Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  June 9, 2015 4:30pm-6:31pm EDT

4:30 pm
the main driver of our discussion on the subject in the qer and that wasjofx- theqv need[p more data. the railroads have not been9át most transparent in terms of data availability. and i think that's certainly been improved and certainly the issues around coal, for example, have been certainly relieved. there are other issues, as we know, in terms of oil by rail that are being addressed. i might say that with the department of transportation we have now launched the next phase of the study of relevance to crude properties and rail. it will take about 18 months before we're ready with that. but anyway, i think you're absolutely right we've had some progress on the data front, and that allows an eia is playing a role in there as well. >> yes, they are, yes. >> so it's great. >> thank you. thank you again mr. chairman. >> thank you, that concludes the first panel that secretary
4:31 pm
moniz, thank you very much for your testimony and answers to our questions. and we look forward to continuing to work with you on many pressing issues as we move forward. and thanks again for your leadership. and mr. rush will be notifying you of the formation of the fan club and we'll get together with you for that. >> so we'll have our meetingpwxxpñtz relatively soon. >> and there will be a huge crowd there so --. >> on our second panel todaytq we have mr. rudolph dolzer, who flew all the way to the u.s. from bonn, germany, andb-dd appreciate him being here. we have mr. jason grumet and
4:32 pm
gerald president of upstream research and consulting. we have ms. allison cassady from the center for american progress. we have miss hammond who is professor of law at george washington university law school. and i'm going to call on my colleague mr. pitts of pennsylvania to introduce one of our witnesses as well. >> thank you mr. chairman. i'm pleased to introduce
4:33 pm
bit. mr. dolzer you came the distance. from bonn, germany and you were in the german parliament at the time and÷áphñ you're a professor at the university in bonn. i'm going to recognize you to start off with for five minutes. then after everyone has concluded, we'll have some questions for some of y/ so mr. dolzer you're )c recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman
4:34 pm
spokane, washington, at gonzaga university. then i stayed for a longer period at the harvard law school. i later taught at five u.s. universities, the last time in dallas in texas. in houston, i'm a member of the advisory board of the association of independent petroleum negotiators. a month ago, i published a larger study of international cooperation in global energy
4:35 pm
affairs. mr. chairman, the era of abundance, as you say, opens up new opportunities of leadership for the united states, and the world is looking at the united states. this reminds us also at least me that energy's not just about energy, it's about foreign affairs. it's about national security, it's about finances. but, ultimately energy has its own characteristics and dynamics. and this is my first major point. foreign affairs, national security and also issues such as trade must be folded into the fabrics of energy politics and not the other way around. this is also my view as regards climate change. energy politics, mr. chairman and when i look at your draft energy diplomacy, politics also
4:36 pm
calls for arrangements of its own when it comes to international cooperation. title 3 of your bill, the present bill represents an innovative modern approach, also from an international point of view. this title may even be strengthened by a transatlantic trade and investment partnership. again, trade is just one aspect of energy. recent events -- and this has been addressed this morning in russia ukraine and europe in general have underlined that energy independence will require safe energy supplies and will require political foresight and a robust, long-term strategy. together, we must understand the nature of that issue. europe -- and this is not well known -- europe as a whole will in the coming decade become more vulnerable as our resources dw norway. so this is europe as a whole.
4:37 pm
the forums as proposed in your bill will serve to provide a common basis. but i propose that we go further and establish a more advanced concept which i call the transatlantic energy agenda. we need to update and broaden existing arrangements with the new involvement i think of parliaments and the private sector. we have longstanding arrangements for cooperation in foreign affairs, in national security, in agriculture, for example. for energy arrangements of this kinds are lacking at the moment. and i think that ought to change. we need more exchange, we need better exchange. we need to know what we're doing. and we need exchange about best practice. america's abundance also lends itself to strengthening of regional partnerships. in europe, we have particular experience in this respect. since 2009, the european union
4:38 pm
has the competence to deal with the establishment of a single market. but the member states have retained their sovereign powers to determine the energy mix. the french made sure that no one touches their right to work with atomic power. this is a very complex jurisdictional situation, which we have in europe. we now have a set of rules promoting competition in europe with liberalization with unbundling. we have less progress. and i think this is of interest here. so far with regard to internal and cross-border connections to overcome isolated domestic markets. the key concept which has been worked out in the last 24 months has been the idea of project of common interest as it's called. the new rules call -- and i think this is of interest here are -- for a much more rapid process of approving permits.
4:39 pm
so far that time -- don't be astonished took about ten years or more to have a permit for a transporter arrangement. this is now going down to 3 1/2 years at a maximum according to the new law. also member states must introduce one step authorities instead of the multitude of institutional arrangements we've had so far. the funds needed for a single energy market will be considerable, but i think the advantage will justify the costs. cost in terms of secure supply. new infrastructure urgently needed. more options for the customers. more, better position negotiating position on the international level when you negotiate with russia or opec or venezuela, i think the larger
4:40 pm
your market, the better it is. in north america, i think a new task force by the nafta countries similar to the european commission might help to elaborate a unified energy strategy. mr. chairman, i conclude. in the past, energy issues have at times been a bone of contention between the united states and europe. sometimes of bitter contention. i think your bill with title 3 lass the promise and the earmarks of a new era of cooperation with tangible benefits on both sides of the atlantic. thank you very much for your attention. i very much appreciate this opportunity to express my views before your important committee. thank you very much. >> well thank you, dr. dolzer. and our next wednesday who is mr. jason grumet, who is the president of the bipartisan policy center. thank you very much for being with us and you're recognized for five
4:41 pm
minutes. >> well, thank you very much, chairman rush. and the resilient members of the committee. on behalf of the bipartisan policy center, it's a pleasure to join you in this important discussion on the economic policy architecture governing our nation's abundance. my testimony can be summarized in three main points. first, i want to applaud the committee for focus an significant opportunities to strengthen north american energy integration and collaboration. north american energy security and self-sufficiency are, in fact, realistic goals that must be vigorously pursued and not taken for granted. my second point, mr. chairman, is that increased north american cooperation is a critical component of a larger effort to promote economic growth through efficient markets to enhance north america's role in global energy trade and to project u.s. power and global interests. and my third point is that we must seize the opportunity to translate this strength of abundance into a long-term and sustainable energy strategy and not allow this strength to result in unintended complacency. in short this committee has the
4:42 pm
disorienting challenge of managing success, which is a new problem for our nation when it comes to energy sol and creates real opportunities that we need to discuss. so let me begin by saying a little bit about the energy integration and collaboration. i believe the provisions that promote that equality and sharing, that coordinate planning and improve permitting and inciting are all essential to achieving the promise of north american energy security. the opportunities are particularly pronounced in the case of mexico. while u.s. companies have much to gain in increased trade with mexico, it is hard to overstate the importance of energy production to the mexican economy and a broader u.s./mexican relationship. even after years of decline energy production remains a source of high-paying jobs and is responsible for a third of the mexican government's overall activities. if modernization efforts succeed, energy production could be a significant driver of mexican economic development and individual opportunity. and the implications here are quite broad. the bipartisan policy center believes we must reform our
4:43 pm
nation's broken immigration system. and while this hearing is not the place to discuss the challenges or intricacies of protecting the southern border, there's no question that improved economic opportunity in mexico is an essential component of successful and lasting immigration reform. let me turn now to the issue of siting. while our technology for producing energy has evolved over the last deck ids our permitting poll sis date back to the 1950s and 196 and are poorly matched to our rapidly evolving needs. we commend the effort to make the cross border permitting process more transparent and predictable. we also commend the political judgment in crafting this provision to exempt the still pending keystone decision. it is time to have a broad-based bipartisan energy debate that is explicitly beyond keystone and it is encouraging to see the committee working diligently to avoid a focus on symbolic disagreements in favor of producing an agenda that can secure bipartisan support and become law.
4:44 pm
i'd like to now move to the second point, which is a focus on the component that north america plays in the larger global picture. our nation's made, i think, very good progress of late supporting lng exports. but as was discussed earlier, current restrictions on crude oil are undermining our commitment to efficient markets, they diminish our ability to promote free trade and fair trade and empower our adversaries who seek to use energy as a weapon. i cannot build upon mr. barton's studies but to gae there have been a spate of recent analyses that all the reliable supply of crude to the oil market will continue to exert downward pressure and protect u.s. consumers. my final point is on the challenge of how we use this abundance to promote our long-term sustainability and security needs. there's a broad critique of the abundance agenda that must be grappled with if we're going to secure the broad-based support for an effective national energy policy. the concern is that stable supplies of oil and gas are undermining investment. in a diverse array of
4:45 pm
technologies our nation and the world will require over the next century to meet global demand, to protect our security interests and to confront the risks of climate change. this legitimate concern, however, leads to very different policy pathways. the bipartisan policy center believes that additional action must be taken to confront climate change. but we reject the idea that we should pursue a low carbon future by erecting and undermining barriers to the resurgence of oil and gas production. perpetuating inefficient markets and creating transportation and infrastructure bottlenecks in the hopes that reducing reliance of fossil fuels is not an effective climate change strategy. if anything, it'll result in increased emissions. instead, as we pursue the benefits of abundance, we must be equally determined in conducting the research and creating the incentives to develop and commercialize the next generation of energy breakthroughs from carbon, capture and storage, to utility scale solar to next generation biofuels and advanced nuclear
quote
4:46 pm
energy storage and an array of energy saving technologies, we must find ways to encourage greater investment despite the current low price environment. america's hydrocarbon renaissance has given us the gift of time. the question before the committee and congress is what do we do with this time. in closing, the bipartisan policy center looks forward to continuing to work with the committee as you build an architecture for abundance that grows our economy enhances our security and confronts domestic and global environmental threats. thank you. >> thank you, and our next witness who has been introduced but mr. scott martin who is a county commissioner, lancaster county, pennsylvania, thanks for being with us. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thanks, mr. chairman. and for the record, it's lancaster. >> what did i say? >> like burt lancaster. it's an offense in lancaster county. >> well, i'm going to let you and mr. pitts work that out. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> but thanks for letting me know. >> you're welcome. thank you, mr. chairman and members of the subcommittee, it's an honor to be here.
