Skip to main content

tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  December 21, 2009 11:00pm-2:00am EST

11:00 pm
11:01 pm
the it details endo luzhin prices for michelin high-school students. top prize fight the knowledge priveleges reed e5 to eight minute video almond burt country's greatest resource i
11:02 pm
challenge the country is facing must incorporate c-span programming and shell vereen phthalate the mad for talgo testing for steely rosa and impregnation. >> now a hearing on pilot fatigue and aviation safety. federal aviation administrator randy babbitt recently appeared before a senate subcommittee to address new air safety regulation proposals. including one that would increase the flood experience required of commercial airline pilots. this hearing of the senate commerce subcommittee on aviation operations runs a little under two hours. >> we are going to call the meeting to order. we welcome today the honorable randy babbitt, the administrator of the federal aviation administration. we have held a number of
11:03 pm
hearings recently on the issue particularly of safety, and fatigued in related matters and this hearing is a hearing to discuss a wide range of issues with the administrator. mr. babbitt is going to be talking about what he has been involved then down at the faa. he is involved in the number of actions. shortly after he was sworn in as administrator of the faa he held a call to action meeting and that call to action meeting broadband where regional air carriers, pilots, pilots unions and many others to discuss and improve safety and to reduce risk. the call to action initiatives have led the faa to seek voluntary commitment from the air carriers to implement certain flight operations quality assurances and aviation safety action programs and various things. we will talk about that today.
11:04 pm
the faa has made progress in a number of areas and there are a number of areas where progress needs yet to be made. i held a hearing recently and we talked about the issue of fatigue and the fact that fatigue has been on the most-wanted list for 19 years of the mts bead and mr. babbitt and the faa are working on that. i was disappointed at the last hearing to understand the time has slipped and we will talk about that a bit with administrator babbitt as well as we are determined to try to drive this to a conclusion. it is the case that with commercial aviation in this country delivers about 800 million people per year to their destinations. 30,000 flights operate every day in this country safely. we have had some tragic accidents but few, and we also know how to prevent accidents in the future by addressing things that we understand are potential
11:05 pm
problems and cost potential risk. there are fatigue related accidents that have occurred in the last 20 years. one in my judgment quite recently when that caused a good many fatalities and it ought to require all of us to be urgence in our quest to the faa to make progress on dealing with these issues. a recent faa equipment outage has caused some concern and we will ask about those today as well because it caused major delays and chaos across the country in the air traffic system. november 19th of this year and one in 2008. the bird strike issues and the hudson river mid-air collision, those are both issues, talking about the helicopters and fixed-wing collusion and the commercial airplane where races other issues.
11:06 pm
i know for the ntsb and also for the faa. airworthiness directives violations and i won't talk much about that except to say i will ask questions about them as well. when commercial airlines fail to comply with airworthiness directive that is a very serious problem and i know the faa has set to take remedial action there and then the issue of next generation or so-called nextgen changing the air traffic control systems and modernizing the system is very important because that will improve safety, improve safety, save fuel and do a lot of things. most people nowadays understand that you can access somewhere above the earth and get directions from that in order to move your car or to find the location of your friend with the cell phone. the problem is despite the fact that that technology is the mature and ready his it is not available in this country
11:07 pm
generally speaking for the movement of commercial airplanes. it is unbelievable to me. we still are doing is ground-based navigation in this guy's lindbeck gps navigation would be much safer. danley but not exactly where an airplane is in the sky. right now we nowhere that about where the fast traveling judge is. at that nanosecond that is where the plane was an for the next gov it seconds as this week goes on that council that airplane somewhere else. we don't need to guess about where airplanes are in the sky. nextgen and the modernization of the air traffic control system to a gps system is exactly what we need to do on an urgent basis and that is something administrator babbitt is very deeply involved in as well. all of these are very important issues. it administrative babbitt has a lot on his plate in me appreciate him being here today. i am going to become the center of do you want to say a word?
11:08 pm
i'm not going to have opening statements by and large but we have a number of other senators who will join us momentarily but i would be glad to call on senator johanns. >> mr. chairman that is a very kind offer. i concur with so many things that you said and wanted to indicate that. but i can only be here for about 45 more minutes so maybe it is best that i pass on the opportunity to make an opening statement. if i have anything we will submit it to the record and we can proceed with the first witness. >> senator johanns thanks and thank you for your open participation. mr. babbitt when you have only recently, that is in the recent months taken the reins of the very large agency and we appreciate that and we want to hear your comments today and open it up for questions. as i have indicated we have another-- number of other
11:09 pm
senators but you may proceed. your entire statement will be part of a permanent record. >> thank you very much chairman dorgan, members of the subcommittee. thank you very much for inviting me to testify and on behalf of the federal they aviation administration to discuss the faa's ongoing months save the. safety is of course the most important mission of the agency and the officials take this mission and their role in it very seriously. at the onset of this hearing i would like to take a moment technology group of family members that are attending this hearing this morning representing the family members of passengers who died earlier this year in the colgan accident. any aviation fatality is taken very seriously by the faa and of course by me personally and walleck and only imagine the grief and the painful process they are going through to come to terms with their loss we are very motivated to improve aviation safety so that other families could be scared--
11:10 pm
spared. i have met with family members on more than one occasion personally and i will do so again later today with secretary lahood. mises yet administrator peggy gilligan and her director have also met with them on a number of occasions and we remain in close touch with them to ensure that they know what we are doing in the key areas about which they have expressed concern. one of those areas is whether all pilots flying under part 121 regulation should be required to have an air transport pilot's certificate his. current regulations permit a first officer today to fly under part 121 with the commercial certification. >> ttp cert requires among other things that a pilot habit least 1500 hours flying experience. and abutt before the issue of an atp requirement was raised by members of congress and these families i had already asked my
11:11 pm
save the organization to start putting together an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to consider whether a new rating or endorsement could be established and that would require more of than what is currently required for commercial certificate but would focus again more on the actual elements required rather than the 1500 our requirements to obtain an atp and instead focus more on discrete training in the quality of that training to achieve the rating. i am concerned that simply raising the quantity of hours required without addressing the quality and the nature of the time and the pilot experience and training may not insure the improved proficiency that we all want. and i would like to identify areas where an individual pilot received and successfully completes training to obtain professional operational experience in such areas as
11:12 pm
multi-crew operations, icing in environment, high-altitude operations just name a few. this option is more targeted than simply increasing the total number of hours required. which by the way a sense that once that number of his achieved that it would have resulted in a comprehensive set of skills that may not be the case. another area that has been the subject of much discussion is pilot fatigue. you mentioned this has been an issue for 19 years and i have personally championed the issue of pilot fatigue for every one of those 19 years. i have been deeply involved with this and not long after it became the minister i had dfa h.r. in aviation rulemaking committee, an art, to make a recommendation on this issue. parc began meeting in july and presented their recommendations to me in september. while consensus was not reached on all of the issues we were provided a very good framework to consider many of the issues
11:13 pm
that contribute to pilot fatigue. the time it was charted, committed to be extremely aggressive time schedule for the publishing of a proposed new rulemaking her. it turns out that may have been a little too aggressive. i have been briefed numerous times on the areas that need further analysis for this subject and the analysis remains underway. as frustrating as it is for me that we will not complete the analysis by air ten-year unschedule i have told the team working on this royalton take the time to make sure do we do this role right hand we have one opportunity and i wanted completed properly but i promise you it will be completed for coburn finally i want to mention the incredible wealth of information we received from our call to action held earlier this year. history has shown us that we are able to implement much better safety improvements and far more quickly and more effectively when we work together on the problems and solutions. i am a firm believer in communication building consensus
11:14 pm
but as i have said from the beginning where consensus can be reached it is my job to make a call and i will. if we will be issuing a report later this year to update everyone on the information we have received and recommendations that were made and how we are moving forward and i am confident from this that we have built a good foundation from which to issue guidance and possible further rulemaking, so mr. chairman that concludes my remarks and i would certainly be willing to answer any questions the u.n. the committee members might have. >> mr. babbitt thank you very much. senator rockefeller you have just arrived in which you want to make in the opening comments or would you like to begin questioning? i am happy to do for. >> i will put my statement in the record. i want to say to randy babbitt that i'm feeling very guilty because you called me a couple of times. i have been lost and something called the deepest weeds bob
11:15 pm
saha of health care nonstop and i want to apologize to you because i think you were doing a terrific job, so do you excepts my apology? >> absolutely. >> mr. chairman i will confer to you on questions and take my regular order. >> senator rockefeller thank you very much. let me begin asking about the issue of fatigue since you commented on it. you formed arc then they met july to september in dnl have some recommendations, but further analysis needs to be done. both the recommendations and further analysis that is underway, will it relate in any way to the issue of commuting or is commuting outside of the range of vision on this particular rulemaking and if so, why? >> yes sir. the arc, i was asked to address
11:16 pm
within their comments for a proposed rule. they were briefed on the issue. both, all the parties involved in that arc did not come up with any conclusions. they instead said that committing was an issue. they felt it was outside of the boundaries of what they were looking at in terms of the fatigue rule. i do plan wintley issue the nprm, i do plan to put the observations into the proposed rule which will make it available for comment. i think everybody appreciates and some of the issues here and i think for the record and for your understanding, you should or perhaps i can explain it a little bit. my focus here is on fatigue gant my focus is on making certain that when a pilot shows up and takes responsibility to carry, whether it is to passengers, 200 or 250 passengers, they have an
11:17 pm
obligation to show up fit both physically and psychologically to undertake the mission they have got, so it is more of a concern to me that we ensure that they show up, not the reason they became petite but what i am more concerned about is that they show up not fatigue. people can be fatigue for a lot of reason. the 2:00 phonecall to take a child to the hospital. someone decided to play an extra 18 holes of golf before they went to work and arnell tired and shouldn't have, but we have for years depended upon professional responsibility and we have tried very hard. the right to the extent i have the bully pulpit that have pushed the professionalism issue with some degree of success and we have reminded people not only does the pilot have a professional responsibility, the carrier has a responsibility. it is a shared responsibility that the not put people who are not fit to work.
