tv Cabinet Secretaries Testify on Infrastructure Proposal CSPAN March 16, 2018 3:06pm-6:20pm EDT
officials on lessons learned from 2017 disasters including hurricanes harvey, , irma and marie. you can watch the committee hearing tonight at eight eastern on c-span. interior secretary ryan zinke testified this week at a senate energy and natural resources committee hearing on his departments 2019 budget request. that's also at 8 p.m. here on c-span2. >> the march for our lives rally against mass shootings happened on the streets of washington, d.c. near the national mall next saturday, march 24. we will have live coverage beginning at noon eastern on c-span. you can watch on c-span.org or listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> five cabinet secretaries testified this week before a senate panel on the trump administrations $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal over the
next ten years. transportation secretary elaine chao, energy secretary rick perry, commerce secretary wilbur ross, agriculture sonny perdue and labor department had alex acosta talk about public-private partnerships, investment in high-speed broadband, streamlining the permitting process, foreign investment and development of rural communities. [inaudible conversations] >> i believe he is running for office, don't you think? some of these for politicians can't stop, can they?
[laughing] >> all right. let's do this. good morning. today, we are here to discuss infrastructure in america. in 1956, president eisenhower and congress saw the need to move people and goods quickly across the country, and their vision of an interconnected nation paid off, helping to fuel years of economic growth. the infrastructure built in that era continues to fuel growth today, but now we face the challenge of maintaining and improving these critical assets. and our infrastructure needs are evolving in ways that would have been impossible to predict just a few decades ago. for instance, with the rise of the internet and cell phones, we face the new challenge of building infrastructure to facilitate access to these technologies for everyone. the principle is the same today as it was then, our nation must stay interconnected.
unfortunately, we are all familiar with the statistics, the 56,000 structurally deficient bridges, the eight billion hours americans are stuck in traffic each year, the list goes on. these statistics mean fewer jobs, less time with family, and lower growth. in rural states like south dakota, millions of americans lack access to reliable high-speed internet, and aging transportation links between agricultural communities and global markets hurt our farmers and ranchers. in response to these needs, president trump released an ambitious proposal to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, by generating $1.5 trillion in total investment over the next ten years. the proposal would speed project delivery and lower construction costs, by limiting the permitting process to two years and reforming workforce training programs. the participation of five cabinet secretaries at today's hearing, something that is extraordinarily rare on capitol hill, underscores the
administration's readiness and enthusiasm to work closely with the commerce committee and the rest of congress on infrastructure. collectively, we share the goal of developing a bipartisan plan that works for rural and urban areas alike. the committee is joined today by a very distinguished panel, we have elaine chao, the secretary of transportation, wilbur ross, the secretary of commerce, alex acosta, the secretary of labor, sonny perdue, the secretary of agriculture, and rick perry, the secretary of energy. while the senate finance committee will ultimately haveve to examine what we can afford and how we pay for it, we at the commerce committee first need to get the policy right, and make sure we are moving together with other relevant committees of jurisdiction. as we do so, i'd offer a few principles for the consideration of my colleagues. first, this is not just another highway bill. we will consider other infrastructure needs, such as rural broadband and water projects, and seek to break down barriers that are impeding the deployment of all types of infrastructure. along these lines, the
administration's proposal takes a broad approach to infrastructure and offers several policy ideas to speed deployment. second, we should build on our successful programs, and where necessary remove inefficiencies. the administration's proposal outlines important reforms to some existing programs, particularly on the infrastructure financing side. third, we must ensure any legislation is national in scope and that all areas are appropriately included. rural communities face unique difficulties due to lower population densities and s challenging geographies. i appreciate that the administration's proposal acknowledges the acute needs in rural communities that lack necessary infrastructure. investing in these areas of america will benefit the entire country. fortunately, improving our infrastructure is an area where bipartisan agreement should be achievable. both sides want to invest in and modernize our infrastructure.n both sides want that investment to address an array of
infrastructure needs, not only roads and bridges but also needs like broadband and waterways. both sides want to break down barriers for innovative technologies. both sides want to make our existing programs work better. as exemplified by ranking member nelson's willingness to work with me on infrastructure legislation, both sides can come together on this. it can happen this year. again, thank you to this distinguished panel of witnesses for being here today. i look forward to hearing your perspectives and suggestions for collaboration between the administration and the congress on infrastructure. i will now turn to ranking member nelson for his opening statement. senator nelson. >> mr. chairman, thank you. i think it's quite significant that i can speak to our state, ando we have two of the five secretaries here from florida.
secretary ross, secretary acosta. what we know in florida, the third-largest state growing at 1000 people a day, it's emblematic of the additional demand and crunch, not only to build new infrastructure, but to repair infrastructure, whether it's roads, ridges, and how many bridges, thousands that we have in this country that are structurally deficient, named that by the engineers, whether it's sea ports, airports, sewer plants, plants, expansion of broadband, also desperately needed, particularly in a growth state, but even in non-growth states and rural states where
they are desperate to have broadband so their children, their students in school can have the learning tools that others in urban areas, that have access to 5g, so that they have the equal opportunity to an education. but the question is, how are you going to pay for it? we went out and borrowed $1.5 trillion to pay for a huge tax cut that is added to our national debt. the president has proposed an infrastructure plan, says $200 billion, but there's no plan for how you're going to pay for it. how are you going to get members of the senate to vote for the tax revenue in order to pay for these plans?
we can all agree the infrastructure needs are absolutely overwhelming. indeed, you saw what some of the dollars for infrastructure from the stimulus bill to help us get out of the recession, the severe recession that we were in, and yet we had sitting on the table the first project for high-speed rail to goir right in the middle of interstate four, the right-of-way was already there, and the state the state of floe governor of florida turned down $2.4 billion on the table to do that huge infrastructure project, that the florida department of transportation study, in fact, showed would pay for itself in the first year, and by the tenth year would be
making a million dollars a year. it was a missed opportunity. and so how are we going to pay for it? it ought to be clear, we can't toll our way out of it. we'll use toll roads in florida very well, and it helps, but you can't expect all of the travelers of this country to go out and payay to get on a road o address this infrastructure crisis that a few of our colleagues have put out a plan for $1 trillion, trillion dollars of infrastructure. we know it's there. but we also know that in order to pay for it you are going to have to go back. could we not just, instead of a tax-cut that went from 35%
corporate down to 21%, could we not bring that down ten points, to 25%? and use that additional revenue for infrastructure. this is real money. and it would be completely paid for, that trillion dollar infrastructure plan. i would give just a couple of examples in closing, mr. chairman. weou could expand i-4. we could rebuild the howard franklin bridge across tampa bay. we could expand access to quality and affordable high-speed internet service. we could also upgrade the 911 system that is desperately in need of upgrading. and we could invest in projects
like many in the testimony today will mention it. and so that's why i want to work with you, mr. chairman, our colleagues on this committee, to see if we can come up with good ideas in which to move forward. the clock is ticking, and we can't afford to ignore the infrastructure needs of this country. thank you, mr. chairman. nelson. you, senator we have aor very distinguished panel with us today and we will ask as much as members of the cabinet can to confine their oral statements to five minutes to make sure all the materials and statements are included as a matter of the record of the hearing but it will give opportunities for members of the committee and i suspect we are a lot of people who want to ask questions. we'll start on my left and you're right with thell secretay of transportation, secretary chao. welcome.e. thank you for being here and
please proceed. >> chairman thune, ranking member nelson and members of the committee, thank you so much for the opportunity to be here today. our nation's infrastructure is the backbone of our world-class economy. the most productive, flexible and dynamic in the world and it's a key to economic growth and productivity. but as you have heard, too much of the infrastructure is aging and in need of repairs. the challenges are everywhere. traffic congestion and delays cost drivers nearly $160 billion annually, about a quarter of our nation's bridges as you have heard are deemed structurally deficient which means you need of improvement. more than 20% of our roads are in poor condition and the transportation needs of rural american which account for a disproportionately high percentage of our nation's highwayal fatalities have been ignored for too long. that is y-12 agencies of come together to help develop a comprehensive infrastructure framework which the president
announced as a priority in a state of the union address in 2018. transportation is one component which is why i am joined here by my fellow cabinet secretaries. the initiative includes but is not limited to drinking and wastewater, energy, broadband, and veterans hospitals as well. the goal of the president's proposal is to stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in investment spending. and includes a minimum of $200 billion in direct federal funding. the guiding principles are, one, to use federal dollars as seed money to incentivize nonfederal infrastructure investment. number two, provide for the needs of rural america. three, streamlined permitting to speed upl project delivery, and four, reduce unnecessary unnecessary and over burdensome regulations. as a former labor secretary, i am especially pleased as secretary acosta easier to discuss ways to workers access
the skills needed to build these new projects. some estimates put our country's infrastructure needs at approximately $4 trillion. we cannot address a challenge of this magnitude with better resources alone or by borrowing. that approach will crowd out the capital market, and economic growth and job creation. so the president's plan allows the private sector to help in the building of our public infrastructure. nonprofit endowments and private pension funds, for example, have demand for conservative investing like public infrastructure. which have collateral that will not walk away. in addition, the private sector involvement helps to allocate risk. under a well structured transaction, , if your project s not successful, the private sector bears the first loss instead of the taxpayers. the department recognizes that different regions require
different solutions. the private sector investment in public infrastructure is currently allowed in some form in 35 states, and should be encouraged where appropriate. so the department is also implementing the president's one federal decision, which was announced on august 15th, 2017, two up speed up the delivery of new infrastructure and reduce costs. but there are not enough to achieve the president's to your timeframe. to accomplish this the redundancies and inefficiencies stimpson multiple federal agencies making decisions on a single project must be addressed. so, mr. chairman, senator nelson, thank you again for inviting me and i look forward to answering all of your questions. >> thank you, secretary chao. secretary ross. >> chairman thune, ranking member nelson and members of the committee, thank you for the
invitation -- our repeat. chairman thune, ranking member nelson, members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to testify on the president's infrastructure initiative. as president trump has long said, our nation's infrastructurere is crumbling, d we desperately need better roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways across the country. and if we're going to continue growing, creating jobs and developing a 21st century workforce, we must build this new infrastructure with american heart, and american hands, and american grid.n first, our plan will streamline permitting for infrastructure projects, remove unnecessary impediments to progress, and will bring the process down from the current eight-year average to two years or less.
here in the room is the president's chart that illustrates the 120 some odd steps required for infrastructure permit approvals. it's almost taller than i am. it's a wonder anything ever gets done. a faster process would provide certainty and free of capital currently wasted on red tape. congress is working hard on deregulation. over the past year the departments regulatory reform task force identified over 50 deregulatory actions that will unleash american ingenuity. many of these efforts focus on regulations that prevent or delay infrastructure projects. notably, our national marine fisheries service is, committed to reduce processing times for
informal consultations under the endangered species act from over 100 days to just over 50 days. by eliminating unnecessary steps, increasing tracking and improving workforce management we are already exceeding that goal. as you know, the administration's infrastructure initiative proposes to leverage 200 billion federal dollars to spur up to $1.5 trillion of total investment. to accomplish this the federal government will partner with state, local, tribal and, when appropriate, private sector stakeholders. to be clear, this is not privatization of infrastructure. rather, we want targeted federal spending that promotes state and local investment while
incentivizing public-private partnerships. the goal is to amplify every taxpayer dollar and to restore control to local government. today, i will focus on the $20 billion transformative projects program that will be led by theca department of commerce. commerce chairs the committee, providing federal aid for bold and innovative projects, transformative projects that would dramatically benefit communities across america. those projects that would not otherwise attract private sector investment without federal incentives because of the risk, but their potential local and regional impact would provide significant bang for the buck if they succeed. commerce is already prepared with ideas.
