Skip to main content

tv   Territorial Governors Testify on State of U.S. Territories  CSPAN  February 28, 2019 2:06am-4:08am EST

2:06 am
larry kudlow speaks to the national governors association about the new trade agreement with it between the u.s., mexico, and canada. >> the governors of puerto rico, guam, and the u.s. virgin islands and the northern mariana islands were on capitol hill to testify on the state of their respective territories. one issue included the need for more disaster relief funding following recent hurricanes and other natural disasters. the senate energy and natural resources hearing is two hours.
2:07 am
good morning, the committee will come to order. i would like to begin by welcoming our governors for being with us this morning. i know that for some of you this is quite a track actually for all of you. so it is greatly, greatly appreciated. it is hard enough to get time on one governors schedule for a meeting let alone getting 4 of you together so i am especially grateful and appreciative that you are here. unfortunately, the governor from american samoa was unable to make it to washington dc today so he is not with us in person. but we do have his written testimony that will be made part of the record. to the purpose this morning is to hear about your priorities,
2:08 am
your respective territories for the year and how our committee can be helpful in achieving them. i had the privilege this last year of visiting for other territories as chairman of the committee including a trip last february to guam, to saipan, very impactful certainly for me for my first visit out there. i had the opportunity to be in puerto rico and that u.s. virgin islands shortly after that devastating hurricanes the year prior. i think it's fair to say that congress does not always acknowledge the contributions that the territories make to our nation but from high to rates in our armed forces, the distinct culture of the islands and their geographical imports, the territories are clearly an interval part of the united states. i would note that each
2:09 am
of the territories, has had at least one major disaster declared by the president in the past 2 years which we are all very familiar with the detective hurricanes, and maria . we had had much discussion here in this committee about that. we are also aware of cyclone data and most recently the superhigh clone. with sustained winds of up to 178 miles per hour and gust over 200 miles per hour. i heard back from many friends and alaskans or acquaintances who described the damage that it had sustained and in saipan as well. no one says that the super typhoon said it was a second strongest storm to hit any part of the united states so i would
2:10 am
anticipate we will be probably hearing today about the role in the federal government and responding to these disasters including what worked and what can be improved. of course disaster relief is not the only area of concern. from workforce issues to healthcare and tax treatment, we have pretty if talk about that this morning. an issue arose a few weeks ago when a panel of the circuit court of appeals determined that the manner in which the members of the financial oversight and management board established were appointed is unconstitutional. while narrow in its ruling, the board members are principal officers of the united states and subject to the senate's advice and consent. the panels binding on congressional authority under the territorial clause could have broader consequences down the road if left to stand. we are still reviewing this here on the committee and could possibly take that up in the
2:11 am
future. but again, plenty to discuss this morning. i think you all for being here and for your leadership in your respective areas. with that i turned to my colleague and that drinking member. >> i want to thank you senator washington, d.c. six and a welcome you all here again. it's great to see the territory governors here today and i want to thank you for traveling great distances from your home to be here. i understand that this governor of american samoa could not be here because of health issues and we wish him a full and speedy recovery. as a former governor myself, i am well aware of the many demands on your time so thank you again for making yourself available. as many of my colleagues no, the committee has long-standing jurisdiction of insular affairs and i look forward to a productive relationship with each one of you as a role as a breaking member. we are going to face challenges
2:12 am
facing the territories including how to support each of you in facing the well-being of those living in the territories. i know you people coming to all the time asking for your assistance or your help and i have always said government should be a partner. i am not your provider, i am your partner. it is a two-way street. i think that's what we are looking for. unfortunately our many challenges are still faced in territories today. numerous density natural disasters which the chairman has gone over in the caribbean, pacific alleys of the last 2 years leaving not a single territory unharmed i think all you have been touched. hurricane irma in puerto rico, the u.s. virgin islands in september. hurricane rita delivered an even stronger blow to you are. then super typhoon yutu hit that pacific . recovery is still going on and i applaud excellent work to restore
2:13 am
water, power, and medication in the wake of these disasters, however i would be remiss if i did not acknowledge how much work remains in order to fulfill a full recovery. we must also ensure that we are rebuilding in a way that will help our territories face the challenges associated with extreme weather and climate change. this includes the need to advance a robust corrugated strategy for the future of the electric grid in puerto rico. we are now over a year out from hurricanes that i am frustrated with the lack of meaningful progress towards the great recovery. so i look forward to today's discussion about where that recovery is death. i know all too well the challenges that you all i've facing in leading your territories through these difficult recoveries. it's critical that investments now are feasible and there is capacity on the ground to maintain the infrastructure
2:14 am
investment that is going for. please be sure that we stand with you buddy to assist as you seek to restore capacity and bring economic vitality to your communities. additionally, serious gratian and workforce challenges still faced the northern islands and guam. given the labor violations in the 1990s and early 2000, and again in the last few years, it is critical that any immigration plan promotes growth without sacrificing labor standards. this committee has spent much time and effort on these issues but much work needs to be done. i look forward to discussing how we can work with both of you to shore up the economic opportunities while transitioning from a foreign 28 domestic workforce. and ensuring that none of this is done at the expense of our labor standards which we hold near and dear to our workforce
2:15 am
the underlying many of the challenges we will discuss here today are questions of economic development and physical stability. however we all know that finding the right balance is critical for the long-term provided survival and posterity of our committee >> i'm interested in hearing about your plans to promote sustainable economic growth in your communities. additionally i know that one of the unique challenges territories face relates to health care. as you know, territorial medicaid funding is capped and the federal match is fixed at a low level than for most of our states. with the care act funding at the end of this expiring at the end of this year, i and concerned about your citizens being able to access healthcare services. i want to know what options are available to address that challenge. >> thank you senator joe manchin. i would note that today is
2:16 am
just about the beginning of march pick we call it march madness around here. if you had a long line in front of you to enter the building it's just indicative of what we have in front of us. so the fact that we don't have full attendance at this morning's hearing is not indicative of the lack of interest in the territories. please hear me on that. it's just that there are many many competing hearings that are beginning also at 10:00. we will have members cycling in and out and i apologize for the up and down. but i think my colleagues that are here. we will began this morning with hearing from each of you as i mentioned. we had the testimony that has been submitted by the governor from american samoa. we will begin with the the honorable
2:17 am
ricardo rossells. we will then hear from the governor of guam, then the governor of that u.s. virgin islands, then we will hear from the governor of the commonwealth of the northern mariana islands. we will have an opportunity for a good exchange once you have concluded your remarks. we will began with you governor rossello . >> thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about puerto rico. we are confronting a number of serious challenges but i believe we are at the cusp of a transformational moment for our island. the actions we take today will either help open the doors to
2:18 am
equality, progress, or success for puerto rico or continue to yield social and economic stagnation that will further exacerbate existing trends of mass migration and possibly lead to further degradation of our island. i when testimony discusses the pretoria puerto rico debt restructuring, recovery, and reconstruction, and the need for equality under federal laws and programs. while these are necessary components for puerto rico's success, none will be sufficient unless congress and the current unequal and undemocratic territory status based on rico in place a diminutive path towards it is the root cause of the problem that we'll be discussing here today. prior to my admission she thought this was the last state of political. long government expenditures without accountability. and understandable debt burden.
2:19 am
decades of economic decay and non-maintained infrastructure system. we aim to change that. we work intensively to achieve fiscal responsibility and a path forward to growth into a better society. we connected labor reform, establish a gold standard partnership, tough clinical appointments, we were just 20% of our agencies, the headcount reduction in our government, got certified by the four board and had the single largest one- year reduction in state budgets, 70%, in the at least the last 35 years in the united states. we are doing our part to be responsible. our plans the delong but not one but two devastating storms hit our island causing devastating damage.
