Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 23, 2015 10:30pm-12:31am EDT

10:30 pm
another $38 billion into defense spending on the credit card off budget. so i think we should ask ourselves how does it happen that to move toward their balanced budget approach they want to cut nutrition education, health care virtually every program that working families need but when it comes to defense spending another $38 billion. that's not chump change. even here in washington that's no problem, just added to the deficit. madam president, when we talk about sensible ways of addressing our deficit or sensible ways of addressing our national debt, you cannot ignore the reality that major corporation after major corporation in a given year pays what in taxes?
10:31 pm
20%, 10%, 5%? 0%. profitable corporations like general electric verizon boeing and many others have not only paid nothing for federal income taxes in some recent years, they actually get rebates from the irs. can we talk about that issue or is the only ways toward a balanced budget to cut programs for the elderly the children the sick and the poor? according to a recent report from the congressional research service each and every year profitable corporations are avoiding about $100 billion in taxes by stashing their profits in the cayman islands. >> the senator's time has expired. >> in with that madam president i yield my time. >> who yields time?
10:32 pm
>> i would suggest the absence of the cornbread of the senator needs a few more minutes. >> i thank my colleague. i will take a few more minutes and he can take the rest. >> the senator from vermont is recognized. >> thank you madam chairwoman. the point i was making is if we are serious about reducing the deficit it is inconceivable that one does not look at the fact that corporation after corporation is paying zero in federal income tax. it is inconceivable that we do not recognize that in 1952 corporations contributed 32% of all federal tax revenue. today they contribute about 11%. it is inconceivable that we do not understand according to the
10:33 pm
crs each and every year profitable corporations are avoiding $100 billion $100 billion. how can you not look at that issue? how can your only approach be to make it harder for kids to go to college or for children to be in head start program? so madam president i look forward to the debate that we will be having over the next several days. i suspect there will be a lot of amendments to offer. i think it's fair to say on this side of the aisle, that the amendments will be saying that we need to create millions of jobs. we need to raise wages in america. we need a tax system that is fair and does not contain loopholes.
10:34 pm
lol the wealthy and large corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. we need a budget that says women workers should earn him the same as men. we need a budget that says we have got rebuild our crumbling infrastructure so i think there will be a lot of very serious things. i think the differences between the two sides have become pretty apparent and i hope the american people pay strong attention to this discussion and without madam president i yield.
10:35 pm
texas senator ted cruz became the first republican to announce his intention to run for president in 2016. he made his announcement in liberty university in lynchburg. you can see our entire -- on here is a look. >> i believe in you. i believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of america
10:36 pm
and that is why today i am announcing that i'm running for president of the united states. [applause] >> host: joining us at the table maya macguineas present of the committee for responsible federal budget, longtime budget watcher thank you for joining us. before we get to the details and there are a lot of big numbers the house and senate this week take up what's known as a budget resolution. what is this point in the process all about? just go right, so the house has offered its budget resolution, the senate has offered its budget resolution. it's now time for them both to
10:37 pm
move forward in their chambers and for them to start to think about how they're going to bring them together so they come up with the same budget. in recent years that's been an impossible task because you have one party and another party and a woman never recognize their budgets but a big piece of this right now and what everybody's watching is that with the house and senate both run by republicans this has won the test of whether they can govern. i think most people would say the fact that this country hasn't had a budget in the past years has been the sign of our failure to govern but now there's 11 party there's a real task. the two that were offered out of house and senate are reasonably similar similar. there are things they will have to work out differences but they are starting close to each other so there's a good chance they can come to an agreement. >> host: prior to the debate on the floor of the present put down his marker several weeks ago the fy2016 budget resolution. what did the president say at least in your eyes and ears about future spending in what he think of it? >> guest: it's interesting
10:38 pm
that budget starts when when the president puts forth its budget but is not incorporated into the rest of the processor was a big deal when it came out and now it's all but forgotten. his move to the house and senate. the president's priorities one were not really focusing on fiscal constraints to win the pastor talked about how you want to at least make sure that data is no longer growing faster than the entire economy. that is changed now that the present put his budget out. he didn't actually try to have that magic. he certainly didn't try to balance the budget and he didn't get it so the economy would be for the long-term going faster than the budget. focused more on a number of initiatives, thinks that he is cared about before and he has some past changes in health care savings he did keep in the budget but he didn't focus on the same fiscal things we are seeing in the house and senate and those discussions are different. what we are hearing from the president is problem of budget deficits in the big national debt has basically gone away for
10:39 pm
the time being. our budget deficit has come down significantly which is true but i'll talk more about that. you have to look at the big picture. meanwhile the house and the senate put forth a budget that said we need to balance over 10 years and they have a lot of unrealistic assumptions and how hard it is to achieve that. the president is not focusing on the budget in the house and senate very clearly are. >> host: details in just a second that i want to get the viewers and all. the phone numbers at the bottom of scream for maya macguineas present of a committee for responsible federal budget and also steering committee member at that fix the debt campaign as a regular visitor to the program over the years. here the members to call democrats 202-74-8000 republican 74880011 and independents (202)748-8002 and we look forward to your tweets during the segment was maya macguineas. let's dig deeper into the house republicans.
10:40 pm
the proposed budget with deep cuts what are they looking to cut them by how much? >> guest: this balance gets to balance purely by cats. it doesn't talk about new revenues and my take on the situation has always been our deficits in our debt are so large that getting control of them realistically will have to look at all parts of the budget if you're not talking about raising revenues you are going at this pretty typical goal as it is with one hand tied behind your back. where there focuses primarily is on cuts to health care and that makes sense. health care costs are growing faster than the economy and growing faster than other parts of the budget. as an aside the fastest-growing part of the budget is interest on the debt which is not where you want your growth to be. so they have a trillion plus in health care savings but they are not specified. so when you go back to the purpose of the budget the budget is a place where people can share their priorities in many senses their political priorities but if you don't get specific in the details it's not
10:41 pm
as credible at the budget will get enacted. one of the things i've talked about for quite sometime as repealing the present health health care plan. that would all go but their health care savings and revenues that they would want to make up in other ways because you can't blow hole in a budget that you would and repealing obamacare were cost money. they talked about the scots but they don't talk how they do it. they talk about block granting medicaid which is what we talked about a couple of years ago which is paul ryan put forth. that isn't something that stuck with. they also focus on the sequestered. the sequestered is this blunt spending cap that has been hitting the discretionary portion of the budget. that's one third of the budget. what the sequestered doesn't do as it doesn't affect our their entitlement programs the biggest areas of growth. the sequestered spending caps many people think they are too
10:42 pm
onerous that they are creating steep cuts. often it breaks down the republicans think the steep cuts are in the defense area democrats think they are in domestic discretionary. there's the question of whether they will live those cap so there will be less pressure on those parts of the budget and offset some of the other cuts likely slow when there was the ryan murray deal where they often sequester cuts and did it with mandatory savings. what the republicans want to do is one of the house to trade and add more space to defense and less on domestic discretion and those discretionary numbers are very low as it is an unrealistically low i would suggest. second they used to -- 20 something called oco which is what you used to fund the wars. they are trying to use that as a slush fund to get more money to defense spending. >> host: one more quick question before we get to cause you much of the house and
10:43 pm
senate. republican plans are fairly similar but what are the biggest difference is? >> guest: while originally the senate hadn't used that oco gimmick. the house system is terrible gimmick and they are using this as a slush fund is a back way to get get money into the full defense budget instead of funding it. the senate hadn't duh and they offered the amendment and they went along with that as well. the senate gets to budget to balance the budget one year later it doesn't have quite a strong cuts and some of the health care areas. both of the budgets which is really interesting are loose on how they get the revenues they want to get in one hand they are talking about revenues of the levels they currently have been on the other hand they are saying they're our whole lot of tax breaks they want to extend and not have to pay for them. another inconsistency is something that is called the doc fix or sgr. there are a lot of decisions to
10:44 pm
make on how to fun things and these budgets don't choose to pay for them and yet they say somehow magically they would be paid for and meanwhile having a discussion about doc fix where no one wants to pay for it. so there's a huge disconnect thing we want to be fiscally responsible but we are not going to give you specifics. when it comes to making choices we will bow to add to the debt. let's go with that background lots of detail, maya macguineas. we'll take a call from joe in boonville new york republican caller. good morning. >> caller: good morning. my question is how come we take money out of her budget to go against a foreign country leader which should be illegal because we have no business interfering in somebody else's politics in another country. my second question is if we are worried about a balanced budget
10:45 pm
why do we take care of the concerns at home like putting people back to work? we could take a work program like they had back in the 20s and 30s during the great depression and put people to work on roads and bridges that we actually need to build her a structure in the country. and we need to spend money on that because once you get the american people back to work more taxes will be coming in. >> host: we get the point joe let's hear from maya macguineas. guess the two important questions there. on the first one that's more a foreign-policy question that a budget question so their major disagreements in this country about how interventionist we should be around the world. the only thing i will point out there because there's often a misconception about it is it really is a small portion of our budget overall that goes international affairs or involvement overseas. much more has gone to the two wars we have been involved in recently over the past decade and frankly before this we never had wars that we didn't at least partially pay for. this is the first time we have
10:46 pm
gone with 100% debt financing the wars. there were discussions about when we should be involved in when we should and when we should use multilateral institutions to do so but finally if it's worth doing should we be paying for it instead of adding it to the bill? or second question i think is really critical because the whole issue of fiscal responsibility balancing the budget getting control of the debt is all about economic growth and keeping our economy strong and in addition to being highly indebted right now with our debt at twice the historical averages compared to the overall economy would continue to have grilled job problems in the country. not only do we have job problems, we have wage problems that even as jobs are slowly coming back wages aren't growing as much as they need to. i agree completely that a huge part of a comprehensive economic plan which is what this country needs needs to involve the plan i would even say getting to balance the budget in the next 10 years. i don't think we need to go that far. it would be great if we could
10:47 pm
pick getting the debt under control so it's not growing faster than the economies on interest payments are the fastest-growing part of the budget and working out ways to grow and create jobs. your point about infrastructure is in portland. think that's one of the areas in the budget that is the most potential to create jobs and as one of the few bright points on the political landscape that happens to be an area that republicans and democrats agree needs to be addressed. so there's a broad-based coalition of republicans and democrats also a business and labor. that infrastructure is a part of the budget we have under invested in for quite sometime. that is part of the infrastructure that slows growth and also right now jobs are coming back as quickly as they needed to be funding in this area would be a great way to spur job growth and reasonably good jobs. so hopefully fingers crossed this is an area we will see progress this year. >> host: letter from larry in washington d.c. on the republican line for maya macguineas. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i have a comment to make.