4:47 pm
i serve on the lancaster board of commissioners. the united states must work to develop a coherent, logical and clear national energy strategy. i applaud chairman upton for his legislative framework that will hopefully stimulate a wide ranging and bipartisan debate on the need for a long-term energy agenda based on commonsense regulations, a modern and safe energy infrastructure, greater efficiencies increased exports especially with lng, to support our foreign policy goals. environmental sensitivity, minimal government involvement and utilization of free market economic principles. there are many positive developments and trends in energy. however, there are also numerous challenges and issues that urgently need to be addressed. the longer we wait to address and solve these issues will only make them more difficult, expensive, complicated and controversial. one of the most pressing priorities is energy independence. of course, it can only be achieved if there are new and recoverable resources.
4:48 pm
the regulatory environment is not hostile. excuse me, capital is available to finance the expansion in both domestic and international markets are functioning properly. thankfully due to horizontal hydraulic fracturing, thoen as franking, the oil and gas reserves, america is now the largest oil and natural gas producer. as they should, energy prices have been decreasing. the united states is increasingly able to export large amounts of lng around the world and especially to european countries. the volatile and tense situation in ukraine demonstrates why we need to build the keystone xl pipeline greatly accelerate the permitting of lng facilities and work to export the pipelines and compressor stations. as noted above, a technological improvement has been the use of fracking and extracting natural gas from shale. the use of fracking in pennsylvania and the construction of necessary infrastructures had widespread and significant economic development impacts. some of these include 96% of new energy hires were from the
4:49 pm
appalachian area. 45,000 new building trade jobs in that same region. 243,000 new energy jobs in pennsylvania, over 1 billion invested by the shale industry in road and infrastructure improvements. and including energy industry grants to community college and trade schools to train the workers needed by extraction companies in the marcellus shale region with an average core wage of $68,000 a year. this increase shale gas production in pennsylvania has also saved the average pennsylvania family between 1200 to $2000 annually in energy savings cost. businesses and other energy users have benefitted from the greatly increased availability of cheap natural gas. the pennsylvania national guard and army reserve components at ft. indian town gap, the garden spot public school district and the shady maple companies have all experienced significant savings in the energy bills after switching to natural gas.
4:50 pm
cheaper energy will further a developed -- will further a develop industrial and manufacturing renaissance in america. in brief, lower energy costs create more disposable income and enhance greater lower prices and american products are more globally competitive. can if the necessary pipelines are quickly built and brought online. the williams company proposed to build a pipeline known as the law enforcement is sunrise project from pennsylvania to connect to the main u.s. gas pipeline from texas to the northeast. the actual connection point would be in southern lancaster county. 37 pipelines of the proposed pipeline would go through my county and we're talking about a $2.6 billion economic impact. williams has been very cooperative and easy to work with as various concerns come up. over 100 route change is is more than half of the original route was made based on stake hold
4:51 pm
impact. and it will be open access to residents could directly access the pipeline. a project of this pipeline does create controversy and opposition. there was through a sensitive route through the susquehanna river. williams found a new route and moved away from the sensitive roirz and did so where native american sites and water resources area. lancaster has five pipelines running through the country. many property own rerz not aware of the pipelines that cross through their land. based on farmers with existing pipelines on their property, williams and including the u.s. major pipelines have been responsive to their needs. lancaster county is the leaders in agriculture production in pennsylvania across the country. we preserve more farm land than any other country in the united
4:52 pm
states with over 100,000 acres preserved. needless to say the county ordinances that govern our program have allowed pipelines since inception. since november of 2014 sl have been two voter and there were two townships that adopted a community base ordinance that declared that federal and state laws do not apply in these municipalities and i believe the voters recognize this concept of a greater good being served. i want to recognize how important this is to the future of the united states and the world. renewable and cleaner efficiencies and a security and smart grid with vitally important and it is the unlimited supply of clean
4:53 pm
recoverable gas shale that will lead america to the future. >> thank you. mr. martin next witness is mr. kepes of up stream search and consulting. thank you for being --. you are recognizing for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> could you turn your microphone on. >> i'll do that. >> how about that. does that come across? okay. apologize for that. mr. chairman members thank you very much. i'm actually very pleased to be in front of you hear today because in my world, which is -- >> mr. kepes, forgive me for interrupting, would you mind taking miss cad addy -- cassidy's microphone and use that. >> thank you. i apologize. i hope this doesn't eat into my
4:54 pm
five minutes. thank you. i'm pleased to be here. i'm a geologist and i've been around the oil and gas industry for 30 years and can you decide whether that makes me objective or not on this business but i think i'm fairly knowledgeable. and i'm also representing the work and analysis and experience of my colleagues at my company. what i really want to talk today about is competitiveness of the e.p. sector. and more than the volumes from the new production of shale is the incredible competitiveness of shale and that means of cost in reaction to market conditions. so for example, as we look at this low oil price condition
4:55 pm
which has benefit for the market and consumers and perhaps the saudis and others thought the u.s. oil industry was just a phenomenon of high oil prices, that is not the case. in other words many thought the shale and oil gas industry could survival only with high oil and gas prices that is not the case. this is not a high oil price phenomenon. we've had low oil gas prices for six years now and shale oil gas production has sustained, in fact, grown. that is critically important. and why is that so important. because when it comes to thinking about energy diplomacy in the idea that we can export the volumes that we have because we can match or meet our internal requirements is not just about volumes. what we're really exporting is competitiveness and i want to make that point. anything that you might consider in terms of the energy diplomacy
4:56 pm
objectives or goals which are quite admirable, they will be sustainable and viable as long as this competitiveness exists. because it is not just offering a supply somewhere, the market place is what is pulling them. whether it is the kraip or -- ukraine or parts of europe or mexico, which i'll talk about next. they wouldn't be doing this if these supplied extorted from u.s. shores were not competitive and a lower prices at turnive to other factors. and this is important because if we define simply what energy security is which is really, we would argue reliable supply at affordable prices. so let's take mexico. right now there is a lot of interest in mexico because of the opening of the e. and p -- exploration and production because we've had over 70 years
4:57 pm
of a monopoly of pem-ex going to be reverses but that is not the biggest issue going on. the bigger issue is the fact that mexico is going to be importing a lot more natural gas for the united states. i'm sure the committee knows that right now they import about 2 billion cubic feet a day. that number could go up to five or six billion cubic feet a day within the next ten years. it is a bigger impact because two things, one all of this will drive much more gas fired power generation if the forms work in the midstream and downstream of mexico and we hope that they will. that should result in lower energy prices for the entire economy. we don't know yet if it is 10% or 30% lower but the impact of that on the mexican economy and competitiveness, this is actually the big picture. it is not so much the oil side it is the gas side. and what we're about to do right
4:58 pm
there. that is a very important factor. now it is said, and it is quite true that mexico has substantial natural gas resources. but in this case the decision that they had made was if they tried to develop through own natural gas resources right now, it is so expensive that it made far more sense to import less expensive u.s. natural gas. that is a choice for competition, it is a choice for kpifness and if you want to look at it from an energy policy for the u.s., a tremendous success. because as this goes forward, the competitiveness and the lower price and efficiency will have a larger impact on the economy and a -- huge contributor which has been troubled but at times a huge u.s.-mexican relationship.