surgically targeted projects like regional hub concepts that link multiple states economies. satellite-based broadband, new and expanded space forts, blockchain supply chain management, augmented reality to improve city congestion, and new dredging technologies with deeper ports. another good example is no precision navigation project. it transmits -- noaa -- safety contours, tights, currants, wave heights and other features to help mariners safely navigate congested waterways. the system was applied to the port of long beach, leading to a four-foot increase in draft, allowing for larger ships and increase traffic. tankers now can load $8 million
more each than previously. and the total cost of the project was only $5 million. finally, commerce is developing and infrastructure program for the select usa investment summit this summer. it is a major u federal programo promote infrastructure and foreign direct investment. last year we had over 3000 attendees. this year the young king of spain will be one of our featured speakers. spain specializes in infrastructure. the department is also assessing how to bring broadband to rural areas in support of advanced manufacturing, telemedicine and the evolving digital economy. commerce stand ready to work with commerce to develop a comprehensive legislative
proposal. the america first strategy must restore our crumbling infrastructure. it's essential to jobs,st econoc growth, and national security. it's time to build a stronger america. thank you for inviting me to testify before you today. i look forward to your question. >> thank you, secretary ross. secretary acosta. >> chairman thune, thank you. ranking member nelson,wa it's gd to see you, members of the committee. thank you for the invitation to testify today how the president's infrastructure plan will strengthen what is the greatest workforce in the world, the american workforce. lastli write a statistics announced the strongest monthly job creation numbers since president trump's election. with nearly 313,000 jobs added. the american job creators have added nearly 3 million jobs since the election. unemployment has fallen to 4.1%,
a 17 year low. the federal report also revealed that manufacturing, mining and logging and construction collectively have had the highest month-to-month growth rate since 1998. and so the president's in for such a plan has potential to expand and deepen and expand these positive trends for years to come. it is a great time to be a job seeker in america. it is a great time to be a a jb creator in america. the president's play an important not invests in physical infrastructure but it also invests in workforce development. as we build infrastructure we must also ensure that we think about the american workforce that will build this infrastructure and that ultimately benefits from these efforts. .. this includes common sense approaches to funding and
flexibility so americans can obtain legislation directed toward this shared goal we all have a good, safe sustaining job. it proposes four workforce eye malt, short term programs that provide students with the certification or credentials for in-demand jobs. this is a big one. extend the pell grant. we formed the perkins career and technical education program to ensure more students have access to high quality, technical education to develop skills that are needed and required in our economy. three. better target federal work study funds to help more students obtain important work force experience while they're in school through programs like apprenticeshipsshipsships.
currently federal law prohibits pel grants recipients from using grants for courses and programs that do not meet certain time or length requirements. short-term work force don't practices can produce immediate -- by helping job seekers obtain the skills and education they need to join in the workforce quickly. the infrastructure plan us calls for providing to these credentials. i i american work force prefers a credential program at the same institution over a lock longer term program, why can they not take that shorter program now and start making money more quickly? secondly, the person consistence career and technical educational
practice. the president's proposal would reform technical and educationam programs. specifically the proposal calls for improvements that focus fund in high schools with an emphasis on earn-and-learn programs that provides hands are on tech nick:experience, creating a pipeline of skilled americans to prepared to meet the needs of our economy. third, federal work study. there's a need to update federal work study programs to better support students pursuing careers in technical education. that's funds are diproportionately distributedded to four-year colleges and universities that have been receiving then decade, disadvantages qualified community colleges and other programs more focused on work-place readiness and on the skills they economy demands today. so the president's infrastructure calls for updating the funding formula to send these work study program funds to schools with a strong
record of enrolling individuals in pell grant and similar programs. finally, the president's proposal includes a provision to reduce licensing barriers that prevent americans from using their skills across state lines. i've talked to so many state and local officials. and i've offered the following advice. if licenses are -- aren't necessarily eliminate. if licenses are necessary, sometime they for health and safety, streamline them or make them precip protect cal for other stayeds. the president's plan calls callr infrastructure project that use federal funds to recognize out of state licenses, speeding project delivery, reducing costs and providing something very important to our work force, mobility and flexibility. so in sum, the work force component of the president's infrastructure plan willem power americans to build skills and allow employers to obtain portable credentials that, with
their employees and in the end this is going to lead to good family sustaining jobs. we were can together to bring family sustaining jobs. secretary perdue. >> it's a pleasure to visit with you this morning. my colleagues have done a great job describing and you have didn't a great job in demonstrate your acknowledgment of the snead opportunities we have before us and i think it's the goal of this administration to work with the congress, the senate and the house, and determine how we get that done. there's no dispute about the need for infrastructure to -- for america and for job creation and for others, and it's up to all of to us deliver for the american people. i represent, as you all know in the usda a rural constituency and very dependent on
infrastructure. i think america's advantage in world logistics of surplus in our export offing a culture, frankly, has a lot to do with the infrastructure that's been in place over a number of years, both the roads, the rail, the waterways of this country have contributed to our ability to deliver farmer produced, rancher produced products to the world in a very competitive fashion and it's important to continue to do. that surface transportation is extremely important. roads and bridges in rural areas where trucks cannot transport across ailing bridges, contribute to a lack of productivity. the waterways have drained the heartland of productive america have been vital in doing that. the locks and dams are years old, and there's data that says some of these locks fail several states and thousands of producers as well as billions of
dollars of agricultural product is affected. our kole legs have described those needs. you all have identified and also talked about -- i think there'slet of energy about an area i think is probably as transformative as any we mentioned. you mentioned the interstate highway system of 1956. we actually go back with two other examples prior to that. 1934, with the telephone act. 1936 wove the rea act. america can do this and we see what the elect the-ification of america did that's correct kent different with the telephone system did, where we could talk among ourselves and communicated. it to, the high speed internet is that interstate highway of the 21st century and we need a ubiquitous high-speed internet system across the country, not only for the farmsteads and the rural towns about the fields of
america. when you look at the technology that exists in illinois over the presomethings agriculture, real productivity. a real world example, with the high-speed internet, technology of gps and satellites we can gate 20-bushel per acre increase with almost half the input. you talk about real productivity increase. the are products on the shelf today that manufacturers are waiting to deploy when we have the opportunity for broadband activity, and frankly, this will only spur more as we get there. so i'm very pleased with the interest and the energy regarding ubiquitous broadband across america. believe it's particularly transformative in that area. how do we pay for it? obviously that's the -- we have a expression an opening opportunity in that but that's
where we all come together. i love the spirit of this committee and a bipartisan fashion of understanding the need, how do we do it? let's just get it done for the american people because it's needed in order for american producers and agriculture to remain competitive, this is a very important issue. so thank you for the opportunity to visit with you today. >> thank you, secretary perdue, secretary perry. >> yes, sir. senator thune, thank you, ranking member nelson, it's my privilege to get to see you and to the other members. i'm excited to be here today. to sit before you with a distinguished group of men and women who in most cases left the private sector to come and serve their country. they are great partners. and we sit before you today to discuss the president's building a stronger america plan so that
we can have this discussion, how we upgrade, how we modernize our nation's infrastructure, and the processes that we use to evaluate and to approve this these projects. the fact that these four other cabinet members are sitting here, i think underscores very clearly the emphasis the president is putting on this. he understands the far reaching impact that infrastructure has across the federal government, and in my capacity as secretary of energy, and i might add as a private citizen, i've been rather blessed to travel almost to every state in the nation over the course of the last 20 or 30 years, and far too many places, it's just struck me
about how outdated the infrastructure is. there are too many instances where it is just absolutely unacceptable state of disrepair. it's damaging our nation's competitiveness and our citizens' quality of life. fortunately, there is bipartisan agreement here we have to do something about this. we get to build. we got to build more. when i say infrastructure, most people think about roads and bridges and airports, seaports, the waterways, other assets that are generally considered public infrastructure, but infrastructure also includes this vast and predominantly privately held, owned and operated, network of rails, of wires, nearly 2.4 million miles of pipeline that move energy to
american families, and our economy really relies upon that. this interconnected web of critical assets, they carry products that fuel or cars, heat our homes, they power our businesses. much of this infrastructure goes unseen, but the moment the lights don't come on, or the heat isn't there, people are paying attention. as the secretary that is charged with -- i might add supporting america's energy sector infrastructure, i'm intently focused on the strength of that infrastructure and, senator thune, it security. now, i'm not a regular witness here in front of this committee. but i never miss an opportunity to share with the members of the
senate the work that we're doing over at the department. to enable distribution system operators, regulators to protect america's energy infrastructure from cyber or physical attacks. doe is in the process of establishing a new office of cyber security, energy security, emergency response,ing a chrome him in is cesar to enhance resilience of energy assets and better protect them from this growing cyber threat out there. both the public and private sector need to upgrade to modernize our physical infrastructure. just like sonny, a former government, i enthusiastically support the way that the president is planning to do so, and let me share with you why from my perspective. first, the president's plan
embraces america's time-honored federalist tradition. all too often you may have heard me say this before i took this current job, washington, when they see a problem, it imposes these top-down mandates to what are uniquely local challenges. the president's plan takes a partnership approach that recognizes the local needs and also building with our national interest in mind. it's based on the common sense notion that government that is closest to the people is best suited to understand and to meet their needs. the president's plan gives the nation's governors the power and the flexibility to prioritize infrastructure projects that will benefit their respective states, equally important, the president is committed to reforming the federal process -- i should say the federal permitting process to reduce the
burdensome red tape that has delayed or prevented and construction projects from breaking ground. the is is a pretty good example of it, the current permitting practice, it's fractured, redundant, requires projects to navigate a huge maze of federal regulations, and he wants to see that process not only streamlined but substantially cut back. so, i think it's also important that the -- we take into account the president's tax reform law, permitting reform is going to give businesses the confidence, the certainty, freedom they need to take transformative projects from conception to completion, and let me just quickly and finishing up here give you an energy-related perspective on what this will mean. america in the midst of this absolutely stunning energy transformation and thanks to the president's poll sits we're beginning to share energy resources around the world, sharing more of our energy
abundance has tremendous implications here and abroad. geopolitically it frees our allies from reliance on unstable and unfriendly sources, and it reduces our trade deficit. domestically the jobs that created -- those who have those jobs in your districts, you know the power that our energy industry is having out there. beyond energy, streamlining permitting and modernizing our infrastructure will combine to revive our nation at a time when it's sorely needed. so, mr. chairman, my colleagues and i urge you to support this bold plan and we look forward to working with this committee and congress on its enactment. thank you. >> thank you secretary perry. i'll jump right interest the questions. as i noted, at the outset, the fact that you're here today
sends a powerful message about the administration's commitment to the nation's infrastructure. is it also fair to interpret your presence as a sign the administration's willingness to work with congress on a bipartisan basis to tackling the issue? >> i'll take that one first. absolutely. >> secretary ross? >> for sure. >> absolutely. >> great. thank you. >> i don't think we get it done any other way. >> thank you. >> good. secretary chao, one of the toneline goings in at the proposal would be to reduce red tape and complete projects faster. as i understand it, dot is close to finishing implementation of the permitting provisions provide the last highway lee authorization. is that correct? >> yes. we have done basically all 31 -- there are two outstanding which we hope to get out by june. >> if we did something new that they called for more streamlining, you would be prepared to take that initiative
on? >> yes. because the recent reforms in the fast act, map 21, are helpful but don't address multiagency, multidepartment reforms, and we really need to address these cross-cutting issues. so we are finishing up the fast act and map 21, and then the president's one federal decision announced august 15th last year, would address these multiagency, multicabinet permitting requirements. >> okay. so the followup on that -- i'll direct this to you and also secretary perry -- the chart you provided obviously showed how complicated that process is, but could you elaborate on the remaining complexity of the federal permitting process and how the administration's proposal would continue to improve project delivery? you mentioned the multiagency, cross-agency coordination. nye thoughts about that to
either you or secretary perry. >> i'll take that one first. we all want to protect the environment. we're not going to compromise on the environmental protection aspect, but what we are saying is that there are commonsensical ways in which the permitting process can be rationalized. it can be streamlined. for example, much of the permitting for are duplicative. a lot of it is duplicative. they are redundant. they often require surveys to be done sequentially instead of concurrently, and they very often disallow sister agencies, for example, in the depth of transportation, to share information. each agency has to go out if there with own surveys and they have to go out with a different time frame so that it's a day or two behind so these studies are extra work that is added on.