2:20 am
the immediate receipt response to the recovery and that rebuilding of puerto rico. legal actions in the beginning lacked the necessary sense of urgency such as the restoration of energy. this need i remind you, took over a year, no other jurisdiction in the united states would have found that to be acceptable. other actions have been unfortunately slow and there are lingering problems that threaten the pace of our recovery. by their own reports, fema's response to our island was inferior to other states. that a peer sponsor continues. for example, puerto rico has had a personally 65 large permanent work projects approved in the last 17 months that followed the hurricanes pick in stark contrast, in the same timeframe, over 30,000 products were approved for louisiana, sippy in the wake up hurricane trina. for the first time people
2:21 am
inside were able to clearly see the unequal treatment of u.s. citizens on our island pick facing many challenges, puerto rico was fortunate to have strong partners. i would like to think if you. congress and hud for their response. despite all the challenges we continue with renewed resolve from our island. we move forward. our energy transportation bill that allows a new grid would provide stakeholder collaborations. we enacted education reform, we created a new healthcare model to increase taxes and to increase choice. we have renegotiated the debt of 2 major credit saving the people appointed a $7.5 billion in the long run. updated our recovery office with unprecedented tran30 and ability streams. we are doing our part and we expect the federal government to do their >> we need our resources to move fast. a slow recovery hinders the prospect of u.s. citizens in
2:22 am
puerto rico. we need fair and sustainable treatment on medicaid our citizens have been receiving one third or one fourth of what the federal government provides two states in similarly situated conditions. we need relief for over 1 million u.s. citizens who are at risk of seeing reduced nutritional assistance at the end of march. we need tax treatment that supports economic growth and a path forward. we certainly need a final solution for the perennial unequal treatment of u.s. citizens on our island. indeed, statehood is the best path forward to economic growth and prosperity. if puerto rico can be transformed into a place of thriving prosperity, we can serve as a beacon of hope for all americans and assign for the world that the best for america and for puerto rico is yet to come. thank you. >> governor, thank you very much.
2:23 am
>> the date, the members of this committee and thank you for the opportunity to present testimony today. i am and i have been in office for 91 days. i first want to talk about the h-2b program. while they have discretion to approve petitions that serve the national interest including those that qualify under section 1045 for the fiscal year 2019, it is clear that the
2:24 am
ban on foreign skilled labor from the philippines will have a detrimental impact on guam. it has caused delay in home construction, business expansion has been delayed, and i am sure our military buildup will also slow down. our island economic stability is national security. inside and outside defense does not work on an island 30 miles long and eight miles wide. all projects must be considered as associated with military realignments. i ask for your legislative or administered of actions that guam along with our assisted territory of the northern mariana islands be exempted from positions in accessing foreign labor from the philippines pick while we welcome our neighbors from outer micronesian islands as part of the pact of free
2:25 am
association, our local services and a structure have been overly taxed to their influx while promises from congress to cover the cost go unfulfilled. the compact impact cost from fiscal year 1987 to 2018 has been more than about $1.4 million pick our assistant grants are only 229 million. next is our income tax, earned income tax credit. the government of guam receives 65,000 tax returns annually and refunds about 120 million with over 60 million for earned income tax reimbursement. this is our second largest unfunded mandate. second only to the cost associated with providing services to citizens of the freely associated states. while the states are reimbursed
2:26 am
by the federal government, guam is required to pay reimbursement and we are not reimbursed by the federal government. i ask that government fund this mandate and make sure that compact a spent funds account for payments. medicaid, the guam medicaid from operates differently than it does in the states. because they operate with an annual ceiling and we would often exhaust our federal funds allocation we want to be treated fairly as with the states and we want to be evaluated and calculated in the per capita income basis. the guam world war ii loyalty recognition at this community's work has been tremendous and i think you for your work. the guam world war loyalty
2:27 am
recognition act authorizes section 30 funds to be set aside for war claims compensation. however, the u.s. department of treasury is now claiming that they are unable to issue final award payments based on their interpretation that the act does not contain appropriations language. with this in action, the federal government is not just withholding payments of war claims, they are withholding parity and closure for qualms remaining survivors. am hopeful that members of this committee can't express their support to the trump administration to resolve this issue administratively. and i pledge that my administration is willing to work with congress and the trump administration to be able to provide immediate payment of adjudicated claims stemming from the islands occupation. we must bring closure and honor
2:28 am
to the survivors of wartime. we rely on your leadership and advocacy in addressing these issues for our island. we ask for your assistance in helping us reach a better quality of life for our people. in queue. thank you. >> thank you very much. governor albert bryan, welcome. >> thank you. thank you for the opportunity to appear today to discuss the state of the united states virgin islands and our territories priorities for 2019. the people of the u.s. virgin islands are grateful to you and your colleagues in congress for your support in helping us recover from the unprecedented damage caused by the catastrophic hurricanes on september 2017. with help from our federal partners, we are on the path to recovery. but long-term recovery will take several years.
2:29 am
the continued support and assistance is critically needed for us to rebuild our territory, to be stronger, and more resilient in the face of constant economic pressures and increasing occurrence of natural disasters. even before the hurricanes, the virgin islands and other territories face unique challenges not encountered on the u.s. mainland. many of these challenges are the result of factors beyond the control of the federal government, such as geographic isolation and lack of natural resources. but some challenges we face are exacerbated by federal policies which are within the power of the congress to change. in my comments here today i will focus on those issues for which we most urgently need and request your assistance. healthcare. the area where congressional action is most critical is healthcare. even before the hurricanes, our healthcare system was under great stress. under medicaid, we arbitrarily
2:30 am
high payment has been severe and unsustainable financial demands on our territory. are grateful for the temporary disaster related waiver of the local match and additional allotment that congress provided in the bipartisan budget act of 2018. this funding has been a lifesaver for the territories. however, unless congress acts before september 30 2019, two events will cause potentially catastrophic damage to our medicaid program. first, the temporary medicaid relief is scheduled to end on september 30. severe disaster related revenue losses are projected to extend well beyond that date. as a result, we sadly cannot afford to pay the local match starting october 1. we therefore urge the congress to extend the disaster related medicaid relief by one year to allow our medicaid program to
2:31 am
operate through fiscal year 2020 and allow our hospitals to recover. in addition, we and all other territories face the so-called fiscal cliff on september 30. when the affordable care act allotments expire. unless congress takes action to eliminate that fiscal cliff, up to 30% of our entire population could lose access to healthcare coverage under medicaid. we urge congress to act to prevent this potential calamity well before september 30. disaster funding. our second critical need which relates to local match requirements for federal disaster funding. the virgin islands does not have the resources available to come up with a local match in order to access disaster funds. anticipating this lack of resources in the territories, the insular areas act provides all agencies to waive local
2:32 am
match requirements for insular areas including the virgin islands but with a few exceptions, fema has proved reluctant to do so. despite overwhelming evidence of the territories financial plight. for example, fema has prematurely ended the 100% federal funding for public assistance categories a and b. these projects, even though they were delayed as a result of federal, not territorial delays in implementation, we have administratively appealed fema's decision and are hopeful that these issues can be resolved in a cooperative manner. if not, we may ask for your assistance. similarly, fema has been reluctant to agree to waive the local match for the territory for fema public assistance categories see through g which includes the permanent repair projects for key facilities. the policy reasons for invoking
2:33 am
the insular areas act waiver are at least as compelling for these projects. we respectfully request that congress direct fema to exercise its discretion under the insular areas act and waive the local share for public assistance grants awarded. alternatively, congress could enact legislation specifically to waive the local match. finally, we believe that there are several simple admission of steps that would not cost anything. and yet would significantly expedite our recovery. including enabling fema to advance funding for our major every projects. to relieve the strain on our already depleted cash flows, reducing obstacles and fema's approval process and encouraging people to approve our allocation to administer our own permanent housing construction program. we do think reducing project costs and administrative burdens
2:34 am
, these things would accomplish. each of these steps as described in greater detail in my written testimony. we would be deeply grateful for congressional assistance in achieving these relatively simple and no-cost measures. the third major area in which we would seek congressional assistance is has visitation and infrastructure. the territorial highway program in recent years has been singled out for funding cuts. while the states in dc have received significant funding increases, we urge congress to correct this inequity in the next a structure built by increasing funding levels for the territorial highway program. finally, we seek congressional assistance in crafting federal tax policies that fairly reflect the unique status and circumstances of the u.s. territories. federal tax policy is a crucial role in creating the investment
