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tv   Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 2, 2013 6:00am-10:01am EDT

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>> and a total scam that defrauded the government for well over a decade. do you know how much he makes in retirement? and what are you doing to make sure that the scam doesn't continue, that a complete fraud who said he was a member of the distinguished cia and no one even bothered to check? it's almost the incompetence is beyond belief. do you know what his retirement is this year? >> i do not know. >> can you get it back to the committee? >> we can get it back.
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>> can you give us the steps? if you say you cannot get it, you can't stop it because of bureaucratic regulations, then i believe in a bipartisan effort we would join in a single bill to stop it and to stop anyone else who defrauds the taxpayer of getting a retirement benefit. it's beyond belief. he scans the taxpayer, scams the agency, scams the government and a row to the confidence we have in government and then gets a retirement? i, for one, hope we can stop it at the very least. these retention benefits that my colleague was talking about, who recommended him to get these retention benefits? >> in 1991, mr. brenner prepared paperwork for the first set of retention bonuses, and it was approved by the government by the name of william rosenberg it
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was then a system administrator. the second round of retention bonuses were prepared in 2000. again, mr. brenner recommended him and it was signed by mr. perciasepe by the time was the then assistant administrator. >> so mr. brenner, the gentleman with whom he felt his house to the guy he is recommending to get an illegal bonus and it has other business relationships, he's recommending that the kids this bonus treatment. now, mr. brenner, did you think he had another job offer? >> yes. this was in 1991 when the original -- >> did you get in writing? did you get a copy in writing? was in the file information about the job offer that entitled him to this additional pay and scam? >> i don't remember whether we had it in writing or whether we had obtained the information through a phone call, but he did
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have an offer. i would note that -- >> there is no offer unless it's put into the file. and mr. sullivan, where he researched this and get back to his? was there anything in the file and writing about this alleged job offer that mr. brenner's power got a then he sold his house to, or did other business deals with? was there anything in writing in the final? >> i can answer that question now. mr. beale told us that he never had a written offer either in 1991 or 2000. so there was never a written offer for any of the retention of mrs. so we have policies in place but they're not implement it. we need an audit of what's happening. who would be the proper person to audit this so that the mr. brenner's of the future can't get away with it? mr. brenner, did you recommend other people to get the special treatment? >> i don't remember having spent mr. sullivan, which investigate pelosi recommended to get this
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and whether he had business deals with them? i mean, this is just unbelievable. and who would be the proper person, mr. perciasepe, to audit this to make sure the people within the agency are honest? >> well, first of all, we put some new controls in already on the retention bonus system. no one at epa right now is getting a retention bonus. even the inspector general themselves have used this technique to keep valuable employees. and so we don't want speakers are not questioned the policy. i'm just saying we need professionals and we need highly qualified people get many offers but i believe that mr. beale never had another offer. i believe that he lied, like he lied to everyone else. so how do we catch the liars? who would use it would be the appropriate agency to audit the epa to see if anyone else is involved in some type of scam and whether this is following -- i would just like to say how may
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of the people the things are scanning the epa right now with your lax policies that are in place because well, first of all, i believe we have adequate policies in place at epa. >> they are obviously not working to the tune of $800,000. it would've continued without the excellent work of gina mccarthy and our state investigators and prosecutors who stopped this. i congratulate their public work, but that this was allowed to happen for well over a decade is an outrageous abuse. >> there are two things. there's a policy and then whether the policy is followed and if there are controls to make sure the policy -- >> obviously they weren't control. the policies were in place. you are required written information, written information was not there. spent these things would last for three years. they have to be certified. >> to have to be killed with a date for three years. the policies were abuse. my question is how do you enforce the policies that are in
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place? there should be an audit of this. where should the audit come from? >> i'm going to say, first, i've done -- >> the john chiles time has expired but you may answer her question. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chair. we've made some changes already in terms of what we know in terms of control to make sure the policies are implemented. i'm confident the inspector general we have a very good working relationship with is also looking at this to see if there be more to do. i'm not going to presuppose what we've already done is enough but it want you to be comfortable that we've already made changes that will have more controls on their. >> mr. chairman, i still haven't had the answer to my question. >> vig. the ig. >> the ig is investigating. what i was asking about, who audits before even gets to the ig? who audits to make sure they're doing what they're supposed to be? that was my question. is there and audit? the ig is going after
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corruption. i'm talking about a level where you make sure that the policies that are put in place actually happened, and audit level. where would that be? anybody? can anybody answer where they think that should be? >> i believe what you're referring to are the internal controls and i think the program and operational level once those controls are in place, that the folks were in charge of implement in those policies and programs should be the ones to audit those to make sure that they are being implemented correctly. >> can we ask in this case would have been mr. brenner the would've audited since he would have approved it? he would have audited it indicates that mr. beale? who would be the person who should have audited whether or not all his claims were true and all of this stuff he was doing, whipping off everybody, who would've been the proper person? >> you may answer it briefly. >> typically speaking, it would probably be a supervisor. >> and the supervisor was? mr. brenner, right?
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>> you to tell the woman would yield, i believe it was gina mccarthy. >> gina mccarthy. so she should be auditing it for the whole every? >> i appreciate the time picture only three direct reports. mr. brenner, mr. beale and another person. >> i have the opportunity to clarify this? >> well, the gentlelady, her time is expired. i have been very generous but you and i will have a chance to talk briefly, and you may have an opportunity to answer it in response to one of my questions. but for now we will go to the gentleman from michigan, mr. walberg. >> thank you, mr.chairman. thank you to the panel that is here that is help to get to the bottom of some these issues where question. mr. sullivan, were you ever aware that mr. beale was in pakistan? >> he had significant foreign travel, and we knew he took a trip to india, and i'm not sure if we ever confirmed a trip to
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pakistan, but many times when he claimed to be in pakistan through phone records would prove he was in the united states. >> could we get the slide up on that? for be. i wanted to ask the question is if you had any threat information 4-b. you notice it's necessary this was an e-mail said -- from john beale to gina mccarthy. due to recent events that you've probably read about, i and in pakistan. spent well, we could definitely say he was not in pakistan then because we checked his cell phone usage and the cell towers were either in massachusetts or in arlington, virginia. >> when he said i'm reachable by sal, text or e-mail with a nine hour time difference, ho ho ho, that was obviously a lie.
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>> obviously a lie. >> thank you. mr. perciasepe, when was the first time that ms. mccarthy expressed efficient concerns about mr. beale? >> we had conversations proud in 20 children our regular meetings where she was expressing these concerns, and everybody in the agency as the management level said that they should be pursued. which is what she did. >> did you ever discussed with ms. mccarthy her decision to refer to the matter to the general counsel rather than the ig? >> no, i never did but i don't think -- >> did you ever discuss with this mccarthy the general counsel's decision to have the office of homeland security look into the matter rather than refer to the ig? >> will you let me and just because i think he did ask if you ever had and you said no. so what about this? >> the idea that you pursue what may be a personnel -- and h.r.
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matter for the general counsel or there may be something related to the other agency that has been mentioned several times here, the lead unit in our agency that deals with the intelligence community on a general level is the office of homeland security. but once that was discovered that that was not, there's nothing to verify there, we immediately turned it over to the ig. ig. >> so we're talking about a couple months here when this has something that -- >> so to your knowledge was the decision directive mattered to the office of homeland to get which is located in the office of the administrator, found to contain issue within the agency and keep the story from becoming news that could affect the agency? >> absolutely not. it was to determine facts, and once we have the facts were turned over to the ig. >> to your knowledge was the decision to direct the matter so that epa could understand the
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facts of the story prior to becoming a? >> once we understood the facts we turned him over to the ig to let it go where it went. i can guarantee that the ig will attest that we cooperate completely. we wanted them to get to the bottom of it. >> mr. sullivan, mr. elkins? >> yes, sir. mr. perciasepe is correct that it was referred to homeland security first via the office of general counsel. the only problem that we had with that is the office of homeland security were not criminal investigators, without law enforcement authority, they interviewed mr. beale very prematurely in our estimation, and it causes great harm to the investigation. >> it caused you harm a? >> that's correct. >> mr. perciasepe, you work with mr. beale both in the 1990s and from 2009 on, is that correct? >> i was the assistant for two and half years in the late
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1990s, correct. >> when was the first time he represented he was doing work for the cia? >> he never represented that to me. >> did you ever have any doubts about his claim when it came -- became evident to? >> i had lots of doubts about when it became evident to me when i came back to the agency. >> what did you seek to verify the claim? >> it was already on -- the assistant administrator mccarthy at the time was in the process of running it through what we just talked about. >> you oversaw the office in which mr. beale worked in later became the deputy administrator. don't you think it was your responsibility to verify one of your employees was missing work under the guise of being a covert operative for the cia? >> he was not doing that when he worked for me. >> mr. chairman, it's amazing. as we're talking a of a government shutdown, i think we have evidence here of a government shutdown in epa over issues that cost the taxpayer
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almost a million dollars. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. the chair would now recognize the gentlelady from california, ms. speier. >> chairman, thank you and i think the ranking member, and i think the inspector general's for being here. this is an absolute disgrace. this is stealing money from the american people. it reminds me of a perfect burglary. and is ripe for a made for tv movie. having said that, i am deeply concerned about a number of things. one, prospectively trying to take someone's retirement away as the bill that's been suggested by the chairman and being discussed with the ranking member is something that i would endorse. but i would recommend that what we need to do here is to introduce a private bill to take away the tension of mr. beale --
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the attention of mr. beale because this will only be perspective image and i think this man has got to be brought to real justice. i'm concerned about one, he is in debt to the american people having ripped them off of a $10,000. we even know if he has access to equal a $10,000? do we know that? >> yes, ma'am. he had significant asset. effective already paid back to the clerk of the court here in district 1-800 $86,000 he is 90 days to pay the $507,000 asset forfeiture judgment against him. him. >> how much money have you spent in this investigation? >> we can get back to you on that. i don't have that in funding. >> the other thing we should look at cost of recovery or cashew be attributed to the individual who conducted
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themselves in such an illegal manner. that taxpayers shouldn't have to pick up the tab for that. you should be able to recover that cost as well and that should be concentrated in any legislation we do as well. mr. brenner, do you think you done anything wrong? >> -- you have done anything on? >> no, i do not think i've been anything wrong with respect to the way mr. beals personnel issues were handled during the time i was his supervisor. >> let's start by the fact that you recommended in for a retention bonus, which he did, correct? >> that's correct. >> and it is required that you e a written offer to base that retention bonus on, correct? >> i don't know whether a written offer is required. it's required to either be a written offer or determination that an offer was made. in other words, i believe this time it was done through a phone call to discuss it with whoever was making the offer.
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>> is that true, mr. sullivan? is it required that there be a written offer? >> it's my understand that a written offer is not required, although most packages to the written offer a attached. what is required, the supervisor recommending the incentive bonus has to assert that he or she did due diligence to confirm there was an offer. >> what was your due diligence, mr. brenner? >> we are talking of something that happened many years ago. >> you can't recall it sounds like? >> i don't recall whether there was a letter or whether there was a phone call. but i know that it was reviewed by the personnel office. all of these retention -- >> no. you had an obligation to do due diligence. did you talk to the prospective employer? you have to be able to recall that spent 20 some years ago so i don't member whether either talked to the employer or had received a letter, but i know that without one of those two
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things being in place, there was no way i could -- it could've been approved. >> let me ask you about the $8000 discount you receive. did you disclose that on your financial disclosure statement? >> i did. >> you did? is that an amount that is legal to actually receive? >> on my -- >> is in its -- >> on my 2011 disclosure statement. as i said -- >> was that after the fact? was that after it was recorded? >> that was when it was reviewed. and as i said, it was reviewed and invested by the department of justice and their decision was to decline stated whether they declined to take legal action or not does not mean that it wasn't illegal. if you received an $8000 discount, that is a gift that exceeds the limits under the financial disclosure law. and i think you are guilty. and i do think that you should
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be held accountable for the fact that she received a gift that exceeded the amount that you are allowed to receive under those laws. mr. sullivan, the fact that mr. beale took three trips to london at $25,000 apiece, one to london and india for $36,000, and made it his goal in life to only fly first class, and was able to get a chiropractor to basically say he had a back problem and, therefore, should be able to fly first class. it is deeply troubling to me. i think i could go to a chiropractor and get a letter saying that i have a back problem. lots of people. could probably do that. that's not the basis on which you fly first class internationally, or anywhere. so what do we do to fix that?