10:48 pm
you are not telling the truth. the president members of congress -- the two unfunded liabilities 225 trillion in debt and republicans and democrats you can't get anything done by going tuesday through thursday. you have to be there for the whole year. they are going for three days and it doesn't make any sense. you are talking about obamacare. it's destroying jobs because if you -- obamacare it's destroying businesses and is collapsing the system. you are not telling the truth. unemployment is not 5.6% so their allies by the media and the members of congress have got to return back to -- we are heading for financial collapse and that's all i have to say. >> guest: wow someone who is more pessimistic than i am. you bring up a point about
10:49 pm
unfunded liabilities which is worth mentioning because there's a lot of confusion about this and i want to go through deficit that unfunded liabilities. the deficit is the amount of money we borrow every year and that's an amount in which a trillion dollars during the height of the economic crisis because the economy took a nosedive, scary time. that leads to less revenues coming in more government spending going out and we spent money to try to stave off a recession from being worse. so that's the deficit the annual amount that we borrow. the second is the debt where we aren't right now our debt is about 74% of our economy. that is increasing every year with the deficit even when the deficit is coming down. so the deficit has decreased significantly in the past couple of years by about two-thirds. now i would say that comes after an massive runoff of 800% so the deficit soared up, has been coming down but even as the
10:50 pm
deficit is coming down that still adding to the debt every year. the debt will continue to grow until we are running budget surpluses taking in more aged than we are spending and that's spending debt starts to come down to what you brought up was unfunded liabilities. that's a massive massive number. how much money we have promised primarily to programs like social security and medicare and the difference between what we have promised in the revenue stream to pay for it. when the biggest problems we have out there and you talk about both parties lying it's a pretty strong accusation but when both parties obfuscate and hide the situation is how much more more we promise in these these programs only have two plan to pay for them and that's the real imperative for us to get ahead to make changes. talking about changing social security and medicare they are very important programs in this country. they have done a tremendous amount to help people and we have many people in this country who are highly dependent on these programs. that would lead people quite
10:51 pm
vulnerable if we don't fix them but we do it to make changes so what we are promising is in line with what we can pay or have a plan to pay in unfunded liabilities shows the difference. all of these numbers are different things as fiscal metrics. none of them show we are not very strong path. even the deficit is coming down and that's a good sign about to start going up in a couple years from now and the debt projected to continue to grow. >> host: referring to the budget committee chairman tom price is imperfect but in fact under the geo-plan -- gop plan spending rises from 3.8 gillian 25.1 trillion over the next decade. it's time for congress to man up and save her country before we drown. it's the man up, they got my attention because of the beginning the program or the segment he said this is a real test to see if the gop can govern. tell us about why this is so important.
10:52 pm
>> there is a political test in the policy does. the political test is the one that comes out a number of years when everybody says washington is broken no matter when the time period is but i have to say washington is the most broken i have seen and i've been working on the budget for quite some time. the level of dysfunction is so high and is mainly between republicans and democrats but it's also between house and the senate. these two bodies don't work as well together as we would want them to. the reason i see brokenness is that both parties have become so much more concerned with winning the next election than governing that the amount of policy work that goes on before the election is getting smaller and smaller. the amount of campaigning and repairing to use a political ad against someone is ramping up. now when you two parties and they get to implement their agenda there is a real test. i will give an example of one of
10:53 pm
the things i'm watching closely and i'm a little worried about it was just talking about the importance of entitlement reform and i recognize fully this is something that people are nervous about. they're not sure when people talk about fixing social security how that would work. republicans have been more more willing to pass to talk about reforming social security and medicare but they also have when it comes to election time been willing to run ads against democrats who are open to the idea or they don't want ads run against them. let me say two people were watching when people attack someone for wanting to kill social security or medicare don't forget doing nothing is what is going to lead this programs programs to across-the-board cuts. now republicans are faced with are they going to look at entitlement reform, what are they going to cut to get the spending down to where they said they would. they have two choices. make some hard choices, pass a budget that reflects their priorities. budgeting is about trade-offs
10:54 pm
and there are difficult choices they have to make and when you are adamant that you can have a penny of revenue are dollar spending those are tough spending cuts have to make. i see what that looks like or don't come up with a budget and that looks like the failure to govern. i think they have to figure out how to move forward on a budget that is removed from vagaries which is what we have in the budget now on to specifics we are going to face as we should do real trade-offs in a budget if we want to spend a lot of money but don't want to pay for it. you have picked up as a mood to be want to close the gap you have to look at what we are going to tax more of. political realism means you can't pass budgets without democrats. he can't expect you won't have huge pushback so republicans should be open to work with democrats to come up with compromises. >> host: bill king writes on twitter the gop guts social programs and was a military. how do you sell that to the american people he ask alex davis on the line from main, and
10:55 pm
the panic color. hi there. >> caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. at what point does congress start discussing the budget negotiations to bring them down? >> guest: i wish that point had been years ago. this is a really serious challenge facing the country about me say this about the budget. being fiscally responsible is never fun. takes a lot of hard work. what is fun for politicians is to come home to voters and say we are going to spend money or cut your taxes. what we have to do is make sure those things things aligned in the promises we make a line with the reality in which we live. that is not the case for social security and medicare. if we started making changes years ago before the baby boomers started retiring those changes would be so much easier. if you just make a small change but to a big generation of baby boomers, you have saved a whole
10:56 pm
lot of money. now where the point where more baby boomers are retiring and congress likes to grant other people so they say nobody over 55 will be affected by these changes. that's a sensible thing. i would argue the important group to protect his people to depend on the program. it's more important the bill gates of the world if they are over 55 they don't need to be protected as much as as much his people at a panel program. there a lot of ways we can fix social security were you in sure the lower two quintiles, 40% of people who depend on the program are protected. we can only do that if we make changes right away. the key here is the sooner you start the easier the changes are. we need politicians who are willing to stand up and talk about these issues. and there are people who act on that board. it works in a bipartisan way. we have that talk of putting forth a social security commission and i know we are tired of commissions but i think there's real strength in doing
10:57 pm
that. the commission would bring together republicans and democrats and maybe experts from the other side to come up with a plan that would be balanced and members of congress who know we need to make these changes could vote yea or nay but they would have to have their fingerprints directly on this. no one likes to own these hard choices it appears that the answer to your question is we have to start talking about it now. there is no action and nothing forcing us to fix social security so it's easy to punt to tomorrow but this constant kicking up a can of these issues means the changes will really start to be more profoundly impactful and damaging to people who most depend on the programs. anyone who wants to protect them should be willing to make changes as quickly as possible. >> host: 20 minutes left with maya macguineas. harvey has been hanging on in belmont michigan. >> caller: good morning. i just want to say a couple of things. i don't hear anybody talking about population control.