11:18 pm
i think some of the awareness put on this issue recently has shown some benefit. we had a very unfortunate incident not too long ago, an embarrassing had incident in our profession where a pilot was observed by others and the crew to not be fit for flight and the pilot was removed so the system does in fact work and we need to keep emphasizing on it. and as i said, commuting will be in nprm and will be available for comment. >> administrator babbitt hematic comment and let me comment on what he said at the start of your statement. there are a number of people i see in the room who are family members of the victims of the colgan air crash. i am convinced that when all the dust settles on all of this that their activities, relentless activities on behalf of members here, their loved ones, will end up saving lives because they are relentless in trying to make
11:19 pm
certain that nobody gets on an airplane in the future with a pilot and co-pilot that apparently have not been trained for one of whom has not flown in icing, both of whom have traveled a fair part across the country in order to get to waystation either who have been in a motel room to rest for the evening, flown on all night flights. i am convinced that their relentless push her of us and the view is going to make a difference, so with that as a precursor, and it just seems to me that the notion of saying we expect everybody to be professional is not obviously just the answer. >> question is if you now have a system in which fatigue had clearly plays a significant role and training plays a significant role, how do you fix the system and a way that at the end of the
11:20 pm
day leads you to believe you have better trained crews in the cockpit, better rested crews in the cockpit. that is the key for me but i have a lot of questions. let me just ask one more and i have questions about nextgen and silwan that we want to cover before you leave. but, it seems to me that you must look at the fatality-- totality of all the issues facing these pilots and the crews of these commercial airliners. you said that when you don't know whether when, let me say it differently. you indicated that for you the question of an hvp certification is not the number of hours you have, that is what kind of training have you had. if that is a qualitative judgment, and it is, then how are you going to describe that? we have all of these discussions a week or so ago about how many
11:21 pm
hours it would take to get on with an airliner ten years ago and how many hours it takes nowadays to go find a job in a commute. very, very different so tell me how you would measure this qualitatively? >> what we have proposed, what we have an hour advance notice would be an endorsement. we used this process today. for example someone with a commercial pilot's license who would like to fly an aircraft capable of operating in very high altitudes. we have a number of planes today that can operate at 25, 30,000 feet pressurize. commercial use you know when site into that environment so you have to obtain an endorsement and have some very specific and tailored training as to how to operate in that environment to recognizing hypoxia, recognizing what affects the thin air has on the wing and the engine performance, the nehr wing of the flight
11:22 pm
envelope, the stall and the maximum speed become closer and closer in thin air. all of this is training for high-altitude operations. i am suggesting is a first of that we take a commercial pilot and say if you want to work for a 121 operation you need more experience. you need to demonstrate to us that you have had multi-crew training. you have operated with cockpit his resourced training management. you have had exposure to high altitude operations, the jet engine operations. all of these things would be alamance tort endorsement. i would further say, i'm not so convinced that the atp we have today gives us the elements that we need. i am suggesting when we finish with this i think the adp requirements, i have testified here and i have testified in the house. i actually was on the flight that landed behind air florida, eastern airlines flight 1482 and i was the aircraft that landed
11:23 pm
behind the aircraft that took off. debt airplane had military pilots, very well trained. both of them had atp's. the first officer had never seen an airplane deiced. that pilot was not trained for the mission when and what we are saying is we want to ensure that every pilot has seen every possible scenario that is going to be presented to them whether they have 1500 hours or 2500 hours doesn't give me the comfort that we have achieved that training. i would much rather have somebody with 1,000 hours that have been exposed to stimulators. we have the capability with high fidelity simulations to expose pilots to every potential one fireman. >> mr. babbitt coday pilots peony coppitt today similar to-- that had not seen deicing previously? how was it after 30 years that nothing has changed? >> why that is a question that i
11:24 pm
have had six months to work on so far, but that is one of the reasons. >> it is just unbelievable to me a commercial license might give you the right to flight eight cessnas 210 and use pressurized aircraft and use a flashlight to see how much i.c.e. is on your wing it might but that doesn't give you the capability it seems to me to get in the cockpit of a commercial airliner and fly 150 people. >> you are absolutely correct and i could use myself. i was hired with a commercial license but i flew co-pilot for ten year soleil gain that experience. i was mentored and i think we depended on a system that took a significant amount of time. what we have seen in cases where you have rapid expansion in carriers you can hire someone then suddenly you have got someone in the left seat with three years and someone in the right seat with one year and that is where the system begins
11:25 pm
to show its weakness. >> senator rockefeller. ben i will call on senator johanns. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. babbitt you have your call to action and your call to action is very important because it seeks again i am getting bill a little bit of center dorgan's idea of what of these things ought to happen as opposed to these things are going to happen in your call to action, you are asking for voluntary commitments from air carriers were to implement flight operations, quality insurance and all of these things. some of these voluntary commitments are also sought from labor unions to establish professional standards, peer audits, new procedures etc. i want you to know that our faa
11:26 pm
bill includes that all of these will be mandated, okay? so it is not a question of discussion in a more but i am interested in how you are doing on this. because the airlines are in trouble, because big airlines and little airlines, everybody is in trouble. the word voluntary, do the best you can, becomes a way of not crushing the eggeman tashman them economically. on the of the hand when it comes to passenger safety you can't worry about that. if amtrak went broke because we work in forcing upon them safety standards or any airline because we are enforcing on the states which were on the public interest which kept passengers saved, we would do that because that is our job. their job is to try to make it in a bad economy and that is very hard but we can't shy away from our responsibilities, so how you sort of size up your
11:27 pm
call to action had and how are your voluntary commitments being received? >> yes sir. >> call to action was a fairly robust call to action and called for a number of things. why i think perhaps inadvertently, we found one that made its pretty effective, and what i asked the carriers to do was to advise us of everyone who had any of these safety programs that are out there but i also put them on notice that i intended to call them now and i said you have by the end of september to advise me whether or not you left on this and i'm going to publish the list of those who have lent, and we did. it is remarkable the increase in participate shin bet. between the end of september and the end of october. we have a good number that responded and said yes we are doing this but we have a good number that didn't and we put them up on our web site. we let people know that these
11:28 pm
for carriers to chose not to do what we ask them i am pleased to say that of the 98 carriers we have had positive responses from 80 who were now engaged in all of these programs, either have them in for store because for example the program requires some technology which they are adopting and we are monitoring. we shouldn't consider with some of those carriers are very small, and we actually should excuse a few of them. for example-- i have been very happy that the unions by the way chris wanted 100%. >> i just say as a matter of my personal philosophy that it is a tricky balance but in the end it isn't. between when we are on hard economic times, i mean there is a question here i have about people traveling on christmas
11:29 pm
vacation. in fact they are going to do a lot less traveling this year. we know that, but and that is because of bad economic conditions, but there are certain things and boling public safety where you cannot compromise on safety. you just can't do it. we can do it. you can do it. and previous people who might not have been as strong as you are, we can't let them do it for the sake of keeping harmony or open relationships. we have to bring the hammer down and make sure that consumers comforts. that is the philosophy of the committee, consumers come first. that is the new philosophy of this committee but it is a philosophy. one quick follow-up. one the nextgen which has been driving me crazy for a number of years that we can get it done and we are still behind monglia with respect do you know, gps and all of the rest of it. that is only because they are
11:30 pm
building their first system but nevertheless it makes a point. and, it is going to be great for him air-traffic comptrollers and four pilots because they will be able to tell how far away they are from each other. people will be able to land more frequently because they will have virtual vision. what will be the effect on passengers in terms of safety if we have the nextgen system in place? >> badders basing clearly and more reliable update's of the aircraft positioning. senator dorgan mentioned some of the pieces in his opening remarks that will be there. i think there's a lot of ancillary benefits we can talk about as well. not only safety in the aircraft but safety in the environment, a lot less carbon emissions, a lot less noise from imprimis all impact. the fact that the situational awareness of the pilot is much enhanced and the situational
11:31 pm
awareness for the comptroller is much enhanced. it is going to be a huge benefit and i realize, i have come into this situation and i nowhere it is now, but i am really pleased that we are beginning to see some pretty rapid acceleration in deployment. we now have initial operating capability in louisville. the comptroller can see all of the ntsb. at the gulf we will be announcing a much more robust announcement but we are actually on a trial basis now using ads-b in the gulf. what does that mean? that means 10,000 people a day that move back and forth all day, there are only 4,000 oil rigs out there and we moved 10,000 people a day in helicopters without radar. now we can see those aircraft and they can see each other and they can navigate better. both the separation and their
11:32 pm
safety, so all and all think it is enormous for all lympho. >> mr. chairman one final 32nd answer. why don't we have that system in place now? why have we been talking about it for so long? why is everybody been willing to step up to the plate until they find out it may cost them some more money? the president gave a great speech at oslo this morning talking about responsibility of all countries to do all kinds of things, and you know, we don't, we can't get it done. what is your theory of that? >> i think part of it is probably our own fault. i don't know that we ever really explained or made available to the understanding in the savings that were available. we didn't make the business case it the will that you can save an enormous amount of money. fica make a good business case today. i can show you that the commercial airlines will save a
11:33 pm
billion dollars in fuel. that is 2 billion in savings in the system only cost $6 billion. anybody with a business sense would say this is a great deal. i should have one of these. so we should be doing a better job in the business case. until some of mass is developed for people who have the equipment, the airports don't benefit and the traffic doesn't benefit from it. i have used the analogy of hd cable operator and he wanted to buy the box. i will buy the box when you have enough channels and i will put enough channels on when enough of the by the boxes so i think we have come to the point where we say look, we need to do this. you need to put the channel son and we need to buy the boxes. >> thank you. senator rockefeller as a-- senator demented not make a statement. did you get something to say? >> senator dorgan thank you for your persistence on safety, and
11:34 pm
i would just like to submit my opening statement for the record. again thank you senator rockefeller as well as our ranking member. the thing i'm just listening for today is is how do we, i think is you have heard how do we push this over the hump and get this done? i know we have that legislation in place but the fact is the matter what we try to legislate we are not the experts. we don't, some maybe pilots but certainly not to the degree we are talking about here. and the need for the industry to try to come up with these standards of working with you so that they fit somehow with the legislation we are writing, i don't want a political situation to a safety issue. at the same time we don't want to wait decades longer to get safety standards from the industry. just your perspective administrator babbitt in a to
11:35 pm
appreciate all you have done since you have come into office, but what we are trying to do is push this to the end and the big part of it needs to come from your side, from the carrier side, from the pilot's side. >> i appreciate that very much. i have pushed a lot of these. i actually have the benefit of probably being the loudest and most vocal advocate of safety in the 90's so i appreciate what some of these take. one of the things that i have done, we put in, and i also appreciate the concern about something being voluntary but i also have learned what it takes to know create a regulation and so what i have done is ask people to do these things on a voluntary basis until we can get to the point of moving it into legislation. we are working with congress and i appreciate the help we are getting. some of these information for example, if it were in our hands would be discoverable and
11:36 pm
therefore people would be reluctant to give it to us. left in the hands of the carrier's it is not. we are working with all the committees in both houses to find ways that we can immunize this information so that people will continue. >> i see that is the key here. if you can become that best practice headquarters where you can pull these voluntary standards, these creative new ideas to make things safer and you create the critical mass but as you said they are not going to do that it could create some form of liability or public exposure, so maybe that is something we can do to make sure that anonymously or otherwise that these ideas are sent to you hen you can continue to give us those from the ground ideas of what we really need to do to make things safer. >> i would just add one point. we are here today forensically
11:37 pm
looking back at a very tragic accident. i would love to be able to have, what we do today we find the cause of the accident. i want to find the data before the accident. i want to find ways to get the information to wessel that we can predict the accident so we don't have hearings like this. you can be talking to me about budget issues are something and not about tragedies that happen. information is going to take us through that. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you mr. chairman. let me if i might mr. babbitt in the short time i have, focus on four i think really important things. i want to talk to you about this communing issue. i want to talk to you about pilot experience, salary and salaries for pilots and then probably as important of-- as all of those, equipment. help me understand commuting. let's say i'm a pilot and i live
11:38 pm
in san diego, but the flight that i am going to fly originates in new york city. and ameet back-and-forth between san diego and new york city. that flight from san diego to new york city that i make every week to get on my flight, how is that factored into safety regulations or is it? is it just not counted? >> no, there currently-- is currently not counted in commuting, while i don't think the majority of pilots commute, it is difficult. pilots in the traditional times whitcomb null] based on some short-term event. in other words may be a piece of equipment was offered in another domicile and they would bid that domicile so they would commute within their own system but i
11:39 pm
think if you look it to meeting you will find the fest majority is limited to commuting and do their own systems so for example in colgan i think they had two bases. they have a base in virginia and the case in new jersey so if someone took an assignment in new york then they would commit on their own airline or in a variety of ways. long-distance commuting is something a little different. but no, it does not count and pilots, we have depended on professionalism. i committed myself for five years. i committed to new york. it was available there and not available there. >> i'm not questioning any bodies professionalism and understand the issue of moving-- living away from home. all of us do that here but i would tell you flying back and forth even halfway across the country every week is hard work. it is tiring, it is exhausting. you starts the week and you feel like you haven't had a break.
11:40 pm
adjusted our own experience, and i am not flying the airplane. i am sitting in the back catching a cat nap. that can't be a good thing. and i appreciate what i'm suggesting here probably turns the system of sight down but if you show up tired, you can't fix that until you get some rest. >> that is correct in their role as it is stated today and perhaps it is insufficient as is what is being suggested but the world today says that you won't show up tired. you have a professional responsibility estes the carrier to make certain your fit. >> we don't place that, do we? we don't police that. i mean nobody is standing there saying did you fly through the night to get here? >> no. >> let me ask you a little bit about experience. i always assumed that the pilot, co-pilot were equally capable of
11:41 pm
taking over in flying that airplane. i always thought that that was the safety valve i had. i am beginning to question whether that assumption was correct. i am beginning to wonder whether co-pilot is training ground. co-pilot is there hopefully to someday get to a point where they can be the pilot. it is that a more accurate reading of this than what i thought before? >> both pilots are very well qualified. they go to the same basic training procedures. the captain has more stringent requirements in his training. regardless of whether the co-pilot has an air transport pilot ready or not the co-pilot simply doesn't have to demonstrate some of the maneuvers of the captain has to demonstrate and along with that the co-pilot also can perform some of the functions in certain weather conditions. there are more restrictions on what his capabilities are.
11:42 pm
recognizing that everybody has to start somewhere. utopia would be that every parlett in every airplane had flown as a captain for five years but that can happen so we do put restraints, we say the first officer is new he can't fly with the new captain. we make certain for steve lies with the check pilot to his training to watch him for the first 100 hours he fis. next he can fly with someone but it can't be an inexperienced captain. diesta also have a significant amount of time as a line operating parlett in order to have the co-pilot so months go by with his pilot get some exposure so there are some protections in their but reality is it simply is impossible that everybody could come in qualified with experience in their pocket. everybody has to start somewhere in the way we protect that is by restricting some of the things we allowed them to do is a first officer with not enough demonstrated experience.