2:35 am
climate to create jobs, generate sustainable economic growth, and improve the territories long-term fiscal health. the current federal tax code is unfair to the territories in ways that impair economic development and financial self- sufficiency. for example, under the internal revenue code that virgin islands are considered a code jurisdiction. u.s. territories should always be treated more favorably than foreign jurisdictions under federal tax law. but as a result of unduly harsh divisions in the jobs act of 2004, the territories are in some ways treated worse than foreign jurisdictions. in particular, the income sourcing rules imposed by the jobs act have unfairly restricted our ability to attract new employers and go our
2:36 am
economy. i urge you're smart for modest changes to the jobs act to remedy these inequities. that jobs act of 2017 in overtly disadvantaged u.s. investments in the virgin islands with respect to new taxes imposed by that actor we request the committee support for a technical amendment to provide parity for such investments in our territory. thank you for considering this testimony. for your support of your fellow americans in the u.s. virgin islands i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you governor albert bryan . now we will turn to governor torres. >> we all fight against issues of geography, limited landmass,
2:37 am
labor axis, natural resources costs by city. distance from the united states and reliant. but i believe most important among these issues is our continuous struggle to gain the federal government's understanding of the complexity of achieving substantial progress for the people living in the territories. i think chairman lisa murkowski for your leadership in organizing and encouraging put the patient in congressional delegation visit to the cnmi. if you don't come over and experience it for yourself is difficult to understand it. these problems are created when federal law has effects on the u.s. territories pick one of the most urgent priorities is the rebuilding of safe and resilient homes that were
2:38 am
destroyed by super typhoon yutu last october. according to the damage assessments performed by the market red cross, by thousand 910 homes were destroyed or suffered major damage last year. nearly 4 out of every 10 homes on the islands were impacted. by this disaster, at a time when available housing stocks were already at capacity. already the cost of policies limiting access to construction labor has increased the cost of the federal government for disaster recovery. after super typhoon yutu copy demanded primitive defense recognize the challenges of performing their work or the american citizens living in three by seeking out new and innovative solutions that conformed to our unique circumstances. if it weren't for the 200 men and women, 284 homes would
2:39 am
still be without roofs over their heads because there simply is no available construction workers on the island. cnmi along with guam need that federal government to recognize that there is a choice between the progress of the thousands of u.s. citizens in the territories and all the encompassing applications of national laws and regulations. under many instances, it is clear that these choices are mutually exclusive. it is a priority to reduce instances of poverty and increase wages and opportunities for people but the resources are needed to grow the economy. these challenges are not unique. but they are unique within united states. still it is essential that we leverage available resources to build a stronger community.
2:40 am
however, federal government actions such as the restriction of labor access and the growing competitive nest to grow the economy are severely limiting our potential to succeed. i make mention of these challenges to highlight essential points. the united states needs to recognize the unique challenges of its territories and work toward a new approach when dealing with its territory issues. i am proud to say that we have made great progress in the cnmi of the last couple of years. i have enhanced public services , launched our first public consultation system, and increase social service benefits for our people. our streets are a and our people have more opportunities. we have made progress on our issues discussed in this committee over the course of the ministration with undertaken efforts to ease concerns over money laundering. as a commonwealth and newly
2:41 am
established committee move forward on stronger motivation to protect the people from the harms of the gaming industry. my administered has also worked closely to ensure our relations are created with the primary goal of ensuring compliance with federal and him entering into laundering -- thank you for allowing me to promote this and i am committed to continue these efforts and discuss in the months and years ahead. thank you. >> thank you. i would also like to note that congresswoman has joined the committee. we appreciate your leadership as well coming from american samoa. let me begin my questions. i
2:42 am
want to focus on the aftermath of the disaster we had seen and particularly out in qualm and the northern marianas, the issue of how you rebuild when you simply lack the workers. this is as you say, governor torres, tough to build your housing stock when you don't have workers there. governor you noted with military construction and develop their, there really is nothing outside the fence in the sense that the island is one where everything is related to the military construction. so i want to ask just quickly on this, governor cut you mentioned that impacts from the
2:43 am
ban on those coming from the philippines coming in and the question that i would have is whether or not you are looking to other sources of labor that you could tap into for any of these construction projects whether taiwan, korea, indonesia, and the other pacific locations for an option and then also, to you, governor about where we are with that h- 2b visas there on guam for nonmilitary construction. i know that those numbers have effectively shrunk 20. can you both speak a little bit to where you can turn for additional assistance when it comes to labor? >> go ahead. >> thank you for the question. like i said, there are by thousand 900 homes being destructive fema is getting as hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild our homes.
2:44 am
but there is no construction workers. we are trying to hire structure workers out here in the united states to bring them down to saipan because of our restriction of labor. the government has given us hundreds of millions of dollars. >> are you able to bring in sufficient numbers of workers from stateside here? >> no. they're having a hard time getting that materials for their own workforce. to this day there is absolutely no construction company that agreed or found by fema to come down to rebuild our homes. on top of that, with the hospitals and all the other government infrastructures damage, there is no construction to build them. so again, we have economic growth but more portly is building homes for our folks.
2:45 am
if it wasn't for the military coming in, we had over 1500 men and women who came down to the pie and came down to saipan to build roofs for our fellow citizens. if it weren't for them we would have over 500 families that would still be without a roof. up to today we still have more than 2000 homes that need a roof. >> not only homes but also your public buildings as well that lack the ability to be repaired. governor 40, can you speak a little bit to the situation with the h-2b ? >> yes, thank you. h-2b visa, we really have been approved our petitions have been approved in the past. no problem. then in 2015, the homeland security just decided just to
2:46 am
deny all petitions which impacted our workforce from 3000 -0. i do no that there has been a provision that was put in that congress allowed 2000 workers for military projects but even that does not help our civilian project. that is why i made the statement that all projects in qualm are really aligned to that military. the roads that military travel on the same roads infrastructure in terms of social infrastructure like restaurants, hotels, and so forth, those are also related to military buildup because you increase the population and thus apply for those workers are not there. it has impacted greatly our economy, homes now are delayed
2:47 am
in construction. the cost of homes has gone up. used to construct at $110 per square foot. now it is $160 per square foot. that is a 45% increase. so it is impacting as economically pick it has even put a big strain with the recent administration declaration of no are out of the eligible country for h-2b workers. have also looked at other places but the philippines is a very prime resource. their culture is the same as ours. language we can speak english. it is quite difficult to constructs when all of the instructions and the designs are in english and you only speak chinese or you only speak japanese or you only speak
2:48 am
korean. so there is a big concern and a challenge in that also. we have looked at the island sovereign nations of micronesia. we have looked at republic of palau, pompeii, but they are also at a challenge in meeting their workforce. so i cannot over emphasize, overstate the concern and the impact that this is causing our micronesian area both with the cnmi and ourselves. we are short of skilled laborers and we are concerned about domestic workforce. we are working very feverishly with our guam community college to start training people in high school we are working very closely with the guam trades academy that is bringing in students to learn the trade of
2:49 am
construction. but our immediate, that is not the immediate solution right now. we can see that in the long run. but right now, our immediate solution we see is to please exempt us from this band of the philippine workforce and help us try to make our economy more stable and expanded by providing the workforce that we need to build our island. >> thank you. it is certainly something that i came to appreciate gary directly when i was over there. the effort that is made to attract those workers coming over from the continental united states and maybe in hawaii or alaska we can appreciate it a little bit better. but the reality is when the economy here is strong, nobody wants to be 1000 miles away
2:50 am
from their families. it is very expensive to get out there and get back. the workforce conditions and issues are very challenging. so senator joe manchin. >> think all of you. i have had pleasure of missing 3 of the islands. i have been to guam, puerto rico, and the virgin islands. 1st of all, senator joe manchin, part of the conversation regarding the future of the grid infrastructure i am concerned about. input or a there have been plans put forth to do a private investment to get private oversight or overseers invested with puerto rico. you all are owning the system now, correct? okay. we have invested about $2 billion i am understanding so far.
