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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 14, 2014 7:30pm-9:31pm EST

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then said that concept does not apply so we will not. i am wondering if it is just not the right framework to apply in this context? the individual participation in thing just doesn't apply so we look for another framework or standard? >> i would like to think about that question i have some thoughts and will answer with my testimony. >> i have a thought. i think that model has some flaws in people don't read the privacy policies. i don't think just providing a notice is effective. we do need to think about what works in the context. and in certain cases we may want individuals to play a greater list if you were on
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the no-fly list you should have a right to be heard or have redress to challenges to be on that list. some like security makes sense. others might not. but the larger component is there is adequate control and accountability. so everything such as the individualized noticed, it is not feasible. there is the greater transparency also. not the individuals are notified that the generalized disclosure about what is going on. >> i thought the knowledge meant that some of the of principles could not be fully implemented in the
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context of the national security surveillance program was an acknowledgement you cannot provide the error correction notice in all circumstances. i was talking more about that secondary screening of the no-fly list. but the challenge for you is to figure out the underlying values. in this context the underlying value is prevention of governmental abuse that is what animates everybody and with that behavior. the types of accountability and transparency you have to help build our ones the needs of the national security system. we tried that with the intelligence committee and the church commission modification where we all
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trust congress to do it right. it seems we're less willing to do that now. so maybe it is a judicial panel with they cleared advocate there are mechanisms short of the complete transparency and accountability that could be imagines to achieve the objective against misuse well not complete lead frustrating the necessity that most of us see. of lot of it is what the cases are in advance to
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enhance privacy projections on that technological level so maybe you could take your cake and eat some of it. >> to the extent the principle might be difficult or impossible to apply in this type of setting, it seems there should be a greater obligation to further the goal. if you like to control or correct errors in the data data, you could ask for greater effort for the data as it is our extra safeguards regarding the possibility of error. >> did you collect your thoughts very briefly? >> yes.
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what i was struggling with how much are we giving up on the collection? that web wanted to go back to that issue of control of information. i do want to go back to crack the privacy amendment and look more carefully but it sounds to me that is the best approach. >> but before we go on to questions to the audience, write them down and they will bring them up to me. >> thanks for a very
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interesting panel event i think a lot of them are how you translate or is it the right translation? but i was struck by the numerous mentions because there are other implications of the mosaics very to the extent we are transparent in discrete ways. the other is the national security with the mosaic theory they need to understand to understand collection how the national security apparatus works for you can agree or disagree but i want to start with you
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professor, and i was interested in the notion with that through force collection mechanism of. and it is within the government made the argument of the brute force collection, have retention to identify the previous and no links. have you given thought if there are options to limit correction for a program like to 15? if you haven't then be more specific about collection options. >> with section 215 the data is collected initially by the phone company. then if it needs to be transferred to the
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intelligence community for them to do analysis. it is pretty clear as a technical matter looking for those multi a links that the intelligence agencies want to do canby done such as the phone companies has a modest amount of coordination between the companies holding the data and the analysis. there are opportunities to match if there is a path and then to reach in and extract the data or individuals that are highlighted by that. that is what can be done there is further work is more technical with the uk
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news advanced column -- cryptology for which numbers are being searched and day are developing with some interest is that technical problem with the research committee -- community will we have learned about the the rise of disaster capitalism" program. >> and methods are developable when you have a specific problem like this. >> the biggest challenge is to develop practical feasible recommendations that can be implemented. the more concrete and specific, the more likely they are to be implemented. i would ask that you both
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talk about risks mitigation heidi mitigate the harm? what have you found to be the most effective mechanism for mitigating risk? retention? control? what can the government do to mitigate this? >> but blanc thing to point to is all of those. with that mechanisms to ensure it is accurate. when crab from one context to another. for the purposes of amazon.com to recommend books that is my not what we want from the government. amazon makes a mistake big deal.
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it does not need 100% accuracy but that differs so that that information is taken from one context that it is appropriate and accurate. so that is not improperly access. with the control on the use so it cannot be for any purpose 10 years from now. so it is complex as many parts. >> there are but from my perspective since the threat we're talking about his primary the principal factors i would focus on are
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the individual government actors. so they know the rules and knows the compliance culture and with the audit and compliance work and then this is where we fall down the most the willingness for administrative sanctions in that context and nothing attracts attention of a government employee so much as the prospect of losing his job for being suspended. that is where i would focus.
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>> could get the failures of compliance that are acknowledged we see individual employees doing what they shouldn't barrasso the failures of the technical system to behave consistently with the internal policies. this is where oversight can operate without getting into nuts and bolts of technology. to make shorter it does with the general counsel says it should do. there is an opportunity to push on oversight in that area. >> i think it is very important as we wrap up the panel to highlight what i
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heard as commonality. with the public debate moving forward not to end up with the proposition this is confusing or different views. i heard the commonality starting with the point that you all agree but all of you would created the umbrella term as many different values. >> with that mosaic theory it is real from the privacy
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perspective and from that government whole perspective >> let the record reflect nodding. [laughter] >> and third, i heard unanimity what the law refers to as the third party doctrine that by giving information to one person you lose all interest or of privacy interest that disclosure for any other purpose. there was an agreement that concept of disclosure is to all but constitutionally aside for modern-day reality. that does not fit the wavy
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review privacy. but that disclosure is not a surrender of all interest to the information. but it would be inappropriate to have universal disclosure but it is implicit in the question in that it necessarily follows it is the matter of constitutional significance the horror of - - to animate the board. but to except that premise i would not tolerate any.
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the with that instrumental value it is premised on the notion the vet not surrender your privacy rights we want people to disclose information and to their doctors agree promise them it is not disclosure to all. >> it is a wonderful example because it is an exception from the hearsay rule you are motivated to tell the truth. but those realities work both ways. >> but not collected under. >> their several witnesses mentioned. it is important to say that
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fair information practices principles which there is no definitive version of them. [laughter] but there is that was adopted by the department of homeland's security and 2008 which is as good as any, i think. but there is an agreement that the framework provides the framework, of the questions. it is relevant for how you deal with information and. if it doesn't work you compensate for its.
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and then the framework for asking the question. >> it is the starting point. many of those questions don't withstand the technological transition's we are going through. so as the and the members of the board to discard as inoperable under current circumstances. with the emphasis on the remaining aspects and to my mind with that granular analysis with the privacy interest that does not cover
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the range of interest. >> we have a couple of questions for the audience. we will try to direct to a particular panel member. >> and the government tries data from the private database at which point is the private entities collection or the collection from the private entity? [laughter] >> i will not answer it based on more regulation and.