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>> as mr. elkins agree to testify, there were an ongoing cities of seven audits within epa and women specifically, the audit ongoing, is looking at the first class travel nepa. i know that will be part of the comprehensive report that will be produced. >> mr. sullivan, i know i exceeded my time, let me make one more comment. what you have been covered troubles all of us greatly. i worry that there could be incidents like this in other agencies within the federal government. and i hope that what you have uncovered is shared with other igs throughout the system and that we clean up this act everywhere. because i wouldn't be surprised if a first class travel going on at other agencies under the ruse that everyone has a back problem. and i yield back. >> the chair thanks the gently and would not recognize the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. lankford. >> thank you, mr.chairman. i completely associate myself
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with comments that the gentlelady just made. this is something we need need -- we do need to establish, a process. the a process. to our template editing furloughed through sequestration. at the same time we have an employee that is getting a quarter million dollars salary well in excess of what is legally accessible and doing zero work at the epa. zero. not even showing up. that is frustrating for the people that are working better and better doing their job. it's frustrating for other people in the federal family, and it's incredibly frustrating to the federal taxpayer who worked very hard and who counts pennies and is very attentive to their own family and what they turn in on their irs forms that goes into working with the federal government. someone is watching how this is being spent. so i do appreciate the work. we have a lot of work still to go. to be able to evaluate some of these processes but i would like to talk about these and pick up what mrs. b. was talking about before. what is the paperwork required to turn in and say i have a back
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problem, i have to get first class tickets everywhere that i'd like? >> in this case our investigation revealed that mr. beale presented a chiropractor note and he was admitted to the travel office at epa and he was black and is being authorized for first class travel spirit was that because he was an executive or because he just traveling to reduce? >> is by understanding if you submit a legitimate doctor's note and your supervisor approved you will be eligible for first class travel. >> same thing dealing with getting a closer parking spot, you can walk in and say i'm a vietnam vet and i had malaria for need a closer parking spot. was their documentation required for that? >> there is documentation that is required but it is artist and it was his assertion, known from epa asked him for doctors know to confirm his malaria and spent he walks in one day and says i work with the cia.
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i need a day off a week. what documentation is required for that? >> normally there has been interagency agreement, and epa would go to the other agency and signed a memorandum of understanding for the repayment. currently though since 2008, there's a requirement now that if the cia does recruit and employ from another agency, the director of the cia is required to inform her that agency as well as the general counsel, but that has been in effect only from 2008 on. >> so everyone was grandfathered in so it is additional new hires at that point? it would not have been evaluated looking for this documentation, or that's everybody? >> my understanding from 2008 on. but i don't know anyone went back to look at mr. beale's case. i can tell you know one did to our knowledge no one in fact confirmed -- >> so when the rule was changed no one went back and confirmed and said we need to get all the
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paperwork cleaned up the? >> that's correct. >> mr. perciasepe, how many steps does the epa have that worked full-time for the epa, and also get paid by another agency? >> i don't know the answer to that. we do have interagency agreements. we been at epa employs working here in congress but we can certainly get that for the record. >> i'm assuming that mr. beale was claiming that he was not just being paid by the epa but he was also employed by the cia being paid over there. >> i do not know that, what he claimed. i don't know what he claimed because i haven't seen the full investigative report yet. >> the question is, is there anyone who is paid by the epa was then assigned to another location and is also paid by them? that is, paid by two different agencies at the same time. i understand your sing some are assigned to congress. >> and we pay those salaries. and it's usually one or the other is paying. i mean, somebody could go on an
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agreement like mr. sullivan was saying, or an interagency agreement of some kind, and how the pay is distributed is often part of that discussion. but we certainly can get you information about how many are doing that. but it is, there's several kinds of agreements and how that goes into it could go either way on how the pay is done. >> do we know if any employee that are also being paid by another agency at the same time they're working for two agencies simultaneous? >> for example, we have an agent detailed to the federal enforcement training center. we have an agreement they reimburse us for that person salary, but the employer would not receive both salaries at the same time. that would be illegal. >> that's what i'm getting at. i think it might be a lot that the cia was actually covertly having the epa pay the salary of one of their secret agents. just in the amount of there. i'm the one with a lot of epa folks who are currently on the caa task force, begin the whole
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thing smells were from the very beginning to try to get where that works. the other problem i see is this constant state over and over again that he was an executive and so when he turned in travel vouchers they were not challenged. >> that is absolutely correct. that's the person who signed his travel vouchers told us point blank she never reviewed the vouchers, never looked at the receipts she accepted as fact whatever mr. beale put in because he was an executive and because he worked for the cia. >> so the issue of who is supervising the supervisors at this point. obviously, that's the task of the ig that we ask you to be able to step in, in this case, the agency went around you to try to investigate it and have your last in my to do but look at it rather than first in line. we have a real breakdown i process you when supervisors just turn in stuff, all the people to work under them don't feel like they can actually respond back to it and challenge what's happening and they just went off and expenses continue to fly. so this is not the end of this
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conversation because we do want to follow back up on the many issues of fraud that's here, and has systemic this really is and we hope we find nothing. but my fear is there will be several more that we find in the process, probably not as well-written as this story, but other issues. i yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentleman from oklahoma. that recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. meadows. >> thank you, mr.chairman. mr. perciasepe, i'm intrigued by your testimony, because you said earlier that mr. beale never represented to you that he worked for the cia. so is that, to follow up, you never heard of him working for the cia? because there's a difference. >> when this unfolded -- >> before it unfolded had you ever heard of that? >> no. spent no one ever said what he
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was doing? >> i didn't see mr. beale for 13 years. i don't know what went on from 2001 -- or 2000 to like them back to the agency. >> from 2009 on he worked with you? maybe not because he was really there. he was covertly in pakistan? >> i don't know. that's what we are -- >> so tell me how the retention bonuses are supposed to work. how do they were? >> the basic premise is you have a person who is likely to leave because they have either a job offer or some other important financial reason. and they are critical to some of the work that they're doing. and then there's a process we go through what that is laid out. there are recommendations made. >> so you've been involved in
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those processes -- >> only once. i don't know if you were here when i mentioned earlier, there's currently no one had epa that is speed how long are they supposed to last? >> three years. they are supposed to be recertified every year. >> all right. so, mr. sullivan, so to your knowledge, how long did mr. beale actually receive his retention bonus? >> the first series win from 1991-1999. they should've stopped after three years. they did not. he was put in for a second round of bonuses in 2000. and that was the same year he got promoted to the senior leader position. answer during the course o of hs career, he'd received bonuses for 2 22 years and she should nt have received them more than six. >> okay. so mr. perciasepe, at the year 2000 nation have been receiving a retention bonus. >> he should have had recertified in 2001, 2002 and
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2003. >> he just had 99. he just said 99 spent now know. he said it was done in 2000, which i think would be three more years if i'm not correct spent so 2000 would be the start of two years, and yo he signed f on that, correct? >> yes, i did spend so what did you go through to sign off on its? check with the cia? >> no. as our dimension i used that line -- he did not use that line with me. in the 1990s, and this is hard to believe speed 13 years ago, i know. >> painful for me to go through this, but this was a person who had a reputation, a positive reputation in the federal government, both inside and outside epa in that time period. it would not be, it is not outside the realm of possibility to me as the assistant administrator that this person could be getting offers from
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other entities. >> but i thought we had a guideline that said it stopped at three years? >> well, i -- >> so you had to have a good reputation to be able to exceed the guidelines? >> i had no knowledge of the previous one of this particular moment i'm talking about. >> how did you approve one without having previous knowledge so that says when it comes to your desk, you sign off on its? >> it's not just a good reputation. there has to be a case laid out by the career leaders in the agency which was done in this case, and then -- >> when -- wouldn't decade separate his retention bonus that would have been paid? >> they were not included but i don't recall them being included. >> really? >> so when mr. sullivan says there were six years out of a number of years, one was based on original one and one was based on i did, those are legitimate years that he they could've gotten a retention bonus under the rules of the agency. the problem we have is there was
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nothing to stop at the edges kept on going. and that's what i've changed. i change the system so it's a hard stop. >> so there's a hard stop, all right. let me go over i guess the mr. brenner, because then you sign off on it as well? and you were his friend so you knew he was in the cia into signing off on a retention bonus i guess keeping hi them workingt the cia? because you were very close. you have an intimate relationship with them, is that not true? >> i am a close friend of mr. beale's, but i had never heard from mr. beale that he worked for the cia. >> but you knew he was somewhere other than being at work? >> they carried we are talking about, 1991 and 2000 -- >> i'm talking in general. i'm not just saying that one period. you knew that there was something that he wasn't showing up and you still getting retention bonuses. because you had to sign off on the but in 2000, i've got your
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signature right to spend and in 2000 i believe he was showing a big i certainly was not aware of any problem with mr. beale's attendance india 2000 or in the decade prior to that. >> i appreciate the chairs indulges to let me finish with this question. both of you, mr. perciasepe and mr. brenner, both of you knew that he retired. you knew that. and yet we still continued to give in retention bonuses to retain him to make sure that he wouldn't retire a second time lex how can you -- either one of you explain and justify that. >> well, first of all, he did have a retirement party but they somewhat i'm now, what i now know he never to my knowledge never submitted the retirement paperwork. >> in your mind you went to the retirement party i think, didn't you? so how could you justify going to his retirement party and then in getting a retention bonus to
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make sure that he stayed retired? i mean, what is the? >> this is the changes that i've made in the system spent i'm not asking about the change. how could you have not seen that? >> i don't see his paycheck. i don't see his timesheet. >> but you had to sign off on the, on the retention bonus. >> in 13 years a -- >> i understand 13, so speed it would've been my assumption that it had expired you know, 10 years earlier spent so you managed by assumption. >> well, there's 17,000 employees. i'm not looking at their paychecks. >> i yield back. thank you for the indulgence, mr. chairman. >> thank the gentleman. and have we completed the first round? will not go to the gentleman of south carolina. i think he is the last -- >> mr. chairman, pointed inquiry just for a moment.
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i want to indicate to the chair that i was hopeful that would have a second round. i would like an opportunity -- >> we will have a short second round. it is the chairs intention to get out of there as close to 12:30 p.m. as possible. mr. perciasepe conjured originally want to leave at 12:30 but we said it might take a little longer. will give you out close to it spent on actual disposal. >> okay then, moving along, the last question of the first run, the gentleman from south carolina. >> thank you, mr.chairman. just initially i wanted to make the observation, mr. chairman, according to the report, mr. beale was looking at between 30 and 37 months in federal prison for about a $900,000 loss. you get more time in prison for that, then that first getting a sixpack of beer if you threaten much of a weapon which you
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really don't have. you get more time in prison for that for a very small amount of certain controlled substances. even though he refused to answer our questions, mr. sullivan, did you interview mr. beale? >> my staff did spend did you advise him of his fifth amendment rights? >> at the time of the interview with him it was with council in the u.s. attorneys offer -- office and that was not the agreement spent so you can agree with him that he would cooperate. did that agreement also included you would cooperate with other entities that were investigating wrongdoing? >> at the time the agreement was the proper meeting and it was up to the u.s. attorney whether he would accept it or not. >> he's getting a three-level reduction in his guideline range for cooperation.
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that's super acceptance of responsibility. and get this morning he wouldn't answer a single dash for a single one of chairman issa's question to ask i guess my question is, is anyone going to go before the district court judge and make sure he or she knows that mr. beale wouldn't even enter this branch of governments questions? he answered -- you can plead guilty what out waiting to fit the amendment privilege to keep waited for the judge and waited for the executive branch when you want t to talk to her when u.s. attorney want to talk to them. but he wouldn't waive it for dear life when he wanted to talk to them. can i rest assured that the sentencing judge will be made aware of that the? >> what we will do is will brief the u.s. attorney on the case and will bring their concerns forward to. >> i just find it stunning that you want to avail yourself of the maximum departure from the guidelines that you can get for acceptance for responsibility and still sit here and not answer a single solitary
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question from a coequal branch of government. ms. maloney as a question that i thought was an extremely good question but actually she asked a bunch of really good question but i never heard an answer to this one. is there a policy or procedure in place to investigate topics of interest between those who approve bonuses and those who received bonuses? not all at once. >> the only requirement i know of, congressman, is there was a financial disclosure requirement of the the senior officials spent so in theory, mr. brenner could be approving financial bonuses or other financial incentives for someone that he has a financial stake in whether or not they get more money. is that within the realm of
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impossible? that sounds like what's when a. >> i'm not going to speculate on what's possible, but -- >> why not? >> because i'm going to wait to read what the ig investigative report says. >> if you're not going to speculate on what's possible, my next question is this. if jim jordan told chairman issa they were going to be her for a couple of weeks because they were cia operatives, how would mr. issa go about verifying whether or not -- and i will be very clear. today neither mr. chaffetz nor mr. jordan have alleged their set a operatives, but if that were to happen, how would mr. issa go about investigating whether not that was true? >> i can't answer that. >> the next person who claims in your agency, how will you go about investigating whether it's true the? >> under the current rules, as mr. sullivan pointed out, if there's an interagency relationship with that agency,
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the genera general council and f the agency would no. >> so what, a fungal? >> i don't know. >> is that what we're talking about, mr. sullivan, a phone call to verify whether someone is surely a secret agent with the cia? >> i said earlier that in 2008 when the new directive came out, it requires director of national intelligence to inform the head of an agency and the agency's general counsel is one of their employees is working undercover for the cia. >> i appreciate that and it really doesn't matter whether you're a newer guy or an older guy, but 2008 just seems a little eight to be figuring out that with one phone call you can decide whether or not someone who's claiming to be a spot and traveling first class and racking up $900,000 in unwarranted compensation really does work for another agency. look, i understand technology has progressed a lot.