11:43 pm
>> is the training grounds or level of experience difference if i am flying from six scottsbluff to laramie then if i am flying from new york to san diego? >> no, sir. once qualified on the airplane and some routes actually require for example high-altitude airports, airports and foreign countries that have unusual approach procedures might need unusual trading but other than that you are completely qualified to operate the aircraft in the system. >> let me ask a quick question that i could and i'm going to back pass on salary although that worries me. i am just going to say that somebody who is making that kind of salary i don't know how they are supporting their family and maybe it is not a role to get in the middle of that but it could impact safety and is our responsibility. i want to get to equipment. when i was governor we had a state plan and i will never
11:44 pm
forget the first day the pilot turned back and he said i am turning on the de-icing, and i kind of looked at the wing and you could see some ice building up and then i saw this balloon expand and i thought to myself ball, that is it? tell me about this buffalo flight, the kind of equipment that they were using. i just want your honest assessment about how good that equipment is in a flight pattern that is going to deal with icing issues i would think on a regular basis. >> that airplane, we are, we just issued a very, a very exhaustive icing rule which is replacing again recognizing the time it takes to put one of these rules out, we made emergency action on over 100 airworthiness directive following two criteria for both how the equipment works in the
11:45 pm
instruction and the recognition of the pilots of when they are beginning to the eyes of those were very important steps. that airplane was completely compliant. while this investigation is not complete guide don't believe it is going to find and i don't want to prejudice and ntsb investigation and i'm not going to comment on that but i don't believe icing was the causal factor. the causal factor was the failure to recognize a very fundamental stall warning and fundamental inaction or improper response to a very basic warning that the crew had been well trained for and simply did not follow procedures. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you very much senator johanns. senator begich. >> thank you very much mr. chairman and thank you administrator babbitt for being here. as usual i try to attend these when you are here because i obviously have some parochial issues but also some broader suites. just a couple of comments on the last issues which i obviously
11:46 pm
view this hearing is an update on fatigue but a general update on your survival for six months so far in this first one is in a less the hour flight service stations and a less the or not contract edell. we are the only one that is not contracted out. all of the rest of contract it services and of course we appreciate that. we think they do a great job. my concern is that there are vacancies occurring. training is not occurring to replace those people in what i am starting to hear is that the folks are concerned that basically faa has let them peter out so they can have an excuse to contract out on that concerns me and i wanted to leave from a personal experience as someone who has to fly a lot in alaska, most recently on a regional small eight cedar coming out of a small town in anchorage international which, i cannot recall volcanic ash that close
11:47 pm
for a period of time, we were circling multiple times because the fog was so thick which i had never seen since i was born and raised there, had never seen it this thicket of course the stations were doing what they were doing, giving us the right information and we are also getting a little concerned about fuel because it was an intent to go further than where we were headed. we did end up cutting through the fog and visually based on the service recommendation of landing in a different airport. the poor person that was with me from washington d.c. have never been on a small plane and had the experience of their lifetime but the service centers are critical and the people that run those we greatly appreciate. i don't want to discount what goes on in the lower 48 but what we have done in alaska has been a very good job. we have the capacity to trade these folks in alaska but the concern is that they are not filling the vacancies with the rumor mill with this is of their
11:48 pm
qanta contract it out so i want to make it very clear we are not interested in contacting and i would like to get to the point, not do it now but to the point where you can give me an update on what is happening and what the vacancies are, what the plan for a vacancy as. those are critical people for conditions in alaska and my experience was about a month and a half ago, and it reassures me the quality of people we have working there, so if you could. >> yes, sir. you have a very high quality team up there and it is a unique environment. let me assure you we are looking at this. we recently had a new federal ruling that allows us to do two things. one continue with people who would otherwise be looking at retirement. if they would like to stay they may. we can go back to people who thought they wanted to retire and thought later gee whiz i would rather be working again. this new federal rule allows us to go back to what was previously prohibited.
11:49 pm
we can now we engage them. i don't have the full details but i will get back to you in your office to make sure we have the staffing levels that are required up there and i have no intent of making any change in that environment so that i think can assuage that fear for you. >> the second one which i want to thank your office four, we have to get waivers for oxygen to be moved by plan. as you know your deputy minister help a great deal with the. literally we were in some cases two days away from losing their capacity to have oxygen to live and we had the waivers and i appreciate your office but the one thing they didn't grant, which is waivers, again, for oxygen tanks for construction. they are using them for weldon and so forth. we are now transporting these 250-pound containers on snow machines across the tundra and the winter. i don't know if that is very safe to be frank with you
11:50 pm
because they are not going on a smooth ride so if you could look into that. q2 the first half which was fantastic and literally made a difference in people's lives overnight. it is a unique transportation of those facilities. we cannot be it by road. let me follow up on a couple of things. i only have a few seconds left but when pilots are denied by their carrier not to fly because of fatigue, is there a record by the airlines when that happens? do you know how many of us have ever occurred? in other words were an airline says do you know what, you look a little too tired or the pilot says i am too tired. is there such a record documentation that you could say they are actually doing it? >> those records are being maintained senator they are being maintained by the carriers. i will tell you that i think a number of carriers have addressed this pretty
11:51 pm
aggressively. they have what they call commuter letters were a pilot, if the community itself is with some fatigue they have the vehicle which they can take themselves off of a flight. again this is an industrial solution so it is different on different carriers but some of the carriers that i have seen, the language allows them to take themselves off of the flight ended return they are willing to make up a flight on another day when they are arrested. others have different ways. >> i don't mean to interrupt to administrator but, to random reviews-- i mean i don't want to be critical of the airline industry because generally it is an amazing safe industry overall, but we have some issues. but what they tell you and what you see maybe two different things so do you have authority and capacity to say i want to
11:52 pm
see last month of how many people you, pilots is said no i can't fly because of fatigue or you have turned away? to you have one capacity and have you done that? >> we have not made that recommendation to my knowledge to go in or requested that type of fixed-- inspection. >> so you have legal capacity? >> i don't believe we do. i don't believe we do but i see no reason why as long as we kept the information proprietary that the carrier if we said how many people called in sick last month and how many people called in sick and how many said they couldn't fly due to fatigue, not illness but fatigue. i am very comfortable carriers would share that with this. >> i have gone way past my time here. your example of what you posted on the web site, with people not paying their bills than they put it on the web site. it was the amazing the
11:53 pm
collection spiked rapidly. i think that is a good idea. take it one more step. was glad to hear about it today. >> thank you center begich. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you administrator babbitt. let me say first of all that we must knowledge in the overall house how safe our aviation system is and we make that our highest priority and it is your highest priority. and we will always do that. however as we all know the colgan flight 3407 is weighing on our minds and we have learned a lot from the investigation but we now must act. let me first ask you, on the timetable i understand that the end of january is when you are looking at the studies and the data but then you have proposed
11:54 pm
rulemaking and that drives out. so, let me ask you and you know that we sent qa butter, a very bipartisan led by senator dorgan and senator rockefeller but also senator demint and i signed it along with other members of this committee, senator than coke, senators no, senator klobuchar, really bipartisan saying how can we do this faster? so that is there a question to you. >> when they put the notice of proposed rulemaking we are obligated by the rules of federal procedure to take common-sense people have the, window that they have to observe. we have to then digest those comments. a good example would be one that has slowed down a rule that is again parallel to this that is near and dear to me, this section for training pilots. we have 3,000 pages of commons that we are obligated to digest, summarize and then incorporate if we could, so i really don't
11:55 pm
have a direct answer is to how to make this faster but i can assure you if there are gaps in their we will close them as quickly as we can. >> could i ask you though, don't you have an emergency authority as well? if you see something that you think can be addressed quickly, i mean when we have had the screw on the cappi not correct, you have done emergencies are the faa has in the past. is that a possibility in this instance because people are really concerned especially about the tired, the fatigue issue. >> part of our call to action, we reviewed with all of the carrier's the fatigue end risk mitigation procedures and the carriers have been very willing to comply. i think the unions, i was very pleased to see several unions take a very progressive action
11:56 pm
with serious pieces in their publications with their members. the airline pilots association editorial, and you know when i say that we have to remember every day 20,000 pilots are going to go to work today and they are going to do a great job. they are professionals. we are trying to find two or three that aren't and that is the hard part, so. >> let me just ask you this. will you reserve the capability if you see something that can be done on a more expedited basis, on a temporary measure obviously but while you were in this rulemaking, not to overreact if you do not see fit to, to act. but, will you at least hold open the possibility that if you see something that can be done more quickly that on a contemporary basis he could do an emergency if you decided it was warranted?
11:57 pm
>> the data that we have indicated we had a gaping hole somewhere, absolutely abd act and i appreciate the letter you will have written. it is hard to convey and there but there's nobody pushing this any harder than i am internally and i have been added it long time, and this is something near and dear to me as well. i should mention that one of the areas we asked people to respond to and 80 of 98 carriers responded so we now have foux paux, we have asap programs, voluntary programs. >> that is very positive. >> very positive. onesy didn't and those cases had a pretty good reason. they are too small with one or two parlett sor airplanes. >> let me just say in closing that i am very concerned along with senator rockefeller. we had an amendment in the stimulus bill to try to have some incentives for private investment in nextgen.
11:58 pm
he asked the nextgen question which i would have fasted he hadn't asked it first but i would say it is probably our highest priority, the chairman and myself for the next step in safety as well as preparing for the capability to have the robust airline industry that we want to have as the economy gets better and people are able to travel in our airlines it stronger so know that that is something that both of us consider very important and if we can go forward with some public-private partnerships or incenses i am certainly going to be supportive of that as well, so we will work with you on that. thank you very much. >> thank you very much and let me reiterate nextgen as for me as well as a major priority. it enhances safety, there's no question about that and we have got a lot of issues with nextgen. in my judgment it is not acceptable to have 2020 and 2025
11:59 pm
in date sir. we need to move progressively and quickly and i share in senator hutchison's comments. nextgen has to be a significant priority and we will have additional hearings on that very subject. senator klobuchar. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. thank you for holding this hearing and thank you director for being here again. let me say first of all nextgen as a priority for me as well and i would reiterate what senator hutchinson said that our air transportation system is without a doubt the safest in the world but clearly we cannot rest on our past achievements in this point was proven earlier this year with the tragedy of colgan air flight 3407 which brought the safety of our airlines back into the public eye in what was so chilling to me was to learn about these fatigue issues, to learn about some of the training issues that regional flights and the most chilling was the conversation that was recorded
12:00 am
between the captain in the first officer when the first officer told the pilot i have never seen icing conditions. i have never deice. i've never experienced any of that. as a result the started looking into these de-icing rules and i was shocked to find out and you were not at the helm at the time that the de-icing role has been pending for 12 years. i raised this issue earlier in a letter to secretary lahood a few weeks ago. and i was please. i worked with the new allbright's to move it out of omb and we were able to now get it out for public comment but that is 12 years and i was just thinking when you said 3,000 pages for this newest rule even if you had 3,000 pages for this the icing rule it would be 250 pages a year or something over a 12 year period. ..
12:01 am
12:02 am
overflight issue out of the twin cities airport where the flight, the carrier couldn't be doing personal e-mail and texturing and looking at your computer but there wasn't a for will in place as we were trying to solve and the congress right now. the other issue emerged has been the adequacy of flight schools and the captain was noted as a student in flight school that in the short of six months many of these pilots landed jobs at regional carriers. can these students -- autrey students to be pilots in such a short time to adequately prepare them to fly 100 people in the air? i think there's been a misunderstanding i am somehow opposed to the idea we would
12:03 am
have better training. i was looking at better training before anyone brought the issue up. i'm concerned about the elements of training and i'm concerned we are not giving people the elements they needed to do the mission they are doing. if somebody is going to be a crop duster for commercial aviation, they must learn things about low altitude flying and they better know that business pretty well. if you're going to carry passengers, to act responsibly of carrying anywhere from tens of hundreds of passengers with you, you have an obligation -- we have an obligation to make sure you have been trained and exposed to every potential we can imagine today and there will be the unknown has happened. you know, the flight into the hudson was a great example. i flew for 25 years and hit a lot of birds but no one ever thought you could and just enough birds to kill both engines. it happens.
12:04 am
>> so the training is key. the other thing we talked but is this idea of the regional airlines as kind of a farm team for the major carriers, and i've asked this before of people if this is seen as a stepping stone for a job with a major carrier and the answer is commonly yes. what i'm wondering about is how is the safety impacted when you have this type of system and if regional carriers understand that the pilots are only working for a short time or a number of them are what incentives to the regional carriers have to invest in these pilots and provide anything more than the bear minimum training if there's so much revolving door going on or people leaving the regional carriers and how do we fix that? >> i think a little bit -- i am not here to defend the regional airline industry but there's a little bit of a misunderstanding there. i worked -- lives in the private sector 42 years. i've been in the government seat for six months. so my exposure in the private sector is far more vast.
