tv House Rules on Earmarks Day 2 CSPAN January 19, 2018 6:10am-10:24am EST
i will end with this, mr. chairman, i don't like the translation, those folks ought to be in jail, if they are doing something they are proud, they ought to be on tv. we talk about spending as itas exploded inhe modern age. what has exploded is the ability to help hold members of congress and administrations accountable. there's not a member in the room who has seen pork barrel because it didn't originate in 1990's or 1970's or 1950's. we have had the challenge since 19th century and the earliest days of the institution. i would like to believe that with your leadership where we have been challenged but i --
but to mr. sullivan's point of low e approval ratings, i don't want the suggestion to be made that folks, that anyone wants to see bad behavior in the united states, no one on the left and the right, but how to serve our constituents best whether that's defining the narrowly tailored provision, more defining that from right here where we sit or whether it's complete and total transparency, it's been subject of hearing and subject of examination, wherever that balance lies, mr. chair, the board and 35 members of the institution, i don't know one of them who is up to no good to folks back home, it's struggle to do their best and i wanted to have tt on the record.
>> it was noted that colleagues were eagle scouts which got them affection. i was in rochester, new york. [laughter] >> there's no doubt about it, mr. grumet, you're the best. >> to your question -- >> did you see the smile? >> i got it. >> i had that, i was traumatized. i had the line ready to go. [laughter] on the serious question, though of reform, there's a place where there's unanimity and that's the prior system was poor use of system and i think the tension
between steve and i have great respect is whether the system can be reformed and process undermining this body that there's no way to reform it, i'm of the other view. i think you could -- we are not going to have 30,000 projects. you could limit the projects that members have. if you require the projects to be part of the actual legislation, i think we should probably have more attention towards earmarks. so i believe it could be reformed. >> we get reform, when first got here, all you had to do is ask me, chair, when i got here, i think i got the smallest public works project that the united states has ever done. we've got a tunnel under a very dangerous road, relevation about 45%. where school children had to cross from one side and the other and trucks couldn't stop
and we got a tunnel into the road. i'm really proud of the things that was able to do. it's much easier -- we did reform it, i think in a good way. one thing, we decided we could not involve ourselves to profit groups. it was simply that we should not be doing, not involved in. confined to whatever municipalities and we also wrote a letter to the chair certifying that neither member or member spouse benefited financially in any way from earmark. that should be expanded to include family, period, because i came out of the new york state legislature and i know how that worked. so it would -- i think children
should be included in that, or the family members. but to do that, there's more reformhat can b done, i'm not really aware of what it is, you ve something specifically in mind? >> yeah, certainly. i think it's important to focus on what congress did in 2006 and 2007. >> well, the democrats were in charge. >> bipartisan policy center, congresswoman. >> i understand, i'm not. >> i understand. principal bipartisanship. a number of earmarks over the few following years came about 40% but there's a lot more that could be done. one of the problems was that the house and senate rules were not exactly the same so i don't believe the senate had the same restriction on any kind of earmark. >> no, it was just house reform. >> what was missing was the actual legislative process. what was missing was requiring
that the proposals be part of subcommittee process and mark-up. what was missing was the obligation that they be in legislative language and whether they could be amended in reports whacker was missing the fact that you could submit earmark in management amendment and appropriations bill -- >> to get a vote. that certainly has to go. >> i think there are a dozen ideas that could be considered which i think probably would make the process a wonderful thing but, you know, we will try to figure that out together. >> we need to be fair and you are available to help with that? >> , that's developing questions, rob, louis, all these questions that come to mind, i'm not trying to take my time, would it be part of the behavior that you cannot take part in the picking of the vender?
>> because i've never done that, had nothing to do after we got it. had no clue, no part of the process, that's what just came out of me, mr. chairman. >> well, don't doubt that. i knew the state of texas was 635, huge area that had to be redope, i got it. >> but that's part of the reform that you don't take part of picking the vendor. >> i regret i missed your testimony.
congress is trying to do the right thing and i want to thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing. i know that it brings considerable amount of people being critical of it to some degree. i think you are helping the institution a great deal and i think you, gentlemen, are doing theamn where you don't disagree it's important toav the debate. as an appropriator, let me just point out for the record, a bridge to nowhere, it was clearly injection of an individual point of view and piece of legislation, i think back when i first got here and i was not on appropriation committee in the year that we had earmarks, i was on other committees about the things that i was able to secure by that tool, and they never came at the expense of additional money in the budget. that was within appropriated level was, it was simply to be able to focus on a particular
problem. and i come -- we have testimony submitted, wonderful guy, great united states senator in my view, certainly a great member of the house of representatives but that was an area that we disagreed on but he came to have a different point of view and i respect that. but in my district, you know, they were always things like, you've heard here today, i had one where my state highway department came and requested, look, we built a bypass around a small community. people are coming around there about 60, 70 miles an hour, there's no overpass, we want to do a match, we will do our match part, but we need this, five people have died in the highway in the last 15 months and that never caught anybody's attention in bureaucracy but go to mia
and get attention immediately. i recall newspaper publisher wrote a wonderful column praising my friend senator, david, this is in oklahoma, you remember the commit on highway 9 where you had back up because there's an indian casino and there's an artery through multiple states including my own and he said, yeah, that was an earmark, he said, you remember when norman was divided by a train line, hospitals on one side, there was no underpass or no overpass and we would have emergency vehicles, law enforcement, fire, obviously ambulances caught on one side. the town came up to 10 million and underpass cost 20. i was lucky senator was chairman of transportation and asked to
possibly get some help, policemen -- problem settled, we don't have that problem anymore. research on weather at the university of oklahoma. yeah, that's great. raised the alert time from 5 to 10 to 20 minutes. that's life and death in a place like oklahoma. i said that was an earmark, he said, those were great projects. bingo, that's the point. 95% of these things, any member who dealt with them can get up and deafen, not of getting extra money but making sure that a particular local problem got solved and the idea that there's no -- that all the decisions made in the bureaucracy or any administration of either party are somehow nonpolitical an somehow there's no preference expressed, i have been around
government to know that's not true. whoever is making decision brings some set of values, some set of criteria, sometimes it's objectively, honestly sometimes it's not. in the case, seems they are much more transparent. i supported the reforms they instituted. they were wise reform and try to regain confidence in the system and i think hopefully i was -- but even -- i actually agree with my friends who got rid of earmarks for private entities, but most people don't recall why we had the predator drone, which is the most effective single win because it began by jerry lewis. when a bunch of pilots are making the decision, understandable. so, again, nothing wrong with those things and those things
are all transparent, so i would, you know, ill just hope at the end of the day, i don't -- again, some of my friend disagree about the spending part of this, because in many -- what the spending problem is - it's not callediscretionary spending, this is a minuscule part of the budget within the budget. i mean, within whatever congress has decided. again, i regret that people went to prison for abuse, i guess i don't regret they went to prison because they deserved to go to prison but it's pretty easy to seize on the ones that are out of power and i actually think it's a good thing and frankly as a body to discipline our member that is abuse this process first by not allowing somebody like that to go through and make it totally transparent.