very commonsensical way to approach that would be to make these studies good concurrently, allow sister agencies to share information with one another, so-so these are the kinds of streamlining efforts they're talking about. >> thank you. secretary perry. >> i want to talk with some specificity here. as a governor that had state with multiple ports, beaumont, corpus christi, houston, brownsville. corpus christi is a protect with a project to basically make it more efficient to dredge it out, to upgraded. on the beaks for over a decade. and from time to time you get the federal agencies that are in conflict with each other, as i maybe inside my remarks, and of
1% of the crude that goods out of this country, goes out of the port of corpus christi, and to be able to allow that project to go forward -- they have the money available. this isn't a matter of coming here and asking for more money. they're asking for federal agencies to basically get out of the way to give them approval. so i think that's one of the things the president is talking about. each of you possibly have an example in your state of where federal government agencies are sometimes in conflict with each other or just the absolute slowness with which they move, and i just think it's so essential to this country at this particular point in time. when we have this ability to really affect what is going on in the world because of the geopolitics of oil and gas, and for us to have federal agencies
of government that for whatever reason are not being able to give the red -- green light to these agencies -- these agencies and these states to go forward and to get infrastructure going. >> certainly doesn't fate modern economy. suspect perdue, you're the steward of different funding programmed that are ensuring that rural meanders have access to broadband. i agree that's a transformative production approach to allow people across the country to participate in technology innovations we in more populate areas enjoy film know from several gao and inspector general reports that the previous administration, your department, did not effectively administer some programs that were focused on broadband deployment and i'm wondering what you're doing to ensure the loans and grantses that you make will be used to bring broadband
to unserved areas and that you're taking steps to ensure that money is not being used to overbuild areas that already have broadband. that's a frustration i think that was expressed about some of those programs in the past, they were overbuilding areas that already had it to the detriment of those that did not. >> i don't think nicer any debt the allegations are -- there's in doubt that the always aring a security what we see in the grant and loan he process you have some great grant writers and come repetitively to the bucket looking for more, and i think it's a role of us not only the usda but all of the federal government has not really deployed the broadband money in a strategic way. you have to start with good facts, accurate data. i know that we have some concerns over the fcc data map. sometimes it's self-reported, and we're trying to, again, work interagency-wide with commerce and with fcc to make sure we've
got the facts on the ground of strategically how we need to deploy. there's a lot of money going out for broadband currently. how do we deploy that in the most kneaded -- needed e.r.a. rather jantz appropriating grant for people to overbuild or a greenhouse environment, showcasing what can be done. our interest is in rural america, ubiquitous system. this notice instantous but we have to start strategically with the facts and data, where we are and where we want to go, where we want to arrive at, and then a tactical step-by-step how we get there. we're in the process of doing that. the rural department of developn where we have not done as well as we would like in the past but
i think our people are recognizing that, on that expansion taking the criticism and allegations very seriously and are working to make sure we do exactly what you cautioned us against, and that's repetitively overbuilding things that -- and having undo come pigs in areas where -- competition in yaers. >> the fcc data map is another tissue get to but we'll talk about that another time. senator nelson. >> mr. secretary perdue, thank you for attending to the needs of florida citrus that lost 100% are its crop in the hurricane. as you said in our conversation, we can get this resolved in a matter of weeks-not months. i thank you, mr. secretary perry. thank you for your guardianship and your modernization of the nation's nuclear arsenal, and
especially its modernization and all of that nuclear infrastructure, mr. secretary acosta, thank you for your long service as u.s.a. attorney where you understand the importance of the rule of law. mr. secretary ross, thank you so much for attending to things like the single point failure of the g-4, which flies above the hurricane, which is improving the accuracy by 15% of our projections as well as its intensity. that single point failure since we only have one of them, is -- it's been down for maintenance in both the '16 and the '17 hurricane seasons, and to all of you, please continue to watch
the bias in the administration against science. science for hurricane forecasting, science for weather forecasting, science used in nasa in each one of your agencies, where this idea comes of refusing to understand science and to accept it and to use it, please be on the lookout. secretary chao, the administration's infrastructure plan calls for state and local communitiesed to bear more of the cost of infrastructure by raising taxes and increasing private sector investment, and of course in my state, our state of three of us here, some of the
residents are already facing the burden of increased local taxes and highway tolls. so, the plan that is laid out on infrastructure, wouldn't that increase these taxes and tolls? >> they're not the only option for financing infrastructure. there are many other creative ways, and that is what we're encouraging the state and local entities to examine. their private activity bonds, recycling, bond -- other types of access to public markets, private markets, that would be in addition to those that you mentioned. we're agnostic as to the methodology, and the federal government actually owns only 10% of the roads and bridges of this country, and the majority of the cost actually is indeed born by the state and local
governments. >> right. state roads, county road roads, et cetera. that's true, and they are paid for by taxes. so, private-public partnership are great, but when you do it, you have to put a toll so the private entity can in fact, be reimbursed so that their investment has revenue coming in. there's only so much of the tollways that the public is going to accept. i don't expect you to have the answer but i just want you -- >> tolls are not the only option is all i'm saying. we're agnostic what financing methodology the state and local entities want to come in and partnership with the federal government. >> understood but when you have private investment in it, they've got to be reimbursed. they have to have a return on
their investment. so, let me -- >> can be private activity bonds-environment bonds, different kinds of financing. and in conjunction with the federal share. >> and a private activity bond is the taxpayers subsidizing by lowering the interest rates. understand that. but that's going to get you only so far toward a trillion dollars of investment. let me -- you know, we're about to pass an faa bill, and what the past faa bill, we passed a requirement if you check your luggage, and the airlines are charging fees now for a lot of the checked bags. so, we put a requirement in, if you don't get your bag back, you're at least going to get your $50 that you paid for that
bag reimbursed. but your department has been sitting on implementing that faa part of the law that we enact ode a year ago. can you give us any update on that, madam secretary? >> i'm not their defend the airlines but we believe that the current information that is on the web sites are transparent and they're sufficient, but in light of the fact you're asking about this, i will take another look. >> thank you so much. >> thank you, senator mel son. senator more ran. >> let me direct my first question to secretary ross. we of the sub committee of this committee had a hearing yesterday on communications and technology. one of the themes that was expressed by members of the subcommittee was the lack of accurate mapping to determine where broadband is absent or the service is defifth.
and the fcc has recently issued some maps related to mobility 2. ntia, within your jurisdiction, was the recipient of a budget request of $50 million for mapping, for determination of these issues. what is this relationship between fcc and their efforts and ntia and their efforts and how do we make certain we do this commerce an efficient we so we can make a determination where the support that comes from secretary perdue's rus or the fcc and their funding, is appropriately spent and secondly, everyone that it heard yesterday in the hearing as far as senators, indicated the inned a questionsy and the inaccuracy of the mapping.
how do be get this right. >> a whole lot of questions in that, but i can assure you that there's extensive and intimate collaboration between ntia and the fcc, particularly under the new leadership of the fcc. we're working very hard to avoid duplicative spending, we're working very hard to make sure that the dollars are not only well-spent but effectively spent in terms of creating much more accurate and much more extensive mapping. i think accuracy and extension are both issues in the mapping area. >> mr. secretary, i just would ask you to pay personal attention to the accuracy, the adequacy of the mapping and make sure we get i right if think this committee other members of the senate are interested and willing to be supportive of broadband deployment in rural areas but we don't have the
information in my view that tells us where best that money could be spent. >> sure, also as you know, commerce, through ntia, created first net, which is bringing 9-1-1 nationwide and a lot of the infrastructure that comes with that in the joint venture that we did with att, will provide some of the needs that can support rural broadband, because this is going to be upick quick tout to -- upick quk to us and is going to help with the significant problem in the most rural areas which is low density of population. , so the degree we can get in infrastructure there now, be be a big help. i think the other great new thing are these constellations or low orbit satellites, and those are going to be a very,
very big help because it's a very low-cost way of providing broadband on a broader basis. so, we think technology is coming through and is something that needs to be used very, very effectively as these constellations of small satellites at low earth orbits. >> mr. secretary thank you. you mentioned that extensively in your confirmation hearing and i remember it. madam secretary, we're talking about getting the federal government rules and regulations, the process streamlined to get dollars more quickly and more efficiently to infrastructure projects. kansas city has received funding in the fy17 omnibus passed last year, for a project, small start transit project, and i know transit is outside of they city's jurisdiction but i'm a member of the commiteye with
jurisdiction and transit is an important part of our infrastructure plan. there has been no money received since -- from the department of transportation that $29 million, as i understand it, it still sitting idle and each month of delay is costing the project more money. i just would ask you to ask your staff to look into why those dollars have not been forwarded to kansas si and how can enhelp the department of transportation or kansas city solve the problem. >> i'll take a look. >> thank you. in six seconds, secretary perdue, i would rates the same issue with you in regard to coordination, rural utill services, fcc. i've seep circumstances in the in my view, we have used urs dollars to overbuild in communities that already had -- you said something similar to this in your response to chairman thune's question and i would join in your comments what i heard about the importance of
sorting out where the dollars should be spent that actually get to re rural places that have little or no service as compared rus to allow a carrier into a community that already has service ask then using that subsidized resource to pay for additional services in rural america. i won't allow you the opportunity to respond but i wanted to raise that topic can your have run out of time to explain that in detail. but i'll follow up. thank you. >> thank you, senator moran, senator peters is up next. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank to all of our witnesses today for your testimony on this important topic. as i've been sitting here listening to the testimony, i've been trying to find out how we actually deal with this probably. i think we all agree, ace heard from the testimony of al of you, we're really good at identify the problem. we have identification of the
problem down cold. we've got to fix infrastructure. but that's not the challenge. the challenge is how to pay for it. if we knew how to do that, this thing would have been solved a long time ago i have not heard anyone talking about that in a substantive way other than we want local governments to do it, private companies to have toll roads. don't know what that breakdown is. know right now our local governments are stretched. we had hearing yesterday with local governments in michigan saying they're already near the the cap as far as the millage they can raise for roads. they need a federal partner. they're used to having federal projects where they put in 20% and the federal government puts in 80%. from what i'm hearing you now have a new plan from donald trump that says we'll give you 13% and you come up with 87%ment he have two former governors here i know what you're reaction would be if the president said
we'll give you 13% and you come up with 87%. the deal used to be the federal government did 80 and we flipped. i have heard about weeing go into debt more. the problem if debt is you still have to pay it. debt is not forever so we have to deal with that. until this administration comes forward with an actual concrete plan how to pay for it, let's be honest with the american people. this is just smoke and mirrors but have some speck questions i'd like to ask secretary chao and acosta. in the proposal of the administration you talk about giving flexibility to organizations to move away from some requirements if the federal investment in the project is de minimis. i think who plan is dem minimum muss federal help but nevertheless my question is, how do you define those
exemptions and i would hope they would not be davis-bacon or buy american provisions. secretary chao, would you agree as the program goes forward we will protect baath davis bacon and buy american. >> the president has been very clear about the importance of buy americans and all of our cabinets have been very vigilant on the issue of differs bacon, i think this bill needs to be done in a bipartisan basis and you're telling me if there's not such agreement, it would be very hard to achieve. >> thank you, secretary acosta. >> let just briefly respond it is still bipartisan. it needs to go forward on a bipartisan si and is -- basis and i agree with both statement biz secretary chao. >> secretary acosta, the other point in the your testimony is how we have to make sure that american workers have dish think your quote, -- family sustaining jobs which i can't agree more and i hope everybody here agrees