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they were in the context with that company. one of the problems with meditated it is with the patriot pact to enable any person to know what they are consenting to that the information goes to the nsa. it is just different types of regulation contractual contractual, restored, a government regulation, and then for the government the fourth amendment. it is everywhere. >> private companies have no incentive that is why the risk might be greater but
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the writer asks taking into account the homeland's security industry with 484 contractors providing are the risks inherent of national security interests? >> yes. problems can come from anywhere and there are inherent things that can be said about where problems could be caused. where is that amassing of data by the private sector cause problems? increasingly b.c. a cooperation in the private sector that will perform government functions to help gather data to share data
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with the government so they'll create various problems we need to address. and stop looking elsewhere. wherever they may have been that is the best approach. >> for the panel to discuss what technologies should be built in? may be adjusted to sentence summary. >> in a sense how can use some of them whole area of knowledge?
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but as with carter's like the tesla. which technologies are available to minimize or control their risk of certain and information and practice. that you should ask that entity that wants to use the information to justify the choices they have made. if it seems to be available. >> what about the application of privacy like the postal service? . .
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jim is nodding that i'm right so thanks. i think the implication of the question which is really the most distressing -- interesting
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part of it and transfer to something i want to talk about is that emphasizes the point which was i do agree which is the line between commercial and government collection is increasingly blurring some and the idea that you know regulation of the government but no regulation of collection is cognitive dissonance and there's these places that is happening. for me that suggests one set of answers because i'm unwilling to think about wholesale government regulation as an extreme level of corporate business practice. i think there are some there but it certainly emphasizes the confluence between them.
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>> that's my part of the panel unless the chair has some parting words. >> thank you very much. thanks to the panel and the audience questions. we will take a break and resume with the technology panel. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> the main thing about my training i like to think is that the gentleman who went over before me came back and taught me. my instructor in basic flying was lieutenant captain leonard jackson out of fort worth texas. he came back and taught me how to fly the aet six and how to do combat fighting, night flying, cross country and those men came back and they taught me well and they taught us well. i guess my other claim to fame is that in primary my first check ride and you guys or girls who are interested in flying no
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after 20 hours of flying they are going to give you a test and the test is for you to prove that you learned what your instructor is supposed to have taught you. my first check ride was with c. offered answers and, chief anderson who happened to have taken mrs. roosevelt up and i didn't know any of this until i came out of the service. but man was that a big deal to me when i found out that was the man that took me up and gave me my first check.
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now to a discussion on fiscal policy in the next congress. a panel of budget experts look at potential changes ahead for social security and medicare as
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well as the debt ceiling and the tax code and offers recommendations for long-term solutions. this is hosted by the concord coalition and around an hour. >> we are going to get started now. just so you guys know the microphones are not going to help amplify us. they are just for c-span2 record so we will try to speak up so you walk in paris. thank you everyone for coming today to our panel discussion about opportunities for fiscal reform in the next congress. my name is ben ritz and i'm the director for the concord coalition and i will be moderating this panel today. before we get started introducing our panelists i want to take a quick second to thank congressman would all staff and coordinating the logistics for this event and i want to thank the house budget committee for letting us use their run this afternoon. we see as policymakers on both sides of the aisle have sought common ground on a plan to put
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our nation on a sustainable path curb the growth of our national debt and reinvigorate our struggling economy. in the 2011 fiscal crisis and the government shutdown of 2013 each of the standoffs failed to produce the so-called grand bargain. with the deaths of having fallen since its peak in 2000 washington mired in gridlock some have suggested it's simply time to move on for the budget debate yet despite short-term progress there remains challenging as ever. as soon as 2016 that are predicted to rise with no end in sight approaching a trillion dollars by the end of the decade and what they like it or not the next congress will face a number budget deadlines that will demand action not in 10 years or 20 but before the next election. our hope is that those of you in the audience who have worked here on capitol hill will turn these challenges and opportunities to enact more responsible tax and spending policies and for those of you who pick up their mantle on
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these issues noted the concord coalition are here to -- to my left is mark goldwein. previously mark served as associate director for the fiscal commission and the 2011 he spent three months is a nearby canal analyst for the checkmate and deficit reduction also known as the supercommittee. mixing of steve said bell senior director of economic policy. pregnancy were from a staff for senator pete domenici and served as staff director for the senate budget committee from 1981 to 1986 and last but not least we have bob bixby. bob served as the debt reduction task force also known as the domenici rippling commission which proposed a bipartisan solution for addressing fiscal challenges. without i will post the first
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question to the panel and each panelist will will have tim and his answer then we will open it up to the audience for questions. that question is what d.c. is the major as the major opportunities for progress in the upcoming congress and how can lawmakers to best take advantage of them and we'll start with mark. >> thank you everyone for being here and thanks to the concord coalition and ben for organizing this event. as ben mention they worked on the simpson-bowles commission and the supercommittee so i have substantial experience failing to achieve a grand bargain. [laughter] the concept of the grand bargain was straightforward and it was a concept that was broadly reach reached. there was broad agreement on the what the brand grand bargain should look like. those i'd have to agree to cap restricted growth on defense and non-defense. democrats would have to agree to reform entitlement programs but to do so while protecting those that count on those programs. republicans would have to raise
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additional revenue from the tax code that did so while reforming attacks by cutting the 1 trillion plus million to simplify the code. both sides would agree to keep the economy's room to grow. entitlement reform tax reform reasonable spending cuts and giving the economy time to grow. unfortunately that's not where we ended up. while we ended up with was starting with the easiest part. speaker boehner and president obama tried to negotiate with his grand bargains in 2011 as it landed up with a series of non-defense spending of those caps are reasonable but they didn't fundamentally solve our debt problem. they landed up with revenue not from tax reform as the grand bargain agreed to put races for the top 1%. it got in the way in different ways than i think most
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economists thought made sense. then we let the sequester head so instead of going for the entitlements the third part of a grand bargain we went back to defense and non-defense and cut them abruptly across-the-board and pretty deeply. this puts us in a situation where we didn't get the grand bargain that got us deficit reduction enough to stabilize our debt but not enough to change the long-term trajectory and not in a way that would promote growth and reasonable choices as the grand bargain with. now it took a big chunk out of the grand bargain making it harder and i don't want to declare the grand bargain -- but in the next two years we will go back to this grand bargain trade -- table. in fact if you look at what is being discussed in congress now what likely is to be discussed in the next in coming weeks and
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months we may be moving in the opposite direction. right now before the end of the year we will likely deal with tax extenders in tax breaks expire every year and every year until rear-ended them. the way we deal with debt will probably increase the deficit in the wrong direction. three months after that by the end of march we have to do something called the doc fix that cuts physician payments across-the-board and we want to avoid that it's going to add to the deficit. these are problems that can actually take us backwards to even erase some of the progress we have already made that they are also opportunities to help us move forward and to be a launching pad for what i call many bargains. i think there are many bargains on tax reform in health reform for starters. so there is good news on that front on the health reform side in the tax reform site. on the health reform side there is actually agreement from