whether we get there or not, i will tell you as appropriator, this is in on doorstep, in some cases legitimately so, we can still do 99% of what we could ever do, the idea that this is somehow, you know, appropriations committee, as a matter of fact, i would argue in some cases because you can't deal with individual problem, you try to do problematically, but if they all get down to transparency and accountability in the end and the members and the body and the majority and the minority having enough restraint to discipline themselves and frankly enough balance. it can't be when we are in the majority all the spending goes to republican, my friend from georgia suggested which you saw d described really well, these are really local problems.
this is where federal resources are headed in this general area anyway, you happen to have a unique perspective because, again, you know, we all come from somewhere and we know that place very, very well, you know who is coming to you with a legitimate request and who is not and how to vet it. i think it's been one of the great frustrations members have had that they've not been able to address legitimate problems that their constituents come to them with within the confines of the budget and put these things up, you know, there are a lot more requests for earmarks even during the era that they exploded and it's not like there was no discipline or thought in this, but you also make good point, some of the things are political. i have seen that happen myself and how you guard for that, i don't know other than exposure, i think, sunshine is the best
disinfectant of really good ideas. i don't have a lot of questions because i have strong opinions on it, but i respect that other people have different opinions and i think, again, legitimately so, you can't cover up when somebody goes to jail and somebody commits fraud. i mean, that tells you there was something wrong with the system and that legitimately it needed more sunshine, it needed more enforcement, it needed, frankly, a chairman loong at requests and going, really, a little out of line here or, you know, start asking questions, i don't know if we could use somebody like go help us evaluate these sorts of things. it's not just a political set of eyeballs but literally -- this actually -- there's a limited amount of money for intersections and by any criteria this may not be the number one but this would be a worthy -- this passes the professional smell test on this,
this is not in the middle of nowhere, we need to be very aggressive and about prosecuting people who went over the line on this, but again, i want to thank you, chairman, i want to thank our witnesses, extremely helpful when you wrestle with these kinds of note issues to have people that have looked at them, i have seen them from the inside of the system. i didn't know anything about them until i got here. i had never heard of this stuff before until i watched out how they worked and frankly saw cases where abuses cud, unquestionably occurred and at least congress tried to get better at this and finally said, we are going to swear this off. one of the difficult challenges here, i think, is for our newer members because they haven't seen any system at all. if you arrived after 2010 election, the majority of our conferences never seen a congress where earmark was there, i think that's probably there of our friends as well at this point.
so i actually think the decisive decision-maks will actually never had any experience in this but will listen to the debate an the discussn ande will listen to constuents too and you get both side on this because somehow most people can hold in their mind, well, you need to help us with this bridge but i'm not for earmarks, okay, we will be -- you end up, if you don't think the executive branch lets lobbied over these things, as one of my friend who was a lobbyist, i get to know everybody that's a decision-maker over there, they certainly have protections, i'm not suggesting everybody is doing something unethical but having somebody make your case because they'll be a bureaucratic process but there's still a lobbying process woven. i have gone a long time, if you
want to make additional comment, i'm more than happy to do that, so thank you mr. ellis. >> thank you, congressman. a couple of things, one thing that i want to clarify that the ban on earmarks to private companies was supposed to go into effect for fy11 which was the last reform that the democrats did when they were in majority, when you look at the, for instance, you mentioned the predator drone, there were funding going to uav's, it wasn't going to general atomics who was drones. we had dozen of earmarks that would go through department of defense. while it was going through department of navy, in the lawmakers' request letter that was public, you would see that its intent was to go to make 12
widjet, i want to clarify when the change occurred. and then you mentioned, you know, some of the things that you mentioned like the number of deaths, five deaths in the previous month, tragic, but it's a metric, it's something that you could target funding toward places where there's larger fatalities, crossings, other things on those lines, also you mentioned that senator inhofe, you know, if he hadn't been chairman of dpw, you wouldn't have been able to necessarily jump that hoop and be able to take vapg -- advantage of that relationship or seniority. one of the things that's different about lobbying the administration, i understand, one thing you don't have there
is pay to play because those are campaign contributions. >> i think those are legitimate points. just for the record, i never secured earmark for any private entity, but i think that's probably one of the reasons my friends on the other side instituted as one of the reforms and i give them credit for that because we ended up with people in jail, the only difference is they put it in pocket instead of campaign but the practice you're talking about, i would consider that abusive practice as well. so, again, maybe if we go down this road and i think that's a very open question because people are rightly distrustful and worried. no cause for dispute there but those would be important kinds of reforms to include. so i appreciate your bringing it
up. >> i think that the -- part of the frustration that many folks said was lack of transparency, the team of senior review officials or the call different agencies that are making decisions or members of congress sitting in a back room putting post-it notes on the bill report like hillary clinton allegedly did. both are equally bad. i think that the voteers affect decision and hearing like this, in a room like this where the projects are brought forward and debated because you're right, all of the things, very few items reviewing the work of my friends and colleagues, very few of them sound horrible, most of them you can make a rational case for but there are scarce resources and scarce dollars, having the public debate where all members can weigh through
which today is the most important and then give the 300 million americans who also have discreet bits of knowledge and information and expertise to bring to bear through letters, e-mails an testimony, that should be tabbed. rather than it happening on cured behind a curtain, all of these things should be happening in greater sunlight. >> i couldn't agree more. that's why we are having a public hearing and why the chairman made this available because i don't think it's about going back to a system, it's about moving to something more effective. we know what we had before, had these abuses available and -- and much more common than they should have been, we also now have listed -- lived under regime where we see pressing needs where we think could get solved and we don't have ability to do that. it does make a difference, i'm sure, if you're a democrat calling a republican administration calling for
something like that or a republican calling for a democratic administration. again, the idea, we certainly still go request things from the administration, probably more successful if it happens to be an administration aligned with your political point of view. there's actually, i think, more of a sense of rough justice within the body itself. you get the know the members and you do hear the arguments and there is -- even in great partisanship and polarization, there's a common understanding, i've got it. you have a hospital on the wrong side of the railroad track, people stacking up there in emergency situations, you know, it's not the federal highway project. not in federal highway system, they haven't been able to get this fixed. you're working on it. yes, we can help you. i know -- i have been in plenty of disaster situations, in oklahoma, tornadoes and we have gotten the help we needed from everybody help, democrat and
republican alikes, i try to do that with my friends with n the same situation with sandy and over time that's where you end up, you develop human dimension here and you learn hard lessons about that, but, again, if we go forward with this, i think there's probably a bipartisan determination that number one you're on probation. they better not happen again and number two, we want to see it. i think all of you, that's one common theme i hear and i think it's a very valuable one, everything needs to be transparent, everything needs to be open, all of this needs to be done where people can be held accountable if they see either individual abuse or frankly partisan abuse, political process, it's about solving problems in the most effective way, you've had the tool before an while it was probably used rightly 9 times out of 10, one out of ten is too many to do the wrong way, we expect all of them
to be done the right way and we want the ability to hold you accountable if you don't. we want to be able to fire you. and we want your colleagues, if you live in a district where you have such a partisan vantage, many of us, we want colleagues to discipline and hold you accountable. we expect you guys to police yourself and we will tell you every two years in our case whether or not we think you've done a good job with that. again, you guys have made a really important contribution and discussion and debate and thank you for that sincerely. c.