that, and with an infrastructure program, hopefully we'll put a whole lot of people in work in these infrastructure probables but to have a family staining job you need have a fair wage. the recent publication did an investigation that shows that there are an awful lot of folks who are simply not getting paid the minimum wage, and even though cases are brought to collect that, most of that money doesn't actually get back to the workers. in fact according to the political investigation overtime laws that are not enforced properly cost an estimated $15 billion in lost wages to folks who don't get a minimum wage. youing are argue the minimum wage is tough to sustain a family on to begin with and they're not getting it. my question is do you need additional authority tone force these laws or there is a lack of will from at the department of labor to enforce the minimum wage laws? >> host: , senator, thank you for the question. as i testified last week, before different committee, there's certainly no lack of will and
our enforcement on minimum wage laws is quite strong. one of the issues that you see particularly on the private side and private enforcement actions is these enforcement acts are costly, they take a long period of time and one program we just rolled out that -- we rolled it out as a pilot project to see how it works -- is called "paid." if an employer currently sees they made a mistake, right now there is little incentive for the employer to come forward because if they come forward, there is no clear mechanism to resolve the matter. but if the employer comes forward, we will work with them. we'll make sure that 100% of the dollars go back to the employees, and if they come forward and if they admit to it and we work with them on an internal audit, we'll make sure that 100% of the dollar goes back to the employees, and by
bypassing bypassing the litigation statement, we want to make sure the dollar goes back to employees quickly. >> i hope you continue to enforce that aggressively. it's critical fork workers on the edge. mr. chairman, i could ask a quick question of secretary ross. we have spoken on a few occasion related to the situation our cherry gore growers in michigan who are facing the dumbing of products. you have been open to meeting with them. wonder if he welcome set up a direct meeting with cherry growers. >> surely. >> thank you. next up is senator duckworth. >> i want to thank the chairman and rank member for today's hearing. we have heard a lot about pry ore tights infrastructure investment. for many americans, democrats and republicans alike, that is
music to our ear and especially to mine. but given the high priority the president has places on rebuilding america you would think we into woo be further along in the express this conversation we're having today. other than release ago 50-page proposal with a few documents, the president and a.l. lies in congress have failed to set the statement for any meaningful investment in our infrastructure, leaving many to wonder if this is a serious infrastructure campaign by the white house. let me just break this down the president's fy18 budget included 200 billion for his production proposal but slashed $345 billion in programs -- infrastructure program. the president and republicans in congress celts aside $1.5 trillion to spend on their tax proposal, but didn't put a side a single penny for infrastructure. when the president and
republican colleagued enacted the tax bill, can anyone guess hum of the 1.35 trillion are to the infrastructure plan? nothing. let's not forget that the tax bill made corporate rates permanent but rates for hard working families will expire in a few years. the president's fy19 budget released in conjunction with the infrastructure plan cuts more infrastructure spending than is actually included in the his proposal to there's a net loss in dollars for infrastructure so although i doubt any witness will give india straightforward answer here, the question -- me a straightforward answer here, the constituents ask if the president is serious about rebuilding america, why does every decision he make move us further away from that goal? secretary chao, the president clearly omits any analysis of how best to pay for the federal share of his proposal. but i would hope that the department of transportation has actually analyzed potential revenue opportunities to inform
the debate and you sea you're agnostic on the issue of the rates but can you give is a sense what potential revenues your department may have considered when developing the infrastructure proposal? either considered and discarded or considered and think viable and have you done any analysis into what those revenues sources might be? >> i'd be happy to answer your question, senator. first of all, the infrastructure proposal was always going to come third after the affordable care act and after tax reform. and we sent principles instead of legislative language because it was an open show of cooperation with the congress that we wanted to work with the congress and not be proscripsive with specific legislative lang. at for the department of transportation's budget, the fiscal year 2019 is pretty much like the fiscal year 2017. the 2018 was a bumpup but overall, 2019 and 2017 was the
same. in fact, the mandatory part of the d.o.t. budget increased by more than 4% so the total budget is pretty much the same. >> time talk about the infrastructure package. >> i'm getting to that. >> thank you. >> i agree that is a very difficult question. so as of now, the good news is, everything is on the table, and we look forward to work with the congress on these rick issue -- difficult issues. >> i don't think that's quite an answer of what i'm asking, which is what have you considered. secretary ross, what revenue options has the department of commerce considered to cover the $200 billion federal price tag? >> well, there are quite a few alternative. one is recycling of assets already owned by local and state governments that not really in use. the example of australia is very interesting in that regard. they're the various local
entities have sold off up needed assets and some cases already revenue producing ones and that produced cash that they could then leverage. >> i'm talking about the federal dollars. you're talking about state dollars. those are state assets you're talking about. i'm asking, has any of the departments actually considered revenue sources, whether it is a hypertrust fund or other ways the highway trust fund or other assets to pay -- >> we have. the capital resolving fund is meant -- revolving fund is meet to deal with the issue of inefficient real estate in the federal government, and it's a revolving fund because it can be used over and over and over and have a multiplier effect on it. so that is a very specific use. the other kinds of uses, there are federal assets that could be
also sold and redeployed. there have been considerations about air traffic control as you're aware the canadians use a nonprofit model for the divest tie -- die vest its tour of their air traffic control and that has worked well. there are all sorts of ways to get the revenuing to. >> i'm sorry. i'm out of time. i just have to say that there's opposition to privatization of air traffic control and i could not disagree with you more about the negative effects of that. that aside, i do want to commend you on your recent statements affirming your strong commitment to supporting american biofuel by oppose anything policy that undermines the bipartisan renewable fuel standards program, and i really am pleased you cleared the air by reassuring the midwest that anything we hear suggesting that you personally are retreat from
the rfs and are considering embrace of a price cap is not true and you have made many statements recently to that effect. can you give me your word that you would continue to support the bipartisan rfs program and will strongly oppose any effort to diminish demand for renewable fuel, including capping. >> the decisions nor the province of commerce. what is the of province of commerce is controlling imports from other country and he levied new days against argentina and indonesia because of the anti-u.s. practices they had had. that's a very big boost for the domestic biofuels industry. and we intend to continue to protect the growers in america and the processors of biofuel.
>> mr. chairman, may i just direct the aim statement to sect perdue. >> yes, i will answer in the affirmative. >> thank you. senator fisher. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you all for being here today. mr. chairman i would like to enter into the record a statement from the national association of truck stop operators and the national league of cities that highlights concerns about commercializing rest areas along the interstate system. >> without objection. >> thank you, sir. secretary perdue, the rural infrastructure program in the administration's proposal would allocate funding to the governors of each state based on a rural formula. the rural formula would be based on rural lane miles miles and rl population. how does the administration intend to define "rural" nor purpose of the funding, really specifically as it relates to those rural lane miles?
i know the department of agriculture has a number of definitions for rural and other agencies do as well. what do you see happening here. >> we have a number of definitions of "rural" across the federal got and would love to see that synchronized so we would have a common definition of rural. it's one issue we deal with in the rural development program, what its eligible and not and often times it misses the bolt of creating regional partnerships. so we would welcome that and we'd be participating in any ideas that congress may have and much of this is statutory over the definition there obviously what we're looking at from rural, that's where the infrastructure is. as you know, from the farm to the market, there's lot of rural roads to be traversed and lane miles just where the truck is. it's the bridges and roads that
happen, the waterways in rural america that happen. so that contribute to our competitiveness. >> do you have any suggestions right now, any options that you're presenting, to the administration on what that definition of "rural" would be and you also made a great point in being abe to work regionally on men infrastructure projects. do you have anything you are can share. >> our suggestion would be exclusionary. anything less than a certain number. we're looking at 75,000 people in that regard, and obviously we -- we talk about rural and we think fields and farms. and we have small communes and in a region they get more than that. so we would love to have a consistent definition that we can apply for our rural development program, and we think probably 5,000 to 75,000
would be -- 50,000 to 75,000 wife be a good cutoff. >> secretary ross if the definition is based on lane miles and population have you considered what impact that definition would have on rural broadband deployment? >> well, the 9-1-1 program, the one that comes directly under us, the first net program, is meant to be ubiquitous and american to serve all communities independently of size. so, we have not drawn a differentiation between one size or another. we think and we think we're solving the need for a national 9-1-1 system so that the first responders can be taking much better advantage of technology than had been the case.
a lot of that infrastructure will reduce the ultimate cost of broadband. as it gets to the other communities. so, we are very proud that it's a public-private partnership. we contributed to it, sent $6 billion of notional value of unused spectrum and at&t is putting up $40 billion of their own money. >> thank you. >> to pretty good ratio. >> i was, i guess, happy to see in the principles that were put forward by the administration, the rural component. first of all, and to allow for innovation in there. i realize that a lot of the money is going to be going for roads and through a funding formula principle there, which i'm supportive of but i think the innovation part, especially
when you're dealing with deployment of broadband services, is extremely important to the country as a whole, but it is also extremely important to rural areas and agriculture. when you look at the internet of things and the connectivity that is available. there are agriculture is the third highest user on the internet of things, and so for that technology to advance and to expand and to grow all parts of this country, we have to be able to have that deployment of broadband across every area of the united states. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator fisher. senator inhofe. >> i do want to get into the area of secretary chao of this funding that they're talking about over here. before that, i think rick perry
is an expert on pipeline and i heard what you said about the corpus christi -- the same thing happening down in brownsville. i'm very familiar with that part and what is going on down there. but when you look at the problems we have in terms of pipelines, according to the 2013 report we'll need $890 billion in energy infrastructure investment through 2025. a lot of that would be through, of course, the pipeline restructuring and improvement. the impediments to more energy infrastructure is existing government regulation and red tape dragging out the completion of needed project. i don't think this. i know this if served for a number of years as chairman of the environmental work committee and one of the biggest successes was doing away with the regulations and extremelining
things, and i have to give credit to my fellly senator, barbara boxer. she is a rural liberal and conservati and we agreed make changes. it's right, we need to do more but i just want to cover this one thing on pipelines. you and i are from very good oil states, natural gas producer when go home and tell my people in the state of oklahoma that boston is fullly importing natural gas from russia, how do queue you explain senate we don't have the pipeline structure have that. tell us what we can address with that briefly and -- answer the question they asked me. >> i'll be as brief as i can. you covered a lot of watershed there. i want to address if i could senator duckworth had asked a
question, i think senator peters as well, and others, about how do you pay for this, and as a governor and i think sunny can back this up as well, one of the most important things you'll do as governor and i suggest as a senator that oversees agencies these the thoughtful dressing of permitting and that affects the bottom line even more than tax. do the idea that somehow or another this is all about how are we going to pay for this, what tacks are we going raise? that's a good and thoughtful conversation to have but what can we do right now before we ever address this issue of how are you going to pay for something, is how -- what are all of the costs that get associated, and slowing down the
process, we know that if it took ten years to get all the permitting done to build a road, that road costs more ten years later than it did if you could have started two years after the process was started. and so that's one of the thing is know you al are looking at but that as a people who have had real life experiences of this, governors and sunny and i fit that that bill, those are one of the areas you can look at. ...