12:05 am
so william stand both sides, both large and small. there are any number of senior well qualified 20, 25 your pilots at the regional airlines. they love their jobs. maybe they live in small towns and -- it is a career for them and a lot of people. >> but how about some -- you must it met the younger pilots with training don't stay as long. do you think the regional airlines are investing has long and as much in their training especially after they start up with the airlines and major carriers and do they have the same kind of training facilities as the major carriers? >> many of them to. i can't speak for all of them but if you recall in our call to action one of the things we ask is that we go, and our inspectors went to every facility and reviewed with the head of training, our poi's,
12:06 am
principal operation instructors, and his we found areas of improvement. they were meeting the minimum standards to begin your also seeking from the call faction a number of large carriers -- most of the large carriers now are holding meetings with regional partners to ensure they have the same level of commitments to the training and safety for rooms and the discussions, how to better mentor all these things have gone under the table now. >> very much. >> senator klobuchar, thank you very much. senator soon. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the continued focus on this subject, and the legislation that the committee has been working on that will address a lot of these issues is as you know, mr. administrator, is under way. and i think one of the questions i raised in the past had to deal with the pilots' records and availability to prospective employer and those having to leave voluntarily turned over as
12:07 am
opposed to the prospective employer having access to those records, which i think is really important in making the higher end decisions and i know the legislation addresses that issue but i want to focus on a couple of things. one is you come in your testimony, talked about this distinction between quality and quantity, and i won't deny that there are -- you can't -- you know, i'm not playing in the nba because i don't have the skill level to get there. there is a difference between -- no matter how many hours i would practice. but i do think there is something to be said for experience and having sufficient number of hours -- and this is one of the issues of course that i think has been focused on as part of our deliberations here as well. but how do you square that up when you've got, say a dc9 that might be flight from minneapolis to sue fall sought to code that has 30 passengers what you might
12:08 am
have an r-ga that is full with 50 passengers? there is clearly the number of people that paul is responsible for the regional jet, could be more than someone flying a full-sized jet and to give the number of hours and requirements and the distinction that is made in terms of experience and when you elite to as the quality versus quantity distinction. i'm interested in hearing you elaborate on that because it seems to me at least the number of hours of experience the pilot has has got to be part of the equation determining whether or not that pilot is equipped and qualified to fly some of these plans. >> shore. well, it wouldn't really matter to me whether they had one passenger or 100. they should be as eminently qualified as we can make them. and in that case, everyone, whether they are fleeing a regional jet or triple 70 but
12:09 am
have to have a transport rating and exactly the same qualifications. what comes into the question is who can sit in the right seat, be the co-pilot and under today's legislation and regulations, that person can have a commercial pilot's license and over the years i eluted to i think we became somewhat dependent on the fact that traditional airline industry, the model 20 or 30 years ago ensures a co-pilot would sit in that right to seek a number of years and he or she would be exposed to icing and learn the trade sitting in the right seat and that was okay. but what we have today is a new airline from the higher 100 pilots. guess what, 50 of them are going to be captains and 50 are going to be copilots with no guarantee of any assurance for us that they have achieved any of this experience. so what i am suggesting is that in terms of the number of hours
12:10 am
and advanced notice of proposed rulemaking you put it out for suggestions and what i'm putting out or propose to put out as a rule that says you need if you are going to go to work for a 121 carriers it in the right seat and you need to bring the day you come to work a set of credentials that is completely superior to what you will be asked to bring today were allowed to bring today. you're going to have issing training and upset training and you are going to have operated in a multi-crew and simulate the environment. you will see all these things. what concerns me is to simply say that you need some number of hours, and i'm not sure what the number of hours is. maybe it is 1,000 hours of experience needed along with those elements. i also think that when we get past year i think i stated earlier we need to take a look. we have come a long way in technology. we have aircraft that do a lot more today than they did when the rule was written and some of the elements required to hold
12:11 am
the atp need to be revisited. the things i mentioned, the icing, high altitude of sets all of these things, the carriers now put them in -- but we need to have those -- that needs to be assurance when you go to work that you have those as a requirement. >> i guess the only thing i'm suggesting is i think there is a point at which quantity does matter where you have enough experience and i was operating in some of these aircraft, and i am not disputing the notion that quality and ability to fly in different types of circumstances and environment is important but there is a point where these pilots, there's an assumption i think sometimes that these smaller planes are not as difficult to fly there for you don't need as much experience, and that certainly is -- i don't think is the case, so i just wanted to focus a little bit on that. >> and i agree with you on that
12:12 am
point. sometimes the smaller operations into a difficult airports are very complex and require a high level of skill. >> the other issue i wanted to just mention, too, with regard -- and i think that senator johanns touched on it -- but that is the issue that can to play flight 3417 you had both pilots commuting. one of the things in the letter we assigned to you trying to get the focus on is the flight limits haven't been changed for a number of years, and the faa had a proposal and told the language for years and was pulled out after being out there for some time after some recent crashes dave revisit that issue, which is why the letter urged them to move forward. but as you might imagine, the airlines are not very receptive
12:13 am
to these -- to the idea that lower in flight times for the crew because obviously you're going to have to hire more pilots and that costs more and its way to impact scheduling and everything else. but i'm wondering, this issue of commutes before somebody gets on a plane to fly a plane and the way you calculate the limits the pilots, the number of hours they can fly -- how new -- with talked about this plan want to hear your thoughts and perspectives how that can be addressed because that is clearly very much at issue in this particular incident where you had pilots that came and, were sick, had had long commutes, sleeping where it for the crew is, wherever it is the log hours sleeping. but clearly ads to the amount of time that they've been flying and have been up, and i'm sure it's got to affect their ability than to be alert when it comes
12:14 am
time to actually fly the plane. >> that is an issue we talked a bill several times here. i am concerned that to simply come up with a prescriptive rule that identifies the pilot commuting really isn't that much burden on the carrier. the pilot would have to simply leave home earlier in order to get some amount of time -- i'm presuming everybody is singing you need to be some place in a zone but it's difficult when we begin to think about who decides who commutes and who doesn't? we draw a circle round. i will give an example. i've been based in washington, d.c.. much of my career i was in washington, d.c.. it's 55 miles to dallas. were they commuting? most of the troops were out of baltimore but sometimes we had to fly out of dallas. i hate to fly out of the dw law
12:15 am
because it was an hour-and-a-half drive and ifill was bad weather i was looking at a couple of hours if there was an ice storm. was on a commuter? i was based here. this is my domicile. as opposed we have so many ways somebody could show up for tea and it's difficult to put your arms are bound is it the fatigue or do we have a prescriptive rule that says you commute to come to have to be here 12 hours. we don't have any assurance if that 12 of ours was good rest. we don't have a way of measuring the quality of rest you got any more than we have of measuring i live here and i had a child of the midnight and it can to the emergency room at 2:00 in the morning and was due on the flight at eight. i have no business fleeing the flight but i'm not a commuter. so these are some of the difficulties we are faced with and the burden would be on the pilots, not the carriers. i will tell you on the unlawful you mentioned some concern in
12:16 am
the carriers say this could cost more money. if it is uniform to everybody it doesn't make a difference. if the price to the ka price of fuel those of 2 cents for all of that went up 2 cents for all of them and collectively they won't like that but at least it's not an unfair burden. you're not asking someone to carry a burden the author once don't and in this case is in the interest of safety and an interest they verso i am not concerned about the fact we might have some additional pilot staffing the would come from this. >> the only thing -- leyna when you're living somewhere and commuting you may commute an hour and a half or two hours to get to the airport to fly but i think there's a big difference between that and commuting from seattle to a flight that departs from new york. that is a very long commute and fatigue would certainly come into play. >> that's one of the ones where professional responsibility --
12:17 am
certainly wouldn't if i knew i was when you have to fly at 8:00 in the morning i wouldn't get on a flight at midnight and think i could jump suit all night long and have the expectation i would be ready to fly. >> thank you very much, senator thune triet administrator babbitt, i have a number of questions but we have a couple of our colleagues that probably wish to ask a second round. let me just, have questions about pilot records and equipment for november 19th so i want to ask and some of next-gen but let me ask about colgan air crash generally speaking because i thought you said earlier that he felt that the training was sufficient in the cockpit, and i guess i tried to read as much and learn as much as like the crash. 49 people lost their lives in their plan, that includes the crew of the aircraft and one person on the ground. as it looked through this it
12:18 am
seems there's a number of things that cause significant questions about that cockpit. i don't know whether it is just an aberration or just so happens this is the one airplane out of a lot of flights that because a lot of things went wrong this is the one that crashed as well but it doesn't exist elsewhere, or the question of the the training, just as an example. you are a pilot who's flown a lot. you know and i know maybe it was a stick pusher -- stick shaker went off first and then the stick pusher, and the crew prior to that time -- let me ask the question a different way. first of all, you indicated this wasn't ice. of course the reason that the nose had to go down was because of ice. the needed to pick up speed. the ice was causing drags of the needed to get the nose down.
12:19 am
i assume the stick pusher was reacting. what might understanding is that neither of the people in that cockpit had had in flight training on a stick pusher. so if you, god forbid, had been a passenger on that flight, would you feel like there had been adequate training on the least that portion of the procedures with respect to that cockpit crew? >> i think this accident has shown us that the fact that they were exposed to the stick pusher, which is the action of last resort. the sequence -- their plan had been in icing conditions the thir plan was not icing. it had its equipment on. >> it was icing but the boots were dealing with the icing, right? >> with a head on was begun to slow the airplane down and put a lot of drag devices out, flaps and so forth and failed to monitor the speed drop-off. when it dropped off the stick shaker went off and instead of giving full power, which they should have done, for some reasons known only to them, they
12:20 am
thought they could recover with partial power which they couldn't believe their plan then went to the second phase, back up phase and said if you're not going to lower the nose on will come and that's when the stick pusher took over. they had been exposed to that training but not in the fidelity we could give it to them, and i think we should look at that. >> have you been a passenger you would wish there had been more training on the exposure perhaps in flight or -- i'm just asking is there a training issue here? answer it seems to me is yes. then the question is is there an experience issue here? the person in the right seat talked during the recording she didn't have much experience or understanding about ice and and we know that the hours of both the right seat and left seat and also the pilots record in the left seat comes of this there and experience issue in the cockpit? >> i think this investigation is going to point to that. the training negative you you point out, why someone could be trained in something and then
12:21 am
not do what they were trained to do is what befuddles most of us. >> is the recommitting issue with respect to this flight? if you, god forbid, had been a passenger or a loved one of yours was asking these questions, and one person from seattle to new york, the other person from florida to new york with no evidence of either having been in bed, is there a commuting issue in terms of causing fatigue? >> commuting is what they did, but the lack of professional planning on their part is what really troubles me. why would you do that? why would you think that you could come yet -- why would you come home from vacation, you know, four hours before departure. >> i think a whole series of things came together in the cockpit that were certainly troublesome to me as an observer after the fact. training, experience, pilots' records, as you know the ceo of colgan indicated that had he had access to all of the pilots'
12:22 am
records that pile that would not have been higher. are you familiar with that? >> yes, sir. >> okay. training, experience, commuting, pilots' records. all four of those raise flags for me, and i guess my question is is that just an aberration and that one cockpit on that one airplane, or is that a harbinger of things to come unless something significant changes? >> i did get was a very bad collection of defense but i think we have the wherewithal going forward to remove each of those. any accident is always the combination of a series of things. if we remove any of them we wouldn't have had an accident. >> and i said before and always want to say that pilot and co-pilot were wonderful human beings who could not speak for themselves, and i always feel bad talking about the two people in that cockpit that lost their lives. on the other hand, we don't have a chance but to talk about that. and i also know, speaking of pilots and flight crew, senator
12:23 am
johanns pointed out much of us here to fly all the time. all the time. and we know -- we know that there are a whole lot of men and women who fly those their plans to do a terrific job. professional, great people. i admire their skills. so why don't -- i don't want this either to reflect on the profession. but i do want to make sure the things we now know, and i've cited some of them, represent an urgency in a faa in terms of response, because i think mr. babbitt, when you were nominated i expressed that i was pleased with that nomination. you've got a wealth of experience. and you also now understand -- i've described previously about trying to get through the labyrinth of government agencies like walking through white
12:24 am
cement. it's very hard, very hard to get things done, and yet i think you reflect -- you understand we are saying more want you to move aggressively. and i think you come to this job not wanting to be a caretaker. so we want to help you. i have other questions but i want to call on senator rockefeller. >> just wanted to comment, i agree with what senator dorgan is saying. i had a icing question, but i think that's been answered. and i just want to say, you know, you just sitting there and having observed what you'd do, you take charge. you're pro-active. you don't react, you are practiced by nature because this is one of the most difficult jobs in all of washington. it's also one of the most powerful jobs in off washington because you have a kind of power most americans don't understand, but we do.
