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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 18, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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the project including four towers that are situated on organ pipe and operating now and have been very successful in their operation in supporting the border patrol security mission and actually the project as well. ..
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on where those towers could be situated in to allow them to succeed in the border security mission. >> it was moved over three males and we had coverage blackout areas have had the alien and grass in this country because they removed and still order patrol had to pay millions of dollars to the department of the interior. when you demand money at order patrol for these mitigation fees, does the medication have to be specifically directed to the entity in which it's been mitigated, or can use that anywhere? >> purpose of mitigation funds, for instance in this situation, any dvd -- >> answer the question. can you use it anywhere? >> funding has to be used in relation to the mitigation for that purpose. the activity that took ways -- >> tommy y in 2009 january you
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entered into the rio grande valley sector you got $50 million in the department of the interior and 22 of that money went to buy more land in taxis sport impacts of ocelots who supposedly were impacted because of the construction, noise and mike bought been built. ms. thorsen do you know the last time it was founded the rio grande before this was constructed in 2009? >> i do know that, sir. >> if there is no existing population within 20 miles of the project, how can you have an onslaught impact that couldn't have possibly reached them? >> the fish and wildlife service is for department interiors is to include research. >> i only have 30 seconds. give me a specific answer to the question. why did you build a resource with this type of money that has nothing to do with the project?
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>> it does have to do with the project. the mitigation funding for the fence and $50 million do you address -- the secretary chertoff and campbell are agree it was for the measures. the wildlife habitat in those locations down there, the purpose of that is to maintain habitat whether or not we've seen recently. >> in the last 20 years you have it be one. you put half the money. later i'll ask you about $5 million for jaguar prevention, but half of that went to mexico instead. we have a lot more questions about how uses education fund and where this is going. i'm out of time so i have to go to ranking member, mr. tierney. >> again, i want to thank you for being here. i do with the issues are.
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i assume all of you get it as well. i do want to keep beating a dead horse, but i guess the point is that i think there've been some situations where people have thought this was affected to some degree by the memoranda of agreement by the laws that exist or whatever, do you believe there's a way to work it out with the memorandum of agreement and by working together properly on that. i was taken aback by mr. chaffetz's remarks that people are dying, people are dying. can you give me an example of the environmental regulation? >> no. >> can you? >> mr. chaffetz, can you? >> no. >> we need to resolve this in a higher fashion. i think it's disturbing to all of us if there is a notion of
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some inability of the border patrol to protect our national security we'd all be hopping up and down, but i'll give you an opportunity again. i'm not hearing from from you. you're telling me is for his you know in that instance there's not been one resulting in nature or death or we probably need some processes to expedite resolution on these issues and that is sent the euro charged with. does that sound reasonable? >> the framework exists to solve these problems in an expeditious way that we can all recognize that within any relationship you are going to to for next to patient but the mo you is designed to set those expectations uniformly. >> so what is the bigger problem, the remotest of areas, is that a bigger problem than trying to work out differences over in a conflict pushing national security and wildlife regulations or is it about the same?
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>> there are various challenges agents have a controlling the border. terrain among them, this particular issue among the frameworks are now the exercise at. there are concerns about private land is well within the immediate order. so that is the role of the patrol agent common to sort through those things. that's the role of leadership to get them to vision and plans to make that work can be affect it as they possibly can within those frameworks. there are limits on all the authorities and activity of federal agencies and then excluded from that. >> was one report mentioned earlier about a request to put up some type elegy for review site and it took four months before it's implemented. is that a particular situation you've been made aware of? >> i was in preparation for the hearing. as i understand it, the briefing there was a mobile scope truck we wanted to move from one area
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to the other. eventually that got her through and remove it. >> was very four-month delay? >> as i understand it, yes. >> what consequences were likely to have occurred because of that delay? >> i'm not aware of specific things. in the context of the operation, people wanted to move the equipment incapability from one location to the other. under the terms of the mo you, those were the conversations that were supposed to happen. >> you with its extraordinary for a time to resolve that issue? >> i don't know specifics in that regard. four months is something we have to be thinking about. >> advance extraordinary and something we all have to be thinking about on not so we can trust that is being worked on in that kind of delay is -- >> in this case, as i understand it, the equipment to get moved. >> much more quickly? >> i may not appeal to speak to
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the specific circumstances, but i think it's important we reference to the gao reap court many times today. i like to read two sentences from the root word. >> this is on the summary page on the highlights. we have heard this now numerous times from various members. patrol agents in charge for 14 of 17 stations report they've been unable to prevent areas in a timely manner because of how long it takes for landowners to conduct required to store property assessments. it's in the gao reported. you need to read all the way through, and i hope that her witnesses on the second panel -- >> it is a synopsis of what the rest of give us. >> despite the access delays and restrictions and this is what really counts, 22 of the 26 agents in charge reported the overall security status of jurisdiction is not affected by land management laws. >> so we have to work on the
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other four. we do have areas. the mou works. >> thank you for clarifying that. i yield back. >> representative chaffetz. >> i yield to the gentleman from utah. >> you have a report you just read? on top of that, talk of 17 to -- 14 and 26 and i went through a pages of documented evidence for the delays for carbon problems. that data you said 22 out of 26 to find out what it says is that the agents in charge of those particular areas told us the ability to maintain operation control had been affected by the unmanaged laws. in other words, no portion of the stations jurisdiction has had their border security status downgraded as a result of land management laws. that is not the same thing. yet, if you go through the report page after page, example after example is an experience
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in which there've been delays for border patrol and directly because of the land managers on the ground there from your department in your department. is there ever, ever an opportunity where you do this mo you debate, mou work out where they do not have to ask your department for something? is that ever where you actually have to ask that board is border patrol always have to come to you and you get to make a decision on whether it's allowed or not? >> the purpose of the mou, particularly the circumstantial situation is they made that decision. to whom do they have to go for permission? >> permission lies in the mou. in their judgment, border patrol agents judgment to execute operation exigent circumstance or emergency pursuit when they feel the need. >> to go back to the report and read what happens there because that request has to be approved
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by the lan manager. at the land manager does that, all is to pay. this mo you does not work because it is an unfair and ou, which means border patrol has to come to you and bake for permission. in time after time after time, you are not granting of permission and you're not doing it in a timely fashion. and when you do it, you ask her a mitigated amount of money come which congress has no control. we do not know how much money are getting for border patrol or where you're spending it in the appropriations act. you actually gave us a list of what you're getting where you're spending and was in the conference kitty reporter. it makes one's head spin, especially with the rhetoric we're getting here today. i yield back to the chairman. >> i reclaim my time. mr. vitiello, according to the gao, they classified about 129 miles or 15% were classified at the border as quote unquote controlled and their remaining
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were managed. can you explain the difference from your understanding of the two? >> it has to do with the revision of the strategy in 2004. we defined was operational control for the context of building resources from the border. specific to the plans made inside are some station level planning, we decided operational control meant to have the ability to protect and identify, resolve that the immediate order. the tactical definition designed for the local people to understand what they believe -- resources where. the difference between managed and control is the amount to timing from our resolution, so control at the media border would happen in real time and managing would be some portion less than nine or it would take longer to get to that.
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>> detector with the course of your career from just a few dozen agents to roughly 20,000 agents. >> we are currently just over 20,000. >> yet i look at the map and look at the tucson region compared to be there you amount towards el paso or del rio. why is it 51% of the problem seems to be in the tucson region, why is that? >> we believe it's because of our success in other areas. when i came in the border patrol. >> i'm trying to figure out why you have little to no success in tucson. >> we have great success in tucson. >> how can you say that? you are the head of this agency. >> sir, out of thin tucson in the year 2000. >> you are having great success? >> over 600,000 people are coming into the tucson sector. this year we're at 44%. now was that wild success?
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>> you just said it was great success. >> we've got a lot of work this year, the year before and since 2000 when it is completely out of control. we are maintaining the gains we've made in tucson and are proceeding to give that resources like they've never seen before. the cbp has over 6000 employees in the state of arizona. we alone have been the tucson sector alone nearly 4000 were moving toward a number over 4000. there's more technology out there than there's ever been. we spoke about the hotel heiress. >> my time has expired. >> mr. kildee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. vitiello come you mentioned earlier in your testimony that carrying out various responsibilities that should consult with the tribes. how is that working out?
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is that running as you would want it to run? >> sure, so we have within the public liaison apparatus people who were designed to do liaison work. the leadership also pays attention to the relationships that exist for the indian nations that the media border. >> i'm very happy to hear that. sometimes agencies tend to forget that i know the article article i, section eight to the constitution says that congress should have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, several state and indian tribes. so that is a constitutional basis for that. with any group, when they are called upon to work with the indian tribes and as well as in michigan we have 12 tribes in michigan and it works very. you find it is working well in your area also. your area is very broad.
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>> similarly, relationships need constant maintenance and so things are abends slow, but we understand the import of our responsibilities very leadership in the field takes those responsibilities seriously. >> i commend you for that. thank you very much. >> representative pearce >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'd have to get back to run a specific number of miles of roads. >> you wouldn't happen to know that was you, mr. vitiello? ewald out to patrols out there? >> it is for tucson that tears. >> anyone in the audience know
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that? >> will have to get back to you, sir. >> mr. vitiello, you just stated in response to a question that the framework exists to solve the problem with respect to getting into areas with limited access by federal law, the wilderness. i'm curious, did i hear you correctly? >> that's correct. >> did i hear you correctly pending cases at danger and death do you would have a heightened sense of emergency? >> yes. >> can you explain why 60% of oregon pipe are still advised not to go in there, american citizens are advised not to go in there? is made in area to tell people
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don't win there, they might not come out alive. wouldn't that be danger or death? wouldn't have moved that sort of the top of the list at your heightened sense? >> zone by zone, area by area, we are concerned with their responsibilities within the area at the media border. oregon pipe is a challenge because of its status and also because of the activity that is fair. but we are making -- we have made plans, making investments to put the situation in hand. >> it has been that way for when did they first start putting that off-limits to people? >> i don't know that specifically, but i'm going to get somewhere in the 2000 timeframe. >> 10 years so 11 or whatever. ms. thorsen, i am interested again, talking about how easy it is to work with wilderness that
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doesn't affect us in the least. that sort of the testimony. can you explain the reasoning behind not allowing surveillance tower in the oregon pipe wilderness that was forced to be placed outside the wilderness in a place that couldn't be as much of the border as well? would that be in effect or is that just sort of coming to the close but not qualify category? >> under provisions of the wilderness act, one of the challenges we have had is placement of permanent structure, which would be a tower. in negotiations in discussion with the border patrol and the part, they moved those towers in locations within the boundary of the wilderness, but are not designated -- that chunk of land is not designated to wilderness. they are generally in the same vicinity. they just are not sitting on what is designated as wilderness. >> in this case are you trying to tell me the alternate side as
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good as this ability is the site the wilderness? because we have exactly the opposite testimony. if that's the case, if you choose the case with less surveillance capacity, then i still come along with my colleagues don't understand how you can figure with a straight face and say it doesn't affect everything is okay, the framework exists. i'll yield back, mr. chairman. >> if i may respond, congressman. >> dataset to the chairman. >> if i may respond, mr. chairman to the congressman's point. in working with the border patrol, the border patrol and i'm going to speak some for mr. vitiello here, there is a tower does not give them totality of what they want to see, what they will do is implement additional measures to fill that gap.