4:59 pm
so one, shale is not a high price phenomenon and intrinsic to that is the importance of that and one is that if it is part of the u.s. energy diplomacy initiativeness and that competitiveness needs to be successful to under gurt all of that to be success self-and the regulation naturally have to be equally competitive in order to allow this to be sustained. thank you very much for giving me the time. >> thank you, mr. kepes. and our next witness is alison cassidy, the director of domestic energy policy for the center for american progress xs and thank you for being with us and you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman whitfield and ranking member risch and members of the sub-committee and thank you for the opportunity to testify today. my fame is alison cassidy. cap is a nonprofit organization
5:00 pm
dedicated to improving the lives of mesh through progressive ideas and action. before i jump into the energy diplomacy discussion draft, i would like to highlight a topic of today's hearing and that is climate change which is the most energy issue of our time. climate change has become a priority in international relations because the chime at science is to clear. a failure to act on climate change risks severe irreversible impacts on a global scale. as the committee considers the nation's energy policy and interaction with the rest of the world, cap urges you to put climate change front and center of any policy. so with that introductory context in mind, i will jump into a few thoughts on section 3104 of the discussion draft
5:01 pm
about cross border energy projects. as you all know under current law, entities wanting to construct or operate a cross border pipeline or transmission line are required to obtain a presidential permit. this section of the bill eliminates that requirement and requires the relevant federal agency to issue a certificate of crossing, unless the agency finds that the cross border segment of the crossing is not in the interest of the united states and i have concerns about this approach. first the new process presumes that the project is in the public interest, placing the burden of proof on concerned stakeholders to demonstrate that it is not. instead of asking the applicant to make the affirmative case that it is. second, under the process the am lick ant only needs approval for the part that physically crosses the border even if the project spans hundreds of miles. anl finally it limits to just
5:02 pm
the cross border section of the project. to me this makes little sense since we all know these projects can have environmental impacts well beyond the border, for a truly transcontinental project such as a pipeline that runs through numerous states down to the gulf coast the current presidential -- >> can you watch this hearing online at cspan.org. we're leaving this and taking you live to a meeting of the house rules committee. they are meeting to consider rules for floor debate for the fiscal year 2016 defense spending bill the appropriations bill for the defense department. also a bill to amend the agricultural marketing act of 1946, repealing the country of origin labelling requirements in regards to beef pork, chicken and other purposes. it should get under way shortly with testimony from other members. live coverage here on c-span 3.
5:03 pm
5:04 pm
committee will come to order and thank you very much. today the rules committee will consider rr 2685, the department
5:05 pm
of defense appropriation act and rr 2393, the country of origin labelling amendments act of 2015. hr 2685 includes vital funding at a time in which the united states military and intelligence communities remain engaged and respond to instability around the globe. this bill makes what i believe responsible use of taxpayer dollars and gives our armed forces the resources that they need to do their job to protect this great nation. and the american people where ever they are around the globe. hr 2393 is response to a wto ruling that repeals country of origin labelling requirements for beef pork and chicken. there is a belief, and i expect we'll hear today if we do not repeal the labelling requirements the united states
5:06 pm
could face billions of dollars in tariffs that could hurt billions of families. i want to thank radially frizz heiden from new jersey from being here and pete tar offski for their hard work. i met with both of them at the back of the chamber and they gave me the confidence they would be prepared this week but they have worked well together to make sure the members of the military and the arm forced and their families would be well taken care of in this bill and i look forward to coming back this week to see both of you and are delighted you are here. our military and taking care of them is one of the most important issues that congress tackles each and every year and i'm glad you were both up for this challenge today. would you like -- i would like to, before i recognize the gentlemen, would refer to the gentle woman, the ranking
5:07 pm
gentlewoman -- >> [ inaudible ]. >> here we go. i think both of you understand what we are doing is to effectively understand how important your case is we get, but how important it is and why we're here today, specifically to take care of this need is always timely. anything you have in writing will be entered into the record and the young chairman from new jersey is recognized. >> thank you and to all members of the committee and madam ranking member slaughter, thank you. this is a bipartisan effort for which i thank to the gentleman to my left, mr. slavoffski for his full cooperation and we have a great none partisan committee that works on behalf of freedom for all america. our bill provides $578 billion
5:08 pm
of discretionary funding above the year 2015 enacted level. this top line includes $88.4 billion on the bill war against terrorism in the budget conference agreement and i point out the total is close to the number president obama submitted in his fiscal year 2016 budget request for national defense. of course the base -- base funding recommendations of $490 billion reflect the budget caps enacted in 2011 as part of the budget control act which we've met. our bill keeps faith with the troops included the 2.3% pay increase and generals funding for benefits and for a number of very important defense health programs. the package also includes additional funding to address worldwide cyber threats. i think all of us would agree the world is a much more dangerous place and
5:09 pm
unpredictable than it was in 2011 when the budget control act was enacted. the budget caps developed back then could never envision the emerging and evolving threats we see around the world from all quarters so to respond to current and future threats to meet our constitutional responsibility to provide for the constitutional threats we adhere to current law and provide additional catastrophic cuts to military programs to people. those additional resources are included in title nine, the global war on terrorism account. so how do we determine what went into the account. we looked at the president's base budget and scrubbed it and identified the systems uniquely connected to the threats around the world, whether isil, al qaeda, al-nusra and boca har am and others. we predicted what the resources the military needed to meet
5:10 pm
those challenges and other challenges coming from iran from china, from russia and north korea. within the g-wad account i want to highlight two areas of critical importance. isr, intelligence, surveillance and recognizance, and we need badly more of $5 billion above the president's 2016 request to improve those types of capabilities. in addition, from all of our hearings we had a dozen hearings plus dozens of briefings we share the concern of the army, navy air force and marines in the erosion in over all readiness in the force so we began to invest in more ready i yns in title nine which includes $2.5 billion above the president's request to be distributed to all of the services as well as guard and reserve components. in the recent statement of administration policy on the
5:11 pm
authorization bill, the white house asserts that the g wat funding vealocko account in their words is a funding mechanism intended to pay for wars. that is all within quotation marks and i couldn't agree and we've reinforced the funding to provide the -- with the tools he needs as commander-in-chief. and this bill has been worked out in our committee. and i believe it deserved bipartisan support and i would respectfully request the committee on rules provide for the ortdly consideration of this rule by the house and i thank you and your members for their time and consideration. >> mr. chairman thank you very much and i appreciate that and i'm delighted that you are here the committee each year looks forward to not only you being in front of us, but i want to say, as chairman freely has, thank you for your attention to
5:12 pm
detail duty and the american men and women who serve and their families. your steadfast love of country and of our men and women is appreciated and the gentleman is now recognized. >> chairman, thank you very much for your kind words, to miss slaughter and all of the members of the committee for having us here. i do believe that the chairman has adequately expressed the circumstances we find ourselves in as far as the defense appropriations act. i would second to his comments that this is important for the funding of our defense apparatus as well as intelligence agencies. we have had a particular emphasis on the issue of readiness. the preparation of this bill has been col ethyl. the chairman has been transparent and also been very meticulous and careful in the construction of this bill and we'd be delighted to answer any questions you have of either of us. thank you very much mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. i'll open the questions and i
5:13 pm
would ask either of you, you know that each year i become en gauged sometimes entanglement with each of you and other members of your awesome appropriations committee including those in the veterans funding area about what the current status and process is of making sure that our men and women who leave the united states military and in regard to their medical records, the accuracy, the movement, the change, the things, i'm well aware we've spent over a billion dollars to a system that failed not just the united states constitution, but really the people who it was intended to help and i wonder if you could please give me a status update on that. >> the department of defense i think got its act together. i think the investments we made there have paid off. i think the weak link with all due respect is the veteran's
5:14 pm
administration stepping up to the plate to provide their degree of inoperability. i've been dogged on this issue, both of us have knowing of your interest and both ranking member lowy and mr. rogers sort of threw down a gauntlet to secretary eric shinseki who was heading up the v.a. and at that point chuck hagel secretary of the army, saying we cannot have a electronic record system for our military that isn't seamless. so i'm pleased by the progress i see the department of defense has made but it needs to be machd by the same sort of resources that are being put into the veterans administration. so i think we've made some progress. i think the money has been well spent and i think it is all accountable. >> mr. chairman i would just add that this should be done by now. >> that is what i -- you are
5:15 pm
going to where i want to hear. >> i would agree with the chairman's observations. i do believe a sense of urgency has taken hold at the department and that they are making all deliberate speed. i do agree with the chairman, we should be done with this but i do believe there is a sense of urgency that has overtaken them. >> thank you very much. it is believe my ranking member miss slowy and chairman have stayed after this in the highest level of the discussions with the department and i just think that in the midst of all of the department has it became less than the important issue. and hal rogers and i have spoken a number of times about this. hal told me it is not just me it is several members that are serious about this and you are saying you are serious you believe it is getting done. when do you think we will be
5:16 pm
able to hear it is now done? is there a goal? have they gotten back to you? i know they are now serious about it? are they still trying to measure three times? what are they trying to do and when do you believe we'll get that answer so that we can look forward to it? >> i would like to tell you next year, i would like to tell you 2017. i think the department of defendant totally has its act together but you are dealing with a total different system in the veterans administration which is not under our jurisdiction. you literally have a different vagss administration across the country different with an i.t. system. but those discharged today currently in the military guard and reserve and regular military, their records are all electronically connected to the
5:17 pm
veterans administration. it is the older veterans that are -- that are using the v.a. where the issue is. the soldiers today are connected through the department of defense to the v.a. but there is a huge backlog within the v.a. itself in different hospitals around the country each with evidently a different i.t. system and it has been pretty difficult in that regard. >> well look, i don't want to take you guys on. i don't know how old is old but i knew a few years ago it wasn't working. it is my understanding that today when a person leaves the military, they are also given an opportunity to get their own records in their hand, which is a light year advantage too, on the side of the military, just the flow through is the problem. great. thank you very much. tell chairman rogers and anita lowy that you showed up and that i asked the question again
5:18 pm
because i don't think this issue is going away until it is solved and i know both of you all feel the same way. i know when tom coal walked in there was a sense across both of your faces to think you have your help. and in fact you do. tom cole does an awesome job on behalf of the rules committee when he is with you and when he is up here it is all about you. so the young chairman is recognized. >> thank you very much. very gracious. these men don't need any help from me. quite frankly, i had the opportunity to sit with them obviously as they put together the hearings that led us to this point, to view this bill in both sub-committee and full committee and to listen to the debate. i want to complement the chairman and the ranking member and i couldn't be prouder than both of them. they worked together. obviously we have differences of opinion on the global war on terror fund. but the remarkable thing about
5:19 pm
me is we are close. we are about where the president is at number wise. and about where the senate appears to be headed number wise. so there is a great deal of bipartisan consensus that has gone into this and both of you have been the consume at professional. and because of the example of both of these gentlemen, mr. chairman, on both sides of the aisle, they think about the men and women that put on the uniform and the difficult things we ask them to do and we try and mike sure they're got everything they need to be successful and as safe as possible as in the most dangerous of endeavors. again, i couldn't be prouder of the committee these two gentlemen lead in the manner in which they interact with one another because it is the gold standard. and congress i want to commend mr. advice could haveski on his statement which my chairman did as well at the markup which i
5:20 pm
thought was an exceptional statement, the problems that we have in front of us and the need that i think we will akiev in the months ahead to sit down and work together. so i don't have any questions because i got to be there at the creation. but this has been a very inclusive process. and chairman, we've had some awful distinguished members on both sides of the aisle to occupy the seat that he currentliocked, people like mr. bill young from florida and mr. mergea from pennsylvania would be two great examples of the modern era butter every bit as capable of those guys and you run a first class and inclusive committee and it is not just from chairman to ranking member but that is from chairman to every member on the committee that has had an opportunity to voips their concerns and have real input in this legislation. so thank you for the tremendously professional job you did and continue to do.