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tri-partisan bicameral agreement that we need to take the current sustainable growth rate which basically cuts physician payments across-the-board and replace them with something that actually rewards positions based on value of care. there is broad agreement. there's a piece of legislation that both chairman wyden support and the house chairman camp supports at the take sgr and replace it. that will move us towards value-based health care which is really what we wanted in attacks either is good news for good news. the look of a talking point after the election and try to find what the president and republicans have in common there wasn't much but one of the aries was a business tax reform. there's there's a criminal both sides need to get rid of a lot of tax breaks in the corporate tax code and use that money to make our corporate tax rate more competitive. right now 35% of the highest corporate tax rate in the world but because we have so many loopholes and tax breaks in the
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tax code were not raising much revenue and frankly we are not internationally competitive. i think there is some agreement that we can move forward on the corporate tax reform. the look look of the look of a framework that presents together in the full piece of legislation that chairman camp but together there's a lot of overlap. the problem is that's easy part. the easy part is agreeing on the goodies. we want to give physicians a better formula. we want to find a way to reform the tax code and make their companies more competitive but all those have the risk of increasing the deficit if we don't. we think they should be paid for and they should be paid for in a way that moves the ball forward on health and tax reform. for those of you have that picked up a packet when we came in the budget just released a plan called the prep plan paying for reform and extension policies. this plan would assume that we go with the permanent replacement of the sgr discussed
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by the tri-committee assuming we continued expiring taxes for two years as the assumption and shows how to pay for it. about one third of those offsets comes from changing provider incentives and medicare so we are actually rewarding quality of care, not quantity of care. this takes place in the drugs arena and payment models by bundling payments by getting rid of disparities but really making providers to focus more on quality. the other third of the offsets comes from doing the same beneficiaries. right now there's a crazy system within medicare cost-sharing that will face different deductibles and coinsurance and by wrap around coverage which drives up costs. we propose replacing it with a simpler formula that would basically give everybody the same deductible about $600 give everybody an out-of-pocket limit and equal coinsurance. medical insurers would avoid --
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would have skin in the game but they would also have more protection against catastrophic risks. overall car sharing would decline an out-of-pocket costs would be lower for most beneficiaries because of his reforms but this would also save medicare and there are more details in the plan. finally the tax extenders. we can't keep doing tax extenders to years of time but unfortunately time is too short to enact full business comprehensive tax reform so what we proposed is a fast-track process to get tax reform moving. we know the pieces of tax reform. we know we want to lower their rates. we can do both in the corporate and individual side which would be my preference but we have got to get moving. we can't camped the second game where nobody wants to go first. we also came up with a package that would pay for the two-year extenders that we can pass as we
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work for corporate or individual or both tax reform. this package would not raise anybody's tax rates would not cut tax breaks they would focus on increasing compliance within the current tax code and do it two different ways. first of increase reporting and enforcement, just collect the taxes that people owe and second would close the most egregious loopholes where people are misreporting people or businesses are misreporting their income in order to get away with paying less taxes. you basically keep the structure of the tax code as it is to make sure people are paying under this current tax law. i think a plan like this would represent an excellent step forward. it wouldn't solve our debt situation, wouldn't be the grand bargain by which show us where we need to start. it would make our health care system focused on cost with a move us towards a more
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competitive tax code and it's an opportunity i don't think we should miss. i only have a minute left but i want to make sure there are a few other opportunities out there, which steven bubble talk about but the one that comes immediately after the doc fix in march as the highway trust fund which expires in may. there's a disparity between raising the gas tax and how much we are spending on highways. we keep closing that disparity with gimmicks and one-year things but for those of you that get this joke we are running out of pensions too smooth. we can't keep doing this forever. we need to come up with a current solution to bring our revenue and spending in line. there are tons of ideas out there that this panel will discuss and this is further in the future for social security disability insurance trust run out of money in 2016. without action there'll be a 20% across-the-board cut to everybody on the disability program. india's conventional wisdom that we will take money from the old-age program. i don't think it will be
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politically that is in there will be huge missed opportunity because there's so much room to improve the social security disability program. even though this next two years are going to be the years of the grand bargain the grand bargain it's an opportunity to do health reform step 11 tax reforms that wanted to begin focusing on important issues like the highway trust fund in social security spending so thank you everyone. >> my name is steve bell and i work for the center of bipartisan policy center so i will probably offend everyone here because we truly are bipartisan. we range from tom daschle to pete domenici to trent lott olympia snowe as people who have set up and are senior fellows at our institution. let me talk about in 1981
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through 1986 mr. domenici was chairman. you have or you have the opportunity to pick it up, a chance to look at this chart. this is not a joke. this is reality. you might remember when the late senator from pennsylvania got on the floor of the united states senate and outlined what the hillary clinton health plan would look like and everyone said that's just crazy. you can't do that. well, what most of them didn't realize is we are already doing this. this is the way the budget appropriations process works n now. and it is not with any particular wisdom that i say probably 90% of the members of
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this staff do not know how the budget appropriations process works. about 80% of the members of the house have been elected over the last four cycles, almost that many in the senate and none of this is intuitive. we had two or three of us that worked on it. i left and 86 and left it to my friend bill hoagland. i blame him for most of this. [laughter] so the first thing is the complexity of the process. we talked about a plan that various people said we'll have a plan and we were going to call at domenici rivlin 3.0 because more than two of them were torpedoed. but the plan has to be something
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that deals with the complexity of how you get things done in the senate and the house. we will also therefore come out with a series of recommendations to change the budget process itself. when the budget first started after the 1974 budget reform and empowerment control act, it was the leadership committee in the house. leaders in the house on your rules committee, they pick the people who are going to be on their. we tried that one year in the senate and we have something called the double chairman because he was the chairman of appropriations and also the chairman of the budget. that lasted one year as the jealousies that you would imagine happened and led to the
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budget becoming really a committee that you get stuck on a few, unless you are a cpa he you really did not want to be on this committee. so we believe the composition of the budget committees should change. they should go back to incoming leadership appointed committees. example. let me is a nice word, under this mass very few people have a dog in the fight. most of the committees in the senate for example are not involved in the budget process so we started to put a budget together sometime in february and try to get it out sometime in april and there are about 25
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people in the united states senate. half members and half-staff that know what we are doing. we then bring it to the floor and say we would like for you to do this. and they say what is this? one way around that i argue is to put senior members some of the authorizing committees and at least one member of the senate and house appropriations committee on the new committee to where they can go back and talk to their membership as the budget is being formed and say this is what they want to do for the jurisdiction of our committee. what do you guys think? status in early buy-in to what is an exceptionally complex situation and when you get that buy-in a lot of the stuff that is in this chart goes away.
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so the composition we think is extremely important. the next important thing is to admit that in 1985 i and the rest of the staff were want something called gramm-rudman-hollings. when senator graham came up with the idea senator hollings asked that his name be stricken. senator rudman is dead so the only person who is defending it is senator graham whose recent defense in "the wall street journal" was kind of tepid as though i didn't really mean it to be this way. let's talk about these across-the-board cuts the so-called sequester. here are the things it doesn't do. it doesn't prioritize programs.