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for instance, in their new approach, sbinet has gone away, integrated fixed our approach, they will supplement areas with mobile surveillance units or other types of technology he to fill those gaps. so they will not go uncovered between technology and resource is. >> i'll pass your assurances on two constituents of mine who live along the border who are scared to death every day, witnesses who know the family who was killed and who itself is in your district. i'll give them your reassurances, thank you. >> are there any other questions? >> did you have a question you wanted to ask? >> i yield my time. >> thank you, mr. vitiello. i want to clarify. are you aware of anyone who has been killed along this border region?
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>> i talk specifically about the problem were having in arizona and mr. tierney's questions about people are dying. are they not dying? >> there have been deaths along the border that are directly impacting border patrol, yes. >> gentleman yield. >> just that we understand, my question was whether people dying in direct correlation to the lack of enforcement of environmental or one of those other laws discussing today. so were being genuine. >> in the context of that question, the specific issue has not caused that i'm aware of. >> thank you rematch. >> are not aware of anyone dying, going to the oregon pipe -- not aware of anyone who has died doing it? >> or a deaths along the media border you dehydrate. >> incoming north, correct? the legal definition is 100 miles. so you're telling me you are not aware of anybody
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>> that is died as a result of lack of ability to recognize vehicles unprotected lands? no, i'm not aware of that. >> we will go through this in greater detail. anyway, let's go to mr. jensen here. your written testimony states that the forest service has dedicated 13 officers to the border zone of the coronado forest. 10 are accompanied by canine units. what is the forest service total committed to the border zone across the southwest border? are those offices are and what capacity do they have to stop illegal tv and defend themselves against criminals with high-powered weapons? >> i will stand to be corrected, but i understand it's on the range of perhaps 50 agents in the southwestern region of the forest service. >> are the armed? >> yes, they are. >> are they able to apprehend somebody? >> yes, they are.
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>> how often does that happen? >> i have to get back on the specifics, but they are in constant contact and undertake joint operations with border patrol, so i would imagine it would be a fairly routine duty. >> your written testimony states that the forest service and the border patrol quote rely on each other's strengths to work towards a common goal and mutual interest for the public and the national forest, basically to protect the endangered species. according to the coronado national forest website, this includes the mexican gray wolf, cactus, the pygmy owl, the desert of fish that tina pineapple cactus. are we to believe the border patrol is balancing national security with the pima pineapple cactus in the desert cactus? >> we look at existing laws they require to protect those species.
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>> why is it deferred in the balance of the mlu, why is that you are given deference that they can't do what they think is best to secure to the united states of america and secure their officers. that's why were here today businessperson has testified in our experience is the border patrol has the authority to pursue suspects in all cases and circumstances around the border. >> that is your understanding. >> in all circumstances, in this regard. >> they have full and unfettered access to use motorized vehicles . >> no, no, that's different than full and unfettered access which he just said. >> in the case, the border patrol has the ability to pursue suspects being on foot,
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horseback or vehicle when the train of circumstances dictate. it is their decision to control when they do that. >> mr. chairman, to the ranking member and everybody here, i have a serious problem where we are prioritizing desert of fish above security. i personally believe we really have to be protecting the united states of america and protecting those officers who are putting their lives on the line every single day. when we have delays the way we have, i just find it unconscionable. >> i think delay is due on no and i want to try and nail something down here with the three of you. when we have lost to the environmental law for the wilderness law and things of those nature, the laws are ineffective memorandums of agreement as to how you strike balance when there's a competing interests. and i ran on that? >> one would be a national
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security when they thought it was an exigent circumstance or emergency they get into an area. and in those instances and i think the national security at risk or situation is the border patrol agent and no one else uses the judgment and determines whether or not they going by vehicle or any other way, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> said they are not setting up some fish. their determination and judgment is national security required we go when and when they make that decision could overrates interior and everything else, is that correct? >> i would say to my friend from massachusetts, exigent circumstances have not been clearly defined, clearly delineated. number two, routinely the border patrol is not able to do what it's able to do in other areas in terms of locating towers,
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operating vehicles. i wasn't going to do this. if you have a sensitive heart, i am telling you, this is the most graphic you have ever seen. if your young child, don't watch this. i'm going to show you for slide on the mexican side of the border. this is what i've earned about. we put our men and women -- they go protect us, but we're not going to give you resources because we're worried about the fish. you go on horseback, go walking, let show the first slide and just roll through the spirit will do this swiftly. don't look if you are sensitive to any sort of graphic image. this is the kind of thing that we are sending their agents to deal with on a daily basis. >> mr. chairman, point of fabrication. is their contention that are border patrol people in interior people and others are responsible on the mexican side of the border, where these are from? >> let's keep going. they are doing what struck him and the united states of america
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and having to deal this. please turn it off. they're having to do with this by the hundreds of thousands. i in good conscience cannot be a participant of the u.s. congress enacted every tool and resource to the border patrol to secure the border. i don't give a about the fish. i do care about america and i do care about the border patrol agents. each of them is to go on horseback when they would much rather be in a vehicle, that's fundamentally wrong. i yield back. >> do you want another minute? >> know, we've made the .100 times your border patrol people and i think we can leave it at that. >> thank you. i appreciate that, the answers you gave him. make sure they are forced in some way. you can be happy to pop fish has a 52-acre zone that has been secured. we appreciate witnesses. members of both committee if they have additional questions
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for the witnesses are asked to submit those that were last week to respond to them in writing. we are now ready for the next panel of witnesses. do you need some time to reconfigure the table here? [inaudible conversations] for the next panel of witnesses, we are also going to have to -- they will need to be sworn and, but i would like an especially while mr. pierce is here to welcome up to the panel george zachary taylor a founding member of the national association from a former border patrol officers. we will invite gene wood, a retired border patrol officer and founding member of the national association of former border patrol officers. mr. wood will be introduced by
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our colleague, mr. pierce if you'd like to take a few minutes to do it justice. >> chairman davidson, chairman, thank you for allowing me to be here with you today. i would like to take this opportunity to introduce my friend and constituent, gene wood, last crusade on the new mexico. he spent 30 years and served as sector chief in san diego, california. i look forward to his testimony and testimony of other witnesses here, but thanks again and welcome. >> thank you. i also want to recognize jim chilton come as land stewardship practices have won him a word. his family ranch is 55 miles southwest of tucson and includes four miles of border. as well as ms. anu mittal, the first name i've got right today. the director of natural resources and environment for the general accounting office
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and i understand you are the author of the gao report we have been referenced cave. mr. chaffetz >> accustomed the oversight coram committee to swear in all witnesses. can you please rise and raise your right hand? >> to swear to tell the truth come whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? but the record reflect they all answered in the affirmative. >> we thank you all for being here as the earlier panel -- as mentioned to the earlier panel, all of your written testimony will appear in the hearing record. you will have five minutes to summarize the. the lights in front of you while i hope if you account down. the yellow light comes on and the red light means he'll finish her testimony. i will also tell you we are going to have another series of those sometime soon. i would like to do is try and get as far along as we can so we
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don't have to hold you. i hope none of you have afternoon plane flights going at it here because it ain't going to happen. i appreciate you being here. if we could, mr. wood, left to right again. if you'd be the first one to give your testimony, we would appreciate hearing from you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chaffetz and mr. bishop, thank you to mr. pearce -- the >> cannot move any closer to you so we can hear you a little bit better? is hard to hear you. >> is that better? my name is gene wood. as a retired member of the u.s. border patrol and founding member of the national association of former border patrol officers, it is a real honor for me to talk today on the merits of the proposed legislation. i do not represent order patrol in today's proceedings. instead, my testimony will rely largely on personal knowledge
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and the expertise of hundreds of former agents who are members of our organization. too many years of collective aches are ants, i believe will enhance my ability to present to you informative, accurate information and conclusions. the border patrol has established in 1924 and for nearly 87 years the supervisors and their agents have successfully developed techniques and strategies to prevent the illegal entry of any lands into our country. one of the most effect of these techniques is deterrence. it has proven to be the strategy because it does not involve the dangers involved in physical
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arrest. it does not allow cause deterred in detention and removal of aliens. today i would like to address part of my testimony to enforce efforts in the two sunset for the border patrol. i have chosen not sector because i served there before i was chief, as the deputy chief. it is one of the largest sites or is on our border. it has 261 miles of common board with mexico. additionally, the sector area and responsibility contains large areas with various restrictive land designations. since 2004, leadership of that fact or has changed frequently with success of assignments of some of the most distinguished and experienced chiefs in the
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border patrol with the support of congress, the agency workforce has increased and we have even experimented with the assignment of national guard troops, technologies been approved -- improved. i believe, gentlemen, as does the national association of order patrol officers, but the difficulty to gain control are not the result of poor management or lack of resources. it is simply an issue of denied access. unfortunately, our country's willingness to accept unwise restrictions has been aggravated in recent years by the unrelenting pressure of drug cartels and international criminal enterprises.