10:58 pm
there can't be 500 workers for every job and have wages grow. i hear people talking about expanding the economy. if you continue to expand the economy we are all going to be buried in garbage eventually. it's not realistic. i don't hear anybody talking about cutting the military budget. the pentagon is still not auditable and we don't know where the $700 billion that we are pushing away is going to the tax code is ridiculous. it needs reforming. i don't hear anybody talking about cutting corporate welfare in the tax code. and finally why don't they remove the cap on social security? it will never go broke but why don't the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share? i think that covers it.
10:59 pm
none of that is contributing to talk about our budget under control. >> guest: you have five questions in there so i'll do my best to get all of them but i will focus on a couple. population control, don't think there's as much concerned about population growth as are used to be in this country. in many ways we need a steady growing population to support aging workforce prayed when the bigger challenges we have this demographics, the fact that we are living longer and we have drafted a lot of government programs where the elderly depend on federal government programs once they are not working in economy and many people who are there to support those. that's my biggest concern about our population demographics. ..
11:00 pm
that is a good thing. we deftly want that. defense spending -- there are huge disagreements on defense spending and what the right amount is. again, i would humbly submit that i would defer to defense experts and not finding experts. in my world, their differences all over the map. it is clearly a different kind of world as far as security threats that we face. many think that we need a nimble budget. for sure, and i agree with you, we should see where the money goes. the fact that the defense department has failed its audit is inexcusable. the tax code. again, i will point to possible area of momentum. the tax code is so bad that you have agreement from both
11:01 pm
democrats and republicans that something needs to be done to address it. there's real talk of tax reform this year. i don't think we will get past the finish line. the tax code is so right with holes, credits, exclusions. throughout the tax code, both on the corporate and private side, we lose trillions of dollars per year in tax breaks. if we close those loopholes -- and those are things we like, where we can take tax breaks -- but if we close them, we could bring down our tax rates and collect more revenue to help close the fiscal deficit. i'm a big fan of tax reform. the white house is not
11:02 pm
interested in individual tax reform, i'm not sure why. we could actually make the tax code more progressive, but here our focus is on business tax reform. boy, are there a lot of things we need to do in business tax reform. paul ryan, and the former head of the ways and means committee started on this. i think paul ryan can pick that up and work on in the senate. democrats and republicans interested in doing this, i would caution everyone, tax reform is very hard when it comes to the details. you have to give up tax breaks that you like, and it is worth it. there will be a discussion in the country on the tax code, and people will be saying, no, don't touch this. lobbyists will swarm on capitol hill. we should keep our eyes on the prize. a simplified fair tax code
11:03 pm
could help us do a lot for the economy. host: if you're keeping score at home "politico" writes that this week on the house floor some will be voting against the budget resolution. a group of roughly two dozen hard-line conservatives will be voting to back it. the majority went will be voting to push a resolution through the house. dana could lose 27 votes and still pass the measure. no democrats are expected to vote for it. anything you want to add? guest: no democratic support i assume. the big fight between republicans is between physical hot and defense hawks. the sequester -- let me remind
11:04 pm
people, the reason we have the sequester is because there was something called the super committee, they were able to come up with their plan. when the supercommittee failed, the deal was that sequesters were going place. the thinking was that this across-the-board cuts to defense and discretionary, they are so stupid that they would never happen. they happen. they are still here. the sequester is coming again. the real discussion is if we need to list those caps, give some more room and spending, or if we need a plan to balance the budget. i would suggest that there is a way to square the circle -- close the hole. if you were to use a mandatory savings to pay for it, you could have more targeted, sensible savings policy, which was be purpose in the first place.
11:05 pm
there are parts of the budget they are crying out for real savings. we should swap out this kind of across-the-board cut. if we did that responsibilitly it you still wouldn't have democratic support because it doesn't all on the spending side. for a bill budget that gives balance, you have to look at all parts of the budget. host: 18 figure referring to $18 trillion, the u.s. national debt. why don't we take a call from a lawn a in new york. caller: good morning. i would just want like to make one statement can you say this is the first time we have the same party and both houses. four years ago, we have the same party and both houses and it really didn't happen help much.
11:06 pm
we did get a bill called obamacare. second of all, when president obama came in, he had a stimulus for ever structure. did he not? guest: yes he did. caller: what happened with that? guest: we spent a lot of money on infrastructure. why don't you face your question and i will adjust the stimulus. caller: i will let that go. i was watching tv the other day and freddie mac -- where you have your housing -- they make money, i don't know what you call it. they took and $40 million extra. i believe it was a democrat asking what jack lew was doing with that money that they began in. he didn't have an answer for him. you know, $40 billion is a lot of money. don't you agree? guest: i certainly agree. there is money coming in from
11:07 pm
freddie mac and fannie mae -- the government-sponsored enterprises the deal with housing. they were losing quite a bit of money before. they are bringing in money, and that is making the deficit look smaller than it would otherwise. it is going straight to the treasury. host: here is paul. caller: good morning. i disagree with. you, and other people, especially politicians out there in the district of columbia, they say that a tax cut is an expenditure. i don't believe that is correct. that is our money that washington confiscates from oz and redistributes other people. spending on programs like planned parenthood, those expenditures. me keeping more of my money, and other tax p taxpayers get be more
11:08 pm
than money is not an expenditure. this thing about the fair share we could solve the tax problem real simple. we get rid of the tax code and go to f flat tax with three rates. people cou who make less than $20,000 could pay 5%. over that, 10%. the next group and businesses 20%. that would solve the problems. thank you. guest: great. i'm not sure why you think i would say that cutting taxes is an expenditure. cutting taxes is cutting taxes. it is less revenue. what i would say is it doesn't increase the deficit. i think the bottom line and number one principle of budgeting is if something is
11:09 pm
worth spending, it is worth paying for. how will you pay for? you don't need to balance your budget every year, but you basically want to balance it over a business cycle. you will borrow more when times are hard, and save more when times are well. you do want to keep those things aligned roughly. that's what's not an expenditure, necessarily. i think you are making the case for tax reform. the same case i was making. if you broaden the base and get rid of tax breaks that we have you can bring down tax rates. i would also say you can collect revenue to close the fiscal cap and budget deficit. i don't think you want to do one without the other at this point. the flat tax -- i guess what you were saying wasn't quite a flax
11:10 pm
flat tax because it had a progressive rate. i do think you want to do so in a way that isn't asking the middle-class to pay a lot more. you want to make sure those rates are at least as progressive as the tax code now, if not more. you want to move those numbers around to get the right distribution. i also think the way to start -- this is something that commission did, which i thought was a great idea. for tax reform, what if we got rid of all of our tax breaks? how low can you bring the break? but, you can't get rid of everyone, what about the home break, some people need it. but you don't need it for second homes. you would basically pay for it tax breaks that you believe are worth keeping. the questioning here is how to
11:11 pm
pay for it. tax reform includes that exercise. i think starting with no tax breaks and figure out which ones are worth keeping is a very good exercise. host: if you're tracking democrats, "roll call" tracks their strategy for the budget battle. senate and house democrats facing different challenges, but operating much from the same playbook. the resolutions that went through the house and senate were indisputably political documents, giving each side fodder leading into the two-week recess. in t the senate, facing a vote- o-rama -- what we are expecting
11:12 pm
on thursday night, it may go all night. president obama says that he will demand a dollar for dollar in domestic spending. is that fiscally wise? guest: what the house budget date was an increase some spending for defense and decreased domestic discretionary. fiscally wise, and policy wise, aren't exactly the same thing. it would be fiscally wise to keep the past stronger. bring in the cast down, where they are could mean real damage. i happen to agree with the president that we should be looking at seaquest or at least on both sides of the budget, but pay for with mandatory. this is what brian and murray did, changing past, the finding areas where we're spending more
11:13 pm
money than we need to be and bringing those down the don't add one penny to the deficit. it's how i would do it. the point he makes is a political one as well. democrats want sign on to increasing cap for the fence. it's their bargain. if one goes out, the other goes out. that's how they are tied together on this. what we did see was increases last time. unfortunately, when it shows is the president is focusing more on sea cluster men on fiscal responsibility. we have seen that through his budget discussion that year. instead of using moments like that to say, we need an egg of ways to not grow the debt, we are making sure we have places to spend more money on his priorities. i would say that we have been focused on how to fix the debt. that remains a huge challenge for this country. but, with a broken congress, certainly one that does not embrace hard choices, they
11:14 pm
should be at least a commitment to not make debt worse. last year, we borrowed more than $100 billion. basically because congress didn't want to use things -- pay for things. we will have to make changes to spending, and tiles and tireless, and the tax code. it seems like they are not out to challenges at all. if they're not for the challenge, they should be willing to say that we will not make the debt worse. host: we will go to study. democrat. good morning, debbie. caller: i can't understand how you can get these deals from doctors. a person goes in an office for 10 minutes, and the doctor doesn't do anything. these doctors are giving their own selves of raise and
11:15 pm
you're not paying attention to it. that's where the money is going. also it you are so desperate that -- unocal of the debt is so bad. it's time for you to start charging these churches, the church is that want to get up in the government at least 1%. you would have $1 trillion. guest: i think the health care point is an important one. growing heag health care costs in addition to the aging population are the biggest challenges we face. health care costs come from excessive bills. the lack of transparency. you talk about going to the doctor. i feel it a go to the doctor and don't know how anything costs. there is not enough transparency and not enough skin in the game. we don't have incentives to buy one plan over the other. we need to change our incentives and change the way health care
11:16 pm
is delivered. so that doctors receive compensation for keeping us healthy. there are exciting ways where we tried to move in that direction slowly. this is a behemoth of a system. reforming the health care is assembled take some tips on our time, but we need to push the h to change the way we receive health care in this country. host: one more call from joel in michigan. caller: thank you for taking my call. good morning. i do need to clarify one thing before we get started. that's i accidentally hit the wrong number. i meant to hit the independent line -- before i get calls for my family friends about my affiliation, i wanted to clarify that. my comment in question is actually on the interest on debt.