5:21 pm
and i'm once again proud that our committee will take its work product to the floor and basically put it out there and any member that has a serious concern or question can raise it and we'll be able to offer amendments and we'll have a good debate. and that is something that we take great pride in on the appropriations committee. something the current majority takes pride in having restored because we lost it for a little while and we have it back now and whoever stewards this committee in the future will keep it that way. this is the work of every member of congress even though the appropriators are focused on it. thank you and i yield back my time. >> thank you, gentle woman from new york is recognized. >> chairman, thank you gentlemen, nice to see you today. there has been a great ringing of hands as you know over the oka account and the slide of
5:22 pm
hand maneuver as a lot of people believe it to be. i would like to quote from some information i got here from mrs. lloyd, the ranking member, it says in testimony responses to direct questions from congress the u.s. secretary of defense ash carter and uniform members of the armed forces made it clear the risk of relying on oka it found korp and enduring defense costs the approach would create a massive $38 billion dole in next year's budget which is a massive hole, indeed and destabilize critical long-term planning. additionally it would have a negative impact on domestic priorities critical to military families and all hard-working americans and then they have quotes from defense secretary carter general martin dempsey, mark welch, chief of staff from the u.s. air force, daniel allen, vice chief of the u.s.
5:23 pm
army paxton, assistant command ant from the marine corp and vice staff of the u.s. air force. what comment do you have about putting that in this year which would create a $38 billion hole in your debt for next year. >> miss slaughter, if i could take the question. >> indeed. >> i would be delighted to do that. i've said in committee and sub-committee and elsewhere i don't believe oko should exist at all. i believe the circumstances we face today are the new normal and the administration whoever it is, ought to anticipate that in their budget. having said that, oko, in terms of its description, has gone through a number of iterations over the last 15 years. we used to call them supplemental appropriations. to get to the quick, the president asked for monies in excess of the cap, if you would
5:24 pm
to get the budget ball rolling. the house of representatives passed a budget resolution that essentially, as mr. hall pointed out, achieved about the same number but changed the value of the oko account. >> right. >> i would simply say for consideration of the bill on the floor, regardless of how members vote i would partisanoint out that the chairman has been meticulous in looking at which items to include in that account, looking at it in a historical perspective, not only in terms of what the president asked for, but what has been included. i don't think either of us would argue that if we continue down this road, it does make planning for the department impossible. >> it does, indeed. >> but at this point we are stuck with an administration that has asked for oko and
5:25 pm
fought for oko in the numbers. we cannot legislative in the abstract we have to legislative what was given to us. >> was it put there in that account, under squeftation we're supposed to have increases in both domestic and defense and to cut out the adoption part so-- in the domestic part so it would cut out the adoption part. >> i cannot talk about the -- >> i'm talking about this money in oko. it was put in oko. >> the amount of money that the president is seeking for defense is basically about the same amount we are. >> i understand it is. i understand that. but by putting that in that oko account you are not raising any money on the domestic side correct? >> i don't think we can add -- there is certainly some resistance, and maybe reflected in the budget act, to do that,
5:26 pm
but i think both of us accept the responsibility of providing this president the resources he may very well need to address some of the crisis around the world. >> he isn't all that happy about it. i have his statement here. he is not that pleased with that. >> if i could. >> of course. >> i would agree with the assertion you have made that defense, because of the oko account, and the implication for the cap that the other 11 appropriation bills are operating under, as if you would, adds more room to maneuver. >> i'll say. >> that has not been given to the domestic accounts. mr. coal mentioned my rye marks -- remarks in full committee in recommendation that we need a strong nation as well as a strong defense. >> indeed. >> and when we have interest state highways that collapse and kill citizens of the united
5:27 pm
states and don't invest and under invest in scientific research and falling behind educationally, that's a fault and that is a larger picture that i suggested in committee last week, needs to be addressed no later than september 30th because that is our fiscal year. >> you're talking about the budget control act itself right? >> we need to address the situation we find as the chairman and i sit here today, we have been given this portion of that. >> we're decimating an awful lot of the government with this. but let me ask you now, as a consent to put miss lloyd's statement in the record. >> without objection. >> and the statement of administrative policy which says they strongly oppose the package of the bill and mention the oak oh. and it drastically under funds the base budget using the
5:28 pm
overseas contingency funding in ways that leaders in both part yours have made clear are inappropriate. base budget squeftation levels will bath ready i yns and advance badly needed modernization and keep faith in families and shifting base budget resources into oko risks undermining a mechanism meant to fund incremental cost of overseas con flicks and fails to provide a multi-year budget on which planning and fiscal policy are based. this is indeed a way for us to get through this year's appropriation. now let me ask you -- >> i object to putting that into the record. >> it is not just this bill. everything comes up, we talk about how ham strung we have ham strung ourselves with the bca. and we ought to be grown up enough to deal with that.
