tv [untitled] CSPAN June 26, 2009 5:00am-5:30am EDT
and we worry about dog food and everything else, i don't know why we wouldn't worry about prescriptions. we've got lots of examples of bad medicine that's come in. the labels are exactly the same. the cartons are the same. everything looks the same. the packaging is the same, but the pill won't work. how many people would die taking a pill that won't dissolve or that just because it has the right chemical compounds hasn't been put together right to be useful? i don't think that is a big request. some assurance that would be met. i can't vote for it. >> thank you very much, mr. chair. as we've been sitting here i've been paging through this amendment. thinking about the broad debate. much of the conversation has
been about examples of bad medicine, as the senator from wyoming has pointed to. that's occurring under the existing structure. this is fraud outside the existing structure of the law. it would make sense to have an amendment that sets up a structure for importation that says that the importers and exporters have to be qualified, they have to be licensed, they have to be reviewed, and if they break the rules they are kicked out. that the medicines are checked. that the medicines are of the same chemical format that they claim to be. that they have the same efficacy of their counterparts in the u.s. all of that is in this bill. all of that is in this mccain amendment. all the commentary about fraud is commentary about fraud. that is importation outside the
structure of law. by the way, i'm sure members of this committee understand there is a lot of fraud within the boundaries of the united states of america, cases that have occurred where the drugs that are delivered have been prepared in someone's garage and are simply not the chemo treatment it is supposed to be, but just a bag of saline solution with just a label on it. so the issue of fraud is neither bounded by the boundaries of this country and it is not about whether or not there is a structure. it is about the lack of a structure. so just as we have established a system within the united states to combat fraud, this amendment is about extending that structure and in the process restoring a coherent market so that the citizens of the united states can benefit from fair pricing of pharmaceuticals. it is ironic, and i think a
point to dwell on, that many of these drugs, many of these drugs were developed with research funded by the tax payers of the united states of america and that we turn around and create a framework where those same tax payers have to pay the highest price in the world in order to utilize those drugs. we fund the research and then we have to pay the highest price on the back end. i certainly embrace the conversation with my colleagues about safety. i think that we need to observe that there is a lot of this bill in this amendment that mccain has put forward that addresses safety. it's not that we can't do more. i certainly would fully entertain that conversation. i would encourage, since there is going to be a vote on this, i would encourage my colleagues to embrace the mccain amendment, the core principle he set out a structure of registration of
licensee of supervision of excluding those. i would point, for example, on page 20 of this bill, that notes that folk whose violate the rules get thrown out of the system. i'm sure there is more that can be done. i gather additional commentary would be appropriate in a subsequent section of the bill for the conversation that came forward. the follow-on section we'll be considering down the line, will this, mr. chair, still be relevant if a memo is brought forward under this section to further address safety? >> i'd have to check on that. i don't know if that is the case or not, but it could be. >> i would simply encourage my colleagues to say, yes, to fairness to the american consumer who has funded the research, with the understanding we are going to have a follow-on conversation beyond the floor, be it in this committee, about additional things we can do to create safety. thank you very much.
>> anyone else needs to be heard on this matter? >> mr. chairman, but when we bring this up on the floor, i would ask that the mccain amendment be sent to the secretary of hhs for her comments. in preparation of the debate. i'm ready to vote now, but if we are going to do it on the floor, i would like to have more information. >> i'm sure that request would be in here, too. clerk will call the roll on the mccain amendment. >> senator dodd? >> aye. >> senator mikulski? >> no. >> senator bingerman? >> pass on that for a moment. >> senator murray? senator reid? >> aye. is that correct? >> senator sanders?