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2008 just seems a little late for us to figure that out. there's nothing in place prior to the? >> sir, clearly the officials at the time going back to the '90s through the 2000s could have checked his story. no one did. it took us and the ig about a week using our contacts at the cia to positively confirm he had absently no relationship with the cia. we were able to determine early on he is never had a security clearance. so right now, and he, when he was an employee he was not allowed to seek classified into because there is no sector declares on file with the epa office of security. >> i thank the gentleman. i wanted one more time. since 2008, the head of each agency is given a list of anyone who is a clandestine agent working undercover? >> that's my understanding from an intelligence director 304, on the internet, and it pretty much explains that requirement of the
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director of national intelligence and the cia to inform executive branch agencies. >> so secretary clinton would know everyone at the state department, and her deputy would know everyone who was cia in plan. the cia director, art ministers, each would've been given this information. so if the administrator had even one person he was indicted, they would know that. we don't know if they have one but if any agency had an embedded cia person they would have, in fact, had a list and he would not have been on it since 2008? >> that's my understanding, mr. chairman. >> i share the gentleman from south carolina's outrage. i to member george w. bush was president then. spin i would defer to the chairman's recollection. >> we go to the gentleme job of. >> i understand mr. beale's fraud was initially uncovered by
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the epa current administrator, gina mccarthy, back when she was a system administrator of the office of air and radiation, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> i understand that the administrator mccarthy started asking questions about mr. beale's employment status after she discovered that mr. beale was still being paid many months after she had attended his retirement party, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> mr. sullivan, i understand that your investigators interviewed the administrator, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> and at the time administered mccarthy started asking questions about mr. beale status, can you tell us whether she believed that mr. beale was a cia agent and why did she think that was the case if she thought that was the case? >> she definitely thought mr. beale worked for the cia. when she was confirmed and had her in briefing in '09 she was
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told yet a member of her staff who is on the cia and that was mr. beale. and, indeed, when she met mr. beale he told me he worked for the cia spent to would've told her that? >> it was during a briefing process but she couldn't recall exactly what older that she remembered this including told that during the in briefing process spent it would not be unusual for somebody coming in to be confirmed in a position comparable to hers to be told you that somebody here that's with the cia parser in other agency. >> yes, sir. she assumed i was part of the rugger process. that's what she was briefed on. >> the inspector general has criticized the epa for not referring mr. beale to him earlier. mr. perciasepe, can you tell us why there was a delay in the referral to the inspector general, what was epa doing during that period and why did
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it take so long? i think this is kind of crucial because i'm seeing where some of the questioning is going, and i think they are fair questions. and if you have an answer, i want to know the answer. answer. >> i can give you an explanation. when assistant administrator mccarthy, no one ever questioned this for over a decade, questioned this, the first thing she wanted to do and the first thing she wanted to see was whether or not this person had any of these relationships that are being discussed. so she asked the general council, and the office of resource manager where are personnel folks are. they asked the office of homeland security who has relationship with the intelligence community. and when nothing could be found there, i think it was quickly,
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and confirmed them quickly as mr. sullivan just mentioned, it was quickly referred to the inspector general. you know, that is, that is what happened to those are facts. that is what happen. there was no, there was absolutely no attempt to go around the ig adult figures only attempt to verify the story, and once it was not verifiable then it became a matter that it needed to be investigated. >> mr. sullivan, under the inspector general's office has criticized the epa for referring mr. beale's case to the ig's office no sooner. we fully support the ig's efforts, so i want to give you a chance to explain in more detail why this was a problem. >> mr. cummings, it was a problem because mr. beale, based on evidence based on the suspicions that were given to us on february 11, it's clear to us there was a lot of evidence pointing to a massive fraud against the agency.
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and a lot of this evidence was available should have been referred to as much, much earlier. specifically the problem we had with the office of homeland security, the gentlemen are representatives of the office interviewed mr. beale twice and did three other contacts with them, and that's basic one-to-one in law enforcement investigations. can never interview the target investigation until you have all your facts in a row. our investigation was severely hampered because mr. beale was alerted -- >> heads up. >> exactly. >> finally, just to give credit where credit is due. this fraud has been going on for decades under both republican and democratic administrations, is that right? >> that's correct, sir. >> but it was administrator mccarthy the finally exposed it, is that right? >> to my knowledge, ms. mccarthy was the first person executive added ever questioned mr. beale's relationship to the cia. >> you credit her for exposing
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its? >> yes, sir. >> in your opinion isn't possible this fraud could have gone undiscovered if it were not for administrator mccarthy actions? that's my last question. >> i think it's highly likely if it it not been ms. mccarthy raising the alarm this never would've been discovered spent so mr. beale would still be getting money? >> yes, sir. >> all right. spent if i could follow-up on the gentlemen very pretty because it's the same exact question, slightly differently. if mr. beale had single retired and not tried to get greedy and keep taking a full paycheck, he also would never have been discovered because he would have been gone for over a year before the administrator would've even thought to ask him is that right? >> that is 100% correct, mr. chairman. >> so is that the old saying, fat hogs get slaughtered? we now go to the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz. >> mr. chairman, i appreciate. mr. perciasepe, i hope i pronounced your name properly,
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when did you say, just pretend there's -- >> i think you. >> when -- you said, you said there was a person heard about there was some discussion with senior administrators about mr. beale. when did that happen? >> sometime in 2012. the idea of trying to find out what the real arrangements were here. >> can you, 2012 is the beginning, spring, beginning of the year, fall? >> it wasn't that either insult most of them somewhere in the middle but -- >> i'm sorry, probably wince because i was going to say, probably more in the middle of the year. but i don't really know spent sojourn, is that there? >> just been okay, middle of the. and ms. mccarthy was aware of that as well? >> yes.
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the conversation was about -- the conversation was about whether or not we should proceed with trying to figure out not whether or not, but that she was going to proceed. and i encouraged her to proceed to find it was going on. >> it's the middle of 2012. you encourage her to proceed to figure whether not this is accurate. >> i was agreein agreeing with r spinning tackle back. if we can put up this fight. march 2011. i'll do a little pull out here. this is from mr. beale to gina mccarthy. you mentioned -- so he is sending his notes back to her be enough. you mentioned immediate with intel et cetera tomorrow. he wants if i can break away from langley to attend the meeting with you. i'm not sure but i'll try if you want. so it's out of. he still perpetuating this myth that he's at the cia. by mid-2012 gina mccarthy knows about it, he report
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struggling to gina mccarthy your encouraging gina mccarthy to do this. but it's not until spring or until late winter, it's in january or february-march timeframe of 2013 that she actually inquires about this, and the ig is telling us they figured it out in a week. i don't understand, and again, thank you this is why i think we gina mccarthy here, why it took her eight months at least if not more, it looks like should note about this for a couple of years, and remember, mr. chairman, during this time he has never even showing up to work. the guy didn't show up for years. not a single day. and he is being paid at a level above and beyond what is allowed by statute. i think she has at least some responsibility and some questions to answer.
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my time is short, i'm sorry. mr. brenner, what was the purchase, when you bought the home with mr. beale, back in the early 80s, what was the purchase price? can you please put the microphone on? you think he would have that by now. >> i'm sorry but i don't member the purchase price of the home. >> come on back you don't have any purchase price of the home? what was the selling price of the don't? >> and i don't member the selling price but it was -- >> when did you sell that don't? >> it was done at market value. mr. beale are just my share of the house in the late 1990s. >> how much duty to you for that house? >> he paid me somewhere in the order of 30 or $40,000 spent so your original purchase price, you have no idea. you don't know what the sale price was but he wrote you a check for 30 or $40,000. when did you get that 30 or $40,000 speakers on sorry. i misunderstood the question to
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get asked about the price of the house. the portion that i put into the purchase of the house was somewhere around 10,000 in 1983 or four, somewhere in there. and then when mr. beale decided to purchase my share of the house, it was for a number like 30 or $40,000, about 14 years later. >> so you get 30 or $40,000 from this person. are you still friends? >> we are spent when was the last time you saw him, besides did a? >> i've seen mr. beale periodically over the last -- actually i've seen them a lot over the last two weeks because when he left the hospital after his throat problems, because he is rented out his house in arlington, he's staying in my guest room now.
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>> mr. chairman, this is just an unbelievable story. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. the gentleman is recognized. >> what did you say? [inaudible] >> way to minute. mr. beale is staying in your guesthouse? >> mr. cummings, is to deal needed a place to live in the area, because through these court proceedings, and his house that he had is rented out. and so -- >> giving this is a guy who just gave the federal government 850 some thousand dollars, he had no place to go and is about to pay another 500 some thousand dollars. he didn't have anyplace to go, so he came to you? >> that's correct. he is, i agreed that he could
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stay in our guest room when he has either court proceedings, hearings, medical issues. >> are you married what your wife agreed to that? >> yet she did. >> okay. you have a very understanding wife. the gentlelady from new york. >> thank you. thank you. mr. elkins and mr. sullivan, would you look into the house since mr. brenner can't remember what he paid for it when he sold it, the money involved? could you get us a report on the house arrangement? and i want to thank, look to the timing on the house. there appears to be a discrepancy in the testimony that i was reading from you pick the ig has testified that you owned the house together into 1999, and i believe that you said you on the house together into 1989. i want to give both of you a chance to explain the discrepancy in your testimonies. how long did you owned a house
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together trucks did you own it until 1999 or 1989? >> i think i just said it was about 14 years later. so my recollection is the late '90s. if i said late 80s, that's not consistent with the 14 years. >> okay. you cleared that up. mr. brenner, do you think that a conflict of interest in your recommending mr. beale to be hired to work in your department in 1989? as he owned the house together with you? >> i do not think i had -- >> why not? >> because the way the process worked is i could go through the process of recommending that mr. beale be hired, but there are several reviews that need to occur before -- >> but she recommended him as he was living in a house with you and you say you did know he was lying about the cia, about
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everything else he was doing? >> we were not living in the house and spent you recommend him i believe in 1989, and i think you testified he bought the house in 1983, and he pages $30,000 for it, so you were involved in the house together. we will get mr. sullivan to get information and you saw no conflict of interest. did you see a conflict of interest when you were recommending him for every tension bonus, the bonus for which he didn't show up for work for two and half years? did you see any conflict of interest when you were recommending for the retention bonus? >> when i recommended mr. beale for the retention bonus, i think both mr. sullivan and mr. perciasepe have mentioned, he had an outstanding record during the 1990s, as a civil servant at epa, and those recommendations were based on the record that was then used by
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others. >> what was his title? what was his title at epa? >> believe it was senior policy analyst, and then in the year 2000, he stated he was a senior policy analyst but i would like to see what report he gave to the epa. what did he analyze? i would like to see. mr. sullivan, could you get us report on what was his outstanding work and why did he receive gold medals what i want to know, did he do anything -- what did he do? i want to see his reports. we have policy analysts that work for us. they do a great job. they deserve their day. i want to see what this scam artist got away with a parking lot for $18,000 that he didn't deserve because he wasn't handicapped and no one checked on him. and then he got a retention bonus that you recommended, which is documented that he didn't work for two and a half years. then we know he lied and said he was running around pakistan doing cia work when he was down
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at your home resting and having fun, maybe you were with him. i think that is times that he said he was working when he was at his joint owned with you we should get a report on it. and i fail to understand why you think he deserved a retention bonus. were you aware he didn't work for two and half years? was he at your house when he wasn't showing up for work? >> at the time -- i think you're talking about the period after received the 2000 retention bonus. we no longer owned the house together. he was not with me at the house during that period. and as i said, the retention bonus is based on a solid record -- >> but we know from your prior testimony his retention bonus was based on fraud. you never checked to see if he had another job offer. you never called them. he never put in writing who it is. i will ask for you to place before the chairman who was that he had this wonderful job offer. but i'm concerned about, i think
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handicapped people are entitled to special treatment but he abused the system and i want to make sure other people are not abusing it. he got an $18,000 handicap parking lot a stock fraud, and what are you doing to make sure that this doesn't continue? mr. perciasepe, what are you doing to make sure other people are not ripping off the public and undermining respect for governor? >> on all the issues that the ig has already identified in their initial, at this part of the investigation but had everything they're going to recommend in their administrative recommendation, but on all the points they have made we have already instituted initial additional controls. >> can you present to this committee the additional controls that you put in place in writing? mr. sullivan, you also in your report said that mr. beale claimed he worked for the late senator toomey of california. now, did anyone verify his
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employment history, dating what do a background check? he didn't work -- >> that's correct. >> did anyone do a background check on him to make sure that what he was saying was true speak with well, that's part of the audit review. we have a very difficult time going back to 1988 and 89 when he was original hired. ..