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that brings us to one of the most difficult questions facing present border patrol supervisors and agents. how do we protect our national security successfully and highly restricted areas? the time proven an effective technique through years of experience are severely limited or at times completely eliminated because of the self-imposed restrictions, expensive technologies cannot eat efficiently implemented and manpower has assets that become more difficult to utilize. for these reasons, the leadership of the national association of former order patrol officers enthusiastically endorses the decisive remedies proposed by congressman bishop. this includes a 100-mile limit and waiver of all restrictions listed in that proposed
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legislation. we believe if enacted it will have a high probability of success and it is an absolute necessary first step to achieve our goal -- our national goal of operational control. we also believe that approval of the proposed legislation will convince the american public that congress is now seriously seeking remedies to improve national security and public safety of our citizens. there is another reason it makes perfect sense to do this. my time is up? >> you do have your written report as well and there will be questions for you. i still think we are going on
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the floor, so we have mr. time. mr. taylor, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, sir. chairman bishop, german chaffetz, members of the committee, thank you for allowing the association to address the distinguished assembly. i am here to speak for legislation, h.r. 1505, national security and federal transportation act. this bill is brilliant in its simplicity. why? the primary purpose of border security is to ensure national security and promote public safety for all americans including border patrol agents. each of you represent constituents, talents and communities affected by illegal immigration and drug smuggling. no community in the united states is safe from transnational criminals and criminal organizations. as long as the external borders of the united states remain open, they will continue to come. the level of violence these
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groups are capable of and routinely employed is incomprehensible to any civilized person. border patrol agents in arizona spend a significant amount of time patrolling public lands because much of the land among the arizona border is public land. these agents report the department of homeland security and customs and border protection are intentionally misrepresenting the situation on the southern order, especially concerning the relative safety of the area a number of aliens attacked did. therefore, i am here today to tell you what link is subpoenaed in place under oath for fear of reprisal from the employee. the novalis arizona area has become a more dangerous place to work and the federal public land surrounding novalis has evolved into an area routinely proud by
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alien smugglers from mexico. additionally, agents do not have unencumbered access on all public lands controlled border. the concept is simple. if you cannot access the border, you cannot patrol the border and therefore you cannot secure border. limited access areas including wilderness and refuge areas greater likelihood they will harm criminals who will not hesitate to fire upon them and the probability if anyone is seriously injured they will surely died before the injured person can be safely transported or evacuated because of access issues. there is also the fact they would like to control these areas effectively because they may find themselves subject of a dispute between their agency and the agency controlling land they seek to control. the agent on the ground, the very idea that a plant or some obscure animal is more important than their life is an unsettling reality that further discourages them in the first to secure
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border. you need to protect our border patrol agents. by existing public concerns, the lack of interest on the department of homeland security to pursue criminals that kill border patrol agents. he had oceans under the carpet is reprehensible. here have a copy of the arizona hunting a traffic regulation shall wait and i quote from the homeland security issues along the international border may affect quality of the person behind. the delineated area ghost in the california border to new mexico area and includes all in south of interstate highway eight and 10 in north as far as arizona city. that line pass into the near west of tucson. we have recent reports of agents following tracks of an all-terrain vehicle across the border illegally in arizona. they followed the trail across
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public lands north into maricopa county, which is phoenix and apprehended a load of marijuana in an all-terrain vehicle driven by a 15-year-old illegal alien with a rifle. the department of interior employees have vehicle barriers, 70, 80 miles north of the mexican border in the wilderness. to prevent smuggling vehicles from driving further north. i could go on for hours at individual examples of whether legislation is necessary. however, my five minutes is nearly up. we urge you to support mr. bishop's bill to protect federal lands and our border patrol agents are signing on as a cosponsor as soon as possible to get the border patrol agent on the ground the unencumbered access to federal public lands within 100 miles of the border must have secure the border and provide them reassurance that the united states congress is behind them in that effort. >> thank you very much. mr. chilton's premier recognized for five minutes. again, pull
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closer to your mouth so we can hear it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i had a rancher and ranchers shoot straight and it was really upsetting to sit here and listen to the your credit doubletalk that the florida service -- the blm and the border patrol. i live on the border about four miles of my ranchers the international border. the border is not signed or marked and consists of a five strand barbed wire fence, similar to the one onesies along highways. there is no wall and you would never know it was the international border is viewing it. but the cartels know. we strongly believe the border patrol must control the border at the border, not tan, 20 miles
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inside. we have heard that anna was a few years ago the border patrol found several back packs near our ranch, which contains you may need passports. we wonder whether the owners of the back packs were tourists or terrorists. we must protect the national security above all else. national security must not be trumped by environmental laws for federal land managers. it would seem impossible to win world war ii if the military, with current laws, such as the national environmental policy act, endangered species act, the clean water act and other acts enacted by congress after world war ii. the constructions of thousands of military bases and port
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facilities inside the united states during the war would have been delayed for years. wouldn't it make sense to control the border at the border by completing the border fence? there is no order offense from the palace to sass to be. of about 50, 60 miles. wouldn't it make sense to have functioning to the border, installing cameras and sensors in using drugs and recent satellite and other proven technologies developed by the military? the border patrol needs to build two construct roads, helicopter pads and forward operation base is a very close or next to the
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border and be free of impediments caused by environmental laws and federal land managers. land managers must not be allowed to interfere with what the access of the essential use of land to protect we the citizens. recently, environmental mitigation diversions resulted in 50 million border patrol funds being transferred to the u.s. fish and wildlife service for alleged environmental damage. the real environmental damage is being caused by drought and people traffickers whose impact is enormously more harmful to the border than the border patrol. we are told by the border patrol that approximately 20% of the undocumented border crossers have criminal records.
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criminals engage in human and drug transportation find it convenient to use wildlife refuges and wilderness areas as easy corridors to hide in travel. my fellow rancher, rob krantz, was murdered with the killer escaping back to mexico through the san bernardino national refuge. emphatically, we oppose the designation of any and all new wilderness areas while lands or refuges within 100 miles of the southern border. such designations are virtual guests to mexican cartels. it is outrageous that hundreds of mexican cartels scouts with the best binoculars, night vision and encrypted satellite phone have been found to occupy the tops of mountains near our
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ranch and near our house and dozens of miles inside the border. as a consequence, the cartels scouts know where the border patrol is located at all times and can then carefully guide ak-47 gun packing joggers and people smugglers to the mountains and valleys without being spotted by the border patrol. we have been burglarized twice. ranchers in the border area cannot leave houses unguarded for a few hours since their homes are likely to be broken into if someone is not there. we live with weapons near our bed. our doors have weapons next to them. we have weapons that are vehicles and we attach weapons on his scandals. the border patrol must use the
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border so that citizens rice -- property rights and human rights are protect did. ranchers along the border cannot have use of mind until the border is in fact secured. >> i appreciate that. just so you know, there is a boat going on right now we have told members to quickly vote and come back. there'll be people coming back again. ms. anu mittal. >> i am pleased to be here to participate in a joint hearing on border patrol operations. as you know, 40% of the southwest border is federal land managed by the primates of the interior and agriculture. even those whose land is characterized, they have not deterred illegal border crossers husak committees have damaged the environment by creating
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thousands of miles of the legal trail, dumping tons of trash and wildfires to escape on these lands. order patrolled and agency officials order patrolled and agency officials order patrolled and agency officials at stopping illegal traffic is close to the border as possible is essential not only to protect national security, but also to protect the natural cultural resources, and provide solid geo-issued two reports on border patrol operation, and federal lands along the southwest border. my testimony will summarize key findings of both of these reports. these reports are prepared collabra d. by staff ngos homeland security and justice steve ngos national resource environment team. a company to be as rich as danna, director relief gao's work on border security issues. first, we found the border patrol must comply with various land management laws such as the bus, esa and wilderness act when conducting operations on land.
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under these laws, border patrols like other federal agencies must obtain permission from the land agencies refer agents can undertake activities such as maintaining rosenman stallings surveillance on federal lands. to help implement laws, border patrol and the land agencies have developed several interagency agreement. we heard today about the 2006 and though you and these have led to numerous instances of enhanced cooperation and better access for patrol on some federal lands. however we also found instances where despite these interagency agreements, land management laws have impacted order patrols access to federal lands. for example, 14 as his earlier mentioned were responsible for federal land told us they sometimes faced delays because of the length of time it takes plan manager to meet requirements before it can be issued. we found some of these delays could have been reduced if
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border patrol had used its own resources to perform environmental assessments and other delays could have been reduced if the agencies had conducted programmatic environmental impact statement or the region as allowed under the act. we recommend the agencies take these steps to avoid delays in the future. in addition to the five stations told us because of the esa and presence of endangered species they change time allocation of control. however, they've also told us these changes have not affected their ability to detect or apprehend illegal aliens on federal lands. second, we found while land management laws they have not impacted operational control status from 22 of the 26 border control stations along the southwest border. instead, we found 18 of the stations reported that the
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remoteness and ruggedness of the terrain and dense vegetation had affected their level of operational control on federal lands more than access delays or restrictions caused by the land management laws. according to the stations, the key to obtaining operational control on federal lands on the southwest border is to have a sufficient number of agents have access to additional technology and have additional tactical infrastructure. they did not identify changing the environmental laws is a key requirement. for stations along the southwest border did tell us that their ability to achieve or maintain operational control for federal lands under the jurisdiction have been affected by land management laws. however, only two of the stations had requested additional resource is to facilitate increased or timelier access to regain operational control. in both of these cases, their requests were denied by senior
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border patrol officials because of other higher agent the priorities. finally, seven years ago we were very critical of the lack of information sharing and communication that existed between border patrol and the land agencies. in 2010 however, we found the agencies had it if it can progress in some areas as a result of the implementation of various interagency agreement, but we also found they could still take additional steps to ensure the coordination of threatening information in a timely manner and agencies have compatible radio communications. the agencies are currently taking actions to implement recommendations. mr. chairman, this concludes my prepared statement and i'd be happy to respond to any questions you have geared >> thank you. i appreciate you offer given your statements. if i forget at the end of numbers of additional statements that are written, we may ask you to respond at the same time.
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in a timely fashion, ms. mittal let me ask questions if i could. as i understood as you're talking here, very nice, balanced report, but she did find a correlation between environmental laws as a release to the border patrol's ability to get permission and permits from some land managers? >> what we found is the implementation of the environmental laws have resulted in delays and restrictions. >> this is the question -- i never asked questions if i don't know the answer, but he asked her the other panelists. in all of these issues that you went through, did you ever find a chance when the request was made that it was border patrol always asking the interior for permission? it was never the other way around? >> you asked that question earlier and one of the things we noticed was border patrol has a lot of flexibility under the
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facts to actually undertake a number of these environmental assessments themselves and they have not been doing that. >> as long as they are left to do that. i appreciate that very, very much. let me ask a couple other questions. mr. wood, mr. chilton and mr. taylor. from your experience on the ground and i wish the other panelists here to listen to your test money as well. our environmental laws such as the endangered species acts compatible with border security? do you have examples of the problems you have seen what those? ms. chilton, go ahead. then go down that road. >> the answer is no. national security should not be trumped by environmental laws or rules and regulations of a different department like
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interior service and fish and wildlife. there is a refuge in arizona called the san pedro national conservation area. it starts at the international border with the san pedro river enters the united states. there is a while that comes each way and stops and there is a 1500-foot gap. the refuge is two miles -- two miles wide and a conservation area is 50 miles long. the border patrol has no access into that area except that the border and that his limited access. it is a path for drivers, illegals, perhaps terrorists to
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walk 50 miles into the united states. and how does the border patrol tried to patrol it? the patrol the perimeter. if you have 50 miles one way in 50 miles the other way in two miles on the end, that is 102 more miles than the border patrol has to patrol. they are not allowed into it at the national conservation area has deteriorated so you can't drive and the refuge are the conservation will not let the border patrol or anyone create the roads and have access in it. >> i appreciate that. let me change that question slightly. do you see anything fundamentally strange that the border patrol has unlimited access on private property, but
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does not have unlimited access on public property to do their jobs? >> thank you for the question. it has not gone unnoticed to us that the memo -- memorandum of understanding we discussed earlier gets nine pages of single spaced typing. it's complicated to read, but the point i am making here is in contrast to that, you the federal statute now in effect allows order patrol unrestricted entry within the distance of 25 miles from any external boundary and to have access to private lands but not dwellings for the purpose of patrolling the border to prevent illegal entry of aliens into the united
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states. .. >> thank you. the border patrol agent in tucson said what was happening was great success. >> the border patrol still is not at the border. the border patrol is doing what
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they can. i respect what they are trying to do. but the border is not secure. they can't get down to the border, they try to patrol five, ten, fifteen miles inside the border. and allow us to live in an no man's land. there has been some diminishment in traffic across. but when i talked to the border patrol people and nogalas, they say the traffic is moving further west into the indian nation and into the oregon pipe area. and they -- we don't see the people moving across our ranch. one time there's 30 or 40,000 people coming through a year. we don't see the people anymore.
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there are scouts on top of the mountains who are guiding the cartels and the people smugglers through our ranch and other ranches. and the border patrol is known -- they know where the border patrol is at all times. and the border patrol doesn't see them. they move right through the country, clear on to pinell county in phoenix. >> now dangerous is it there? >> well, when we're riding horse back, i pack two guns, a rival and a pistol. if i see people coming along with an ak47 and a whole bunch of people with backpacks with drugs in them, i go the other way. fast. if i have to, i'll fall off of
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my horse and go to shooting. it's dangerous. it's dangerous and we should not have to live under those conditions. the border should be controlled at the border. >> you talked to me about the morale that you are seeing and how did the agents deal with the differences between what they can do in other areas and what they can do in wilderness type designation areas. >> they found out not only just the wilderness, but the public land that adjoins the wilderness. i'm talking specifically about the wilderness. one the first actions i had as a supervisor, you may or may not be aware, we had federal troops supporting the border control. we had a combat team from the marine corps base working in junction with us.