5:29 pm
and i strongly recommend it for everybody on appropriations. thank you. >> gentle woman yields back the time. from texas dr. michael burgess. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and you've directly identified an ongoing problem and a source of great irritation with the lack of in operability between the department of defense and the v.a. system. and i'm not an expert, i've spent a lot of time studyingin operability and the problems on the civilian side with the stimulus bill and pushing $20 billion or $30 billion out into the ether with no reasonable expectation of return on investment or it seems no reasonable expectation but here you have a system where the v.a. is using an open source software and if you believe the news reports the department of defense is just on the precipice of spending $10 billion or
5:30 pm
$11 billion for a proprietary system so i presume you have done significant hearings in your sub-committee as to why the proprietary software is the way to go with the v.a. having an open source system. >> we've examined the -- we're impressed by what the d.o.d. has put forward. the real question is if it is driven by the chairman and your interests, how long will it take to have indeed operability. and i say this respectfully, the v.a. is dealing with an antiquated system. it may be open source but it is hindered by operations in a variety of different hospital settings where the i.t. is no match for whatever -- whatever they are promising. i feel pretty good about where the department of defense is but we have been insistent they accelerate what they are doing
5:31 pm
and have an earlier connection to whatever v.a. comes -- their legacy system. we have been insistent. we have had a committee focused on this issue not only driven by the chairman of this committee and the ranky member lowy and chairman rogers. it has taken far too long and we're going to continue to work on it. >> and i do think you see areas in the civilian sector around the country where vulnerable institutions are abandoning legacy systems that they developed in the ground up prior to having a proprietary system but just like the chairman i'm worry the that the end of this we'll have been vested $11 billion, mabin appropriately in the department of defense system but still stuck with the mismatch at the other end. i don't know what the answer to that is. i am mystified as to why this
5:32 pm
has gone on since 2007 and a lot of people have been hurt in the process and i regret that. i hope that you are right in going forward we will get this right because it is critically important. thank you, mr. chairman. i'll jeeld back. >> i would suspect that the time that the gentleman from louisville, texas, has invested in this has also, i might add be a catalyst to mr. rogers and miss lowy and others as we continue down this march and i want to thank the gentleman for his service in the energy and commerce but on the rules committee today on this effort and mike i thank you very much for carrying about so many young men and women and show up and i know they do at your town hall meetings and expect you to get this done as they do myself and i think the only way we'll do is by becoming committed to its completeness and i want to thank
5:33 pm
you. mr. mcgovern. >> thank you. and i thank you both for being here and i appreciate the hard work you do on the appropriations committee. and there are good things in this bill. i want to thank you for your help with calling attention to the issue of funding for service dogs for a veterans who are suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. we found it is an important tool to help them deal with issues and not rely so much on medication so thank you. there are obviously some things in here that are troubling and the ranking member pointed out the administration's concerns on the bill. and i think there are serious concerns. but i just want to make one point and that is that in this bill that we are appropriating money -- a lot of money for the war in iraq and syria. but congress doesn't seem to have the stomach to vote on it. or bring up a debate on an aumf and there is a sense of congress
5:34 pm
language in there saying that congress has a constitutional duty to debate this. i'm not convinced that it has a force. that there is a jurisdiction or this house to do anything about it because last july we passed a resolution on this house floor saying if we were going to be involved in sustained combat operations in iraq and syria that we would vote on an authorization, on an aumf. and we were told back then -- that was in july and august, we started bombing iraq on a regular basis and then into syria and we're now borrowing $3.5 million an hour on this war against the islamic state and we never brought up an aumf last year. the speaker said that the 114th
5:35 pm
congress should be the place to do it even though it began with the 113th congress. and we're in the 114th congress and we were told that the president should submit an aumf. and i have some problems with the aumf but it seems it is in our hands to restrict it, expand it or say enough. but it is in our court now. and there is still no promise or no aumf vote in sight. and so i -- and again, technically, this is supposed to be a foreign affairs committee issue. but i don't know when we're going to get a foreign affairs committee bill up here that we can attach anything to or have a debate on in aumf. we didn't have it on the defense authorization bill or on the
5:36 pm
defense appropriations bill and i just think that -- you know there is just something fundamentally wrong when we are putting men and women in harm's way, when we are appropriating all of this money and borrowing more money on top of it and we don't have the time or the stomach to vote on whether to authorize it or not which is our constitutional responsibility. so i raise that because it is a troubling aspect of all of this. it doesn't -- it is not your fault, necessarily, because, again, this should be a foreign affairs committee resolution, but i don't see anything coming out of there. and that we're going ahead and moving forward on this, and again we're not doing our job. i really do think it is a disservice to the men and women we put in harm's way and i think it is a failure of our own constitutional responsibilities and i regret that very very much. and so i'm going to offer an amendment to the rules committee
5:37 pm
to kind of force a vote on an aumf. it is not jermaine. i mean it will require waivers, which i'm not going to get, i can tell you in advance. but nonetheless, i think this issue is too important just to let this moment pass without kind of raising it. we need to do better. >> mr. montgomery my comment -- i do think it was a step in the right direction and we had a recorded vote in committee that going forward we ought to have a full debate in the congress and we ought to have a resolution. the definition of what that should look like, given the complexity of the situation we face in places like syria and iraq will be very difficult. and i don't minimize that. it is all the more reason why this institution, and i agree with you, should do it. and i would pose that it makes the job of this sub-committee
5:38 pm
much easier because there would be a structure going forward. i would also point out that i would request an open rule, and i would anticipate under suppose rule that you will have a number of amendments offered by others of the colleagues revisiting as some of the authorization that exists after today is one that is dated. one that was offered in committee upon enactment it was not adopted in committee you have congress, eight months, to consider what a new authority should look like. i would hope that we do. because we owe it, as you point out, to the member and women who put on their uniform and risk their lives to have some structure to their commitm. i don't want to belabor a point and you mentioned a administration concern. and i have a administration concern. and i've seen a number of veto
5:39 pm
threats by the administration. fine. i would suggest that the administration understand the fiscal year starts october 1st. we ought not to be having this debate in december of this year. and given the fact that this institution will be in recess for five weeks in august, the administration ought to call upon the leadership of both of these bodies and get to work now. >> mr. chairman, can i respond to mr. mcgovern. we had in our big mark on this billet good discussion where i think some republicans and democrats lined up with the notion of having authorization of military force. others sort of held back. and i was not particularly supportive of the amendment, primarily because quite honestly this goes to the root of how quick things change to quickly
5:40 pm
it was so isil-sent rick. and if you look at iraq today and what is so frightening and what some members of the administration are not willing to admit is that to a certain extent that the government has been taken over by iran and we're providing close air support for people who have been on our enemy and terrorist list. so i would have hoped that -- this is not a political shot that perhaps we would have had a little more clarity as to what the president would really like to see. because in reality if we ever come up with a comprehensive plan to defeat isil, if they are defeated, the people that will take over in iraq will be the iranians. because quite frankly, they have a better game plan than we do. >> and i appreciate that. but i guess my point is simply if a this you're going to -- if you are going to commit all of this money and put our troops in
5:41 pm
harm's way that you ought to have clarity, you ought to have a clearly defined mission and if you don't, then you are not to put them in that situation. and i think that is the frustrating thing. it seems sometimes like we're making this up as we go along. i've heard some senators say the trouble with the president's aumf is that it is too narrow. want to give him more power. if that is your position then vote accordingly. some think we ought to restrict the aumf. then you ought to vote that way. but not going on record, not providing an authorization for the use of military force for the latest operations means we're not debating it and not asking the tough questions and i don't think we should be putting people in harm airway if we don't know -- harm's way if we don't know what the hell we're doing. it is not fair. so any way ai appreciate the work you've done on this but i'm
5:42 pm
just frustrated that we seem incapable of wanting to confront this issue head on here in congress and i think that is a great disservice to the people that we represent and certainly the people who are in harm's way right now and yield back my time. >> i thank the gentlemen very much. i assume we'll have this discussion at some point. i, as every member does, have their own ideas an beliefs and i appreciate and respect the discussion taking place. gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank the work and i've watched my time here, watched both of you on the floor passionately defending and working in this area and i appreciate what has been done here. and it is an interesting proposition and we've said and i believe this issue of oko funding and base funding needs to be resolved and needs to be resolved in a way that reflects
5:43 pm
a simple back to what we'll call for straightforward budgeting process and that is something we can goat back there and it goes back to the last few minutes of conversation here. myself and others have had conversations and this is a conversation that needs to happen. it is disturbing in light of your -- chairman's conversation just now, you are exactly right, there is a bigger picture here other than just an isil centered conversation and we have other issues and simply going over the decade old authorization and which i served in iraq and others, it is time to do away with those and get an honest -- and if it means to be a straightforward and powerful approach in this, then that is what we need to do. we don't need to sit back and we've put too much time and country and too much forward and that is the lives of the men and
5:44 pm
women, to now see it go backwards and have no clear thrust from the administration other than we're thinking about it is not a plan. so i encourage a vote for this bill and it is good what we're here to do and to have the conversations of both of you. i appreciate. yield my time back. >> chairman from florida does not seek time. judge, it is good to see you. the gentleman from colorado does not seek time. thank you very much. by the way, good to see you. >> likewise. >> good. >> jim, i'm delighted to see you. and i did mean to acknowledge you are -- >> you were on morning joe this morning. >> i was on morning joe this morning. i tried my best. i tried my best. our team missed that. i wonder why. any way, thank you very much.