2:51 am
in emergency work for puerto rico on the grid? i know there are billions more that needs to be done. the indications point to puerto rico actually being not in a position to take. so the question would be, what mechanisms have you put in place to make sure that puerto rico is in a position to maintain the structure improvements. but continues to hit? i have been on the islands as much or more than any other but it is such a fragile system and without any disrespect, hodgepodge to a certain extent. we're going to put a major purchase with billions of dollars, how do we get that done correctly? how do we bury what we should be burying? how do we maintain against the severe weather that we will continue to have it oldest don't get our head out of the
2:52 am
sand and get working. >> thank you for the question senator. i would like to address that by stating that we recognize that in the past hour energy authority has been lackluster. as i came into the menstruation part of my was to chase it. we needed to change the structure, culture, and we needed to establish investments . we were stating the obvious that the infrastructure was old. it was mostly energy generated by expensive fossil fuels. and that it was all maintained. of course a few months into our position a hurricane came and demonstrated to everybody that this was really the case. that we can do one of 2 things. this is my petition. we can either rebuild the old energy grid that we had which is exactly what they did in the
2:53 am
virgin islands for the past five hurricanes it's not a very good solution. is not very good use of pet taxpayer money. because you're going to have to invest in rebuilding it. weather patterns are changing. or we can think forward and see what we have to do now in order to rebuild the energy grid of the future. not just for puerto rico but for it to be a model for all of the jurisdiction. here is what we are doing. immediately in the aftermath of the storm, i said i have to work on three work streams. one, the emergency response, saving people's lives. number two, getting back to normalcy in recovery. number three, how do we rebuild what we go better and more effectively. at that point i wanted to push forward a transformation bill that would allow private stakeholders to come to puerto rico and be part of that solution. we also established a regulatory framework that is being considered right now that it is completely independent and it is very empowered so that the markets can have
2:54 am
support with that. are certain levelers that we have under our control in order to transform. we also have a gold standard of public and private partnership. we have been getting several of these proposals. that is under our control. we went forward to get an irp to see that we can have the resources for the future and based on that resource we can achieve our objectives. we have worked with the markets to and good news is that when we went to the market to see what the transmission of distribution would capture, we expected the best that we would get caught a response of maybe two stakeholders but we have a response from five nicholas. there is interest in building in puerto rico now. we are doing on our end, all of those changes and operational efficiency changes within the current power authority. but really, we need the support
2:55 am
of the federal government., let me ask the question. do you have a partnership with any of the utilities in the united states? stuck in terms of -- >> in being a partner. >> we have partnered with long island power authority. but that's just to put it back up. that was the 2 billion. right now we are working towards making that the energy grid. because senator, if we leave it as is and another storm comes by, it is going down again and we are reinvesting. here's what we wanted. let me to find the energy grid we want for the future. we want one that is customer centric. that is based on renewables and that can reduce the carbon footprint significantly. i made a pledge to reduce the carbon footprint by 80% in the next 7 years. we made a pledge to go to renewables to 40% in the next 4 years. 100% by 2050. so we are establishing
2:56 am
to renewables. hundred percent by 2050. we are establishing that fast forward. there are critical levers. >> i understand the renewables were the first was the first to come down. >> when got severely affected. solar had significant resiliency. >> my time, this is really interesting. if you don't mind indulge me. if i can ask governor torres. the foreign labor force you are 15% unemployment. your unemployment hasn't changed. >> we have more u.s. workers today that we have ever had. >> i know that. the immigration policy that you have you want relief on that right now. we give you relief last year. >> yes, what we did was
2:57 am
increase the number of cw workers. so that our private companies would go to h2 b for construction workers. from an education standpoint what are you able to do as far as to train the local population? are any of them in skill training? are any in the type of skills that are needed whether it be carpentry, or electrical? >> i just recently signed a bill. the northern trade is to do. is the institution we have. into my own government legislative branch. to make sure that program works forward with our public school system. we are creating a program to start our young students at the age of seven -- seventh grade, i am sorry. move forward to high school and moving on the occupations that
2:58 am
we need. whether it be carpentry, plumbing or construction workers or so first. we have our business alliance at the back. they are here. showing support that their company is also a stakeholder a making sure our labor force for the u.s. citizens are available. >> are you building two new ble. typing hurricane standards? if you think about that, we will get back to you. i am over my time. >> senator cortez masthope. >> thank you for being here. let me follow up on this conversation. maybe i can start with governor rocio. in your testimony you highlighted the need for additional disaster and supplemental funding for puerto rico.
2:59 am
my understanding is the house passed the bill to do just that. the senate has yet to act. let me ask you this, as part of the discussion on what the future grid looks like and what your future construction looks like, it is my understanding before the need for any disaster package to come forward it's important we waive the prior condition limitations, is that correct? that's what you're talking about. if we don't way that we are building up to what we have done before. we know the weather patterns will be the same or worse. that's why we need to be able to build for the future. is that right? >> that is correct. the other dates we had a panel or some of the -- they gave us an interesting piece of data i think we should all reflect upon it. fema spent $80 billion in the past year and half. which is more than what they spent in the last over 38 years. if you imagine that will either sustain or increase with the changing weather patterns then
3:00 am
there needs to be some significant changes to the statues for the stafford act and so forth. there need to be changes in both regards with flexibility, and number two with the actual financing. i have heard the concerns of my fellow governors. the money is not flowing through. they are putting bureaucratic obstacles. as governor i inaugurated the project. last year. that was started in 1998. from a previous hurricane. if we are to understand the weather patterns are changing and we need to rebuild stronger and more resilient we need to see how we can get that money into the rebuilding sector quicker. so we can build resiliently. otherwise we will be impacted by storm after storm. we will never get up today. >> i agree. it makes sense. as we look forward to appropriate lending for disaster recovery. let me say this. i absolutely agree with somehow
3:01 am
exempting are opening up for h2 b programs. i get it. short-term you will build up your workforce. you don't have it right now. there has to be a way to bring the skilled workforce in that is willing to help. i completely understand and we should be addressing that issue on behalf of the territories. let me ask for all of the governors. can you discuss the long-term impact of the hurricanes and typhoons and other natural disasters on your healthcare system and delivery of healthcare? i am curious. what are you seeing? and how do your governments anticipate covering any additional expenditures because of these natural disasters? governor torres let me start with you. >> i will briefly say working with hhs has been a great partner with the cmi. they brought in rubicon which is a program. they brought doctors and nurses to the island.