12:25 am
i fly into west virginia almost never on a jet. by serve myself champagne if i'm actually at the end of a jet. we just don't have those. so i'm always concerned about the icing thing. i always worry because we have a lot of bad weather in those hills. the donner but i want to say is what i said the beginning. the nature of this committee has changed on all fronts, all subjects. it used to be sort of way go along type of committee and keep the planes running. we are not now. we are delving into -- we have a crew of investigative lawyers report just to me and they can go anywhere they want and uncover any wrongdoing they want and have access you subpoena
12:26 am
power freely at the health insurance can tell you all about that, so can the internet scan the industry tell you all up out that. that's what we are doing because we are fighting for people here and this is not a statement to you. it is a statement to everybody. we care first and foremost about consumers and their safety and we understand that we are in the economic difficulties. we understand everybody's the six every corporation that has a small jet or big jet or small prop or big prop they are all under pressure to the this was the general aviation industry. it took to the guy last night in texas. he says their sales are down something like 70%. you can buy a 25 million-dollar plan for 9 million. i think that is what he used. but we cannot be influenced by that with respect to the managing safety consumer
12:27 am
interest and i want that message to go out loud and clear to all within reach of my voice. thank you. i respect you. i think you are doing an excellent job. you have the personality, you have the straight ahead look. you answer questions directly. you don't of weight, and you are proactive. thank you. >> thank you. >> mr. babbitt, let me ask about the pilots' records. faa made a call of their action ability for potential employer to access all of the pilots' records; is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> good cooperation on that? >> usurp. >> use of laptops, personal communication devices in the cockpit during the operation, the commercial operation of an airplane -- my understanding is given what we have experienced what we saw with a commercial airliner over flying by one hour and 20 minutes or so the city that it was aiming for, the
12:28 am
pilots indicated they were working on their laptops on pilot schedules. i don't know what the real facts are, but that is what we know from public disclosure. we have introduced legislation to say that personal use of wireless communication devices like laptop computers by the pilots operating commercial aircraft would be banned. and i think personal use. i understand there are wireless devices that can be used in the operation of an aircraft as part of the operation. but personal use. do you support our legislation? >> yes, sir. >> are you able to do something like that administratively? i was surprised to find many commercial airline companies already prohibit this but the faa regulations would not and we just felt there ought to be a federal regulation that prohibits it. >> this may be one of those areas where it was so obvious he thought no one would need guidance, but anything that's distracting the cockpit, my only thing would be i would limit --
12:29 am
laptops can be quite useful in a number of carriers provide them. they have a basis for takeoff information to meet some of them have the flight crew manuals stored aboard the aircraft. that's fine. very good use of it. but anything, and magazine, doing sudoku puzzles on any of that -- and his distractions' should be forbidden to read my old carrier we were naive about to have magazines or newspapers in the cockpit period. if they were visible they were banned. >> november 19th the equipment outage that caused massive delays across the country, can you give a very brief answer what caused that and how can we have confidence that is not going to happen again? essentially something similar to that happened a year ago. >> yes, sir i'm very familiar with this one from about 525 in the morning and all i was very aware of this. what happened was a realtor in a
12:30 am
large network system was being replaced out in los angeles, and that router had been mapped and properly and when it was put on line it had a second problem and this probably shouldn't supplies any of us, there was a human error involved. the installation team had suppressed a warning system, so had they been put on with a warning system on it would have tripped itself off and 15 seconds we but have none instantly, but that didn't happen. it was allowed to go on line and put back the data into the by think it's important for everyone to understand safety was never compromised. what we lost was the ability to have our system automated, the ability to process flight information on an automated basis is what we lost. so the system worked. it identified it had a problem. it identified the data coming was erroneous and essentially it warned us to shut the system down. but it gave that warning much later than it should have done
12:31 am
to the human error. so as a result of that, i have as of about two days ago put together an oversight team. i have asked -- remember this was a contractor for us, so i have asked the cio's of the faa itself and the traffic organization along with feed omb, representatives of the department of defense and the d.o.t. all along with a couple of outside experts to take a look at this system and i want answers on two grounds. number one, the short term. what happened? how did we allow this to happen? number one, number two what do we do so that it never happens again? the second phase, which is a longer phase of this report is going to be take a good look at the network architecture. we are building a complete new infrastructure on this, and i want to make certain we have got a robust architecture that is protected and redundant and will never allow this to happen again. >> we are working with the faa
12:32 am
air force and others on the issue of air space for unmanned aircraft. as you know, the uav is or uas are a significant part of the future in a range of areas, and there is i believe in august 2010 target date i think that hank rakowski from your organization is working on this. i just want to mention that because it's important we continue to meet our decline there. and then i want to call on senator lautenberg in just a moment. i want to make one final comment and then have to be part and will allow senator lautenberg to ask whatever questions he wishes to ask. i said to ms. gillibrand, who was here about a week and a half ago, that we intend to monitor very, very carefully what is happening with respect to your rulemaking because ms. gilligan indicated some of that had
12:33 am
slipped by originally we were talking about december. she talked about january. you talked about today how difficult it is to do these things but you are committed. but time lines are hard. we, again, after, for example just on the icing issue, after 19 years on the most-wanted list, we really are going to be pushy, and we are doing that because we think it is essential at long last, long, long last to get to the end stage of this. you've been very very long time, i understand that. and you inherit these things that are unfinished, and then it's your responsibility to finish them and you will not like perhaps that we push, but we are going to push really hard. so we want a good relationship with you, one on which we push and you deliver and america's skies are safer as a result. again i said when i started i'm really pleased the you can see mine administrator. i think you bring a wealth of
12:34 am
experience to the job, more so than many others in the past years and you have the capability to do really good things and we want to give you the tools to do it and we want you to meet deadlines so i thank you very much for coming. i want to send a list of questions especially on the subject of next-gen because that is a significant priority of ours and especially targets and time lines are important there has senator rockefeller and hutcheson indicated. >> i would be happy as a matter of fact i suggested to some of the staff that perhaps we could give a quick tour and timeline of some of the things we are doing. i think you are going to see tremendous acceleration here. the components are coming together. some of the -- i appreciate some of the push you give. you should rest assured there is some of that going on internally from me so i would invite you and would be delighted to escort a group to show you live and in
12:35 am
color or we are doing with next-gen and with the potential is. i welcome that. thank you. >> mr. babbitt, thank you very much. senator lautenberg, would you proceed and adjourned the hearing when you are completed? >> okay. how long shall i proceed before i adjourn? [laughter] >> until you run out of breath or out of questions. >> four or five minutes. >> four or five minutes as the administrator suggests. [laughter] >> anyway, thanks for being here, and thanks, senator dorgan, senator rockefeller, for the constant attention to matters of air travel. i am informed that we have some of the people from the families of those who lost their lives in the colgan flight in buffalo.
12:36 am
and while there is a lot that we can do for consolation to let them know that they -- their presence and interest can help us get to a place where perhaps we can make sure that something like that doesn't happen again. so we are certainly pleased to have mr. babbitt as the administrator. he has been described with extensive experience and we have had a chance to get to know one another. and i am pleased the interest and the action that he is committed to taking to provide a safe travel. it's amazing when you think about it, about the record that has been composed over the years
12:37 am
in aviation in this country. but even juan haslet is one too many. we shouldn't ever have that happen. runway safety and aircraft over on its continue to be significant problems, mr. babbitt. recently a d.o.t. inspector general report highlighted dangerous runaway procedures at the newark airport. now, these procedures were brought to the attention of the faa nearly two years ago by a newark air-traffic controller, but yet the faa has just now proceeded to act. why did it take faa so long to act on the safety concerns raised by a veteran air traffic controller? >> that is a very serious issue for us, senator.
12:38 am
we have, i think that you should know, since i've been the administrator my chief counsel has created an office to completely revamp how we deal with whistle-blowers, and i guess the most important point i want to make is when someone raises a question and have to, quote come blow a whistle to get the information to us we already had a breakdown. we've already had a slip in the system. when people bring safety things we should be dealing with it and i want these handled differently. we had something went wrong. we had a failure of communication and understanding. something went wrong and i want to change that. >> so we can count on you to be a willing listener or make sure someone is willing, unbiased listener if complaints come from those in the system. >> that is precisely what we are trying --
12:39 am
>> there has been in the past some concern about security of the jobs by raising complaints, and we don't want to hear about that anymore because we will get them to the witness table -- >> and that completely flies in the face what we are trying to achieve with safety management systems. i've testified here and other places and i've spoken about it, and before every professional group, they can bring action and pressure for us, but we need to have a system that allows people to point out safety flaws that guide us to avoiding conflicting run we issues. any of these are worthy of being addressed and we need to find the vehicle to allow them to express it. >> certainly we know that when things go the other way, when an -- a mistake is all about, when
12:40 am
a bad practices threatening, that the faa should be quick to jump on it. and they should certainly be equally as quick to respond to something that comes from an experienced and working flight controller. i want to talk for a moment about colgan plight 3407. the first officer of that flight had a base pay of around $20,000. she traveled from seattle out of red light. she carried around some concerns obviously about her income, live at home with her parents, and she may have also been overrun at time of flight but was of --
12:41 am
afraid to lose the time she would not be paid for. so much pressure. you and i talked about captain sully, the pilot on the flight of the hudson. he was cut in recent years forcing him to take another job. given all the responsibilities that commercial pilots shoulder, should there be some review of salaries? it would be on extremely unusual that they don't send anybody up in a massive shuttle unless they know they are in good health. there are so many other situations where have the responsibility lies on an individual where their health is and -- their condition isn't a concern. and health includes reductions
12:42 am
in stress and ease of a facility to get to work. i'm not against people having to travel to get to work. but nothing that should happen is there should be sufficient time to get to work and have enough of a time lapse that they can have recovery time before they get in the cockpit. so, the question of incomes of to be somehow or other reviewed, and i would like you or your department to do it or we will do it from our offices, get some indication of what the salaries or they are consistent with the responsibilities that go into the manning of the cockpit and
12:43 am
an airliner. regional airliners operate half of all domestic departures. they move more than 160 million people each year. now, if we have one level of safety for both regional and major network carriers, shouldn't the pilots of the regional carriers be trained and compensated the same level as pilots from a major network carriers, particularly if they are flying identical routes? >> the data that he mentioned earlier on what those pay -- the compensation records, those are readily available. as a matter of fact, the report into a to the department of transportation. form 41 collects the data so we all know what they pay and it's broken down into a cockpit, mechanical etc. so the data is available to us. that is an area, compensation,
12:44 am
it varies from every carrier. the health of the carrier, and while i certainly, you know, have concerns, it might not shocked if you to learn i took a 20% pay cut and lost a portion of my pension plan, very familiar with the economic impact of the carrier is and stress and these things. but is still concerns me and should concern all of us that we won't continue to attract the best and the brightest of this industry if we can't compensate people. if we can't be assured they are going to have a pension plan -- i testified in this very building in 1990 to about pension reform, and the obligation that i felt the carriers had. that's not my role here today. but i am concerned that if the wages aren't supportive of attracting a qualified and intelligent people to these jobs, in the long run we will
12:45 am
suffer. and so that's not anything the faa can undertake, but i think the commercial airline industry -- and i would applaud secretary lahood, who has called a group together to study the long term. and he brought together folks from the industry, from the airlines, manufacturers, labor unions to sit down. and the question is what we want this airline industry to produce? we want it to produce service to small cities, good paying jobs with the baby mechanics or pilots. that is what we wanted we enable the system to do that so i applaud secretary lahood's action. he's going to in power that in about two weeks this group is going to get together and do. he wants a series of actionable items we can take. >> we had an incident in this room some time ago when there was a takeover attempt of one
12:46 am
airline by another. the acquiring airline was willing to pay $17 billion of cash to buy the other airline. the room was full of pilots from the acquiring airline. and i asked the question about of a ceo of the company if they had $17 billion available for the purchase of another airline why were they reducing pensions? the broome broke out in applause. i wasn't looking for that but the deal was broken because there was a difference -- different set of responsibilities between the their cooperation in determining what kind of compensation ought to be to make sure the pile that is flowing in as much as we can with any respectable salary that
12:47 am
says what this job is worth because people love to fly as you know and they will fly for almost any price, not just for income but for love of job and rendering service. in her 2006 the former faa administrator stated york liberty air-traffic control tower needed at least 35 controllers to move traffic safely. but right now there are only 26 certified and 80 trainees in manning the tower. they are supposed to have 35 trained. but they have only 26 fully trained. i've been asking this question the past five years. this time i would like to have it be the last time we discuss
12:48 am
this and i trust you, mr. administrator, to make sure if you don't have the resources to do this you have to let us know when will newark -- when will the new art tower be fully staffed with certified controllers? when will the guardia be staffed? and i just look at those in the region and why also at jfk are these understaffed -- maybe there can be technological reasons that say okay we can get by with it, but if that is the case you're going to have to tell us about it. and last, the faa has taken a major aerospace redesign and beat new jersey new york philadelphia region. the major overhaul of the flight
12:49 am
patterns has raised safety concerns from the controllers and could increase the malaise over -- vallese levels over many parts of new jersey. 2007, the faa official dismissed the noise problem at best a society issue. well, we can't say in good conscience that the quality-of-life issues affecting hundreds of thousands of people of new jersey should be considered redesign process. and there's also a concern about living in the past, on live path of an airport or takeoff. can we count on you to do that? and also willingness to hold a town hall meeting in new jersey
12:50 am
to discuss any the faa plan to address the safety and noise concern regarding aerospace design projects? >> yes, sir. i indicated in the past i think one of the areas that we have not done well is when we talk about air space redesign the people and immediately focus on some new thought it lines that didn't used to go over the area in which they live. we talk about airspace redesign and we have a couple of things if i could expand. we have a new contract with the air traffic controllers association. we are making a lot of efforts to have a much better dialogue and ability to communicate with them and the ability to collaborate with them on issues. i want their participation in this aerospace redesign. i welcome their participation. this is an environment in which they live. they do this day today and there is really -- you can have a lot of the academic studies.
