happen you'd still be left with 99.75% of the risk of zika continuing to spread. the fact is, we are all connected. by the air with breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. and the planes we ride on. it is a world where interconnection is the new normal and rather than try to stop the world because we want to get off, let's take steps to make as much of the world as safe as possible for all of our safety. mr. burr: from what i understand, it seems there are only six states in the united states that are still zika free, having not reported any cases. alaska, idaho, north dakota, south dakota, washington, and wyoming. what do those states have that the others lack? mr. frieden: fewer travelers from zika-affected areas. and just a matter of time before they also have some cases, i think.
mr. burr: let's get to funding for a second. have you been prevented from doing anything as a result of congress not yet acting on emergency funds for zika? mr. frieden: we have been able to get a start on things that are needed immediately for the zika response. what we haven't been able to get started on are some of the longer term projects we have to start now that are going to take time. you know, there's the old saying, the best time to plan to tree is 20 years ago. the second best time is today. we haven't been able to plant those tree, the went -- we haven't been able to do the work to come up with better diagnostics, better mosquito control strategies, to do that in the robust way we'll need. mr. burr: so keeping on funding for a second. how do you respond to claims, especially by many congressional republicans, that the administration's $1.9 billion request is vague, incomplete, or could result in blank check or as some call it a slush fund. mr. frieden: for the c.d.c. component of the administration it was $828 million. we have a line item. it is our best, most honest
estimate, of what we need to fight the epidemic. it may be under for some areas where the drug resistance results came back, insecticide resistance results, some of the alternative insecticides cost two or three times as much. if other things do things in different ways, it may be less than that. but that's our best estimate of what we need for c.d.c. the senate compromise, bipartisan proposal, funds nearly all of what c.d.c. requested. and would allow us to have a great start. really, the two things that are key are please reimburse the money we borrowed because it's still needed to fight emergencies including in the u.s. and overseas and second, make sure we have enough resources and authorities to protect women as effectively as we possibly can. mr. burr: other than the public health emergency preparedness fund, what specific program has the c.d.c. had to cut in order
to pay for zika? mr. frieden: there are a couple of things going on. one, as you mentioned, we took about $50 million from the public health emergency preparedness program, not because we don't like that program or it's not important. it was one of the only places we could go where we were allowed by congress to redirect 10% of it. so we took 10% of it, put it to zika, that meant that states like ed's got less money, are getting less money, and they have to deal with, can they pay their staff who are doing emergency preparedness? can they respond to outbreaks? that's one piece we very much hope we'll get restored. the second that we use, c.d.c. had some doctors that were programmed to fight ebola in liberia, sierra leone, and guinea. in 2017 and 2018. because it's five-year money. we said, we have nowhere else to go so we'll take the money from there but we need it become to
prevent ebola from coming roaring back. mr. burr: let's talk about prevention here. what's your view on the use of mosquito repellants with deet especially by pregnant women. what repellants would you recommend? mr. frieden: deet when used as directed is effective and safe. one thing we've done in puerto rico with support from the companies that are here is to distribute zika prevention kits, z.p.k.'s. we've distributed about 10,000 of them. there are about 32,000 pregnancies in puerto rico per year. we're getting close to reaching a large portion of the at-risk women. and we're finding great interest. the challenge is not so much are they safe but are they effective. because you've got to apply multiple times in a day. you've got to apply indoor and outdoor. what we're looking at is a comprehensive program that deals with screens and killing larvae and getting rid of breeding sites, killing adult mosquitoes, it's what i call the four corners approach, inside,
adult mosquitoes and larval mosquitoes. we have new tools that are exciting. i mentioned earlier that the trap which killed female mosquitoes, there are other products which e.p.a. rapidly approved which we'd like to get into field trials in puerto rico in the next few weeks. the challenge is there's no magic bullet to get rid of this mosquito. it's really tough. and we need to try a comprehensive approach, drawing together the different tools that we have and figuring out what works. mr. burr: what's the timeline -- is there a timeline, for a vaccine for genetically modified mosquitoes, for an effective anti-zika viral drug? mr. frieden: i think for all these research priorities, you have to, one, go full steam ahead in developing them, seeing if they work, but two, not assume they're going to be here and be here soon. so the most promising is a
vaccine. immunity to zika appears to be long lasting and potentially lifelong. so in theory, making a vaccine against it should work. and the vaccines being tried are killed vaccines, so they won't result in infection. initially we weren't quite sure if the microcephaly caused by zika would be an immune response so a vaccine would have the potential to make it not protected. but it's clear it's a virus attack. a vaccine could work, should work. but it's at least a year or two before we know if it's safe and effective. that's often optimistic in terms of vaccines. n.i.h. is doing terrific work. they've got five different vaccine candidates. they expect to be in phase one trials in september. phase two trials next year. depending on how those guy, we could have a vaccine in a couple of years. we can't count on it.