11:17 pm
i guess my comment is that that will be the big gorilla in the room, particularly when we normalized policy. my question is regarding the budget proposals but both the president and congress, what are their assumptions on the debt in the next 10 years? thank you. guest: thank you for the question. thank you for the clarification. likewise, as a political independent, some newspaper identified me as one of the two parties, and i did get calls from my family. i had to call for correction. interest on the debt. as i mentioned, it is the single fastest growing part of the budget. that is something that should cause us all to applause and realize we are on the wrong track. second is the point you made. interest rates are really low. if and when interest rates go up -- if they were to go up one
11:18 pm
percentage point, that would add $1.3 trillion to the debt. -- that is the same amount as that supercommittee. it that is a lot of money. the government has a hard time. they have a hard time saving $20 billion. $1.3 trillion is a tremendous amount. they use what the cbo puts out. that has rates going up slowly approaching normal rates. that is part of the reason interest payments will be growing up. we are vulnerable if they grow to average. if they go up higher, one of the reasons you worry about high debt is it can push up interest rates if people start to lose
11:19 pm
faith in your country. the interest payments would go up even more. if your kids go to college and the credit card companies start sending them teaser rates, they start borrowing and then you realize that they are structurally vulnerable and the rates go up. that's when it hits you and that's what can happen at any time. the most important thing is getting in control of our debt and bringing interest rates down to a manageable level so that spike would not hurt us. host:>> washington journal continues.
11:20 pm
host: our guest is ted bridis from the associated press. thank you for joining us. one of your recent stories starts this way. guest: each year, there is a government audit of performance under the freedom of information law. this reveals how well they are responding to requests and
11:21 pm
demands for government records under the freedom of information act. host: tell us what you found. guest: as head of the team for ap, we request government records about newsworthy stories. we generally have a frustrating experience. we don't know if ours is anomalous. it is not. there were record numbers of requests, citizens and news organizations asking for government records under the law. the numbers were way up, 714,000 requests last year. the problem was the government withheld or censored a record number of documents. host: what do you think is going on? guest: what of the things we found is the number of federal
11:22 pm
employees who are assigned to work on these requests has gone down by 10%. even though the administration has telegraphed that the freedom of information law was to be the most transparent administration, cutting the employees making it transparent is a big problem. the sheer volume, it takes a long time to get information under these requests. in some cases, years. host: phone numbers are on the bottom for our guests. we are talking about the freedom of information act. we will talk about what the white house is saying about all this. the phone numbers are on the bottom of the screen. back us up a little bit and explain what it is. the freedom of information act
11:23 pm
is a lovely gives you the right to access information from the federal government. it keeps citizens in the know about their government. take us into that. when did it start and how has it been working? guest: they have tried to bring it into the current age. this is one of the cardinal tenants of democracy in the united states when it comes to a transparent government and holding government accountable. it is the closest equivalent to a citizen subpoena that you can demand. the government can turn over records related to its activity and there are only about nine categories of exemptions or exceptions to the law. you can't ask for something that is classified or has national
11:24 pm
security implications. host: what do people want to know? guest: a lot of veterans ask for their medical files. a lot of people want to know the government is doing about them for subjects near to their hearts. it could be information about their travels, their fbi files. last year when edward snowden leaked information about the nsa, a record number of people asked the nsa if their phone calls or e-mails had been intercepted. the e nsa said they would not respond. there are nine categories that are exempt. national security, any information that would be withheld, commercial business secrets that would be damaging to companies, some delivered of
11:25 pm
process, some backroom decision-making, law enforcement records. even these have to be narrowly applied. just because there may be a sentence and a document that may fall under these exemptions, that means the document has to be released but that one sense needs to be blocked out. host: what is the process? how much does it cost? how long does it take? guest: it doesn't cost anything to file a request. it may run into a small amount of money when it comes to search and copy fees. to its credit, the government did not doubt this on the costs. we have already played -- paid for these records once. this is the government doing our business. you make a request in writing. if you go to the agency's websites, there is a link for
11:26 pm
foia. most of these include a form on the website where you can submit your request. host: i want to let people know that we have a special line. this is for people who submitted foia requests. we wanted to respond or read the white house response to what you are writing. they touted its success. it excludes instances where it could not find records or a person refused to pay for copies. it released 91% of requests. we actually do have a lot to brag about. what do you make of that? guest: this is the white house putting their own spin on some
11:27 pm
bad numbers. this is the equivalent of your son or daughter going to school and coming home with a bad report card and him saying well, i tried my best. it's not good enough. they have done some laudable things under the freedom of information law. on day one, he turned upside down the presumption that records ought to be releasable. that had not always been the case in the past. i mentioned earlier, they don't gouge us. he instructed federal agencies in that one category where it's backroom discussions and conversations about policy, in those cases, agencies ought to release them. what we saw last year is
11:28 pm
those numbers were low. i think about 60,000 examples where information could have been released had improved slightly. it is still not great. host: we have a lot more to learn with ted bridis. good morning, mary. caller: i saw a report that recently the white house had exempted itself from foia requests. wouldn't you say that this level of lack of transparency is consistent with the corruption? guest: what she is referring to is a policy directive that the white house made formally exempting the office of administration, one of the offices within the white house structure that would exempt it under the freedom of information act.
11:29 pm
this was to comply with a judge's ruling. within the white house, it was exempt. the timing was an opportune for the white house to make that announcement during sunshine week. that is the time when organizations promote transparency. the white house is traditionally exempt from the freedom of information law. we can't see the presidents e-mails. we can't ask congress to see their e-mails or the supreme court justices or any federal judge. it only applies to the executive branch agencies. host: rachel is in texas. caller: one morning i got up and listen to the news and they touched on this one time.
11:30 pm
when bush was in 2004 and 2008, there is no story out there. nobody has discussed money that bush sent over there and it was not guarded and somebody took all that money and nobody has accounted for that money that has come up missing. tell me what obama has done that could beat those two stories, he asked our boys to go out and fight. guest: i'm not familiar with bodies in landfills. i think the pentagon is a big target for freedom of information requests. they take a long time to respond.