5:45 pm
wanted to make sure we allowed the time necessary and the gentlemen yield back their time. gentleman from alabama. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to say to both of you gentlemen, as members of the armed services committee, i want to say thank you, and i appreciate the hard work you and your members do and i think it serves our country well. when we met with general dempsey back in january and we were going over what we were going to authorize and what you are appropriating to he called it the lower ragged edge of what we need to do to defend the country and that is so because of the multiplicity of the threats facing america and the complexity of the threats and i notice you've done everything that we could possibly do with the money that is available. but i do worry about the lower ragged edge because sometimes we may find that that lower ragged
5:46 pm
edge in itself isn't enough because the circumstances are changing so very quickly, whether it is in the situation in the ukraine, the situation in the middle east, the situation we find ourself in with north korea and the ongoing aggressiveness of the china and the south and east china sea. i was listening to the discussion just now about the aumf and mr. mcgovern and i share commonality about that. my problem as a member of the authorizing committee is it is hard to understand what wording we would put in an authorization for the use of military force when we don't have a strategy. what would i put? what would i vote for in an aumf if the commander-in-chief of our armed forces can't tell me what the strategy is. i said this to the secretary of defense and i'll say it again we need a clearly articulated
5:47 pm
strategy for defeating this group isis. obviously working in conjunction with the iraqi government but also on the syrian side. and we have this thing where we are supposedly training somebody in syria to fight against isil/isis over there, i worry about how far that is going to go. i know it is not your job and really not congress's job to come up with the strategies. it is the commander-in-chief's job. so as we have the debates going in the future what i would like to see, and i think what most everybody in congress would like to see is a clearly articulated treat and one we could see down and debate and debate what is the appropriate authorization for the use of military force that we could all vote for. and i hope, as i hope for this bill, that we'll do it on a brought bipartisan basis. because the men and women that are fighting over there, they don't fight as democrats or
5:48 pm
republicans, they fight as americans and they do a great job, as you know. and i appreciate so much what you all have done with the work that you've done on this. but in the days to come, as we debate the issues about whether we're doing enough with the lower ragged edge for them and how we do define a strategy i think that is critically important for the men and women that do serve this country. and i yield back. >> and if i may. i would like to thank the gentlemen and all of those who have commented. we work closely with mac thornberry and adam shift and our excellent staff that compare notes. we're concerned about where we're going as well. and i often say this. the g wad account we've established here, it is transparent, and i think you will agree we've done everything to vet that account
5:49 pm
to make sure it is focused to give this commander-in-chief the tools he needs now and in all probability will need. and i would agree with you, he want to make sure that he has those abilities and those resources and so there is no -- it is a bipartisan wish on all of our parts. thank you. >> and i simply would add, i appreciate the gentleman's testimony before the sub committee and your participation. >> i think the comments would be echoed by all of us that the men and women that represent our military are the finest that this great nation has had, continues to have and will have in the future. and the kind of leadership that they will want to be a part of does matter and i think having a clear understanding and directive is important also. and i thank the gentlemen very much. gentleman from the state of washington is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman. and i'm delighted to be here
5:50 pm
with you. i don't have any questions. i just want to thank the two gentlemen for bringing this issue forward. is very much looking forward to moving it to the floor and the floor and having a full debate by the house of representatives. and it's a very important topic that every single american has a stake in. so again, thank you very much, and we'll hope to do some good work on this. thank you. >> the gentleman yields back his time. i want to thank on behalf of our committee both of you for not only your attention to detail but also the ongoing effort that each of you, when you have members that approach you and i know they do ideas that they have that you take under consideration and that you move forward, this huge amount of spending to make sure that it accomplishes what is in the best
5:51 pm
interests of this country. and i want to thank you for your service to this body also. and i thank the gentleman for being here today. >> there, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. the -- at this time, i do not see where anyone is seeking to be recognized for hr-2685. so this closed the hearing portion of 2685. i would recognize as we go through a transition now with the gentleman from texas. they move up to the table. i want to introduce some interns that i have college interns from my office, kat barringer from southern methodist university and tony pena from uva. ryan from southwestern university, georgetown texas, which is my alma mater. and alexander douglas also from southern methodist university. and i note i would like to defer
5:52 pm
to the gentleman mr. collins for the introduction of his young son at this time also. >> thank you. it is always good. we spend a lot of time up here. and that is a week in which my son has started to work this summer, was able to come with me. cameron is with me this week. we'll get a good introduction to our late votes and early sessions. he enjoys coming up here. i want to thank the chairman for recognizing him. and i'm proud of him as a proud father would be. you bet you. cameron, welcome. we're delight you'd came by to visit not only your dad but each of us here today. we take great pride when our kids come up here. your daughter, or perhaps others. and i know it makes a difference. thank you very much. we now move to hr-2393 country of origin labeling the minutes of 2015. i'm delighted that both of you are here. we gave opening comments about this a little bit earlier. chairman conaway, we welcome
5:53 pm
you. if you have anything in writing we would want you to lead that so we can crude that in the record. tandja from texas the agricultural committee is recognized. >> there, mr. chairman, ranking member members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify regarding the rural governing debate over hr 2393 of 2015. the country of origin labeling was first enacted by the meat products -- for meat products as part of the 2002 farm bill. implementation of the bill was delayed until 2008. less than five months after telephone rule was published, mexico challenged the rule arguing it had a trade distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the united states. the process has since progressed through dispute settlement panel phase at a u.s. appeal to the appellate body. and the wto found that the way regulations were implemented violated wto by discriminating against imported livestock.
5:54 pm
the united states was given until may of 2013 to bring its cool regulations into compliance. in response usda issued a revised cool rule that requires that production tips, born raised and slaughtered by origin country be included on meat labels. the advisory rule prohibited the commingling of meat from imported and domestic livestock. at the request of canada and mexico, the wto established a compliance panel to determine if the revised rule brought the united states into compliance. canada and mexico claimed not only did the revised rule fail to bray the united states into compliance, but certain part especially the prohibition of commingling were even more onerous than the original bill. a key implementation is it requires segregation of animals by country of origin which raises the cost. the panel report released october 20th upheld the earlier findings of discrimination. the united states apeeled. the compliance panel report.
5:55 pm
and on may 18th the wto rejected the united states' appeal and found for the fourth and final time that u.s. cool requirements for beef and pork are unavoidably discriminatory. the final rule kick starts the wto process to determine the level of retaliatory tariffs canada and mexico can impose on the u.s. which is widely predicted to have the in effect the billions of dollars. during a hearing of the livestock and foreign agricultural committee to examine the potential of retaliation against the united states witnesses made it very clear in losing the final appeal and the impacts to retaliatory measures against the united states would be devastate to our economy. witnesses included representatives from the u.s. chamber, national association of manufacturers, national confectioners association, the wine industry of california national cattleman's beef association, national pork council and farmers union. if cool worked, perhaps there would be a response other than repeal. but fact is cool has been a
5:56 pm
marketing failure. in april 2015 report to congress, usda explained that cool requirements result in extraordinary costs with no quantifiable benefits. in terms of producers, packers and retailer, usda's regulatory impact analysis of the 2009 cool rule estimated implement costs of $1.3 billion for beef, $183 million for chicken and $2.6 billion for all covered commodities. the increased costs of producing and marketing products to comply with cool requirements without a commiserate measurable increase in demand results in economic losses to producers packers retailers and consumers over a smaller overall industry with higher consumer prices and less product availability. although some consumers desire cool information, there is no evidence to conclude that this mandatory label translates into increases or consumer demand for beef, pork or chicken. consumers over the long run face
5:57 pm
higher prices and therefore purchase less due to the increased costs. in response to those who argue cool enhances food safety, as i have maintained now for over ten years, that is simply not the case. if it were, then all meat served at restaurants would come with the information regarding the meat's origin. but it doesn't that is because retail food establishments are exempt from cool requirements. meat sold in the lust continue to be inspected. this bill does nothing to change that and will simply repeal a heavy-handed marking program that has proven unsuccessful. finally, although chicken was not part of the wto dispute between canada and mexico, the u.s. and the industry requested that cool requirements for chicken be repealed as well due to the high cost and lack of benefits associated with requirements. the council repeatedly expressed its desire to be removed from cool requirements. here we where with a policy that poses high costs and no
5:58 pm
benefits. if we keep it in place our national economy will suffer significant result of billions of dollars. secretary vilsack has quoted numerous times acknowledging that the cool repeal requirements is a viable option to bring the u.s. into compliance with this wto obligations and avoiding retaliatory measures. in a may 1 letter of 2015, letter to congress secretary vilsack reaffirmed the need for congress to repeal the cool requirements. however, canada and mexico have previously rejected the north american label rendering that option unacceptable. in other words, if we go down this path with canada and mexico have already rejected we will continue to face retaliation unless a and until we demonstrate we're in compliance with our trade obligations. the impact of threats of retaliatory measures is already having a effect on our requirements 23. you're a canadian trade importer and you want the buy u.s. wine, you don't know what that price might be because wine is on the list of product that will be used as a retaliatory measure. 10 it's already stopping trade
5:59 pm
while these retaliatory measures are threatened out there. repeal is the only viable option before us to avoid this retaliation. i ask for a rule that a quickly advances a simple legislation so we can in the best tradition of this house avoid damages to our economy. be ready to answer any questions. >> mr. chairman, thank you for your thoughtful and presentation today. we're delighted you're before the rules committee. the gentlewoman is now recognized. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. ranking member slaughter, ranking members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. as some members of the committee may be aware i was a conferree on the farm bill of 2008 and one of the authors of the language, along with my colleague denny rehberg of montana, collin peterson and others on the bipartisan basis we authored the language in that bill in 2008 that expanded the country of origin -- okay. thank you.
6:00 pm
thank you. that better? >> yes, ma'am, it is. >> thank you. >> i will just restate that it was a bipartisan group of members, including myself collin peterson denny rehberg and others who authored the language in the 2008 farm bill that expanded the country of origin labeling law. i have worked on cool issues for many years as a member and former chair of the former agricultural appropriation subcommittee. i could not be more proud of my role in the development of cool. over a decade of polling data shows that american consumers consistently and overwhelmingly support it. frequently by majorities of 90% or more. people deserve to know where their food comes from. american farmers and ranchers deserve the opportunity to distinguish their products. complete and a accurate information is one of the cornerstones of a free market. what is cool? marketing tool via mandatory
6:01 pm
product labeling. it differentiates u.s. and imported meat products creates an incentive to buy u.s. beef and pork boosts demand for u.s. beef and pork. consumers right to know in the origin of their food product. what cool is not is a food safety tool, as my colleague has indicated. we do have meat and poultry inspection systems that cover food safety for domestic and imported product. the world trade organization itself has repeatedly ruled the provision of information to consumers to be a legitimate goal for domestic regulation. so i'm extremely disappointed that the world trade organization has ruled against cool again. in light of this ruling, i agree that we should seek to protect american exporters by avoiding retaliatory sanctions. but that has not yet become necessary. it has been less than a week since canada and mexico filed
6:02 pm
their retaliatory tariff requests. the wto disputes settlement body will not consider it for another week. we do not know what level of retaliation, if any will be approved. canada and mexico must prove harm, and that could be difficult in this case. a study by dr. robert taylor of auburn university found that cool had no effect, no significant affect on canada's export market for beef. and there is further indication from this study that show that it did not -- cool did not negatively impact imports of slaughtered cattle. what likely did drive decrease in imports is a global recession and weak economic recovery. data on imports of 400 to 700 pounds of cattle did not show cool having a significant negative effect of imports of
6:03 pm
feeder cattle from either canada or mexico relative to placements in the u.s. feed lots. and cool has not had a significant negative effect on the price paid for imported slaughtered cattle relative to comparable domestic cattle. if retaliation is approved, it will probably not begin for several months. in the brazil cotton case, it did not begin until 21 months after the final appeal ruling. applied to cool that time scale would take us to march 2017. we still have options for maintaining u.s. sovereignty. for example, u.s. canada and mexico could make a deal that avoids the imposition of sanctions all together there is precedent for that in previous wto cases the u.s. has lost. more than 60 other countries have mandatory labeling requirements. so there is a scope to find a reasonable solution.