even if we do, there will still be other mosquito-borne diseases. we need new classes of insecticide. we need new ways to control this mosquito. mr. burr: you're talking about repellent and insecticides, aren't there other health effects of using those? mr. frieden: it's important to use any product safely. whether it's insecticides or repellants, larvacides, or pesticides that kill adult mosquitoes, there has been important technological advancement in recent years. we know more about ultra low volume spraying, about the particle size that's effective for mosquitoes and will minimize toxicity. how to apply and where to apply. there are parts of the u.s. that that are doing excellent work on this and we're learning from them. so there are technological advances. there is nothing that is risk-free in life. so it's always going to be a
balancing act. but applying things effectively is going to be a way of minimizing risk, especially in a place that has a high risk in puerto rico. i think you'll find that any community that there are some people who want more spraying and some who want less spraying. so part of that is a community discussion. and part of that is trying to get facts out there of what are the potential risks and what are the potential benefits. mr. burr: you talked about puerto rico. what is the impact of the debt crisis there had on fighting this? mr. frieden: it hasn't made it easier. puerto rico is faced with a very challenging situation, not just economic and political, but also in the health care context. their medicaid program has deep problems and it's unable to pay physicians. one of the things the c.d.c. foundation is working on is a way to reimburse physicians for the care they provide for women who choose not to become pregnant during this time. it's making an incredibly difficult situation even harder.
mr. burr: what level of confidence do you have that the virus persistent blood and semen for weeks or months or years? mr. frieden: there are a few things we know. virus persists in blood for only about a week. in urine for about two weeks. in saliva for about a week. that's been studied. semen is an unknown. there have been reports of virus persisting, not necessarily live virus but at least parts of the virus for up two months. we've seen long persistence in ebola. those studies need to be done they take six to 12 months to do at best and we still may not know of the outlier situations where maybe someone who has a different course of infection as occurred with the recent ebola cluster in the west africa. we have to recognize we have many, many things we don't yet know in see chasm we give the best available advice based on the most recent and best
available information. mr. burr: could you have zika and not development symptoms? should anyone who has been in a risk zone get tested? mr. frieden: about four of five people infected with zika don't recognize any symptoms. the challenge with testing is we don't have widespread, widely available testing for past infection. past two or three months we don't have any testing to see if you've been infected. so we need industry to come to the table and develop a new test. we need basic science to advance to try to develop those tests. they're not easy. this is not an administrative or operational problem. this is a scientific problem that's very, very difficult to do. there have been efforts to do this for many years that haven't been successful. so we have scientific challenges and that's also one of the areas we want to begin that long-term work, the sooner we begin it, the sooner we'll have answers. mr. burr: before i ask the last question, i have a few announcements.
the national press club is the world's leading organization for journalists. we fight for free press worldwide. for more information visit our website at press.org. i'd also like to remind you about upcoming programs. june 13, girl scouts of the usa ceo will speak at the press corps luncheon. the next day, michael middleton, university of missouri's interim president will speak here. the next day, june 22, labor secretary tom perez will cap off for me what will be a 40-hour three-day work week. now i'd like to present our guest with the national press club mug. this is your fourth visit so you now have a full set. [laughter] [applause] for my last question, sir, your job is to protect the health of americans but we all have our
vices. my question is, what is your guilty pleasure? netflix, chocolate? mr. frieden: desserts, i have to say. i love sweets. and you know, it's ok to like things that aren't healthy. everything in moderation, including moderation. sometimes people think that public health is about telling people not to do things that are fun. but actually, i'd rather think of public health as helping people identify the sweet spot, identify things you love doing, whether it's walking or dancing or walking the dog or playing basketball, that are healthy and help you to live a longer, healthier life. we're about empowering. empowering means if you go about your business, you don't have to worry about getting killed by a resistant bacteria or having a child with a terrible birth defect. public health is about helping all of us live healthier when we just go about our business and do what we want to do. thank you all very much. [applause]
to the military construction and veterans affairs bill. next, the 35-minute debate on the house floor on the legislation. tlewoman is recognized. ms. pelosi: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding and for his forceful arguments against this reckless rule that is before us today. i rise, mr. speaker, in strong opposition to the rule and really in a state of wonderment. wonderment about how on earth this congress of the united tates can be so insensitive to a challenge to the american people. it is our responsibility to honor our preamble to the constitution, to promote the general welfare. that's in the preamble of our constitution, which we take an oath to defend. the distinguished gentleman from oklahoma, whom i respect, said just be patient.