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and sinister soul to, what changes do you suggest that the epa at the two prevent a repeat of this problem, but a complete fraud, said that rips off the government for $800,000. he's paid back the government $800,000. where is all this money coming from? >> during plea agreements to read mr.'s attorney and the u.s. attorney's office, it is clear that he had those types of assets, the decoded data repair the government the amount of money he decided to preclude that. >> oddity of the income the end, a government salary to buy those kinds of assets? who also is he working for quakes >> i don't know that, man. i know that he is buried in his spouses employed. that's all i can say. >> okay, i understand mr. perciasepe that the epa has
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pledged of everything possible to prevent these abuses. you have a tremendously important agency that is supposed to be protecting our clean air, clean water and was apparently protected a complete fraud claiming he worked for the cia and no one even bothered to check whether he worked for the cia. he was flying all around in first class and he's getting all kinds of benefits are not showing up for two and a half years. so what are you doing to make sure this kind of fraud doesn't happen again? >> generalities has expired. you may answer. you may answer. >> okay, thank you, mr. chairman. we have on travel, i'd use of parking spaces, time and attendance, all these things we put additional controls in place. in part, some of the things we've learned working with the ig in this case.
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there's other reasons the agency needed to be updated regardless. so whether it is enough, i think it is a good start. i think he will make a difference. to make it very difficult for anybody to do what happened here. but i do want to say, because i believe this completely, but i know the ig's office will be looking at what we party town of what we are working on the whiteboard might need to be done. the combination of best evening commonsense things now to make sure we are in good shape and building on what their recommendations will be. i hope to see their investigative report soon, which personally have not yet seen, which might give me more insight. i can assure the committee i am aggressively going to pursue additional controls were necessary. >> i thank the gentleman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just a question or two. mr. brenner, i was sitting here
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feeling kind of sorry for your earlier when you talked about basically how you had been betrayed by your friend. i've got to tell you though, my sorrow has turned into something else now the case i am just wondering how much information you might have appeared in no comeback chairman and i had a colloquy, about two hours ago now, where we were talking about bringing mr. beale back after he is sentenced so they can get additional information so we can get to the bottom of some of this. now i'm wondering how much information you might have missed you all are such good buddies and since he is laid in your house and since this is
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somebody who apparently, based on your testimony has been schrade at least your trust, but still if you guys seem to be doing pretty good. so i'm wondering if there's any additional information that you might be able to help this committee with our healthy ig with in regard to how some of this stuff may have happen so they can make sure it doesn't happen again. which you have the information that might be helpful to us? >> no, sir. i don't think i do because mr. beale and i have not been talking about this investigation >> how long has he been staying at your house? >> since he came out of the hospital a couple weeks ago. as i said in my testimony, i am very disappointed and saddened about what is happening. yes, i am being greek at
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mr. beale for that behavior. >> on the third you have it discussed the case? he didn't say -- how did you do not? how did you pull that one off? he never had that kind of discussion? >> know because once the investigation started off come it was clear from our attorneys they told us we should not be talking to each other about the investigation. in fact, we avoided seeing each other for a long time. >> be missing your house. >> know, the time at my house was just over the last couple of weeks, not during the investigation. >> i see. okay, thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. perciasepe, i came out of the astro makes business and it hasn't changed a lot. when you go through@9000 of the
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other standards were quality control, they won't accept that if something doesn't get caught by one person you put a second person in the line. how does this committee know the steps being taken now that this is also a question for the ig's are automated? in other words, they don't depend on somebody who has in the past simply had a rule and didn't check with him and for us? >> i think my initial work here, working with our personnel offices some of the other offices covered by some of these policies is to create automated out to. we are still at a step, mr. chair, to take even have to look at that output, to verify. so there is additional output of a printout and additional eyes on step. i think we may need to do more
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in several cases. we may need to do more in several cases, but this was one that i could do now and get it done. i don't want to go too far down the road without the work of the ig. >> i think the public audience -- they can probably understand that if he took all of the year to date a senior h.r. department and said, give me the grand total year to date on the last day of the year for every employee last year had told anyone the excel spreadsheet that's about this number, which is the absolute number, mr. beale would have shown up. >> as he would have. >> is very check for that today? >> yes, i have that now. >> our committee had a document request which is now overdue. are you familiar with that request the voters see me today?
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it is very two-day hearing to get documents would like to have had for the hearing. >> i don't know the status. >> i will follow-up to make sure it is expedited. >> before i go to the ig, mr. brenner, have you ever received gifts of any type from mr. beale clicks >> i can't remember. i cannot remember any gift that i've received from mr. beale unless it was some small gift at the time of their birth day. >> will exempt everything $50 below. >> i don't remember anything like that. >> did you pay him for your trip vacations all of your share of the cost? many of those occurred after you no longer owned the home, so that is why not team.
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>> i don't remember my occurred after i no longer shared ownership of the home. even after he spotted back from the i would be able to take very few visit. maybe two or three since the time the home was repurchased from me by mr. beale. >> your testimonies teapot dome for 10,000, sold it a decade later for 30,000 had the right to use it for periodic vacations? >> those are my recollections of the numbers. i can't say for sure how accurate those numbers are, but that's what i remember.
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>> i presume he didn't expose that equity and take the ability of the vacation without pay at his home? >> i disclosed the mortgage during the years that is required to show the mortgage for my disclosure form. >> so there is a mortgage on the home during the time the two of you owns the home? see you go from 10,000 to 30,000. was that equity share the home is not owned outright? you received this $18,000 vip loan or vip discount from somebody representing mercedes-benz. have you received any similar discounts during your career from any entity? >> nothing that i can remember, sir. >> mr. sullivan, mr. elkin, this is going to conclude this portion of the hearing.
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there's been a lot of claims made. i want to set a tone and then i would like to represent the close because it is your investigation in your work. but i believe that what we've heard today is that we hadn't agency that didn't think anything of somebody saying they were a secret agent for the cia, but an unclassified e-mails, they would refer to their cia had to do decent e-mails that were obviously not been set in a protected way so but they say they are at langley, if you're a covert agent, your e-mail is now out in the open and other things of that sort. somebody could read their bicycle to work, but have a handicapped parking space and it didn't seem to bother anyone. somebody could fly first class 14 times the amount of coach and it got overridden because somebody did a good job and/or they were at the cia.
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the cia does not get to fly first class as cia. all of these were in the culture at the epa that preceded president obama and continued presumably until january of this year. is that a fair care cassation of some of the problems that exist not just the individual, but the nature of the senior executive service sometimes been exempted from the rules because somebody think he's done a good job? >> the facts in this case speak for themselves. i think your carrot to the station is clearly one assumption that could be drawn. >> i'm taking this for mr. perciasepe who talks about 14,000 people at the epa.
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14,500 have no idea how you get any of these perks. maybe 13,550, 600, 700. there has to be a very few people at the epa that has seen any set of perks similar to what mr. beale caught in the way of lack of accountability. it didn't exist just as his the gsa when someone was taking trips to las vegas and probably together is another region sees where it's not the person at the bottom. it's not if the person in the middle. it is these people that we trust most to be fiduciaries of our money. that is part of the recently called up mr. do and have been here. he's in the top three people for the administrator for years. it's not a phase if it? >> that's the facts show, yes.
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>> mr. sullivan, i will show you want to. you took an investigation on after a series of events occurred. mr. beale was made aware he was obviously a target, that the jig was up. a general counsel outside of epa have been contacted and begun to enact dignities that rightfully would normally have been yours. did this, even though you're successful, is something that compromises the work of the ig? >> well, in this case, our work was clearly harmed, at least initially hard. we were able to recover. we get concerned when allegations of criminal like to duty are not referred to us immediately. >> okay. i'm going to close at just one statement. i hope mr. cummings will make a last statement, too. this kind of event where abuse
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of discretion, abuse of the taxpayers money, very likely criminal, of course mr. not be criminal. when they first occur and there's any possibility that what you see in your plane, although your latest product, it is still about 174th of the government. i sent unders. mr. cummings has been involved, saying we need a headset. the chairman of the ranking member. over the senate, our counterparts, so we can begin evaluating whether in these months that intervene in your investigation, we need to take action. i would only ask you today that had this committee have been put into some of these details and the lack of control system, our committee could have begun working on ebay legislation or oversight many to go. that is only ask you for, to
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give us a heads up. i will pledge to you today and let mr. cummings speak for himself, but for those of us that were not information needs to remain only with the ranking and chairman member, it will remain only with good chairman and ranking member. ideas were created to congress to the ice to the executive branch into this branch. in this case, we could have done more sooner, which we will now do have we been given a headset sooner. this has been a pattern is to cummings and i have tried to change. telesat the investigation the last 10 months said we can start looking, said that you can't do is 73 other ig's and see if we can get them looking at the same problem. we are working on i.t. modernization and reform. we want to formalize some of this. right now, a heads up to us and our counterpart can go with long way. i say this for you and your
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brothers and sisters in the ig community. mr. cummings. >> just one thing. what is the deadline? you may have said this earlier, but when do you expect to finish your work, mr. elkins? i am just wondering how long this is going to go want. i'm not trying to brush, but i want to have some kind of idea because the next question is for mr. perciasepe. >> sure, i want to answer that question and maybe two parts. a typical audit could take us anywhere from six months to a year. depends on what we find once we pull back the sheets. however though, we have it vehicle, which is called an early warning report for quick action report. to the extent that we find
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instances that suggest an extreme risk to the agency, will issue a report quickly to the agency. we've done that in the past with epa said that they can react quickly. >> is that the kind of information as chairman and i would get quickly? >> yes, absolutely. we will make that happen. >> he said there are two parts. >> the first part is the regular audit, six months to a year. the second is the quick action report. >> mr. perciasepe, i have to tell you i'm not sure -- i'm aggravating for the work to be completed, but i'm not sure we have in place right now and we've done what we could do and epa to prevent this type of thing from happy to. i know you need more information. >> i am happy to give the committee more information. i believe based on what we
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currently know that we put in enough checks and balances and additional controls. i gave provisos to the chairman earlier that there would be a requirement for another set of eyes, that's something we talk about today couldn't have been in the way were talking. >> do you know if we have anybody else in your agency who is allegedly doing this dual kind of agency? >> we have people in the agency working at other agencies or are sharing salary. there is overlap. >> i am praying that this is an aberration. a lot of times people say, you know, beale was doing that. and they say how do you do it? and then you have some copycats. again, i am assuming that is not the case. a lot of times people look in say, you know, $900,000 is not a little bit of money.
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and then i thank the chairman was alluding to this to begin to find holes in a system. when i practice law, i found you could have any kind of law, but people find a way to get around it. there's somebody that's doing it and has a way of getting around it. a lot of times people who are inclined to do that, then they began to follow. so we're waiting for the audit and we want a thorough job. so i got that. i want to make sure in the meantime we are covering our bases. >> i want to make sure both of you know, the committee including you, too that i'm not reading, but am not going to go too far. i'm going far enough to make sure i can catch this, but not too far until i see more of their work. i may see that sooner than later because as i pointed out, we talk not infrequently and i feel that i have a pretty good working relationship year.
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so i am as appalled as a dignity that this could've happened. we've are to put in place in the quick checks to make sure we're there. we'll probably need to do more. i'd be remiss if i didn't say that. >> i am hoping, mr. chairman, that other ig's that are watching us, that they might take a look have some things going on in the various agencies. i think we have gotten some clues, some red flag types of things that may have been show you what will be open to letting those other ig's note what kind of red flags, you know, they might be looking for. is that a reasonable request, mr. elkins? >> that's a fair request. >> to thank you call. i agree with you, and they need
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to have a similar notice as they possibly can. i'm in total agreement, we're just trying to be affect his inefficiently do. the hearing has been very revealing and hopefully we won't be in the same position a year from now and not having made all of the changes that could be made to safeguard people's money. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank you in in closing i'll be speaking to my leadership about the data at come as something to create structured data so the entire government could be viewed from a standpoint of some of the statutory requirements are we discover could somehow just be bypassed without an audit picking another. so with that, i thank you again. we stand adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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>> democratic and republican members of congress to her and a forum on immigration. posted by the congressional hispanic caucus institute. members of the senate gang of fate discussed the prospects for immigration reform bill at this two-hour event. [applause]
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>> good afternoon. i hope you have been enjoying all the great session so far today. while the discussions have been phenomenal and the participants engaging, not me be more timely than what we are about to take on this afternoon. this session will address the very important topic of immigration and for the first time in history, we are proud to have five u.s. senators that are called for in stage. if that wasn't enough, we also have five members of the house of representatives. before we jump in, let me just tell you a little bit about my c. hci experience. about 14 years ago, i came to washington d.c. with the goal of learning about public policy and the desire to improve conditions for immigrants in the united states. open a world of opportunities for me. i met him credible advocates who
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i admired and learned from. i was also fortunate to meet an incredible group of latino workers who are part of my cohort and who i call friends to this day. with my class and the chci alums that i've met over the years, i have continued to appreciate the incredible work that chci does in bringing latinos together for a passionate about increasing opportunities for communities. i am indebted to chci guru but it provided during my fellowship they gave me a foundation to start my career as an advocate for immigrants. i went onto the congressional caseworker and work with individuals who are trying to navigate the bureaucracy of our immigration system. for example, i have to tell people that if another application to be reunited with their loved one had been approved, there was no visa available and it have to wait years to get one.