11:31 pm
they said the average response time this past year had been trimmed down to about three months. our experience was that it takes much longer than three months to get information out of the pentagon. transparency in government, its broader than just records requests. we have fought for access for the returns of soldiers remains in delaware. we think that's an important issue. we think it's important for citizens to see that. host: this is a tweet. how does the bush white house compared to the obama white house? guest: incontact -- context, one of the problems that we had with the bush administration and its secrecy was it had turned
11:32 pm
right after 9/11 one of the problems that we had with the bush administration and its secrecy was that it had turned the presumption that federal records not necessarily being disposable the justice department aggressively under attorney general ashcroft back then said send a note to the executive branch agency saying we will defend in court you to to the inn's degree if you try to withhold information that these organizations or citizens have sought that you think ought to remain secret. and president obama turned that on its head spent $28 billion just last year fighting in court court. >> host: thomas from fresno california republican. good morning thomas. cocoa good morning guys, how are you? terrific.
11:33 pm
mr. ted i have a question for you. in relation to the sequester and the kinds of foia requests by percentages, asking what really sequester is why is there so much blowback from it and why can we get any answers as we the people? we have an ongoing lawsuit is what it is and if you need any more information you got my number there as c-span you can give me a call personally. i would be happy to enlighten you on some of the background of this matter. but why do you tell me what you think. >> host: thanks thomas. when we hear from our guest. guess those sequester is an example of where to breaking news story. something comes up on capitol hill and we need to extract from the government all of the government files about this in a very quick amount of time so that we can reveal to
11:34 pm
the public the inner operations of government. this is why it is so important to be able to get the information quickly and so for example when sequester came up and the government shutdowns generally have come up, you know with foia the freedom of information law is not an effective tool to undercut -- cover that type of tool. at the team of seven investigative reporters at the ap obviously not the only tool we use but for news breaking hard quick fast stories for you is not really great and it should be. we are all going to be diminished as a democracy if foia its effective use is only left for activists and historians. >> host: is there a danger that foia could be manipulated or excuse? >> guest: unfortunately we have found examples where one of the nine exemptions may be misapplied to hide or censor
11:35 pm
information that may be embarrassing to the administration. there was an incident in which we recorded in a report last week, in which the national archives which is the chief archivist of the u.s. government and really ought to be planked down the middle had tried to exempt under the privacy provision, the part of the law that protects people's phone numbers and social security numbers, had censored a sentence but they had failed to center the sentence in a subsequent document so we were able to see what they'd try to withhold from us. but they try to withhold was a sentiment that they have live in constant fear of upsetting the white house. that's just untenable and they ought not to be doing that. occasionally we will give front-line foia staff and agencies asking us to narrow the scope of our quest to try to limit the timeframe. sometimes, i would say oftentimes this is done reasonably but in some cases they are doing this to exclude something that they know they
11:36 pm
fall outside the scope of their situation. >> host: our guest is a graduate of the missouri columbia bachelor of journalism from the journalism school they are. previously worked for the "wall street journal" ted bridis. he was one of 66 ap journalists journalists back in 22013 his phone records were seized by the justice department. explain the circumstances and what that was about. >> guest: solo the context of the story we wrote last week is very important. this is a government that doesn't like bad headlines. doesn't like leaks and negative information. my team of reporters had uncovered information near the anniversary of bin laden's death that there have been in fact an al-qaeda bomb plot to destroy a western airliner and we very responsibly investigated this prepared a news story and
11:37 pm
approach the u.s. government. we were persuaded with some very specific information not to publish it immediately but in a matter of days we were able to publish the story. during that short brief period of time the justice department initiated a criminal leaks investigation into her sources of information and had seized my home phone records, my cell phone records, my office phone records and those of five of my colleagues as well as 20 general phone lines at the ap including our facts number and a really open-ended fishing expedition. >> host: what has happened since then? >> guest: well, there has been a lot of public criticism about the government cracking down on leaks investigations and journalists especially. james rosen at fox james ricin at "the new york times" and in fact we were able to compel the justice department to rewrite the rules that protect
11:38 pm
journalists and their source information much more rigorously. >> host: let's hear from ike in west bloomfield michigan independent caller, you were on with ted bridis of the ap. >> caller: yes, is it possible to get ted's phone number to be able to be in touch for a heads up? >> host: just call me the "associated press" bureau in washington. it's a listed number. i'm on social media, twitter facebook. there are lots of ways to reach out to me. >> host: what particular aspect of this conversation are you interested in? >> caller: i'm interested in finding out, i'm involved in the -- which body or which agency would be the best one to identify possible ways in administering
11:39 pm
the various services like government heads for seniors? i have a hunch that there is a lot of duplication of overhead and duplicate office space, duplicate titles. how do you identify how the money is being properly spent to provide seniors their appropriate services? >> guest: that's a great question and one thing i want to stress about the freedom of information law is that it's incumbent upon us requesters to try to do a little bit of homework and understand where the records and where the files we might want to receive where they reasonably might reside. so for example in a ike's question about seniors i would start with the health and human services department and the center for medicaid services cms perhaps the social security administration which is a separate agency. it's the same law to make the
11:40 pm
same request and you can make duplicate request that many different agencies. >> host: speaking of agencies which ones do the best in terms of prompt response what you as a journalist might be looking for and who is doing the worst? >> guest: who is doing it the best, that's a good question. the commerce department always is sort of a pleasure to deal with generally. i think mostly because they tend to be less sensitive requests that we make on less sensitive subjects but they are pretty expedient and pretty reasonable to deal with. you know, the cia is sort of a nightmare for any journalist and i would think any citizen. they denied every single request for expedited processing. that's a. >> consideration on a breaking news story. it's written into the lock that news organizations are allowed to cite this. the treasury department has
11:41 pm
recently returned some documents documents, the latest set that we had requested for a story that we were looking at on iran sanctions nine years ago so that's a fairly untenable lag time. you know other agencies i think are sort of overwhelmed with the sheer number of requests, the homeland security department number one in terms of the sheer volume of requests. the defense department, the fbi the justice department. the justice department drink we had to be doing better. its office of information policy away p. administers the foia law so they have their own in-house expertise and yet they are not seen as very responsive. >> host: from some statistics from the year 2014 the status of freedom of information act request released in bowl, 180,000 just a little bit more 42% released in full. says 49%, 211 plus
11:42 pm
thousand were released in part and another 9% just under 39,000 requests were denied in full. we have more calls for ted bridis at the ap. mary from woodland hills california. good morning to you mary. >> caller: good morning. i was just wondering how much impact budget cuts and the government shutdown may have caused the government to not be able to disband the foia request. >> guest: that's a great question and we think as a fairly significant effect. the diminishment and resources that are assigned to responding to freedom of information requests it really handcuffs the agencies. in some cases we are so pathetic pathetic. they lost 375 federal workers governmentwide whose sole job
11:43 pm
was to go through and respond to these requests to get the information's best citizens are asking for, review them for propriety, what is allowed to be released under the law so that's a good question and unfortunately i think the resource that is having a real effect. >> host: here's a tweet from sandy beach. mr. bridis is the obama administration applying the power of redacting as heavily as i hear they are and how do they rate on this? >> guest: our experience they really are. the numbers you cited earlier, 40 something% partially released released this may be two words on the a page. everything else completely blacked out with literally heavy black magic markers of reach paragraph. that's fairly routine in the types of documents that we received back from agencies where there may be only a simpsons exposed and the rest of it there is some inference
11:44 pm
about what else might be on the page. >> host: congress, let's talk about what congress is up to in this area of mr. bridis. he hears a piece we came across the bow by the electronic frontier foundation. congress must ask for you to reform legislation. a couple of bills in this area what would they do and what are the sponsors? >> guest: senator john cordyn and senator patrick leahy introduced the foia reform bill that went quite far in the last congressional session and it failed in the house. speaker boehner declined to bring it to the floor for a vote vote. it's been reintroduced in current congress. it would do some important things but the most important thing that this bill would do would be to establish by law what president obama had said by executive fiat about the presumption of disclosure. so records that ought to be
11:45 pm
released out to be released. >> host: let's go to concord north carolina vernon republican, hey there. >> caller: yes, a good discussion. i'm enjoying it very much. i just wanted to make a comment and a question. the comment is that journalists may be reaping what they sow. this president we have is probably the least vetted individual who has ever entered the presidential race. when he was coming through that process virtually nothing was asked about his background, his beliefs or nothing. when you look at the federal agencies that are now so politicized directly from his direction, the irs the doj
11:46 pm
right on down the line we are basically getting what has been sold. the new media is boasted that these individuals and now you wonder why you can't get information. that's all i have. thank you very much. >> host: thanks for calling burn. >> guest: that is a critically important role for news organizations. my team is responsible in fact for vetting presidential candidates. i have had the job since i was seven so we do quite a bit of digging. foia is a principle component of that and in fact when we talk about the delays introduced in the process we are still getting responses back from federal agencies asking for, for example correspondence between congressman ryan and federal