no. no. 94 days since the president of the united states asked for the amount of resources necessary to address the zika crisis. an amount of money that was requested by the scientists, documented by the urgency of this challenge for the research and for the prevention and for he resources needed to address this public health emergency. i rise not only as the house democratic leader, i rise as a mother and a grandmother and i speak to parents and grandparents in this body, because that's all i'm allowed to speak to. the questions i have for you e -- how can we ignore the
president's scientifically based request expressed in the words of dr. -- the director of the national institutes of allergy and infectious diseases at the national institutes of health, a person, a health care leader in our country, a researcher, a scientist who has been described by george herbert walker bush as a hero, as a hero in his work for the american people and their public health. he says if i don't get money that the president has asked for, the $1.9 billion, that is going to have a very serious negative impact on our ability to get the job done. and another doctor, the public health agency to stop this threat. he said, never before in
history has there been a situation where a bite from a mosquito can result in devastating fetal malformation. testimony went on to say that we're talking about children with irreversible brain damage who will now be able to walk, talk, see or hear, children whose care over a lifetime is estimated to cost more than $10 million. the money is one thing. the devastation to that child and to that family is far more consequential. so the $1.9 billion is a great deal of money. it's an emergency. prevent rice to pay to irreversible brain damage in our children. a small price to pay instead of saying to families, don't think
about having children now because of this epidemic. republicans are treating the threat of zika with so little seriousness as they decided to use the crisis as an opportunity to eliminate protections for our -- for the water of -- that our children drink. the so-called zika vector control act the republicans are adding to this package this morning that they're asking you to vote for is nothing but a long-standing and craven repackaged republican effort to cut the clean water act. it is a pesticide trojan horse that will do nothing to protect americans from zika. this is really a dishonoring of our responsibility to protect and defend our fellow americans. as our distinguished ranking member of the rules committee mentioned, this is a defense issue. it's about protecting the american people.
this proposal today puts forth 1/3 of what the president has asked for. 1/3. people say why aren't you happy with 1/3 of the loaf? it's not 1/3 of a loaf. it's 1/3 of a shoe. you cannot get there from here with 1/3. it's really an insult to the scientists who have spoken out. and so i started with a question. it's really -- actually it's 1/3 of the president's request but 1/5 what the c.d.c. has requested for the public health activities. we must elevate, we must elevate the importance of the public health -- public health responsibility that we have. if we had a natural disaster, fema has funds to come to the rescue of the american people.
that is our compact with the american people, to help them in ways that they could never help themselves because of the scope of the challenge. this is no less a challenge. in fact, it will probably result in more loss of life, malformation of children -- of unborn children and on top of that, think of the negative impact it will have -- distrust to travel to certain regions in our country. this is so reckless. just when i thought i had seen it all on the part of the republicans in the congress, to disregard meeting the needs of the american people, along comes this incomprehensible to explain to anybody why this might be a proposal worthy of
the floor of the house, worthy of the challenge -- public health challenge to the american people, worthy of our concerns about the american people. my republican colleagues, you have outdone yourselves today. at you are doing is reckless in this bill. we should be meeting this challenge the way we meet emergencies, with adequate resources, which will end up saving money because they will be an investment in the health of the american people. over 90 days since the president has made the request. it is not our role to i still fear but we have to state the challenge in a very clear way. this mosquito -- this virus from this mosquito is sexually transmitted. we have no idea it could be as long as 18 months how long it
will reside in a gentleman who might be bitten. could be over a year. could be shorter. but it is not one night. secondly, if you get bitten by this mosquito when you travel someplace where it might be pervasive, you not only get bitten yourself, you bring it home. again, it's sexually transmitted. t it's transmitted in even more pervasive way. any other garden variety mosquito that would bite you who have already been bitten by the other mosquito, now is a carrier of that virus. you turn garden variety mosquitos into an army on o the assault of the public health of the american people.
