tv U.S. Senate CSPAN August 8, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
legislation to quantify that proposal. this is a proposal that my colleagues and i had the opportunity to examine on our june 9th real property hearing, and while the proposal focuses primarily on assisting agencies in the disposal of excess buildings, it does provide opportunities to consolidate or co-locate operations that can help reduce the government's leasing portfolio. ..
>> that said, the agency should be waiting for civilian brack to solve their problems, begin to sell the property management problems now. in an era of shrinking budgets and scarce resources, it's critical that agencies come up with innovative property management tools that let in the opportunity to right size the real estate portfolio, reduce costs and achieve savings by eliminating unneeded assets and expensive long-term space. before i turn it over to senator brown, let me just say, every now and then, i'm sure scott has noticed this, we misaligned incentives. we misaligned incentives in the federal government. we incentivize the wrong kind of
behavior and then we get the wrong kind of results. what we do and the federal government, we incentivize a lot of federal agencies to lease. the incentives are to lease. with the way that we call it, if you want to buy a building or something like that up front, it may not make sense long-term. we incentivize with the way we score that expansion in the first year as opposed to leasing which could be scored for 10, 20, 30 years or even more. one of the things i hope that comes out of this today aren't good discussions on how we change those discussions, we need to meet better needs to fiscal constraints of our country. i look forward to the string from a witness, we both do. share with the sure thoughts with the way to generate significant and lasting savings to the public. and with that unhappy given over to senator scott brown from massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to our witnesses.
i would venture to guess where the only hearing in d.c. right now. and it's interesting listening to mr. chairman, and i want to thank you for this important hearing, through a lot of our efforts, your efforts, we been able to put the spotlight on some of the programs that just aren't doing it right. and it's funny, half a billion dollars, at least office space, it just blows my mind how we get in these situations. and people wonder where the money is going. it's very clear where it's going. it's going some places very poorly chosen, whether it is lease spaces, programs, whether they be military programs that are not working or obsolete, but we are just wasting money all over the place. in the middle of a financial emergency, i find that very disturbing. and that's why i was proud to put party politics aside and work with the president and congressman denham on the civilian property will i'm act, or cbrne, the bipartisan legislation that you referenced
will bring private sector discipline to the management of federal real estate. it will empower an independent commission to break the long-standing barriers created by red tape and politics to facilitate the efficient disposal and realignment of unneeded federal property. this bipartisan approach will address a problem gao has designated as a high-risk area, and would achieve savings of approximately $15 billion. and that's real money when we are trying to make some very real and tough decisions in the next couple of years. and it's funny, time and time again government agencies have proven they can properly manage their own real estate. today as we already reference, both of us, that's half a billion dollars in market, on leased space that will really never be used efficiently improperly. and not only did it enter into this wasteful lease, the sec as was referenced, but they did so, so they spend their workdays quite frankly in a lavish
building, complete with panoramic views of the city, limestone floors, marble walls and a landscaped courtyard that was transformed into a one acre private garden. i guess it's nice if you can get it, especially when is it is at the taxpayers expense. that being said, i came to washington to look at the way we spend our dollars, and to be a fiscal watchdog senator, to address our fiscal challenges so we don't have to leave young americans with the cap they just can't afford anymore, mr. chairman, pics i'm looking forward, as you are, to making this tough decisions. we started already. will continue to work in that vein and hopefully gain the confidence of the american people once again. so look for different from our witnesses. >> thanks very much for that statement. let me just take a moment to introduce each of our witnesses. a hokey, balky from virginia tech is here to lead off. david foley, deputy commissioner
of public buildings service and u.s. general service administration and 2010. he is responsible the real estate operations of the agency, previously served as deputy assistant commissioner for portfolio management at gsa and worked a number of leadership roles within gsa in offices and, get this, dallas, kansas city, and atlanta. mr. foley is a graduate of missouri state university, has a masters in business administration from the home of the hokies, virginia tech. mr. jim sullivan, also known as james, director of the office of asset enterprise management at the u.s. department of veterans affairs. it seems like we pick on the g8 a lot, and we ask to use them a lot of times as an example of the agencies that do things well. so sometimes folks in these hearings, conduct like a gotcha hearing. when folks are behaving in inappropriate ways, we like to
put a spotlight on the. when agencies are actually managing and behaving in more appropriate ways, serve as an example would like to put a spotlight on them, and many number of times we have done that with the va. but mr. sullivan assumed this new leadership role in 2009 after serving as the deputy director since -- i guess since may 2002, something like that. you are now the director of the office of asset enterprise management, and mr. sullivan has over 25 years of experience in capital budget, budgeting and planning and asset management. he plays every role in managing one of the largest portfolios of property in the federal government. including in delaware. the honorable david kotz -- is it costs -- cots. has served as inspector general for the u.s. securities and exchange commission since december 2007. prior to join the sec he served as inspector general for the
peace corps, and practiced federal administrative law for a decade and the private sector, inspector general is a graduate of units of them which makes him a terrapin, and a cornell law school. jeff heslop was named the u.s. securities and exchange commissions -- commissioners first ever chief operating officer in may 2010. he is responsible for the agency's information technology, financial reporting and records management duties. prior to joining the sec he was managing vice president at capital one, which has just acted to acquire ing direct in wilmington, delaware, right in my hometown. and there at capital one he was responsible for the company's information and risk management operations, received his bachelor of arts degree from davidson college. davidson college? when did you graduate? 76. john spratt, congressman john
spratt is one of your graduates as well. do you know the president is there now? [inaudible] she is some delaware. delaware. she just became your president, the first of this month. and i think the first woman in history of the college. you have your masters in business administration from the college of william and mary where our youngest son is starting his senior this fall. great school. david weiss is the director for physical infrastructure issues at the u.s. government accountability office, officially known as gao. he specialized in transportation and communication, and federal real property issues. his career dates back to 1981. mr. wise has a bachelor of arts in political science from the university of pittsburgh, and a masters in public administration from its graduate school of public and international affairs, and now that the nfl strike has been averted, i was going to ask my first question, what nfl football team will you be rooting for this fall?
with that kind of buyer? [inaudible] >> all right. welcome one and all. your entire statement will be a part of the record if you like to summarize that would be great. we're asking you to keep your remarks roughly five minutes. if you go a little beyond that that is okay. if you go way beyond that, that is not okay. just go ahead, and once all of you finish, senator brown and i will take turns asking questions. thank you all for coming. >> good afternoon chairman carper, ranking member brown. i appreciate being invited here today to discuss gsa's efforts to reduce our reliance on leased space. our approach to lease acquisition and how we manage delegations of authority. gse searches for the most cost effective ways to provide space for federal agencies to help them achieve their missions. our first priority is to use existing government owned space, and then leased space already under contract to the government. when existing space is not available gsa determined the best method to acquire new space
weather to the scene or new construction. we consider the size, duration, cost and complexity of the requirement for most long-term needs, especially those with unique requirements by court houses or land ports of entry. it is more cost effective for the government to build and own these facilities. for small short-term general office requirements, leasing from the private sector is typically more economical. gse economy manages an inventory of over 370 million square feet of space, of which roughly 191 million is leased from the private sector. approximately 80% of our 9000 plus lease is, are for the small short-term needs that are less than 20,000 square feet. our lease acquisition process entails carefully sequenced steps to ensure adequate competition and a fair rental rate of taxpayers which are outlined in my written statement. gsa has multiple internal controls in place or largest leases with annual rental payments that exceed $2.8 million. these leases require additional reviews within the gsa and omb
along with perspective of approval by gsa's congressional authorizing committees. this process ensures any growth in cost from staffing or space increases are supported in the president's budget and are transparent of congress and the public. since real property was identified as a high-risk area by gao in 2003, gsa has worked closely with federal agencies to maximize the utilization of the space. at the end of fy 2010, the vacancy rate in gsa's lease inventory was less than 1%. gsa and the administration have also made it a priority to reduce the cost of leasing by minimizing the need for build to suit projects, adjusting requirements to maximize competition for existing space, purchasing leased assets to create federal ownership and converting costly leased proposals and a federal building renovations or new construction projects. for instance, in 2010 gsa exercise a purchase option for
columbia plaza, a long-term lease here in washington, d.c.. the fy 2010 budget also provided funding for the yield office in miami. this project had previously been authorized as a lease proposal. in fy 2012 gsa's budget request contained funding that would retrofit the filiburton federal building in san francisco, california. this would satisfy an fbi requirement and avoid a costly lease proposal saving taxpayers almost $100 million over the next 30 years. congressional cuts to the president's budget threatened this progress. in fy 2011 alone several key projects in the president's budget were not funded, including the next phase of the dhs consolidation in saint elizabeth and a purchase option for the irs lease in martinsburg, west virginia. failing to move forward with these projects will result in the government's continued leasing of space, costing taxpayers millions more in the long run. additional cuts in fy 2012 would only make the situation worse.
gsa has been aggressive with another opportunity for savings by improving the efficiency of the federal inventory to facilitate consolidation of leases into government owned space. our gsa headquarters is a good example. by renovating the building and opening up a floor plan we can increase the number of occupants from approximately 2500, to 6000 people. this will allow us to eliminate multiple leases, saving taxpayers millions of dollars annually. gsa as you mentioned is not the only agency that leases on behalf of the federal government. more than 20 of agencies and commissions like the va and sec have their own statutory authority to hold a land and leasehold interest. gsa is not usually involved in these transactions. some agencies also leased space under a delegation of authority from gsa. agencies using this delegation must abide by the same laws and controls that govern gsa and certified that they have a
properly worded lease contracting officer to conduct a procurement and execute the lease. we are involved in these transactions to provide the appropriate levels of oversight. in conclusion, gsa strive to maximize the utilization and minimize the cost associated with leasing. we're continually looking for ways to streamline, standardize and simplify our leasing process with the appropriate controls to maximize competition and find the optimal solution for taxpayers while helping agencies achieve their mission effectively. thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. i appreciate the opportunity to discuss gses leasing practices and expertise, and i welcome your questions. >> thanks. thanks much for your testimony. mr. sullivan, please proceed spect thank you, chairman carper and ranking member brown. thank you for the opportunity to appear today to discuss the department of veterans affairs management of its capital asset portfolio. and more specifically it's leased property portfolio.