>> somebody in the agencies know what the hell is going, i come from massachusetts. i get elected when they were earmarks and i will tell you right now that if that did not exist when i got elected, my district would be in much and the majority went to boston. i love boston. i'm not beating up on boston. i'm not here to criticize that, but i represent the second largest city in new england, worcester and other medium-size cities that couldn't get anything from the state working with the federal government because all the money was going to one project. and, you know, if it wasn't for my ability to be able to
redirect some of that money to transportation projects in my district, you know, things today would be much different, and by the way, some of the transportation projects have resulted in kind of this renaissance of economic development around where these investments were made. i don't think anybody here is suggesting we go back to, you know, a time where there was no transparency and when, you know, terrible projects could be enacted, although i would tell you that even under the worst of times, i think that the majority of these projects were of merit, obviously we have to do this in a way that the public has trusted and what we are doing.
it has helped invest in economic development projects and now, we have turned blighted areas into places of high employment. it had cleaned up ground fields that has been contaminated from bad practices inufacturing over the years and now there are schools their. its invested in transportation projects to improve commuter rail, to improve regional airports that have resulted in again, incredible benefit not just to the people of massachusetts, but the taxpayers of this country and so, i mean,
in the i guess we could try to limit and direct in general federal spending but sometimes some of these projects are so unique that if you do direct agencies in such a way that would only have that project and you would have earmark so again there are limited resources and again often times it on the state level it's the wealthier communities the more well connected communities that tend to lobby the state to get that state attention and federal investment in those areas and where the investments are used most often times get shortchanged, so i think what we ought to think about is how we do better than where we are right now because it's not working. if we go back to giving members
of congress a bit more say in where some of their money gets invested let's figure out a process that everyone believes that's not-- passes the smell test and is transparent avoidf nflict of intere. people say politics, but i would argue the same thing about federal agencies. whoever the president of the united states is once again reelected and nine kent till you whether democrat or republican, you could probably trace where some of these federal investments are going based on the twhirl map so so there are a lot of politics going on there and again working and lobbying the ministration for communities is a hell of a lot more expensive and again, you should not have to be a lobbyist to be heard in the federal agency and so i applaud my colleagues for their insight. i think we need to figure out how we do better than where we
are right now and how working with you maybe come up with a formula that i think everyone has confidence will avoid these kinds of examples of best practices in the past, so i thank you very much. >> i think you gentlemen for your insight and i consider that a challenge for me as mr. sullivan has said. rather going directly to doctor burgess the gentlewoman would be managing rule on the floor and i will defer the gentlewoman from wyoming. she's recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman and think to the witnesses for being here today. i have not served in congress while we had earmarks, but i have served into federal agencies, agency for international development and at the state departmt, so my question is a constitutional question and i know you touched on this issue.
article one responsibility with respect to appropriations, but we are in a situation where someone is making the decision and some kind of grapple with, yes, it is true there was tremendous abuses and i have read in your testimony some abuses obviously people have been prosecuted and served a time and in other instances they have us as they haven't been, but we also know we have constituents and i'm concerned to some extent about to go down on the floor and not agree with mr. mcgovern, but in this circumstance is seems to me difficult for us to say we are going to maintain status quo well we were sort of decide that
we are somehow absolved of our current obligation and we ought to be able to find a way that we can put enough limits and transparency on it, frankly more transparency in the unelected bureaucrat making these decisions to understand how the sachin-- a system works and how i can explain that the current system works better that you have been selected bureaucrats making decisions with very little transparency that don't fully understand and recognize the need of the people of my stay, for example, and why is that a better system when one we the people of elected representatives are making those recommendations with new rules and requirements and restrictions perspective transparency and accountability. >> you should not defend the
current system as being better. that's a fool's errand. there are those that are very discreet times when you want the executive to make specific decisions, but congress even there should be directing the process so that a reasonably educated person can attract through the decision matrix to reach the same point. the problem we have today is federal agencies making decisions that no one can understand how they are reached. that doesn't serve anyone. going backwards isn't an option, but going forward, article one of the constitution gives a clear, all these things whether it's done by the three letter acronym agency or office that none of us have heard of or by
the appropriations committee of the house. all of this should happen in the sunlight where every single american has the chance to say, well, i disagree with the final decision, but i appreciate the discussion. i know them confidence that was reached in an ethical way in a merit-based way in a competitive way rather than simply because representative cheney palo-- has now served enough years to shuffle cash to the vendor in her hometown. we should never have that. >> i'm delighted by the outpouring of partisanship and i think there are a lot of moments where there is a sense of share interest in open discussion about how we can possibly put something together. i think the point that there are politics in all aspects of our
spending in this democracy is something i don't think anyone disputes. i think like the suggestion about earmarks, i think, the vast majority of agency spending is responsibly. i think we kind of denigrate the argument that congress is so responsible they can't do anything and they are better than the faceless dumb bureaucrats. anyone that is not-- a kind of the description of how democracy works, but of course there are equal number of nontrsparent personally motivated scial deals that have been executive agencies have been would've perhaps with earmarks, i think it be fantastic if you could figure out bigger how to provide that oversight, but for the purpose of business discussion i think the real question is do you think you can describe a system that enables you to make