so, again, as a mother and a grandmother, as a parent, fathers, grandfathers who serve here think of the children, think of the risk, think of the responsibility that we have. think of the irresponsibility of this bill before us today and the reckless, reckless disregard for public health in our country that the republicans are putting forth on this legislation. and vote no. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. cole: may i inquire how much time we have? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 13 minutes remaining. the gentleman from massachusetts has 11 minutes remaining. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cole: mr. speaker, i want to begin by saying i also have a great deal of respect for the distinguished minority leader.
and shoe used in her remarks, made the point -- and she used in her remarks, made the point the president asked for a number of things. last year the president asked for a billion dollars more for the n.i.h. we said you know he we didn't think you asked for enough. we'll give you $2 billion. somehow that seems to get lost. last year the president sent out a request for the center for disease control. we said you know we don't think you're spending enough on public health, mr. president, we are going to spend more money than you asked for. this year when the president submitted his budget, he decided i'm going to take $1 billion of discretionary spending away from the national institute of health and spend it someplace else. we said no, mr. president, we think that's reckless. our democratic friends agreed. we are not going to let you take $1 billion of discretionary money away from n.i.h. and spend it someplace else. we are going to keep it there. by the way, we are going to put more money than you asked for in this agency when the bill comes out and we are probably going to do the same thing for the center for disease control. to suggest the president hasn't
gotten what he asked for is to misstate the facts. now, we have had a great deal mentioned that the president had for 9 days has had a requested. what we have not had is one shred of evidence that in those 94 days he has not had the money to do every single thing he wanted to do. the chairman of the committee urged him to start spending the money immediately to do that. so there have been no loss of effort. and the bill in front of us now funds it for the rest of the fiscal year. also funds the research on the vaccine that the n.i.h. into next year. again, i'm going to simply disagree with my friends that money has not been available. it's been available and frankly to the appropriate agencies more money has been available than the president has asked for. more money will be available next year than he asked for. with that i want to yield, mr. speaker, if i may, four minutes to the distinguished chairman of the rules committee, mr. sessions, my good friend from texas.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for four minutes. mr. sessions: thank you very much. i want to thank the gentleman not only a member of the rules committee but appropriator who is directly in line with an understands the needs of not only the american people as it relates to the n.i.h. but also the funding mechanisms. mr. speaker, i stand up to really disagree with the gentlewoman from california to call my party and our efforts reckless and irresponsible. i believe is unfair. i believe it's unfair because last night at the rules committee we had this virtually same discussion and the discussion started with me when i said that i had republicans and democrats only monday with the director of n.i.h., dr. collins, and the director of the institute of allergy and infectious diseases, dr. anthony fauci, up, and we talked directly about this issue. and what we learned, mr. speaker, is that there was a request for additional money.
and that the n.i.h. had some $600 million that was sit being in -- sitting in a fund from ebola that had not been completely used and a determination was made, including the gentleman from oklahoma, hal rogers, and nita lowey, that were engaged in a decision that said we'll allow the money to be switched over if you would like to do that, switch over and use that money for this specific event that we are now looking at. what happened is they used the money very quickly. they accelerated spending the money. that's fine. we want them to do what they need to do. some $600 million. as soon as that was known, the gentlewoman, mrs. lowey, the gentleman mr. rogers, the gentleman, mr. cole, went about and looking at a request to fill for the next five months hat would be some $1.2 billion
that would be spent just this year remaining. we are in may. just until the end of september . the president asked $1st9 million for five years -- $1.9 million for five years and we gave $1.2 million of that for five months. we are accelerating the money that is necessary to n.i.h. the minority leader outlined how terrible this destructive behavior can be to a child. to an embryo. we agree. but to suggest that republicans are reckless is not fair. what is fair to say is that we are responding appropriately. we are responding immediately. and we are putting it together before we are gone next week on a work period that when we are gone next week, we are doing it this week.