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and a fire fight enpseudo, there was back in 1989 i assumed between the marines and the packers. and the land managers was not concerned about the fact that we had a fire fight. they were concerned about the fire that ensued in the wilderness area. so we had to quit going in there. >> how big of a space of an area was that? >> that particular area in that -- there's a protected area within the protected area. and that's where they were. and the reason the marines were there, that's where the smugglers chose to come through the border. and that internal inside of the wilderness is relatively small. i think it's 150 acres. >> question for you. did they definition between controlled and managers, did you feel like there was unified vision and understanding of
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those two der in -- definitionsd what was truly controlled and what wasn't controlled. >> we use the border control's definition of operational control so that when we were talking to their patrol agents in charge, we were using definitions that their agency had developed and that they should have been fully understanding of. so that is why we used the definition of operational control that was defined by the border patrol. >> very good. my time has expired. i yield back. >> mr. kildee, do you have questions for these witnesses? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first of all, i want to thank all of the witnesses for your testimony. i'd like to ask miss mitchell, did you -- did the tao find that laws need to be repealed or altered in order for the border patrol to effectively perform it's mission.
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>> during our audit, what we found is that it was the implementation of the environmental laws that was causing the delays and restrictions that the border patrol agents had identified. nobody recommended that there was a particular law or particular provision of the law that needed to be changed. what we noted was that the mou that was implemented by the three agencies were -- was not effective in implementing the environmental laws. >> congress then in it's position should have perhaps more hearings on how we can better have the enforcement of these laws then. >> in our review of the four laws that were repeatedly cited by border patrol, what we found is that the environmental laws provide a lot of flexibility as well as a lot of options.
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and that the border patrol has not exercised all of the flexibilities and all of the options that are provided to it under these environmental laws. so it's very easy to go back to the -- and blame the land management agencies when you have not yet taken the actions that the laws provide you as the action agency. so i think the reason we did not make any suggestions or recommendations about changing the environmental laws was because there are flexibility and options available to border patrol that it has not yet exhausted in trying to comply with the environmental laws. >> based on your interviews, how significant of a problem are public land access issues for the border patrol sector chiefs that you interviewed? what is their feeling on -- >> there were 17 border patrol agents in charge out of the 26
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that we surveyed that told us that they had experienced access delays. however, in each -- and not in every case did they cause a problem in their ability to fulfill their function. flex, there were five that had to change their patrols as a result of endangered species. all of those border patrol agents told us that had not impacted their ability to apprehend and deconnect illegal aliens on federal lands. there was a mixed bag. in some cases, it had caused an impact, on other places, it had not. >> thank you very much. i know congress wants and all of us at this table want to make sure we have the proper balance in all of your testimony today has been helpful. and i thank you, mr. chairman. >> i have some more questions. we'll do around here if possible.
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mr. taylor, can i ask you, we have talked a lot about whether border patrol can go in under the exigent or emergency circumstances. can you tell me what's the difference between patrolling and going in for exigent or emergency circumstances? >> patrolling is something that is done routinely, daily, it involves two things, deterring people from crossing the border and detecting them once they have. those are the two basic principals of patrols the border. if you do not have access to the border, you can't patrol it. so you have to back off. the further that you have to back off, the more territory that you are seating to the enemy. >> well, so then can i follow up on that? can you explain the obstacles the border patrol faces if they are blocked from building new roads or maintaining existing
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roads? and is it just good enough to have a single road running through it? >> no. let me qualify my background. i've been a field agent in the border patrol 26 years. last 14 were in arizona. so i worked that area. when you have a situation where you cannot get in there and pull somebody out that gets in trouble, your best off not to send them in there. so what happens is the area doesn't get patrolled at all. >> i see. thank you. mr. wood, can you explain the big hatchet repeater, mou, what it is, and why it's a concern? >> yes, thank you. the big hatchet is the name of a mountain peak in -- located in southern new mexico. it is the sole source for communication.
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historically, there was a repeater up there. the land managers found out about it, the border patrol is required to take it down. since then, it's been put back up. but with the restrictions that make it very, very difficult to manage as an example. the border patrol will be required to take that down if that area is designated wilderness. the caveat to that is they will not be able to take it down except through certain months of the year because of the lambing season for some endangered species there. it's the highest peak in the area. it's going to be subject to damage by lightning and other natural affects. if that repeater goes down from
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lightning, and it's during the period where border patrol cannot access it for those limitations, then that entire area is going to be without communication and the border patrol agents assigned in there are going to be drastic danger. as a former chief would probably pull the agents out of there if it happens. it's just not worthwhile to take that kind of chances against one of our agents. >> thank you. thank you. mr. taylor, last december agent terry was murdered on the national forest land. how should the tragedy influence this discussion? >> i mentioned earlier, mr. chairman, that those areas that border wilderness and in this
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particular case, the national forest on the south, the bandits in the united states that very involved came up through the coronado, and stayed in the islands and at the intersection of the mountains and the other mountains is where it happened and where the agent was killed. apparently the agent tried to follow the people that did the shooting back in new mexico, and went through the wilderness, which the agents have no access to. as a matter of fact, there's not even a fence there in many places. it's been down on the ground so long that the vegetation has covered it. >> is this the map that we were talking about? this is the area? >> yeah. yes, sir. >> can you explain what we're looking at with that map? >> okay. if you'll look in the lower right-hand corner where the arrow is, there's many the
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border patrol station is. the next arrow to the left is coming up through the more or less on the east side, and then the arrow on the left is the main corridor they are coming from the west. what they are going through where you see the box is what i call the kill zone. this is where the bandits, now there's two groups of bandits. people trying to protect, and the other side is trying to rip them off. both troops, apparently, are armed. once they get past the kill zone, you look at the air row i- arrow in the upper right hand corner. that's where the border patrol check point is. the arrows to the left follow the highlands and take the aliens and the drug smugglers beyond the burdener patrol check point. and the purpose of the box in there is to show that almost all of that kill zone is located on public land.
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and it is in the coronado national forest. pretty much in the northwest quadrant is where agent terry was killed. and in the northeast quadrant in the four day period, within the last ten days, we've found three bodies. we don't have a ruling yet on what caused the death. also in the upper left-hand corner in december 2009 is where agent russo was shot. we believe it was the same group of bandits that shot both agents. so if i can expand that just slightly, if you'll think about nogalas as a horseshoe, it is covered on the west by public land, it is covered by the east on public land, and it is all mountains. and the reason the alien smugglers use that is because when they have the high ground, they have the tactical advantage. they can see the border patrol coming and the border patrol has to go to them.
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and the only way they can do that is on foot. horses won't work in that area. because in some of those places, to transverse them, you have to go on your hands and knees, it's that steep. i hope that answers your question. >> thank you. and more detail that i have. mr. kildee, i'm over here. i have a couple more questions. did you have anything else further? >> no. i have no further questions. >> chaffetz? >> let me ask two more questions. then i'll -- we'll let you know. let me do the first one for mr. wood and mr. taylor. in the letter from the wildlife service to dhs, an endangered species, they asked the border control to stop doing road dragging to cut signs near the refuge. can you tell us what cutting signs is and why it's an
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important tool? what are the implications if the border patrol cannot use this tool? >> yes, sir. as i alluded to earlier in the testimony, sign cutting is one of the most preferred and effective techniques that the border control has developed over the years. sign cutting affectively requires that a road be parallel to the border. if that's the area that you want to protect, they call it a drag road because they are frequently smoothed over by one method or another. so that evidence of illegal entry is easily identified by the agents that are working that area. one the critical things of that, you have to have access. you can't effectively do sign cutting or drag roads away from the border.
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you've lost the funnel then where these entries occur. and they spread out over large, large distance. so if we're not able to use that technique, we're losing a very, very valuable tool that we have developed over the years. i can tell the committee, the border patrol agents now and previously were some of the best sign cutters in the country. i always have to mention that it's an old technique. but it's been very effective for our agency. >> thank you. mr. chilton, i'll give you the last chance to comment on a question that i had. 2007, this subcommittee received a letter from one of your good friends, the crince family.
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they stated the border patrol should not be excluded nor national security in the united states be sacrificed in order to create a wilderness area. we are in fear for our lives, and that of our family and friends. i think you mentioned what happened to rob crince within a year of that letter coming in. i would ask you -- this isn't a question, we know what happens down there. it is a sad situation. should never have been the place. i realize that mrs. crince was also hit by another accident. were difficult. would you extent our appreciation to that family and our concern. i think one the reasons why we are pushing forward with this -- these concepts is because of the crince family and what they suffered down for. if you do that, i would be appreciative. >> i will. she helped me prepare my testimony. she's really, really angry that wilderness areas are still being
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proposed. she's angry that her husband's killers has not been found, and she believes that national security demands securing the border at the border. and i will be very happy to call her this afternoon and talk with her. thank you, mr. bishop. >> i appreciate that. mr. tierney, you get the chance to ask the last question. >> that's highly unlikely. mr. chaffetz over there, someone can't get the last word with him. thank you, i wanted to ask a couple of questions. i had to step out. i apologize. i wanted to reiterate what i understand the reports to be. behind you, i thank you for your work. from what i understand, it is that there's no direct correlation between the environment of the laws and the wilderness laws that can't be resolved by the department's
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working together and over coming any conflict between national security and the intent and protection of those laws, is that correct? >> what we found that the mou was designed to take care of those conflicts. and make sure that the agencies work well together. in some areas, the mou is doing a really good job. in other areas, it is not as effective. >> now did your study look at all into those areas that weren't affected as to what was the cause of that lack of total effectiveness. >> what we heard repeatly was that the land management agencies do not have the resources to always expedite border patrols requests. but the border patrol does have flexibilities under the existing laws to undertake a number of the environmental assessments itself, it can construct programmatic statements for the region, and it can establish categorical exclusions, and none of that has been done yet.
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>> so we need to focus in on making sure we focus on in using all of their resources properly. we need to look at increasing the resources with their lacking. and i suspect that we probably need to do some better training. is that a fair thing to say to make sure the mou is operative and implemented in the manner it should be? >> yes, training was something that was brought up by every patrol agent, they would like to see more regular, face-to-face land unit training, provided by land management so they understand the environment that they are working in. >> okay. better training. better use of what resources do exist. better resources lacking. what else would you recommend the attention of the congress? >> i believe that holding the agencies accountable to make sure they can demonstrate to you that they have exhausted all of the available flexibilities that they have available to their disposal and yet they are running into problems and doing
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their job. and if congress can hold them accountable, i did not hear any new information provided this morning by any of the agencies that testified that they have exhausted the authorities that congress has provided them. i think holding them accountable is essential. >> okay. looks to me the congress did its job in terms of writing the laws. it may not be doing all that it should in terms of oversight. here we are. thank you. i yield back to balance my time. >> if there are no other questions? fine. first, i want to thank the panel. i appreciate the work, it's very enlightening. i even did read the footnotes. >> you did, i'm very impressed. >> mr. chilton, i appreciate you being here and giving us the perspective as someone that lives on the borders and faces these situations on a daily basis. mr. taylor, mr. wood, both of
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you, thank you for being here and representing the view of a border patrol agent who is no longer worried about his status as a broader -- border patrol agent. thank you for your testimony. i appreciate it. it was valuable to all of us there. let's see -- blah, blah, blah. if there's no further business, then without objection, the hearing is adjourned. thank you again. [gavel] >> mr. chairman? [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> the jobs story on wireless is frankly a bigger one for the impact on the economy at large as opposed to microeconomic question of whether or not a given set of carriers -- >> sure. >> -- builds out. >> the president's chief technology officer, aneesh chopra joins us at 8 eastern on the communicators on c-span2. >> tonight on the networks, u.s. labor leaders discuss the future of labor unions, including recent republican efforts to curve the rights.