at the outset let me say be a events all of its capital decisions including leasing based on three following critical principles. first as a drug benefit veterans and their families. second, doesn't do the operations of va? and third and lastly, does it allows to be a good member of the local community. he is the operative for the largest health care real estate portfolios in the country. va maintains facilities for the benefits administration, national cemetery administration as well. leasing has been and continues to be an essential part of the capital for the management practice. vas office to acquire facilities including lease facilities for medical and nonmedical purposes. which include hospitals, community based clinics, cemeteries, medical research space and other medical related functions. va enters into leases to meet better needs across the nation. one of the his primary goals is to blood services to veterans and their families where they
live, not were all hospitals are but what veterans need the care. in many cases leasing provides a more flexibility in the construction to make demographic shifts, changing service demand, technology, improvements in terms of medical care and benefit care delivery, to our nation's veterans. the need for space is supported by vas mission as identified through the strategic have investment planning process. through skid, the a system that evaluates all propose cap investments based on how well the address, identify performance gaps. these gaps identified infrastructure or services needed to enhance were to meet needs of current and more importantly future veterans. only investments that have scored well against these performance gaps are presented to congress for funding and authorization. va considers the five mission creep county when deciding between building and leasing. new construction of large inpatient and specialty care facilities that we will be in for many years, in most cases is
the most cost effective solution to our needs. smaller facilities such as outpatient or and the tory care centers can be acquired more efficiently using leasing as they provide more flexibly to meet changing demands and technology. va does follett gsa regulation and complies with all competition and contracting tax requirements in the federal acquisition in conducting its lease procurement. vas real property service has years of experience in managing the departments robust leasing program, deploying skilled workers comprised of highly trained realty specialist and certified contracting officers. oversight of these leasing program is provided internally through an extensive series of checks and balances in va. external to a leases in excess of $1 million require congressional notification and more important authorization. congress also is notified of any significant change in the cost
or scope of any authorized lease, or for that matter, authorize construction projects. in addition, va has been granted by congress enhanced use leasing of the biggest will provide the with an innovative process to partner with public and private sector entities for up to 75 years. in return va returns in kind consideration. the leased property is developed, used and maintained for use that support the vas mission. enhanced use leases allow tranninety reads properties to meet mission related needs such as veterans homeless housing. the programs have includes together, savings and substantial provide -- investment in the capital infrastructure. in the last six years, va has received and consideration more than $260 million from this program. vas authority to enter into this program will expire on december 31 of this year. without reinstatement va will
lose a well needed tool to help us manage our property more effective. try to the department understands the importance of a balanced real estate portfolio to address its need. va has a rigorous capital planning process that takes into account current and future needs of americans veterans. va strives to maintain the optimal mix of investment, both owned and leased, to achieve its goals and to assure the highest level of performance of our assets. i thank you and the subcommittee for the opportunity to be here today and will be happy to answer any questions. thank you. >> thanks so much. mr. kotz please proceed. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify before the subcommittee. on november 16, 2010, we open an investigation as a result of receiving numerous written complaints concerning the fcc's decisions and actions relating to leasing of space at the constitution center office building in washington, d.c.. as part of our investigative efforts were analyzed thousands of pages of documents and
interviewed 29 witnesses with knowledge surrounding the sec's leasing of this space. we searched over 1.5 million e-mails for various countries pertinent to the investigation. on may 16, 2011, we should a conference report of our investigation containing over 90 pages of analysis and 150 exhibits. our investigation concluded based on estimates of increased funding, primary to meet the requirements of the dodd-frank act, between june and july of 2010 the sec's office of administrative services, oas, conducted a deeply flawed and unfounded analysis to justify the need for the sec to release 900,000 square feet of space at the constitution center facility. we found only is grossly overestimate the amount of space needed for the expansion. by more than 300%. we found only as of 400 square feet per person to get how much space would be needed for the
additional positions it believed it was gain pakistan was an all-inclusive number that include, space and amenities, an additional 10% for contractors, 10% for interns and temper his death, and 5% for future growth. we found a 400 square feet per person standard was described on the back of a awful cat collection. moreover, notwithstanding the all-inclusive number, when oas david scott collations to justify the lease it added even more unnecessary space by double counted for contractors come interns and temporary staff. we found each one of these estimates was wildly inflated and unsupported by the data being used by oas. after the sec commit itself to the 10 year lease term at a cost of over $556 million, it entered into a justification and approval for other than full and open competition. that document required by the federal acquisition. the far permits other than full and open competition when the agencies need is of such an unusual and compelling urgency that the agency would be serious
injured unless the agency is permitted to limit the number of sources from which it fits. we found a justification and approval without competition, wasn't adequate, not properly reviewed and backdated. the oas official who signed a justification and approval as the sec's competition advocate acknowledged in testimony the sec would, in fact, not be seriously injured if it lost the opportunity to read the constitution center. she admitted she took no substantive steps to verify the information in a justification and approval was accurate in which he signed a document she was unaware that funding had not been appropriated. and toshiba have an understanding of when the projected personnel were expected to be hired. the far because the justification and approval be posted publicly within 30 days after contract award. as of the contract constitution suicide on july 28, the deadline for publication of a justification and approval was august 27. the sec did not pose a
justification and approval until some timber third. although the document was signed by four individuals as dated august 2. the investigation found a justification and approval was, in fact, not finalized until september 2, 2010, and substantial revisions were being made up to that day. we found three of the four signatories execute the signature page on august 2 before a draft even remotely close to the final version existed. we found sec's competition advocate execute the signature page on august 31. backdated his signature to august 27. she subsequently whited out the seven to make it appear that she had signed a document on august 2. the actions suggest, gave the puck the false impression that document was finalized a few days after the letter contract was signed. in light of her fines would recommend sec's chief operating officer conduct a thorough and comprehensive review and assessment of all matters currently under the purview of oas. we recommend a chief operating officer determine the appropriate disciplinary actions be taken.
we specified such disciplinary action should at a minimum action up into including dismissal against too seen individuals and discipline action against a third. finally, we recommend the sec requested formal opinion from the comptroller general as to whether the commission violated anti-deficiency act by failing to obligate funds to the constitution center least accessible to the issue of our investigation, we received a corrective action plan with regard to the substantive recommendations we made for improvements. we will monitor the activity carefully to ensure the necessary improvements are made and to ensure the individuals were identified as being responsible for the failures in our report are held accountable for their actions. thank you and have a happy to answer any questions. >> just an editorial comment. i leaned over to senator brown, and i said what were they thinking about? what were they thinking about? my lord. mr. heslop, please proceed. >> thanks for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of --
can you hemi? can you hear me now? >> i can hear you now. >> thank you for the opportunity testified today on behalf of chairman of the sec, regarding leasing office space and constitution center and steps going forward. the report by the commission's office concerning constitution center identified a number of significant flaws in the sec's leasing process. we are supported by the failures that have been identified ever get have taken us off away from our primary mission of protecting investors and facility and capital formation and ensuring stability in financial markets. the fact the sec is not paid any rent today for this property and its bulk of the space has been leased to other tenants does not adequate address the situation that should never have occurred. the only appropriate response by the sec is to resolve the remaining space issues, correct the deficiencies in our leasing process by working with gsa and omb, with respect to future
space needs and to ensure accountability for the events surrounding this lease. by way of background, in the spring of 2010 the sec correctly anticipated that it would receive significant new responsibilities under the dodd-frank act for derivatives, hedge fund advisers, credit rating agencies and much, much more. this was of course on top of our long-standing core responsibility as a result we believed and continue to believe the sec needed additional staff to fulfill its mission and help further restore investor confidence in our markets. at the time the agency was considering leasing decisions, chairman schapiro indicate her preferences for hiring new staff in the regions rather than in headquarters, and she indicated the staff her preference to any new space in washington be within walking distance of the buildings to eliminate the need for expensive shuttle services. in july 2010, the then executive director who was responsible for the agency leasing activities and former chairman that all of our leasing options no longer
existed, that the space at the constitution center was her only option given our space needs and that the pricing was advantageous and that we had to move quickly as there was competition for the space. given the previous discussions with the staff, the chairman assume the proposal was consistent with both our budget projection, future employee growth, and her preference for the staff to be house where ever possible in the region. when it became clear that the sec would not receive the funding necessary to implement its new responsibilities, we took immediate steps to release -- lease the space to others and reduce exposure. iran has more details what we learn from the flaws in our leasing process and how we intend to address them. i would like to emphasize that few of these. first, we are implement the ig's recommendation and i've are submitted as he indicated a written corrective action plan to him. secondly, in light of the factors identified, the sec recognizes the benefits of having gsa managed the
commission future lease acquisitions. leasing is not part of the commission's core mission, and as an agency we cannot allow to impede that mission. gsh has long experienced in leasing. in a recent meeting at gsa, chairman schapiro and i discussed with gsa administrators ways in which gsa could assist the commission on our leasing efforts going forward. gsh indicated it was open to buying a significant role in these efforts, and following that meeting commission staff had for the multiple discussions with the gsa staff. earlier this week the sec and the gsa in her into a memorandum of understanding that contemplate an immediate role for the gsa and managing upcoming fcc leasing activities as well as all of the future leasing needs as they arise. third, the ali g. report recommended the sec and initiate disciplinary proceedings for three individuals involved in the constitution center leasing process, and we have begun that process. chairman schapiro has expressed a desire for this process to move forward as quickly as the
laws and regulations permit, consistent with the fundamental fairness to assess and implement remedial measures and discipline as appropriate. in the meantime to individuals for whom the oig report recommended a disciplinary review have been reassigned. they're going to be to not involve any leasing or any other authority that could bind the commission nor do they involve activities that relate to the expenditure of appropriated funds. as our chairman indicated, the true test of an organization is not whether things go wrong, but how an authorization response to problems and whether its leaders take opportunities to make improvements. we are committed to doing that. i would be happy to answer your questions. >> thank you, mr. heslop. mr. wise, you want to wrap it up? then we will go to q&a. [inaudible] chairman carper, ranking member brown and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today and our work relate to real property leasing among civilian federal agencies. the federal property for point totals are 900,000 billions and
structures worth billions of dollars. my testimony will address three topics. the factors that contributed of government relies on costly leasing, how the administration promotes may provide an opportunity to reduce reliance on leasing and three, federal agencies independently see authorities and gsa delegation of those authorities. one of the primary reasons we destiny federal real property management as high risk was the federal government over reliance on costly space to meet its needs. our work over the years has shown up releases often cost more than ownership, especially for long-term needs. increasing ownership when appropriate could save millions of dollars over the long term. federal agencies rely extensively on leasing and leased building. at the end of fiscal year 2010, for example, gses least square footage exceeded owned 191 million, to 17100 gsa has relied on leases to meet long-term needs because it lacks funds to pursue ownership. the decision to lease rather
than own is often influenced by factors other than cost effectiveness, including budget issues and operational requirements. the budget enforcement act of 1990 to rex the budget authority to make the government's real property needs is to be scored many record in the budget in an amount equal to the government's total legal commitment. if gsa buys are constructed building, the budget authority for the full cost must be recorded up front to reflect the government's financial commitment. however, for operating leases gses on required to record the government's commitment for an annual lease payment in any potential fee for canceling the lease. this reduces the up front commitment that cost the government more over time. we face a scorekeeping issued as a challenge that needs to be addressed in the past. we believe that if the issue is not address the reliance on leasing will likely persist. accordingly and 2007 and 2008 we recommended that only be develop a strategy to reduce agencies relied on costly leasing where
ownership could result in long-term savings. only be agreed that a strategy will state that has not yet implemented one. agency operational requirements are among the reasons why leasing is preferred by agencies. for example, official said more than 200 gsa owned and leased buildings were damaged by hurricane katrina, necessitating the relocation of 2600 federal employees from 20 federal agencies, many of which were gsa tenant agencies. to meet this need gsa expanded its use of leases to house agencies and temporary space, to fulfill a short-term. in may 2011 the administration proposed safer which may provide an opportunity to reduce overreliance on leasing. while it doesn't explicitly address this issue one of the purpose is to remind civilian real property by consolidating to locate and reconfiguring space to increase efficiency, could help reduce the government relies on leasing. cipra provide for the potential collocation of federal civilian
offices into postal properties, many of which are already own. we are examining the potential for consolidating leased facilities into federally owned sites for this subcommittee. congress has authorized many agencies independent statutory leasing authority allowing them to acquire leased space. the authority may be for a particular type a space or for general leasing authority. agencies with such authority and their respective authority type are listed in appendix one of my written statement. gsa may also delegate leasing authority to agencies. for example, all federal agencies may acquire a specific type of space such as in greenhouses. 13 federal agencies are authorized to lease to own special-purpose space subject to limitation. for example, the congress departments as dedicated to lease space to conduct the continue consensus. after audits found in a system which agencies failed to meet the conditions of the leasing
delegation to all the gsa's goal is to cover the administrative cost of private-sector leases, with these of charge, the tenant agencies has been unable to do that in recent years. losing more than $100 million in fiscal year 2009, raising concerns about the agency's management of its leased properties. we have an ongoing engagement examined this issue for your subcommittee. mr. chairman, this concludes my statement that i would be pleased to answer questions from you and other members of the subcommittee. thank you. >> i fastened about if you'd like to lead off. he has agreed to do so. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. kotz, i appreciate your initial opening. during the time period when he made the recommendations of disciplining up to three people, what impact has been done at this point? do you know? >> i've been told that there's a process in place but i don't believe anybody has been disciplined as of yet, or any proposal for discipline has been made. >> so it's been almost, it's been over a year now since they entered into this lease
arrangement. and i guess my question is, what does it take to get fired or disciplined at an agency when entering to a lease that is basically a half a billion, talking about a billion dollars, and i guess i should ask you, mr. heslop, what does it take to get disciplined or fired after agency when something like this happens? >> the disciplinary process essentially your report was issued, mr. kotz iban on the 17th of may of this year. and since that time we have followed mr. cox's guidance. we have reviewed the report to our general counsel has analyzed in great detail. we have conducted sublunary investigations and supplementary interviews. there was a slight hold when basically when mr. kotz referred to the department of justice, the individuals mentioned in the report as a matter of practice.
we don't complete investigations or interview the individuals named to the department of justice comes back to us and gives us they're okay that we can so doesn't interfere with their investigation. we receive it okay. the investigation then began to proceed. as the investigation unfolded, it became apparent that in the interest of objectivity and fairness, it would be in our best interest to hire an external party to help us conduct that investigation. we are in the process right now. >> so in fairness to the taxpayers, it's like there is for the individual. what about fairness to the taxpayers and getting the best bang for our dollar? you were with the sec back then when this all happen, right? >> i was hired on the 17th of may of 2010. >> okay. so you had no knowledge of any of this? >> no, and this was not under my purview. >> mr. kotz, so based on these types of failures, we seem to the over and over.
let's just talk about the sec, for example. you think that congress should simply revoke the independent leasing authority? >> i think that, you know, certain that congress should give very series consideration to that. i had not previously perhaps if the sec completely revamped its leasing area it might be given another opportunity. but i do understand how the chairman schapiro and mr. heslop have said that they intend to get out of the leasing business, that they don't feel that there is enough confidence -- confidence to handle that. i do feel it would be prudent to take away the independent leasing authority, yes. >> thank you. mr. weiss, thank you for your testimony as well. your introduction. as you know i invite and have filed a bill, that basically mayors the president's idea on how to address these issues when it comes to leasing and buying and the like. i was wondering if you could describe how one of the cpr
eight purposes which is reliant of civilian real property by consolidating co-locating, and reconfiguring space to increase efficiency, do you think that could help reduce the government's overreliance on leasing? i think you hinted on it in your initial opening. >> thank you for the question. actually, to be perfectly honest with you, cipra doesn't specifically discuss leasing, but as i think would point out in her testimony, it certainly has the provision in it that we think would be very useful to help alleviate some of the reliance on leasing the government has. especially with the talk about, the discussion about consolidation, co-location and relying of the federal footprint. so we think as we go forward if cipra does become codified that there's a very good possibility that it could be a contributor factor towards helping reduce the government relies on costly leases.