we are moving it as quickly as possible. if we weren't, we would be accused of the reverse, evidently. mr. speaker, the republican party, the gentleman, mr. cole, the gentleman, mr. rogers, our speaker, we care about people. we are doing the right thing. now, in the rules committee the gentleman, michael burgess, acknowledged some of the frailties he sees from the administration's point and that would be where is the alert to cities? where is the administrative action to say let's do something about alerting travelers? where is the information that is going to public health officials? where are we preparing ourself to look at what would happen in brazil? what is the administration doing other than just accusing us of not spending more money? mr. speaker, we all live in glass houses. we need to look at this the same way. and calling each other names is
not a way to get there. so, mr. cole will be responsible and reasonable. hal rogers, the chairman of our appropriations will be responsible, and i said to my committee last night as quickly as we need to get together the rules committee will come in, even if it's on an emergency basis, to handle this based upon a request. that's what we are going to do. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from oklahoma reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield four minutes to the gentlewoman from connecticut, the ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee on labor health and human service, ms. delauro. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from connecticut is recognized for four minutes. police delauro: -- ms. delauro: thank you, mr. speaker. i just will say with my colleague, mr. sessions, just said that the n.i.h. had $600 million in unused ebola money. that is false. the n.i.h. has used all of its ebola funds that congress allocated. so the gentleman from texas statement is not factual.
the zika virus is a public health emergency. it's a crisis -- i'm sorry, i don't. i'm sorry. i can't. because the time is short. the zika virus is a public health emergency. it is a crisis. and we must treat it as such. as of last week, there were almost 1,00 confirmed cases of zika in the united states and its territories. nearly 300 of them are pregnant women. and one person has died. when this congress, when we appropriate money for defense, or defense spending, or for wars, republicans say, and i quote, listen to the generals in the field, they are the ones who know best. well, we are in the midst of a war against the zika virus, and we should be listening to the generals and the experts in the field. who are they? they are at the center for
disease control, they are at the national institutes of health, and they are the scientists in our country. we need to give them the resources that they need, and they have told us they need $1.9 billion. we should do the right thing. we should fund their request. /3 of that request -- 1/3 of that request, which is what the house republicans have proposed, is not adequate. typically microencephaly occurs u.s. % to .12% of all births. but the washington post reported yesterday that among zika infected pregnant women that risk is as high as $13%. this summer every woman who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant will be afraid, afraid to go out on the patio. afraid to take your kids to the little league. afraid to go to a barbecue. it is our duty here to do everything that we can to ease
those fears. to stop this disease from spreading any further. we must not put american women in a predicament of choosing whether or not they should get pregnant or if they are already pregnant wondering whether or not their baby is going to be k. ron wrote in the "washington post" i quote, it is not a question whether babies will be born in the united states with zekeo related microencephaly, it's a question of when and how many. for years to come these environ will be visible. a human reminder of the cost of absurd wrangling in washington. a preventable suffering and frail your of our political system to respond -- failure of our political system to respond to the threat the infectious diseases pose. pregnant women are expecting delays in learning the zika results. the experts estimate a single child with birth defects can usually cost $10 million to care for or more.
that says nothing about the life of that child with microselfly. they cannot eat, they cannot speak, they cannot walk. i do not often quote senator marco rubio, last week he said, i quote, it is a mistake for congress to try to deal with the zika virus on the cheap. if we don't spend more money on that front, and i think we are going to spend a lot more later because this problem is not going away. we could not agree more. we have already stolen $44 million from our states to deal with this crisis. and the republican bill does not reimburse our states for the money that they need for dealing with emergencies such as this. we should defeat the previous question. we should consider a lowey-delauro-wasserman schultz amendment and we should fully fund the president's request of $1.9 million. it is responsible, but it is the moral thing to do. months from now -- 30 seconds. mr. mcgovern: an additional 30
seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. ms. delauro: months from now when the results of our inaction become apparent we'll ask ourselves why did we delay? why did we wait? we must take appropriate action now. we must reject this previous question. we must do what is the morally right thing for the people of this country who put their faith and trust in us to come and represent their best interest and their public health. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the gentleman from oklahoma. mr. cole: may i inquire to the time? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma has seven minutes. the gentleman from massachusetts has 6 1/2 minutes. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. i will reserve my time at this point. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i would like to yield four minutes to the gentleman from maryland, the democratic whip, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: the whip is recognized for four minutes. mr. hoyer: i thank the