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>> even at the cost of disabling democrat has reached epidemic proportions. >> that's at c-span, and on c-span2, the look at the balance and state rights and federal authority. as well as a look at brown versus the board of education. >> i would say, correct me if i'm wrong, brown v. board was to protect the people. if that's the federal government overstepping it's bound, i don't see why the federal government is there. if not to protect the peace and prosperity of its own people. [applause] [applause] >> i must say for being a student at the university of colorado, you have great insight. [laughter] >> i would just say this, i would love to see the federal government dedicated to those principal that is you mentioned.
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but running every facet of our lives and including education is not one of them. i honestly believe that colorado educators are smart enough to do it without the federal government. to do it without the department of education. >> you can watch that discussion on state's rights and federal authority tonight at 8:30 on c-span2 and the discussion on the future of the labor unions on 8 p.m. on c-span. pakistan's finance minister says the country is not just trying to get foreign assistance from the united states, but also wants trade and open market. so american businesses can flourish in pakistan. he spoke in washington, d.c. today on u.s.-pakistan relations. the finance minister is in washington for spring meetings at the international monetary fund and world bank. pakistan is trying to secure billions in the aid dollars from the imf.
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the finance minister is meeting department officials during his trip. >> shaikh abdul has keyed to talk to us for 15 minutes today. at this which point, he's agreed to ask questions. we're delighted to have you. we turn things over to you now. >> thank you, sir for that very nice introduction. i should hang around here in the u.s. if i keep getting such a recognition. nobody seems to have much to say good about me in pakistan. so.
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[laughter] >> i'm delighted to be here. it's an honor for me. and thank you for the invitation. i think they are meeting at a critical time. the pakistan-u.s. relationship has acquired a significance that it never had before. it's seen as important both for the peace and security of the region, and perhaps for the whole world. the need to learn from the past as well as our recent experiences and to shape and configure the relationship to fulfill the expectations and the needs of the two parties is more critical than it has ever been. the u.s. and pakistan has enjoyed a long relationship.
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it has been episodic and transactionist at times, and sometimes there has been a desire to make it a strategic, and all of the sustained footing. i think one the key features that categorized the relationship is the degree of variation that it has seen. where pakistan has sometimes been labeled as the most allied ally and other times as the most sanctioned ally. and all of this within period of years. and right now in the post 9/11 scenario, it's labeled as a major nonnato ally. political security considerations have often led to government-to-government external assistance on the economic front as well. and the growth spurts, the
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growth spurts that pakistan has had in the '60s, '80s, and 2000s have someone been linked to the u.s. external assistance. or at least have coincided with periods of external assistance from the u.s. a key feature of this external assistance from the u.s. has been it has coincided with wars. in the first case, the cold war, and the soviet war, and in the third case, the so-called terror war. sadly, in each case, when the war has ended, so has the external assistance. and this departure of the u.s. from the region has had tragic consequences. at least in the last case. now it seems we are entering a new era. or we have entered a new era.
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the question that we want to ask, why did the u.s. walk away in the past? and how can we learn to put this relationship on a mounder, more solid, more sustained footing which is not subject and vulnerable to shocks. i think one the answers that the u.s. could find it easy to walk away because the relationship was based primarily on economic -- on noneconomic considerations. therefor, this is one the lessons that we have to draw, and this is an area that we need to focus. and i think the administration and our government appeared to have recognized the missing dimension in the relationship and they are trying to remedy that. we will see how it unfolds.
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the second point apart from the variation and the need to learn from the time part of our engagement of the past is that economic relations have always been there between the u.s. and pakistan, they have chugged along. they have been a significant interaction. but it has never realized it's true and fullest potential. so inspite of that, there's a significant degree of economic interaction that has been there throughout and has survived politics. trade, for example, is $5 million, trade from the u.s. is roughly $500 million, and
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government to government assistance now targeted at $1.5 billion for economic matters per year. so the second question that we want to think about is how do seize the potential that exists. and to build up on this major level of economic integration to a new plateau which truly realizes the full potential and is truly insulated from happeningings on the political and other fronts. let us turn to pakistan now. and see what's been happening there. first of all, democracy is back. and it's back with all of it its
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vibrant and it has marked legislation. it has been aperiod where the president has voluntarily handed over powers back to the parliament, and in turn, the federal government has volunteerly handed other responsibilities and additional resources to the providences. a dramatic development has been the message of the new national finance commission award in which three to 400 billion are going to be transferred to the providences. which is what most people in the room would want, which is what most pakistanis would want. because the things that matter to the people, education, and health, and drinking water and municipal services and police and law and order and security at the local level are all departments within the mandate. so the more resources they have.
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the more they will be able to respond. to the demands of the people. and so the service delivery can be improved. and this has been, i think, a dramatic and far reaching step. and it's consequences will begin to be seen over time. another aspect of the new democratic dispense is that we have institutions that are working for transparency and for accountability. the likes of which have never been seen before. and again in the first and parliament anywhere, the chief accountability officer of the government of pakistan is the person who's official title is the leader of the house, leader of the opposition in the parliament. the leader of the opposition in the parliament is also the
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chairman of the public accounts committee. which is the chief accountability organization of the government. so you have this wonderful experience of the leader of the opposition in a position to summon anybody and scrutinize anybody, ask any questions from anybody, and command -- demand explanation from anybody from the prime minister down to everyone. and he does that with relish. you also have a supreme court where the chief justice and the court is highly active in scrutinizing and investigating and probing and summoning and asking also sorts of questions from everybody in the government. this again is exciting development and making our society open, and it makes our officials accountable. we also have a free media.
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i think it's there. again, comment and critique and question and criticize. and every evening, there are at least 15 channels which from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. have talk shows which do very little else but focus on public issues. and i think they perform their job with veal and enthusiasm. turning to the economic matters, this government inherited a difficult situation and an economy at the verge of collapse. a lot of the steps has been done to try to risk macroeconomics stability, try to mobilize taxation, try to cut down expenditures, even in this most recent budget, expenditures are frozen at nominals levels of
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last year. which means real production of 10-12%. new taxes has been levied on capital gains tax, on stockbrokers, new sectors has been brought in like fertilizer and pesticides and tractors and textiles and others which were excluded before. 700,000 new people with multiple bank accounts, international travel, the best of pakistan who are not paying taxes and being pursued to broaden the income tax net. and so you have a new drive, a new initiative, and the goal is to raise the abysmally low tax to gdp ratio from less than 10% to closer to 14% over the next three to four years. at same time, while these painful decisions, including
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passing the energy crisis, passing the international oil crisis to the consumers, there has been a conscious attempt to have a social safety net, to not forget the already forgetten and to try to reach out to the poorest of the poor through automated systems of cash transfers. and this is a system that now even the world bank has accepted and one the best managed and best executed in the world. and so a combination of balance is being struck between looking after the very poor during the transition while going on with the most difficult decisions in the political environment that is also not very conducive and remains fragile.
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on top of this, pakistan has had multiple challenges to face. over this last year, we have the continuing expenditure on security and on war. and or -- our soldiers have sacrificed their lives, our citizens have been target the, and we have had to bear a great burden. this is a war to which we are committedded. and naturally in the middle of the war, you cannot starve your soldiers, so the fight has to go on and the moneys have to be paid. second, we had the greatest disaster of our history because of the great floods of 2010 when 20 million people were affected, drops destroyed, infrastructure was damaged, lives were shattered over $10 billion of damages were incurred and two percentage points from the
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growth rate of the gdp was wiped out. and third, we now have the struggle to get exposure to the rising prices of oil which we are targeted at $17 a barrel in our budget making. of which is likely to remain above 100. despite of that, like i said, the government and the people have shown resilience, we have continued to pursue the economic reform agenda, trying to focus on public sector efficiency, even the federal cabinet has been slashed by 2/3 from 60 to 22. our government budget for development programs for government projects was slashed from $280 billion by $100 billion to $180. the idea is to ensure the security of public finances to maintain the fiscal discipline,
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bring down fiscal deficit, which when the government came into power was above 7.5% to around 5 to 5.5%. and to try and create a platform for growth. so we've been working on a growth strategy to try and give jobs to our young people and to get back on the trajectory of growth approaching 6% or so. some of the results are beginning to show, and i'm happy to share those with you on the external front. the exports have shown dramatic increase of 26% in the last nine months. if you compare february with february of the last year, the growth is a phenomenal 46%. and the experts are likely to cross $24 billion. the highest ever. similarly, they are approaching $1 billion a month, and likely
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to cross $11 billion this year. the highest ever. the benefits of these too is being shown in the reserves of the foreign exchange which has also reached the highest ever level of $17.5 billion. at the same time, we have rationalized our government program, and we feel that the combination of all of these must be shared, merging benefits in the economy must be shared with the large segments of the people. and government has adopted pricing policies for agriculture sector to insent -- incentivize them and grow more and share from global prosperity that is emerging from the rise of the price of food products. this is paying off. we are expected now to have a
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wheat crop, the highest ever. because the prices is geared in such a way, this will lead to large scale prosperity in the country side. these are some of the emergeing areas of positive results and now in my last set of comments i turn now to u.s.-pakistan economic relations. i believe that because there's a reformist government in pakistan, a democratic government, that it does not burden with trying to do funny things to achieve legitimacy, and we have a global concentration in which the destiny of the two countries appeared to be tied for some time, and hopefully for a longer time. that the new way of thinking about how to secure the foundations of this relationship
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is indeed a responsibility of leadership for the two sides. i think that the u.s. government has responded or tried to response to to this challenge, d the new external assistance the law has been passed, kerry-lugar-berman which includes $5 million a year. i think that form of an institutional arrangement exists under which the two countries can work out. five areas has been identified under the kerry-lugar-berman arrangement, it's energy security, food security, economic growth, particular focus on the effected areas in the tribal region and social secretary, including education and health. i believe that the money is
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dispersed and if it's wildly and it can have consequences. at the same time, given the demands and the requirements of the country and the potential that exists in the private sector and the lesson from the past is not relying upon government alone, it's very important to think of forms for the business dialogue and for ventures in which u.s. businesses can make money so that they remain motivated and participate in the economic development of our country while also benefiting the shareholders several opportunities exist. one of which, of course, the kerry-lugar-berman is itself trying to develop. that is the idea of the pakistan-american enterprise fund which would be of $300
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million. it's under the process of legislation and we are optimistic that once that's passed it will be from which the u.s. businesses can draw and it can be leveraged to do larger projects. and it will be potentially a magnet for attracting some kind of investors to pakistan. about pakistan in general, it is a country with tremendous opportunities, sometimes i'm asked which are the sectors that people should focus on. and my answer is that government ministers are particularly inept in answers such questions because if i knew which sectors, i would be in business myself. but i think what i can see is that everywhere, and i've had the opportunity to work in two dozen countries, and i think as a student of development, the opportunities in pakistan are
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second to none compared to all of the 24 country that is i have worked in. the opportunities in agriculture and in services and in telecommunications and in energy and might mining and in oil andn particular and everywhere you look, you will see opportunities. the question is is there a liberal regime that allows people to come in and participate on that score. let me share with you the nature of the pakistani investment regime. i believe it's the most liberal or one the most liberal in the entire world. we do not discriminate against foreigners, foreigners are welcome. and any sector of the economy. they can participate one percent of equity, or 100% of the equity. there's no requirement for any local partner, like in some countries. there are no limits on how much capital you can bring in or take
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out. there are no limits on how much money you can repetuate in the form of dividends or profits or licenses or whatever. here's an environment which is very conducive, very welcoming, and the government is beginning another hopefully exciting program of privatization in which government assets and in oil and gas. and manufacturing, will be available. and i think above all what one needs to do instead of listening to the speeches of ministers is to talk to your own colleagues who are already there. there's american business. association of pakistan, you can talk to them. most of them are already expanding. in the last two to three years, the governor has been telling me it's been the best for most of
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them. and they will share this information with you if they want to keep pakistan as a secret for themselves, then, of course, you can always look at their books. they are available. and they will corroborate the story. so i think i will stop now. hopefully we request -- we can have an attractive discussion. i'd like to learn from you. let me also in closing appreciate the u.s. government and it's leadership for the focus that they are giving to pakistan. for the recognition of the strategic nature of our relationship and the benefits that will accrue to the world if we invest into this relationship. and recognize each other's trends and each other's capacitied to contribute. and the fact that they have
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strategic dialogue between our two countries to which pakistan has responded which covers a large set of areas, including security and defense and energy and economy and trade and so on. and also i want to end by thanking the u.s. government for the support they gave us, particularly the initial fees of our floods and rescue and relief operations. and for being a part of the international coalition through the united nations at work in supporting our suffering for the brothers and sisters, and also for the support they have extended to us in trying to help us at other multilateral settings. thank you very much. [applause] [applause] >> well, thank you, mr.