6:04 pm
rather than taking the time to look for such a solution, the agriculture committee passed its repeal bill just two davis wto issued its ruling. it is unprecedented for congress to intervene this early in the wto dispute process. the bill also goes well beyond the wto ruling by repealing cool on ground beef and ground pork which the wto explicitly supported, and for chicken, which it never addressed at all. so i'm forced to conclude that this bill is in fact an attempt by the meat packing industry to deny consumers the right to know where their meat and poultry is coming from. the dispute at the heart of this issue serves yet another reminder of the failure of u.s. trade policy. the administration tells us that trade agreements do not affect domestic laws, but the case of cool proves otherwise.
6:05 pm
in agreement after agreement we have surrendered our sovereignty. american consumers workers, and businesses are bearing the consequences. today's trade agreements, like the transpacific partnership for which the administration now seeks fast track authority, contain dispute settlement provisions that allow not only governments, but also multinational corporations to challenge u.s. laws. it is my hope that members will take the message to heart when we do debate fast track as soon as we may. just a point. you can be for whatever side of the discussion or debate on country of origin labeling and i've stated my position. i'm four square. i worked on this effort. on the other hand, i think it's critically important to note that a domestic law and this could be in any avenue any vain
6:06 pm
can be challenged at the wto with the notion that there would be retaliatory sanctions that could then unravel domestic law. i think there has to be a real understanding of the implications broader than the issue itself, which is critically important, but also critically important is the a whole raft of domestic legislation that is now and can be subject to a tribunal in the case of the tpp efforts. so in the meantime i'd just say i oppose what i believe is a premature and unnecessary bill. i thank you, mr. chairman, and ranking member. i look forward to the discussion. >> mr. delauro, thank you very much. mr. stivers? >> thank you.
6:07 pm
so to the chairman, it sure seems like the outcome is clear if we don't do anything here, that our exporters are going to be punished. our consumers will be punished. what good can come of doing nothing? >> well, we're pretty good at doing nothing here from time to time. we're always behind the curve. this is an opportunity to get ahead of that issue. canada and mexico have been stunningly clear. they don't want to negotiate. they don't want to do a deal. they want four times the retaliatory measures could approach $3.6 billion. 970 -- $797 million for new york. i've got the numbers for the other states if you're interested. but this -- they're going get it. the cotton case is a good example of why not to delay. we spent about $600 million in holding aloft ransom while they finally lost the case. and it doesn't make any sense to
6:08 pm
try to negotiate with partners who do not want to negotiate. they won. so time is of the essence. we need to get it done and move on there is no -- even if the retaliatory measures are a buck that exceeds the benefits that cool brings to the table. consumers, if you walk up to them on the street on the survey if you want to know where your food comes from, the meat comes from i'm surprised it's not 100% whom. would answer no? but when they got the same consumer that goes into the grocery store, they walk to the meat counter, look at the price and the quality. they don't look at the label necessarily. so they're not using the information to actually buy the meat. and it's caused that meat to be higher, cost more than it would otherwise. so these arguments about consumer information and all that, we've lost them four times in a row now. and it's time to move on. >> mr. chairman do you think if american consumers were asked would you pay $3 billion extra to know where your meat is coming from, isn't that the right way to phrase the question? >> that's probably a more
6:09 pm
succinct way yeah. >> would american consumers want to pay -- not that they wouldn't want to know. but is it worth $3 billion to know. and it's pretty clear to me that at every level we have lost on every appeal. and you tell where it's going from there. so i just hope we can avoid the coming calamity by acting and making something happen here. and hopefully the house and senate can work together. i know this issue has become unfortunately more partisan that it should. but it's really a question of how much you want to pay for your beef and your other meat products. >> that's right. and that's why the committee went ahead to move as quickly as we did. >> thanks for your work on it. i'm sorry it's not bipartisan. >> this is bipartisan. it had a committee vote was 38-6. >> so it was 38-6. >> but you're still not happy with the way the language is? >> no -- i am a supporter of country of origin labeling.
6:10 pm
i believe this we could get to an agreement in the way we have dealt with other cases. i think we are moving very, very quickly. and i think that we could -- we have dealt with adjudicating cases later on. and we could -- there are instances. i know that the chairman remarked about the north american label. but you can deal with livestock process in the u.s. labeled as product of the u.s. you could come to some agreement i believe without us repealing what has been a domestic law indirectly because of the wto. i voted for wto many, many years ago. but i'm just saying is that that is what we're being pushed to change a domestic law. and look i understand, there has also been enormous pressure
6:11 pm
from industry and all the studies have shown that it hasn't negatively affected our ability to either -- for higher costs or so forth. you can challenge those i suppose. but nevertheless, there is plenty of data that describes that process. >> so you would rather see us wait and see what happens. let me ask you, would you be willing if we repeal this, would could find another crack. it's clear this isn't wto compliant. it's crystal clear to me. maybe not everyone. >> no. once you've repealed it, we have repealed our own law. >> right. >> we repealed our own law. >> non-wto compliant law that will cost us $3 billion in sanction. but couldn't we go back and try to get it right and do it again? in a wto-compliant way? >> well, but i would think given the testimony that the chairman
6:12 pm
gave i think there is a wonderful expression i think of getting this back is slim and none, and slim left town. so i don't think that's going to be the case in this effort. we will have gone ahead and repealed a domestic law of the united states which on a bipartisan basis, which this issue has never been a partisan issue, on a bipartisan basis, we made it part of the 2008 farm bill. and people -- >> and it got pulled out in the senate. i remember. >> no. >> oh, i'm sorry. in the '10 or '12 bill we had it repealed and it got pulled out. >> it was 2002. 2008 it was in, the farm bill sidelined law, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. >> right. i guess i just for me it comes down not wanting our consumers to pay $3 billion more -- >> they're not paying $3 billion more. i will tell you, i don't know about you mr. chairman, i don't
6:13 pm
know how much of the grocery shopping you do in your household. i do all the grocery shopping in my household. and i watch others who are there. and these days people do look at labels. whether it is a nutrition label whether it is a country of origin label, they do. people are much more attuned to looking at where product is coming from. and as i say, one can be for it or against it. i am for it. i'm also very, very very concerned that whether today it's country of origin labeling. what is it tomorrow that we would feel that we would have to jettison on a domestic law that we might all care about because -- >> and i certainly understand the gentle lady's concerns. i would say if it's something more serious, we have a chance then to figure out what we want to do with the wto on an ongoing basis, if it becomes something that is onerous.
6:14 pm
i don't think this one is that onerous. and i do all the shopping for my family. but i'll let other folks ask questions. i do think -- i applaud the work to try to get this right. and the wto has been really clear to us. i just don't think we should delay and potentially cost our consumers, let me say it that way, up to $3 billion. that's what -- not my number, that's the number that has been in the paper that i read. so i'm not making that number out. that's the number that sought there. i'll just yield back the balance of my time and let other folks ask questions. >> the gentleman gives back his time. thank you. >> thank you very much. i think what we're doing here today, this premature appeal is really the first salvo shot in what trade agreements do. just the fear of a trade agreement, we're going to fold like a cheap chair here in this country. and i think who knows what is next. clean air? clean water? whatever.
6:15 pm
but i know that the figures that we have just on the amount of fish that is already imported, almost none of it inspected. tons of it being returned because it's unsafe and unedible. it's very important to me and my family, and i think all families of the country shown by polls that if 90% of the americans still want it, they obviously though what they're talk about unless you think they're really out of it. 283 groups let me name who they are. because i bet a lot of them come from your states. more than 283 farm, rural, face, environmental, labor farm worker, consumer organizations have spoken out and sent all of us a letter. you really need to look at those signatures and see how many of those come from your very own states, maybe your congressional district. but i think there will be a backlash to this there is no outcry about it now because i don't think most people know about it.
6:16 pm
we're pretty much consumed today with the fact that they had to evacuate the press room. we can't get past that on to much of anything else in the form of speakers arraignment. but i think once they find out that there will be even further outcry. but this is just what happens with trade agreements. but this one certainly by repealing this, i know that canada has very strong labeling agreements. i live cheek by jowl with canadians. they're the best neighbors in the world. they are very serious about this. so i'm concerned. i do think that what you said, though trying to find a better way to do it to make it compliant. but we don't have to repeal this bill to do that. and we will have time before we have even have some idea of what kind of retaliation or how much it might cost where. did you get the $3 billion figure? >> actually 3.6.