12:51 am
but having the academic and the technical solution parallel with the practitioner gives you a far better product in my experience. so we want to do that. but secondly, i think it is incumbent upon us to let people know we are doing more than just changing the dotted lines. this aerospace redesigned -- and i think i noted in the past we were not redesigning it just because it's working so well now. it's not working well now and with the new technology we have we are going to be able to utilize a lot of new techniques -- >> we look forward to that, and i'm going to close this hearing, and once again convey our condolences to those who lost loved ones in the fight to buffalo. we are trying very hard and honestly. i address this to the people
12:52 am
here to make sure that we learn from mistakes and how terrible a mistake that was, how terrible an error in judgment that was in terms of having the kind of person in the cockpit that you could feel good about or obviously was unable to assist in that moment of emergency. with that, i close this hearing. thank you again, mr. babbitt. thank all of you for being here. [inaudible conversations] >> c-span christmas day a look
12:53 am
ahead to politics of 2010 including republican, eric cantor and nbc david gregory, buzz aldrin and fellow astronaut on the legacy of apollo 11. a discussion on the role of muslims in america and the world. later former cia intelligence officer on you this strategy against al qaeda in afghanistan. and starting 8 p.m. eastern, a member of the lives of william f. buckley jr. and senator ted kennedy. democratic senate leaders said today that they are likely to pass a health care overhaul by christmas. the senate health care passed the test early yesterday morning when 60 makers agreed to limit debate setting up the next procedural vote which comes early tuesday morning. so, next on c-span2, we will hear from senate republicans as they talk about the so-called deals made in the current health care bill. after that, senate democrats we in, and leader, remarks from the president on the senate bill.
12:54 am
>> mr. president, for weeks we've been debating legislation that will dramatically and permanently reform our health care industry. it will in fact the life of every american, and it will add to our growing national debt. on saturday, the majority leader filed an amendment increasing the size of this bill. early this morning at 1:00 a.m. we had a vote to proceed to the revised bill that makes really a mockery of transparency and public policy. yet, even though the majority took the opportunity to amend the bill, it is clear that the concerns of the american people or not heard by my friends on the other side of the aisle. i was astounded to see that this revised bill still contains half a trillion dollars in new taxes, half a trillion dollars in medicare cuts and mandates in penalties on businesses and
12:55 am
individuals throughout our country in a time when business is struggling, unemployment is up and families are trying to make ends meet. i want to talk about taxes. the revised bill has an additional $25 billion in taxes than the bill as introduced. we have been hearing for weeks about families that are struggling to pay their mortgage, struggling to find a job, struggling to pay their utility bills, and yet what to do we find in this new bill? more taxes and more mandates. the american people overwhelmingly oppose this bill, and just when we thought the final product couldn't get worse it does. under the revised bill, the taxes collected from individuals that could not afford health insurance has been raised from 8 billion to 15 billion almost
12:56 am
double. why? because the penalty for not purchasing insurance has become more severe. now if you cannot afford insurance the tax is either $750, or 2% of your taxable income, whichever is higher. there are still taxes that begin next month, less than two weeks from now. less than two weeks from now in this bill $60 billion in taxes on insurance companies will start, except for companies and to particular states. now that doesn't seem fair. fortunately, the constitution's equal protection clause may have something to say about this rios situation -- lambros situation. this will not stand the test of the constitution. i hope, because the deals that have been made to get votes from
12:57 am
specific states senators cannot be considered equal protection under the law. and if it does stand up, and the taxes start next -- two weeks from now, the people who have insurance are going to pay higher premiums, even higher than what has been projected already. in 2011 than we see the taxes on prescription drug manufacturers and medical device manufacturers. so the public can expect to see higher prices for medicines and devices. thermometers, blood sugar became a deacon machines, cannes, walkers, the things people need to stay healthy. that is another $40 billion on taxes. and then there's another round of taxes in 2013. $149 billion in taxes on high benefit plans.
12:58 am
a 40% excise tax on the amount by which premiums exceed $8,500 for individuals and 23,000 for families. $87 billion collected from the medicare payroll tax. now this bill is actually $33 billion higher than the prior bill. individuals earning more than 200,000, and couples earning more than 250,000 are now assessed at a tax rate of 2.35% for a new medicare payroll tax rather than 1.45%. so if you are a couple earning $125,000 each you have another tax increase. in addition to possibly a tax on what having insurance or high benefit plan, $15 billion will be raised by raising the
12:59 am
threshold for the medical deduction. to receive the medical deduction you must now spend 10% of your income on medical expenses rather than 7.5%. this tax will impact those have high medical costs or are suffering from a catastrophic or chronic illness. this bill taxes those who have insurance and those who don't. all of these taxes are collected. all the taxes i have mentioned will be collected before there would be the option that is the purpose of this bill. whatever the option becomes. it takes effect on 2014. all the taxes life mentioned start before 2014. senator thune and i had a motion that would have sent this bill back to the committee and
1:00 am
required that everything in this bill start at the same time. so if the program starts in 2014, the tax is would start in 2014. under our motion, not one dime and taxes would be paid before americans are offered the insurance option in the bill. the motion was defeated. now the democrats have revised their bill and the taxes collected or even hire them the previous bill. but don't forget the penalties to business. business that can't afford to offer health insurance to their employees to read a tax of $750 per employee is assessed. this is a time when unemployment has reached double digits. we should be encouraging employers to hire more workers, and yet this bill imposes
1:01 am
$28 billion in new taxes on employers. leader yesterday, the small business coalition for affordable health care stated with its new taxes, mandates, growth in government programs and overall price tag, the patient protection and affordable care act, the bill that we are discussing costs too much and delivers too little. any potential savings from those reforms are more than outweighed by the new taxes, new mandates, and expensive new government programs included in this bill. that letter is signed in addition to the small business coalition by associations such as the farm bureau, associated builders and contractors, associated general contractors of america, the national association of home builders, the national association of manufacturers, the national manufacturers, the national
1:02 am
the national association of homebuilders. the national association of manufacturers, the national automobile dealers association, the national retail federation and more. the national federation of independent business which is the voice of small business sent a letter expressing their concern over this bill. it says the current bill does not do enough to reduce costs for small business owners and their employees. despite the inclusion of insurance market reforms in a small group and individual marketplace is the savings that may materialize are too small for to fuel and the increase in premium costs are too great for too many. that is the tax situation. how about they have a trillion dollars in medicare cuts? they are still there. they were in the first bill. and they are there now.
1:03 am
$120 billion in cuts to medicare advantage, which we know reduces choices for seniors. in my state of texas, over 500,000 currently enrolled enjoy the benefits of medicare advantage. that is just in my state alone. millions across the country like medicare advantage. but, many seniors without a doubt are going to lose this option. oddly enough once again, one of the points in the new bill is that there were opt outs for certain states on medicare advantage's quds so some states are going to have the medicare advantage cuts while other states will not. the individual fixes for certain states presumably to get the votes for certain senators really mr. president does not
1:04 am
pass and the test of transparency if you put it in the nicest way. it just does not pass the test for fairness or for due process and equal treatment under the law, and it certainly doesn't pass the test for what is the right way and for us to pass comprehensive reform legislation. the other health care cuts in medicare would be $186 billion in cuts to nursing homes, home health care and hospice providers. and then there are the cuts to hospitals. approximately $135 billion in cuts to hospitals. the texas hospital association has estimated that hospitals in my state will suffer almost $10 billion in reduced payments. i have a letter from the texas hospital association that outlines their concerns with
1:05 am
these cuts in this bill and they are very concerned. here is one of the quotes from their letter. the texas hospital association says with a significant reduction in payments hospitals may be forced to reduce medical services. hospitals may be forced to close or merge with another hospital or severely reduce the services they provide to their communities. a essential services such as maternity care, emergency services, medical surgical services or wellness programs may be reduced or eliminated entirely. mr. president, i know so many, i have talked to so many hospitals administrators and people on hospital boards and they are very concerned about the cuts in this bill because they are on very thin margins, most of them are struggling and especially in our world.
1:06 am
areas are very worried that they are going to be shut down throughout our state and certainly our country. but our aging population is growing, so cutting the payments to providers to treat those whether it is on hospitals or health care providers doesn't seem to be a way to reform medicare. cuts in medicare and especially the payments for treating low income seniors will disproportionately impact rural hospitals which are the safety net for health care outside of the metropolitan areas. the texas organization of rural and community hospitals which represents 150 rural hospital syntaxes said in a letter, we fear medicare cuts as proposed could disproportionately hurt
1:07 am
rural hospital switcher the health care safety net for more than 2 million rural texans because of lower financial margins and higher percentage of medicare patients, rural hospital is will be impacted more than urban hospitals by any reductions in reimbursements. these proposed medicare cuts could have a devastating effect. they could lead to curtailing of certain services and the closure of some of these hospitals in texas is a real possibility. how can anyone support a reform bill that will result in seniors having to drive 3060, and 90 miles and more to get the care they need? care that was accessible in their own community before this bill took effect. mr. president, what we have here is a bill have the with tax cuts, tax hikes, medicare cuts in government-- this bill is
1:08 am
being forced through congress the week of christmas because everyone knows this is not the reform that americans want. the polls are showing that. we all know that polls can have margins of error and maybe they are not completely accurate, but the trend in the polls is clear. it has gone from people thinking that health care reform is a good thing and supporting it in majorities to going down now to the point where the trend is clear, the american people now do not support this bill. they would rather have nothing according to the latest polls and have congress start all over and do what they hoped it would do and that is bring down the cost of health care, not have this big government increase in debt, the cuts to medicare and increases on taxes to small
1:09 am
business and families, especially at this time in our country's economic period. my republican colleagues and i have tried to offer fiscally responsible alternatives to reform. allowing small businesses to pull together increase the size of their risk pools will bring premiums down. if you have the exchange with their risk pools that are increased, it would be fine and less you have some mandates like we see in this bill that are going to cause the prices to stay up. and even get bigger because of all the taxes on the underlying companies that are providing the health care. creating an on line marketplace freight from mandate and government interference would be a republican proposal, something that i think would be a point at
1:10 am
which we could start having health care reform that would be truly effective for america. if you didn't have the mandates, they would drive up the costs. offering tax credits to individuals and families that purchase insurance on their own. that is a bill that we have put forward. $5,000 per family would cut the cost to make it affordable without any government intervention that would be necessary and of course medical malpractice reform could take $100 billion out of the cost of health care by stopping the frivolous lawsuits or lease limiting them. yet, the republicans were really not at the table. the bill was written in a room, no transparency, no c-span cameras in no republicans. we did not have input into this
1:11 am
bill. that is why it is a partisan bill. that is why did vote last night or this morning at 1:00 was completely, 100% partisan, because why would a republican votes for a bill that goes against every principle that we have, higher taxes, higher mandates in cuts in medicare, and in which we have not won the amendment passed. we offered amendments, but there were hundreds of amendments left on the table that we were closed out of offering because of the rush to pass this bill before christmas. mr. president, americans asked for reform. they deserve it. this bill is not the reform americans hoped to get from a congress that would have acted
1:12 am
responsibly but did not. thank you mr. president and i yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> the senator from texas. >> thank you mr. president. mr. president like my colleagues on this side of the aisle i voted against their read health care bill last night because it cuts $470 billion from medicare to create a brand new entitlement program that would cost 2.5 roughly trillion dollars over the next ten years apprise the cannot afford. increases premiums for american families that currently have health insurance and who are struggling to make ends meet during tough economic times and it increases taxes on small businesses and individuals, which is a terrible idea, particularly at a time when our economy is struggling and our job creators are struggling to be able to keep people on their payroll and possibly expand
1:13 am
their payroll and hire people back to bring down the unemployment rate. but i want to talk about the way this bill came to pass, at least the cloture vote this morning at 1:00 a.m.. i want to talk about the process. i recall that when senator obama was running for president of the united states he talked about wanting to change the politics as usual in washington d.c.. but i have to tell you, the majority, and this administration, have in many ways confirms people's worst suspicions about washington politics as usual and they have taken it to a new level. and that is not a higher level. it is a lower level. as a matter of fact the barbering for votes for cloture, the special sweetheart deals with drug industry's, with senators in order to get the 60 votes last night is nothing more, nothing worse then
1:14 am
confirming their worst fears of cynicism that the american people have about the way that washington works. we know this bill is a direct result of many special bills with interest groups that are lobbyists. we heard the president said when he ran that he wanted to have a transparent process, that this would take place in front of c-span and the roundtable so people can see who is making the arguments on behalf of the drug companies and the insurance companies. but that rhetoric conflicts with the reality, where the drug companies and the insurance companies and others were negotiating behind closed doors for sweetheart deals that ultimately ended up getting 60 votes, so it turned out that it was the obama administration that cynically said one thing during the campaign and then when it comes to actually passing legislation does completely the opposite.