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minister, for really a very thorough but also very encouraging set of remarks, in fact, your optimism, your confidence was really striking. and all the more so because it flies in the face, i think, of the conventional wisdom. maybe i'm talking to the wrong people, but when i read the pakistani press when i talk to pakistani friends, when i talk to people in this town who follow pakistan closely, they don't seem to have nearly the optimism and the confidence that you do. and i'd like to get your views as to why that is. how do you explain the gap as it were between what you say is the real situation and the general perception that things are not going particularly well and
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perhaps actually going in the wrong direction. is this simply a question of the right information not getting out? or is something else at work here? >> well, that's a good question. and i myself think about it a lot. because your observation about negative perception in certain segments of our people, i think is well founded. and we have to obviously take some blame for the failure to communicate our point of view as effectively as one can. at the same time, i believe that when you live in an era where you have so much capacity of
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other narrators to get their point of view. when expectations are running so high, and you have a situation of a coalition government, and you have within your own country a free press which is i think just beginning to find the rules of the game. which are not developed, i think, at the moment. somebody asked me how do you feel like getting your point of view across. and how do you feel? and i said it's like if you are in the democratic party in the u.s., we are one republican party to deal with. and you have, i think, maybe one fox channel to deal with. but if you are a democratic party, or any party ruling in pakistan, you have maybe five republican parties to deal with and 15 fox channels to deal with, and, of course, it can get
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a bit daunting to get your point of view across in that situation. so i don't know. i have tried to state something which are facts. and, of course, one can try to get that narrative across. and i would say also in the u.s. that we have the question of public lack of trust or trust deficit. and i think sometimes when we talk on this issue and with the u.s. counterparts, within the strategic dialogue, and public diplomacy, both sides attempt to figure out because we also pose this question to the u.s. that why is is it that if you have gd intentions and why is it that if
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you are trying to support our country there is a drop -- that the point of view doesn't get across. why is there a trust deficit? so i think this is a question that needs a greater scrutiny by people, you know, who are experts in this issue. i think within the u.s., obviously, there are all sorts of interest and all sorts of point of view. and there are two or three things that somehow mitigate against us. one is, of course, there's a perception that a lot of money is going to pakistan. at a time when that is requirement for fiscal restraint and, you know, expenditure cutting at home. so there we have to come out and explain the facts.
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: lobby, so we don't want to think of pakistan as a country that is primarily attempting to simply get foreign assistance. no, sir. we are saying let us have trade. we are saying let us open our markets to each other so that we
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can give arrangement with the american businesses can flourish in pakistan and our businesses can flourish here, and it's good for everybody. and this was our approach with the european union, and i'm happy to tell you that we have succeeded in opening new areas with a european trade because this is the message we want to give is that if we are to have a lasting relationship, and if we are to break some stereotypes' then it is important, but we focus on trade but there are barriers to trade. when obviously they have to be tackled, and so yes, i think a lot of work needs to be done by both sides, by friends of both sides within their countries to try and get this view across. especially from this country
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there's the perception of metric as if we are asymmetrically dependent on the u.s.. whereas what we want to, you know, get across, which of course we, as a small third world country has difficulty getting across in a place like this, but part of the reason i'm here is precisely to do it in my own small way. and get the benefit of people like yourself to subsequently take the message to a larger audience and more effective way than i can. >> thank you. we will now turn to the audience. let me remind our audience that dr. speed is the directors economic affairs and statistics. i expect some of us would be delighted to ask questions on a
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variety of other issues, but i think to be fair to our guest and giving particularly our limited amount of time, i would request you direct your questions to the minister in the areas for which his responsibility. dennis i will laski first to wait until we get a microphone to you to identify yourself and to keep your remarks very short. >> thank you very much, mr. minister for the very upbeat appraisal of the situation. i had to questions, not entirely related. the first you spoke about the prospects for business, american business in pakistan etc. i wonder -- i think one of the holdups has been the lack of an investment treaty, and my impression is that when this was
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negotiated or the effort was made and negotiated i think during president bush's's visit the holdup was on the pakistani side and i wonder if you can phyllis and where that fits today. the second question, another area, devolution, a very, very sweeping change, lots of new responsibilities to the provinces. but i'm wondering about the financial side. do the provinces have a basis for paying for these new opportunities, are these new functions, and particularly i was wondering about, and i think it is part of the devolution, the fact that the provinces now have the right to borrow money. yes. i think excellent questions first of all. i share with you my own view about the role of the treaties
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and promoting investment. my own view, and i could be wrong, is the role of having a business investment treaty between the two countries and generally promoting investment between two countries is usually not so great. of course it might provide a certain extra safeguards which might elevate some super risk adverse people's concerns, but that we have a thriving and historic the tested achievement of so many u.s. companies that it's not a new terrain where you are going. second, the last discussion we had on this business investment treaty which probably has really good exercise for lawyers on both sides is that the u.s. was coming up with a new template
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for future business investment treaties bit as they are called in the discussions could restart, so this is my understanding of where things stood last time, but if anybody in the room has more up-to-date information i think we can all be enlightened by it. the second point about devolution, is very important to recognize that devolution is going on both on the administration's side and the resources cited. in fact, it's much more drastic on the resource side, what is being devoted of the provinces at 18 ministries which used to be with the federal government and the provincial governments and now it's been decided that to get rid of this overlap and
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have the government that they should be solely the domain of the provinces. on the finance lied previously we have all of the taxes raised, and out of that, previously 45% used to go to the provinces, and 55% would go to the federation, and now 68% would go to the provinces, and about 40% would go to the center. so this is a very dramatic shift, and as i said, it's about 300 to 400 billion that poses a real problem for the federal government, because they are responsible for debt servicing of the past, they are responsible for the security expenditures, and of course
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government at the center. on your question about whether they will be able to borrow provinces, they've always been able to borrow from international agencies, but that borrowing is done in coordination with the federal government, because only the federal government is the sovereign and i think they can borrow through an amendment with the federal government because they bear the risks of a foreign-exchange. yes. >> all the way in the back, i can't see because the lights are in my eyes. >> yes, polly. thank you for your remarks, mr. minister. i have a question about kerry-lugar-berman and was wondering whether i imply that it is not a central for pakistan
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to have it, so perhaps you could clarify that. and then i have another question, which is if you feel that kerry-lugar-berman is still a good idea, where would you from your vantage point particularly like to see that money go? what would be from the pakistani perspective the best outcome? >> first of all, i believe it's very important for pakistan u.s. economic relationship. second, i believe it's very important as a symbol of the u.s. government, and it's, chris' commitment to a new space government in pakistan, and three, i think that if it is
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dispersed in a proper way and configured in a proper way and implemented in a proper way then it can help in consequences for the people of pakistan. and in altering some of the misperceptions that are there. but of course, in the larger scheme of things one is to see how much impact something of that magnitude can have. in my own view, i think i have sat down with u.s. officials, with the u.s. aid administrator, with the representatives and pakistan, and with pakistan and afghanistan special envoy, ambassador holbrooke who is a great friend to pakistan and a big loss for us, and we determined these five areas, which were energy security, food security, infrastructure
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development, in the affected areas, private sector growth, which includes enterprise development fund, and fifth, social sector. and i think the amounts were also dedicated to these sectors and for the five years and precise amounts to specific projects for the first two years. so i think it's a promising program and in no way do i want to appear to be either off it or not thankful for at. >> down here in the front. >> with the securities center at a certain point when we need to go beyond the statement we need trade from the market access and from pakistan and we've been
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working on some of these things and there has to be a recognition one of pakistan's largest exports to the u.s. is textiles and apparel but at the same time we have a domestic u.s. textile industry that is very hyper protective against any kind of tariff reduction so their needs to be some kind of cooperation between both of our sides to kind of figure out what specific items we can have those negotiations on to get the market access for. and then my second question has to do with -- obviously right now we have this environment coming up where the congress is looking to pass the fta whether it is the u.s.-columbia free trade agreement, south columbia or there will be the opportunity for the access to get bumbled and passed. if we can get more details on the strategic strategies and the second question, when we have things like the u.s. pakistan enterprise fund, that's where these questions, and it's like why do we need essentially this government fund investing in
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pakistan? it's going to be overseen by managers and part of that is you see a very smooth pathways for the u.s. businesses to dillinger india which is next door. so i think a lot of that comparative, you know, analyzing is going on when they are looking to base the manufacturing facilities, where are we going to base these things? i know you secure in the position to describe what pakistan's competitive advantage was, but if you could talk about some things pakistan can do to facilitate business is going to pakistan whether it is treating a strategic dominica strategy how pakistan is a good investment in the u.s. or sponsoring trade delegations and business delegations because i think there's the convening power of government we can facilitate these private sector missions to u.s. private sector missions to pakistan. if you could talk a little bit about those efforts. thank you. >> mr. minister you noticed this is a savvy audience. everyone takes to advantage of the microphone to ask two questions. [laughter] >> yes. do i selectively pick one of
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them? [laughter] >> again, i think that you're absolutely right that in the end of, we want or what have the two parties may want is the upper bound of that comes from the political constraint. so clearly, we have to desire and strive for the trade regime that is as open as possible, but at the same time we have to recognize we may not succeed or we may not succeed entirely because of domestic political considerations and that's a fact of life so you're absolutely correct in saying that you don't want to bang your head against a brick wall but sometimes if you try hard enough the way is found and to your other point about why it's a general law and to which i can only agree to that's
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ahead and have to do many things to achieve the goal of trade promotion where there is trade delegation, business delegations and affairs and so on. about the fda's ambitious goal and although we have talked about with our colleagues in the u.s., it is a long multi-year process, and here we are trying to at least get the business investment treaty done which in many cases is a prelude to words, you know, thinking of the fda. so i think we have to go there but that should be the eventual goal for us. >> since we are almost running out of time, i will ask people to restrict themselves to one question. this gentleman here and then this gentleman. >> andrew wilson from the center of international private enterprise. i have a question of taxation and collecting of taxes. the pakistan business council in
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its recent national business agenda called on the pakistani government to both diversify its tax base and to improve collection, and i would like to hear your views on how we can go about doing this. >> this has been hard topic in pakistan and if you've seen some of the recent measures the government has taken has been precisely in this direction. first, they're has been a massive amount of time spent in political dialogue, and not just with politicians and political parties but also the stakeholders in quoting the pakistan business council. i was the one who organized the meeting the president. we spoke to them before and they put their voice behind us, so we are grateful to them. so those emerging coalitions which are saying look, these are areas we cannot ignore any more, and we need to focus on them. as i said, we have undertaken in
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the last few weeks the steps to bring a totally new sectors that were outside the net including textiles, which is the most powerful sector in pakistan, has always resisted being taxed and now they have been taxed. fertilizer, they've been taxed, sports goods, surgical goods, pesticides, tractors, and in addition to that, thousands of product on the general sales tax that are in the system. we imposed the new capital gain coming entirely new sector. agricultural income tax and there's been a lot of discussion on that. i want to say that we are committed to improving the tax system which is in the provincial government. so we are having a dialogue with the provincial government coming and we are trying to raise the bar for them that either you
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improve the tax question on agriculture or we have to think in terms of the mechanisms because nobody can he state taxes. as i said, we have identified several hundred thousand people. we are going after them in the chairman of the revenue service this year he's having dialogue with the imf and others sharing these experiences. we identify 4,000 of the most important pakistani funds but many of them are the most important and the chairman revenue service came to me and said what can you do? they are the most powerful people in the country that for the 32nd discussion i said prosecute them all. and so that very day cases were registered against all of those companies to fight 7.8 billion in a peace and what we are doing
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to change the administration, the new chairman of the revenue service has been put in place. he has made hundreds of changes in the top leadership, and i think all pressures are being resisted to professionalism, avoid political interference, but these things take time. if you are running a marathon and can't judge a performance by the first steps we feel like i think this is a process that has to take some time. people talk of all these leaders who transform their countries, but the success was achieved in the tenth or 15th year. i'm not saying that we should wait that long, but at least let's wait ten or 15, you know, months after these changes have been made and so on. >> the gentleman here.