3:02 am
to the villages where they went house to house. they gave shots. because we only have one hospital it's critical that additional help comes from our partners. otherwise are people in cmi will not get the healthcare they need. because the vicinity is damaged. let alone lack of nurses and doctors. >> thank you. governor bryant? >> one hospital on each island. that has been a serious problem. we have had universal healthcare in the virgin islands forever. we have to take care of everyone that comes to the hospital. whether they are covered by insurance or medicaid or anything else. the storms have damaged each of those hospitals to the point where one has to be totally
3:03 am
rebuilt. up to now we still haven't gotten the temporary hospital. we can start the deconstruction. we are two years from sticking the shovel in the ground. due to federal regulations. we are doing a complete willoughby tatian of that hospital, st. john. we are still dealing with 1980 facing for cms. not only have we started in a bad fiscal situation but the storms have created a situation where now are hospitals do not have the revenue streams that preexisted. and still have to service the indigent who suffer from kidney dialysis needs. that is not a revenue generator. emergency rooms that are overwhelmed because we do not have beds to put people in. and we, fema doesn't cover the existing debt that they started out when the hurricanes blue on that night. we have the legacy debt to take care of. the existing debt keeping our positions engaged. it's hard for us to get specialties down to the island.
3:04 am
they did not even have customers for a while. we have a lot of issues around our healthcare system. we are asking for the extension of these medicaid concessions. >> thank you. i'm over my time. we will submit these questions for the record. if you would provide a response that would be great. >> i had an opportunity shortly after the devastating earthquakes to be there at st. thomas. and to see the hospital have been completely blown through from one side back out to the other. it was extraordinary. the one in st. croix was not habitable at all. when you don't have the ability to be able to provide for the care,, it was after that they sent everybody over to puerto rico. puerto rico got hit.
3:05 am
>> welcome to all of you. welcome to all of you. it's good to see you with us. governor rose area you mentioned the importance of the nutrition assistance program. congress, unless they take action this program will end in march. the administration has called plans to provide additional ongoing disaster food aid to puerto rico. can you respond to this characterization? if congress fails to act by the march deadline what would be the impact on low income puerto ricans in the local economy? >> we completely reject the notion that is unnecessary and excessive. i would like to rebuke those notions with data. 85% of our folks are food
3:06 am
insecure. puerto rico is under the nap program as opposed to the snap program. with the rest of the states. we are entitled to a significantly lower amount of funding. what was giving after the storm, was in order to get us up to par. what we are asking right now is an extension of that. we haven't fully recovered. hundreds of thousands of u.s. citizens in puerto rico that would be severely affected if they don't have this. on the short-term senator we have asked for for a $600 million for this snapper relief. need to be talking about long- term sustainability here. we want to be considered to be included into the snap program as everybody else.
3:07 am
so we can have the appropriate resources and move forward. are island exports most of the food that it eats. it is a feud insecure, in many ways. a final note, the characterization of the unnecessary and excessive clearly denotes a lack of understanding from the inequality support. this is why i stayed. every time we have this discussion the overarching root cause of the problem. puerto rico being a colonial territory has severe limitations. empowerment and decision- making. we have seen them in the past. whether it is healthcare. we have seen the memo -- now in the recovery phase. i would encourage everybody to ask your self if in the united states we are content with having two types of citizenship. or if our value system is based upon one where there is one an equal u.s. citizen were all the
3:08 am
people get the appropriate in just resources. >> i can understand your commitment. i have questions relating to the impact of co-for citizens. and now your areas. this is a question for governor guerrero. most reside in guam and hawaii. as well as states like arkansas oregon and washington. one of the issues involved of their eligibility for medicaid under the medicaid program, back in 1996 when the so-called welfare reform was enacted the citizens eligibility for a number of programs, including medicaid, in my view having done the research inadvertently eliminated. since then the territories and in states like hawaii, had a
3:09 am
significant increase. they had to bear the expense of the care for co-file migrants. the state of hawaii has estimated to have spent over 163 million to pay for social services and other citizens residing in hawaii. 40% of that going to health care. i know that you face similar concerns in guam. having visited guam. could you comment on the challenges that you face in dealing with the fiscal cost of co-for since coming to guam. >> thank you. in healthcare we have one hospital. we are mandated by statute to treat everybody. 30% of the patients that come
3:10 am
to our public hospital are nonpaying patients. in any business you would go bankrupt if you did not get those payments. we are faced with a very severe financial challenge with that. a large portion of them are cofa citizens. it impacts our educational system. it impacts our public safety. department of corrections. i just took a tour to the prison there. i would say 80% of the women that are in prison are cofa residence. it does impact us. financially, because we have to bear the burden of that cost through our general fund. our local fund. id support, i don't know in detail. ask for them being as full --
3:11 am
eligible. it will be supported if medicaid is calculated the same way. we are calculated throughout the united states. which is set per capita income basis. if we also are given an extension of our aca extended medicare. we estimate over 1.5 billion impact since the cofa. i spoke to the governor to do the conference. he is going to work with me to try to get standardized calculations. that was the issue with gal. or we sent in our report for expenses that there wasn't a standard calculation of the cofa impact. we will work together to get that standardize. >> we will need to agree to increase the amount of money that we provide for the compact
3:12 am
impact aid. could i ask governor torres to respond. >> i would like to say we have a good relationship. we do need assistance also for the medicaid part. for the cofa , i will be turning in my answer to that. it is a long process for me. >> you would restore eligibility for medicaid for 11 -- cofa citizens? thank you very much. >> thank you senator. continuing on that, if congress were to extend the ability to use each territories affordable care act, medicaid allotments beyond fy 19th by making the
3:13 am
funds available until they are extended, how much is left out there in your particular territories? in the block grant and basically how long does it last. how helpful is this? >> for our island, we have the extended -- expanded aca. we have about $61 million that has not been extended yet. are challenged varies finding the 45% match. as you know we are 55, 45. which is a real big burden on our general fund. we have 24 million from a different supplemental. we cannot access it.
3:14 am
we cannot exhaust the 61 million. >> of the other territory similarly situated? go ahead governor brian. >> the match harbors this. 17.1 million for us. that is the max we can get him one year. it would last us another 45 years. if we were to lift the cup and give us the 8020 we would go through it a lot faster. >> we have exhausted our resources there. we are definitely alleviating us from using our local fund. >> we have about 250 million. that would be utilize. to put into context sustained levels of funding would be about 1.6 billion. without that 4.8 that was appropriated we would be a $300 billion. which is a severalfold decreased from what we
3:15 am
previously had. we are seeing if we can extend the usage of that fund. beyond september 2019. that would give us a little more runway. >> governor brian, you mentioned in your comments the reliance on the fema community disaster loans. to basically help you maintain basic government functions. which i think we recognize it's not a tangible position going forward. how long do you expect usb i to be in this financial position. you are just now beginning your term here. what is the vision going forward there? >> for us i would like to say i'm happy to report that we are looking at a bright financial future. because of the help of the federal government. it is like they have directed this gigantic beautiful vault of money. and then put a glass 12 inch
3:16 am
thick glass in front of it. they have created all types of obstacles. one of the things i have been commenting on his while there is a disaster response from fema that is rapid, the actual disaster recovery process, there is no emergency process that is activated or implemented by the federal government to make those funds available, urgent. i will give you an example. puerto rico is rebuilding their grade. we rebuild ours. if we have to go through the federal procedures, the money we are going through and the other funds we are using now to rebuild our grid we still would not have had a full structure yet. this is going to be a five-year and tenure process.