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it says the f-16 is just as important to the future as the f-35. no rational person at the pentagon would tell you that. it says that the money we give to usaid is just as effective as the money we give on a bilateral basis. we know that's not true that they are all cut equally across-the-board. that is a nice way of not managing. it is a stupid way of managing and it has led us to this situation where i can say even though she said this in a private meeting last week former ambassador michelle floor and i who is one of the authors of the preliminary report -- report of the defense panel said quote
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under the 2016 sequester caps that are now in current law the united states of america will not be able to meet its strategic defense needs. many of us in the audience are surprised by that statement. when she was asked by the moderator you said this, do you still mean it she said i absolutely mean it. the other person on the panel was eric edelman who took her place and also a republican. absolutely agreed. we are hearing from very smart people that we are cutting back on all sorts of things we ought not to be cutting back on. we are going to add an additional trillion dollars to the national debt after all these cuts. these are the smallest programs in the slowest growing programs.
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so when newer members went out and said in full faith, i'm going to cut the deficit, and going to balance the budget, and going to make some sense of this, what they didn't realize it is two-thirds of these decisions have already been made. under the sequester about 90% of these decisions have already been made before they take the oath of office. i want to conclude my talk a little bit about the debt ceiling. the reason -- i was very lucky. i got to work for a man named howard baker and i got to work for a man named pete domenici. there is no doubt in my mind that giving congress the power to set the debt limit and use it as a hostage for other kinds of ideas is long past its
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usefulness. i believe very strongly that we should not have a debt ceiling vote in united states house and senate. we can use the budget process to get around that. it's not only me. there is a conservative government in australia. they decided they were going to involve their legislature in setting the debt ceiling so they did for two years. and then that same conservative government said oh no we are not going to do this again. and they removed that particular provision allowing the australians parliament to set debt ceiling's. the debt ceiling to me is just like monetary policy. do you really want 535 people of
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various backgrounds and inclinations setting monetary policy for this country that has the reserve currency of the world? you might want it at first blush but you ought not to want it so we believe in getting rid of the debt ceiling, getting rid of the sequester caps and improving the composition of the budget committee and reducing the complexity of a process that many of you will find very interesting as you let go along this ear. >> thank you steve. i will talk about some of the things we touched on but i want to reiterate that as mark said in the beginning we have made some progress with the deficit coming down from the
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astronomical heights that it was in the last several years and it does provide a sense of relief and people think well actually maybe we can look at other things but there is still a need for the long-term fiscal outlook to be addressed. we are still on an unsustainable path. the debt has been going up and the deficit will start going up fairly soon so we really don't have a mission accomplished situation. it's time to and i agree there probably isn't a grand bargain on the horizon anytime soon. i'm an unreconstructed grand bargain air. i would love to see one and i look forward to part three. sign me up if you want but it's probably not going to happen in the next two years.
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i have spent a lot of my time in iowa and new hampshire are not running for anything but trying to raise the profile of the fiscal issues for the presidential campaigns. i do think the first budget of the next president is going to be very important in that regard. but that doesn't mean we should give up on everything happening here in the next two years because there are opportunities to address fiscal issues and maybe not a grand bargain that we can certainly do some things positively in a bipartisan way that can help clear the decks for a larger deal and perhaps build some trust between the parties working together and perhaps build public trust that washington can work and get some things done. as mark mentioned and steve the highway trust fund is a good example of something that i think could -- that the two
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sides could get together on. it has a deadline so there's an action forcing event. at the same time there's a consensus that we should have a viable infrastructure in this country and the current revenue stream is not enough to pay for the expected expenditures. so it's a fairly straightforward problem in that regard and it should be something that we could get a longer-range agreement on. one that you don't have this constant threat of projects being shut down and people being laid off because that's the consequence of what happens when we don't have a long-term fix for the highway trust fund. obviously the same is true with the sustainable growth rate in medicare is another deadline is coming up and there will be an opportunity to address that and hopefully both parties are
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getting close to an agreement on that. we also have two other things that i would like to spend more time talking about. one is the debt limit to pick up on what steve is talking about and the social security disability system. next year, that comes out pretty quickly and see what needs to be done about tax extenders and i endorse mark's idea about having a paid for. i would start with scratch and let them all go and all may extend those that are paid for. i think it's a good opportunity to scrap the tax code by letting these expired and see what could be enacted in the light of day. but to get into the two other issues and have a longer-term
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connotation on social security disability. think about this. people tend to think social security is a problem way off in the future and the trust fund will go bankrupt in 2030 sometime and why do we need to worry about it now? for one thing that program is running a cash deficit. it's important to remember the trust fund is a claim on general revenue that social security is paying out more than it's taking in right now in that situation will continue to get worse. but the disability portion social security oasidi and the di stands for disability insurance amounts programmed, not program the projected to run dry and by the fall of 2016 interesting timing.
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what would happen in the fall of 2016 if there wasn't any action? they would be a disability cut of 19 to 20%. it's not going to happen. nobody wants that to happen so some piece of legislation affecting social security is going to pass the congress before then and the question is, is it going to be another punt, just kick the can down the road shifts in funding round from one trust fund to the other or could it be an opportunity to look at broader reforms that would not be narrowly focused on di though that would be part of it but to extend the solvency of the entire system. remember di is a leading indicator here. the main reason it's running a shortfall that it is the demographics. it's like an early indicator going off for the whole system.
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and so it would make sense in that context to look at a little bit broader fix. we can do it outside of the budget context. one of the things about social security reform is people say should be considered not part of the grand bargain but something separately and we can do that. when there's an opportunity to do that, that's one thing it's obviously politically dicey when you break it into social security but talk about politically dicey cut disability benefits by 19% the election? i don't think so. so that's an opportunity and the other one i will mention before it go to q&a's the debt limit. i feel like steve about the debt limit and i have you know been advocating balanced budget and debt reductions for 22 years, not as long as you steve but long enough. so i take a backseat to nobody
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on the idea of controlling the debt. i think there should be a mechanism in place that helps us control debt. i don't think that the current debt limit is the best way to do it. i think for a couple of reasons. for one the number itself is arbitrary. it's not linked to any particular economic goals which i think should be the debt-to-gdp ratio. the number, the actual nominal figure of debt is really not that important as where it's going as a percentage of gdp. so i would like to see a debt limit that would link it somehow to the gdp. i think that the penalties for reaching the debt limit should be tied to the policies that produce the debt.