those the-- spending decisions that you can be proud of. i think the best challenge we have is the public mistrust of this process because it is high bar of scrutiny and an actual opportunity to bring i think more support to the process and at my last point is that there's an end of the sea-- intimacy between members of congress and their constituents which is not reflect in the body and that's why we have a distinction between the popularity of members on the whole institution demonstrating congress can do something to help your constituents is fantastically important. congress having approval rating of 35 or 39% would make it a heck of a lot easier for you to take on the kinds of challenges strictly the country right now, so the notion director spending might make you a little bit more popular at home is not something
i think we should feel guilty about. i think it's a fantastic aspect of this process that you can get your program taken in front of a new hospital or fixing a road where people have been killed. like why should not be partf our democratic process? >> i will be brief, congressman cheney or queer not defending the status quo. is not a band of mortar-- moratorium. we think that the better process we advocated for is for congress to establish transparent high metrics that would have the funding allocated either through competition or merit or formula pieces and then hold the executive branch accountable. it wasn't oversight and accountability-- to the point
about transparency, the only way it's transparent before, i mean, it was names in the back of conference reports. we had a database work we had to put it all in. we had a cross reference the information to make it transparent, so when people talk about transparent, not really in any meaningful sense, so to your point i think it's like reading the system and criteria and holding the executive council not just over the area previously earmarked, but the entire discretionary budget and entitlement programs as well. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman for letting me jump the line. i look forward to working on how we can up with a way to improve the system and that are more effectively exercise our constitutional 30 and i yield back. >> congresswan cheney, thank you. the gentlem from florida. >> thank you esther chairman and
i think you all, gentlemen. if the moratorium were to be lifted, what reform to ensure the process is brought back in a way that ensures accountability, transparency and efficacy which recommend? >> i'm happy, judge, to run our quick listen i'm guessing there are many other ideas on the table and i will go through the top ideas. i think the first you talk about is there should be codified explicit prohibition on earmarks to for-profit entities. i also think it would make sense to codify a top number. what percent of federal spending should be directed by congress? 1% with basically the peak back in 2006 or seven. make it half a percent, 1.1%,
that's up to all of you, but demonstrate to the american people that this is not 50 or 60% of the budget would be important to do. we have talked a lot about transparency. this wonderful thing called the internet gives us a real opportunity to bring more transparency into the system. a few things that i think definitely help the process, the first is to mhe eak tmarks go through the actual legislative process and to have the be suggested they should be posted on member websites with full explanation of the different has to be-- attributes. we should also be coalesced on committee websites so hammy in marks are brought to a specific area. i think in addition, the process matters a lot. i think the chairman mentioned that it makes sense for earmarks to only be attached to authorize programs, the kind of air
dropping notion that i think you all are familiar with with hundreds of earmarks coming in at the last minute either on the met-- amendments should be eliminated. by doing that, there's a benefit of actually providing incentive for y'all. my views members of congress are basically good people with bad incentives and this would be a good incentive to actually have the kind of desire. talk about the fact the remarks -- i think the last idea would mention as we talked about a bit is a look back. we are strong believers bipartisan evidence -based policymaking, the good commission would be fantastic to bring a little evidence -based assessment to the specific projects and because they are discrete projects i think it would be feasible for gal or similar urbanization.
if they can't get to everyone, then the big ones and i think are plenty ways to do that and i guess i would end by saying that you should all be proud of these projects or you should not do them and so i think transparency is really a very important demonstration. if you don't want your photograph taken in front of that va hospital, this was a good project to so i think the incentives can be aligned to so this is not some kind of shadowy exercise people should feel ashamed of. there can't be 30,000 every member could be limited to a few so committee members don't kind of take over the process. again, i will stop there, that there are other ideas as well. >> before moving to you, mr. sullivan, i will go to paul ellis. would it make sense to you that if there was a limit of 1%, half , whatever that it would be in the hands of congress to
spend that each member would be given the call couple amount. in other words similar to some county commissions and parishes and what have you the weight is put on the county commission and each one has a million dollars discretion in their districts at least two interesting outcomes. >> i would echo that far-- >> : just a minute. why then shoul the congressman from colorado who make a little more juice than i have if the limit is this much, why should he be able to access more of the limit then me? would it not be that we each have an equal amount? >> well, my view, congressman is that you want the decisions to be accommodation of some equity
and samara and so i think effusively make the choice of remember has with an equitable amount of resources, that may not match the projects in your state. i think if you have a million, but only $300,000 need you could get pushback from constituencies of why did you not take care of them. i think the congressman needs to look at these and see if they are effective use of taxpayer money any relationship with each other i'm sure. >> having all of this in the text of the legislation as amendments where all of us, all of us can review it, see who put it in there, have the hearing, subcommittee hearings with a competitive discussion weighing the merits of the proposals. also, something you mentioned a moment ago, he proposed in 2016
the idea of an article one calendar. i always find it interesting that congress has suspension calendars and special calenda foramg hospals and veteran hospitals and post office a these things, but there is nothing devoted to congress taking a little bit of the article one authority seriously. you could have members bring forward their ideas, their proposals and treated like entry it's like its appropriation, 10 minutes split evenly within a majority vote and again transparency, accountability where now you have to explain in the news paper why you voted for or against it. about telly for all of us. that's telly-- healthy for all of us. >> i'm not for eliminating the moratorium, but what i outlined
for mrs. cheney. >> how long should the moratorium last? >> until we get adequate structures in place that actually can make sure the money awarded on a merit-based competition or formula, but i will say judge hastings, we've been at this for a while. we did have recommendations when we were going through the whole earmark process, so i will flag those for you. one is to reduce the number and cost of earmarks and types of projects eligible-- eligible for earmarks. so one way to do that is reduce our spending by 50% here for the next five years. disallow earmarks in competitive or merit-based funding programs. we saw earmarks with jumping the line where you program the predisaster mitigation that had clearteria established by fema and projects that were not eligible were given earmarks about the line so we would not want to see abuse.