3:17 am
referencing katrina. we don't have that luxury of time. june starts the hurricane season again. our schools are still in temporary units. we have finally been seeing some road repairs and our stoplights are going back up. our hotels will be open until 2020. we will not be getting any real tourism economy until the following year. >> you are all nodding your hands. we understand this is the lag here. what are perhaps the more island specific suggestions that you might have, given what you are dealing with in your respective territories, that could help better insure that is not just the focus on the disaster the day of and the week after, but really that longer-term. how you recover. >> one thing i would like the
3:18 am
senate and the congress, mostly the senate and congress to consider. each of you have disasters that happened to your state from time to time. if it's taking a small island this long to give relief to our residents, imagine how long it would take you with millions of people as puerto rico has experienced to get relief to theirs. these are the basic labs were you can test quick response to recovery. and allow fema to do a new thing. it will make our recovery go faster. what happens in a major thing like a california fire or houston flood, you can implement them and make fema work even faster and better for you. >> i would say several things. number one there are things we
3:19 am
can do on the local level that we can start giving the example. in our place for puerto rico we have put a commitment to spend 100% of our money into resiliency. so everything rebuild has to be at a certain standard. number two, i think this might be an island specific that we have learned a lot after the storm. it impacts everybody. if we are to understand that at any juncture, a catastrophic devastation might occur anywhere in the states. it is important for us to either start building resiliently now, or recover resiliently for the future. in the aftermath, here is what is going to happen. if those funds don't come. we will be waiting for resources to come for several
3:20 am
years. perhaps another storm will come and you will go back after spending millions of dollars and getting things back up. you will have to start from ground zero again. our petition is let's fix the initial condition problem. for the territories and for recovery in general. i will tell you one that is important for the territories. since i did not have the opportunity to answer the senators question. it is finding a permanent fix to the medicaid problem. it is an initial condition. our resources for the weekend. we did not have those resources moving forward. there needs to be a clear path and commitment towards finding a sustainable and permanent solution. otherwise all those territories will be coming over here every other year to get a little bit more money that is not sustainable. secondly, just in terms of recovery, if climate change in
3:21 am
weather patterns that are changing, it is a reality. it is not a theory. i am living in puerto rico. it is the jurisdiction in the world that has been mostly affected. there's a little island off the east coast of puerto rico. it was there three years ago it's not there anymore. you saw our hurricane sitting on an island. we have major droughts as well. all of these things compound. if we don't get the resources in a fairly effective manner, then we will not be able to rebuild resiliency to the next challenge comes along. there is two paths over here. there is the congressional path and secondly there is an administrative path. in the case of puerto rico, my colleagues can speak for themselves on this matter. we have been imposed additional obstacles.
3:22 am
to get resources from fema. i will give you one example. every state, disperses the funding from fema. they are empowered to do so. in puerto rico's case administratively fema controls it first. what has been the outcome of that is we have several orders of magnitude. if we are to recognize it that there is a new landscape, if we are to recognize for this landscape we need to execute quickly, and we need to build smarter and better. changes need to be made both in the administrative front and on the legislative front. >> thank you. let me turn to senator mansion. >> i think about the time when you take office and you get sworn in. the first thing you do when you get elected. where do i have my hands on now and how do i get a handle on this? it's basically getting your financial and order.
3:23 am
i went to wall street immediately. i went to standard imports. i went to immediately to find out from the people who do the credit, give us the credit ratings. with credit ratings it affects your cost of doing business. they told me the unbridled truth. one of my challenges and problems were 45 states have a balanced budget amendment. we have to. every thursday at 2:00 like clockwork, my entire budget team came to my office. we went through the finances of our state. the adjustments i had to make on a week by week basis to stay in the balanced budget. at the end of the year i could not run a deficit. i had to make tough choices. we were meeting twice a day. trying to get our hands around
3:24 am
not getting upside down. every state has pension problems. every territory has pension problems. as soon as you come to grips the better you will be. i know in my difference on the version island that you do have some challenges there. you have two billion-dollar public debt and an even higher pension. i guess i would like to hear a little bit. do you have a team specifically set up to try to get your finances under control and basically see a pathway forward? there are three pots of money. i do not know what your budgets are. i will use a budget of $4 billion. if that is your general revenue which is basically the budget you have your legislature vote on, there are three pots of money you get. basically a general fund, a special revenue, then you get federal. i've always said this. basically you take all three.
3:25 am
your budget is based on general revenue. if the state tells me they are riding on a $3 billion budget that's about an eight or nine billion-dollar cash flow it takes to run that. i have to make sure you are collecting the taxes you are supposed to collect. if you were going after the revenue that has been lost. have you shut down the responsibilities of how the government has been working so inefficiently? every state goes through that. we are held a little bit tighter on that. my thing would be not so much but working with you all. trying to see if we can find a pathway to give you the support and the strength it will take to make those changes. they are tough. you will get a lot of pushback on that. governor bryan if you want, i been more involved with some
3:26 am
your friends down there. if you want to give me a little bit of where you think you have been able to look at that and have a direction you think might be favorable. i know you are all facing it. >> we are facing a lot of fiscal crisis. the good news is this storm and the federal government has created a lot of economic activity. >> on pension reforms are you looking truly at -- >> i ran on pension reform. reforming our government employees retirement system. we met with the actuaries up until last week. we are trying to tear down on the amount of benefits that we give to employees. especially those who are active in trying to preserve as much as possible. the benefits of those who have retired. so those coming into the system have less of a government liability. we can put more money toward supporting the pension system. and clearly identifying new revenue sources. weather that's the attraction of new distilleries, or other
3:27 am
forms of financing. as well as finding some way in order for us to get money into the pension system. the virgin islands, they cannot really go back to the market. the rates we are getting offered. our bonds are doing really well in the secondary market and are creating power. it's very difficult for us to go back and pay the different kinds of prices. what we have been doing is building. our dependability, our confidence in the system from the market. we have our financial advisors working on that. finding our belts and making this newfound revenue with the opening of the refinery and several larger projects coming on board that we direct those monies. >> sink corey refinery you are backup?
3:28 am
>> we have 800 people working right now redoing the refinery. they are trying to be open for next year 2020. nothing has materialized there? >> in the last six years we have reinvested $50 million in the old power pant -- plant. >> i would love to tackle that. the poor readers in -- puerto rico administration. we had very little visibility over budget expenditures in puerto rico. we had a mounting mounting debt. we had a fiscal oversight imposed. in puerto rico. there was low revenue streams coming in. that is why some folks, even as we approached office were
3:29 am
calling it the toughest job in politics. you had all of these other streams working. what do we do immediately? i concur you have to get the fiscal house in order. we reduced budget one to the other. 17%. that is the largest reduction in budget for one year. >> you have to balance the budget. >> it hasn't been balanced in the past. >> has that part of the law been ignored? >> it has been completely ignored. >> you have a balanced budget law. >> i ran on fiscal responsibility. >> you do not have a balanced budget? >> yes. >> there are certain things i would love to talk about what
3:30 am
we saw. there was lack of visibility. there were screens created. even the government itself was not seeing where the expenditures were going there was nothing that was used for permanent work it was being challenged for operational working government. there have to be some changes. we reduced 21 agencies and our government. we and reforms in puerto rico. we went through permit reform as well. we open ourselves up to new markets. there are a lot of things we are doing. my petition over here would be as you stated this is a partnership. the federal government needs to do their part as well. i reiterate the recovery part. how can you have such a growing
3:31 am
difference? even when comparing it to katrina. folks know wasn't the best recovery effort. you have 13,000 permanent project worksheets moving along by this time. in puerto rico you only have 65. that is ordered's -- orders of magnitude. how can we talk about fixing the budget in healthcare if a lot of our budget goes into healthcare? we want to give access to all of our folks. those things need to change. >> i ran on fiscal policy and fiscal responsibility. all the things that you have said here collecting taxes and creating new revenues, credit ratings. i was in san francisco and new york talking to our standard -- just to introduce myself and who i am and what leadership we will be providing. how we can protect your investment and how we can invest more. we do have a good reputation in
3:32 am
the capital market. i want to keep that good reputation in the capital market for future capital improvement projects. i ran on the fact that the previous government had $200 million of uncollected taxes. the first thing i did after the flag was raised and i was sworn in was to go down to the department of revenue and tech station and go over their collections process. i hired a very capable person to run that department. we have partnered with the u.s. attorney, the attorney general to enforce those businesses that are delinquent. we will crackdown on businesses that are doing business in guam that do not have a license for having the privilege of doing business. all those kinds of things we are doing. i monitor our cash flow every morning. i sleep better at night. especially on payday week.