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i also remember meeting undocumented irish man, a constituent who came into the office with his u.s. citizen wife and wanted help adjusting his status. he had lived in the u.s. for years, had fallen in love and it fell on me to explain to him how our broken immigration system could lead to have been separated from his wife for 10 years before he could adjust his status. it is because i was able to interact with so many individuals from all walks of life who are impacted by our broken immigration system that i continue to advocate for reform. and i am hopeful that because of the strong champion in the senate and the house of representatives we cannot immigration -- an immigration system that is in the best interest of our country and reflects our values. of course we must take a moment this afternoon to recognize our
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sponsors. this session is brought to you by nci you. thank you for your ongoing support of latino leaders. [applause] now, i would like to introduce an upcoming film that will give all in our community great pride. directed by diego luna, the film seanez chronicles the birth of the modern american movement led by famous civil rights leader and labor organizer, cesar chavez. turn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to bring a dignity and justice to others, shabbat is embraced nonviolence in battle creek and prejudice in his struggle for the rights of farm workers. his triumphant journey is a remarkable testament to the power of one individual's ability to change the system. let's take a look.
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>> farmworkers in the rain know, california have begun an unprecedented strike in the central valley. >> they are seeking to force the growers to recognize their group as the bargaining agent. >> i wish they would all go back to where they came from. >> carissa cesar chavez? >> i heard his mexican. >> seems a safe back. >> we don't need you. get the out of our country. >> that's costing us real money. >> we don't have to negotiate. we have to dictate. >> with the boycott, there's no one left to spotlight. this is war. >> you can't oppress someone who's not afraid anymore.
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[cheers and applause] >> okay, are you ready for the panel? here to lead us in the first hour of discussion, senator robert menendez. he grew up the son of immigrants in a tenement building in union city, a product of new jersey's public schools and a graduate of the state universities. he has served as the school board member, a mayor and a state legislator. he has long been on the frontlines of the immigration debate. please welcome, new jersey senator, robert menem adds. >> thank you very much. it's cesar chavez as an
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individual could lead a movement of farm workers and workers in general be able to achieve justice, we can lead a movement to get a vote in the house of representatives on comprehensive immigration reform. [applause] .. >> during the chci public-policy conference, because i believe this year as we celebrate hispanic heritage month, it
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should be not just a celebration but a call to action to see that house of representatives give us an up or down vote on immigration reform. the immigration reform bill that we passed in the senate is a historic opportunity to finally reform our broken immigration system. it reunify's families. it brings 11 million people out of the shadows into the light. i've always said that immigration reform is the civil rights issue of our time, and the reason i say that is because when i have hundreds of cases in my office, not just for my home state of new jersey, but across the country in which u.s. citizens and legal permanent residents did unlawfully detained and -- at immigration raids and violation of their constitutional rights, it tells you how much of an imperative this is. i don't know about you but i don't want to be u.s. citizen or
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legal permanent resident and be a second class citizen in the united states. and that's what immigration reform is the civil rights issue of our time. [applause] now, it's not just latinos who care about reform, but we do make up two-thirds of the 11 million people living and working in the shadows unable to fully participate in american life. so this is an issue we need to address for our community, it also for the country. now, passing a bill in the senate who you will hear from a college require some compromises in order to be able to achieve the ability of what we got, which is a strong bipartisan vote. everyone, however, i think should be aware of certain elements of this bill as we approach this discussion. the senate bill creates a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the united states. and it includes the best dream act provision ever offered under
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any piece of legislation. reforming our immigration system is an economic and narrative as well. and that's not just because those of us or they gang of eight to put the legislation together believe that it is too. it is because the congressional budget office, the nonpartisan division escort everything that we do in the united states congress as to whether this legislation is going to cost money, is going to save money, here's what they said. after looking at our legislation it said it will cut the deficit by nearly $900 billion, to 2033, nearly $1 trillion less of debt on our nation's back. and the next generation of not only latinos but americans, it will grow the economy at 3.3% in the first 10 years. 5.5% in the second 10 years. imagine that type of growth in the economy if we were experiencing it today, creating jobs for all americans.
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it would add, according to these studies, 121,000 jobs a year for 10 years, or 1.2 million jobs. and, finally, it said it would raise the wages of all americans, not just undocumented who would now be able to update new jobs, but it would wage -- it would raise the wages all americans. few things we do in the congress can achieve all of those goals at the same time. but finally there's some lesser-known provisions that i think are important for us as a community. protections for domestic violence survivors, asylum-seekers, refugees, detainees, children were separated from their parents. and it increases oversight of an enhancement of the training of the border patrol agents, creates a mechanism that allows border communities to meaningfully share their input. has prohibitions against racial profiling. so in addition to that the plan
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ultimately reduces backlog to the family and employment visa category and includes strong measures that will keep families together. and for the first time, if you are a legal permanent resident anand the cabin on documents fod to be able to unify immediately with that individual under our law. so this bill is really, those are just some of the, a conference solution that enhances human rights protections, not just for the millions of undocumented who will be new americans, but also for many others who have languished under the system. now, i believe that if this bill, even as it is today was put on the floor of the house of representatives, and given an up or down vote, that it would pass with bipartisan votes. so our challenge as you hear from some of my colleagues, is to send a message to the house of representatives to follow what we did in the united states senate, and to have a vote on
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this critical issue. if we have that vote we will be on our way to the president's desk, who was ready and willing to sign it. let me introduce to you some of my friends and colleagues who ultimately were a critical part of making this happen. first of all, the lead on the democratic side of the gang of eight, he is an ardent new yorker, a man that has been dedicated in his congressional tenure to give voice to the voices, senator schumer is a legend force advocacy of the immigrant community. while no one else thought we could get 51 votes, we get 68-30 t. senator chuck schumer. [applause] the lea leader on the republican side of the gang of eight is someone who i've come to greatly admire. some may call him the maverick of arizona, a man who has pushed for immigration reform countless
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times and who is not afraid to reach across the aisles to do what is in the best interest of the nation. as a border senator, he knows the pressing economic and moral issues, why immigration needs to be changed, and he has used his personal political capital to make this a signature issue that we seek to be signed into law. senator john mccain of arizona. [applause] >> one of my colleagues who is widely recognized as a pragmatic innovative and independent thinker, driven by a deep-seated obligation to create more opportunity in the next generation, that of which is part of. each of us have stories of how he came to this country. senator bennet began in poland. his mother and grandparents arrived in this country after
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surviving the holocaust. america give them hope and opportunity to rebuild their lives, and that's what he understands what immigration reform is so important. he led in our efforts on the agriculture provisions of the law which gives professional farmworkers temporary legal status and the right to earn a green card in the future by continue to work in agriculture. senator michael bennet of colorado. senator bennet. [applause] >> and then a gentleman who has been the driving force on many developments in immigration reform over the last several years, but he is best done as the original author of the dream act and has advocated for more protections for american workers who can find themselves in competition with other high skilled foreign workers for jobs. there are two things that dick durbin consistently pressed in these negotiations, how do the
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dreamers realize their dream, and how do we protect american workers? and there was no stronger voice for that then senator dick durbin of illinois. senator durbin. [cheers and applause] >> so now i would like to invite in the order that i introduce them for about four minutes apiece, to make some opening remarks and that we have a couple of questions. we're going to share with the entire panel and the audience and i'll start off with you, senator schumer. >> well, thank you very much, bob in it is. and let me say, i can who time after time in that little room where the eight of us gathered, there was someone who drew a line in the sand and said, i will not budge and less our immigrants are on a path to citizenship. every single one of them on a fair and reasonable path to
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citizenship. is one of the main reasons that we are here today, our chair today, bob menendez who does a great job. [applause] as does everyone of our colleagues on the gang of eight. i also want to make one more acknowledgment. someone who was with me here today, started out as a chci, had the chci fellowship, and she worked for solve. i worked with him in the house. we saw how good she was. she started off as an else in my office and has been promoted and promoted because she is so good. her fellowship gave her great initial training. she is now the legislative assistant for health and education. one of the major positions in my office. veronica. were issued? [applause] >> okay. i'll be brief and i'm sorry i can't stay the whole program, but i'm so honored to be with you here today.
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the number one question people are asking is not what the bill does how it can be changed. those are important questions, that far and away the number one question people are asking is this. can we get this bill accomplished? and i truly believe we can. the next panel, a house panel, you ask them a lot of questions. because of your work, the work of the entire community, and because we have some really good allies on the conservative side, business, farm growers, high-tech, catholic church, the evangelical church, we have made huge progress. and when we pass our bill with a large, large majority, with 68 votes in june, and the tone in house was we are not going to do immigration reform. so we went to work over the summer and we took a list of 122
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house members, republican, who were not for immigration reform but might be able to be won over. and we had many of you write them, call them, visit them at their offices. many members of the labor committee, the farmworker community. but also we had many members of the very conservative communities that i mentioned. and they went to them and they said to them how important this was in terms of fairness, in terms of honor, and in terms of america. you want to get your economy going? immigrants are the answer. and, in fact, cbo, a nonpartisan office here that scores things said that if we pass our bill, if it passed the senate, the gdp of america would grow 3.5%,
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that's huge. that's more than any spending program democrats would proposal in the tax cut program republicans would propose it and it's obvious. why? because nobody works harder than our immigrants. from whatever country they come from, they work so hard. [applause] and they are the proudest of americans. in any case, these people went to work. and just today, "the weekly standard," a conservative magazine that is not friendly to immigration reform listed 84 republican senators who now have said very positive things about comprehensive reform which, of course, has a must. it must include a path to citizenship for the 11 million. [applause] and so we have real hope. the leadership in the house republican knows that if they ty keep being anti-immigrant and blocking immigration reform, the republican party be a minority
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party for a generation. and some of them come to their credit, and i been talking to them quite regularly now, know that how good immigration reform will be over the economy and future growth of america. not all of them know that but some. and to put all that together and i believe we can get a bill done. if the house passes a bill that is not exactly as good as ours but has a way for a path decision ship, different than the what we would propose, but still there, we can get together in conference and pass a bill that will make you all proud. so my message to you is twofold. one, this issue is hardly dead. is alive and well and it's alive and well for this year. and second, don't stop now. work as hard as you can on every house member who has not come out for comprehensive reform.