>> i remember your testimony when you said it takes about 1.66 billion annually to operate, and basically keep open some of the underutilized buildings. and i found that really fascinating. i went back to the office. we talked about it. as result we're trying to come up with ways to address it and get those properties out the door and get them back into the tax rolls and delight. one of my goals in my legislation is to address these. how do you think we could unlock the savings for the taxpayers? >> well, i think as you allude to in your statement, the key thing for the federal government is to get out from under costly leases that aren't really useful for the government. because as you note the operations, the maintenance costs are costs that keep re- occurring year after year after year. as we move forward and cipra does become law, hopefully this will lead towards the
government's ability to get out from under leases that are not useful and be able to share property that is not being utilized in various ways. spent i know in massachusetts when we have some financial difficulty, a lot of the registries in motor vehicles were close and a lot of leases were canceled at the government's convenience. we were able to find spaces that were already owned by the commonwealth of massachusetts put in, whether it be at it city hall or state owned building. or workout and arranged it with the federal government. i would hope you do the same same thing business plenty of federal buildings around where we could co-locate and combined. mr. foley, how does the just elaborate each expertise to support the cipra process, and specifically please consolidation, do you think? >> sure. senator brown, thank you for the question. gsa is a leader in asset management for the federal government. and is outlined with a strong leasing process. i think we are working with
agencies as a part of helping -- >> can i interrupt? a strong leasing process? i don't understand how we get in these messes with the sec and others. where is the breakdown please finish your statement. where is the breakdown? why i'm even here? why are we having this hearing today? because you get such a great process, how come we're not doing it right? >> well, let me finish and a come back and address that. one of the key things is working with agencies up front to make sure that we property sheet the requirement so that we know how many people we ensure that we're getting the most utilization out of it, and that we can make sure that we can fit into existing federal space wherever possible, or minimize the amount of space we have to lease from the private sector. so we're working with agencies on that. i thank you for your support of the cipra bill. and we look for to working with you on that. i think that would've several key things that can really help us with consolidation.
it incentivizes a cheat to get rid of property, and probably more critically, it provides a source of funding to do with some of the up front cost. and i know people think that's towards giving a property ready for sale. but one of the intents is altered to help with existing federal property to let us retrofit those, make a more efficient and allow us to consolidate out of leases or perhaps build or buy a new facility to consolidate and shrink the federal footprint. i think whatever real opportunity under the cipra legislation and we look forward to working with you on that. as far as your question of, we have a slow process in place, how do we end up in these situations. as a mention in my testimony, there are multiple agencies with multiple different authorities. the sec lease was done outside of gsa's authority, under their own independent authority. and so we were not involved in that transaction. we are working closely with them moving forward, and willing to lend our expertise. and as mr. heslop indicated, we
signed an m.o.u. with them earlier this week where we will then be doing their leasing actions for them moving forward. and followed the transcript process that we currently use at gsa. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you for this question. thanks for the responses. i spent time this week talking in light of the deal to avoid default on our nation's debt, i spent a fair amount of time talking to my colleagues, with my colleagues, and the american people about how we have a tendency around here to focus on addressing symptoms rather than addressing underlying if you would, using health analogy, the underlying cause of a duty. and in a situation where federal government, the symptom is the debt crisis, debt ceiling crisis. the cause, the cause, the
illness, sickness is the fact we don't spend money wisely, we don't collect all the money that is owed, and they are -- so what we ended up doing was not adjusting the underlying cause, unfortunately, except i raising the debt ceiling. lead to another day the real underlying cause. indians is a testament, especially gs -- gses tesla, i came back to the question, let me back a. one the things when we look at federal agencies, disposing of property, va does is especially good job. others do as well. one of the reasons why some agency to better job than others is because we incentivizes them. not to keep underutilized, and use property around. we allow them to sell them, keep some the proceeds to fund their operations. here we have, looking now at a
situation with lease versus purchase, if you look at the what cbo scores a lease versus a purchase, we incentivizes agencies to lease, even when they ought to be purchasing. even when we know they will save money. mr. wise, i'm going to ask you to walk us through why we have this incentive. i think this incentive. distance and. why do we have the wrong incentive? what would it take to fix, does it take cbo changing their scoring approach? is is something we need to do legislatively to empower direct cbo to change the way that they scored lease versus purchase? >> thanks for the question that you bring about an important point, and we've recommended a couple different times, and we've often discussed in other testimonies the really important, omb is a key player here because they are kind of the orchestra of all federal
property environment. we've recommended they really need to work within the federal real property counsel to come up with a strategy to take a look how the entire federal property portfolio is managed. while they have agreed that that's a good idea that needs to be done to kind of rationalize the entire process, they have yet to implement such a strategy because as you know, as you mention in your opening remarks and subsequent remarks, the issue having to do with the scoring is the major issue for agencies to be able to come up with the needed capital in order to take a look at a rational process. another really important point is the necessary analyses that need to be done in order to make sure that you're making the right kind of decision. while as you mentioned earlier, generally building is a less expensive option in the long run than is leasing. it's not always the case. but you need to do the economic
analyses in order to do that. and so it's important to do the thirty-year net present i analysis so you see how things will play out over time, and do the comparisons so that we can make the right decisions. you look at commercial real estate market. it maybe makes sense to leave something where the real estate market is relatively soft, compared to a boston or a new york or chicago, versus a dallas or an atlanta perhaps. so it's a pretty complex formula that goes into making these kinds of decisions. but in order to come up with the right decision you need to approach it in a multifaceted way so that at the end of the day you're making the best call for the taxpayer. >> let me ask you to cut through all that. i appreciate what you say. what do we need to do, what needs to be done, so that cbo in the future will not say almost routinely that even when it
makes economic sense to purchase, we are not going to score it that way. instead we will score in a way that almost mandates, almost mandates that agencies lease. how do we change that? >> it gets and the policy area that is really not so much in our purview, but as we discuss, or as we noted, we made recommendations to omb that they need to come up with a strategy in order to rationalize this process. and so agencies can make the right kind of decision of whether to lease or to build. we really believed only be is the key players that needs to address this scorekeeping issue. otherwise the reliance and leasing as winner in a testament is likely to persist. >> all right. let me turn to others on the benedict same question. same question. what i would like for you, if you just give center brown and me, our committee, our colleagues in the senate, give us a to do list.
something not to be done to change this, actually to change the culture. looking for a culture. does anybody have an idea? a good idea. a good idea. [inaudible] >> mr. chairman, i will navy swim up a little upriver. bas position is different than other federal agencies. part of our portfolio on it about 11% is leasing. so out of 165 oh square feet we lease about 12 million square feet. our real problem is our existing infrastructure, not lisa. what do we do to consolidate, what do we do to get rid of the old infrastructure that can't be fixed easily and in some places we don't need it. right now we have an estimate to fix our current portfolio based upon the needs projected for veterans in 2020. we wanted $60 billion to invest in our infrastructure.
clearly that's not going to be able to be provided for indirect appropriation. i think the key to unlock that problem is to be able to tap private sector enhancing and working with public-private ventures, or joint ventures or with localities or other nonprofits to be able to find uses for the repurposing of federal property, to get it off the federal roles, to put it back on the tax rolls, and to relieve the agencies of the large cause. the biggest detractor for va, for some of agencies is because we have to maintain facilities. that could be made more efficient and/or consolidated. so i think it's different and the big issue that third party financing or private sector money is the other side of the score. cbo scoring treatment of the use of third party funds, even if it is for nonprofits or for
nongovernment entities, they score it as if it was a direct federal spending which basically turns off third party spigot of trying to utilize them to unload unneeded inventory. >> all right. i'm going to go back to senator brown. before the one of the things, i may ask this in our next round of questions, but i spoke earlier of a need for a comprehensive bipartisan approach on deficit reduction, along the lines of that recommended by the deficit commission co-chaired by erskine bowles and alan simpson. my sense of us into your testimony in earlier hearings we've had is we also did a conference approach with respect to real property management. not just you with a lease versus purchase issue, but to deal with all this underutilized or and utilized federal property that we do have. and one of the things, made at this income is not i will do it in writing, is get your input on what should be the component of the comprehensive approach.
and to the extent we can draft a conference of approach where we harness market values, we change incentives which i think are misaligned towards more appropriate alignment, i would appreciate your input on the. senator brown. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just to follow-up, a member your hatred actually as a result of your testimony, talking to some of the challenges with some of the prime properties that could be sold and taken off your roles and put you back, having more money for the veterans that need our help, instead of using it to keep buildings open and the li like. you testified at down cipra was a welcome addition to the toolkit that you would need in reducing unneeded assets. could you just elaborate on that as to how that will complement your existing tools? and also, what rule does politics, to the politicians have in interfering with you doing her job? i mean, if you have some assets and you want to sell them, how
often do state or local, state or federal government come up and can put a monkey wrench in the plan? >> senator, i'll try to answer that a couple of different ways. the first way would be our toolkit right now is to use are these authority, and in those cases where we can develop, if you will, a win-win strategy with local community, the veterans, the veteran service organizations and the private interest in that area. we can forge outpacing in a public-private venture under that authority. we've done that in many places. and it works. we can reach consensus. what we can't reach consensus at the local level, with all the interested parties, especially local communities, the cipra process would be a welcomed addition to be able to deal with those hard to do properties around the country. so i think using both of those places where we have something
that works and can continue to flourish and shrink our footprint into whether underutilized properties, we want to maintain. but there are some places that cipra would assist us in addressing those issues. there are a lot of stakeholders involved in real property. va has other agency, gsa has experienced. stakeholders have different interests. when we can't align those inches that's where things start. so those are constant challenges in dealing with them. and we face everyday, and as we move down distractor needs to be a way to deal with those interests. >> so getting back to my final question, i think that answered it without wanting to really say it, but what role does state or federal politicians, politics affect it? to the specific call, and/or stop your efforts when you try to do something for the benefit of the va? >> in some cases yes. when we can get climate of
interest we have local interest that may not have the same interest that the va has. in case that happens and things come to a grinding halt. >> very smooth. a good answer. very, very nice. and that's unfortunate because senator carper, chairman carper just asked for recommendations. i would think one of the recommendations is to let, you know, leave the politics out of it and let us do our jobs based on fact, based on the necessity to deal with these issues without any type of outside influences. i would help if you make that recommendation you would include that very frankly, so we don't beat around the bush in that regard. mr. wise, generally and larger perspectives level projects over 2.7 million lasting over 10 years, net present value analysis indicates it's more advantageous to purchase rather than to lease. so i was wondering in the cipra legislation that i am fighting, it requires a net present by analysis of the cost at least
compared to the cost of constructing new space. how important is it to provide this information to congress do you think? >> i think it's very important, senator, because through using analyses like net present five and scoring, you can then be comparing basically apples to apples. because this is something that gsa have been previously and it then enables you, enables the agency or the decision-makers to be able to come up with a decision based on where the dollar value is today versus where it would be 30 years onward, including any potential inflation, returns and other factors that get put into the mix. so we believe that a net present by analysis is certainly a key aspect of the entire economic analysis picture in order to make these kinds of decisions. >> thank you. mr. foley, what steps does gsa take to ensure the leases contract on the half of the
federal clients achieve the best value for the taxpayer, while also supporting the mission-critical requirements? >> sure. we do a couple of things and we do perform a net present by analysis a we compare the cost of building a nuclear facility, renovating an existing facility and the cost of leasing. so we do the 30 year net present by analysis to evaluate the financial aspects. again come as a mentioned earlier, one of the key things is making sure that we have a firm understanding of the requirements and we work with the agencies to understand how they may be able to adjust their requirements slightly to get a better deal for the taxpayer. so for instance, instead of having to be in one building of a particular size my drive construction of new building or limit competition to one or two buildings that have a certain amount of space available, if they can begin to approximate buildings within a block of each other or right next door perhaps on the same campus, that opens up the competition and drives down the cost of leasing.