>> aye by proxy. >> senator brown? >> aye. >> senator casey? >> aye. >> senator hagen? >> no. >> senator enzi? >> know. >> senator gregg? >> no. >> senator alexander? >> no by proxy. >> senator byrd? >> no by proxy. >> senator mccain? >> aye by proxy. >> senator coburn? senator roberts? >> no. >> aye by proxy.
where are we here at this point now? are there any additional amendments? >> mr. chairman? >> senator casey. >> i just wanted to get back to the fraud and abuse section for a couple of moments. i know senator enzi had some comments before. we were dealing with senator mccain's amendment so i wanted to just respond to a couple of things. first of all, i wanted to commend the way senator enzi, along with our chairman has conducted himself in this whole process over these many days and weeks, and grateful for the way he approached this bill, as difficult as it is. and as much as there is conflict on a lot of major elements. with regard to the fraud and abuse section, i wanted to do a couple of things very briefly. this will just take a few moments. one is to highlight and enter into the record, and i would ask
consent that two letters be entered into the record. one is from the american -- america's health insurance plans dated june 24th, 2009, a letter to chairman kennedy and ranking member enzi about the fraud and abuse section. that's number one. number two, the second letter dated the same date june 24th of this year from the national insurance crime bureau, the coalition against insurance fraud and the national health care anti-fraud association, also a letter addressed to chairman kennedy ranking member enzi. i ask those be made part of the record. >> they will be included in the record. i apologize to my colleague. those are the letters from the insurance commissioners?
>> those two letters are not. this letter from the national insurance crime bureau, coalition against insurance fraud and anti-fraud association, the second -- >> okay. that's fine. i had those letters, as well. i thank my colleague for including them. i understand there was an effort made on the bingham amendment. i don't know whether it can hold over till next week, as well. i don't want to keep members unnecessarily long. >> senator coburn and senator bingham are working on that. >> we are able to close out title v. >> there is a letter from the insurance commission. i didn't cite that here. >> that will be included, as well. >> as well. thank you. >> let me thank my colleagues. we did somewhere around 2 50shgs 260 amendments over the last eight or nine days.
obviously, there is more work to be done. my intention is to get to all my colleagues, language and numbers from cvo and the joint tax on the other areas, the gap areas in the legislation introduced so we work when we get back as well. the coverage title and related matters including the follow-on biologic, we'll get that as quickly as we get numbers so you'll have a chance to look at it review it, respond to those areas. we have to pick up as well as on the long-term care issues as we talked this morning and numbers on the tax. but i want to thank senator enzi who sat in this chair and senator gregg chaired it as wet, we've had senator kennedy and senator hatch, so we've had a number of former chairs who have sat if their this position with a gavel in their hand in the past so they have some appreciation for what it to keep everyone together. some described it as keeping
the committee will come to order. and this is the second of a series of oversight hearings that i have committed as to undertake at the outset of the recovery act. in december of 2007, when i proposed an initiative to get the economy moving again, programs under the jurisdiction of this committee, actually, we had bipartisan initiatives in this committee to move things forward with the administration at that time.
the president was not keen in doing that. not much has changed. the current administration is not interested in the transportation bill. we are moving ahead of them. i have set forth standards. one is that there be accountability, transparency, and recording. priority consideration should be given to the areas of the highest unemployment as measured by the economic development administration's monthly report on areas of high unemployment throughout the country. we committed to openness and
transparency and accountability. this section of the hearings this good on that commitment. only 20 days ago, the bill was signed into law. i have to give great credit to the federal highway demonstration, the department of transportation overall. today's hearing is only on the dot portions of our recovery act provisions. we will have another hearing after the july recess on the wastewater treatment, water infrastructure parchments, the members of a concerted others will report was at that second
hearing. there was a report in the newspaper. there were several reports, actually. they misunderstand the way the federal programs worke. states have received only $132 million of the stimulus package of''s funding. that is accurate, but it does not accurately state the issue. they have reimbursed 130 two million dollars. the stimulus program works just like -- they have reimbursed $132 million.
the stimulus program works just like this. state dot's advertise for bids, evaluate the bids as the command, and then the award bids. the contractor begins work and then builds the state. the built -- the state and then builds the federal highway administration. then they reimburse the state against submitted vouchers. that is the way it has always worked. a good comparison would be if you are hired on at a pay a $50,000 and your first month's pay is one 12th of that amount,
$4,000, let's say, you do not complain that you did not get paid. you were paid for the first month work. states do not get the entire allocation all one time. they are paid against their vouchers for the work completed, it incrementally, by contractor s. all of the $27 billion was allocated by federal highway aid mission. states were told what their respective apportionments would be under the formula in. -- under the formula and. -- under the formula. the states then began their process. the reality is that there are
-- here iit is. they have 4366 projects that have been approved from all states and three of the territories and the district of columbia, representing $14.4 billion. 54% of the funds in the highway and recovery act, 490 projects as of last week have been put out to bid. 2000 two hundred 94 projects have signed project -- two thousand 294 projects have signed contracts -- 2294 projects have signed contracts. the next 30 days will follow the trail.