3:33 am
that we have a positive cash flow. believe me i am tracking that. i put together a strong fiscal team. they know what my expectations are of them. i am very much focused on that. i believe senator manchin that we need to be fiscally independent. >> don't follow the leader of the federal government here. there is no one talking about this. >> i want to be partners with the federal government. also we provide benefits to the federal government. as a territory geographically positioned to be the first line of national security defense. that is our leverage and that is our strength. senator murkowski asked what can we do to help us? first i think whenever federal
3:34 am
policies are going to be passed that really affect the people and the stakeholders i would like to have the courtesy of making an input to that. additionally i think it would go a long way if we had voting delegates in congress. so they can have a strong voice in our representation from a federal level. if you can do those things i would truly appreciate it. >> senator can i add one more thing. one of the greatest things you can do for the territories is to send -- make puerto rico a state. between the three of us we only represent 300,000 people. we are getting treated the same as puerto rico who has 3 million people. if you want to do something big make them a state. >> governor torres? >> $400 million and we are up to date on that.
3:35 am
we need to pass a balanced budget. we actually, same with the governor of guam. we passed a law a couple of years ago. any supplemental budget that comes in we say 5% of that for an emergency declaration. we do have the fund. my staff offered. we do have an emergency fund. what i would like to ask senator, give us the flexibility. with the territories whether it's workforce, or for fema or something. just give us the flexibility. each one of us, you can hear we have the same issue with medicaid and recovery. same issue with the hospital.
3:36 am
there is not any issue that is not similar to all of us. if you give us that flexibility i guarantee we will take care of our state. or our islands. accordingly, because at the end of the day when we sleep at night it is our people we are making sure their safety and their health is being provided. thank you. >> senator manchin . i am also an armed services. the political exchanges that are going on in the world we are very much concerned. we actually have our mayor in here. we are fully supporting of our
3:37 am
military arms. >> i just have a couple more quick questions. this is been very helpful. >> i have to go to an armed services meeting right now. our staff, there are follow-up questions. if you have any time at all both of our staffs, we have great staffs and they work very well together. we would love to get into a few questions with you and how we can have a better report. >> just quickly for me to be able to wrap up. senator cassidy, before he left had a question that he was hoping to ask you governor rosedale. on as you modernize, and rebuild and move towards a more resilient puerto rico.
3:38 am
one of the objectives for transforming the energy system there is to modernize the generations and increase the development of renewable energy and natural gas. including increased use of alan gionet. you indicated your goal is to be 100% renewable by 2050. what steps are you taking to help facilitate the conversion to greater use of -- >> we have started with several projects on the pipeline. we see this in several work streams. we have the irp work stream so we could put the resources we need long term. number two we also have the transmission and distribution work stream. our commitment is by the end of december 2019 we will have a concession model already in place in puerto rico. through that track there are several projects. i want to showcase one of them that is very particular. we have an rp that we are
3:39 am
almost ready to move forward on. for the conversion. our expectation is by summertime we will have that conversion. that will save anywhere from .8 to .9 cents a kilowatt hour. to the u.s. citizens in puerto rico. it will make it cleaner and more sustainable. we are also seeing different areas where we can make other conversions. such as in the palace and plant. and down southeast. which was severely affected. establishing a new plant that can give that energy and conversion. the project is over -- underway. we have the rsp out for a bigger substitution. this one would be renewable. this would be solar and battery component.
3:40 am
as well as the renegotiation of outstanding ppo a's. amounts about 300 or 300 megawatt hours. we aim to have them either finished or significantly started before the end of the year. that means we are already pushing forward. with that agenda. within the scope there are plenty of other projects i would love to discuss. with your staff as well. we have in the pipeline. whether it be conversion through gas, or renewable projects. such as a virtual powerplant. this is one of those projects i am mostly excited about. using public housing for example. to use the rooftops and redirecting energy where it is needed. puerto rico could be a model showcase. lastly i would add our commitment to incorporate nano grids and micro grids. that will be ridden dependent.
3:41 am
and we would probably run on natural gas or chp. at least the commitments that we have seen. so the consumer has choice. products are already moving forward. we need to have clarity as to where the resources, when are they coming and what the amount will be. that will depend on what we have. we have a plan and a strategy. we are moving forward on many of these projects. as the construction is moving forward it would be a shame to have delays on federal resources and allocations. >> let me ask a little on that. you had mentioned in response to senator mansion -- manchin earlier. in discussing fema and probably other federal agencies as well. what are you doing to align
3:42 am
prep as needed and asks for the requirements of the funding process of the federal agencies? specifically changing the relationship that fema has with fema in order to access more of these fema dollars? >> there has always been, when you look at proper the memories are the memories of the pass. we put leadership in there. in order to make those changes. one of the changes was to establish a precise office with fema. so everything would run through and have visibility. that has been established. we are expecting, since we are committed to working under the 428 section, where we can get the damage estimations for the sector, what we want to do is
3:43 am
see how we can move that forward quicker. many of these projects which is a game changer for the 28 section, instead of having to put the old polls backup we can reinvest in the sector. we already have a damage assessment. we know what we would need in order to create this new energy grid of the future. i can give you some of the estimates we have. it is about $17.5 billion for the transmission and distribution. a complete process we are seeing. 6 billion for the generation part. we need to see which one of those projects are eligible for fema. which one would be available for funding and which ones would be private sector and local government enacted. that conversation needs to be had. at the current state we are only talking about putting up the old grid which is unsustainable. we need to be pushing harder. into the new grid and the new
3:44 am
model. >> is this so much of the conversation that we had in this committee shortly after puerto rico. how do we make sure we don't spend the money multiple times? that the goal here is to do it right the first time and use the dollars wisely? my last question to you, and this is directed to you governor rose up. this is in reference to the first circuit court panel's ruling i mentioned in my opening. in your review, what is the immediate impact of that ruling ? and that the members of the oversight board were appointed, that that is unconstitutional. does this have any impact on the day-to-day interaction with the oversight board?
3:45 am
what does it do to you on the ground right now if anything? >> there is uncertainty that has been established. i would propose we use this moment and this juncture. to select some of our concerns with the oversight structure that we have in puerto rico. there are many things we can talk about. i would likely want to focus mainly on one. the notion that an oversight board overstepped its boundaries. and starts trying to work on the policymaking decisions of the government of puerto rico. furthermore, intruding into the day-to-day aspects of operations and government. this has been an unfortunate outcome of the msr build. what we are looking for is clarity within this. we recognize there was a spirit of the law created. that we can attend to the depth crisis.
3:46 am
that we can push forward and have open vibrant economy moving forward. the spirit of the law was not to control the policy of puerto rico. it was not to get involved into the day-to-day workings of government. our legal team is assessing what just happened. we will take steps moving forward into the future. having this conversation now, it is important that we realize, if we want some sort of experiment to work it cannot be undemocratic type of system that every day overstepped this boundary and limits what the policy and the decision-making powers of the elected government of puerto rico is in charge for. i would likely like to reiterate this only happens in puerto
3:47 am
rico. and potentially in the territories. because we are not a state. this structure cannot happen in the state. it is inherently unequal. it is inherently undemocratic. i have posted from the get-go. there are challenges and i am willing to work. we have had results on that path forward. in order to have results we cannot be overstepping the boundaries of the elected government of puerto rico. we need to work towards a solution. we have a clear path forward on what we want to do. we need the stakeholders to be aligned. if we do so the future of puerto rico will be a bright one. >> i want to say one thing before we wrap-up.