i think that's a discussionst e need to have at the national level with our partners in the states so that we're able to get that energy to places like the northeast. the idea, i am stunned there are russian molecules sitting in a taker in boston harbor, when we are prolific producers of gas in the marsalis, the utica, in pennsylvania, for instance,. >> mr. chairman, i respectfully request that was an excellent answer, that wasn't to my question. it was to duckworth question. if you could wind the clock back about four questions i would like to ask my question. it's a good answer. how many people out there even in this well-informed audience are aware that a major city in america is importing natural gas from all places russia. between the two of us with the number one producer anyway. let me just say to thoughts,
secretary chao. all this discussion on how you going to find it. etremember we forget just nine years ago we had a a new presit coming in. his name was barack obama and he wanted to $800 billion for infrastructure. remember that? how quickly we forget. they had the house t and the senate and total control of everything at the time, and so they got not $800 billion, $836 billion. all of that that he had at his disposal, what percentage do yow suppose, secretary chao, of that actually went to infrastructure and transportation? me answer it because you may not have the answer to that. 3%. only 3% only 3% of $836 billion actually went to transportation. i remember at the time because barbara boxerbi was the ranking member. actually she was the r chairman and i was the ranking member. we t introduced amendments to ty
to force a large percentage of that. one of our amendments wasar to e sure at least 35% went to infrastructure since that was what is represented to be. but it wasn't. the second thing i want to say, and this is something i know i will get criticized for but it's a fact. by the way i say to my friends on thed other side this is a democrat idea. this came in 1962 when we had kennedy as president of the united states. he said, i think the exact quote, we did more money, revenue to coming to support the great society programs. the best way to increase revenue is to reduce marginal rates. a novel idea, and it worked. of course he was assessed and right after that, but at the end of three years the amount of money that was coming in as revenue increased by 30%. then along came reagan. atng the time reagan came and te total amount of money it took to run government was $469 billion. so we said, well, kennedy
reduced the rates, the top rate went down% from 90% to 70%. reagan came in and moved the top down from 70% to 60%. all of all of the comparable rates. what happened? the total amount of money it took to run the government raised as a result of that, $720 billion. that's what's happening today. why are we so blind we don't see it? we went through eight years of obama with a gdp increased average of 1.5%. it's in excessee of 3%. no one disagrees with the argument that for each 1% increase in economic activity, that translates into $2.9 trillion over ten years. if you are really looking see what's going to happen, keep those two things in mind. we were able to come up with that amount of money back at a time when he was never put into infrastructure as it was designed to be put in, and at the same time we know about, it's hard to say, put an amount
right now on it but we do know that the increase in the, is a reality and it happens. so, secretary chao, i which is like to -- >> you are well over. maybe you can spit the next one for the record. >> i think she knows what it is. [laughing] >> okay. next up is senator heller. and if i could ask members to try and be a little more sustained in terms of the questions. thank you. >> mr. chairman, thank you and want to thank the panel for being here today. it's the distinguished panel and i'm grateful you are here and that time in your schedule to answer some of our questions. i'd like o to direct my first pt of my questions to secretary perry, an issue as you're well aware of it's important to the state and the bad and i was pleased to be talk about state sovereignty and federalism. you probably know the questions i'm going to ask. i'm looking at the federal budget and i'm assuming you participated in putting this
budget together for your department? >> yes, sir. >> those were questions in 2017, the money be request of licensing, and licensing for yucca mountain. are you familiar with that request? >> yes, sir, i am. >> did you participate in putting and request that you put int the budget? >> yes, sir. when he took the oath of office, i held my head up and said that i was going to follow the rule of law and defend the constitution. and it is the statutory responsibility for the secretary of energy to follow the law, and the law tells us that that's what we're going tond do is to o through without licensing process. that is what those dollars are there for.la nothing more, nothing less. >> does precedent matter also? >> i'm sorry? >> does president matter? in other words, there hasn't
been money put in a bind and since 2010. >> yes, sir. i would argue that the previous administration wasn't following the law. the law is pretty clear. since you're supposed to go through this licensing process and that's what it is. it's not following the law. the law says we will go forward with finding out the answer on this licensing issue. >> in 2017, that request was removed from the budget here 2018, in this budget, it is requested, another 120. did you have anything to do with that? >> that is our budget. >> okay. in 2018 that language of also be revoked. will you anticipate in 2019 20t you will request it again? >> i will follow the law, and i suspect the result will probably be about the same.
>> okay, okay. and thank you. secretary chao, thanks for your help on the thai grants for nevada. very helpful. and i do appreciate your efforts. i want to talk about the nuclear waste policy act. this is a transportation issue and there's a picture behind me talking about all the routes that nuclear waste would have to cover the united states. let me be more sustained by saying that the federal government is looking at shipping 900, 9495 casts and 2800 trains, and 2006 2006 and0 trucks hauling one cast each the yucca mountain over the next 50 years. 5 these shipments would use 22,00, 7000 miles of highways, crossing over 44 states and a population of about 175 million people. in your opinion, does that look safe to use?
>> i'm very much aware of the sensitivity of yucca mountain. i don't have? the answer, i dont know the issue you are referring to very well. >> between ten and 12 my people to behind these routes. under previous questioning, federal railroad administrator, pipeline and hazardous metro safety administrator howard elliott confirmed that a transportation accident with an ensuing radiological release was possible. do you agree with them? >> as i mentioned a nothing new with the issue that you're talking about, but i will certainly talk to them about. >> would you anticipate there's a real risk at these routes, look at this chart of the amount of transportation, i'm out of nuclear waste that would be traveling all across this country? >> i'm very impressed to see my contact lenses aren't working and i cannot see that very well. obviously, this is an issue of great concern to you. i want to be responsive.
>> all right. again, i want to reiterate my appreciation of the energy secretaries built with somebody and federalism, and i'm right there with you. >> yes, sir. >> i think my time is running out. thank you very much for the opportunity to question. >> thank you, senator heller. senator hassan. >> i get very much mr. chair. you and the ranking of the, thank you for holding the support hearing. they did to the secretaries for being here today. i will start, secretary chao, with thanking you for the recent news that new hampshire and vermont will receive a $10 $10 million tiger grant for thec interstate 89 lebanon hartford bridge project and that's going to help connect to recent significant places to interstate bridges that cross the connecticut river. and i will note you've heard thanks and other senators up here. we're very grateful for the tiger breach grants for it very
concerning that they don't appear in the president budget and we hope very much the administration will understand how important this funding and these projects are to our states. to secretary ross, i will just add to the course. a bunch of senators sat in a subcommittee hearing yesterday saying that they personally know that the mapping information about connectivity in our states is inaccurate. it appears that the fcc has just accepted two of our largest cellular carriers advertisements about where there is coverage. we can tell you that there is not coverage in many places in our states, that the fcc says there is. i hope you will bring your personal attention to that in the role your agency place. and lastly as a former governor sitting up. i will just say to the whole panel that states have been doing their part in raising revenues for transportation infrastructure. a republican legislature in my
state raised the gas tax just a little while ago. generally speaking, the federal government helps make direct investment in things that have a national benefit for everybody like national security and national economic growth. count me in to senator peters comments about our concerns that this plan, while it sounds good in identifying the problem, doesn't come isn't backed up with the kind of federal investment that would make it aa reality, especially for small states like mine. that all being said, i wanted to start my questions to you,ns secretary chao, with actually an issue about our airline infrastructure. i wrote to you last month along with several of my colleagues outlining our concerns about requests you have received from the airline industry to roll back critical consumer protections. if the airline industry were to achieve its stated goals, some of the things we could see as consumers include an elimination of the 24 hour race.
of consumer receives from purchasing an air ticket, and elimination of rules requiring airlines to disclose information about how consumers can file complaints with the department of transportation, potential weakening ofla requirements that airlines provide prompt wheelchair service or passengers who experience disabilities. an and elimination of rules requiring airlines to display the full price of a ticket to consumers when they shop. that's just a few of the things they're trying to roll back. i look forward to your full response to the letter, secretary chao, but in the meantime can you commit to working with congress before any consumer protections are rolled back in the airline industry? >> yes, but let me just say that i'm not here to defend the airline industry. but this whole string of things that you mention, some of it involves the website notice, and we think a lot of it is on the
website already but clearly some of these others, i disagree, i agree with you and disagree with others so i look forward -- if asked to take a look i would use. >> i would appreciate that very much. and secretary acosta, i i wantd to mention there are three bipartisan bills among h.e.l.p. committee members right now that deal with workforcewi training. so gateway to careers is one of them. the jobs act is another. the cte excellence in equity act is another. i could see it -- >> we spoke briefly before and i always jotted a note to myself to get. >> terrific, thank you. secretary perdue, u.s. department of agriculture plays plays a large role in approving rural america's infrastructure across the united states the need for investment in ourat war infrastructure can't be overstated. the american society of civil
engineers hasng set of new hampshire that much of the current water infrastructure has exceeded its design life or is operating at its capacity and will need upgrades or replacement. the repair and replacement costs are quickly rising to millions of dollars, and we can no longer afford to defer investment in our nation's critical infrastructure system. how is your department aiding small towns like the ones i represent in new hampshire to repair their aging water infrastructure? >> as a former governor i think you understand the impact that rule development can have in these communities working with the smaller communities, particularly over water treatment and waterhe availability, and water plants. look for to continue to do that as we go forward. obviously, funding is critical in those areas and we want to be even more effective in that area. >> thank you very much. mr. chair, i'm sorry i have gone over. thank you. >> next up is senator udall. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and
ranking member nelson. really important hearing and very glad it is happening. i think we've had a very good discussion today, and i would like to start my questions on infrastructure, in particular infrastructure along the u.s.-mexico border. i mentioned it here before, , bt the union pacific intermodal facility in new mexico was a $400 million investment that opened in 2014. it has spurred many billions more in infrastructure investment by other companies, and state and local governments on both sides of the border. so the administrations trade policy on nafta has huge implications for infrastructure in myy state. and the rest of the border region, which is home to many, many dozens of people. i know secretary perry is very familiar with this. nafta needs updating to take
account of current trade conditions and to strengthen environmental and labor standards, but nafta has been on the books for nearly a a quartr of a century. so secretary ross, has the administration considered in any form or rigorous way the impacts on border economies and infrastructure if the trump administration unilaterally withdraws from nafta? >> we then visited by representatives of the transportation industry, of the oil and gas industry, just about every industry you can imagine, as well as many state and local officials. so we been highly sensitized to the dependence that a lot of the border states have on mexican border, and also on the canadian border, a different group of states. so we are keenly aware of the potential impact. >> and has the administration
made public in the analysis of the legal consequences of unilateral withdrawal in light of the fact that enabling legislation from congress is on the books and cannot be repealed by the president? >> well, no decision has been made at this point. to abandon nafta. the president has indicated that he's optimistic, and so are we, that a reasonable deal can be made on nafta. >> so is it fair to say that unilateral withdrawal has been taken off the table? >> no. the president has said repeatedly that he requires a good deal for the united states. and if there is a a deal put on his desk, he will compare that with the alternatives. >> and since you're not taking it off the table now, i just want you to know, i was within the last couple of weeks down with the border authority group
right on the border. you could look at the fence that is upfe there, and there is a he amount of concern about the impact this could have on jobs, on infrastructure. so i would just urge you, if you're going down the road, if the president is going to the road a unilateral withdrawal i i would also urge you to talk to secretary perry. i hope he maybe weighs in on this but i'm very worried about the economic consequences for the region, if we unilaterally withdraw. i know you briefly and we're trying to work on a good deal and all that, but i think if we get to the place where there is frustration and go down the road of unilateral withdrawal, that would be very, very unfortunate. have you ever toward the border region in new mexico, texas or arizona? >> certainly. ipad businesses in the state so i've had some familiarity with it. >> i would encourage you in your current position to come down.