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and don't let up until they do. thank you for the honor of addressing you. thank you for being complied erase. and i look forward, i look forward to being with some of you at least when president obama can sit at his desk and signed comprehensive immigration reform into law of the land. thank you very much. [applause] >> senator mccain? >> well, thank you for welcoming here as the token republican today last night i would like to say what a great pleasure it's been for me to have the opportunity to work with these four great senators, in my view. it's also pleasure me to work as the chairmanship of the foreign relations committee as senator menendez was a worthy successor to our secretary of state john
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kerry. and, of course, if there's ever a person who has carried the torch for the dream act, it is dick durbin. and when history is written, dick durbin will have a very prominent place and that for his advocacy for these children. as far as michael bennet is concerned, he brings a voice of region -- reason, a voice of the people of colorado that are centrists and important, make important contributions. and, of course, what can i say about senator schumer? you all know him. you know he is one of the most effective members of the senate. and it's remarkable the job he did in steering us through the many hours of spirited discussion. i.e., insults. spirited discussions meaning insults at each other quite frequently. but we came up with a product. to those -- to those who say washington is completely
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gridlocked, i give you example of the eighth of us that there are still ways of getting things done if people really want to do it. [applause] >> i figured one of my primary responsibilities as a member of the gang of eight to talk to the business community and galvanize them. i would just like to mention this bill would reduce the budget deficit by $850 billion over the next 20 years. this is a congressional budget office, not any of our figure the legislation would add $300 billion to the social study trust fund over the next decade. and my own state of arizona would have enormous benefits from it, including our economic output would be increased by $660 million, an 8000 more jobs in the next two years would be created. so what i try to do is go around my state and around the country until the business community that there's a lot at stake
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here. and the best way for us to get out of this rather stagnant economy we're in is to pass comprehensive immigration reform. there's only one other aspect of this that i would like to discuss with you, and that is the humanitarian side of it that perhaps we don't talk about as much as we should. today, the temperature down on the border now, now that summer is over, down in arizona, sonora border is probably down into the 90s. it's been up well into the hundreds ever since may, and border patrol, or the local sheriff will stumble across somebody's in the desert. and those bodies will be unidentified and they'll be taken to the morgue and they will be given a decent burial. that those bodies are there because people wanted to come to this country for a better life. the same reason why all of our forebears did the same thing. and yet, we have not been able
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to secure the border efficiently which we can do but also understand that if we do not give the people, 11 million that are now living in the shadows, the chance, the opportunity to do the same thing that our forebears were able to do, and that is have a path to citizenship, and were going to have 119 people living in the shadows and being exploited and abused because they don't have the protections of our constitution and our laws. as a judeo-christian principle nation, we should not let that happen. we should not let that happen. if there's someone here who has never broken a law, please raise your hand. i can't. and people broke the law when they came to our country. but they're going to pay a very heavy price on the path to
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citizenship or but we should give them that path. maybe not all of them would choose that path. but they should have the opportunity to live, raise a family and have a job, enjoy the benefits to the greatest nation on earth. that's really what this legislation is all about. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. i michael bennet from colorado. i want to say first that i've enjoyed working with these people more than anything else i've done in the senate. i want to repeat do something i've said in every corner of my state of colorado. in the four years that i've been in the senate, i have not seen any expression of legislative leadership greater than that shown by the republicans that were in this gang of eight, led by john mccain. i say that as a democrat. on mccain, lindsey graham, marco rubio, jeff flake, who sat at the table for seven or eight months knowing what they might
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hear about what they were doing. and in large part it's because they were able to pass this bill with almost 70 votes in the united states senate. [applause] and it's important to say that because of the time for living in and the politics that you see going on in this town. without their leadership we would've gotten nowhere on this bill. second, as you may know, we've been having a lot of terrible flooding in colorado. i visited a community called evans which is outside of greeley in northeast colorado a couple weeks ago that had been hit by a river that they never imagined would roar through their committee. and i visited two trailer parks that have been completely destroyed. and i can't tell you the percentage of people living there that were undocumented, but it was probably over 80%. people working in our field. i asked, working in agriculture,
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working in construction, cleaning our hotels, whose own assets was the trail that they owned because they couldn't finance it so they paid cash for it. and now everything is gone. and the federal government can't assist them because they are undocumented. they are part of the fabric of our economy in northeast colorado. they are a community in northeast colorado. and it seems to me that we have gone on for far too long having people live in some sort of second class status in the united states. and it's long past time for us to make sure that there's a pathway to citizenship. so last point that i will make is that you were there lots of excuses if you hang around this town. excuses for why somebody shouldn't support something. they shouldn't vote for something. in this case you might hear people say, well, even though there were two republican senators from arizona who care more about border security than almost anybody else in the
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senate, that some others not enough border security in this bill. or excuse after excuse after excuse. what i want to leave you with this is this thought. this bill if it passes will be a strong reaffirmation of two ideas that make america a special place. one is that we subscribe to the rule of law. and the other is unlike any other country in the world, we truly are a nation of immigrants. when you hear people make excuses about the bill, i hope you will push them into it because i know how hard these guys negotiated for so long for that seven or eight month period, a work product that's the best work product that i've seen since i've been in the senate. so don't let people put you off with your excuses, and don't let this bill failed in the house. because if we do, it will be, it may be the last time in this generation that will have a chance to get this right. so thank you in advance for everything you going to do, and thanks for having me here today. [applause]
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>> my first thanks to bob menendez. he's one of the key players. he doesn't engage in every aspect of the conversation. when he speaks up, you listen. many times he would admonish the rest of us. i sat there and listen to all of you for a long time, bob would say, i've got something that's very important. pathway to citizenship was pretty important to bob menendez. bob, thank you for your leadership in this whole effort, and thank you for your continued leadership in the senate. chuck schumer is my roommate for 22 years, go figure. and as chairman of the immigration committee, subcommittee, he was really the leader in helping us put this together. but he couldn't have done it, i'm sure he would acknowledge, without the partnership of john mccain. john mccain stepped up, and because he did, we are here today. 90, john. for your leadership on this issue and many, many years. [applause]
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>> michael bennet took on many issues, but the one on agriculture was one that was so challenging. he and senator dianne feinstein really worked overtime to make that work well. so thank you, michael, for everything you've done. [applause] >> let me just say very briefly, if you're a student of history, and i am, always learning, but a student of history and you look at the great social movements in history of america, whether we are talking about the emergence of african-americans, or women, or disabled, take a look at those movements and you will find one recurring theme. involvement of young people. young people who become a critical part of the energy behind these changes in america, and ou are welcome in our cultu, in our politics. it's their idealism, their energy and their courage. is something i learned a long time ago.
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i didn't know at the time when it introduced the dream act 12 years ago where it would be today. when it introduced it in chicago i used to go do some meetings. and it was never a surprise that after the meetings in the dark out by my car would be standing one '02 young people. sometimes with tears in their eyes, and they look over their shoulders in both directions and they say, senator, i'm one of those dreamers. they were frightened. they had been raised to be frightened. worried that the speeding ticket or the wrong decision here, there or the other place would lead to their deportation. and the deportation of the family. that's what they live with everyday. some of you know exactly what i'm talking about. time passed and things change. and the dreamers came out of the darkness and came out of the shadows and said, america, this is who we are. these are our lives. these are our dreams. this is our vision of the future
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of this country and our vision of our own future. and with the emergence of these young people in this cover his immigration movement, things changed dramatically. dramatically. i can recall the galleries that were filled in the united states senate when sadly the bill lost, filled with dreamers with caps and gowns trying to make it clear what they were a spy ring to. education, achievement. they have become such a critical element in this whole debate. sometimes they would get under the skin of senators and congressmen when they're a little bit too pushy and their offices -- john, remember that? i bet you do. they used to come to my office, saying come on, do something. but this bill, this trend for bill has the strongest dream act ever written in the last 12 years your this will give to literally millions of dreamers a chance, a chance to be part of america's future as citizens of
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the united states of america. we used to come together and we would have for eight months these debates among ourselves over the hot issues. and the time came for the dream act. i remember it well. i said, well, here's my proposal for the dream act. and my seven senate colleagues said, fine, we take it. it was the surest mean we ever had. they were all committed. now we have to keep that commitment. and we have to understand this, too. there are some people that just want to pass the dream act. please, let's do the dream act and we will get to the next things in the next generation. what the dreamers tell me and what i believe, this is not just about the dreamers. it's about their families. it's to make sure that they all have the chance to realize the american dream. so that's been an important part of it, as bob mentioned. i worked also for this aspect of giving american workers the confidence that when this bill passed they would still have a chance for jobs. when we announced this bill i looked behind and not only did we have ahead of the u.s.
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chamber of commerce u.s. chamber of commerce, but the head of the afl-cio endorsing this bill. i think we achieved that. the last border to i would like to make is this. you cannot be from the state of illinois, you cannot represent the city of chicago, you cannot bring up the issue of immigration without the words, luis gutierrez. [applause] spanky will be on your next panel. more than anyone -- he will be on your next panel. more than anyone i know he has committed himself to comprehensive immigration reform. it's been a strong voice, sometimes getting under people's skin but a strong voice to make sure that this moves forward. my last thing to you is please, let us not miss this opportunity. let us keep that dream alive for the dreamers and for everyone else. let us turn to those in house who think maybe we'll wait for another congress and say no. it has to be done. and the sooner the better. the longer we wait the tougher it will be. let's have it done in the house as we did in the senate in a bipartisan, solid way, affirming
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that we are, in fact, a nation of immigrants, and proud of it. thank you. [applause] >> we have another panel that will follow us which are members of the house of representatives led by congressman gutierrez who i'll introduced shortly, but we have one or two questions we want to ask of our colleagues here. one is, i think with all reference out with others, but what do we expect as a result of immigration reform? and maybe share with the audience some of the trade-offs that we have to be able to give which is of some concern by some, in order to achieve a 68 vote, two-thirds, over two-thirds in the senate. but what do we look to achieve? john, do you want to talk about some of the elements we have been pursuing? >> we've been very respectful to our colleagues in the house.
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they know that we are all snobs and so we are always very careful to be very respectful to them. and i've talked a lot with members of congress, and told them that we understand their concerns. what we would like to do and our goal is to get a bill to conference. we believe that we can make the appropriate agreements with the fundamental of the pathway to citizenship. bob menendez would kill me if we ever abandon that principle. but there are many ways of getting there. our proposal, as hard-fought as it was an difficult as it was to get there, it's not engraved in stone. we're willing to look at other proposals, as long as we preserve the fundamental that is so important comprehensive immigration reform. so i'm guardedly optimistic that
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come and i'd like to just say one of the word as a republican. i'm a proud republican, proud reagan conservative republican. but i'm convinced that if we don't pass this legislation we will never be a level playing field with the hispanic voters. i do think if we pass it would change one single vote. but if you're a politician and you look at the numbers, if there isn't a level playing field where we can compete for hispanic votes, there won't be if we don't pass this legislation. the first reason why i'm for it is because it's the right thing to do and the united states of america should live up to its reputation and its heritage. but i also speak as a republican that i think it's very important that as a party we understand the power and the strength of the hispanic voter. which is fine. it's what america is all about.
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[applause] >> i would say that i agree with everything john said, and we don't, we're open to other people's suggestions. and the way they do it in the house may be very different but i think one of the things we can to see when we are doing the bill is how interrelated so many of these issues are. we've had to make all kinds of trade-offs, whether low skilled visas, there's a trade off between having people come into the country to deal with the supply of labor but on the other in making sure that no american workers were displaced. similar issues when negotiated around the agriculture provision of this bill as well. it's the first immigration bill that is that both farmworkers and the growers endorse. that's never happened before. that's very important are just as chuck said, it's the first bill that the afl-cio in the chamber has supported. and you can go online and see
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all the other supporters. every part of this bill matters to somebody. and i think people are going to find that these moving parts work very well together and there's a reason to try to keep them together. at least in the final product that we produce. which reflects the way it is in my state, which is the typical state i think. we have a set of concerns the farmers and ranchers have. instead of concerned the high-tech has come even our ski resorts believe it or not have. and it makes sense to try to take care of all that at once, as long as we are taking the trouble to actually get something done in a broad, bipartisan way. >> i'm a liberal arts lawyer, but i want to talk about genetics for a minute. the genetics of immigration. those men and women, your mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers who picked up and came to this
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country, were special people. there was something different about them from all of their neighbors and friends. they were willing to risk everything to come to the united states of america where, perhaps they didn't even speak the language, and to start brand-new, bring their children and start brand-new and start at the bottom, and work night and day so their kids would have another chance, at better chance in life than they had. that's my family's story. my mother was an immigrant. here i am, a united states syndicate. that's in the genetics and dna of this america, this immigrant america. i was invited recently to st. louis to speak to the chamber of commerce on immigration. the introduction was they analyze the economy of the city of st. louis and couldn't understand why they were lagging behind the rest of the midwest, and they finally concluded not enough immigrants. not enough immigrants. they realized that this is a powerful driving force, not just the labor force but also a force for achievement and opportunity.