1:15 am
this is tragic in my view mr. president. the american people want to believe in their government. they want to believe in their elected leaders who were trying to do the best on behalf of the american people, but this process confirms their worst suspicions. no wonder public opinion of congress is in the toilet. whether then listening to the american people the creators of this bill started cutting deals was special-interest groups first and cut those deals early. the white house struck a deal with the pharmaceutical industry, as you know, which produced in part as the "new york times" reported about $150 million in television advertising supporting this bill, and this deal got 24 democrats when we were debating the issue of drug reimportation to switch their votes from a previous position against drug reimportation earlier this
1:16 am
month. we know the insurance industry notwithstanding all of the rhetoric about insurance companies and that basically this is a sweetheart deal with insurance companies because insurance companies will get $476 billion of your tax dollars and my tax dollars to pay for the subsidies in the insurance is provided in this bill. the hospital industry cut a special deal that provided them an exemption from the payment advisory board and then there were groups like aarp that purport to serve seniors as a public interest but as we know primarily pockets money as a result of the sale of insurance policies, insurance policies that are going to be necessary because of cuts in medicare advantage for 11 million seniors, just to name one example. this bill was the result of that word deals with specific senators persuading them to vote
1:17 am
for cloture. what has caused some people to call on the blogs in the internet, cash for cloture. in order to get 60 votes for cloture we know one of the first examples of that was the so-called louisiana purchase. charles crodhammer said it will. he said after watching louisiana get $100 million, she ought to ask for $500 million instead and that is because obama said he would end business as usual in washington so it is in the kind of business as usual. in other words i guess the price has gone up. but one business leader points out that notwithstanding the special suite are deal for this data louisiana directing $300 million to the state that the medicare expansion alone here results in the taxpayers and the people louisiana being the net loser. we also know in order to get 60 votes the majority leader had to cut a deal with the senator from
1:18 am
nebraska. the senior senator from nebraska, in order to get the vote to cloture. it is been widely reported that that meeting with the senior senator of nebraska took place for 13 hours behind closed doors after which they negotiated some language which purportedly no longer allowed the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions but which according to the conference of catholic bishops and other pro-life groups isn't completely effectual in which restores are actually produces a taxpayer paid for abortions for the first time in three decades. what else did the senior senator from nebraska get? the state of nebraska purportedly got a free ride from washington's funded medicare mandates on the state's but of course we know that every other state ends up paying for that sweetheart deal that is what the senior senator got from
1:19 am
nebraska. what did nebraskans think about it? well, just as the governor who said yesterday he had nothing to do with that deal and called the overhaul bill bad news for nebraska and bad news for america. governor heineman said nebraskans did not ask for a special deal, only a fair deal. battalino in order to get 60 votes the majority leader had to cut a special deal with this senator from vermont. won senator from vermont threaten to go against the bill but then lowen bill polk the managers package included $600 million affecting only that once they. the senator who threatened to vote no decided to vote yes after that special deal was included. the "new york times" lists several other sweetheart deals that produced this monstrosity piece of legislation. the intended beneficiaries though in many instances were identified in a vague and
1:20 am
cryptic way. individuals exposed to environmental health recognizes the public health emergency and a declaration issued by the federal government in june. there was only some one state that would qualify for that notwithstanding this sort of vague description to obscure what was actually happening through another sweet heartfield as part of this bill. another item in the package would increase medicare payments to doctors and hospitals in any state where it least 50% of the counties are "frontier county's" with those with a population density of less than six people per square mile and then we know there was another $100 million sweetheart deal for an unnamed health care facility affiliated with the academic health center at a public research university in a state where there is only one public medical and dental school. the "associated press" reports that the state that qualifies
1:21 am
for that special deal is the state of connecticut were the senior senator currently is in a tough re-election fight. mr. axelrod it is the architect of a campaign strategy for this administration to bring change to washington when asked about these special deals and the managers of amendment, his response was pretty telling. he said, that is the way it has been. that is the way it will always be. well, maybe in chicago, but not in my state and not in the heartland of the fast expanse of this great country where the american people want us to come into represent their constituents and vote for what is right in terms of policy, not what kind of sweetheart deals we can eke out of the expense of the rest of the american people. the very thing that is happening what this health care bill demonstrates why washington takeovers are such a terrible
1:22 am
idea. because instead of health care decisions being made between patients and doctors health care decisions are overcome through a political process where elected officials choose winners and losers. politics is becoming a dirty word outside the beltway and certainly we can understand why this process is only reconfirmed in the minds of many people that what we are doing here is not the people's business of protecting special-interest in special sweetheart deals. rather than making decisions about what is best for the american people, this deal has been driven by deals of special-interest groups and lobbyists and rather than listening to constituents individual senators have decided that their votes should be traded for tax dollars and other sweetheart benefits that go to their states. but make no doubt about it, this bill takes the power from individual americans to make
1:23 am
their own health care decisions and transfers that to washington d.c. and this new low level of politics as usual. mr. president, according to one recent poll that occurred today or was reported today, rasmussen 41 state and i won't mention it by name, were only 30% of the respondents to this poll favor this health care bill and 64% are opposed. the senators from the states voted for the bill were only 30% of their constituents reported they support the bill and that is not the only example. you can only ask yourself why in the world with senators vote for a bill win two-thirds of their constituents are opposed to it? who must they be listening to the? are they listening to the people they represent and to sent them here to washington to represent
1:24 am
them or are they listening to the special-interest, or have they decided somehow that they have become miraculously smarter than their constituents and they know what is better for their constituents them what their constituents know themselves? mr. president this debate is not over. there's still a chance to vote against this bill u.s. senator mcconnell said last night, and a single senator on the other side of the aisle can stop this bill. or, everyone who votes for it will own it. i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> the senator from nebraska. >> mr. president let me start my comments today by complimenting the gentleman from texas. i thought he did an excellent job of showing the light on something that is no entering a lot of tension because the managers amendment is out, and
1:25 am
we can read the words and we can start to understand the special deals that were cut to get the votes to make this happen, so i applaud you for standing here so courageously. mr. president, by state, the great state of nebraska, has been pulled into this debate and i want to start out today by saying here on this senate floor that i am enormously proud of my state, probably like all united states senators in reference to their state. i am enormously proud of the people of nebraska and got to know them well. i was their governor end on a more localized basis i was also the mayor of lincoln and i did my time in public service back to the time when i was lancaster county commissioner and the city
1:26 am
commissioner in lincoln. these are good, decent honorable people who are always looking to try to figure out the right way of doing things, and i stand here today to acknowledge that and to tell all nebraskans tup prague i am to be here today. but mr. president i rise today to serve with my colleagues the reactions of nebraskans to this special deal that got cut for nebraska that came to light over the weekend as the managers was released and analyzed. less than 24 hours after the announcement of the special carveouts for nebraska with virtually no warning, no preparation to speak of, 2,000 people gathered in the omaha, nebraska. nebraskans with one voice cried
1:27 am
foul. nebraskans are frustrated and angry that our beloved state has been thrust into the same pot with all of the other special deals that got cut here. in fact mr. president they are outraged that it backroom deal for our state might have been what puts this bill across the finish line. you see mr. president i fundamentally believe that this health care bill is so good it should stand on its own merits. there should be no special deals, no carveouts for anyone in this health care bill. not for states, not for states, not for insurance companies and not for individual senators. you know, i stand here today and i find it just enormously ironic
1:28 am
that advocates for this bill, who worked overtime to fill a five insurance companies in the last hours of putting this bill together struck a special deal with two insurance companies and the omaha, nebraska, that they would be carved out of their responsibility in this bill to pay taxes. i find it painful to even acknowledge that that happened. i said at the beginning of this debate the changes of this magnitude affecting one sixth of our economy must be fair and they must be believed to be fair by the people. a special deal for nevada was wrong. i said that, and in fact one of the six reform principles i publicly outlined and took out to town hall meetings i stand by
1:29 am
today and it just simply said no special deals. a special deal for nevada was wrong, as is the carve out for louisiana and the same applies for the backroom deal that was struck for my state, the great state of nebraska. all of this special deals should be removed from this legislation. if this bill cannot pass without the carveouts in this special deals, what further evidence could we possibly need to draw the conclusion that this is just enormously bad policy? if you literally had to sit down in the last hours of negotiations and strike a special deal, do we need any other argument about how bad the policy of this bill is for my state and the citizens of nebraska? our governor said it well. nebraskans don't want a special
1:30 am
deal. you see, i went around the state four months doing townhalls and listening to nebraskans. they don't want a special deal. no nebraskan came up to me and said mike, get me a special deal. you see, their request is simple. they want to be able to see a doctor of their choice and to keep the current plan that they have. they want our job creators, our small businesses to get our economy moving and create jobs in our communities for large to small, free of the half trillion dollars in taxes and fees that this bill will keep on our employers. the manager's amendment does nothing to change the core problems with this bill. the nearly $500 billion in medicare cuts will be devastating to nebraska at no
1:31 am
special deal with an insurance company is going to make nebraskans feel better about that. no special deal to make the state budget look better is going to make nebraskans feel any better about the medicare cuts and the impacts on our hospitals, our nursing homes, our home health care industry, r. hospice industry. nationally, governors, republican and democrat, have stepped forward to say that they can't afford the unfunded mandates that come from washington and drive their budgets into the red. this special deal struck on abortion is enormously tragic and insufficient. it breaks my heart. this is a far cry from the 30 years of policy by this united states government. you see, when this is done and
1:32 am
over, what we will be reporting to our citizens is our taxpayer funds will on the portions of this bill passes. you see, no watered-down accounting gimmick will convince the pro-life community in my state or otherwise. in fact they have publicly said they feel betrayed. i will wrap up with this. this bad deal is not sealed. there is time for truly pro-life senators to stand tall and say no. there is still time for principal senators to reject the carveouts and to cast aside the bad, backroom deals. there is still time for senators to listen to the people and reject reckless federal policy. fair treatment isn't too much to ask of washington. i know in my state that is what they are asking for. i will firmly stand behind any
1:33 am
senator who has the courage to stop this train wreck. i will be the first to lead to the applause and i'm confident the standing ovation for that courageous senator will extend all the way back to nebraska and it will be deafening. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. >> two and a half minutes. >> i would think one of the things that we would have seen from the majority at this point is a list of what the last two senators were talking about, all of the earmarks better in this
1:34 am
bill, because i asked for a parliamentary inquiry yesterday. i am not going to ask for that again but as we said yesterday rule 44 was adopted as part of the major ethics and reform legislation adopted in 2007. it was part of the honestly the mackinaw open government act. the democratic leadership maidique it's the first bill to be introduced when they took the majority in 2007, taking control of congress for the first time in a long period of time and this bill passed by unanimous consent, when, when rule 44 was passed. the theory behind it was that we ought to have total transparency
1:35 am
on earmarks. it applies to four amendments like their reed bill. it requires the sponsor of the amendment to provide a list of earmarks and that amendment, earmarks are provisions that provide a limited tax benefit and those are words, limited tax benefits, words out of their rule and another substitute language for limited tax benefits, a congressionally directed spending items or a earmarks, as they are generally referred to by the public at large. giving-- given what a priority of the new rule passed in 2007 was given and the importance of it, one would expect that the majority leader would be making every effort to comply with that. one would think that he would be
1:36 am
wanting to set a good example in complying with their rule and disclose these earmarks. in order to ensure transparency of these very narrow provisions, like what senator johanns just referred to, to get the votes of specific members of the majority party that probably would not have voted for this bill, you would think that that ought to be made public. that is overruled 44 is about the and of course that burden under that rule is on the sponsor to provide the list so once again i am going to ask the democratic leadership to comply with the honestly leadership and open government acts. >> the senator from california. >> madam president you just heard the republicans, a republican friends say that it is very hard to defend our bill.