11:47 pm
agencies from the last election that we asked for five years ago so it's a frustrating tool to use for presidential betting. it's obviously not the only tool we use and part of our vetting for the next election was digging into secretary clinton's background and in fact we were so frustrated with the response for the records that we were unable to get at the state department the ap filed a federal lawsuit to recover e-mails that she had written about a number of subjects when she was secretary of state. >> host: dd wants to know how does large volume explained and i'll? and i'll? thank you have to review the request of my it? is to take longer to comply and deny? >> guest: i think when you have a large volume you are rushed and so it's always easier and safer from the federal government's perspective to simply withhold something than
11:48 pm
to accidentally delete something that might not be supported under the law. one of the really troubling items that we found in our investigation of the audit numbers was that in the rare occasion and it's only about 2% of foia requests that are challenged on the administrators of the appeal -- appeal where we to ask the government to take a second independent look for itself. whether the information is censored or withheld was appropriate under the law. almost one out of every three cases the government admitted in fact it's censored withheld documents improperly into law and that's a troubling number. >> host: the same personages tweeted has a follow-up to individuals get denied more often than the president? >> guest: only to the extent of the freedom of information law, be complicated. for example we often see
11:49 pm
citizens asking the government a to question or to produce a report when we know that under the law the government does not actually responsible or it can be compelled to answer question. all he can do is search its files for records that might be about a subject and return those. >> host: back to our calls for and from fort lauderdale florida and the tenant, good morning to you frank. >> caller: good morning how are you? >> host: very well, sir. >> caller: i would like to ask mr. bridis i used to research at the national archives and i lived in the d.c. area for seven years. one of the things that i've researched was the material that came out after the jfk records collection act. it was interesting because one of the things that i did i put them wise to something that was in florida in tallahassee which is the florida investigative committee files which would save
11:50 pm
writing things that state investigators were investigating at the time. some of those records were looked upon by the records review board, went to washington d.c. and some of them to this day are still sequestered which is kind of unusual because they weren't part of the original record. they became part of it later on after i did research in florida and told the review board about it. number of people looked into this stuff in d.c. and they are still sequestered. i want, one of the things i wanted to know is are these records, you find out the reasons why they have been sequestered to get something tangible they are because it was an awful long time ago. some of these records preceded the kennedy assassination for one thing. >> host: mr. bridis. >> guest: after 25 years
11:51 pm
records that are classified and i'm not sure whether these records might been classified but they are supposed to be subject to mandatory declassification review. this is another instrument another tool in our toolbox that we can use to ask for what is called an mdr. frank mentioned a really smart point and that was you don't just stop digging for information with the federal government. oftentimes the federal government is in touch and exchanging information with state governments and each state has its own version of the freedom of information law. they are a little bit different in every state but for example frank said he pulled information from florida so for example if you have got a congressman who is representing florida and you want to investigate the congressman and he can't get his information under foia in washington because congress is exempt you can for example ask florida state agencies whether they have exchange information
11:52 pm
or send correspondence to that congressman. so some of this is intriguing like a puzzle and you try to find ways to extract information that is blocked from you in other ways. >> host: where do you go first with you are a journalist or an individual? do you go on line? >> guest: traditionally go on line and that is one of the improvements that the administration has done, to try to make it more accessible. most agencies have web forms on their web sites where you just type information that you are seeking. you provide contact information. it's very important if you want an expedient answer to write narrowly and describe the records exactly as possible including the dates. if you are looking for someone's e-mails for example best to say the names of the people whose e-mails you are seeking for the keywords keyword search on
11:53 pm
their inbox. it's actually something we do regularly. >> host: is there a way to find out the status of your request? >> guest: there is supposed to be. again this is an area where the is fallen down on its promises. there is a foia liaison officer, sort of a public relations person within each agency and as you file your request and you want to keep track of the status and get an update on where we stand we are supposed to be able to call and cite the reference number that they give you assign to your request and they are supposed to say okay so-and-so in this office is collecting records or so-and-so is reviewing the records and you should be able to get a response sometime within six weeks or six months. what we find often is when we asked for the status, it's pending and that is what they give us. >> host: if you missed it earlier at the white house said for six consecutive years as the is responded to 91% of the foia
11:54 pm
request in a way that is provided some or all of the requested documentation. what's also important is their numerous examples of the releasing information that did not require anybody to ask for. that is true of more than 130,000 sets of data this administration proactively releases. when it comes to her record on transparency we have a lot to be proud of. frankly it sets a standard that future administration will have to live up to. on the proactive part what are they talking about your? >> guest: when he cited the 130,000 datasets, they're actually 125,000 but they are record sets downloaded to a web site called data backup and encompass things like census data, records of agricultural fertilizer use, college crime reports records of fire deaths in the united states so these are proactive usually statistical compilations that they have released.
11:55 pm
they do some proactive disclosures. they are in courage to buy president obama as part of his memorandum on day one. he encouraged agencies to proactively release information. again they are falling down on the promise though because oftentimes when we call an agency and ask for information about a story we are working on the responses you are going to need to file a foia request for that. that is not because they want cover under the law or they want a more judicial review of this. simply that's going to take a long time and maybe you'll go away. >> host: let's hear from terry lafayette indiana, democratic caller. hi there terry. >> caller: good morning. the records about the drug war i have studied this. the crime rate went up 70%.
11:56 pm
the migrant crime rate went up 70%, doubling for the drug was. before they pass those laws there were no murderous -- before they pass the drug laws. they were toga alpha hall law 13 years after they passed it and all the games the murder and crime rate went back down 70%. your murder and crime rate would be cut in half or more. it would be cut by tens of billions of dollars and our streets would be safe. it's ridiculous the way it is now. my stepfather was a state parole officer and he told me year after year the different parolees tell him you can buy illegal drugs from inmates but you get better deals from the garden some of the guards make money selling dope than they do in their paycheck. >> host: and a question for a guest this morning? >> caller: what about the records for the drug wars?
11:57 pm
>> host: terry thanks. >> guest: the drug enforcement administration within the justice department doesn't have a great track record of responding to foia requests. in fact every agency is required to have what is called the reading room on line and which federal agencies upload frequently requested documents that others have asked for documents that they think are of interest administrative manuals policy directors and mission statements. the drug enforcement agency actually has not done that. it's one of the few agencies that hasn't made the effort. so this caller asked the question that was everyone has a very particular versailles centrist and they ought to under the freedom of information law be allowed to access those types of records. it's frustrating when we are not. >> host: i would like to ask you about the post-9/11 period. has it changed the nature of the
11:58 pm
release of foia request? >> guest: it really did. i was in washington and i saw a flight 77 hit the pentagon from a nearby interstate. the echoes of that day really rocked washington for many many years that the laws about transparency and the operations of the government the pendulum swung pretty sharply in one direction and that was to keep everything secret. we weren't sure what information might be useful to al qaeda and other terrorist organizations. the pendulum has started to swing now. it's been 15 years, 14 years. again we can't live in secrecy forever. the government, the post-9/11 spending bill and security bill, that ought to be subject to government accountability and scrutiny by taxpayers and by the
11:59 pm
oversight folks the same way that any other government action would be. >> host: we have time for a couple more calls. evo in washington, hi there. >> caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. i have two or three questions i would like to ask. number one, one caller called in and said the president wasn't properly vetted. it seems to me that he was vetted by everybody including the burgers. number two, would we encourage government agencies to give papers that are imprudent and not wise to give and thirdly, do you feel that news people report the news or do they create the news? it seems to me that they want to sell papers more than i want to inform the american people. >> host: interesting question that last one. >> guest: i think that we
12:00 am
produce news that people want to read. we have an important role in society. the caller mentioned the vetting of the president. it is very serious business. we spent a lot of time and a lot of resources on all of the candidates including president obama before he was elected. looking into their backgrounds and in fact one of the more recent areas categories that we looked into specifically as a candidate's record on transparency. so met romney was running for for president we sent a reporter up to the state of massachusetts who poured through cardboard boxes full of state documents or about three weeks looking for information about how he operated his government, whether he operated a transparently. what is disappointing is that none of the candidates have a
12:01 am
great track record on this. we are very much in the age of the modern candidate of sort of insulating themselves from negative press and transparency is sort of a dichotomy from that. >> host: our guest has been supporters the news editor of the investigative team of "associated press." thanks a lot for your time on these foia requests. we appreciate it. >> host: >> guest: happy to be here.