earmarks for private or-- private entities and earmark term limits are no project should funded year after year. in addition, we had some transparency recommendations, which is centralizing all but earmark requests an award and accommodated format to be downloaded and sorted. also i mentioned earlier like for instance with many projects you have a justification sheet for one's coming through in the president the budget. there was nothing like that for earmarks in that earmarks should any earmark have that same amplifying information which includes the historic funding level, economic analysis and justification for the project, make a legislation including earmarks available for public review and also create a viable enforcement next is and we would agree with the comments and observations about putting in a
legislative language. it was hard to try to vote on earmarks. they would end up having limitation amendments. also, just quickly panelists-- the next panelists and myself worked with the lobbyists who were pro- earmark and came up with recommendations as well and i will quickly mention those. congress should limit earmark struck it to contributors, to eliminate the connection-- >> wait a minute. wait a minute. go back to that one. >> cut the cord between earmark and contributions. in limine, yes, sorry. to eliminate connection between legislative and campaign contributions legislative staff should be barred in participating in fund-raising activities.
to ensure taxpayer money has been set-- it could even be earmarks over a certain size or randomly audit-- audit them and members should certify earmark recipients are qualified to handle the project, basically put numbers on the line. another thing is having a picture taken in front of your earmark and being proud of it. this is a minor when i'm adding in. there were a few lawmakers that used to announce there are marks in their community with giant checks and they would put their name when it should say us taxpayer but it ended up having the lawmakers name like they were oprah or something, so i would mention that. >> all of you-- your suggestions are particularly helpful. you spoke earlier about something that i believe to be true and that is the argument against earmarks ishat it would reduce cost of more money
for deficit purposes. can any of you tell me if the reduction in earmark requests correlated within a similar reduction in overall spending? >> in my testimony, while you can't assert direct causation, since we have had the moratorium the federal debt has gone up by five: dollars and so if you want think broadly and i know this is a counterintuitive point, but i think it's important. i think you all have very hardest choices to make. cutting $20 trillion from the public is not going to be easy. the fact that we have a 20 trillion-dollar debt demonstrates how hard it is. i think restoring more confidence between you and your constituents and increasing the collaboration that you have as a body can only help in those
tough decisions and so i think if you really are willing to think about the process as a whole, earmarks are far more important than the 1% to the federal budget. it's my hope that restoring a thoughtful deliberate transparent process has the potential not only to address the appropriate concerns, but has the potential to strengthen the legislative process as a whole. >> in one instance, then chairman of the labor hhs subcommittee a limited all the earmarks in that bill that year so the reason why the number of earmarks is less than it was in fy 05 and that it obviously have some savings. also at the beginning of this republican leadership the elimination of earmarks in the fy 11 bill also has served to
have those savings and the one thing i would say what we see for instance in senate army corps of engineers budget is even the earmark are they would add more money to the budget, but add a lot more in terms of earmarks and they would reduce funding for projects that were in the president's budget. of that by definition extends the delays of benefits from the project and also extends the time it takes to construct the budget-- that project which increase costs and so there definitely was some of that aspect. >> i think there was a slight reduction, but that budget control did have some implications some point with reference to all of this, but in the interest of time and one ask you all more ..
what we would do in an effort to maximize it, establish our priorities and each would take a number one and we would go around and maximize it but that calls us to work together and happily i can tell you the same sense exists in reference to the congress that is here now. i do want to say t you, along with others, the graves. what was in the district. and in dire need of resources.
many people living in poverty and we have the steak built during hoover times and it is problematical and the army corps of engineers as responsible as they can be, and has not been able to get that project in a way that would assure the safety of the citizens in that area. when we had air marks, i was able to get educational projects and workforce developments and such an
agonizing thing. and not get anything. and what we want to pointedly say to you, devising a mechanism that does the audit that we have earmarks, at the congressional legislative level and respective agencies, one of the things i find is we try to get the oversight agency, i am here two years and if i get to know some of them they will tell you, i am still back here,
so many examples, just as rankin the agency as other examples that manifested themselves, congresspeople doing something inappropriate. we need to have equal transparency when we are going into these things. my final thing. the last governors, democrat and republican, to eliminate state legislators who in the past, putting rise to a need if
anhings into be done at e federal level, didn't like legislative x and y. can't take politics out of living, and all of us have that responsibility and apply the chairman at this committee to this stage. and agree or disagree and to my way of thinking hope we get to the point, and resources, and yields back. >> the gentlemen, judge hastings, and working together, in particular on the bipartisan
basis, indicating willingness and judged worthy, and in texas, doctor michael burgess and -- >> both counties are critically important. too that mister mcgovern, republican colleagues, up to the challenge that we ought to do better so to keep that in mind, a couple years ago based on historical biography, historically very moving, fascinating that the depiction of congress in the old chamber
at statuary hall and activities that were going on toward the end of the civil war and transactional nature linking with members of congress to get the 13th amendment passed and he was bargaining like an appropriate or. i was struck by that part of the movie. it makes you think, these things are unique, actually there are problems they grappled with previous administrations and in the middle part of the 19th century, the amount of patronage that went on from the administration was remarkable when you think about it.
may have led to mister garfield's untimely departure because someone didn't get a job, held a very intense grudge. ironically then his vice president who became president led the civil service reform en though he was a person who benefited greatly from patronage in the port of new york. i do think we also need to remember earmarks where the reform. the committee chairman, people referenced there were very few earmarks and what is the defense bill in the 1980s and snowballed since then, you could look at that as the more equitable distribution of federal spending in open congress but we were doing
earmarks. my predecessor did not do earmarks. i recognize serious transportation problems, i availed myself of earmarks in the first couple terms i was appear. and that was not a good way to go about the allocation of resources. i worried about it at the time, the rules committee, all those dollars in 635 and we had a hard time getting money for wiping 380. it is a two edged sword. what it comes down to and what i ask our witnesses, the whole issue of resource allocation.