gentleman for yielding. i want to thank ms. delauro who is the ranking member on the labor-health committee. this is the story in the "washington post," front page. it is about the crisis that we confront about the danger to americans' health, about the dangers to young children will be born with microselfly and dr. freedian, the head of our disease operation and defense force, if you will, says it will cost $10 million per baby born with microencephaly. $10 million per child. . that doesn't count the heartache. and mr. cole, he's a good legislator. the action you take today belies the representation you have made. what do i mean by that? if there is enough money now, as mr. cole argues, why take
this action? this was not scheduled earlier this week. this was not having a rule until 9:30 last night. so if your proposition is correct that there are sufficient funds right now, we don't need to act on this bill today. so why, my friends, are we acting on it today? because the public believes we ought to act, and the republicans are trying to protect themselves against the attack that they took no action 94 days into the president's request. because if mr. cole is right, we need not worry. there's plenty of money available, but they know the american people don't agree with that. so 9:30 in the dead of night they passed this rule, brought it to the floor so they can say, oh, we've acted. nothing, my friends, will
happen as a result of what we do today. the senate passed a bill with 69 votes. $1.1 billion. not taking from ebola defense, not taking from other health needs of america as our bill does, but saying this is an emergency. now, very frankly, my friends on your side of the aisle, mr. cole, when you want $18 billion from defense, you have no problem not paying for it. you take it from o.c.o., which is not scored. no problem. but when the president asks for $1.9 billion, about a 10th of of well, -- about 1:10 that, well, that's -- 1/10 of that, well, that's ok. it's not the 258 ban. it's not iran. we -- it's not the taliban. it's not iran. we don't have to protect against that.
it's a health crisis in america and we fiddle for 94 days. if in fact mr. cole's representation is correct, if 's no need to act, but the actions that they're taking speak loudly that, yes, in is a need to tell the american people, we get it, there's a crisis, we're going to act. the problem is nothing will happen as a result of this action other than a bill will go over to the senate with which the senate does not agree. they passed a bill with 69 votes. half of the republicans, all of the democrats said we need the $1.1 billion. now, the president has asked for $1.9 billion, but what they didn't do is steal from ebola, steal from other health priorities, and i hear the gentleman talking about how much money is out there, but if that's true, why do we need to act in the dead of night last
night and today just as we walk out the door? we have not dealt with zika. we haven't acted on puerto rican debt. we haven't acted on a budget resolution. we haven't acted on flint water crisis. we haven't acted on criminal justice reform, and we haven't acted on voting rights act. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. hoyer: this is a cover vote. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. hoyer: vote no. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves the balance of his time. does the gentleman from oklahoma continue to reserve the balance of his time? mr. cole: no. i'd yield myself, mr. speaker, such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for such time as he may consume. mr. cole: i appreciate that very much, mr. speaker. i want to reply to my very good friend of maryland whom i not only have great esteem for but frankly great personal affection for. i want to answer his question. this is not a cover vote. the main item here is veterans and military construction. that's over $83 billion.
that through normal order is moving forward. now, to also move the zika bill with it makes a lot of sense. frankly, one of the things in this bill -- and i disagree with my friend's characterization -- we want to make sure that misguided environmental regulations don't stop us from deploying pesticides that we may need. that's in this bill. that is pretty important to move forward. the funding is also important. now, my friends seem to forget, again, the long record here of who's been willing to support the n.i.h. and who's been willing to support c.d.c. we gave the n.i.h. twice what the president asked for in additional new money last year. that's being spent right now, by the way. we gave -- mr. hoyer: fleeled? -- if the gentleman will yield? mr. cole: not until i gave my point. we also gave the centers for disease control more than the president asked for. this year when the president tried to take a billion dollars away in adiscretionary money
away from the n.i.h. both republicans and democrats said, no, mr. president, we will not late you raid n.i.h. and weaken the health care apparatus of the united states. and i made the point then and i my friends that will back it up, we'll put more money in the n.i.h. this year, next fiscal year, than the president actually requested. now, in terms of zika, the moment there was a crisis, the chairman of this committee, hal rogers, immediately sent a letter to the president and said, spend all the money you need. there's -- they're in pots. so taking funds and using them in immediate crisis is not unusual. indeed, the administration itself has done this twice in recent months. once taking $500 million from an emergency response fund at the department of state and spending it on climate change instead of emergency response. $40 million in their own budget