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if you are exceeding some targeted level of debt that penalties should not be like the fault on the government obligation and endanger the creditworthiness of the united states of america. why don't we do something to affect those policies and if it has to happen automatically take some sort of sequestration or let's involve taxes as well. tax expenditures, sequestration, and you can do that some way. i think i would beg the debt limit -- i still want some sort of mechanism that would be effective. i think more effective. the current debt limit the problem is it's a trigger that can be pulled. ultimately we have pretty much found that nobody is really willing thank god to default on the debt so it's not really clear that it's an effective deterrent going forward. it has been used in the past and it didn't get anything done fiscally but i agree with steve
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that the time may have passed for that. i'm not sure that it's going to be effective going forward because people are sick of the act of defaulting on the debt. so i think defaulting on the debt plays into part of the frustration the public has his say here in iowa and new hampshire. people say we just wish things could work in washington. so i hope we can perhaps a better -- find a better more effective debt limit and use the opportunity whether it's the debt limit or the highway trust fund or oas di if we can use the next couple of years as a way to set up things so that the next time around mark and steve and i will not be failures in our attempts to bring across a bigger deal.
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>> i want to quickly mention the moment which is on october 1 of next year the murray ryan budget and sprayed which means a partial relief for the sequestration starting fiscal year 2016 that sequestration comes back in full so there's not opportunity to do something like was done in murray ryan and replace it with across-the-board short-term cuts with more sensible long-term reforms. >> all right, thank you for your insights on that. i guess at this point we will open it up to questions from the audience if anyone has them and i think c-span had a mic that they wanted to use. does anyone have any questions? >> i noticed in a footnote that you have a more detailed prescription for the fast-track progress. you have a preview of what that looks like? >> the footnote is the preview. there are many ways that we can
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fast-track and we are not going to endorse this is the one that we are trying to talk to the hill offices to get a sense of what has the most viability we should have something out within the next month or so. >> gao did a report earlier in september and said very much the same things that you did warning about the long-term situation that the administration released the pre-deficit numbers. the treasury secretary and omb director shaun donovan said we solve the deficit problem. as you pointed out the debt is still a significant issue. i don't know if you have a comment on that but i have a follow-up question. what do you say to the paul krugman's of the world that's a
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problem solved and we can move on now? >> he is a friend of mine. when he was nominated to be secretary of treasury pete domenici my old boss was the person who introduced him to the finance committee. he knows numbers very well and he is very smart. i think he is reciting the company line. i say that with great respect to him but i think he is repeating the company line. no intelligent person can look at the probable path of our debt with 10 to 11,000 people a day retiring and going on to medicare and that number increasing and say we are on a sustainable path.
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>> i agree it's a situation where the numbers and effects are mostly right but in context it's totally missing. we have cut the deficit in half. it's true we have cut at almost 65% from its peak but we cut it after raising it a good presenter and the great recession so we need context where we come from. yes we have stabilized the debt due share of gdp for the next five years but the record high level that was in the deficit of world war ii. something, think the administration is wrong on this and something that i think is bothersome is there were folks who are saying don't worry about the sure and term deficit. the real problem is long-term and they were right. we should've been worried as much about the trillion dollar deficit and a great recession but the problem is double long-term deficit and those same folks are bragging about restoring the short-term deficit. long-term is better but it's on a pretty similar unsustainable track -- trajectory as it was
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before. >> a lot of reasons the deficit has come down is because the economy has been recovering which is a policy that you know whatever you think of why and whether the administration's good policy or not the economy has been recovering from the great recession so it's a fairly normal recovery. the deficit and when i say fairly normal recovery i mean the deficit is coming back down. it's been a slow recovery but it's really the trajectory going forward and that is the demographics and that makes it difficult to talk about because it does involve popular programs like social security and medicare which are going to get more expensive simply because there are more beneficiaries. even if health care costs stabilize still would be a very expensive growth in these programs because of a number of beneficiaries. that puts revenues in place
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because you have to think spending is going on autopilot and doing need to look at better ways of raising more revenue than in the past and what are the historic trends looking like you're? so politically that leads to a discussion that neither republicans or democrats particularly want to have. i think a lot of it is really democratically -- demographically driven when you look at the future and those are the things we need to get at long-term. >> you have sequestration that goes back into effect october 1 and we have mandatory domestic discretionary spending for the next eight years. mark you have spoken before and did a great job by the way but
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even sequestration aside just with the domestic spending we face de facto sequestration in terms of the budget allocation. so the only way we are going to get more domestic discretionary spending is if congress and the administration are going to be honest and deal with the side of the budget where they can really address the growing costs and bring in new revenues through tax reform. it just seems like discretionary programs will continually squeezed at our national defense and this is a box. this is unsustainable. how do we get out of this? >> i agree absolutely is unsustainable. here is the problem and i think
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bob put it pretty well. zero koji we were 1.3 trillion. all boyd now we are 150 billion is not great. okay let's see 17.7 and now we are at, we are going to be at 100% depending on whose numbers you want to use. we are going to be a 100% of gdp debt-to-gdp ratio in the lifetimes are for single person except a couple of us in this room. what has happened since the birth of almost everyone in this room are the health programs. 1964 medicare, medicaid, other things like that. our inability to make the changes that countries like sweden and we think of them as social as in they don't have any discipline think about what sweden has done and what norway
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has done and what other countries have done. we are not willing to do. they actually took money from beneficiaries and they say next month you get 95. we can't say we are getting $100 we are supposed to get 106 or you may get 103. you have to think about the lunacy of that. what we are also doing is this and i will close with this. there's a famous guy at johns hopkins university who does immensely important cancer research. when the sequester first hit a year and a half ago he was asked by the american association of advancement of science to comment on that and here's what he said. three years from now somebody's mother named sadie is going to die of cancer and it's a cancer
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that we are working on right now and that we probably could either cure or put into remission. if we didn't have the sequester. he is not a republican. he is not a democrat. when someone tells you we are not going to be able to defend the national defense interest and another person tells you that people are going to die that don't need to die because of the way we were handling the federal budget you need to pay attention. i'm a grand bargain or pretend that only one. we if we were all grand bargainers we would all agree that's very unlikely. the fact that we agree is very unlikely. it's very depressing to me. >> researcher. when congress came close on sgr last year there was a bit