there are some simple things we can do working with client agencies to make sure that we can still find a way to meet their mission requirement that leverage our expertise in the real estate market to make sure we get the best night for the taxpayer. >> in previous estimate i know you said you were continually assessing your performance against other rental rates in same or similar markets to a lease cost relative to market measure. so how is the gsa doing in comparison to the commercial market in various sectors? >> we continue to lease at cost or below market. i believe at the end of last year somewhere around 10% of the private sector benchmarks we were using. >> and is that geographically driven, or is this just overall? >> we do it based upon geographic markets and submarkets a we look where we are leasing and then we find comparable rental rate from the private sector in that particular market. ..
covers their costs. there's discussions of consolidating property and consolidating activities in way that makes sense and do that through the enclosures commissions with the department of defense every half dozen years. think out loud for me, for us, how the u.s. postal service could play a role here to enable us to kill two bids with one stone. one meets the property needs of the federal agencies and yet help the postal service to better meet its revenue obligations in order to free themselves of support from the federal government and federal taxpayers. okay. whoever wants to take a first shot at that, go right ahead. >> gsa works with the postal service for a number of years. they are a tenant in our buildings, and we lease space from the postal service. we have many federal agencies
that are located in post sal service buildings. we worked with them closely as they've been disposing of properties to identify where it makes sense for us to acquire those where we have existing federal needs as well as working with them to figure out where we are disposing of properties or where we have available underutilized properties where they can utilize that. as far as back as 1985, we set up an mou allowing for a exchange of properties and netting of the fair market value of that, and it's been very effective, i think, for both agencies. another area to partner with them, mr. sullivan mentioned the enhanced use leasing authorities. they have authorities we don't at gsa, and we have been able to lease from them and develop properties too specific for the irs for servicers in philadelphia and kansas city where we have been able to use a former postal service facility, renovate that, and use their
authority to create modern efficient space for the irs and find good value for the taxpayer. >> well, that's encouraging. anybody else? that's good stuff. thank you. >> i'm sure, senator, if the post office has sites that are available down to downsizing, and for us if it's key if it's located in the place where we need space and where veteran's needs are and if they could be adapted to deliver health care, we would look at those and see if there was a match and take advantage of any economies that were there. >> okay. thanks. i just ask our staffs of both democratic and republicans to just please note that. there's a place to help the postal service help themselves and help the federal agencies get better value for their spaces. anybody else have a comment before i ask another question? okay.
we've had discussion lease authority, some instances it's done well, and some up -- instances, certainly fccfuls not done well. have you work -- you used to work at capitalone; is that correct? >> that's correct. >> if you had employees at capital one who were guilty of the kind of gross bad judgment in terms of preparing fcc for meeting its space needs going forward, how would those employees be dealt with? what kind of accountability would have been brought to them? >> i think in a relatively similar manner. obviously there's not the same level of rules and regulations that the federal government has as it relates to their employment practices, but there are rules and procedures that
apply, so employees in a situation like that would be, you know, they would have some availability of due process, and it would not be an arbitrary dismissal if you will, but there would be an investigation, and upon the result, appropriate disciplinary action would be taken. >> i hope at the end of the day appropriate disciplinary action be taken. one of the things that really flocks citizens of this country, taxpayers, and us who represent them is when we have bad behavior, grossly bad behavior on the part of federal employees or others who are using federal contractors, and there's just little, if any, accountability, and that's not right. i just ask you keep that in mine. we want to be fair, but also want tough love. it's like a tough love situation. i think we need to be tough and provide an example. at the beginning, i think, of your testimony, mr. sullivan, i
think you may have said there's three questions the va asks. would you say the questions again for us, please? i looked through the testimony, and i didn't see them. >> sure. when we make real capital property decisions whether to renovate it or sell it or whatever, our primary priority is how will that decision impact veterans and families number one, and we don't do anything to negatively impact them. the second priority is to be sure that decision improves the operational efficiency and cost effectiveness of the va operations whether it's consolidating, building a new building, whether it's buying a piece of property. the third one is we want to be a good neighbor. we're low catessed in 165 communities around this country with major presences, and sometimes we are the presence in that community, and we do to the extent possible want to be a good neighbor to the community and reach a decision that helps us, but helps the local community. we take them in that priority,
first for veterans and families, efficiency, and then try to be a good neighbor. >> all right. i'll ask the other panelists, are those three good questions we can use not just in the va, but with a little bit of modification, use outside of the va? >> it's very similar to the process gsa uses, and we have a broad range, but first we consider is there -- what is the requirement? is there a federal need for the as set, and so, you know, if it's the va, it's looking how does it serve the va and its customers or if it's the irs, how does it serve them and its customers or social security? that's the first consideration as the oaring's gnat piece. second piece is the efficiency, the cost effectiveness as mr. sullivan said, and then the third, we look at being a good neighbor in the community. we're in over 2,000 communities in all 50 states and six u.s. territories with government-owned or leased facilities, and so we have a critical role across the country that we play and particularly
focused on trainings oriented development and stainability as well. >> okay. any other thoughts, please? okay. i want to go back to the issue of delegation of lease authority. some instances where it's done well. some instances where it's done badly. as i understand it, correct me if i'm wrong, but in the testimony you asserted that we actually -- we lease more through gse lease more space than we actually own; is that correct? >> yes, that's correct. >> has that always been the case or just recent years? >> relatively recent. 2008 was the first year where we crossed over to having more leased space than government-owned. >> why do you think that changed? a couple things. some is shifting demographics and where we had federal buildings, populations shifted, missions and needs to serve the public have moved, and for the smaller locations, leasing has become the default mechanism to
meet those requirements because you wouldn't build a 5,000 square foot building in a small community with federal construction dollars. we put our focus towards building land ports of entry, courthouses, the major headquarters agencies and consolidations like the food and drug administration in white oak and the department of homeland security here in washington, d.c., and so it is about prioritizing the limited dollars and then for the the more generic requirements that are basic vanilla office space, they end up in leased space up stead of federal buildings. >> all right. thanks, thanks very much. senator brown. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just a couple more. mr. heslop, i'm having trouble wrapping my arms around the con cement of having the fcc and here the fcc is used to regulate wall street and looks like wall
street with the lavish surroundings, the fact they would even take up in an area like this, and gosh i think they would want a blighted area in washington, bring economic development, a good value for the tax payers, and, you know, it's a win-win-win all around, so i guess -- i know you were not there per se, but i mean, you're still there now; right? >> i am there now, yes, sir. >> and i mean, how do you explain those kind of lavish surroundings when we are in a period of austerity? >> yeah. it's my understanding the situation that occurred was this -- i don't believe the lave vish surroundings were a motivator as a flawed process, a space estimate and a flawed process to get the decision made to take the building. remember at the time dodd-frank agent just passed. the fcc was given a significant amount of new respondents,
derivatives oversight of a trillion dollar industry, hedge funds as i mentioned in the testimony, a number of new responsibilities. it was going to drive the hiring of a significant number of new employees, and those new employees needed space to be housed. there is a housing versus hiring mismatch. we typically bring employees on in about 90 days. as you know, it takes significantly longer to house them, and so i think it's my understanding, but they felt under the gun to get space sufficient for the resources we were bringing in. because they used a flawed space estimate we were looking at four properties in the dc area. shemented to look in the region -- >> but chairman -- >> chairman schapiro, look in the regions for the enforcement and examination staff because that's where the activity occurs and for whatever reason the staff
and facilities group disregarded that directive and then tried to look for space, and when they went through the estimate process that mr. kotz described and it was inflate, they arrived at 900,000 square feet. the other three properties that were considered were suddenly out of the equation, and so they believed they were left with one and only one property. it was an emergency situation, and they felt at the time, i think, they were getting a good deal because the rental rate received was below the market rate at the time, and that's the way it was presented. >> okay. i'm wondering if that space is appropriate for a federal agency. it's township of the line space, and i guess it would be mr. foley then, what is the square footage rent for the clients that are subletting with
clients in there now or how does it work? they are in the space, but not occupying it. there's other federal oceans in the space; right? >> we're working with the fcc to take that on, but have not greed on a lease own term with them. i understand that they have subleased some space directly, but we were not a party to that. >> other federal agencies. what are you getting for represent on those in >> i don't know what they are getting. i know it's at a higher rent than we were originally on the hook for. >> another federal agency is paying a higher rent? >> yes, another federal agency, as i understand it, is paying a higher rate. >> you guys are paying basically a half billion dollars and subletting it. >> we're not subletting it, sir. we're released from two thirds of the space. >> okay, that entity is now paying the landlord the higher
rent, has nothing to do with you? another federal agency is now paying a higher rent than you were ultimately paying; is that right? >> that's my understanding, sir. >> how does that work? do you work with other agencies if it's a higher rent? >> we have not. as i mentioned for large leases, we have a number of controls in place and particularly for the district of columbia and the national capital region. we have perspective rent caps in place for all our leasing actions to ensure we get a good deal and stay at or below the market. >> right. let me make sure i understand this. you entered into a lease, i understand the background, you've been released from two-thirds of that, and now that two-thirds is now being represented to another federal agency, now a higher amount than the half a billion dollars that you ultimately were paying, so are we just repeating what we just went through with other agencies? do we need to find out who those
are? i mean, this is like ground hog day, guy, i mean, really -- thank you for laughing -- i don't know how to respond. i didn't realize that in my line of questioning, but, i guess if you keep digging like we are doing, you find more and more and more. i want to find out, mr. chairman, whether -- i don't know who to ask. who's the new entity. did they go through the process here? are we doing the same thing that the fcc did? i mean, i'd love to have the answers because it's not passing the smell test today, and maybe because we're the only hearing here today that, you know, weaver on top of this because i think that's so critical. if you're developing, and you have in place appropriate leasing guidelines based on all the formulas and everything, and you're entered into an mou with the fcc; correct? >> it's for all leasing actions going forward. >> right. going forward on other things
they may want to lease -- >> yes. >> basically, i understand that -- >> yes. >> what about the entities now taking over? you don't know who that are; right? >> that was done under their independent authorities, ill. >> senator brown, if i might, fcc, both self-funded agencies are in the property now. >> so we are working with them to take, i believe it's 350,000 square feet through our typical process to find a tenant and be sure the represent is appropriate. >> great. thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this. it's another area. every time you hold a hearing, i hear more and more where we waste money. i'm hopeful the president and both houses are listening to what we're doing because we are giving them great things to just go and fix. executive order number one. fix it. >> as i've said here before, the gao gives us a to-do list
through the high risk list. it's not just high risk for this committee or house, but for all of us including the president and his folks and federal agencies and certainly of us. i want to just follow-up on what senator brown's line of questioning and ask for the space that gets the fcc is now occupying or about to occupy a constitutional center, sounds like it's one-third as much space as originally thought; is that correct? >> on the look for run third of the space, but no intent to occupy the space. >> at all? >> at all. >> all right. if you look at -- >> rent will be due in january of 2013. >> uh-huh. >> and we firmly believe and are very optimistic in terms of our partnership with gsa we will be able to find a ten innocent between now and 2013. >> this -- that's good. give us an idea what the cost per square foot of that space
would be if fcc were occupying the space in january 1 of 2013. what would we be talking about? >> at the time talked about cost per square foot of $44 which would jump to $47 per square foot six years later. >> i hear at the table there's better -- i know what $44 is required in delaware. that would be steep. maybe not so much here, but give us an idea how does that number jive with the rest of the real estate industry around here, the real estate morning and particularly in this area. >> sure. all real estate is local and there's submarkets in the area and represents vary, you know -- rents vary fairly extremely, but the represent cap for the district of columbia is $49 a square foot. $44 is below the prevailing
market rate. that said, there's some submarket and locations within the districts where you can get represents below that. >> uh-huh. so the other agencies was occ -- what's the other one? >> fhha. >> they will lease space at the constitution center, and if it's the same rate, $47, are they under the overall kind of office space in dc? >> for the government wide perspective rent cap, yes. there are deals below that. in some locations, north of ms. avenue and the developing areas there's better rates than that, but for that part of town, that's -- >> all right. a different question, and one that deals with the corrective activities of this house outlined for the corrective activities that have taken place at the fcc in light of this, well, i'll say scandalous
behavior on the part of some employees there, but what, if any, is the appliability to other federal agencies? mr. foley? >> i mean, i think it's an example of how important it is to get the checks and balances correct. one of the advantages we have at gsa is working with the office of management and budget and so i think one the big issues that fcc had in hearing their testimony and working with them was in developing that up front requirement, figuring out how many people they had, what the right unit tillization rate for the space should be, and would they be fully funded for that. for all our leasing actions, we not only work with the agency to be sure we understand that, but we work with our budget examiner and their budget examiner as i mentioned in my opening testimony to be sure the staffing levels are supported and the rental payment is supported in the president's
budget so we know that the people are going to materialize and the funding will be there to pay for it before we proceed on an acquisition like this. >> thank you. the fc chiropractic was granted, i believe, independently leasing authority in 1990; however, as the ig has pointed out, it took the fcc19 years to establish a centralized asset and management office to handle its leasing activity; is that correct? >> that's my understanding. >> they established a branch within the office of administrative services in april of 2009 and did not put into place leasing policy procedures until august 2010. let me just ask if i could, sir, how much leases do you think might have been awarded over that 19-year period of time, and why -- you can do this with
20/20 hindsight -- why did it take the fcc so long to put a system in place that allowed the organization to effectively manage its leasing activity? >> yes, sir. to the first question, it's my understanding that we've entered into 3 # total leases over -- 32 total leases over the course of the last 20 years. i can't speculate why they didn't put one in place. i suppose 32 leases in 20 years say why do you need a full-time leasing staff, but, again, i can't speculate. what i can say, sir, is it's very apaircht to us -- apparent to us this is not a core competency to be engaged in which is why we're moving into a partnership. >> you're the master of understatement. >> gsa has been a great partner. i thank them for that. >> that's good, good to hear.