i don't know if you've done that as secretary. you've been and i think about a year. i think would really open your eyes. i know that you, you briefly on how you and the trade rep have been working with the mexicans and all that, but now in your position, people view you asw a key person so i hope you'll come down. i would include my schedule to go down and tried to do anything i can to introduce you to folks down there to show you the consequences that could happen on the border. one of the reasons i i encourae you is because border infrastructure like ports of entry, intermodal facilities, the border roads, they see heavy federal traffic from border security and i think we also need to take that into consideration. >> certainly. >> i see i'm running out of time so i probably do, i will probably do the rest of my questions for the record but
really appreciate all of you being here. i really believe that from the position that the democrats have laid out in terms of an infrastructure package, the things that you all are talking about over here, there's a lot of room for common ground and hope we can come to get on that. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator udall. centrally. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to each of you for being here. it's quite an honor to all five of you are at the same time. like to start with you if that's okay, secretary ross. what are talking about the president recent decision to invoke section 232 of the trade expansion act of 1962 in order to impose a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% tariff on imported aluminum. conversationpof with aad lot of people including just a feweo days ago, the ceo f a manufacturing company in my home state of utah. a midsize company that employs 2000 people in manufacturing
various products, many of which include steel. for most of the products they make, steel is not the biggest product. it doesn't take up the's most volume within what they build. not even always the most weight but it is a sufficiently significant cost component of each product. this ceo has affirmative doubts about whether you be able to keep those jobs in the state of utah or in the united states at all once these tariffs kick in. because his products and the price of his products is that sensitive, and is not likely to be impacted very directly by these tariffs. secretary mattis noted that in a memorandum, addressing u.s. demand for steel related to national security, included that u.s. military requirements for steel and aluminum each
represent only 3% of u.s. production. u.s. production, not total consumption, , just u.s. production alone. so if the president's decision to invoke section 232 was based on national security concerns, how do you reconcile that with the fact that our national securityty concerns demand only% of u.s. u production? and if that's the case, what if any limits exist on this authority? >> well, as you know the letter from secretary mattis that you are quoting from acknowledged that he regards the help of the steel industry and the aluminum industry as matters of the do threaten national security. so i think a full reading of the letter would include that commentary by him. the fact that it's a small percentage is one of the reasons why this is needed, because the
same mills that make more routine, more mundane products, the mills that make essential military products. for example, there's only now one u.s. steel mill that makes the specialized material that is required for armored plate, both for the humvees and for naval vessels. so it may be a small percentage, but to the soldiers and sailors who are protected by it, it's a pretty important thing. second spanish and yet the tutors are not limited to the specialized items. >> they can't be and that was my second point. the mill is not like a car. a car can go at 20 miles an hour or at 80 miles an hour. a mill is more or less on or off. and since the direct defense requirements now that we're in a very come have been in a low military spending time frame, those are not enough to keep a mill going.
so the mills need commercial viability from normal, nonmilitary products in order to survive. and that's what, one of the things that i makes it very, vey complicated. these things are interrelated, but think about the danger that we only have one mail for armored plates and we only have one smelter for aluminum that produces in high-volume high purity aluminum needed for aerospace. having one supplier is a very dangerous thing for critical materials. >> i understand that. for that reason i would think would be a good idea to limit the application of this character the greatest extent possible in order to accomplish -- >> we are because i think you are aware, we are about to publish rules whereby various
effected parties can apply for specific exemptions for specific products. >> understood. secretary perdue, is as likely to metastasize into full-blown trade war which could include retaliatory terrorist against agriculture agricultural products? >> we can't say that for certain. agricultural and agriculture commodity products are always the tip of the spirit any type of retaliatory effort. we're not responsible for the reaction. i'm hoping mitigations that secretary ross otago, the president has talked about can nullify those and not moving to an escalating trade war were agriculture would beat damaged. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i see my time is expired. >> thank you, senator lee. i have next up senator tester. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i apologize for not being here for the entire hearing and i apologize if i ask something that's already been asked. i would just say in reference to secretary perdue, and by the way, thank you all for being
here. secretary perdue, on retaliatory actions based on senator lees question. i would tell you every a group in montana without exception is unbelievably concerned about retaliatory action. youbohe are right, when regenern comes interests focus on agriculture products and is nota a hit that family farmers can take right now. my question though is about infrastructure and it deals with the infrastructure plan that was ruled out by the president and it's a question for secretary ross. the infrastructure plan is going to supply 20% federal dollars and 80% that will either come from the state, county, invisible governments. can you tell me in a state like a montana where we are required to have a balanced budget, which is a very good thing, and i think we ought to work for that at this level, how montana will come up with an 80% match?
>> well, the suggestion here is that there are these various different programs, each of which has different economic characteristics to it. but for example, if there are assets that the state has that it chooses to divest of and apply those proceeds, that certainly count as -- >> so what you're saying is that there to sell their state lands, that would count as a match? >> whatever assets they will sell could be eligible to be a match. ask secretary chao said, we are not focusing on specific sources of revenue. it's the quantity of revenue and having skin and again, both at at the state and local and federal level. >> well, i would just say that secretary chao, , you have to answer this, but the current federal program and high waist is 80% federal and 20% state,
the state of montana is having a tough time as many states are coming up with the 20% match. i just don't see where the logic is inexpensive hehe stayed to ce up with 80% match. i can tell if it is to sell off assets, short selling their roads for toll roads which don't work in a row state come in a rural state, montana actually not, or shortcutsc on the public lands which by the way could be argued the largest industry in montana even larger than agriculture, some $7 billion, 74,000 jobs in our state. i don't understand how this plan is well thought out at all. to get things built go ahead, secretary chao. i did me to cut you off. >> for rural america, you're right, the region is different. in fact, the infrastructure bill set aside 25% for rural america. it will be on it for no basis so it will be different. >> what you are saying of that,
of the, is it 20 trillion that is set out, 50 billion is set aside for rural america and you are saying that 50 billion, what's the match for that 50 billion then? >> that pay-fors, , if that's wt you're referring to, is something we need to discuss. >> i'm not talked about the pay-fors at the federal level. i'm talking about what the people come with a match and that's all. the state and local. >> 200 ringtones and direct federal funding, pay-fors of which we all need to discuss, no question about that. .. . 85% of the 25% this formula based and the remainder is probably going to be targeting the investment but we understand the need would be on a formula basis and it would be different. >> the infrastructure plan makes for a great press release and it's going to invest
1.5 trillion infrastructure if we get the states to come up with a match. but i'm telling you the state of montana right the state of montana right now is cutting programs because they don't have money.s essential programs in our state.av last question because i've only got about 20 seconds left? tell me how do you justify that. and then putting forth another roinfrastructure program. you understand the importance of our waterways.s, what a good job rural development has done.
that's why i don't understand why it was cut. we had cities and towns across this country that really depend on this. i will say thank you all five for being here. i appreciate the work you are doing.at we are to do a little bit better than this. thank you. i want to thank all of>> you for being here in for your service to our state. i would just kind of echo to begin in my statement. obviously what's for dinner is a rural state. i know i have talked to you individually about that. for a plug-in for the state of west virginia. they went to the polls last october. they passed atct billion-dollar if the structure passage.
my hope as every integrated is that if this goes through that that retroactive passage of that for our state would count towards our match. thank you for that. states can be innovative and swallow bitter pills sometimes for the greater good and i think west virginia did that. i want to thank you for keeping the natural gas liquid storage hub. they mentioned regional hubs and conferences. as you know this is one such project. i believe it falls very naturally into an infrastructure planve and i would like to know can you speak a bit about how the development measures with the need to improve the nation's infrastructure by building out our energy dominance.
i think it's important for the committee in for the general public to really think about the concept and not get tied up in sometimes the simplicity and how you will pay for this. i understand it. i was a governor for 14 years. i understand all of the things that go back and forth. when i was a governor. i bet this was true as well as it was for the secretary of purdue that your business men and women will tell you just tell us what the tax structure is can be like at the regulatory climate fair and predictable.
and that's really important for us not to lose sight of. the states like ours that are willing to come in and say we need this. the real key is sending the message to the private sector. and have a chance to have a return on investment. the idea of taking those four states. the petrochemical footprint they see along the gulf coast into texas. adding value to them.in
the concept that really lays out the presence of vision for being able to build transportation infrastructure in not having to go back and say the government has to pay exactly this amount of thisis because there is a lot of innovative ways to do it when you build infrastructure. where you believe in the asphalt ferry. there are some options there. and one of them is to send the powerful message to the private sector. so you can come in and invest. you will not be seen the roles change in the middle of the game.n
you talked about energy security. let's talk about the region that has tremendous downturn. in tremendous job loss and difficulties i want to thank you as a department of energy. at the department of commerce for working with us and west virginia and original concept to really revitalize that part of the infrastructure.e. also create a lot of great jobs here. thank you all for being here today in your service. secretary chow let me begin
about the gateway project. it is of the utmost urgency. it is essential to our transportation network. i would like you to commit that you will urge the president to support the great project.es it's not our intention to get into an argument. to clarify gateway is a nickname for nine separate projects. they are unusual in their unwillingness to follow the process like other states. as you know my time is limited. will you commit to the gateway project. >> a campaign has been waged in the public arena.
to pressure the federal government to fund these projects. do you think the gateway project is a good idea?a? >> were not arguing about whether this project should go forward. you will commit to the gateway project. they did not come in with a real holistic plan. the gateway project is essential to our economy not just in new york and connecticut but to the entire country. i urge you to back off his threat to shut down the government let me move on to another topic. i hope you agree with me that it is essential to safety on railroads. you've said you would finalize
and enforcement strategy we have an administrator can you confirm that an enforcement strategy has been finalized. i sent out a letter at the end of december early january notifying all regulated entities that they have a responsibility to meet the deadlineie you advise them that they have a responsibility. we brought them in with the new fra administrator and he and the rest of the staff they are meeting individual with each of these companies i think they have met 47 of them in just six weeks. the end of your deadline will be enforced.d. we told them that.
i understand that you're very much involved in negotiating our tariffsuc and i want to bopress my concern about the appointees who have been fired because of a lack of security clearances o did those employees have interim security clearances while they worked there. >> those who needed those. most of these people are not people who had access to top secret.
when we learned of the problem we terminated them. >> to all the members of this panel have a permanent security clearances. i can assure you that any employees of your department who had access to classified information lack full permanent security clearances. >> not to my knowledge. when employees come on board. they fill outut the fbi paperwork.
no one is behind in the process and they have not indicated any issue in the process but some are still undergoing the process with more recent hires. as a practical matter do not had access to classified information. i'm happy to provide details. i will ask each of you to provide details my time unfortunately has expirede this topic is extra nearly important as we all know. it's an issue that has been raised with the white house staff. the use of interim security clearances. the topic of extraordinary national security. whether any of your current employees have interim security clearances with access to classified information.
thank you to the five cabinet members who are here today. we've heard a lot of questions about how we are gonna to pay for the infrastructure bill. a very alarming plane this morning. to pay for theuc infrastructure bill. and that was the massive 9% if i can get a yes or no question secretary chow do you believe a 19% tax increase would make it more expensive as we build new infrastructure. would make u.s. products more expensive. would it cost jobs to have ald 19% tax increase on the job creators.
secretary perry what. what the low income earners where they see energy costs become more expensive. this idea to put the massive tax increase on the american economy is not the right policy we are trying to create jobs. i think it's a lousy idea. i think massive tax increases are a step backwards for the economy if that's the plan.n. let's start with you. we've heard a little bit about steel and aluminum tariffs. you talked about retired tory tariffs do you think considerationre should factor into any recommendation on tariffs around trade i think that should be a consideration. we haven't have a new update since 2005. do you think the update.