12:02 am
the senate judiciary committee examines the nomination of sally yates to be the next deputy attorney general. ms. yates currently serves as the acting deputy attorney general and was formally nominated by president obama on january 8. you can see the confirmation hearing live starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3.
12:03 am
>> fcc commissioners testified recently on the latest open internet rules that are designed to prohibit internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against legal content that's moving through their networks. this house energy and commerce subcommittee hearing is about two hours, 35 minutes. [inaudible conversations]
12:04 am
>> if everyone could take their seats and while they are before we start the clock as many of you know i am going to assert germans brought it up because mr. wheeler and i have not always gotten along. i am just sick and tired of your third string approach to winning and the way you are willing to tackle and run over the top of people and score points just for scoring points. now that the u. of o. game is over in the national football championship i want everybody to know i have kept my promise and warned the ohio state tied. you are out of order. >> mr. chairman? >> i will say that right now. >> i want to say two things number one you are an honorable man. you have the wrong side and we were pleased to be it with our backup to the backup quarterback.
12:05 am
>> you think this is going to go better for you? [laughter] >> i do think the color is very becoming on you. >> just so you know i'm wearing the ohio state tie if they beat my ducks and vice versa. i want you i want to know there's a pending matter to be settled protected off rape updates for lunch but i will buy and i are just at february 26 might be a wonderful day for the chairman to have lunch with me but he suggested he may have other matters to attend to. enough fun and frivolity. thank you all for being here and i think our fcc commissioner for being here and my colleagues. i know this is a quote unquote go away day and we will be a directed by votes for this is important business we are going to take up because guys doing this committee so wants to serious matters. it was just over two weeks ago we had the commission's managing director present us with his rationale for the largest budget
12:06 am
request in history for the federal communications commission. we were able to discuss with him whether the funding levels requested would yield an effective and credible agency. today we have the opportunity to ask us whether the agencies functioning as it should whether it's producing a high-caliber policymaking american society requires and deserves and i for one have to confess i'm skeptical. i think that's a good reason for my skepticism. the federal communications commission wants a transparent predictable agency presiding with a light touch over the explosion of mobile and internet investment and innovation that is greatly benefited consumers by today that agency in my opinion has evolved into place for statutory obligations are left to languish in favor of scoring scoring points that agency's capitulation of the presence demand comes from a preceding margin procedural failures in the white house is white house is behind the scenes influence on the fcc's process has been well-documented by credible news sources including "wall street journal" through e-mails from senator reid's
12:07 am
office last may as well. his responsibility of an expert independent agency to issue detailed notice to the public public what it intends to act and apply its expertise to resolve the hard questions of law and policy. this process should be transparent in every effort should be made to resist calls to politicize the outcome. perhaps in this respect the fcc should learn a thing or two from the federal trade commission and agency the fcc recently rendered moot in protecting isp consumers. a properly functioning commission doesn't work behind closed doors to bypass a frustrated process and a properly functioning commission doesn't make decisions based on the number of e-mails interest groups can generate a properly functioning commission focuses on the lot next to generate analysis rather than being carried away by politically generated populist spirit. they will internet preceding is not the only place the fcc seems to have abandoned the process. i'm concerned about these of delegated authority. commissioners have responsibility for dealing with matters that are controversial
12:08 am
or make new policy and should not simply delegate a decision to bury a result. i'm concerned with transparency suffering between the commissions. i'm concerned an excessive number practical proceedings remain unresolved for thousands of businesses to wait in the wings while the commission focuses on extending a trade attorney reach reach but most limpets at the fcc has overstepped its jurisdiction to regulate. net neutrality the obvious example here but there are others. the agency only has the authority given to it by statute and i can't see how any communications act would give the impression that congress granted the fcc authority to be the ultimate arbiter of the use of personal information could i cannot see how the pelican edition that could be read by the temperament to place the fcc in deciding how states can spend their tax dollars and i cannot see how the fcc could possibly interpret its governing statute to wrest control of the presentation on the internet.
12:09 am
but for the fact that i only have five minutes for my statement we could keep going. a waiver for government researchers in newsrooms adopting excessive merger conditions last minute data destined directly the fcc appears to believe that operators take the approach to its authority. i know it when i see it. to be fair some of their sauce boss -- responsibility lies in congress. we have not updated the communications act for decades. technology is out of all of its rheumatoid framework. the fcc does not have the tools to do its job but this doesn't mean the agency should distort art nor the current law or threaten to manufacture authority whole cloth should regulated commission have the temerity to resist demands. we have offered a way forward on net neutrality that is more certain and less costly for society and is not clear to me that chechens to our legislation are based on policy.
12:10 am
we could work together on fixing the net neutrality situation i think we would be able to chalk up the victory for all of us and for all of our consumers and the american economy. starts today with fixing the agency itself. it's our job to do due diligence and reauthorizes agency for the first time since 1995. i think our commissioners in chairman wheeler for their attendance today and i look forward to our productive session ahead that i would yield the remaining 30 seconds to the vice chair mr. lott said. >> i appreciate you for holding today's hearing and i think the commissioners for being here. the success and productivity of the indications of technology commission never ceases to amaze me. it is a constant bright spot in our economy as a rapidly evolves to meet consumer demand. given the fcc's integral role in the marketplace is critical the agency is transparent efficient and accountable. that's why i'm concerned with the fcc's decision to reclassify broadband internet services
12:11 am
under title to despite the fact that he goes into like the trailer tory approach fundamental for providing the industry with flexibility needed to invest in abating create jobs and the orders process was not transparent with regulatory origins i will have consequences. and never to make the agency more efficient affected by policies decisions and processes. look forward to the hearing with the commissioners and mr. sharon i yield back and a point of personal privilege as in ohio when i think your tie looks great. >> i'm sure glad i get the time he appeared the time he appeared with that i will turn to my friend from california part of the pac-12 ms. eshoo. >> thank you mr. chairman that i don't have any sports analogies and obviously i hold a much different view. so i want to express that view
12:12 am
with an intensity that i think needs to be brought really to what this issue is all about and i appreciate the hearing but i think the main point is that on february 26 the american people finally won one and it was big. the regular guys and gals across our country part of the beleaguered middle class were hurt. it was a historic day when the fcc voted for bright line open internet rules to protect the ability of consumers students and entrepreneurs to learn and explore, create and market all on equal footing. this is about net equality. the fcc decision ensures that the internet remains open and accessible to everyone a source
12:13 am
of intellectual enrichment and an engine for economic growth and prosperity in our country. the internet is the public library of our time a laboratory in the most robust marketplace imaginable and the fcc declared it open to all and for all. i think this is nothing short of extraordinary. it was a day when the average person witnessed something very rare the big shots in washington d.c. sided with them. decision-makers actually took him and considered the advice of over 4 million americans. i remember watching tv when dr. king addressed a million people on the mall. it was the seat of humanity. put a multiplier on that.