i will tell you we are facing, i don't even know what to make of the situation, devastation from hurricane harvey, number of dollars we already appropriated in disaster assistance over the senate. an enormous spending bill with the location of resources in a situation like that, it will be a real test. >> we could have a very long conversation, but if we were talking about the big issues, allocation of spending, earmarks wouldn't come up until the 13th hour. it is 1% of the issue. you mentioned disaster relief. i strongly believe disaster
relief should be on budget we are continually surprised by predictable events and we strike these $100 billion checks we never thought would happen so there are a number of cases with predictable response to these tragedies and we could be more fiscally responsible and take better care of our fellow citizens. we need to bring more evidence-based assessment to programs, entitlements i too expensive. that doesn't mean we should go in and cut them up but if we want -- it is a terrific hearing. there is not a ton of oversight happening. and the judge that the executive branch snubbed congress, you have a lot of authority and if this congress
wanted to be bipartisan. and the allocation of resources. >> on the article one, you provoked me, although a disaster is not predictable it is predictable we will have disasters and a bunch of line items, source of dollars that can be used when these things happen. and congress is the inverse of the real world where in the real world nature abhors a vacuum, congress abhors any collection of dollars, we will spend them on something. that worries me, in texas the economic stabilization fund, irresponsibly it is not a rainy day fund but economic
stabilization fund and things could go bad. i don't know if we could do that, i don't think they would long survive, even settle for a return to the federal treasury and paying down some of the national debt rather than collective funds where someone would grab them. on the article one, i don't disagree with your premise you send out, mister sullivan but really the requirement to go through the legislative process may be more important than reinstitution of earmarks. i don't know. i would be interested in your opinion if we were to establish that we could discipline ourselves to not appropriate anything that was not
authorized and no authorization that has long since expired, may be that trust -- i was thrilled to hear 70% approval rating. i thought it was eight. i was encouraged. >> because of you. >> i acknowledge that. do you think if we reestablish the basic premises on how we are supposed to govern and budget with that set the precedent that we could go off probation and be trusted with earmarks or congressionally directed spending? >> we should all strike from our lexicon that is not appropriate. >> is still just a pig, we need
to aim for something better. and the founding fathers, the horrible task of looking dollar for dollar how federal agencies are spending and you won't do that tomorrow. and the days of lincoln for goodness sake. and the last historic proposal in the 1970s at 31%. it is a long festering problem and one you are not going to solve, and by slowly moving, what they were addressing today, setting the stage for the american people having
greater trust in you, and people setting in those paths that reshape culture, most americans, who was the chairman of the rules committee, they would look at you blankly that there was something called ables committee, who was the president of the united states in 1917, 1918, most people can't remember but we live under these people's action so you are setting in place today a new pattern for the way your voters, people who are supposed to be in charge. >> a loftier goal for article 1 responsibility to end automatic spending, if we did the budget for two years, it would be so
large. we need to make those decisions and be responsible and accountable for those decisions. accept gradual or incremental change to taking more responsibility for the entire budget. and the chairman of the budget committee getting to movin that direction. i don't want to put words in his mouth. when this congress was organized in the last election in november 2016, we had a big meeting on the republican side, and tried to abolish the office
of congressional ethics. putting cold water, he is stepping up and fulfilling that promise. an important discussion to have, that also just for me sets the tone. i don't know that we are trusted enough to do things like abolish congressional ethics and reinstitute congressionally directed spending. >> i'm certainly aware of that whole episode and a couple points on this, when we started data basing earmarks in the 2000s we made a decision we are
not going to call it that, we would call it earmarks and earmarks i don't think is the keyword, it is a value neutral term that has been around a long time and denotes what it is, when democrats are in control and started calling congressionally directed spending, thattle nguage, replacing one word with three doesn't normally work. regardless, to some of your points, you mentioned disaster spending in the budget control act to some extent may make the disaster relief fund on budget more realistic on a 10-year average. and setting aside $50 billion each year, and that money gets spent. that is something we are interested in working on but i won't be labor that area. the authorization, the basic --
the situation we are in, agencies authorized that haven't been authorized in years but the corps of engineers have a backlog of $75 billion of authorized projects, and another $21 billion the court gets to billion dollars in construction funding each year, just being authorized, it seems to turn those out for years. we have to work even more creatively on that. the last point you were mentioning boo and garfiel destiny of the republic is a fabulous book, i read that. >> aexcellent book. and thank you for calling it.
>> i gain something from every single member here. we will have to ask tom when he is at the panel but are we up to it? >> the question is what are you going to offer? we will get closer to that. deciding questions for both panels, the gentleman from colorado is recognized. >> i know this hearing is called the power of the purse, but many of us suspected is about bringing back earmarks which seems like a good recipe for reducing popularity of congress from the record-breaking 15%, even lower if congress were to reestablish a corrupting earmark process that allows members to establish spending priorities for their own districts rather than do it objectively. earmarks existed my first few
years in congress. i was opposed to them at the time and doing my job is a member, stayed in that process or my district would have lost out on funding and we did take from government and nonprofit recipients, never considered for profit recipients. i don't think members of congress should pick the winners and losers in a subjective process that lends itself to appearance or reality of political corruption and in politics appearance is reality. that is why i have been a staunch opponent of the earmark process. when it is existed puts members like myself in and it -- we put our districts when we refuse to participate in the inside a game of washington politics. it should not rely on buying votes through earmarks. that is not the sign of a
healthy legislative body. democrats and republicans should be working to tackle present issues we face with objective criteria funding the we can all believe in. with oversight of the executive branch. i don't believe putting earmarks behind it will reduce gridlock and the legislative process. it will be more difficult to consider reforms to programs, do our real job of oversight and diverged our scarce federal resources from the most critical funding projects to the funding project of legislators that happen to be committee chairs on the right committees for 40 years. looking for evidence-based solutions rewarding results that work, focusing efforts on figuring out how to leverage limited federal dollars with the best positive impact rather than allocating them for
political purposes. e eaarking program has don and would do again. a couple questions for mister ellis. some of my colleagues argue earmarks promote bipartisanship and help us pass appropriation bills. when was the last time congress passed all 12 appropriation bills on time? >> last time was 1997 including an omnibus bill and last time individually and on time regular order was 1994. >> weren't there earmarks for more than a decade after that despite that congress was unable to pass those appropriations bills? do you think bringing back earmarks would fix the broken budget process? >> no, it is a bigger issue than earmarks, a fundamentally broken process created in 1974. we have done four times the