they recently announced the tariffs. it could be helpful. yes or no. if you would like me to conduct a study we will do so. an updated study on the amount of steel that goes into highway constructions the cost that it would impose on those projects. have you have a chance to study whether i don't think i can give you a yes or no answer. that is not what this is can happen.t there is no study on the cost
of building pipelines in the united states under a 10% tariff.% as your department completed any recent studies. did you consider the impact of retaliatory trade actions when you recommended that project. i recommended three alternatives to the president. one was a broad based terror of structure. so no consideration of retaliatory tariffs. with very the discussion went
on for hours. trying to model what will parties do. it's two tenths of 1% of our gdp and those sales are unlikely to go to zero in any of them. the problem is using the retaliatory tactics doesn't really get you anywhere. we will be hearing soon enough as it evolves what kind of retaliations people might have in mind and whether or not they have the authority to do it. should we move forward with tariffs. on the impact on agriculture
will be increased. when we have not done a studys on job impact and we don't have an updated stela steel for the cost. you are making you're making some very broad statements. it has been very lively discussions of the impact on the economy within the interagency process and in the oval office of oval office to the president. there's been a lot of attention paid to it. do supportsp u.s. withdrawal from the u.s. trade organization, yes or no? it needs some changes in the way it operates i think we probably do need some sort of
trade relations. is not hundred% clear that the existing world trade organization rules one of the major reasonsfo why it's important to take actions like the 301 and like the 232's is that we have already got hundred and some odd cases out there on steel related products against 34 countries. what happens under wto rules you are required to be very precise with product and country. even to the extent of saying it only applies to products under two tenths of a millimeter you impose the tariffs and then suddenly the material appears to another country.
or the country that was doing the dumping now carries it to a little different stage of manufacturing itself. and i have to start all over. is that a yes or no. i think modifications to the wto are very much in the in stress of the united states of america.y not all questions can be answered with a simple yes or no. i had outlined my feeling the best i can. thank you mister chairman and i really appreciate the admission ration coming appear in full force. on the principle's of infrastructure. i think the administration put out a very strong plan and worked with a lot of us on that. i will tell you i think you see in this community which i
also serve that there is a lot of interest in energy to move forward on an infrastructure plan. i think it has the demonstrated focuses. for the issue of the h2b visas and we need to reform that system so it's actually working needs that are seasonal not necessarily for other industries that might be more abusive. i was here earlier. have to go preside for the last hour but your comments about the opportunities with regard to the american energy renaissance is taking place weather in texas or alaska really all over the country
it's just spot on. and it's an enormous opportunity for national security energy security. i think you. for you there has been a lot of focus on pipelines energy pipelines. and how a certain small segment of our country starts to want to oppose them everywhere.ll are they more say for example that railcars for moving oil or even lng as we're trying to do that. the ability to move these kind of much more safe. the technology allows them to become safer and safer as we use our innovation and technology.
so the last administration took eight years and then finally disapproved the keystone pipeline. they switch that i would like for the record to just submit an editorial by the boston globe recently it was about how how massachusetts in some kind of fit of righteousness wanted to disallow any pipelines coming across the state. as opposed to americans. it's an editorial called our russian pipeline. the ugly toll. i would like to talk to a little bit about the issue of permitting you came up to alaska last summer and broke
the log jam on a sterling highway eis that was the longest eis in the world. all of the agencies working together.ha i have a rebuild america at now act which i've been working with the administration on. on permitting forms. so we can get the common sense permitting. as opposed to nightmare scenarios. it helps nobody. it certainly didn't help my state. you're very kind to give me the credit. you guys deserve a great deal of the credit.
we appreciate the opportunity to work with you to let loose that. you pointed out the importance. secondly, on the issue of permitting you been a champion of permitting. streamlining the process has all sorts of benefits. it can greet out more projects that will be available for the private sector to fund and finance. in avoiding duplication and doing a concurrent rather than sequential permitting. and getting rid of permitting. allowing agencies to talk to one another. to share information. so most of these ideas you had outlined yourself since you been a champion of permitting. we continue to work with you on this. i will just say there is a bipartisan opportunity here
both on the commerce committee and the ep w to midi to move forward on issues that impact all of us they are all very supportive we want to work with you particularly on this permitting issue because it's vital to the country and i think we have a bipartisan opportunity to move it and having all five of you and the president and the rest of the administration backing this. i think it's a really important statement. what we want and need as a nation. again thank you to the cabinet members y i will focus on secretary chow because transportation is such an important aspect of the state of the current needs. we had have a chance to talk about the info grants and we
certainly appreciate your continued focus on the investment. as one of the very positive stories. i know that many people realize washington and its many ports are on the pacific in improving the infrastructure. in several spots along there. just because we're exporting so much. shifting focus i know you are in the house and expressed the concerns. they have the have the light rail project. and that federal share only 36% thanks to the voters who decided it was worth making this investment.nk
they're only looking at 16% federal money for the projects. but that 16% is absolutely essential to have that partnership. do you think that particular is a the type of program that they are looking for? your state has been very skillful in getting this. they had had more than its proportional share.an we do want to look at applications on a case-by-case basis we will need some refresher on this particular one.t i did not see your house testimony.
that sound like a pretty good deal for me. let me take a look at the whole financing package as it is submitted. we hope that there will be shares by the state and local government and also a private sector involved i definitely think it needs -- meets that standard. and particularly in the robust way that were doing it.ly a mix of all three. we will look forward to continuing that dialogue. i would be remiss if i did not jump in the trade discussion. glad of that some of you joined at the white house.
we definitely want to have that level of investment. and that is confirmation that we can see. the very aggressive conversations that we have. do you worry about some of these discussions. our eastern washington wheat farmers are concerned. we are all gonna be making the infrastructure investment but we want to make sure that the markets are open. >> i represent farmers.
the first one i want to talk about is i keep hearing about the $200 billion seed money. how did you know it was going to's stimulate that. or was there some analysis. >> can you make sure they are leveraged. can you submit that my office? >> absolutely. i can tell you what our analysis concluded they are little bit different.
in working with us in a bipartisan way. the proposal is submitted we will prefer that it will be donene on a bipartisan basis. there is a discussion earlier about the pell grant. to use the funds to attend short-term training programs. from what i see with the president's budget is it keeps it lacked for the next decade.'s k k what it appears you are doing is shifting the money away. is that actually what's happening. if you look at the program currently there is a surplus within the pell grant program. if a student wishes to do a certificate program they have
general and of full of the great program. in many ways the pell grant that would fund the certificate program would be left costly. because there's already a surplus. it is expanding a program in a way that is using the pell program for option to it can use it for option one. we are giving students more option alley. we are not shifting funds. within the plan there is a
reference to a rewarding and that the structure projects through the incentives program. you know that many of our 17 counties actually 15 are rural. along with rural. to invest and move forward. what the interstate 11 project to benefit from benefit from this as you envision it. there is no direct benefit. where the broader dedicated funding. am i mistaken b is that true. i don't see it anywhere. since you've human talking about that. how think there is any kind of designation there.
frankly i would welcome that from our need for you big u.s. broadband. the concept to the desires and bipartisan desires of the congress. i would support that as well. i appreciate your comments. when we talk about investing our infrastructure it is not just horizontal construction is investing in broadband in our communities particularly when it comes to the use of this new technology for infrastructure. so thank you all for coming to ngpitol hill today. thank you so much for visiting with us to discuss the infrastructure. one of the core componentss is the incentives program. which states and local governments to establish significant non- federal revenue for their most
important projects. i just head to say i appreciate the fact that the administration has recommended a look back to recognize these recent investments and prior actions made by proactive states like hoosiers. two recognize within the confines of the infrastructure program. the vibrant debate back home about what infrastructure priorities we should have. that the incentives program within infrastructures proposals creates.
i will start by indicating that one of the states. t this runs from southwestern indiana where evansville is located over to henderson kentucky. it has long been a priority of a futures going all the way back to 2004 when the environmental impact study began just last month the staff met with the project sponsor to assist in moving this vital project forward. on behalf of my fellow hoosiers i want to thank you and your team for your dedication and hard work with respect to this project i am pleased that one of the four guiding principles is to streamlinetu the project delivery. i'm sure it's been held up by some of my colleagues.
with the permitting of an approval of the federal infrastructure projects is something that could only be conceived of in washington dc. the fact of the administration.. to de- clutter this. is something i commend and applaud and celebrate. it's welcome news to the people of indiana. any of the other assembled secretaries can you speak to the potential of this permitting process.it with the major info structure projects. regulatory reform present a major opportunity to be in figure eight investmentt i would like to addressha that.
i think they had experienced that. i've been quoted in the past as sayingi i would take a lot less money for permitting reform. and we are just now going to open up a road in one of the most congested corridors in atlanta. your experience there we had ten years on you regarding the bridge. this is a challenge. what we are really talking about is not circumventing any kind of environmental laws or protections there. it is really six sigma process management. as moving things in a way thatea makes sense point-to-point with one federal decision in the case manager if you would permits. to manage it with accountability. waiting for another answer.
they mentioned earlier. there is no reason we cannotdo do these things concurrently. that is what we are hoping to do. i think this could be one of the best things we could offer america as the permit reform that gets things done quickly. probably something like a third of the cost of many infrastructure projects is consumed in legal bills consulting bills and the inflationary effects of delay. there was a 30% cost reduction and the cost of the project. and not something that is a real benefit. it's not just about the 20%.
they would really be lowered a lot. thank you for making sure our taxpayer money gets even more bang for the buck. i yelled back. you can answer that question. i was the first one here. and somehow in the last one. i want to thank everyone for your hard work and i will start with you a secretary costa i spent saturday with a number of our manufacturing companies in places like winona minnesota.
we need to find more workers. and one is immigration reform. the other is doing everything we can to get high school kids who might not otherwise graduate or prefer to have less debt and get out one or two year certification. and one of the things thehe chamber showed me there was a list of some of the federal job descriptions where they can only work if they are 16 or 17. and then when they turn 18 they can do it for longer. it's not totally safe if they can do an hour a day. maybe we could extend that two more hours. i wondered if you have looked at that. i also talked to mister trump about it yesterday. we certainly are looking into it. we actually received a letter from one of the colleagues.
raising the same issue with respect to changing -- trading for hospital jobs. we are also looking into whether it makes sense to create exemptions as part of some training and educational program. on the theory that we would rather that they use equipment the right way then use it for this first time when the 18. they were tasked with coming up with recommendations for me i ask where was it just last week. thank you for coming to the midwest. we were on the plane together. similar the court asked you
about the rfi i just want to touch on bio fuel infrastructure. significant infrastructure to get to that next stage where we are beyond the boutique feel now but we want to make it part of the mainstay of our fuel supply. i think there will be a huge demand. there will be another opportunity to participate going on. we talked about this in the past.
i'm very concerned in some pathetic with this program. it was indeed zero out at the current budget. hearing the concerns of congress we actually sifted some funds. the 2020 centrist. how does the in ministration plan to ensure that it is rolled out smoothly. >> as you know very early on began a very o diligent analysis of the cost productions that have been madeco and we concluded that they have greatly underestimated the cost that would be needed in order to have a full and fair and complete census. we believe that the monies that we had requested should be adequate to fund it in
order to try to make sure that that difficult to enumerate part of the population is in fact covered we are increasing the number of partnership people on our staff from roughly 800 that were employed in the 2010 census to a thousand. that's a 25% increase in the outreach capability to local community organizations. also, the advertising and marketing budget has been increased from 300's of the $5 million that was in the 2010 census to $500 million now.w. that is a one third increase in that. and we think that reflects the changing mix of the population and one of the things we will be doing is we will be buying
media and having physical correspondence in 17 different language is. we're working very hard to make sure of completeness and accuracy. i want you to know that we are working on that can fit continuing fun to me. we have talked with you the world expo application for minnesota we barely missed it last time for 2027 is going to come through your department. you can look for to see that this year. i'm a big supporter of brand usa as you know.s and tourism is a very important reason why we have to trade surplus. i do have to drive through minnesota.