12:14 am
it's over 4 million people that weighed in. i think that kind of public engagement with our government should be celebrated and not rolled over and disrespected. today the majority has offered eight legislative discussion draft intended to reauthorize the fcc. i reviewed the draft legislation legislation. i've concluded that in effect it is meant to squeeze in agency that is already operating at the lowest number of full-time staff in 30 years previous ec has to have the means to fulfill its mission to protect consumers promote competition and advance innovation. that is their mission read this includes huge issues and they are huge, like freeing up additional spectrum, promoting municipal broadband employment and enhancing 911 services. any attempt to overhaul the fcc's funding structure should
12:15 am
be fully analyzed and the implications of these changes should be fully understood. we shouldn't be horsing around with it in plain english. a 48-hour preview is simply insufficient so i find myself wondering why are we having this hearing today? i hope it isn't a fishing expedition. by compelling the fcc chairman and commissioners to testify five times over the course of eight days it seems to me that the majority seems to have chosen to ignore a glaring fact over 4 million americans did something. they and countless more contacted their members of congress to say we don't want to pay more for less. we don't think any kind of discrimination blocking or throttling is good or fair. we are tired of poor service from providers, confusing bills
12:16 am
and having to wait for a half hour or more on hold to try and talk to a human being and we don't want any gatekeepers. so i think that is really what this is all about. i welcome the debate, i welcome the discussion with the commissioners and i yield the remainder of my time to congresswoman matsui. >> thank you very much ranking member. i also would like to welcome the chairman and the commissioners here today. we know over the last year the debate over the future of the internet has not been an easy one. there have been many twists and turns but in the end i'm specifically pleased that the fcc's net neutrality rules and sure paid prioritization schemes or internet fast lanes never see the light in our economy. americans will not experience -- we know the fight to preserve net neutrality is not over. that said it's time for us to get back to working on issues to
12:17 am
advance or internet economy predicting spectrum should be at the top of that list. aws three option demonstrated the massive appetite for spectrum. i look forward to introducing bipartisan legislation with congressman guthrie that would create the first-ever incentive options of federal agencies. with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentlelady yields back and the chair recognizes the full -- of the committee ms. blackburn. >> to the commission i want to say thank you for being here and offering your testimony. as you all know we have got questions and we want to move right onto them. i think the recent actions taken by the fcc have raised more questions about your scope and your reach and your authority and i will also say about transparency. chairman wheeler i will tell you i do not think it is acceptable for the commission to pass a net
12:18 am
rule before the american people have the opportunity to find out what is in it. that was disappointing to us. releasing a draft final order should have been a part of the rulemaking process and it is disappointing that it was not. every dollar you spend is a taxpayer dollar. every action that you take affects the american taxpayer so that lack of transparency is incredibly disappointing. i am sure that also you are hearing from netflix and some of the other stakeholders who have been very disappointed in what they found out once they started to read the 322 word pages. i will tell you also as a former state senator from tennessee and someone that worked on the telecommunications and interactive technology issues they are i was terribly
12:19 am
disappointed to see the action of the commission to choose, to choose to take a vote and choose to preempt state laws in tennessee and north carolina that restrict municipal broadband entry. these are decisions that should be made by their state legislators greater actions they are disappointing and we have questions about them. mr. chairman i yield back my time. >> anyone else on the republican side wanting time? the chair recognizes. >> over the past few days we have heard quite a bit about process fairness and transparency at the fcc. we deserted again from our previous collie. given what has transpired in the subcommittee of the last 48 hours i wondered whether we first have to make sure her own
12:20 am
house is in order. as witness testimony is being submitted republicans released with no notice a partisan discussion draft that would completely overhauled the fcc's funding. this maneuvering is unfair to the witnesses and unfair to the members of the subcommittee mr. chairman. >> would the gentleman yield? >> yes. >> of this third discussion draft was put out an hour and a half before testimony and i realize it's still not enough time. this is not a markup comes as the hearing. we followed all the committee rules. we circulated drafts and try to be open and transparent and continue to be. >> mr. chairman unfortunately this congress we seem to have a tradition i'm not sure it's in the rules but a long tradition of sharing all members of the sick subcommittee a week prior to legislative hearing and we have seen the same partisan tactics. >> will the gentleman yield? >> when you all were in charge i
12:21 am
have a list of examples where that wasn't the case. i agree we should be more transparent. >> let's just say it i can take back my time i would like to see us go back to a tradition process where we have a week prior to legislative hearing. the same thing happened in the consumer manufacturing and trade subcommittee in last couple of days. i understand he may be give examples of things that were done in the past by us but i just think mr. upton yourself subcommittee chairs of all said they want to act in a bipartisan way. they want bipartisan bills and i appreciate that but if you are going to do that then we need to have more time than just the 48 hours that occurred here today and we have the same thing yesterday on another subcommittee. if we are going to move forward we are trying to do bills on a bipartisan basis we need to have
12:22 am
more than 48 hours. in addition to that i have yet to hear a convincing explanation for why this legislation is a good idea given what we just went through with the department of homeland security. i doubt our constituents are clamoring for us to create another funding clip especially from an agency that just netted $41 billion for public safety and deficit reduction without raising a time in taxes. i just think this agency is too important to play these types of games with this funding. nonetheless i'm grateful we are having the hearing today. he gives us the opportunity to show our appreciation for the fcc for its work so thank you chairman wheeler and to his fellow commissioners for all that you have accomplished. this has been an eventful year for the fcc. the commission is certainly received more than its fair share of attention and also an unprecedented level of civic engagement through 4 million
12:23 am
americans weighed in calling for strong network neutrality rules. 140 members of congress and of course a present express his opinion as well which is not something we should be embarrassed about by the way. yet despite the withering glare of the spotlight the commission stood tall the commissioners and the entire staff of the fcc have shown a steadfast dedication to serving the public interest. you showed everyone who called in who rode in and came to support net neutrality that they fcc and the rest of washington know-how to listen so thank you. i welcome the majority's change of heart and their offer to legislate on this issue of net neutrality and i remain open to looking for truly bipartisan ways to turning the fcc policies into law. i wonder if bipartisanship may only be in the eye of the holder. if we are able to find a real partner in this process we must make sure our efforts do not
12:24 am
come at the expense of all the other work the commission does. the fcc must remain an effective cop on the beat to protect consumers. the fcc must continue to promote universal service to all americans. the fcc must ensure the telecommunications and media markets are competitive and the fcc must maintain the vitality of our public safety communications and that is why look forward to hearing how the fcc can continue to serve an important role in the broadband age and thank you for coming here today and thank you for your public service. may i just asked, i know because i yield the time to you mr. chairman i wanted to yield a minute of my time to mr. lujan but i don't have it now. i could ask unanimous consent. >> without objection. >> thank you ranking member pallone pallone and let me second the comments about the need for us to work together. the policy has a long history being made on a bipartisan basis and i would hate to see the polarization to find so many of
12:25 am
our policy debates dominate our efforts on the subcommittee. before us are real challenges. have 77% of mexicans living rural areas. as i have shared with chairman chairman wheeler up we can have internet access at 30000 feet on an airplane we should build up internet access across rural america including new mexico. i'm inches in hearing from commissioner rosenworcel on the innovative potential of unlicensed spectrum and i'm also excited to hear from a former public utility commissioner colleague of mine as well commissioner clyburn clyburn said is to modernize a lifetime program in the broadband era and i want to hear from all commissioners on how we can work with the fcc including strengthening information technology systems that collapse under the weight of congress when a friend of ours john oliver filed, to the fcc which crashed its servers. surely the agency that is charged with overseeing the internet should be able to
12:26 am
handle the traffic. with that mr. chairman i want to thank everyone for being here and i look forward to this important conversation today. >> i i think the jumpers, tomiko to the chairman of the fcc for an opening statement. mr. wheeler thank you for being here. we know you have a tough job and we look forward to your comments. >> thank you very much mr. chairman, ranking member eshoo it's a privet should be here with all of my colleagues. there has been some reference appear about the open internet. i am sure we will discuss it more today. clearly the decision we made was a watershed. you and your legislation mr. chairman and we and our regulation identified a challenge, a problem that needs to be solved. we take different approaches to be sure and no doubt we are going to be discussing those now and in the future. but there is, in agreement that the internet is too important to ignore, too important to not
12:27 am
have a set of yardsticks and rules. we have completed our work. now open internet rules will be in place. let me move on to another couple of issues that i think are important to the committee. one is that there is a national emergency in emergency services. and congress holds the key to the solution. the vast majority of the calls to 911 as ms. eshoo reference the vast majority of calls to 911 come for mobile devices. in a unanimous decision of this entire commission we have established rules for wireless carriers to provide location information as to where that call is coming from. the carriers are stepping up but delivering that information is only the front end of the challenge. mr. shimkus about 15 years ago
12:28 am
led to legislation making 911 and national number. amazing. the calls now go through but many times it's like a tree falling in the forest. there was a region tragic example in georgia when a lady by the name of chanel anderson called as she was drowning in her car. the signal was received by an antenna that happen to be an adjacent public safety answering point but did not have, that decided not to have maps of the area next door. and i have listened to the call and it's heartbreaking. she keeps saying, here is where i am and the spectrum keeps saying i can't find on the map i can't find it. i don't know where you are and they didn't know where to send somebody. there are 6500 different staff
12:29 am
by incredibly dedicated individuals but there needs to be some kind of set of standards. only congress can deal with it. we have dealt with the front end but now it's necessary to do something about the backend. this is not a power grab. i don't care how it gets done or who is responsible but we owe this to the american people. a second quick issue i would like to raise as i know mr. chairman that both you and i want a commission that works openly, fairly and efficiently. while 3-2 bowties get the attention about 90% of our decisions during my tenure have been unanimous. about 2% a bend 4-1 and there have been 21 253 votes that have been 3-2. we also have during my tenure the best record of any full
12:30 am
commission this century for getting decisions out quickly. 73% of our decisions are released in one business day or less. the measure of that is the last republican-led commission. take a week before they get hit that number. we also have the lowest number and percentage of actions made on delegated authority. of any commission republican or democrat in the last 15 years. ..


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on