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>> javid hamid. mr. minister fantastic presentation, thank you very much. quick question, and this is regarding the energy sector. you spoke about and the shortages, and can you just say a few words about what the policy is to attract more investment in that sector and the problem for the shortages? thank you. >> the problem of the shortages is because multiple reasons, and we can decompose this into three types of issues. number one is that the government has not had the money in the past to pay every single producer according to the demand, and that has created what is called the circular debt
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problem. okay. now a serious effort has been made and created to produce the secular debt separately so this distortion is minimized. this amount of 300 billion was separated, and i think an effort is made to inject transparency and to try to minimize this distortion. second is the question of the subsidy regime or the pricing regime. the government i think has taken extraordinarily bold decisions in a passing on the previously suppressed to the consumers, and the prices of elasticity have been raised more than 60% in the last two years. and even now for the political government and even now 2% a month they are being increased. in terms of other efforts of management all of the government
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companies, distribution companies and some other related companies, the predictor's have been totally changed and the people who are professionals all our people you could recognize and think they are good people, that they stand up to the political interference and they are knowledgeable and would scrutinize the management performance from ankle, how are they performing in terms of professional conduct and commercial considerations? so i think we are getting a lot of the old daughter being renovated. in terms of investment policies i think that's a sector that is historically enjoyed a great deal of international investor participation, and it remains true even now.
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if anything requires greater urgency so that areas of alternative energy of hydropower and, you know, all kinds of new ways of tackling that are available and open and are being available, and we would like in my meetings here with the chamber of commerce and the american business groups i see a lot of interest within the u.s. and some other companies who we are talking to. so this is an area i think of prime focus. >> mr. minister, i think we could go on all day. unfortunately, you have other obligations, so i think we have to free you at this time three we wish you very good luck in the balance of your stay here. i think you'll find a keen interest to work with you and your colleagues on what after all many of us believe is a joint enterprise. we wish you good luck.
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we thank you for joining us today, and if he will join me in expressing our appreciation to our minister. [applause] we are now adjourned. >> thank you mr. hathaway. i have one request to all of you, please come and visit. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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even at the cost of for wrecking the economy and a disabling democracy has reached epidemic proportions.
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i would say and correct me if i'm wrong that brown v. board was to protect the peace and prosperity of the people, and if that's the federal government overstepping its bounds, i don't see why the federal government is there if not to protect the peace and prosperity of people. [applause] >> well i must say for being a student at the university of colorado, you have great insight. [laughter] i would say -- i would just say this, but i would love to see the federal government dedicated to those principles that you mentioned. but in putting education is not one of them. i honestly believe that colorado educators are smart enough to do
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it without the federal government, to do it without the department of education. white house national economic council director gene sperling talked about the president's debt and deficit reduction plan and upcoming debate over the debt limit. he spoke at the economic forum hosted by the financial times and the foundation in washington, d.c.. he's interviewed by gillian tett of the financial times and introduced by frederick kent, president and ceo of the atlantic council. >> -- lead this organization. ladies and gentlemen it is my great pleasure today to introduce the closing speaker, the cleanup hitter, and i do
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remember once during an introduction that than the head of ibm gave to henry kissinger and he said here is the man who needs no introduction. henry kissinger came to the podium and said thank you but your introduction was far too modest. so i will give a short introduction to gene sperling who doesn't need an introduction either. he cut his political teeth in the 1988 dukakis campaign and on the staff of mario cuomo before joining the clinton campaign as the economic policy adviser during bill clinton's's first term as president from 1993 and 1996 he served as a deputy director of the newly created national economic council then its national economic adviser to clinton and director of the national economic council from 1996 to 2000. he played significant roles and let's put this into current
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context because it fits, he played significant roles in the 1993 deficit reduction act, and the 1997 balanced budget agreement. so i guess we've got a déjà do with a difference. those who remember his service in the administration, clinton administration best particularly recall his very effective and efficient workaholic ways, the nickname "gene the machine," and the office was known as the bureau of gene. now we have to police genie out of the bottle. he was also recognized for being able to merge politics policy press working in a way that few can. as brad put it, gene's best talent is an extraordinary ability to make the substantive policy arguments in a way that makes them into a little and
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convincing to the message people and legislative people. he certainly needs that talent now. gene sperling was recalled to government service by president obama. he once again became director of the national economic council in january and assistant to the president for economic policies. so, he is in the midst of this budget battle. today he comes treacly to us from a meeting with the president of the white house, and i am sure you will have some interesting insights to share with us and i hope you're willing to make some moves. and if i may come as a final point of introduction, i will read a quote from gene sperling from two years ago when he noted the president has to find the right balance between fiscal discipline and dealing with real problems the country faces. he said, quote, it is the
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ultimate walk and chew gum at the same time. you've got to show that you can restore a sense of fiscal response ability and yet be making gains on the country's greatest challenges like health care, energy and education. so, two years later, gene sperling, we look forward to an update on the chewing gum while walking challenge. thanks very much. [applause] >> and i do pass over to julian tett for the moderation. >> thank you to all of you for managing to stay on later than planned and in particular gene for coming out in his incredibly busy schedule to actually talk to us today. many, many things i could ask you but i'm going to start on the issue i presume you're talking about a few minutes ago with the president, which is the speech he gave yesterday and the attempt to try to forge not just the new fiscal direction but also some kind of plan and
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agreement in going forward. given your experience of 93 and 97 and that you had to cut some teeth once or twice on this, how are we in the current mood? do you think it is going to be possible to work with the republicans to advert the debt ceiling and also to get some kind of sensible plan agreed in a reasonable time frame? >> well, i think that is the 64,000-dollar question. >> 14 trillion-dollar question. >> it's adjusted for inflation, but well, first of all, on the debt limit, i think that in the meeting the president had with the leaders yesterday, there was a pretty broad understanding that not extending the debt limit is just not an option. you cannot play chicken with the united states fiscal
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credibility. this has been established since alexander hamilton's time and it's one of the hallmarks of the u.s. financial regime. you don't want to have a debt clock. it was one thing to have a countdown clock of will the government shut down. but you don't want to have a countdown clock to will america default on its obligations. nobody wants that. it's not responsible. no one should use the credibility of the united states full faith and credit as a bargaining chip for any policy, no matter how sincerely the support that so i think that does mean that we should assume that people will act responsibly, and move forward in extending the debt limit. second question is what can we do to create a greater
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confidence that the united states is going to live within its means that we are going to put ourselves on a path where at the very minimum we stabilize our debt as a percentage of income and given confidence that debt as a percentage of income would start coming down. and so, i think that there is -- the president has felt very strongly that he had to put forward a plan and that there had to be very clearly a serious effort to move quickly to consider what could be done. and there does create a very big issue, which is is there a chance that we can come together on the broad slash that we have in terms of our policy visions. in the second question is whether we are capable of not letting what we disagree on
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prevent us from making some fiscal progress on what we do agree on, and i think that latter may be part of the goal vice president joe biden will face as he tries -- as we all try to bring together some form of negotiating process on deficit and debt reduction going forward and there is just no question it's going to be a great challenge. it's very nice mentioning, you know, 93 we had every successful deficit reduction and an address only in 97 you had a bipartisan balanced budget agreement, and of course in between this 1995 where we did have a government shutdown, but the thing i would remind people is 1997 really was the same actors. so it was capable, 1995i think i used to do crossfire with john kasich every month at least once and we sat across the table from each other in 97 as part of the
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negotiating team to forge the balanced budget agreement and even though i don't agree with everything he's doing is the governor of ohio he doesn't agree with everything we are for. we are friends and there's an element of trust that's built up so we have to have hope. just a point of where things can be if you are prepared for success and give success chance where things can work out, in december after the election in november we were working very hard to prepare for what could come out of the tax agreement. one of the things we worked on the obama economic team is what could we do beyond the issue of extending the tax cuts with a writ be just the middle class or high income what could we do that would be helpful for the economy? and we spent a lot of time and came to the conclusion that the proposal for the 100% expensing and payroll tax cut would be both good for the economy and things that there was a very good chance based on the past
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statements that the republicans could agree to. when we are working on this people would often come to the meetings and say you realize they're going to check their mail and go home. i must have heard that in times. there's not going to be a serious discussion during the lamb dhaka, and debt, you know, you ended up having a tax agreement that was successful. you got these two other elements and now even in the fed and most reports the payroll tax because it's been a very important push against rising gas prices and very important in this economy, and again there was a bipartisan agreement at period the odds of that were heavily, heavily discounted and don't ask don't tell that treaty so we have to be prepared for success and bipartisan compromise and even when the prospects are uncertain and we have that obligation.