1:37 am
now maybe it is hard for them but it is not hard for the american medical association, the ama who levin torstar bill. it is not hard for the american heart association who have endorsed our bill. is not hard for the american cancer society action network to have endorsed our bill. the american hospital association 11 torstar erbil. families usa, the business roundtable, the small business majority. be here colleagues say small business opposes our bill. the small business organization supports it and how about the aarp who represent our seniors? millions of seniors. that is just a few. they not only defend our bill, they support our bill. madam president this is indeed an important moment in our nation's history as we approach a final vote on this major
1:38 am
health care reform legislation and i think whenever you were trying to change something, you have to take a look at how things are at the moment so why is it that we need to change our current system? and their are certain numbers here that i think explain it. the first number is 14,000. madam president, we know that every single day, 14,000 of our neighbors lose their health insurance through no fault of their own. they either lose their job, they can't afford to keep up the health insurance, or they have a condition in the insurance company walks away from them or they just are priced out of the market. 14,000 a day. that is cruel and we need to change it. 62% of bankruptcies are linked to health care crises. we are the only nation in the world where people go broke
1:39 am
because they get sick. if we do nothing, 45% of an average family's income will go for premiums in 2016. i asked everyone to think about it, paying 45% of your income for premiums. it is not sustainable. what about food? what about clothing? what about shelter? can't do it. we are 29th in the world on infant mortality. we come in behind cuba. we come in behind singapore. we come in behind south korea. 29th in the world on infant mortality because people don't have good insurance or they don't have any insurance. 52% of women, 52% of women don't seek the health care they need. the either put it off for they never get it because they may not be insured or they are afraid of the co-pays. they are afraid of what it would
1:40 am
cost. they may have limits on their policies and we need to change that. the u.s. spends twice as much on health care than most other industrialized nations. so what is the message here? we spend a huge amount of. we are not doing very well and out comes. by the way i think we are 20 for the life expectancy in the world. 24th. we must do better. i want to share with my colleagues some of the letters and e-mails that it been sent to me from californians that personalized the statistics i just showed you. mr. william robinson wrote, i am about to be laid off from the job by a cab for 19 years. my biggest fear is not being employed but being able to finding get affordable health care. i am 60 years old. i had the preexisting condition that will force certain make it impossible for me to buy health
1:41 am
insurance. mr. and mrs. gilbert look crews, quote, we are at the point of losing our home because we have spent our savings on medical and prescription drugs. i am 67, retired in my white is 62. because of the medicare gap and prescription drug coverage we have had to pay $600 a month on prescription drugs. it is a huge portion of our monthly income. we will be selling our home shortly because, and perhaps moving in with one of our children because there doesn't seem to be and the option. i want to say to mr. de la crews, help is on the way, if we get the 60 votes were forced to get, not 51 the majority but 60 votes because of the republican filibuster. we get the 60 votes each time. there is hope for you because we are going to fix that entire
1:42 am
problem. mr. ronald cam says i am in the construction industry and my work is very slow. he says he is in the design industry. i am in danger of becoming financially ill and i am looking for ways to stay healthy and one way may be to eliminate my medical insurance. it is a significant part of my budget. this may have been forbid lead me to financial ruin if i get injured or sick. this is my situation. i want to say to mr. kim, help is on the way. mrs. madaleine foot wrote, these are alf californians, my constituents. i recently turned 25 and i lost my health coverage under my parents. i attempted to get coverage under a blue cross plan created for young people my age but because i had taken medications, i was denied. i applied again for another
1:43 am
plan, was offered a plan with a 3,000-dollar deductible and it was $300 a month on top of that. as a young person working in a restaurant paying student loans in trying to make it on my own, this is a huge financial burden. i cannot afford an insurance that charges me so much in won't be any benefit for me until late shell out a huge portion of my income. to matalin foote i say, help is on the way if we can break the republican filibuster. mr. john higdon rode as a self-employed person i had i.t. pace mader-- pacemaker implanted. the cost was borne entirely by me at prices much higher than any insurance company what it had to pay. that was a wake-up call to get health insurance. untold labor health insurance company i have contacted that no one, no one would offer me health insurance at any price
1:44 am
with a quote preexisting heart condition. and i want to say to mr. higdon, help is on the way. dr. robert meeker, a pediatrician with kaiser permanente for over 30 years, do you know what he told me? that he has to fake, he is pressured to fake it diagnosis because when a parent comes in with a young child with asthma, they begged him not to write down asthma or write down bronchitis because if he writes down asthma, that child will have a preexisting condition and when she turns 21 she won't be able to get insurance. imagine in america, a physician being pressured to lies on a form because of a health care system that is so cruel. so, dr. mayor, we are going to change things here if we can break this filibuster.
1:45 am
mr. douglas inglesby wrote, i own a small business and i employ 11 people. i've been in business in california since 1972. he says i used to provide health care for all of my employees and all the members of their families and if i want to remain profitable enough to stay in business now, he says he can do it anymore. he can only covered the employees, not their families. he feels terrible about it and he says he may have to cut off his employees if prices keep going up and i want to say to this fine small business owner, douglas, help is on the way. mrs. linda shumaker wrote, this is the one i will close with in this series of stories. i am a republican. let me repeat what she writes. i am a republican and my husband and i are small business owners. the senators and congress made up of both parties who are
1:46 am
against president obama's plan have their own insurance, and it is my understanding she writes that it does not cost what we pay. they do not understand what a huge expense of this is. please listen to the middle class who were in our position or who no longer have insurance. it keeps me up at night worrying. this time the republicans have wrong and they need to know. please push the health plan. the insurance companies only care about the bottom line, not people and i want to say to mrs. schumacher, thank you for putting aside party politics because this isn't about republicans and it isn't about democrats. it is an debat independents. it is about all of us together, so what happens now is you are hearing the polls. the polls show americans don't want us to act and i understand
1:47 am
why. there has been so much misinformation. senator durbin and i were talking about the misinformation that is on this floor from the other side day in and day out. and i believe much of it if i might say is purposeful. if you listen to my republican colleagues over the past few days and weeks, they have trashed this bill, and they have trashed the process. over the weekend the republican leader hanff said health reform is a legislative train wreck of historic proportions. that as a direct quote. earlier this month senator coburn used more inflammatory language when he said to seniors, i am quoting senator coburn, i have a message for you. you are going to die soon, unquote. we'll come if you want to know what fearmongering is, that is the best example i can give you. so you know i decided to go back
1:48 am
and look at the past congressional records and i thought, have republican spoken like this over the years of the time they try to do some health care? everytime we have tried to make life better for people such as social security and i will let you be the judge. in 1935 on the floor of the house of representatives during the debate on social security republican congressman jenkins of ohio said, of social security bill. remembered have not passed. quote, this is compulsion of the rankest kind. do not be misled by the title. the title says quote, old age benefits, and polk. shame on you he said for putting an unfair title on such a nefarious bill. old age benefits, think of it he said. oh what a travesty. mr. chairman what is the hurry? nobody is going to get it done
1:49 am
until 1942. what is the hurry about crowding and then constitutional proposition like this to the house. if you listen to some of my colleagues will hear the same thing. what is the rush? as a matter of fact they had 45 amendments sent back to committee. what is the rush? people are losing their health care every day. in 2016 our people will be paying almost that of their it income for premiums. we have got to do this and we started it seven months ago and 100 years ago teddy roosevelt republican president put it in his platform. what is the rush? what is the rush? i want to tell you another republican, congressman j. william tether of pennsylvania, this is what he said during a debate on social security. he said security for the
1:50 am
individual whether workers or aging will be a mockery and a sham. this is what he said about social security. and it will a lot to where people the role of puppets in a socialistic state. that is what he said back then. it u.s. republicans who are getting social security, democrats or getting social security, independents, they will tell you the same thing. keep your hands off of it. it works, it is good. it is insurance. it is what we did way back then. in 1965 when medicare passed that was health care for those 65 and up. senator, republican senator carl curtis said it is socialism. here is later when newt gingrich when he was speaker of the house said he wanted to see medicare
1:51 am
wither on the vine. his words. in 1995 while seeking a republican nomination for president senator bob dole, he said quote i was there in 1965, fighting the fight, voting against medicare because we knew it wouldn't work in 1965 so when you hear republican friends say oh my goodness. they are making a lot of savings in medicare. this is bad for the seniors. please, please, which party has stood for protecting our seniors? it is not a matter of being-- it is just the fact. so the echoes of the past filled this chamber but i convinced now and 2009, that hope in reason and determination and good policy will triumph over fear and obstruction and the status quo. let's look at the immediate and near-term changes for the better that people are going to have
1:52 am
because we are raising revenues but there's no benefits right away. let's talk about what the benefits are. and i don't have time to go into them. i have them in my statement which will be placed into the record. there will be a 5 billion-dollar high-risk pool immediately for people with preexisting conditions who can't find insurance. there will be reentrants for retirees so if you have retired and you get a new health care benefit and something happens to your company, of there will be reentrants so you can still get your benefits. we closed that donut hole for the medicare recipients, who fall into it and suddenly they can't afford their prescription drugs. there will be billions of tax credits, billions, up to 50% tax credits for small business. that is why we have the support of so many small businesses and for new policies no discrimination against children with preexisting conditions and
1:53 am
children can stay on their family policy until they are 26 years of age. what else are the immediate and near-term changes for the better. for new policies, no lifetime limits, no more recisions they can't walk away from when they get sick. they are required to cover essential preventive health benefits like mammograms. prohibits discrimination by employers based on salary of their employees so an employer can't say well if you earn over $250,000 you get these great benefits but that you earn under $50,000 you get a worse are re. by 2011 standards for insurance overhead costs go into place. and if your insurance company spends too much on overhead and to much on executive pay let me tell you what happens. they have to rebate to you the policyholder.
1:54 am
we also see increase funding for community health care centers. this is going to make a huge difference. there will be a national web site to shop for affordable insurance. there will be long-term care programs that are voluntary that he can buy into. insurance companies with unreasonable premium increases can be barred from the exchanges that will be set up in 2014 so they will be making sure they don't increase or premiums beyond a reasonable amount. this bill will benefit the insured, and one way, i don't think people understand this. by 2014, 62% of families will no longer face unsustainable premium costs. if you are a family of four and make less than $88,000 a year, you will never have to pay more than 9.8% of your income on health insurance premiums.
1:55 am
could we have some order, please? >> this senate will be in order. >> so, this is an amazing thing that most people don't focus on. i just explained that the nonpartisan studies show, and this is important, that we will be paying the average family 45% of their income for health care. in 2014, people in this country will not have to pay more than 9.8% of their income on health insurance, otherwise they will get tax credits and that is very, very important. now, this bill is going to benefit our seniors. that is why it is endorsed by the aarp. we eliminate the prescription drug coverage gap. we extend the life of the medicare trust fund by nine years. we reduce waste and fraud in
1:56 am
medicare and we provide for free yearly visits for seniors. this bill saves medicare. this bill makes our senior stronger. they will have more benefits and they can never lose their guaranteed benefits. small businesses will be able to reduce their costs, again by getting immediate tax credits ended 2014 they will be able to access the exchange as well self-employed people and they will have the power of big business behind them as they go into those exchanges. i want to talk about public interest revisions. i wanted a public option, let me be clear because i felt it would keep the insurance companies on this. but let me tell you what we have been here that our public, definitely public interest provisions. we expand medicaid. that is the public plan, to
1:57 am
cover an additional 14 million people and that starts in 2014 and that is 1.5 million californians in the federal government in my state will pay the full fare for those at the people for three years and after that far more than we get paid now. hhs will set the initial rules for the state exchanges of this getting into the exchanges have to be fair. the opium plan, that is the plan that will be come a part of the exchange will be set up by the government, the office of personnel management and again community health centers and a basic plan can be created by the states which i think is very important and i want to thank mowery kahlil for working so hard on that. so, if people tell you, we don't have anything to do with public options they are really not right. you have to look carefully at this bill. i want to talk about the deficit. we reduce the deficit between
1:58 am
2010 and 2019 by $132 billion between 2020 and 2029 there is up to $1.3 trillion deficit reduction according to the congressional budget office. that is in nonpartisan office. this bill reduces the deficit. i am going to say it one more time. this bill reduces the deficit and the reason is, we invested prevention and the pace of. we finally will be able to say to insurance companies, stop your gouging and that pays off than we do have competition here now, because we will have that special plan run by opm, the state option that maria cantwell put in there. this is why we see the reduction including taking the fraud in the ways out of medicare. we don't need fraud and waste. so, here is how i want to close.
1:59 am
health care coverage for all americans has been such an elusive goal. for nearly a century if you look there republican presidents and democratic presidents and republican congresses and democratic congresses, we have tried it over and over again and the status quo is always prevail. our beloved friend senator ted kennedy, whom we miss so much particularly during a time like this, fought for health care right here on the floor from the moment he became a senator in 1962 to the moment he died. in an op-ed in "the washington post" this past friday ted kennedy's wife vicki wrote, ted often said we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. and i want to say to vicki, she is exactly right. each of us could write this bill our way. believe me if i wrote the bill, to me it would be perfect but to my friend in the


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on