any idea how many leases the fcc currently mappings? >> we have 15 in the port foe low, 11 regional offices and still on the hook for and a station place facility where the headquarters is and we share space with other federal agencies in a very small co-op site in southern virginia. >> how long did you work at capitalone. >> approximately 12 years. >> taking your private sector experience at capitalone and putting it side by side with a year now with the fcc? >> 14 months. >> probably seems longer. >> yeah. [laughter] >> but what kind of lessons learned would you like to impart to the rest of our federal government given what you've seen at the fcc in terms of real property management?
>> terms of real property management, i would say the lessoned learned for small agency like ourings, we're very small, 3900 people, 700 contractors, and a very limited footprint, but it's about determining what the core competencies. similar to your remarks today, i'm a taxpayer at heart, and i was brought into, you know, to try to create change and move the fcc into a well-managed environment, and i try to lead moving us out of the areas that are not our corp. competency and given to agencies to do them better. we're doing the same thing with the financial reporting system and moving them to the department of transportation and going in directions like that for small agencies, at least, i think is good advice. >> okay. thanks for those comments. >> given the size of the
constitutional center lease and square footage and funding, why did the fcc not seek assistance from gsa before entering into the lease? you mentioned you have a good partnership now, why didn't they seek the consul station or assistance in the first place? >> sir, i wish i could answer that. i really can't monday-morning quarterback that one. >> uh-huh. mr. wise, in your testimony you indicated there's roughly 36 agencies with independent leasing authority, generally do some of these other agencies with independent leasing authority have adequate exper seize and controls to ensure they are getting the best possible terms for themselves and for their clients who they serve and for our taxpayers? >> senator, we don't have a large body of work looking at exactly that question, but we did have a look at where ntsb, national transportation safety board, had training where they
mischaracterized a lease as an operating lease that should have been a capital lease and that caused some real issues with the agency in terms of its accounting and getting its fiscal house in order. that leads to a larger point talked about as well as what you mentioned in your opening remarks is that for smaller agencies especially that are not hsm engaged in real estate activities as you know better than anyone, i guess, it's a very complicated environment to deal with leases and construction, and if if it's not a core mission or not a significant one for a small agency, i think it's logical that they need to tread carefully in this area because it's easy to fall into problems when you have capacity issues or it's a challenge for the
administrative side of an agency to deal with these things. >> all right. you know, on the one hand, agencies can purchase space. on the other hand, they can get this designation, this independent designation somehow, and then they can lease or they can go through gse and lease. how pref -- pref lent is the notion of lease purchase, and is that something agencies do from time to time? is it -- where is it more common? is it a smarter approach in certain instances? anyone? >> i'll jump in with that. lease purchase is something that gsa has dope in the past, but that was prior to budget enforcement act. it's one of those things that triggers a capital lease treatment if you have a bargain purchase option so in essence leasing to own is prohibited because all the funds is scored up front. that said, some of our leases done prior to 1990 like the
columbia plaza example i mentioned, we were able to acquire that. it was a purchase option for $100 million, and at the time we exercised it, the buildingfuls worth $200 million and we're saving rent of somewhere in the ballpark of $45-$50 a square foot we're no longer having to pay once we take ownership of the building. there are a lot of advantaging being able to do something like that, but it's an area where similar to -- what mr. sullivan said, the budget enforcement act and budget score keeping rules limits flexibility that we had in the past. >> that's good to know, not necessarily good it exists, but it's helpful. senator brown, anything else? >> one more. i don't want to beat a dead hours, but when you say we're on the hook for the space, but we're not using it so you're not
physically in the space; right? >> that's correct. >> when you say we're on the hook, you mean the taxpayers are on the hook? >> the fcc is funded by fees, however, we get appropriation from congress and basically there's a mixed tradeoff so it's not direct taxpayer dollars, but there's an obligation that will be due in january of 2013 if we are unable to find a tenant, but we are optimistic that between now and then -- >> you're not in that space but in another space you're paying for now, a couple spaces you indicated throughout the region; is that right? >> right. there's 11 regional offices. >> i just wanted to be sure i understand that. thank you. >> mr. kotz, in where are may 2011 report, you indicated the fcc grossly overestimated the amount of office space it
needed. it my have violated federal law signing a $556.8 million ten-year lease at the constitution center. based on your findings, what did the fcc have in place to be sure it was leasing the appropriate amount of space in the most advantageous location and at the best rate? >> yeah, i don't think they had any significant internal controls. i think that was part of the problem. i know they're making efforts to put controls in now. >> what were they thinking? >> i don't know. i don't know exactly what they were thinking. >> do you ever ask that questions, what were you guys thinking? >> no, we did. i think what it came down to is there was a misunderstanding of whether they needed the spacement i think some people fell in love with the space and decided that was where they wanted to be and be sure they were all in one building, and they wanted to have as much of the building as possible, and, you know, it was a process that moved forward in a relatively
quick time without a lot of thorough review or analysis, and it ended up with a very flawed process. >> okay. let me follow-up if i could. as part of authorization process for leasing process, there needs to be approval for leases. i think valued about $2.8 million or more. how will the fcc enter into the lease without congress being aware of the potential problems associated with the lease of this mag any nude, and -- magmagnitude, and did it preclude them from having to receive congressional approval prior to executing the lease? >> yeah, i believe a couple reasons. one is the independent leasing authority, and the other issue has been mentioned several times with the so-called scoring issue. when you have a lease, you can allocate a certain amount for each year. if you allocate the amount, you don't get over a particular threshold where if you purchase, you allocate it and get over the
thresholds. by using a lease, you cannot be subject to certain notifications, and in this case, that was a big negative factor. had there been notifications, to omb, congress, conversations with gsa, somebody would have looked at it more carefully and came to a different conclusion. >> two more questions, mr. kotz, if i could of you. what would be the consequences if the fcc were required to go through gsa for all future lease acquisitions? >> i think there would be someone looking at the leases who is competent and ensured the lease purchaser gets the best value. it would be a good thing. >> does the fcc lack the expertise and controls to get the best possible terms when it leases space. i think i know the answer to the question. you don't have to answer. >> okay. >> all right.
mr. foley, would gsa acquires lease space from many federal agencies and delegated that authority to many others. how many agencies do you think have delegated authority to enter into lease agreements, any idea? >> delegated from gsa? >> uh-huh. >> i have that list here. just a second. it looks like it's probably 15 -- the largest user is usda and they have probably two-thirds of the lease delegations from gsa and the others are much smaller in terms of one or two specific transactions. >> what criteria do they use to determine whether an agency should dell gaited authority? >> sure. we have a number of different criteria. the first is we look at the size of the requirement and for the most part, we do not delegate anything over 20,000 square feet
that comes into our agency. for the smaller requirements, we look at their management plan. we make sure they have a warranted contacting officer who can execute the lease and the procurement and there's a plan to follow all the appropriate procurement rules and regulations that would be under gda and provide oversight to be sure they follow through with that. >> uh-huh. what type of oversight does gsa perform with agencies entering into lease contracts, and that's to say how does gsa verify an agency did not lease more space than it needed in >> that is an issue for us, and so we do work with the agencies post award and look at the lease contract to make sure it is in line with what we delegated. >> all right. one of the things i like to do when we come to the end of a
hearing, sometimes. i'll do it today, not always, but today i'll do it. you all had the opportunity to prepare today, opportunity the present your testimony to respond to our questions to hear what your fellow panelists have to say. let me just ask you to take maybe a minute a piece and give us any concluding remarks. we ask for opening remarks, but sometimes the most valuable input we receive is concluding remarks, and if you don't mind doing this, we'll start with mr. wise, please. >> senator, thank you. >> what i focus on around here is how do we develop consensus within the executive legislative branch, bipartisan, how do we do that in order to get better results for less money? i'm interested in getting things done. i think you are as well. that's the goal. consensus, get things done in a way that gets better resultings
for less money, please. >> two points, senator. one when you talk about building consensus and bipartisanship, i think sifra is a promising start in that direction to lead to efficiencies and cost savings for the taxpayers so i think that's a good start moving or a good thought process to be developing as this moves -- as the legislation moves towards and the differences are reconciled between the three versions, and the second point is that we think it's very important that in terms of looking at the purchasing and score keeping that omb works towards developing and implementing the strategy to rationalize this process. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator for the opportunity. i would say two things. one as a taxpayer, i would certainly p be supportive of the approach as well as a former
army officer, i can tell i have seen it work through and the benefits added, and i come back to the comments around small agencies determining what the core competencies are and are not and finding a home for those that are not and hopefully that hits the agenda for saving tax dollars. >> good. what did you do in the army? >> i had a wide range of assignments of troupe leader, analyst, working as the chief of staff to the chief of staff of the army at one time, so a wide variety. >> uh-huh. how long did you serve? >> 22 years. >> how many? >> 2 # years. >> 22 years, thanks for that service as well. mr. kotz? >> what struck me is disincentives. there should not be an incentive in place to lease versus purchasing. it should be with respect to
maximizing value for the taxpayer and that's where the incentive need to be whether it's purchasing or leasing and maybe we're away from that by focusing on one effort. if something is done to put the appropriate incentives in place, we would all be in better shape. >> good. there might be an exception when leasing does make more sense, and a classic example is the census. we need a lot of space every ten years, but not for ten years. >> if it's to maximize value, it's to lease, but in other cases it's to buy. >> thank you. mr. sullivan, please. >> sure. number one i think we heard the critical nature of good internal controls in a professionally groomed contracting and project managing staff. va spends a significant amount of effort, time, and resources to be sure our staff is fully trained and meets the requirement with a strict internal control. every lease at va more than
10,000 square feet is reviewed by numerous offices and our secretary signs them all. if anything at va, folks think there's too much review. i don't agree with that, but that's the ground swell. we have strict controls. the other is leasing for providing medical services is different than providing office space. leases really work well because number one, the population may shift of who we provide services to, and one thing that has become more apparent over time is the technology of providing medical services changes, so if we do a ten-year lease, the way we provided mris ten years ago, radiology, oncology treatment, all of those things have changed. the building needs to be updated for the latest medical technology and radiology and other tel emedicines and radiology as well. leasing works well for that. the key is to incentivize the
scoring process to be more rational in leases and help us disinvest where we need to disinvest. >> okay. thanks. you get the last word or next to last. >> thank you, senator. i appreciate your comments about consensus, and like the va, gsa has a well-trained professional staff of leasing folks across the country. i think the area where everyone seems to be in agreement is there's a little, you know, varying approaching of how to deal with this, but it's clear there needs to be reform in terms of real property. we need to give agencies the tools to manage their property effectively. the administration's proposal for sifra we estimate as much as $15 billion in potential savings that could be achieved. by giving agencies an incentive to rid of property they don't need by finding a way to help them fund upfront cost to dispose of property they don't need and by creating an independent panel to offset the
competing stake holder interests that you, yourself, mentioned and we spoke about here in the hearing today, i think there's ways to streamline the process and make it much more effective for the taxpayers and help save those billions of dollars. >> all right, thanks. we asked the question of our staff over here, how long do members have to submit questions for our witnesses? two weeks, all right. what period of time is there for submitting additional like statements or materials for the record? all right. maybe two weeks, we'll double check that. let me say to the republican staff, anything else you guys have for our witnesses? how did they do? >> good. >> pretty good, huh. they grade on a curve. so we do. anything else here? on behalf of senator brown and myself and those who have fled