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concerned one that value-based reforms were inefficient and two that you were doing a permanent deal to hold down the cost of the program and continue paying for for 10 years. in fact when we switch to the one year there was this great complaint that now we are going to have to pay for it -- care. how is this an opportunity for long-term deficit stabilization and you were talking about permanent repeal of something you only have to pay for for 10 years. >> a great question. let me start with i do think it's an excellent starting point. there are definitely areas where we can better promote value. there are areas and i think there and i'm not going to pick on anyone but i think there are certain positions that could be paying less. i would personally go further. i think it's a good starting point. the problem is we haven't got a
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plan to pay for it. the sustainable growth rate has helped slow cost growth indirectly. it hasn't helped to keep physician cost down. it has increase utilization. it has force competition every year sometimes every three months depending on how long it takes to replace a one-year cut with a tenure reform. some of those reforms have been really helpful. rather than pay for one year of cuts over first cuts with 10 years a reformed paying for 10 years by itself is way better because instead of a lot of the sgr bills are 25 million-dollar increase in the first year and we don't get back in the interim year increasing the deficit. that's number one. number two copies of that hope
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these plans are are permanent pay forces helped than a health care costs. there's an incredible amount of work we can do. we don't know ripping app that there is an incredible amount of progress we can make with provider incentives and beneficiary incentives to make everybody better at controlling health care cost growth and that will have deficit reduction enough to pay for the doc fix but in the long run they would be helpful with the overall trajectory of health care spending. i think it awaits better than the sgr formula. >> anybody else? we have time for one or two more questions. >> it seems like it if i could put you in a room or a lot of people in this room and you could solve the problems. the numbers are there and obviously there will be room on the edges but it's not like
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smart people can come together and fi fix it. it's a political problem. mark you talk to the beginning about using some of these more short-term solutions to build goodwill to get people to come up with political solutions. can you give an example of what you envision that to look like, what is that first step? >> it's an excellent question. a lot of decks are reshuffling right now in particular in the senate everyone is still trying to figure out how they're going to play and i think the white house is as well. i couldn't tell you for sure what is the first step but if i had to pick one i would say an agreement to move forward on tax reform. right now the president says he wants tax reform and speaker boehner says he wants tax reform but none of them have agreed to do it. i think just them agreeing we are going to work together to do
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tax reform is how cap and 86. it's small. it's just a little branch and doesn't solve any big problems but that would be an important first step. >> if i was going to give one piece of advice to the president of the united states and he does not want to hear but i'm going to say it anyway it would be this. when you produce your budget for next year make it a budget that balances within a three-year period, balances within a three-year period. now there are people probably to the left and the right of me who would say the old man has gone out of his mind. >> i wouldn't say that steve. [laughter] >> are you mind reading? >> but as a practical political matter getting deficits down to 18% of gdp moves no one other than "the wall street journal" and the financial times i have
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not seen that on the front page of any newspaper. what if it's the albuquerque journal that we look at or other newspapers. they look at something called a balanced budget. if i were the president i would go ahead and bite the bullets that need to be bitten. i would make recommendations to increase revenues and there are various ways to do it but at some point you will have to realize you don't have enough money to pay for the promises. i would cut programs and make recommendations to change programs over time that would lead as mark said to a balanced budget. the only way we were able to do this and 86 was because ronald reagan said to his people i really don't care about the rest of this stuff. i want a tax -- i've seen personally the letter that reagan wrote to bob dole saying
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bob this is what we need in tax reform. the only way we got a balanced budget in 97, 98 and 99 was because bill clinton listened to a guy named bob rubin. he had a lot of market centanni said mr. president nobody around here cares about interest rates or markets but it's going to the eat is alive if we don't do it. into his absolute credit over many months of painful negotiations of which i have some scar tissues we came to an agreement that yielded a balanced budget. people remember two things about bill clinton. one i won't mention that the other one is a bounce budget. so if i were jack lew or someone like that and i want to get a grand bargain i wouldn't wait
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for 535 people to get together and do it. i would say this is the way i'm going out previous going to cost this much money, 19.9% of gdp and going to do this with the highway trust fund into this with medicare and medicaid and he would get the same reaction that bill clinton got from mrs. clinton and the late daniel patrick moynihan which is what in the hell are you doing when he signed the welfare reform bill and the balanced budget bill? you are going to get it but if you don't have somebody, if you don't have a guy that's where the gal that's got to do it and put their political standing on the line you can't expect people what to sustain a viable? who will charge to an uncertai uncertain -- you have to have a certain trumpet. somebody has to step up and say
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well we have a balanced budget. >> i know what i would like is a budget resolution, a nice old-fashioned budget resolution that the house and senate pass and negotiate and then pass a joint resolution, and concurrent resolution. we don't have a joint resolution. but that would set the discretionary spending levels and then i would hope if it's not asking for too much to take a budget resolution go through the traditional appropriations process and pass the appropriations bill. in that budget resolution he could set targets for tax reform or maybe some health care reform or something like that and you could make assumptions about highway spending. he you really could deal with a
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lot of these problems or at least set the groundwork and maybe even put in something about the debt limit. into the budget resolution. buoy that would really be nice and of course the president is not involved in that. maybe if steve gets his wish the president will put out a balanced budget and congress would work with that on the budget resolution. it's not that everything would be solved. there could be a budget resolution that could be widely ignored. this happens but i think that would be a real good thing to try to get a lot of this stuff in place. >> all right. we are just about out of time so i want to thank everyone for coming and let's thank our panelists for taking the time to talk to us today about these important issues. [applause]
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and on the handouts outside is my contact information so if you have additional questions for our panelists you can shoot me an e-mail and we hope you have found the discussion informative and for those of you who want think your bosses will be interested in tackling any of these challenges next year please don't hesitate to give us a call if we can help. [inaudible conversations]
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>> the main thing about my training i like to think is that the gentleman who went over before me came back and taught me. my instructor in basic flying was lieutenant, captain leonard jackson out of fort worth texas. he came back and taught me how to fly the eight t. six and how to do combat fighting, night flying, cross country and those men came back and they taught me well. they taught us well.
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i guess my other claim to fame is that in the primary my first check ride and you guys or girls who are interested in flying now after 20 hours of flying they are going to give you a test and the test is for you to prove that you have learned what your instructor is supposed to have taught you. my first check ride was with ceo fred anderson, cf. anderson who happened to have taken mrs. roosevelt up. i didn't know any of this until he came out of the service but man was that a big deal with me when i found out that was the man that took me up and gave me my first check.
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coming up the hearing on energy development and security issues in africa hosted by a house foreign affairs subcommittee. witnesses include officials from the u.s. agency for international development, state and managed departments as well as african energy security advocates. from capitol hill, this is to elwers, 15 minutes.