just be glad that they didn't ask about the current cousin trade. thank you mister chairman. secretary ross.et on february 9 this year i joined senator cortez in sending a by in your letter. raising concerns with the leaked memo.o.si with the mobile broadband networks.ha we can't take the global first place for granted. it has the potential to boost
gdp. with a be nationalizing any aspect. i'm aware of that proposal. has been widely circulated and a couple of points. we record 5g as quite essential. there has been no final decision madeer on the memo itself as yet. and i don't want to get out in front of the president on it. i think you are aware that everybody is focused on the other importance.
we have no intention of vacating that at all. the position of great many people in congress. t it would be aes grave missed take to nationalize 5g. very significant resistance in both houses for any proposal to do so. i certainly don't want to sound as if i'm advocating it. i just don't want to get out ahead of the president. they had been vocal supporters. to modernize. modernizing air traffic one of those rare proposals that can reduce the size of the government.
it is supported by unionized workers at the same time having free market benefits. there had been some concerns raised from the world of general aviation. the win-win solution as possible. enable thaten environmental benefits while at the same time fully protectinghe in number two, do you think it is a subject worthy of consideration. they have that congestion
problems. the future congestion in our skies. it is able to gain new equipment necessary for the next generation of technology. it was to have air traffic control go into it separate non- profit a lot like orchestration structure. it would also free up the aviation trust fund. half of which is currently being used not for reinvestment in our air traffic control system but as the deficit reduction. we still believe that restructuring the air traffic control it's one of the best ways to do this. the aviation trust issues.
it doesn't appear as if there is enough votes in the house nor the senate. h for the infrastructure t renewal at the brine campus. it will serve as a leading force. one project in texas that i believe you are familiar with from your time as governor is theth port of corpus christie. and it currently has the funding available to deepen and widen the port but they are having to navigate with the army corps of engineers which can be at times slow and cumbersome and can lead to unnecessary project delays.ss they can modify the regulations to execute the
projects. do you think modifying the regulations to give the procurement rules can save money and expedite deepening our ports which will enable more energy exports. they would make an interesting documentaryy about how it can slow down economic progress with just a 15 year push with the port of corpus christi. i'm here today to testify about the corps of engineers. i will leave that to you to find some other solutions for it. you really touched a very important issue. your home state which has from
the national security standpoint.fr and the internal geo- political sampling. you're absolutely correct in identifying an alternative to the way we've always done it to one and that could streamline substantially the process. i salute ish you good luck and smooth sailing on it. >> terrific, thank you. >> senator cruz thank you, senator baldwin. >> last year he visited snap on tools and employer in that day, president trump promised quote - a big
infrastructure bill. that would be quote - constructive with american hands and american steel in american tools. and his creation would be taking bold new steps to follow through on his by american higher american pledge. i want to ask starting with the secretary perry. can you direct me to the bold new by america provisions in the infrastructure blueprint? >> thank you. you just reminded me of, a fabulous state that you live in. i tried to recruit harley-davidson -- and others and i was unsuccessful. you speak about snap on which is another one. the issue here, i think what the president was laying out is that he is leaving this role --
>> the answer is yes. >> it is overwriting prevailing authority that impacts everything the department in the government. >> can you point to anything -- >> prevailing authority already put is a prevailing authority. bold new steps are? >> is emphasized this existing requirement which has not been emphasized in the past. >> i think the idea that we can go from 10 to two years on permitting is such a powerful message. as i shared earlier, when i talked -- >> let me stop you because first of all, is it true this document makes no reference to buy america policy? >> i think implicitly it talks about it. >> does explicitly? >> i think it clearly. >> you think it does. i would appreciate a page reference afterwards secretary purdue.
>> i am not aware. >> secretary acosta. >> the buy america executive order is in all departments. therefore, all of our actions including our actions which we spent with this encompassed an executive order. certainly, it needs to be more explicit than we can discuss that at another time. >> we will. secretary -- >> my answer is the same as secretary acosta. >> and secretary chao university indicated. >> on page 21, 322 and page 27, there is provisions on new flexibility. when you talk about amending titles 23 and 49 to provide targeted flexibility pertaining to the application of federal requirements, i would note that buy america provisions are in both title 23 and 49.
is it your position that you are not advocating flexibility with regard to buy america provision? o?>> what document are you referring to? >> your blueprint on infrastructure. >> i did not know. you were referring something to something that i could not see. >> oh -- is it your intention that -- - >> the president is quite clear about buy america and higher america. >> using -- >> waivers are given. much less so than on the other his administrations. >> so, this could contemplate disregarding the buy america provisions -- that and flexibility.
is that what you are saying? >> waivers are given on a iv case-by-case basis. much less so in this administration. i know from experience. >> there are waivers within the buy america provision. you would totally disregard the law in which on page 21 and 22, i would also refer you to the language with regard to water infrastructure on page 27. >> our son is a call the department asking for waivers. because of certain circumstances, lack of american production capacity. >> i think you misunderstand. the buy america law allows waivers. >> right. >> i am asking whether you are -- when you use the language in this blueprint, amending the law to provide the targeted flexibility to the states, pertaining to the application
of federal requirements such as buy america. >> so, what is the question? >> does this language contemplate disregarding -- >> no, it does not.it just gives flexibility. >> i would appreciate your commitment to add clarity to that. not only does the document not reference buy america once. it also appears to proactively suggest that infrastructure projects could avoid buy america requirements. >> that is certainly not the intent at all. >> the clarity on that would be very important. i have one additional question for the secretary ross. in terms of your analysis on the health of the us industry. have a question in the context of tariffs. >> right.
>> what impact would robust buy america policies and all of the infrastructure projects have on the health of the us steel industry? >> well, it would help every other industry that is a supplier to those projects. i am a big supporter of buy america, hire america. >> right, thank you. >> thank you senator baldwin. thank you for your patience and indulgence. i will have questions for the record and i will ask you as members to do those questions and get them in as soon as possible. some issues besides infrastructure and again thank you so much for the commitment that you all make and particularly on this particular issue and subject and i think we all agree i think we can find common ground with
my guess is it could be individual bills marked up and married up. >> do think there is a realistic chance that could happen this year or is that not really? >> i think it is realistic that something could happen that would constitute a down payment on a bigger more robust bill. we have sufficient resources to fund the infrastructure package but i think will move and maybe along the lines of things that we have heard talked about here. we have a bill coming out, we have a series of -- hopefully it would expand broadband
deployment. all of those could be i think put into an infrastructure package and then the question is how big or robust and how much funding we met. >> even the questions about funding. you think the emphasis on what is in the white house plans would be from your end, will be on permitting and speeding up project approval? >> it will be a part of it and i think that will be true for all of orthe jurisdiction. as he heard this morning, all of the members of the cabinet are very interested in what we can do to streamline a -- projects. enter the delays often add to this project. i think the cleaning of the part ss of will be a big of whatever we end up doing. >> mr. chairman, how you plan to overcome democratic objections on 189? >> you know, i'm not sure exactly why there are
democratic objections. it is pretty much a democrat and republican priority to fix this. if we do not fix it it will get real ugly. i hope that in the end whatever democrats might be saying right now about any concerns they have about this we can get those resolved and get a vote on this because it needs to be fixed. if it doesn't get fixed now it will create some serious disruptions in the ag economy. >> i think we get on the floor they will be the bones and there will be so many things writing on the bill will have broad shoulders. there will be things that everyone is for. like i said this is a bipartisan priority. he talked to democrat senators in the senate they would say the same thing that must republican senators who represent farm states would say that is, we will have a world of hurt in the farm country and
i think it is got to be, there is a sense of urgency attached to this and we need to get it done and i hope that we can find a way for both republicans and democrats to get this passed. >> a tomb more democrats, have the say they are opposed to this. they're asking for pretty specific concessions. what do you think that means for the bill getting through? [inaudible] >> i think some of it is that -- part of it is just hopefully bringing them up to speed on what it is we are doing. a lot of these concerns are being raised. and one of the biggest reasons for doing this bill is safety. 35,000 fatalities every year on america's highways. there is distracted driving or do you why. there is a very compelling reason to do this. we obviously are very
interested in doing it anyway first and foremost that we need to make sure it is done safely. that is why we want to have a policy framework in place. as we do the research and testing hopefully the deployment but if we do not move you know this stuff, there is just going to be a lot of confusion and uncertainty. i don't think that is a good environment in which to promote a technology that i think can be very transformative for our economy. >> and with the av bill.you are trying to schedule some time for that? >> if we put on the floor we would get 85 votes for it. a handful of objections to ouit right now are really just that. in some cases there could be some specific objections to address but some of it is just generic objections. if we can get it voted on -- we
will see.i've asked to give us some floor time for it. it is a freestanding bill. it is hard to get time because we are scheduling issues but we also have some other things that are going to e have to get done. there are always places i think that where that could go. >> are you concerned about the lack of how to pay for this? >> it is hard. i said unless someone is ready to bite the bullet with a new funding source there are limitations to what we will be able to do. a lot of streamlining of the permitting process does save money. i think there is some money allocated in the budget deal. this next year for infrastructure.i think there were probably some other things it would to come up with to put together a package. to get the big really robust package the president is talking about to come up with a
significant source of revenue. so far it has not been identified. >> do you think that will happen? >> i think senator hatch is aware of the challenge and looking for ways to address that. i've been in meetings and i know that he always seems to have some offsets that can help but i think, i do not know if there any rough edges when it comes to pinching. we have to smooth all that we can. i think the offsets are harder this time around. but there will be efforts made to come up with -- to the degree that we can identify those. part of that will add to a guess how sort of expanse of the infrastructure package could be. >> will have to come from the administration -- >> the money? if they want to, if they really
want to do the scale of what they are talking about. at some point they will probably have to get behind some form of -- i think it wil take the president to do that. i just don't think that there will be enough support for new revenues to do the kind of thing they're talking about doing. thank you. >> tonight, testimony from federal, state and local officials on lessons learned from 2017 disasters. including hurricane harvey, irma and maria. you can watch thursday's house homeland security hearing tonight at a pm eastern on c-span. interior secretary ryan zinke testified this week at a senate
energy and natural resources committee hearing on his departments 2019 budget request. that is also 8:00 here on c-span2. this weekend on the c-span networks presented at 9:00 a.m. eastern american history t.v. on c-span3. daylong live coverage from ford theater in washington d.c. with the annual abraham lincoln symposium with anna holloway co-author of -- the greatest invention of the civil war. william harris, author of lincoln in congress. michael burlingame, abraham lincoln, a life. stanley harrell, lincoln and the abolitionists. and walter starr, author of dutton. dinsmore secretary. sunday at 1:00 p.m. eastern booktv on c-span2 is a live from the new museum of the bible in washington d.c.. discussing the bibles influence
on literature. and the impact on government, legal systems, education and human rights. with the museums director seth hollinger. he will also take your calls during the program. watch this weekend on the c-span networks. >> high school students in the washington d.c. area led a walkout and a rally on the grounds of the us capital on wednesday.to push congress to act on gun policy and school safety. student leaders, house minority leader, nancy pelosi, chuck schumer, senator bernie sanders and other lawmakers spoke to the crowd. [cheering] [inaudible conversations]