our nation's capitol and were unable to join us today ring we appreciate your testimony. now, i was talking with our staff yesterday about this hearing. actually talking on tuesday about whether to go forward with the hearing since a lot of members, house members and senators have left. the house left us on monday, and some of the senators are still around, but most, a lot are gone, but the question is this is not the sexiest topic to hold a hearing on, and we're delighted to have the media coverage demonstrated here today, and we appreciate that, but we're talking about a lot of money here. we're talking about a lot of money that is not spent wisely, and going forward, we're going to have to -- and almost everything we do in this government of ours, we got to find ways to get better results for less money, and one of the -- in this case the leases are paid for by user fees or
whether they are paid by appropriated dollars, we just got to fine ways to do almost everything whether it's defense or nondefense, discretionary, entitlements, all that stuff. got to find ways to get better results with less money. this is a topic to be addressed for years, for years. for one reason or another we have not risen to the occasion and addressed it. in the navy we talk about on watch. i'm on watch here at least until the end of next year. as a chair of this committee, there's a number of my colleagues serving. on my watch, we're going to fix the problem and put in place a comprehensive solution to fixing this problem, and we appreciate your help today towards maybe get us headed in the right direction, and we appreciate your willingness to help us going forward to make sure we get to the destination the taxpayers would have us arrive at. with that having been said, thank you all for joining us
today, for your testimony, preparation, responses, and for your willingness to help make sure we get this ship headed to the right port, and that's what we're going to do. thanks so much. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> this past week a helicopter carrying 22 navy seals was shot down in afghanistan. later tonight, looking at an
earlier interview about the navy seals operation that captured and killed bin laden with admiral eric olson, the man who trained the team that carried out the mission. >> the motion to concur in the house amendment to senate bill 365 is agreed to. >> with the debt ceiling bill now signed boo law, watch the debate from the house and senate floors and see what your elected officials said and how they voted with c-span's congressional chronical. there's video of every session and complete voting records and
when members return in september, follow more of the appropriations process including daily floor action and committee hearings at c-span.org/congress. >> next, the social and political impacts of the arab spring with the author of has baa. this is 40 minutes. >> host: robin wright is our guest, author of the rage and rebellion across the islamic world. thank you for being here. >> guest: always nice to be on c-span. >> host: what's your impressions of c-span? syria wydens military crackdown. how volatile is the situation, and where do you think it's going? >> guest: well it's a pif toll turning point for syria. they have not moved as powerfully as they could against the dmon stlaiters for five months now, but made clear they will not take it anymore. the timing is interesting
because last week was the beginning of the month of fasting, and the government was afraid that the evening events at the local mosque might be a means of getting more people out on the street, so they wanted to preempt that by strooking on several cities. it's interesting that the greatest challenge to the syria regime under the current president's father was in hama where they killed 20,000 people in 1982. now it's playing in hama again as well. syria is in many ways the most brutal and brittle of the arab regimes, and, to me, the most striking protest are in syria where people had tremendous resilience in a draconian police state. >> host: you covered that in the 1980s. >> guest: i did, and i remember the devastating stories. this is a parallel. >> host: does it dpeel like history -- feel like history repeating
itself, or do you feel like the plain grounds, the scenario changed enough that it's different? >> guest: there's obviously parallels with what happened before, but in 1982, the government crackdown against the muslim brotherhood being afraid the city was becoming too -- was more islamic than syria and today the issues are different because of demographics that the majority of the populations in all the arab states are under the age of 30, and there's new tools of technology so that they don't actually need a leader. they can communicate with each other through facebook or their internet e-mails. there are -- it's a -- the factors that are contributing to this uprising are strikingly different than in 1982 even if the tactics are the same. >> host: we've been watching this series of historically moe mentous events. are we in the summer of this or
how is it developing? >> guest: first of all, i don't believe in the term "arab spring" we had one of those in 2004-2005. we had the damascus spring at the same time. we belittle the movement there's uprising, but it's not a spring. it's catchy to go to the spring, the hot summer, and cold winter, but it doesn't apply. when you look at the transitions in eastern europe or latin america, you know, they didn't play out as they did in egypt in 18 days ousting a leader, so it's a little bit unfair to use that terminology. >> host: your book, you write about the influence of technology and how just the access that people are starting to have being a catalyst for change, and so if a family is looking to what will bring them pride in their children's
accomplishments, you are perceiving a shift away from becoming someone who might be a martyr or taking up arms to someone who can have a productive life where the technology has made that more possible? >> guest: yes. al-qaeda is passe, but will continue to recruit people, attack the west, and america itself, but the fact is this is not the movement that capture the imagination. as we see about those who are in tunisia and egypt and syria and yemen and libya and in other places too. >> host: you write in your book, "i feel i reached the climax, but not the end of a book that took four decades to read. since 197 #, i traveled the region' 57 countries covering wars, revolutions, and terrorism spectaculars and you go through the experiences you had and things you watch." the climax is not the end?
>> guest: we have a long way to go. this is just the beginning of the beginning, and that applies to egypt where president mubarak was forced out in three weeks. when you look at the soviet union, you still have a former communist kgb chief in power 20 years later. change takes a long time, and because the middle east has been repressed in every country, there's not an opportunity for civil society, alternative political parties to emerge and challenge the regime. this is the first set of elections, writing a new constitution. it's going to be very upset ling, unneverring, difficult for them and hard for us to understand. >> host: we're looking at former president mubarak in this cage as he was facing trial. how striking or not striking is that image for you and people of the region? >> guest: it was an extraordinary picture, and the
reaction it provoked among many in the middle east and people monitoring the situation for a long time that head of state who was a u.s. ally for 30 years, central player in the peace process, egypt is the intellectual heart and soul of the arab world, and so see any sense of accountability for corruption is really what is quite strikes, and mubarak, you know, i didn't think the day would come they would sit in this pen and be judged for their corruption, political crimes, calling out security forces to kill or repress people when the uprising began, but there's a sense for the first time, you're seeing justice. the question will be will that trial really lead or will it be stalledded or delayed? the second stage is not until august 15th. >> host: robin wright reported for 140 countries on sex -- six continents including the sunday times of london and cbs
news and the christian science monitor and wrote for a host of other magazines and news outlets. you say encountering jihad in the middle east. explain that. >> guest: they have many components, but it's a rejection of those in power now for decades and are trying to create their own political dynasty and it's rejection, however, of the extremist movements. those who are religion or those who are secular, but those that are using violation, it's striking. i think the jihad will decide the next decade as much as 9/11 did the last decade. for the frs time in some arab countries people are taking the initiative and being pro-active in pushing the government, but also instill what kind of values the communities may want after the end of their die nays tick leaders, and in that sense, it's quite inspiring, but it extends well beyond just the uprisings
on the streets. >> host: to the phones, ken, independent line from florida, good morning. >> caller: good morning, ladies. i'm old enough, of course, to remember the massive takeover supposedly a nationalist movement and, of course, the various problems jordan and black september and, of course, killing 20,000 muslim brotherhood members in syria in the 80s, and, of course, the iran-iraq war, i think there were a million casualties there, and i just am at a point where it's complete naivety to think a people who have no experience with democracy, there is a difference between functional
democracy and structural democracy. you can have elections, but every pundit that i've listened to lately indicates that the muslim brotherhood will probably take over in egypt, and that these other revolutions will probably end up with yet another man in power, and when will the west timely wake up and recognize that these movements are buretted from thinker -- aborted from their birth and people will be under the thumb of another dictator. >> guest: it is a danger there will be one emerging from this crisis, but the interesting is so far in every country, there's basically a body without a head , and if there's a particular leader, then as really someone to rally around, but not necessarily as an alternative to the current regimes.
one point about the muslim brotherhood because there's fear in the west and united states that they are beginning to win. muslim brotherhood has never been able to capture more than 25% of egypt's parliament. the movement itself stayed united when it was an opposition to mubarak, but today you see the fragmentation of the muslim brotherhood particularly between generations with the young ones saying we don't like how you pick your leaders, although they began to change the process, but they are unhappy, the young, about the provisions in the muslim brotherhood manifesto denying women the right to become president and denies christians from becoming president. it's, you know, their manifesto is 20th century, and the kids are breaking away in the name of 21st century. >> host: our guest is robin
wright, rage and rebellion across the islamic world. picking up on one of our guests just mentioned that the youth movement, and there's so many young people now across the middle east that the demographics have really. young. the numbers are high. in your book you write about the influence of comedy. the influence of rap. who is producing the cultural content that is exciting people? is it coming from countries? from specific countries in the middle east, or is it coming from outside? >> guest: well, clearly in the case for rap and comedy, these are things that are means developed mainly in the west and some of the groups are adopting them, but they are emerging on their own. rap is the rhythm of the resistance, and many of the young rappers are writing songs
that are challenging the regimes in the way politicians would not for years. there's a young tunisia who a month before the uprising began in the remote village got out and did a very moving rap song challenging the president to see how people lived in garbage and poverty because they couldn't find jobs. he was blunt. it was in that content that that took out through facebook because the government banned any rap and public performances on state-controlled radios or even to perform. he did it underground, but it's that context that he set himself on fire and why the culture is important as the politics of change because then you see the depth. >> host: marsha on the democratic's line, good morning. >> caller: good morning. i'm talking about like, okay, most people call it the middle east. i call it the continent of
africa, and i also see where they are saying the uprising in libya where they have less unemployment than any other country over there. they have free health care given to them, and there's no poverty, and there's investment back into the country. i see all of this and all the outrage that's going on over there. i see that as a recolon nation of africa and they are taking over little countries and pointing who they want to be in charge. expwhrg -- >> guest: couple points. she talked about africa. there are important ones, libya and egypt, sudan can be in that category too, but the bulk of the middle east really begins in the area where you get lebanon
and syria, jordan, and the gulf states, and most of those are harder to witness change particularly in the gulf. ..change, particularly in the gulf. host: can you address the living conditions of those dimensions? guest: these are people who put their lives on the line. they often jeopardize losing their jobs or income. in libya, because it is such a small population, there is a sense of a future ones gaddafi moves on. there are countries like egypt now. the tourism has dropped off in
terrible numbers. there's a very poignant story about the camel driver in cairo. it may well be to survive he had to feed his camel to his family. there's a real separation in terms of the conditions. even in saudi arabia, you have a high unemployment problem because they bring in foreigns. they can get rid of, fire them if they are displeased with the service. it's much harder when it was among their own higher. this is just because a few countries have oil, there's a perception that everyone lives well in the middle east, whereas that's not true. >> robert wright has covered events, middle east, europe, africa, the book we're talking about now is "rage and rebellion" she's also written iran, politics and u.s. policy. let's go to miami, florida.