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>> the subcommittee will come to order. first of all let me begin by apologizing for the lateness of convening this hearing. we had votes on the floor and members are making their way back and i appreciate the patience of our witnesses and guests. and the 21st century energy has become vital to modern societies. we all know that. they no longer have to shop for food each day because refrigerators keep food cold and preserved longer. whether in our homes restaurants are during the process of trade cell phones computers television and other electronics required electrical power to allow us to lead more productive lives in the modern world. as we have seen even in the ebola crisis and epidemic it is necessary that medicines and plasma be kept cold so they don't lose their potency. leftists both unfortunate and absolutely unnecessary that more
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than half a billion africans especially in rural area's live without electricity. perhaps the great irony is that africa has more than enough energy capacity to join the rest of the world and utilizing modern technologies that require energy supplies. approximately 30% of the global oil and gas discoveries of the past five years alone have been in sub-saharan africa. yet currently only 290 million out of 914 million africans have access to electricity and the total number lacking such access continues to rise. bioenergy mainly fuel, wood and charcoal is still a major source of fuel. hydropower accounts for 20% of total power supply in the region but less than 10% of its estimated potential has been utilized. this hearing today will examine the current and prospective impact of u.s. government programs such as power africa
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and electrify africa as well as private international energy projects and i think our very distinguished witnesses whom i will introduce momentarily for their leadership in making the dream of electrification of africa increasingly a reality. last year chairman royce karen bass and i introduced h.r. 2548 electrifying africa act. this legislation seeks to build the african power sector from increased production to more effective provision of energy. it passed the house has passed me but not as yet in the senate. days after the act was introduced administration i'm happy to say an ounce its power africa initiative and is committed to seven-point $81 billion in various types of u.s. technical and credit assistance and other aid to build the capacity of the african power sector. it seems every few months there
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is yet another discovery of petroleum or natural gas in africa. nevertheless african countries remain net importers of energy in the distribution of power for many resources of energy in africa remain unfulfilled. this creates trade and economic progress social development and overall quality of life for the people of africa. even now one country south africa accounts for two-thirds of africa's electricity generation. all of africa produces less than 10% of the energy produced in the united states. meanwhile people across the continent have forced energy needs by gathering or purchasing charcoal or coal putting women in dangerous situations too far from home. even while such fuels are safely brought back home it produces indoor pollution that all too often contributes to sickness and even death. the current situation cannot continue much longer. even with 13% of the worlds
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population africa represents only 4% of world energy demand that the situation thankfully is changing. according to report this year by the international energy agency the iaea since 2000 sub-saharan africa has seen rapid growth and rising energy use by some 45% so that's a good trend. brother further rice to be truly realized the rates of power generation and supply must match the rates -- not all the cell phones must be charged for consumer goods are growing african middle-class purchasing needs and electricity. africans are increasingly unwilling to accept the blackouts and power surges that it made life so difficult for so long. africans who have traveled to live traveled to have someone else know this doesn't have to be their lot in life. in fact even those who don't travel and perhaps as seen on tv
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or heard about powers available out to be available to them just like everyone else. during the colonial period in africa countries were limited in their industrialization that period is long past. it must no longer be used as a reason by african countries behind in the process of industrialization or power generation. today the lag is due to inadequate or on realistic regulations, lack of finance for significant power generation projects underinvestment in power generation even when financing is available on the disconnection of rural preparation from national and regional power grids high cost energy and other factors. these obstacles can and must be overcome. they will require additional international collaboration, public-private partnerships and the will of governments and their citizens. we will not get to the point where we believe it's necessary overnight but we will get there
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if we do it and take serious measures now and work robustly to bring this about. young students will be able to study under electrical light and allows these computers to advance their studies. homemakers will be able to keep food fresh or in refrigerators and stretch household income for their and of course hospitals and i personally as well as her chief of staff for the committ committee, we have been in so many hospitals where there was a generator. that hospital would have a refrigerator to keep supplies cold as they must remain so particularly plasma and certain medicines. our two panelists will examine international national programs to achieve regular sufficient electrical power in africa and projects to supply energy in the come in. if future of energy in africa is brighter than it has been in the past and again diligent efforts, we need to see today. i want to yield to my good friend and colleague for any
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comments you might have. >> thank you mr. chairman thank you for your leadership. when you say the prospect of energy in africa is brighter it's in large part because of your relentless leadership on this issues i want to thank you and ranking member bass for your work and convening this hearing and thinker witnesses for being here today. it's very obvious that the lack of power available throughout the continent as many negative consequences and constrains economic growth. it undermines human resource development and hinders quality of life in progress and limits the quality of social services and public safety. the impact both on the economic prosperity of the continent as well as on its ability to meet many of the urgent challenges is severely compromised by the lack of energy in this hearing will give us an opportunity to really assess both prospective and current impacts of power africa and electrify africa and i'm looking forward to the testimony
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by witnesses and thank you for being here. with that i defer to the ranking member. >> mr. stockman for any comments you made have. >> mr. chairman i have had several occasions in the republic of, and unfortunately i contracted an unwanted visitor in my body and had to go to the hospital. that is when i found out the need for refrigeration and the need for antibiotics. it actually started my journey into trying to ship antibiotics and other medicines to africa my own personal experience of having none and the importance of energy and the importance of having an ironically here is a country republic of, who is producing quite a bit of oil yet they didn't have enough oil at that time.
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i think someone donated likes to them and i went back amid street lights but they didn't have enough energy to generate electricity. the thing that astounded me as we were driving down the street they fill little and if you have been over there they use -- phil coke bottles full of gasoline and kerosene pages marvel. here is a country of great natural wealth and yet its own people are very poor and restricted in terms of what they can get. it is mind-boggling and i know i have several refineries in my district. we produce half the gasoline united states and i was marveling at the lack of infrastructure and the ability to harvest their own oil for their own needs. to me i have always been interested in what a country in africa has versus what it needs and the confusing outcomes of when you don't have the infrastructure, you don't have that ability to refine and it's
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unfortunate. i know there is a great deal of what people would call corruption but on the other hand the lack of knowledge and how to take their natural resources and make sure it benefits their own people. it's kind of sad to see that difference. you have great wealth in great poverty and yet little electricity. i went back there again and i think the french donated these lights were solar power light so when you drive down the road now at least have streetlights and individually ironically powered by the sun. the time before they had that i was driving down there and the only lights in existence in the capital where the lights from the car. you could see all these people walking in the streets and the only lights that they had were from our car lights which was a little bit alarming. i think this hearing is very important and i think this is why we need to in the united
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states facilitate helping them take their energy instead of exporting it to use it in their own countries. with that mr. chairman i will yield back the balance of my time. >> i yield to the distinguished ranking member committee. >> thank you very much mr. chairman has always especially for your leadership on calling this particular hearing. you and i have worked for a long time on this issue and a clear understanding that one of the most important needs on the continent is building the infrastructure so that the type of trade that you and i would love to see happen can take place. i want to thank our distinguished witnesses including the senior u.s. government officials from the state department usaid and u.s. u.s. d.o.e. as well as energy experts and advocates for civil society. look forward to hearing your perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of energy resource development in africa including an assessment
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of the economic national security and human development aspects related to the energy sector. to help address the challenge we all know that president obama launched power africa last year which is aimed at doubling access to electricity on the continent. the first iteration of power africa sought to provide more than 10,000 megawatts of new cleaner electricity and increased access to at least 20 million more households and businesses. additionally during the historic u.s. africa leaders summit this ear lechter vacation in africa was a central point of discussion with african heads of state. in the midst of these talks president obama announced a further commitment of $300 million to the power africa initiative. in this new commitment would increase the initial pledge of 10,000 megawatts to 30,000 megawatts and the whole business creates an opportunity to reach up to 60 million households and businesses. so based on these early
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successes it's critical that we continue to invest in initiatives that bring increased to electricity to the african continent. that is why i was proud to join both chairman's race and smith as well as ranking member angle to introduce the electrify africa act and we are hopeful that will move forward in the senate. so i look forward to today's testimony and i'm interested in what more congress can do. >> thank you, ms. i would like to introduce every distinguished experts all who have made major contributions in the past and present who can authoritatively speak to the subject and we thank you on behalf of the subcommittee for being here. first with jonathan elkind who serves as acting assistant secretary to the office of international affairs. having purposely served as principle deputy assistant secretary for the office of policy and international flu affairs. prior to joining the energy department worked as a senior
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fellow at the brookings institution focusing on energy security and other foreign-policy issues. he also founded and headed a consulting company served on the staff of the u.s. national security council and in a 480 of government positions working for vice president of united states at the u.s. department of energy and the council on environmental quality. we will then hear from mr. eric postal who will begin its usaid usaid semester for the bureau of economic growth environment in march of 2011. in october of 2014 he was asked by dr. shaw to service the assistant to the administrator for africa. he brings to the position more than 25 years of private-sector experience working in emergency markets especially those in africa. he is also founded an investment thinking consulting firm focusing on emerging markets serving as the commissioner of
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helping to enhance the light of the people around the world commission and worked as a bank of tokyo and then we will hear from dr. robert by court he is responsible for voting the transformation of energy systems to achieve greater efficiency and clear performance through the use of market forces and innovative financing and leads to the bureau's efforts to reform electricity and power systems and develop more efficient and delightful national and regional electricity markets. dr. i court has a long history of u.s. government service in the energy field having worked for the energy research and development agency the u.s. department of energy and usaid. so thank you for being here today and we will begin with you mr. elkind. >> good morning or good afternoon now chairman smith ranking member bass and members of the committee, the subcommittee.