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and that's what i think is really going to happen with comprehensive immigration reform. as it is happen generation after generation. make these folks who are now hiding in the shadows, legal. give them the opportunity to give these kids a chance to finish college. you are going to see this spurt of economic growth, the spark that is made america what it is today. so that's my genetics course. that's what i think this bill is all about. [applause] >> i think all of us when we're debating this, some people talk about security. that certain was important but you can't know who is here to pursue the american dream versus who might do it harm if you millions of people in the dark who are unregistered with the government, not knowing who is here. so the bill is about national security. you don't actually meet consequences of continuing the present system in less you
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ultimately create reform. and as we've all talked about, the numbers of the congressional budget office, but in real terms as i've traveled the country i've heard from a whole score of different industries who have said we need, you know, this incredibly important human capital to be able to achieve. so in the hospitality industry, for example, you can at the hotel manager, you don't have the chef and you don't have the maître d' if you can't clean a room in hotel. nobody will want to stay there. and on the flipside of that, on the other end of the spectrum have some of the most significant high-tech companies in the nation who say, we need the human capital among the best and the brightest, both among those dreamers as well as others, to be able to be at the cutting edge of the curve of intellect, and to be able to compete globally. so we look at the legislation from security, economy, from
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preserving our nation as a nation of immigrants, and honoring pat, preserving the rule of law. would also promoting growth and opportunity. i think we all believe that we achieved a. one final question for my colleagues which is really in my mind the most important question of the day. senator mccain referenced that we respect our house colleagues. we certainly do. but we also want a vote at some point. and what i would like to hear from my colleagues who obviously all have members of the house of representatives from the respective state, as i do, how do we get to that vote? what is it that needs to be treated? what environment in the house needs to be molded so that we can have that moment, they cannot vote in the house which i believe can move us onto the final path toward a conference that can then be reconciled and lead to a presidential signature? anybody want to take that question on? >> i'll just say you're building
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a home of brick at a time. we are building this winning majority in the house the same way. with individuals passionate individual merits of congress. many of you have spent a lot of time there. don't beg you, don't threaten them don't always believe you're right but we've got to reach out to each one of those members of congress and look at the people are backing us up. labor and business. virtually every religious group across america from the most conservative to the most religious groups supporting us. all of the different groups that we can turn to and a teal to give each one of these members, democrats and republicans to bring them over to our site. i've been heartened. in my state a couple other republican congressmen i didn't think we have a shot at i believe we do. one of the major corporate ceos did it. he went directly to these republican members and there on that list of 84 that chuck schumer spoke about earlier. we've got to continue this congressmen by congressman. >> i really agree with
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everything except him and don't have much to add to it except that as john mccain said earlier, this afternoon, this is one of those rare illustrations of washington actually working so far, this immigration bill. and it came with a very large bipartisan vote in the senate. and i think we should continue to remind people of that, even when they're having these fights that phrase things, there does seem to be this piece of legislation that is gained a large consensus, a super majority in the senate. and we're open to changes come as everybody here has said, that we need to capitalize on that momentum i think. and then the most important thing is for people to hear from their constituents at home that they want them to pass this bill. i surprise a lot of people when i tell them that some the strongest supporters of this legislation are my republican farmers and ranchers in colorado, but they are some of
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the strongest supporters of this legislation. i think we've done a good job of building a coalition, but we have to sustain that coalition and we can't fail. we simply can't lose interest in the street. i know nobody in this room lose interest in this. we've got to make sure we keep the attention on this even with all the fights that are going on and all come in my view, salinas that's going on and actually insisted that the trend congress, together, the senate and house, get this done. >> can i just mention before get into the border security, we need to have border security. the provisions in this bill will provide it, in my view, and it will be largely through the development and the use of already developed technology for surveillance. and that i am confident that we can achieve. and don't forget that there's still the flow of drugs across the border. there's also the threat of
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terrorists crossing our southern border as well. so it's not just an issue of preventing illegal immigration. it is also this incredible issue of drugs which we can't have a national conversation about, by the way. because they're still a great demand for it. there will be a sublime winners of man. but we also have to worry about the continued threat of people want to come to this country and do bad things. here's what we have to do to succeed. we have to galvanize the overwhelming majority of americans who support this legislation. in my state it's about 70/30. that's usually enough. but the 30 is very galvanize, very angry, very vociferous. they vary -- they are very committed to read to get the 70% committed. we've got to have every single small and large is this person in my state and across this country engaged and involved because it's good for them. we've got to get our
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evangelicals that have committed to this. we've got to get the catholic church. there should be a sunday sometime between now and when we pass this bill where that's the only message from the pulpit, no matter what church it is in america. we have a coalition, the likes of which i have never seen. and yet there's not very frankly the kind of enthusiasm and commitment that makes this the number one priority for the business community, for the churches, or all the different coalitions that are in support of this legislation. and every time you see a business person, large or small, tell them, ask them what they have done lately for comprehensive immigration reform. >> let me ask the audience a question -- [applause] spent as a closer, and be honest. don't raise your hand if you didn't. that's fine. but how many of you back in your home state or while you are here visiting washington have spoken to your member of the house of representatives about
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immigration reform? raise your hands. okay, that's a good number. but there's also a fair number be dished shame on the rest of you. [laughter] >> and for those of you who have and for those of you who haven't, i'm always reminded what adlai stevenson used to say. he simply get the the heat ago, i see the light in washington. and generating some personal contact with your member of congress is an extraordinary impact. some people think they do not. they know very much as all of us do the personal impact of constituents and groups that you're associated with, affiliate with, whether a local chamber of commerce, whether it be your church, where the da said the group is incredibly important. you can make the difference. we met with speaker boehner, the chairman and also members of the congressional hispanic caucus a while back but i got the sense that the speaker wants to get there, but he is constrained by certain universe in his party
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that makes it difficult. if we get enough members on both the democrats and republicans to go to the speaker and say, we believe that this is an issue whether i vote for another, this is an issue that deserves it's about so that we can ultimately go to a conference and join the house and senate, work out the final details and have one final vote in each of our houses. we will have individually done what cesar chavez did and that could and we would've made history. thank you so much for joining us today. please thank my colleagues. [applause] >> her annow, our next panel isn important one because it's really where the ultimate success of everything we've talked about resides, which is
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in the house of representatives. the senate having voted come and set its package over, this now all resides in the house of representatives. and so i hope that all of your collective focus will be there and to help mold for us what that focus should look like. we have someone who i was privileged to come to 21 years ago in the house of representatives, someone who i consider a dear friend beyond a colleague, someone who i call the moses of immigration in the wilderness, going to lead us to the promised land, and someone who, to show you how much he cares about this issue, left a more senior committee assignment in the house of representatives to a junior committee assignment in the judiciary committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration so he could help push this as a reality.
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and that's none other than congressman luis gutierrez of chicago. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. thank you, senator bob menendez. let's give him another round of applause. [applause] he is tireless and he has been there for us during the last two decades. and innocent when there was no one, there was always bob menendez. and i'm so thankful to him and his leadership. where do we begin? let me try to put to you this way this afternoon. i think 11 million people should be citizens of the united states so that they can have all of the same responsibilities and duties that i have as a citizen. fulfill all those same responsibilities, whether it's
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serving in the military, paying every tax known, and having ever responsibility, really. that's what i think. i think we should all be equal. equal in terms of our responsibility and in terms of our opportunities. i think we should have e-verify. so that -- i was born in america. i think everybody born in america should get first crack at any job created in america. but that i know there are other jobs that are going to need to be filled. i'm for e-verify so americans get first crack. is i any other reason? yes. i'm also for comprehensive immigration reform because i want to secure that border. i think america should have a secure border, and those who enters an expert on some it comes to visit us, we should know when the time is up. that makes america safer. that's comprehensive immigration reform. and we should also let people become legally to the united states. now, i can tell you that those are all reasons for
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comprehensive immigration reform, but let me also suggest some of the reasons for comprehensive immigration reform. because we cannot predict or women in the armed forces of the united states of america. you know what and i know it. i want you think about the most vulnerable women working in the fields today. and what they have to confront. we can't protect them in the armed forces. they go unprotected in those fields each and every day. we know i want a secure border, but we know the kind of security we have today in our border causes people to die, trying to get back to the husband and wife and their loved ones. so i want comprehensive immigration reform. somebody is going to lose a finger, hand, and i. they will lose their life today because the great thing in america is that workers go to work every day and fewer americans get hurt and i working. that's a good thing. that means they're being more protective. as that's happening, latinos are
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being hurt more at work and dying more. it's increasing. i don't want people exploited anymore. i want to make sure that we end this travesty. today, what we celebrate and tomorrow -- [speaking spanish] every day 1100 people get deported. so i want it for all of those reasons. so let me suggest to all of you that we continue to keep our eye on the prize. now, i would like to ask, we have his chci, and i see the chairman is here. the chairman is right here in the front row, as he always is leading. please give the chairman of round of applause for this wonderful leadership that he is demonstrating to us. thank you, chairman from texas. i've been with them in the valley. action has a center.
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cesar chavez center in this issue. it's a wonderful to visit there. i would like to welcome the panelists to please come up on the stage and join us. please give them a round of applause. i'm going to introduce them to you. [applause] >> sound you just heard from the kids across the hill, right? we are a little rowdier and we are a little less well-known. but guess what? the constitution says and less we do our job, all the hard work of the senate and the gang of eight and the leadership of patrick leahy and harry reid and the majority leader, all that hard work goes to nothing unless we in the house get a bill to cross the finish line. first of all, let me say the democrats and house are more unified than ever to pass an immigration bill and have it signed by the president. everyone knows a bill is forthcoming to unify democrats perhaps this week are i will
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absolutely be signed on with him to show that democrats are pushing to move immigration reform forward. but i've also seen unprecedented vocal support from republicans on immigration reform. i have stood with them in san antonio and in chicago, and across this country with a good men and women from the republican party who are for comprehensive immigration reform, and care deeply about fixing our broken immigration. i have also note about a third of other republicans in the house support serious immigration reform and legislature. i will introduce our speakers at the beginning and then recognize each one of them for four minutes to talk initially about where we're at on immigration reform and where we're headed. then i will post a few questions and we will go from there. you will notice that ending the moderator i don't get to make the sensors opening remarks as they did but i guess they want to make luis gutierrez the moderator so that they can moderate me. [laughter] to let me say i think that each of these people, i think of each
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of them as my siblings. we are like quintuplets. [laughter] think about it. we spent nine months together in a secret cramped meeting room, sometimes bickering, often making progress. and now we've emerged into the light of day and we are charging a move forward. first of all, i would like to introduce to you xavier becerra. [cheers and applause] he came to the congress the same you i did and has risen to leadership of position of house democratic caucus get a position bravely held by none other than the former speaker, senator bob menendez. he's on the ways and means committee, the first latina. he was a member of the budget subcommittee and is also a member of the congressional hispanic caucus and a former chair of the hispanic congressional caucus. next,. [speaking spanish]
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[laughter] and it's true. he is mightier friend and someone who stayed with our group. and he's continued to persevere to bring immigration reform. that's none other than mario diaz of florida. welcome, mario. [applause] he is the republican when public of the group and he and i have appeared on spanish and english television so much together that univision is think about giving us our own -- the odd couple. [laughter] is a member of the appropriations committee and he is very, very active in his leadership in the congressional hispanic leadership institute. thank you for joining us. next we will hear from ms. lofgren. is a leader of the democrats when it comes to immigration. she was the chair and is currently the ranking member of the immigration subcommittee so that i'll immigration issues flow through her committee.
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but it's not her title but rather her compassion, her expertise, the quality of the staff she surrounds herself with that makes are absolutely indispensable when it comes to immigration reform. thank you for joining us. [applause] >> and finally, we will hear from john yarmuth of kentucky. at the beginning of this congress, democratic leader, nancy pelosi, in consultation with top your becerra, suggested to the group that was forming that john must join us. they were really smart in taking him. he's white, he's from the middle of the country, but most importantly he knows how to get things done across party lines on difficult issues, like immigration. he was indispensable to the democratic leader in our party on health care. he's of reform journalist and newspaper publisher.
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but the reform into there. ends there. so he knows a thing or two about messaging. and he's been in congress since 2006, and served on the budget committee, and recently was chosen by the house leadership to serve on exclusive committee of energy and commerce. and that is not other than john yarmuth. thank you so much, guardsman, for joining us. [applause] >> let me get my paperwork together because i'm going to sit down. mr. chairman of the democratic caucus, we got together in 1993 and the congress. congressman xavier becerra commune of the four for four minutes, please, sir. >> well, welcome everyone to washington, d.c. the lights are still on here. we will continue to work and those of us who believe that this is the moment for comprehensive immigration reform won't stop working either, so we thank you for taking an interest
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in the session. i want to thank the leader in the congressional caucus for moderating this event, and also for all the work that he's done over the years. and with all the my colleagues, this almost is like we should start negotiating right in front of all the people here because this is what we would do. we would get together and have conversation. no reason why we can't do it now, right ask. [applause] >> let me, i shall let me put it in context. i believe that today right now the votes exist to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship in the house of representatives. and so we must strike now. and while it looked kind of tough, remember where we have been. when i got here and and actually mario's brother, lincoln, have joined us in 1992 eating elected, so all three of us have gotten elected in 1993, sworn in
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in 1993. .. so the votes are there now all. that is why is grade there is a bipartisan group of members in the house who are trying to get us there because it is a matter of navigating, we can't get there. it is important to recognize immigration isn't something we
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did because we feel it, for many of us is personal. we know families that need this so we don't separate them. the real reason we should do this is it is good for the economy of the united states of america. every family in america especially middle-class families will benefit if we fix the broken system and the congressional budget office which is fiscal support that we did before congress when we do legislation has said do a comprehensive immigration reform similar to what the senate did and you will save the united states of america and the federal budget close to $1 trillion of spending over the next 20 years. that means no one trillion dollars you can use for other things because you fix the broken immigration system so we can do it. but we have to do it bipartisan. there is no way to pass a real fix the broken immigration system without getting democrats and republicans to do it together the way the senate did.
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it must be bipartisan and that is why the group that has been working for several years and several of my colleagues are here today made every effort to move forward and we have a good product that some point may get to surface. we have to continue to try. i would say to you is that if we recognize that this is good for the economy, if we do this in not bipartisan manner and if we realize right now we have the votes to get this done there is no reason why we shouldn't achieve everything we have been wanting for quite some time. i close with one last thought. all 5 of us could tell you right now it is pretty simple. we will be tough because we have to protect our security. we will be smart. we have a lot of new technology and a lot of ways to do this but at the end of the day we have to be fair and no one should believe we should pass a law that will create a second class
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of american citizens in this country who would never have a chance to become citizens. we can do this tough, smart and fair and we have to fix the broken immigration system which is good for our economy and good for all the families who are waiting for us to get this done. thank you very much. [applause] >> before -- since xavier becerra is the moderator -- since luis menendez when is the moderator and can't say much i want to say something before my comments and you'll hear a lot of agreement here. luis, you talked about fairness, and we agree on that but i will tell you the inequality you mentioned, how do i say this diplomatically? on the issue of immigration reform, on the issue of protecting the most vulnerable, on the issue of never forgetting those who are working day in day
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out under tough circumstances, there is no equality, there is no equality as far as who has been the voice and all of us have worked hard but who has been the number one voice, conscience, passion, of the immigrant community of the united states? my brother, nobody, there is no equality as far as anybody, nobody has worked harder than you, nobody has done more than you, nobody has tried more than you, thank you. [applause] >> dow pmi get that in the quality out, i will tell you in my years here i got elected in 2002. you deal with a lot of issues, i am on the appropriations committee. i have never had a more pleasant, difficult, julius and more frustrating issues to deal
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with -- but i got to know a group of individuals who are honorable, hard-working, integrity, decency, committed, and disagreements and agreements, i want you to know it gets tough for all of us. what gives me hope in this process is i have gotten to know people like these. it gives me hope that even when you have disagreements you can have trust, you can work together, do this quietly so what a privilege it has been to have these individuals, i consider them my dear friends. doesn't mean we won't disagree and argue and everything else. i agree with what you said.