good morning. >> caller: hello, thank you for taking my call. i have two small questions. the first one is do you think that our presence in the islamic world drives people to kind of lead the movement. and also i learned about son-in-law of this from the book the revolution by ron paul. he thinks the top cia analyst, michael scheuer points out being over there is the main reason why we are having issues with some. do you think that's true? or do you think -- >> host: sorry, you said the main problem over there is what? >> caller: is it main problem what happened over there our presence over there? >> host: what did you say that ron paul said the motivation is? >> he says the motivation is us
occupying the land. >> host: okay. >> guest: well, i don't think the united states has any intention of occupying land when it's begun the process of withdraw and has a plan tentativety laid out from withdraw from afghanistan. where the u.s. have an increased presence before 9/11, yes. it's going to have a strong naval presence in the gulf, and it uses in western turkey. it's a bit of a question about the u.s. presence in the region and what that means for particularly the protest activist. one part is a distinction message that they want to be the ones to determine their future and define their goals. they don't like the idea whether it was a foreign force the soviet union in afghanistan or the united states in iraq and afghanistan. foreign powers are perceived as one less occupying, but more
trying to muscle in with their solutions be it about the political system, how the economy should work, what to do with ethnic minorities and so forth. i think one thing the u.s. pulls out, at least in greater numbers, i think the domestic issues will become ever stronger. that process has already begun. the main focus is how do we challenge our leadership, put in place an accountable government that is democratically elected more than one time. >> robert wright writes, al qaeda is not dead. it is increasingly passe. in the postjihadist era, the movement is out of touch. how did it get out of touch? >> guest: i think hiding away on the afghan or pakistan side of the border almost a continent in the way in the case of egypt. that they could mount small attacks but couldn't provide the
solutions to the obvious questions of life. whether it's employment or education and housing or giving people the sense they are part of a nationalist movement. proud nation. this is going to be an issue, i think, for a long time come. just the kind of basic of what kind of system do you put in place. what the bottom line is they are rejecting violence as the primary tool to bring about change. that's why when the u.s. forced it's way into iraq and traded a new model, there's a lot of resistance and resentment in the arab world. >> a lot of analyst have speculated the lack of employment and future would drive more people. especially to join terrorists movement essentially to join al qaeda, get motivated that way. what is it that makes a difference between someone
choosing that path, versus choosing to become someone involved in such a different course? where it's being part of one the rebellions here, fighting for democracy, or just getting involved in what might be more of a -- less of a threat to the rest of the world as we look on. what is it that makes that trajectory change. >> guest: i think at the end of the day, people are tired of violence. the arabs or the wider muslim world has paid the price in human life. they have very few benefits from the post 9/11 world. they see that vie lens not the -- violence is not the way, not the alternative. i believe this is the beginning of a process that will play out. we have to be careful that anything is going to happen very quickly. the key part of what lies ahead is not just the election from which all candidates will be
able to run, the really pivotal process will be writing institution. whether you write a institution or election. there are many who fear if you had an election, then parties like the mother brotherhood or emerging islamic parties is the conflict. this is a real point. inin the constitution, that's te pivotal defining step. determine the future. iran for example, for a technocatic, democratic. there were so many constitutions proposed. they came back and said we know believe it should be in system to deal with the turmoil, act as supervisors, mediate among the factions. and in the end, that advisory
role has become a permanent political role. and that's why the next year as they comes to gripping in all of the issues of the constitution that may see some really interesting manifestation. or in cultural outlets and it's a defining moment. >> host: harvey on the democrat line. good morning. >> caller: good morning, ladies. thank you. robin, i'm a retired foreign service officer, i've spent years 1972-'75 in beirut, and '78-'80 to johannsburg, where you and i met briefly. can't talk about the middle east without mentioning israel. i haven't heard everything you
said. my question is what role if any does israel have in the current middle east unrest. i'll hang up and listen. >> guest: we have not talked about that yet, harvey. thanks for asking. >> guest: it's interesting as volatile, the most volatile region in the world has witnessed the civil disobedience. israel has not become an issue. it may down the road that are primarily looking at domestic issue and have to direct the arab israel conflict and itself. the egypt military says it's going to honor every treaty. the interesting thing in cairo, you have a rivalry or split between the protesters and the military. they were acting as one as pushing president mubarak out of
power. this is time to push the peace process forward. israel and it's role in the civil in the middle east is interesting. very interesting point. so far, so good, it may come up soon. >> news out of israel. massive economic protests, staged in israeli cities. we see an image here of thousands of people gathered in the streets. joe reports from jerusalem. >> host: could this be a shift to your left and how do perceive this as having a larger political implications? >> guest: i this i the most fascinating is israeli are beginning to adopt the tactics of the arabs, challenging it not through appears with political
leaders or op-ed or almost in any form. they are acting on the streets. i have a very good israeli friend who said thank god for the arab uprising. maybe we'll get something out of it in the domestic front as well. >> caller: good morning, ladies. i've seen you on tv before. it's certainly an honor to talk to you. you are one the most personable individuals i know. worthy of an adventure if you will, my question is is what exactly is our vital national interest. to be honest, the goals are murky and the means to achieve them from murkier.
>> personally, all of the serious economic woes that we seem to be having especially today, on wall street, i don't think we should do this. >> host: let's get a response from robin wright. >> guest: while libya is a case, it's unusual and unique. this is a country of six and a half million people and a will the of oil. once the status is resolved, this is a country that would get back to normal and do fairly well, fairly quickly. and the national council has been dealing with the tribes, different ethnic groups. they are only at the beginning of a learning curve. the united states had to make a tough choice. when it looked like the troops were going to move in. the basis of the uprising.
many of the oil resources are nearby. the international community and even the arab world, united nations passed resolutions saying we believe this is a gross violation of human rights and there's justification for invoking the article vii of the u.n. charter. nato has taken the lead. they are basically deferring now to the french and german to push on and far longer than anyone envisioned. i suspect it'll be some kind of resolution on the status by the end of the year and the military equipment brought in mercenaries and he had still large -- vast resources probably stored away in other countries as well. he could hang on for a while. it is now clear that he cannot survive politically.
>> we have a question on twitter. what incentive does the dictator have to leave when he's still prosecutorred, and he knows there will be a big fallout. why not stay out fight it out? >> guest: that's a good question. you saw president ben ali in tunisia. he flew off, and no one has heard anything. if they say inside of libya, gadhafi, there's many he will try to manipulate and put himself back in power or one of his sons. he also knows that there are a long standing texs with saudi arabia and some of the places that might be venues to take him in. >> new "new york times" book re. when the long time middle east reporters robin wrights last book was published published --
>> host: were you countered to the greater sort of wave of thinking about what to expect about this as you call it a budding culture of change in the region? >> guest: well, i'm a street reporter. i go out wherever i am traveling for books. what's the mood on the street. what are they interested in. there are obvious questions. i don't think the united states government was asking enough. in part because of the security concerns. people have to change the roots. not encouraged to go out. it's hard for the government to get a full grasp on the kind of transformation that began years ago. the idea that i had for this
book was to write about what happened in the islamic world and the decade since 9/11 rend -- and look at the various players. i had characters in the book tweeting me, we have 10,000 today or whatever. so, you know, i try to corr both subjects in uprisings. >> host: in the boom you profile and share stories and what their intentions are. how vital is to have personal stories as part of the narrative of what's happening on a greater more global scale? >> guest: the narrative is important on who they are and why they are getting involved. there aren't a lot of public polls. it's out to see the widest variety of people.
some of the stories are so remarkable. i wanted to be able to offer proof, to show the stories of why people are encouraged now. a woman who at the age of eight, her mother told her to put on a party dress. she was doing for the celebration. she was taken out to be circumcised. she was hang rewhat -- she was o angry what happened and she campaigned about her sister and cousin. with her last session, she said if you do this, i'm going to cut off her finger. he said that will effect her for the rest of her life. she said, duh. he said, okay, i won't assist. if she could do something for one person or family, maybe she could expand. she has organized the arab world
firsts human rights film festival. she found out about a comic book about martin luther kings journey or boycott in montgomery. she translated the whole comic book to explain civil disobedience or get to the wider area. in the back there are civil disobedience actions that the young protesters can make. this has been emerging for a long time. she has done all of this between the ages of eight and 28. in a 20 year period. there are people. and forces that are not often factored in when we try to figure out what comes next. i think a lot of cultural forces will be ones that get out there and say we don't expect the military in power. we want the lifting of emergency law. they will push and likely see more uprisings in phases until they get what they want.
>> caller: actually, it's elmo. i just like to say i commend mrs. robbins for her work. i believe she wants to go forth with truth and people could understand what's going obvious. as we look at scriptures, we have a profit. people also believe we have a profit called izell. and in most religions that leave in the holy word of god. in the book, chapter 5, it gives clarity to ask what's going on in the middle east and also izell chapter 19. i would invite mrs. wright and other people to look at the scripture as to what the word of god said. if i have 30 more seconds, i can get a quick recap. chapter 5, wickedness has been
allowed to cover the whole earth. he looks up and sees two women lifting up an fab of wickedness. they planted that which is old babylon, which is modern day iraq. to go in the story. when you look at this, two women raised a stork. which was old babylon. >> are you saying there's wickedness? i don't understand. >> caller: wickedness was in the container and they took that container and lifted up between heaven and earth and planted in iraq as a resemblance of them and the question is two women
lifting up a fab for the wickedness that you spent in iraq as a base -- as a base be the resemblance of them. the question is -- >> i think we are repeating ourselves. do you have a comment on that? >> guest: not really. i'm not a great reader of the scripture or know the chapters. one the interesting things in terms of religion or islam, it's different. in the past, there was an attempt to go back to the 7th century among the extremist. islam is not an end goal. it's the means to an end. yeah, it's reflected in the number of women, but that doesn't mean they are fanatic
that back the muslim brotherhood. many of them don't. i lived in south africa during the movement, nelson mandel, and you see the dalai lama, people don't have a leader or ideology. they look for their values in terms of faith. that doesn't mean they are trying to determine islamic fates. otherwise we're going to scare ourselves in terms of what is islam and what are it's intentions into growth -- it will be a gross misrepresentation of what's going on. >> host: new societies and governments are likely to be more democratic and mor islamic. as you just pointed out, it can be hard for outsiders.
we might equate a religious state as being sharia law or some sort of the buzz words that come up in our minds culturally of what that means. how do westerners understand that better? how does that relationship change? >> i've always believed that americans needed to be educated on islam, as much as muslims needed to be educated on what american values are. i think there's a kind of really bisque between the two. we are more afraid of islam today than ten years after 9/11 than we were in the interimmediate aftermath. it's important to get a sense of the types of change, the message of change, that's coming across in virtually every arab country. >> let's hear from bill, st. louis, missouri, independent line. welcome. are you with us? >> caller: yes, i am. i thank you for taking my call. and that's right.
i've been studying islam since 9/11. and we learn more about it and then blend in again. i was also in london. i'm finding from my reading of robert spencer, evan warrick, the famous islamic and other famous islamics and parts of koran that there's even little hope unless we face the reality of islam. it's like allowing a religious based upon marxism to survive because we don't want to touch the issue of religious and freedom of religion. i think the problem is we are tolerated the intolerable. it's an intolerable religion. moe ma'am -- me ham -- mohammed
was a tyrant. we need to face it. >> absolutely. i'm surprised he's caring islammism to nazism. we look at it as americans, they get to have four wives. but the practice in the 7th century was for conquering warriors to marry into the widows of the people they had defeated so they could be taken care of. islam put a limit on four. whereas in preislamic times, there wasn't a proper count as they say. so in every religious volume, you can find those things that are inspires and those things that are a little bit hard to take. there's a passage of the koran that said if they move towards peace, you should too. it was definitive and important.
the women activist are now using the koran. they are going back and trying to restudy where some of the traditions came from. many of the islamic traditions were added hundreds of years after the 7th century. and they are not necessarily believed to be authentic. they reflect the political interest. this is what the profit did. and so in the koran, there are actually some positive takes. if you take the words and rulings out of the statements, you find that they could apply to either men or women. there are a lot of women activist going back and trying to peel awaylayers in the women's lights. i think that's important. because you ask about who were the people behind this. the two engines of change are one use because of the demographics. also women as the second in part because literacy in all of the arab countries now exceeds 50%.
that doesn't mean they have all gone to college, but it means they can read and write and go on the internet and connect to a globalized world and have a sense of the future. they are demanding their own rights, totally separate from the fine of demonstrations that we've seen on political issues. it's very inspiring. but they are taking their leads in some ways from the koran itself. >> in brief, your book the title comes from the song by "the clash." why did you call it that? >> guest: one of my colleagues came up with a title when we were all looking for some phrase whether it was from a quote or song or play that would describe both the political and cultural sides of what's going on. and "rock the casbah" seemed to contain it all. many people have come up to me and said what's the casbah?
that's not the problem that i saw. >> host: robin wright, "rock the casbah" is the book. thank you for joining us this morning. >> thank you. >> this week and throughout august on "the communicators" a look at cybersecurity. tonight white house coordinator howard schmidt dismisses the obama administration's effort to protect against threats and attacks. "the communicators" tonight on c-span2. with the senate adjourned, watch booktv at night. area five, uncensored history of secret top military base.