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.. >> >> experiencing rapid economic development has the second fastest growing region in the world paying reports economic growth rates continue to rise at
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4.7% growth in 2013 forecast of 5.2% for the current year. many african nations are positioned to become increasingly important as energy consumers and producers. the international energy agency issued just this week estimates the economy will quadruple in size growing by 80 percent between now and 2040. with robust economic development sub-saharan countries will have new policies and technologies to sustain energy development.
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gaining access now half a billion will still lacked energy. if i turn to oil development sub-saharan africa has been an important player in the market production in the region is now at 6 percent of production and sub-saharan africa accounted for almost 30 percent of oil and gas discoveries of the past five years. will production is projected to grow from 5.3 million barrels per day in 2013 to approximately 6.two by 2020. at present more it is exported with a driving demand for oil in sub-saharan africa and it will shift to much greater
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use it is providing fuel for the growing economy. among the countries with the most important emerging developments are mozambique and tanzania. with the steps made for commercial development over recent years. unfortunately there the lowest in the world. the electrification rates of 99% but sub-saharan africa of the rate is only 32 percent meaning more than 620 million people lack access to energy services. and as the chairman appropriately noted, this translates into a very
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concrete effects on their livelihood and their lives. when obama underscore the development by a launching the power africa initiative and also ask for the engagement by the department of energy. in june of this year the secretary together with the ethiopian counterparts convened the u.s. africa of ministerial drawing together 500 participants, 42 african countries and 20 ministers across northern and sub-saharan africa. along with civil society and academia. we focus on clean energy technology, rural electrification and regional power pools and last of the
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-- development and regulatory issues in investment opportunities and the requirements for finance. in the wake of the ministerial meeting economies of a bite to give a couple of quick examples. in the renewable energy a region of the national laboratories working with the handle of ministry of water with the train the trainer program to make available instructors and technicians from angola. with energy efficiency the area is working with the number of west african communities to west african states through the policy makers toolbox to bring
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together information on lighting standards and labeling to help raise efficiency across the entire region. in the natural gas arena in addition to working with the government of tanzania to develop natural gas training reacting assistant secretary will travel to the sub-saharan african to engage in the policy environment that take shape in some of these critical frontier countries. we have a strong interest to forge a link between the counterpart of government agencies and african governments and feel the investment needs with u.s. companies in wavering to the
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energy technology market than policy and we view this as a strategic for the united states and for the partners said in africa. this is the cornerstone for economic growth it is more to be sure. but it recognizes economic growth is intimately linked to the availability of energy services to meet the needs of african companies that is why we are working with private and public sector partners in the united states and across africa with the full energy potential for african citizens through the benefit of the united states. think. . . the opportunity.
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>> chairman smith and members of the subcommittee thank you for the opportunity to appear today president obama has the power african initiative and leadership of congress including members of the subcommittee highlight the extent to which we're all united to address one of the core obstacles to africa's development. lack of access to electricity. with that dependable supply that enabling policy environment to not invest significantly in the economy with the entreprenuers and citizens. power africa by one dozen u.s. government 80 private sector partners have
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committed over $20 billion of development. power africa that has generated more than 300 megawatts of energy providing power for more than 500 million african businesses. and with 10 distribution companies these two other privatization was expected to produce 5 megawatts of power in the coming years. at the same time a member of the power africa team that oversees opec has already committed $410 million but for example, the $150 million financing in northern kenya is the
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largest wind project when complete. power africa focus countries have committed with tough policy reforms planned to sign a compact with $498 million in the ghana electricity sector this includes the top policy reforms needed to create a viable sustainable energy sector in order to stimulate private investment. power africa has been able to have commitments in excess of $4 billion for the development of the energy sector. power africa success extend u.s. companies as well. for example, general electric is one of the company's making commitments in the situation a just described. as another example during
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meetings in the nigerian trade mission these discussions enabled a company based from liberty lake washington to sell $400,000 worth of electricity to the nigerian distribution is utilities and they are discussing right now another order of 2.$6 million. as a sponsor follow-up activity it is expected to lead to more sales. power africa is facilitating investment with energy solutions that is so crucial to reaching rural communities with no access to the national grid. in september the african development foundation and its partners chose 22 winners of power africa off cray challenger competition that has innovative solution for the off greater energy.
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in another small-scale project and an example power africa funds the procurement of the ebola treatment unit and in liberia that would power water and light and even the washing machine used to clean the hospital scrubs health workers. these are the basics that we need for the epidemic and its source. president obama renew their commitment to the initiative and pledged to speak of new funding level of $300 million of a new assistance to expand the reach of power africa across the continent in pursuit of a new aggregate of 30,000 megawatts of capacity thereby increasing access for as we hit the goal of
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60 million households and businesses. other partners seize the opportunity to announce major new commitments to power africa. to day, 600 million africans don't have access to electricity and to gather with our partners from congress in africa the donor nations and private businesses power africa is greatly increasing energy. thank you mr. chairman and members of the subcommittee for your support and leadership of this initiative ballot for a two your questions. >> i now yield. >> chairman smith ranking member bass and subcommittee members i appreciate the opportunity to discuss africa energy future and how

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