out of, quote, ebola money that they were going to spend on malaria money. i don't condemn them that, by the way. they say this will take several years. we want to deal with malaria right now. let's take some of that money. if we have a problem later we'll fix it. that's all that's going on here. at the end of the day, the amount of resources that are necessary will be made available. the only difference here is one side wants to pay for it and not add to the national debt, the other side really doesn't think that's a big consideration. that's a debate worth having. i don't mind having that debate, but we heard the word reckless earlier. it's also shameless to exploit a crisis for political gain. i think we're seeing some of it today. some of it is sincere and some of it is great theatrics. doesn't change the fact that when the president made his request he's had every dime he's needed for that 94 days. when my friends say the republican bill only provides a third of the money, they somehow forget a third had
already been provided. this is the second third. the rest of it will come, and the money is to be spent as the administration requested. not over weeks, days but over months and years. that's how they propose it deploy it. so giving them the money as they need it instead of writing them a blank check and not even paying for it ahead of time seems to us the prudent and responsible thing to do. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, could i inquire of the gentleman how many more speakers he has? mr. cole: i'm prepared to close whenever my friend is. mr. mcgovern: ok. i'll close. mr. speaker, i yield myself the remaining time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: dr. thomas frieden, the director of the c.d.c. just wreently said in the way this house has handled the funding for the zika virus. he said, this is no way to fight an ep 2ke78ic. three months is eternity for control of an outbreak. there is a narrow window of
opportunity here and it's closing. every day that passes makes it harder and harder to stop zika. so whether it's dr. frieden or dr. fauci or any of our nation's leading scientists or medical experts who all say that what is going on here today is grossly inadequate, my friends on the other side of the aisle seem to think they know more than our scientists and medical experts. at these they have convinced themselves they know more. well, they haven't convinced me and they haven't convinced the majority of the american people who are watching this and in disbelief. i mean, this is an emergency. this is a crisis. why aren't we acting more aggressively? i want to ask unanimous consent to insert in the congressional record a letter to congress from the director of the office of management and budget and our national security advisor in which they talk about the importance of multiyear funding , long-term funding because they have multiyear commitments that they need to make to the private sector in order to
prioritize zika, in order to develop vaccines and other preventions to protect the american people. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, what we are doing here today represents a failure, a miserable failure. this is a -- this represents a failure of this congress to do everything humanly possible to protect the people of this country. it is shameful. it is unbelievable. a rigid right-wing ideology is trumping common sense, is trumping doing what is right, what i think most of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle understand. we need to aggressively fight this crisis, and here's the deal. if we don't get this right, all the talk about fiscal responsibility and, you know, in controlling the debt goes out the window because the cost of this crisis getting out of control is astronomical. mr. speaker, my friends on the
other side of the aisle can explain away or rationalize or justify, you know, this inadequate response all they want but it is reckless. it is irresponsible, and for the life of me i can't understand why on this issue, as we're confwronted with this health crisis -- confronted with this health crisis that we all can't come together and do what's right. when it comes to wars halfway around the world, nobody cares about paying for it, but when it comes to a war to confront a health care epidemic crisis, confront that epidemic, my friends can't find the money. please vote no on the previous question so we can actually have an amendment to properly fund this. i urge my colleagues to vote no on the previous question and no on the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from oklahoma has the remaining 3 1/2 minutes. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield michaels the balance of the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for the balance of the time. mr. cole: i want to respond quickly to some of my friend's points, mr. speaker, and i want to go back to the essential reality that we're facing.
number one, last year when the president asked for $1 billion more for n.i.h. we said that's not enough. we said we're going to give you $2 billion. last year the president submitted a request for c.d.c. we looked at it and said, it's not enough. you evidently don't care about public health, mr. president. we're going to spend more money. this year he brought us a request to try to take $1 billion of discretionary funding away from n.i.h. my friends on the other side were as appalled as we were. we said, no, mr. president. you're not going to take $1 billion out of n.i.h. at a dangerous time of disease. we're not only going to keep that money there, we'll put more money, additional money than you asked for. we said the same thing about the c.d.c., and so we'll do it. in terms of what's been done, the minute the zika virus appeared and the administration asked for emergency money, hal rogers, the chairman of the committee, responded and said, spend whatever it takes and indeed the administration has done that. my friends seem to suggest that there's something that hasn't been done.