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>> the gup this morning on the issue there is the interpol and sociology of what is going on and since i have an attorney i'm very fascinated by this. when you look at the tribal leader around you. >> it is putting afghan tribal politics in washington. spec when people are reporting those are her words, not mine. [laughter] >> go ahead and repeat them if you want. something i hear often from people in washington is that compared to 93 or 97 climate these days is actually more poisonous, more polarized, there's a tree less trust and it's that trust them there was say 20 years ago or even 15 years ago and that is one of the big obstacles to getting a sensible solution in place. not just about the numbers or the ideology is about the anthropology of tribalism, my words. is the climate worse now? would be harder to get a deal in
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93 and 97? >> 93, 95 and 97 and 95 you did have some of the same dynamics. you had very deep divisions, and it did turn out there wasn't a lot of agreement in '95, but again, as i say, some of the same people did find common ground at some point. there's no question that some of this is exercised isn't building trust. i talked about the tax agreement, we often have very fierce political battles with of the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. but when there was a decision made the we were going to have an agreement, there was an element of trust, and i can very much recall that after him and the vice president program
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critical -- spoke a critical element there wasn't a clear transcript of what had been said, we were told, myself and a couple others talk to some of these folks and try to put things together. that would have been a time people could have tried to figure out who said what. and instead, both of us had been instructed that there was good will and to get the agreement, and the behavior i think on our side and their side was very honorable and we were able to work things out. of course we are back to having a lot of battles, that does show that you can create some of the trust that can help us govern, and i think that there were a lot of calls between the president and speaker boehner, the differences in the disagreement are strong. but in the meeting we had yesterday we really did see a lot of responsible talk about the need for everyone to try to find a way to not allow the debt
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limit to become the game of chicken or to do things that would be risky to our economy. so you have to really hope that ultimately whatever the political pressures are that the people and the leadership remember they are responsible for governing. i know that sounds -- but must sound naive but again i just given a couple of examples where people did work together against all odds, and to give you another example october, 2008. the democratic candidate for president, barack obama, and the democrats in house and senate helped out a republican president in a time of financial crisis because they realized while you were supposed to put politics to the side at the borders edge, the you also need to put politics to the side, when you're at the edge of an
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economic crisis. and so, you know, it's worth maintaining whereas optimism or blending the optimism with a healthy scope of skepticism. >> so what does all of this mean for the real economy? the aren't going to be any arguments and actually the consumer concern about the out of debt there's been the concern about the outlook of debt and one thing that actually undermines the confidence, people from spending and investing personally i've always been cynical about that, but do you think any of the debate has had an impact on the economy? >> well, i would say that at this moment i would not say that this was a main driver of the economy, and i don't know how much concern about the future on fiscal issues is affecting individual consumer family behavior at this point.
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but i do think that confidence is a special thing and it's something that those who are governing and in charge of economic policy have to take very seriously and not ever take for granted. and so i think that you are trying to preserve the confidence that stila exists in the united states and what we have seen is that when times have been when the united states has been in many ways the safe haven even in a very ugly economy often produced one in the room and that's not something we want to take for granted. and that's why i feel when you look at what needs to be done ultimately you need a very comprehensive deficit-reduction plan that is going to
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significantly move us in the direction of the debt declining as a percentage of our were gdp. but you can't -- because you're dealing with confidence things like the president of the united states being willing to go out and proposed a 4 trillion-dollar deficit reduction plan, the president being willing to work across the aisle, the president putting the front and center in the fiscal and national d date even when it may be the gas prices are what is affecting or is on the minds of most american families shows a concerned and focus i think is important for economic confidence, and that's why i think that while we ultimately should be aiming for the more comprehensive deficit reduction plan, we also in this divided government with the divisions of the economy need to
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look for every opportunity to do something that is confident inducing and shows that we are capable of mustering the political will and finding common ground to start moving the deficit lower. >> would probably would you attach to getting a comprehensive package this year? >> i think it's pretty tough. >> that is all larry does. when we are in meetings with larry he says chances this will happen. i used to always tease him that larry always used to pick 35 to 40% and everybody should learn at this. it is the scam of picking 35 or 40% odds of something that is extremely unlikely. everybody should try this. if you say something is a 35 to 40% chance of happening and it's
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very unlikely and that happens you claim huge credits. [laughter] if it doesn't happen you say i told you it is unlikely that would happen. so i would -- [laughter] no, i'm not going to. look, i think it's -- i think it's very important that we be at the table and be having the discussion and i think that should be our ultimate goal. we should maintain some hope and optimism of that, but again we should also be looking to see if there are to not let what we disagree on keep us from searching for some common ground on what we could agree on. deficit reduction, debt reduction, restoring protecting economic confidence is not an all or nothing in never -- endever. >> unemployment, what we do you expect to see in the summer or autumn?
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>> i mean, you know, let me just connect to topics and then go to that. for us, we were not apologetic about the fact that while we were seeking 4 trillion in deficit reduction that we were aiming for 12 years over ten years because we do believe that as you are putting forward a comprehensive deficit reduction you do need to do it carefully and do it in a way that does not inhibit what is still an emerging recovery that doesn't inhibit you from investing what we will need to do to compete, and when the future as the president says. or that has too harsh of a reform in things we should be strengthening like medicare and medicaid where the real issue is ensuring that we are doing something to control long-term costs growth. so everything we are doing, and
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this is important. people can start planning that particular deficit target is the aim in itself or the end in itself. the end in itself is a growing economy with shared prosperity that helps support the fundamental values in the american economy as a place where everybody can move up or there's a broad middle class that is the fundamental goal and we are ensuring fiscal discipline and confidence that we are going to live within our means and comptroller debt as a percentage of income is a critical component but it's of a strategy and you have to have the balanced together. in terms of unemployment, i don't think there is a lot of upside for people in my position making projections. it is a way cooler thing to do when you're on the outside. particularly if you're not in some kind of tv show where somebody can come back and show
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you. i think the important thing though is that with -- i think the important thing is that we are seeing a resilience in private sector job creation. i think last month was very important. here you had -- sure you had the issues of the supply disruption from japan in oil prices and when we see the oil prices go from $3.11 a gallon before libya to before egypt to $3.79, and yet with all of that we got 230,000 private-sector job growth. so i think that you are seeing a resilience. i think the fact that the unemployment rate dropped overwhelmingly because of the gains in employment as opposed
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to the decreases in the labor force participation is particularly encouraging. you wrote recently i believe about where we were on manufacturing compared with china. let me just do an effective and historical. it bob wise be almost 200,000 jobs manufacturing up in the last 12 months. that's been a relatively unnoticed successful part of where the recovery is because the last time the united states gained close to 200,000 jobs in the 12-month period was 1997. so i think there is a lot of resilience in the labor market that we've seen so far. make no mistake about it. when you've had the kind of great recession that we have had, even 200,000 private sector jobs of month is not as much as you would ultimately prefer to move the unemployment rate down as fast as you would like to
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read that said, a drop from 98 to 8.8%, one full percentage in four months that was the largest drop we have seen since 1984, and not talking about my projections, while some people have lowered the growth estimates a little due to the issues with energy prices and the last few weeks. almost across-the-board, i feed from almost all the private sector forecasters, in december very few people are projecting we would even be in by the end of this year, and now i would say the average private-sector forecasters is looking at 8.5% at the end of the year. so i will just quote them as opposed to my own projection but it's one place we have seen things better than they are supposed to be coming and we've
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also seen just to go back to the december plan to do the people tax cut and the 100% expanse provision it's important in policy when you have an emerging recovery to take out insurance sometimes. you didn't know in december that there would be historical change in the middle east that might affect oil prices so much. but having that extra thousand dollars for the typical family by lowering the payroll tax cut has proven to be an important insurance policy and so the typical family even with higher gas prices still has more dollars for spending than they would have had been projected to have in december of 2010. >> well, that seems like a pretty pertinent point to end. we are out of time. i know you need to get back what think you very much indeed for your time and best of luck. thank you. [applause]
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>> this year's studentcam competition asked students from across the country to consider washington, d.c. through their lens to read a second prize winner addressed an issue that better helped them understand the ball rolled of the federal government. >> i want to be a video game programmer. >> i want to be president. >> football player. >> there are few things as fundamental to the american dream or as an essential good education. this has never been more true than it is today. in a time our children are competing with kids in china and india, the best job qualification you can have is a college degree or advanced training and yet in the paradox
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of the american life, the very moment it's never been more important to have a quality higher education the cost of that kind of education has never been higher. the past two decades the cost of tuition and the colleges has more than doubled while the cost and the institutions have nearly tripled. compounding the problems the tuition has grown ten times faster than fiscal family's income putting pressure on families already straining for college altogether. >> from the student perspective it can be averted. i come from a middle class family, and deciding to go to college had a trade-off, i had to return my car and i'm still going to graduate about $10,000 in debt which is a big chunk because you have to get a job and pay it off and it's a big burden and would be nice if you have a college degree, if you had a lot more aid, federal aid,
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but i don't know that that is the federal government role. >> polis to provide a lateral opportunity and not a free ride but which requires as you can imagine an effort and initiative with the rugs need to be there and the federal government response to these to make sure that they, are there. as one of the most important rooms in the matter or the education. ♪ >> for a college to be affordable to someone, they're needs to be where the public institution -- the public institution is funded by the taxpayers' dollars. so, we realize heavily on those appropriations but we have no other way of generating revenue to help so it's beyond just paying for the classroom
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materials we need. we need the faculty, the cost of the overhead and operating, just the upkeep on the campus, everything. the only other main revenue source is tuition. so if the appropriation from the state continues to go down, some of it is political but some of going down until the tuition goes up. >> for private institutions, the are due to multiple factors including having to maintain low student to faculty ratio to excellence in programs and facilities. one of the federal government has traditionally had a fairly limited role in higher education some feel they have the responsibility to address this issue because it has a national concern. >> it is absolutely critical for the nation if we are going to continue to be, you know, one of
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the primary economic powerhouses of the world for us to have a first-class debt in the world higher education. one way or another i think it is the central that the government to ensure that we can continue to have top-notch education of both the undergraduate and graduate level. >> however since, putting the issue directly by using price caps or by making college free would lead to difficult choices and deviate from the federal government's historic the limited role in higher education. >> the regulation of the marketplace would be what we end up doing is to promote efficient functions of the marketplace. we don't involve the government to that extent settings in the plant in terms of the percentage of high school graduates going through college if we had that same percentage in order to pay for it with government money, we
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would have to massively increase taxes. and so, we would then have to shift towards the decision of shrinking the percentage of high school graduates that could to college. ♪ >> right now we are involved mostly through pell grants and guaranteed student loans. on involved additionally as a member of the senate finance committee with helping make college more affordable for the deductibility of college tuition for the middle-income families. >> basically the money to the student. the pell grant goes to the student. then the student is the choice
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of going to whatever, which he or she wants to. >> the federal government has taken a number of actions to address this issue. they changed the way student loans are administered by making direct loans to students. they're investing in community colleges and increasing pell grant funding in college tax credits. in addition they've worked to simplify the financial aid application and modify the income payment program. however the issue still for remains. as a washington doesn't have the sole responsibility in directing it. >> the people of the government, the government is a very misused term and we are the government. there is in a separate entity that is the government. if we as people feel like education is not getting the type of support and funding then it's our mandate for the people to take action. >> i want to be a journalist for the new york times. >> i want


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