appropriations bills before the oktoberfest beginning of the fiscal year since the budget act of 1974 was done. >> do you think having earmarks can in fact make federal spending less effective in reaching its goals by diverting precious resources from results-oriented objective programs into the arbitrary whim of political decisionmaking? >> we have always been concerned about earmarks with political muscle and you don't have to look further than a transportation bill where i could tell you lawmakers set in proximity to power by how much money they got and if you are chairman of the transportation infrastructure you get $1 billion. if you are chairman of the ways and means committee, you have $700 million from bakersfield, california. if you were chairman of the
subcommittee you have $60 million. >> how much did members of the rules committee get? that is what we want to know. >> i couldn't tell you off the top of my head. >> it highlights the problem. these should be made based on objective criteria and as soon as you start substituting politically driven decisionmaking based on who has been here longer on what committee you move away from results for the american people towards a process that as stewards of taxpayer money, reduces already lacking trust of this body's institution process. i hope this discussion does not continue past this hearing. we have a lot of this on the record and it is very helpful. in no way does this result in actual legislation and changes to the house rules that bring back discredited and corrupt practice that is an element
relative to pass rather than part of the bright future of the institution of congress. >> thank you for your insight. we will move to the gentleman from alabama. we have been here a long time and try to be brief. if you gave us a long list of important things i appreciate your giving us, good to have. and the responsibility to make sure we hold the executive branch accountable. two third of the money that flows out from the federal government employees spending, we don't touch it. the appropriations process, we can provide 0 accountability. of the one third we do appropriate, last year, $300 billion were not authorized by a piece of legislation from congress. those things talking about earmarks, bringing that to your attention, at some point your organization has a lot of
important things, hope you will address those problems. what you are saying is there are no amount of safeguards you can add to congressionally directed spending that would address your concerns about inherent abuse or any efficiency. am i summing up where your position is? >> pretty much. earlier i indicated recognizing it may be inevitable, they will come back in some form, we had recommendations on the record. >> there are two options here, option what is not to bring back direct spending, to bring it back with all the safeguards everybody has brought up. every one of these safeguards,
so inherently inefficient it should not be done. >> not sure they are coming on but there are concerns with political muscle. >> to agree or disagree on that. >> i hope in the last 3 hours you would not support my colleague. >> i want to give you an opportunity. i don't think we will litigate this now, but i feel this discussion because it is so seductive falls back into describing significant misdeeds of the past and that corrupts the capacity to think about whether this institution can design limits and approaches we can feel good about going forward. i don't mean to flatter you unduly but i have a bit of faith the congress of the
united states could get a set of requirements, the ideas we mentioned today, they stack up very nicely with the transparency and efficiency and there are a lot of process benefits. don't do it wrong. we if did a couple of those things we regret the conversation. >> we are so rarely flattered, thank you for doing that. >> mandatory spending, mandatory by whom? >> that is the joke all of you,
congress mandated its, it is 7% more on this. some point we have got to get congress looking at that too. i absolutely hope you and your colleagues don't return to the previous system. the only thing that is acceptable is congress beginning to clawback, different context to that word, the authority that i would argue unconstitutionally seated to the executive branch. only by congress taking greater charge and greater responsibility for spending that we begin to see the opportunity for congresswhen you talk about the 1% or 5% and twothirds, i honestly don't --
i will take the task of flattering you, and congress being able to fix mandatory spending, to prove that you can do a transparent merit-based competitive process, prove that congress has the discipline and the majority to make those decisions, let's see it happen where we can all disagree vehemently with mister sessions about which intersection in texas needs the money rather than it happening in a back room of this building, but neither i nor any of my neighbors have ever heard of. >> some of this money does not go to be spent by federal
agencies and departments, some goes to state governments to make those decisions which we have no accountability control over state governments, congress does. is there something we should be doing about that you give the thing that comes to mind, we send all federal highway money to the states to spend and we have no control over how the state department spends the money. there is something we should do about that. >> coness has no control, congress at some point -- >> earmarks -- at a minimum with the spending, for accountability and explain why
the nice folks, punish them in the future as they did it wrong. >> i would just add, holding them accountable, another area, the sandy supplemental, i am sure it will happen with harvey and maria, hard to track that money once it gets to the state level. there were 12 million in cdg d disaster money and $25 billion in what you just past and something where we argues for having special inspector general or some other way of tracking that funding and making sure to spend wisely and appropriately, people think it is all being squandered or wasted and it increases disaster assistance.
this is a constitutional responsibility, making political hits or not, the requirements of the job, we assume those responsibilities and take them seriously and exercise them, not relinquish them to bureaucrats who are unelected and unaccountable. many points of reform brought forward to make a system that might work, people in congress and more importantly american, that it is a process that is straightforward, sunshine is shining brightly on any part of the process. mister ellis, critics of the
old system is well-founded. words to the effect that no one wants to go back to that, no one here wants to go back to that. i have not heard anyone express to me we need to go back to the good old days where a wink and a nod and a pat on the back got you that highway project. >> i applaud all of you for bringing common sense into this discussion and things we needed to hear that the american people need to hear as well. the jury is still out. there are people on both sides of this issue, a lot of things to consider but this has been very helpful in moving the discussion forward. coming to a decision that won't be made by 13 people in this room. it will be made by the pentagon which rules we change, by the republican conference or the
entire body. which would be the right way to do this. a serious conversation we have to have. i have a few concerns even with form the there are many good ones. one of the things that left a bad taste in the american public's mouth and certainly in mine is exactly the things this can revert into. expressed by several members, with seniority and influence, or whatever, larger than it should impact on the kinds of things you can get accomplished when you are distributing value
measured in dollars. i think some of the things may help prevent that, making these requests for spending part of legislation, making the go through regular order, making them be part of the legislative process but i am listening specifically for how we prevent that, pay to play, undue influence that was the hallmark of the earmark. i am curious if you have any ideas how to enhance to prevent that from happening? >> that is one of the most
practical questions you have to grapple with and once you establish the rules there is a question how they operate in practice. we have to be realistic. there's a reason all of you aspire to be committee chairs. there is authority conveyed with accomplishment and that authority one cannot argue would disappear. there is also leadership. there are requirements to prevent any member from having however many earmarks, and we have a regular process, committee chairs will have more authority than anyone else, this is not a bad thing, the congress and the united states, the problem is not leadership but followership and the capacity of congressional leadership to help bring the
sides together about these difficult challenges. i'm not afraid of congressional earmarks but government shutdowns default on sovereign debt. the inability to provide the kind of support after disasters. i'm here to talk about earmarks, i am here because of this is done right it will significantly strengthen the capacity to deal with those bigger challenges and a little bit of stroke at the committee chair level doesn't bother me at all. >> what i outlined as far as the 2005 transportation bill and the bottom tier was $13 million, that was a structured