[applause] >> thank you very much and good afternoon. thank you ar for the kind introductions and thank you for showing that very nice little clip regarding the sanitation workers into the hall of fame at the upper and of labor. i also want to recognize one of my good friends and heroes this year among us and that is none other than president johansson representing the u.s. c.w.. thank you for everything you do. [applause] give him a round. [applause] i didn't see another colleague who is here or i believe will
be, larry cohen for also having the foresight to begin this great organization almost a quarter-century ago. [applause] thank you for everything you do. and also to each and every one of you for coming here today and spending your saturday because it means so much that to care. and i just have to say to you from the bottom of my heart thank you for being here and supporting jobs with justice. in spanish, [speaking spanish] , that's what that means. we have labor leaders, community leaders, and i know students and are fighting every single day representing working people in 46 cities and in 24 states across the country.
you're doing very hard things, very hard things i know are going to change the lives of working families and our communities. and everyday that you're working, you're helping energize so many people in our community. you're giving them a voice, inspiring so many young people coming toward enhancing their skills and ability to organize, organize, organize. and every day that you're mobilizing folks, you are in our neighborhoods, in our coffee shops in the streets and our churches, and you are knocking on doors and our neighborhoods. and this is how this movement will grow, and this is how we will rebuild our economy to gather. and this is how we will fight off those other obstacles in the challenges that we are facing today and that our brothers and sisters are facing around this country. brothers and sisters, i tell you, this is how we will win, by working together. and i want to ask you -- i know
it's early in the morning -- but just by reading your program and seeing what you've already committed to and when you started yesterday and when you're going to be committed to today and tomorrow and the next day, i ask you, are you fired up? are you really fired up? are you ready to go? ready to move? and i say yes, we can. yes we can and yes we will. thank you. if anyone here today doubts what's going on, they don't understand what is happening in our society. you know, and as your labor secretary, i'm telling you that everything that you're doing here today really does matter. the day after president obama named the labor secretary, i said, and others said alongside with me there's a new sheriff in town. there is a new renewed faith in
government. [applause] i understand what is meant here. you know that for the most part most american businesses plan by the rules. they pay their taxes but there are a few bad factors that don't. and the need to understand we won't let them take advantage of our lobbies that govern our country and the workplace. and after being sworn in, you need to know because of the help that we had from this administration i was able to hire up for the first time and may be more in a few decades well over 300 new investigators to work in wage and hour and to help ensure that workers are paid properly in the workplace for work that they have already completed. and you need to know that we have collected hundreds of billions of dollars in back
wages from employers who cheated their workers out of money that they are legally owed to them. but even with this extra manpower, even with our enforcement success, we all know the department of labor can't be at every single worksite in this country. and that's why i am proud to institute an open-door policy to make sure that we are listening to the workers, that we allow for organizations like jobs with justice to join with us. and i share that commitment to help protect all workers and especially most vulnerable workers such as those who come to this country in many different forms, but one that i want to point out to you are the workers that come here under the h tooby visa program. groups like yours serve an important role helping to sound
the alarm when a guest workers are abused, exploited, underpaid and cheated, and exploited and sometimes threatened with deportation. you all know about this case. it's the vanderbilt landscaping case in asheville. you have helped lead the fight to correct the injustices that the workers have faced because of your tireless efforts this has helped to pay off. here we are eager to 42 latino h to be guest workers that have come to the country seeking a better life and a decent wage. but vanderbilt landscaping paid the workers less than minimum wage. they finally did not write a fairly broad standards act, they won't violate rules governing the beach to the visa program and they misrepresented workers themselves and their plans for these workers, they thought they could get away with plotting the law. but guess what, folks, they
didn't. and why not? because jobs with justice helped discover the violation and to get the word out. [applause] just last month we resolved our own case against vanderbilt landscaping. we collected back wages for these workers. we assessed fines and penalties against that company. but we didn't stop just there. because of its violations, vanderbilt landscaping won't be able to high year a single h2b worker or any guest worker ed all for the next three years. [applause] together, with the excluded workers congress, you have fought for these guest workers and justice that they deserved. wage fraud, as you know, is a legal, and in my opinion in
morrill. brothers and sisters, we simply cannot stand by. and i am excited to be here today for so many of those reasons. your energy in your enthusiasm is contagious. [applause] and you need to know that your work here at jobs with justice is even more important now than ever. every day that i wake up life and about ways to help find americans and workers good paying jobs. and this administration, the obama administration wants to build upon that. they want to in fact help provide more jobs for construction workers to help build and repair our roads and bridges and waterways. and if president obama wants to extend the payroll tax for middle class families so they can have more disposable income to buy goods and keep our small
engine of growth, small business is growing and keep people employed. you know the president is also fighting for an extension of the unemployment benefits that will soon leave us after december if we do not move on that. [applause] these are things the president is calling us to act on and not just people here today, but the congress and the senate. we must let them know these are all issues that have been spoken about and debated in prior years and months and in many cases they are supported by both parties. so we need to make sure we continue that. we also must continue to grow jobs in this new service sector that are called the green energy economy. where we can create new high-tech industries that will produce high school high-paying jobs for everyone, and that's why i author the corrine jobs at
almost four years ago. it was because i knew the power that could be unleashed to help put people into better paying jobs. and why not allow for all, all of the workers in the country to reach those benefits? that is my standard. that is what i would like to see happen as we continue to push out our green jobs and innovation. we want to invest in education by also expanding those that need support, financial support, the pell grant program, very important that helps lift families of to be able to send first-generation students like myself who was able to go to college because the pell grant program the pell grant works. [applause] and we want to make sure our trade policies actually don't export more jobs, that they actually enable us to provide
product is here that we can send overseas that other people will buy. we need to promote things that are made here in america. we need to be reminded of something the president did. he took very bold action by making an investment and working with the big automobile corporations. and some of you may say well, i don't fully agree with all of that but you know what, let me tell you, those autoworkers right now back on the job they are mighty proud that they have a good paying job the assembly lines are running and producing energy efficient vehicles and people in those towns that were pretty much wiped out in the last few years are now back on-line consuela and now we have more autoworkers working on different shifts and three or four shifts in the day now
that's the story of to tell we are not going to let these jobs overseas and invest right here in the usa in effect during jobs are very important to our economy and the president knows this and so do i., and that's why it's important for us to do everything we can to make sure families have the ability to get into good paying jobs that are producing good product sand services here in these united states to read and jobs for justice, we can't do it on our own, we need your help, we need to also help you to have your voice is heard but right now as you know in states around the country, state officials, governors are using this financial crisis to use an excuse to take this country on a downward spiral and to attack collective bargaining rights. you and i know that is not the
way to go and in places like wisconsin and ohio to fight back defending labor unions that built america's middle class. we helped collect 1.3 million signatures in ohio citizens can vote out there to have their voices heard. [applause] and the six officials who stood against public sector workers are now facing a recall election. [applause] they need to understand american workers still want and need a seat and a voice at the table. we no collective bargaining did in that seat and that voice to demand the working conditions to make livable wages to provide for their families. to give them dignity and respect
and the chance to run a better life for themselves and their children. president obama understands labor unions are not the cause of america's crisis and problems. they've always been a part of the solution in our opinion. [applause] in the day, the union have always helped to clear the path refer people to get into the middle class. as soon as the president took office he signed solicited orders to of all government money being spent on union busting activities, he supported a strong national mediation board committed to ensuring that union elections are space and under the old law to give you an example anyone who didn't vote in an election was counted as a vote against the yen and that doesn't make sense and now
counting the votes like any other election. [applause] at ar department of labor we are doing our part, too. we've recently proposed new rules requiring employers to report spending on those attorneys and consultants to persuade workers not to form a union. a very important role that you need to know about. [applause] we believe workers have a right to know who's trying to influence them and how much a company's earnings are being spent on anti-union activities. there was some good news recently for those who believe in collective bargaining, and i am asking you to recall the 40,000 tsa workers who recently were able to vote to form a union night for the first time. [applause]
these are important milestones for the women and men who keep airports safe but just recently, yesterday in fact what about those 4,000 workers that are going to go back to work and the 70,000 construction workers that will be back on the building and repairing our air force. that took leadership, and again, thank the administration for that. but believe me, i want to tell you that i do know what it means to be a part of the union and what they represent. and i know that because of the very early age and my own household it became very clear to me. my father represented the teamsters. he was a shop steward. he represented immigrant workers in a battery recycling plant. my mother worked many years of a toy factory that i will not name and who later fled the state and went south and never came back.
but she worked there very proudly with the united workers, and i will never forget that. growing up in the committee in a small town in california it was hard for our family, a family of immigrants, first generations of the air wasn't always fit to breathe, the environment wasn't always clean. in my community we lived near several superfund sites ha, gravel pits, polluted land fills and one that was just close to a school yard elementary school that was one of the largest in landfills in the country. and several miles away the area code is my note to one no -- [laughter] beverly hills there are zero land phyllis or chemical plants. i grew up with a very strong understanding that there were haves and have-nots in this world.
but my father taught me about the difference that a union can make in the lives of workers and their families. and growing up, i remember very distinctly sitting down with my father. he would say to me in spanish [speaking spanish] come sit here in the kitchen table. and i would thought what i do? am i in trouble? and he said no. he would reach into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled papers, maybe four or five and there were scribblings on there in spanish and he would begin to recite all was written and he had me translate them in english. and basically what they were for grievances of the workers that he represented at the battery recycling plant. they were given meager pay, the work was dirty and very harmful and the conditions as you know are unsafe and it wasn't fair. my dad, rolph, told me that injustice in the workplace exist
and that workers needed to have a voice and someone to represent them in the workplace. my mother also helped teach me to honor and respect all caregivers to keep our families strong. one of her first job is when she immigrated here to this country was to serve as a domestic worker. this was before i was even born. but from what she told me the problems she faced back then are very much the same that millions of women face today. a domestic workers and do some of the hardest working out there and it does matter. [applause] it matters to the elderly man who needs help opening up his bottle of medicine or taking a bath or changing his clothes. for countless loved ones,
domestic workers are sometimes the first face they seek in the morning and the last one they will see before they go to sleep at night. domestic workers give soldiers themselves physically and emotionally and they are indeed professionals that we rely on. [applause] yet millions of home care workers struggle to get by if living near poverty levels. urning a median income in many cases of less than $17,000 a year to read and through your caring across generations campaign, you have helped to give them a voice so they can demand better wages, dignity and respect no matter who they are. [applause] i said this before and i will say it again all workers have
protections under laws of this great country, the united states of america. [applause] we need to nurture the contributions of our immigrant workers so we can win the global race to help build, to out and educate and out innovate our global competitors and that's why president obama will not let up on our fight for a more sane and humane 21st century immigration system in that packet of immigration reform we cannot forget our children. so it is very, very important that you all understand that
this president is fighting hard alongside many people in the cabinet, myself and others to help pass the dream act. >> katella deily katella the and patriotism of the students who left the country to the path of citizenship to those who serve in our military or excel in the classroom. they are in fact our future. and in spanish b.c. [speaking spanish] we don't give a person to lose our talent to spare especially in the hard economic times and i know people are struggling right now and i travel around the country and i hear many stories and with the housekeepers who were here please stand and be recognized. [applause]
[applause] >> it breaks my heart not only as labor secretary, but as the daughter of proud working immigrants. it earlier this year we were reminded by the 100th anniversary of the triangle fire 136 people mostly immigrant women and girls tragically lost their lives. the triangle left many lessons from which they can all learn from and i pay particular attention to three of them. we must defend and protect our
most vulnerable workers. we have to be vigilant on the worker's safety for all of our workers and workers must have a right to organize and to bargain collectively and that is a space principle. [applause] we invited a group of women organizers for the first time ever in our history to the white house and the told us why and for the chosen to organize the work place is not. we've heard from a child care worker in ohio and a domestic worker in new york, and we heard from a ernestine who works at a wal-mart and at a t-mobile call center.
visa women have their voices heard and they made it very clear that after a century, after the trial, the triangle fires the workers still need and want a voice at the table and up their jobs and about a better wages and benefits and we still have more to do. a collective bargaining still needs to see the table to demand things like decent working conditions that are healthcare and safe workplaces. it means respect and above all dignity and a chance for all of us, our children and generations of children to earn a better life and in this country and thanks to your effort and the jobs of justice and for your continuing efforts for working people making progress in so many ways. the fight now is a fight for our
lifetime. something that we can't forget so for the men and women and for our children and grandchildren let us take inspiration from our history hour own parents and families that have struggled and hope for progress and change. and let us make that commitment here today together to get this country back on track to read to do this for all america so that we can stand proudly again and shine that light of hope to many on this planet who would love to call america their home. i am moved by what you'll have been doing. please note that you have an advocate of supporters in the president strongly believes in everything that you and you need to know that.
this president, this administration coming and you can't forget that. and we need you now more than ever especially in this crisis that we are having come a crisis but would like to rot many of our young people of their future, of their likelihood in this country, the fight is a big fight, but it's one we can win because we have seen it happen not too long ago and i hope that you will all remain steadfast, ready and prepared for what's ahead. hope is coming and it is here for many of us to read it is for me and i know it is for people i have been able to see across this country because now they have a voice and people are listening. secure voice is loud and clear, don't forget who you are and how needed your voices are when you go back and come back to your states and to your communities back to your churches and please
of a planet or the schools you need to let people know that we are by your side. i want to ask one last thing. this last week i get the privilege of spending some time and 40 acres in california near fresno where the farm worker movement began with cesar chavez and richard chavez and i reminded of the anomaly presented by the father at the time that was presiding and he said above all, what we need to remember is to respect all workers regardless of where they come from, what means they have or don't have, but to always place than first. that is what cesar chavez did and richard chavez did, that is what the continue to do, that is what we will continue to do.
thank you. [speaking spanish] and yes, we can. thank you. [applause] [chanting "usa!"] thank you again for your tremendous advocacy of leadership on behalf of working americans. you have truly been a voice for working people and we are very honored that you are here with us. again, let's give a warm welcome. she made the sport in her scle