6:17 pm
canada is $3 billion. mexico 600 million. >> that's what they're asking for? >> yes, ma'am. i do appreciate compliment to the fish inspection service. the safety portion of our system does in fact work. >> no, it doesn't. >> you said it did ms. slaughter, i didn't. this is not about safety. this is about marketing and that's it. >> safety is more important to me than marketing. >> it is more important. and that has nothing to do with safety. >> let me tell you right now that the people who are sickened from food in america grown right here and badly inspected by the usda is really appalling. >> well, this doesn't have anything to do with that. >> no, i realize. >> but you were the one who said the fish were being rejected because that it were unsafe. >> those are the imported things i was referring to, the things that come into the country. they're poorly inspected. but we poorly inspect what we have here as well. the usda has backed out, particularly on poultry. i could give you some things to
6:18 pm
stun you. you know what the last thing? we had a young inspector for the usda in upstate new york, 39 years old died over the chicken inspection line because his lungs bled out from the chemicals he was breathing. and you know that the last thing that they do -- hang on. >> this administration would not let that happen. >> the last thing they do at the processing that chicken line is dip them into clorox water. then they pack it up in plastic and take it to your grocery store. we can do better than that. and frankly, rose and i are spending a lot of our time trying to fix that. we've got chapter and verse on what is going on with inspection here. >> it's a pretty ugly place. >> but don't make it worse. don't make it worse by -- thinking has absolutely nothing to do with that whatsoever. this is about marketing, period, again, let me just state i probably speak for all the mothers and grandmothers in the united states, that safety is
6:19 pm
more important to us than markets. >> i agree. safety is great. but this has nothing to do with that. >> safety is great. safety is imperative. >> safety is terrific. but this origins of labeling real -- >> safety is part of what we do as our constitutional oath. right? >> right. >> it doesn't say we're going to back off on safety because marketing is more important? >> no. >> i haven't read that anywhere. >> marketing is not important. >> the gentleman will yield. >> i yield back. >> thank you. the gentlewoman yields back her time. mr. collins? >> thank you, mr. chairman. does the chairman want to clarify what he was saying? >> marketing is unimportant in this issue. safety is much more important. this country of origins label is simply about marketing, period. it has nothing whatsoever to do with safety and we're not touching the safety system good or bad, it's out there. this is about repealing a marketing program that we have lost four times on.
6:20 pm
>> thank you. i appreciate the chairman clarifying that and also one who serves in this country whose district is known as the poultry capital of the world, there are some considerations we spoke of here that safety is being looked at. safety is an extreme thought in our district. and we put out safe and good chicken for america, will continue to do so. and that's why i just want you'd to be able to clarify that. >> the gentleman yields back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank both my colleagues from being here. safety is important. and people's right to know is important as well. and poll after poll shows that people would like to know where their food comes from. i don't know why that's such a radical idea. and i get it. we n sooner rather than later. but this bill before us, i'm not sure is the answer. it was introduced just two days after the t.o. ruled against the united states country of origin
6:21 pm
labeling requirement for meat. and i think that we ought to be working toward a more thoughtful approach that balances consumers' right to know where their meat comes from with our trade obligations. and i'd like to think that there is something short of let's just throw this all out. and i worry that what we're doing is kind of sending a signal that we're not interested in pursuing a compromise. and again i think that goes against what most people in this country want. and i don't -- i don't get why we have to take this step at this particular moment. i think there is something in between here. and that's what we ought to be doing. >> i would just say to you mr. mcgovern that is really what the issue is. because usda, and i believe secretary vilsack would be more than willing to do this, is they could rework the cool rules to bring this into compliance.
6:22 pm
and my view is that we ought to allow that to occur. let the usda before we repeal a domestic law because of pressure from a trade agreement, let the usda rework the cool rules so that we can be in compliance. >> so i think the point is nobody is saying do nothing. and nobody is sticking their head in the sand. i think what some of us are suggesting is maybe we ought to take a little bit more time to try to figure out whether it's a compromise rather than two days after the wto ruling saying we give up. we're done. and my hope is that that's what will occur. but in any event we'll see this on the floor tomorrow. and we'll have more to say then. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back time.
6:23 pm
judge hastings? the gentleman does not seek time. the gentleman is recognized. >> i want to ask about safety. it seems like traceability is the key issue. and i was wondering what the implications of the wto decision for traceability. so in terms of not just the country, but the farm, the site, the lot, very important for recalls, very important for attributing causes of health. and i was hoping -- to both of you. >> i think one of the things that you can do let this process, the arbitration process finish this we could require a trace pack system with really precise information that links animals to muscle cuts. we could look at this as an option, mr. polis. >> right now, though this has nothing to do with food traceability or anything like that. this is simply a label that says
6:24 pm
where it was born, raised and slaughtered. secretary vilsack has already said he has done all he can do. >> oh, yes, the secretary said that but the secretary also has been trying to -- >> -- also said they are uninterested in a north american label. >> what? >> they're uninterested in compromise. secretary vilsack already said there is nothing more that he can do. this is before we lost. if we lost that, it was out of his hands and it was congress to fix it. >> so it seems like the basis for it is the country of origin piece is not the piece that linked to health. it's more of a marketing thing. but traceability is the piece that would be linked to health. so i would tend to favor a response to this where we try to actually tie in this -- tie this in to health rather than kind of give up on the whole concept. and i'm wondering whether you're open to that -- >> that's a much broader question. we're simply responding to the
6:25 pm
narrow focused piece with respect to the country of origin labeling and not looking at the traceability or the other food safety issues that may be out there. >> this would be a good time to do that. because we have a window of time. and you know whether it's this week or next week or soon, we have to act. it seems like the two potential ways of acting would be to either eliminate what we have, which is what this proposal, or to move forward with a more meaningful food safety program. and this sort of branch in the road, i think it's a missed opportunity if we simply repeal the country of origin piece without looking at the food safety piece which is i think the more important one to many of us here. >> if i may, vilsack and his team at the usda are in fact working with the animal industry industry to create a viable traceback system that would in fact address whatever food safety issues are being brought there is that effort going on at
6:26 pm
usda right now. so just -- >> and that's very important and also important for internationally. just it doesn't matter whether it's international or domestic, the sourcing information and the traceability is going to be incredibly important for both internationally and domestically sourced food products. . >> traceability has always been very important and traceability also leads back to -- we don't as most other places do, even register the animals. it's a voluntary registration. and as a result of that, we have not seen the ability to deal with traceability. this is years ago. and i can recall being chair of the ag committee and even the ranking member where we were spending millions and millions of dollars that were really going out the window because we didn't have a system in which we could really effectively trace back. and as far as i know we have
6:27 pm
not made registering a mandatory function. and so our ability -- our traceability ability is severely, severely limited. >> yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from alabama mr. byrne seeks recognition. is recognized. >> you said that the safety -- health and safety function is not compromised at all by this. are there other things on food labels besides country of origins? are there other things required for food labels and are they compromised? >> no, not in the least. >> this is narrowed just to the country of origin. i think what she was saying in response is there are some things being done through the department of agriculture that would allow us to be able to trace food back to a country of origin for health and safety reasons. >> yes. >> so if it doesn't compromise
6:28 pm
health and safety function it doesn't compromise the other labeling function we do have an effort through the department of agriculture that could get to tracing it back where it comes from, through their agency operation. and if we don't do this we'll have $3 billion of tariffs slapped on us by the canadians and $600 million worth of tariffs slapped on us by the mexicans. >> that's the threat, yes. >> thank you mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you very much. does the gentleman from washington seek time? >> yes, sir. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you mr. chairman conaway and ranking member delauro for appearing before us today. actually i dealt with this in my former life as director of agriculture in the state of washington. if you recall we had the cow that stole christmas in 2003. the mad cow disease that came in from canada. >> canada. >> and as a result of a lot of work, a lot of time a lot of dollars invested we do now have
6:29 pm
animal traceability. and it's been something that the usd has been working very hard on. but from what i understand that this is -- this particular part of the law does not deal with safety issues. >> no, it doesn't. i never said that. >> so we're talking about marketing issues. >> right. >> and i guess not to mix the two, i wanted to focus a little bit on some of the things we've been hearing lately. i'm sure many of us have been, that the threats of retaliation are saber rattling by canada and mexico, that there is a lot of maybes and could bes and potential -- a lot of different words like that are used. i don't want to respond with the knee-jerk reaction either. i want to make sure that what we're doing is the right thing. i guess i'd just like to give -- ask you mr. chairman, if you could respond to some of that.
6:30 pm
is this real? are the threats potential? >> i had conversation last week with their equivalent to tomville sick, commissioner ritz. they are flat-out serious. the pine in particular has a recent experience with retall story measures. in 2011, we lost another wto case related to trucks coming out of mexico. they picked the wine industry to retaliate against. it's taken the wine industry until 2014 to recoup their market share of exports of wine exports into mexico. and apparently the mexicans picked pork skins as well, fried pork skins. i was not aware of that until last week when i was talking to the snack food industry. a manufacturer in mexico lost 20% of his business as a result of the retaliatory measure. mexico knows how it works. i take the canadians and the mexicans at their word that they are going to pursue these

49 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on