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let me reverse it. you talked about the good that immigration reform will do and that is absolutely true. let's look that over. let's think about if we don't get it done. and you hear the negatives about the current status, millions of people that are undocumented so we have a border system that doesn't work with you want to fix the border system you have to pass legislation. we talk about how there are folks that do jobs americans won't do and yet the system is such that there is no real legal system to do that. you want to fix that you got to pass legislation. it doesn't work for the economy. you want to fix that you got to pass legislation. whatever you are looking at, the problems that we have, there are multiple problems with the current system, that there are people who are undocumented and we don't know -- that is all
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under the current system. when people talk about we don't want to give amnesty to the folks that are here, the current system gives amnesty to the folks that are here. so we have to fix the system that is absolutely broken for national-security interests and economic interests, for everything, for the rule of law and the only way we are going to do it is it has to be done in a bipartisan way to get the other and pass legislation. i will tell you this. i am as optimistic now as i was six months ago, months ago, it will be we always said an ugly past, we have bad days and good days. i think we have a very good opportunity to get it done and i am convinced that if, when we get it done, a lot of it will be because of the efforts, the hours and days and years this
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group has put together. to give away forward. thank you. and also thank you for putting this together, of course. [applause] >> many of you knows that when i arrived 20 years ago i joined the ben bernanke committee. today is an exclusive committee, of the important committees, more important committees in the congress of the united states. i left that committee this year as senator menendez shared with you. and the former chair and currently ranking member of the immigration subcommittee and the judiciary but the only way was to get the judiciary, unwanted to work under her leadership. >> thank you very much.
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i find myself in a senior democratic position on the immigration subcommittee. but this goes back a long way is a long time ago, a practice as an immigration lawyer, a i talked immigration at the university of santa clara. i have seen immigration law become increasingly dysfunctional over the decades. it doesn't work for any sector of the economy. i come from silicon valley where nearly half of the presidents of santa clara county are americans by choice, americans born in another country and we have a problem for hot shots engineers to graduate stanford or return home. we are dependent on farm workers
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who come from other countries, but we have a million farmworkers, we have 5,000 of these a year. to set of this dysfunctional system? that congress did. i ran into american citizens who are married to husbands or wives born in another country and they can't get their spouses legalized. this doesn't work for business, doesn't work for families, it is dysfunctional so we need to make the reforms that are necessary that work for america. when we started getting together a bipartisan group over four years ago it was an experiment. we didn't know if we could come to an agreement. there were 25 people meeting secretly in the capital paula was trying to see if we could come to an agreement and what we found is we could come into a
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sensible agreement that would reform the immigration laws, very conservative people could support and people who are not conservative could support. the question is can we now move that forward to change the law and there are plenty of republicans who want reform and there are i would say almost all democrats in the house want reform. the question is what could be put on the floor for a vote. i agree if we put the senate bill on the floor for a vote it would probably pass. we actually wrote a bill as a bipartisan group. if we put that bill on the floor it would probably pass. if we put some small piece on the floor, it would allow us to conference with the senate, that would likely pass. the real issue is is there space, time and motivation by the republican leadership because they make the decision
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on what bills are voted on to move forward? i hope there is and i have every reason to believe that there is but i also think it is up to all of you to have your voices be heard because we are representative democracy and although people don't always realize this, one of the most important voices is the voice of our bosses which is you. we go for a rehiring decision every other year called an election. so if you want action, demand it. there is not time, it is not a valid one. we named post offices every week. i am sure we could spare some time for this bill. we couldn't have a consensus, that is not correct, i know we can. we need to slow it down to be more thorough. we have looked at this for decades. we know what we need to do.
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we need to allow eleven million people who responded to the help wanted sign that responded next to the no trespassing sign at the southern border to get right with the law and make sure families can be reunited and american businesses can thrive and there is no excuse for not doing that. our economy will be boosted by a that. but more than that our american future will be secured. when you think of all the things we like about america and american character, people who are entrepreneur real, people who are optimistic, people who are risktakers, people who believe in their future and in their families, everyone of those characteristics is what immigrants are about and our future, our country was built by immigrants. if we don't allow immigration to
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flourish in the future we will cripple america's future. so i'd look forward to working with my friend mario and others to get a consensus. i know we can do this. thank you very much. >> thank you, zoete. [applause] >> let me say we were huddled for all those months together, there were eight of us. always agreed with the democratic leadership in house of representatives and the decisions they make, but when xavier becerra and zoe lofgren and i needed up partner, nancy pelosi made a wonderful decision. they brought somebody who wins among the eight, the nicest guy in the room and he is the one that really was glued to the group. thank you so much, please welcome a congressman from
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kentucky. [applause] >> i also brought the burden to the committee and i was pretty much the only one who drank it. it is an honor to be here with you and an honor to be here as mario mentioned, an honor to be part of this group, it is one of the most productive experiences in my seven years in the house and it has proven that we actually can come to agreement and make policy the way every american would expect it to be made which is you give and take and if you do it that way, lose these people, have it this way, i can work with that may be. as normal human interaction and again, the process did engender a great deal of trust. everybody asked me why in the world i am part of this group.
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kentucky is a border state. that was during the civil war. we are a border state but more importantly my district is louisville, that is all i have but louisville is right now the city with the fourth fastest-growing immigrant population in the country. we are welcoming city and we become a very diverse city. kentucky has a large agricultural sector, most importantly the number one thoroughbred breeding operation in the country, a huge industry in the country and it would not function without immigrant labor right now. so we have lots of reasons to be for immigration reform, to be concerned about it but i would say probably the reason i wanted to be part of this group was first of all 1 hundred years ago
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this year my grandfather came from russia. he started a kosher butcher shop in new jersey and hatta son who went on to become a very successful businessman and he had me and here i am in congress and the beauty of that is not that my story is special but very ordinary, very common. we all know, everybody up in this stage, everybody in this room knows similar stories or is living them. that is a critical part of my interest and secondly because the most enjoyable thing i'd do as a member of congress is go to naturalization ceremonies. i never forget one i saw friend of mine molly around with street kids one day before the ceremony started, michael francis sony, an immigrant, do you know someone being naturalized today? no, i just wanted my three sense to see what it means to be a
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citizen and i said isn't that incredible parenting, really significant. for all sorts of reasons i am part of this group. i made a couple of observations. it is common place for me with a name that starts with why and i got to hear all the senators, very hard to say something different. i am one of those who is also incredibly optimistic and when i am out talking about this people say i just peer this all together. we do have a context of negativity out there or skepticism that we have to overcome. we are very optimistic but the world isn't. i am optimistic for two reasons. one is there has never been a more diverse, varied group of supporters for a policy lined up for a comprehensive immigration reform. when we have growers and farm workers and the u.s. chamber of
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commerce, the high-tech industry, the clergy, law enforcement, virtually nobody organized against comprehensive immigration reform and that is reflected in the polls as well across the country even in kentucky, a relatively conservative state, support in high 60s for comprehensive reform and the most significant factor is there is no money on the other side of this issue. there is nobody out there ready to spend one hundred million dollars to defeat comprehensive immigration reform. in fact all the money is on the side of pushing that and a couple weeks ago we met with mark zuckerberg from facebook and he has recruited up -- raised a lot of his own money but raise $50 million to run adds supporting people who are running, whose support comprehensive immigration reform and to pressure people who may
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be on the fence. [applause] >> i think the most compelling thing he said when we met with him was he raise us as buddies from the high-tech industry, they didn't give money to -- because of economic reasons but because of humanitarian reasons. that is really significant. the stars are aligned for us to get this done. we have this skepticism whether we can and we have the mechanics of the house which will not make it easy but with the energy and passion of so many people, those in this room and others we can get this done during this congress and the country will be far better off for it. [applause] >> that is why he is employed in
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this process. i am going to ask a couple questions and hopefully there is time to go out to the audience and get some questions from them. i will go back to xavier becerra, my friend from california. how critical is the issue of citizenship to immigration reform? is it important that all eleven million undocumented be given a path to citizenship? there has been discussion about -- without a pass to citizenship, legalization program, may be given dreamworks citizenship but can't sponsor their parents? how important is that to the immigration debate? >> i don't think it would be just someone who is the son of immigrants who would say this. you go to any part of the country people will say this to you. what we don't want is to relive the days when we tried to keep
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people in a different class. there were times when we bylaw restricted people's freedom, you can be in this country only if you are owned by someone and we left those times. it took a long time before those americans had a chance to have rights and even today we see how folks fight for those rights. i got to believe that in america today the people are ahead of the politicians. if you and fix the system fix it right which means if you want someone to have a chance to stay here legally they should have a chance to become lawful permanent residents which means a green card which gives them a right to become citizens. there should be a half to lawful status but it shouldn't have a closed door after some form of lawful status. allow people who earn it, who approved they have done
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everything right, paid taxes, obey our laws, learned our language, should give them a chance to ultimately become united states citizens of a great country and let them live the american dream. [applause] >> you are the highest ranking democrat. tell us how you feel about the issue. >> it is enormously important. i learned long ago not to say how i was going to vote on a bill haas haven't seen yet so i don't want to talk about potential legislation but you can think of it from the point of view of the immigrant. i want to talk about it from the point of view of america. take a look at countries that have separated out people and you see it doesn't work that well. look at germany, they have turfs who are never able to become germans and it is called all kinds of problems in germany. look back in our history when
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during the chinese exclusion act, people who were even born in the united states were not permitted full citizenship or to own property. that didn't work out so well either. i do think it is very important that we embrace our future which is inclusive and people who are coming here becoming americans. i will close with this. my grandfather was an immigrant. he was so proud of being an american that i still remember he had his naturalization certificate. it was framed and it hung in my grandmother and grandfather's living room. that is passion for citizenship, still exist. i went on the fourth of july, a naturalization ceremony. there were citizens of 113 countries at that ceremony and as they were there taking the
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oath, they walked out, citizens of just one country. that is the genius of america. >> incredible. thank you so much. [applause] >> never thought of it that way. they all walked out citizens of one country. wonderful. >> not wooley when they walked out are the citizens of one country but as americans or founding fathers. it is concept we cannot take for granted. a concept we have to cherish. you are seeing a lot of agreement here. i think it would be very detrimental for the united states of america to have a group of people who go through a process where they get right with the law and don't share the same rights once they have gone rights that others do.
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what does that mean? more rights? less rights? share the same rights and everybody would agree with that and write for the country, the country. a lot of people say how about the rule of law? we can do so protecting that sacred thing which is one of the reasons we are here because of the rule of law. we can get there now and how we get there there is no magic bullet. i don't like drawing lines about if you vote for this you don't vote for that until you see it. there's no perfect bill out there. whether it is the senate bill which has things i like or don't like, i commend the senate for doing their job and getting it done. even if you don't like parts of it, it moved forward. there are millions of people that can't aspire to be citizens. would i then say the senate bill is unacceptable because -- no.
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there is no such thing as a perfect solution. what we do know is what we have now is the definition of an imperfect situation. i apologize -- among friends here, when yarmuth got put on the group i am like what the heck is this? what ever. i will tell you that it didn't take long to understand, i don't agree with nancy pelosi much. i know that is not a secret to all of you but it didn't take me long to realize what a wise choice. >> you like her more than you think. >> i could agree on one issue. a guy who is the epitome of common sense, it is like e.f.
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hutton. i think we can get there and we can do so and we have some issues we have in the house. we have internal issues that we have on the republican side that we have to deal with. it clearly doesn't make things easier. i like what you are seeing up here. we are more than paula live. it is going to be an interesting dance and ultimately we will get there and there are not a lot of -- i don't want to draw a line in the sand. there are certain things, i won't say what they are. if they are in the bill or not in the bill, i will walk away and say i am sorry. the important thing is not to draw a line in the sand or say it has got to be descended not this we will go against it because we need the flexibility to get there. they still have millions of
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people who are angry citizens and needed to make changes at the end. some we like and some we don't like. our process is more difficult than the senate's but we are going to get there because of a group of people who are willing to sit down and try to work it out and we are going to get there and it will be tough and we are going to get there. >> congressman yarmuth, don't have a route to citizenship, the only way we can accept the enforcement of so many things is -- tell us what you learned and how you feel about it, yarmuth. >> one of the things that is important about our product which i still think is the viable product is we set out from day one to do two things, to create a product that will work, will solve the problems and can pass. in almost every instance we are
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saying we can't be to the left of the senate bill on particular matters because it has to pass a more conservative body. all along in six or seven months of work this year, mario and his colleagues were going to their constituency and vetting this bill with them so we know that republicans can embrace much of what we have done. even the first one to leave the group says he still agrees with virtually all of what we have done and was responsible for writing some important parts of the bill. ultimately this product can be the vehicle that moves in the house or something very close to it. in terms of the -- when i talked to my fellow members from kentucky, they are pretty interesting group. every one of the my talk to every one of


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