it will go upstream to the supply chain. i think we will hear from me sand and gravel pit operators. in anticipation of the money, they have called people back to work. some of the work of the recovery is ahead of the schedule. the numbers are not showing up in the accounting. others will follow as the contractors sign and construction crews are out on the job site. if we continue at this pace, we will be able to see, by the end of september, a quarter of a million construction jobs under way. the purpose of this hearing is to hear the reports from each of the modal administrators and also to hear any obstacle or any
difficulties in the way of moving the finding out into the stream. i am confident that this program is off to a fast start, a good start. i think that the corps of engineers is lower. they did not get their allocation as soon. we will hear about that in the first week after the july recess. in my own state of minnesota, the state revolving loan administrators have taken $123 million of wastewater treatment and drinking water treatment and leveraged it into 500 two
million dollars program. -- 500 two million dollars -- $502 million program. there are going to be some very exciting success stories as we move into the next phase. i will leave -- i will yield to the distinguished gentleman. >> thank you, chairman. [unintelligible] for our committee, when we pass to these $787 billion stimulus package, most folks thought that 90%, 80%, 70% of that would be
for infrastructure and we would deal with hard nation's crumbling highways, bridges, ports, airports, roads that they go over daily, and that they would see a dramatic improvement. as it turned out, we were only able to get about 7% of that entire package for infrastructure. one of the reasons we could not get it was because they said it was -- the cbo escorted and said that they could only get out $63 billion in the time allotted. >> they said we could spend at a rate of to put 4%. and they were wrong. >> -- a rate of two 0.4% -- 2.4%. >and they were wrong.
>> one of my concerns today and for the future is the problem of government red tape, bureaucracy, and hoops. we tried to send the money to the states to distribute it in an orderly fashion. the intent was not too big project winners and losers, but to do it in an orderly fashion. the problem is we are getting strangled, again, with government red tape, with bureaucracy. i've prepared a little minority report on the 120 days. where is the money? we have $48 billion given to the department of transportation. as of may 29, the amount obligated was $15.7 billion.
i have gotten to a bit reports. -- i have gotten two update reports. i have the latest update. we will probably get it from the administrators to day. it is pennies on the dollar, fractions of a penny on the dollar on what we have made available. let me just give you a sampling, a commentary that i have. norwalk, conn. mayor said after a mayors' conference, that we really need to talk about eliminating some of the bureaucratic things that washington forces on the state's.
he is talking about how he cannot move forward on the stimulus packets. the dot directors said that federal requirements have been taken to a new level. we're going to have to dedicate additional staff to the record keeping and auditing required under these new procedures. i guess this is madison, wisconsin. they informed other locality about the difficulty of getting the money disbursed. unfortunately, it will not do much for job creation this year because the american recovery and reinvestment act requires piles of red tape to get federal funding. it will delay people going to work. i am just giving you a small sampling of what they are telling us as far as the difficulty in getting people to work. i have been home, folks.
i have a lot of folks hurting. florida just went over 10%, double digit unemployment. nationally, we are at 9.4%. not one person asked me to come to washington and passed some more red tape. people want jobs and they want them now. finally, in this report -- actually, it is not in this report. we have distributed the numbers. the numbers were provided by dot. you can see the outlay, the unemployment rate, in each of the states. also, there is the amount of money that has been extended. on this particular chart, these are the top 10, highest unemployment states, including the district of and icolumbia.
$11 million, folks, this is typical that we can i get people working. we can i get the stimulus money out. -- we cannot get the stimulus money out. we created it. we have to do something on this committee to figure a way to get people working and cut the red tape. right now, in the long term, there's reauthorization for the next six years. mr. babbitt is when to report on successes at the faa. i know they're trying. but their main problem
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