3:48 am
i want to ensure you and the american taxpayers that the money that you are spending to rebuild our islands and our territories are being used wisely. and are creating resiliency. this is the fourth total disaster i have faced in my entire lifetime. if you look all of them have been hurricanes. i'm not counting the minor ones in between. if you were to take a census of the buildings and the damage you see on the island there are facilities homes and residences that were built way before 1989 and our first initial disaster. are public facilities and public housing, they are 60 years old. we have imposed and acted the bearing of the cables and the hardening of our aerials using comp as it polls. the things we are doing now to make sure we are more resilient.
3:49 am
is money well spent. we have over 60% of the people who live on the island have invested in some sort of generator. it is a little-known fact that we manage our own water systems. there are 2 to 3000 gallons of fresh water underneath every version islanders home. we want to have the same kind of energy independence. by equipping our residents with generators and battery systems. in the event of another storm or the unfortunate event that our grid system is damaged everybody would have their own power. this is a move we have to move towards. not only because of global warming, but also because power is very expensive. trust that we are doing the things that will make our territories in our island resilient. you have to give us the opportunity to do it without the mraz of federal bureaucracy
3:50 am
and the skin in the game that people keep talking about. we cannot get on a bus and drive to the next state when we face a hurricane. the skin in the game are our residents who face these storms. every single year. and do so without much complaining. when the power goes out in a u.s. city for two hours it is on cnn. we did not have power for three months. thank you for your time and patience today. >> governor you clearly strike a chord with the senator. we can get on a bus. we have to go through another country. it is about a week to get there. we can relate, most definitely. to what you have outlined. we just went through our own disaster with the 7.0 earthquake. we have had some 9000 aftershocks. we are dealing with fema right now. i can feel your pain. as far as that goes. when we talk about resilience, it's interesting. alaska is the most earthquake won't -- prone state in the united states.
3:51 am
we have learned from this. what we saw with this strong earthquake was the resilience we had not seen before. because of the 1964 earthquake. the subsequent earthquakes we learn to build the standing code. to building codes that have really helped. we certainly see greater resilience, as you all have done what you have done for tens and hundreds of years out on these islands. you get weather out there and you have to be resilient and independent. you have to figure it out on your own. i hear very clearly the plea, forgive us of flexibility. the way that you do it here in the lower 48 isn't necessarily how it will work in guam and puerto rico. it is just not going to be that
3:52 am
way. the conversation that we are having here today is very important. a couple years ago we establish these energy action teams. for each of the insular areas to help move you towards greater independence if you will from imported fuel to work, on your own domestic fuel source to increase energy efficiency. the whole concept of the micro grade. it is just so perfectly suited to our island territories. in that regard alaska is also viewed as somewhat island. we are cut off from the rest of the continental 48. we have been pioneering and leading with how you integrate the small little micro grids. we want to be able to share
3:53 am
what we are doing in a cold large place. and share that with you and perhaps warmer and smaller places. much of it is the same. again you need the flexibility to be able to adapt it. as you will. i will follow on senator mansions asked. i know you are busy while you are here in washington d.c. any time that you and your teams can give the committee this week to help build out some of the issues that were raised here or things that we haven't raised. it was brought to my attention governor torres, an alaska we have a couple different energy projects we've been trying to help on. we had an opportunity to look at the potential for partnering
3:54 am
with our alaska aerospace. and a launch facility. there are more things for us to talk about. we haven't taken the time to raise here. it's important that we continue to work on the aftermath of the emergency response. even though it is two years after the fact. or in the case of cmi, just months ago. to deal with some of these issues that you all have addressed, relating to healthcare, specifically medicaid. how we tackle some of these very significant conversations. know that within this committee we do not forget you. you are a long ways away. we do not forget you. i really appreciate the effort
3:55 am
that you all have made. when visiting delegations come through, that you take the time to try to educate us. on the issues that are pending or have been pending for quite some time. we focus on the energy and the natural resources side of our committee's jurisdiction. is one of our many, many priorities. i again thank you all for making the long trip back i wish you well in all of our meetings. with that, the committee stands adjourned.
3:56 am
3:57 am
3:58 am
3:59 am
i think the bigger question for me right now is that i don't know the answer to it. >> you know how he is working?
4:00 am
>> >> i think we do that as a committee through many of the hearings and the questions we have been asking to determine the functionality at this point in time. is it a fair question to ask whether the powers should be reviewed? did we do right and setting it up, these are fair questions to be asked. >> i didn't want to see us go to that mechanism that's the mechanism we have in place it works for the people of puerto rico. it works for the federal
4:01 am
government, and it works for the country. once we passed the law we want to make sure that it functions as we intended, even if you vote against it. once it becomes law. what is your response? >> the people of puerto rico are the ones that will make that determination and just as the people of alaska insisted, demanded that we move forward with statehood, they have gone through a series of different votes in referendums and the people of puerto rico, when they make that push -- >> but don't they think that
4:02 am
they are ready for debate. >> there is a debate about that. i was born in the territory of alaska. my grandparents were engaged in that fight. a very unified fight. there were detractors but the portion was there and the push allowed for final passage . >> what are the problems that you see? spent what are the problems? >> the fact that you didn't have consensus, that's probably the biggest one. >> thank you .
4:03 am
>> will the white house submit either the current or new names of this before the senate can act? >> i don't know expect in fairness, i have looked at that opinion and said, now what do we do, the first thing is to find out whether or not it's going to be appealed, so after that i'm not quite sure what the timing is. if 90 days is enough, it's enough to concern names, but we've got to get them up and embedded in the process for confirmation. so we've got to find out what's going on but the first step is to determine what the court is going to do . >>
4:04 am
what is the process for confirming? >> i don't know the process until we know with confirmation of whether or not this will be appealed. if it's going to be appealed, it might not be something we take up for a matter of the year. . >> nice to see you . >> i saw you in the audience . >> good to see you. >> i was wondering if you would be here.
4:05 am
>> here is some of what's being covered on thursday, debating and voting on a gun bill. cspan-2 is live with the senate and the debate on the nomination of andrew wheeler to have the environmental protection agency. on cspan-3, see pat, the conservative political action conference has speakers that include senators mike lee, marsha black burn, david perdue and james langford. at noon the house judiciary subcommittee on the national emergencies act of 1976, which
4:06 am
gives the president authority to declare a national emergency. >> pasadena is your was essential southern california community . >> there is a style of reference, people are proud of their business at city hall and having a ba fantastic renaissance palace. we are also home to caltech where you have people looking into the future and galaxies beyond . >> c-span city stores on the road explain the american story. this weekend we take you to pasadena california . >> known for the rose bowl in the rose parade, we talk with authors from the suburb of los angeles . >> july 26, 1943 was la's pearl harbor. it was on that day in the middle of world war ii, a thick smog came in.
4:07 am
i don't know from what direction but it got so viscous and acrid that police officers directing traffic disappeared it was the beginning of having smog related automobile accidents. it was so bad that mothers were dragging their children into department stores and a hysteria built . >> we will go inside a jet propulsion laboratory at caltech responsible for putting rollovers on mars . >> the reason we are here is to do it's never been done before. we are paving the way for human expiration . >> watch the city to of pasadena california this saturday at 7:30 pm eastern on c-span's book tv. sunday 2 pm on american history tv on cspan-3, working with our cable affiliates as we explore the american story.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on