system. it is very hard to deal with that. someone is writing the legislation, the chairman and staff, the way to move forward. those are the concerns i don't know how you separate out which is why we move towards awarding the funding based on transparent criteria metrics and formula or merit or competition. that is the only way to guard against this, i remember congressman nunez had legislation that would limit if i recall correctly the amount of money appropriators could get as opposed to rank-and-file or something along those lines but rewarded the appropriators but limited the rewards, you wouldn't have a case -- this is appropriations but you have a case of $160 million in earmarks on his own more than any other lawmaker in congress
because of the appropriations chair. i am finding the piece of legislation out there several years ago but not endorsing it. >> the competitive process, formulas, the only thing that guards against this is greater transparency in the process, allegedly when congress started moving spending authority to the executive branch, they take these formulas and allocate it. someone has their finger on the scale, someone will put their finger on the . i always make sure my wife and i are sitting at the kitchen table having a monthly budget
discussion, i make a persuasive case about what i want to do and she wants to do. please don't -- >> i think that -- >> i never won one of those. you would get away that, more people being able to watch to see it happen. the appropriators playing their games, all of us having more eyes on the process, mitigates against that. seeing these decisions be made outside the full view of the public, that is when things get kinky. chairman so and so has his finger on the scale and on twitter and facebook and
youtube, he is playing this game. calling out the bridge to nowhere, that was huge. that was transparency at its best and the public speaking out loudly against abuse. the strongest thing you can do is formalize that. knock out a few of these walls so there is more sunlight and more opportunity for folks to be watching and paying attention. >> i was out of the room for a few minutes at a call with my governor. we have an impending disaster declaration happening in my district, a landslide. i don't know if it fully translates to what we are talking about here but the
comment was made, one congressman knows their district better but maybe the federal bureaucrat knows 434 other district better than that one congressman and maybe there is truth to that but i don't thk it is totally irrelevant that disaster in one person's district when my constituents are concerned with the need there, there is some correlation to be made to other kinds of things that are not in a disaster category but important economic development and safety and all kinds of other things and these projects could begin to be utilized. there is merit to that decision being made in the light of an office closer to pennsylvania, 1600, but here, with the windows open and sunlight
shining through. i appreciate the perspectives, complement the chairman for bringing a diverse set of opinions this morning, it is tremendously helpful for us on the panel and those people that are watching or will watch this recording. thank you for that. hope you keep yourselves available for us to use you as resources and with that i will yield back my time. i want to express my appreciation to your valuable addition to this conversation. >> these members take seriously not only your feedback to us but the daunting challenge, no one believes, based upon me but all of us, no problem is bigger than a solution. the gentleman from windsor,
colorado. >> thank you for holding this hearing and having diverse views on this subject matter. i appreciate that. mister grumet, you mentioned should not avoid having earmarks because of the misdeeds of the past. i am opposed to earmarks and i will use the keyword because of the reality of the president, not the misdeeds of the past. sometimes i i live in an alternative reality, many members -- sometimes i wish i lived somewhere else and i observe things that are fundamentally flawed in this case but very few people want to change them.
one of the interesting things we do every two years after the biennial election, is to have an office space lottery. depending when you came into congress we have a lottery and wherever you draw that lottery you are able to choose whatever office is open and yours goes into the lottery. if you are a freshman that is the way it works and that is the fairest thing we do in this place and i say that because we have foreign travel. if you vote the wrong way, i have talked to an appropriate or who voted the wrong way. and a week away, she was not allowed to travel because the chairman of the appropriations
committee at the time decided she voted against him in committee and not allowed to travel. i talked to steve king, a member from iowa who voted against leadership on an issue, going to egypt and was not allowed to go into meeting with the christmas -- going to egypt to meet with the president because it was denied. there are dozens and dozens of examples of code ls being denied. it is a reality of this institution that power will be used to accomplish the results of those that are more powerful. the same will be done with earmarks. not that earmarks could not be used in a positive way or 99% of the earmarks of the past haven't been used in a positive way. it is that they will be used
who are opposed to leadership or those in power. those will be used to incentivize those that favor those in power. there is a power, don't think he is one of the brightest people in the world, a former member that announced he had traded his those -- his vote on a particular bill for a $500 million project in the district. he had, quote, traded his vote for that purpose. it is unbelievable but that is what it -- everything but office assignment is based on power. if you want to committee assignment it is based on power. if you want a vote in committee especially if it is not a
committee you sit on it is based on doing favors. if you want a vote on the floor it is based on doing favors. if you think for a second that earmarks are not going to be based on power and who is in power and willingness to compromise to get to that position. unless you set it up in a way like the office assignments you are not going to get that earmark. that is my concern with earmarks. mister sullivan, i don't want to pick on you but you and i agree on many things and you are familiar with a gentleman named jesse, the former california state treasurer. he said money is the mother's milk of politics. i believe that is true. especially after coming to this
town that was true. and they go to the lobbyists and told lobbyists. if you give money to this member after they voted against me your projects will not cced in congress. they can shut down fundraising like they turn on the tap for members of congress. all those coercive effects will be utilized and earmarks will be just one more tool to create a power structure. there is a reason we have $20 trillion in debt, $100 trillion unfunded liabilities, congress on every occasion doing the right thing, used merit as a basis for our decisions and because we lack discipline, because we lack the ability to say enough is enough. this year, without the fiscally
conservative public -- republican party in charge of the house, senate and white house we will have somewhere between $700 billion, and $800 billion in debt. that is embarrassing. there is thoroughly embarrassing. we pass another cr this week to keep the government open so we can continue to spend money. earmarks are one more tool to spend more money than we have. they will not be used. i would love to see all three of you propose a program where we can pick what program we want to cut, would be a great thing, go into this appropriations bill and cut any item you want, 435 people can cut an item. that would get us back to a balanced budget. if you tell people they can spend money you are not going
to reduce the national debt or deficit, you're going to increase the deficit even though appropriators tell you, $20 billion here, in the $20 billion. the reality is $20 billion so we can spend more money and get reelected. the other mothers milk of politics is those. by holding a big check next to a project we are responsible for will get reelected. and the airport in pennsylvania or some other project, you will get reelected and that is what the object around this place is all too often. is se-interest getting reelected and i fear nothing about the misdeeds of the past, the reality of this place is if you don't play the game. if you are a conservative,
you're more concerned about the bankruptcy of this country than you are about the current ability to keep this government open, never get the kind of earmarks others will get, i thank the good lord every day, i have an office assignment based on a lottery or willingness to compromise. somewhere in the library of congress, it would be the size of a phone booth. i'm happy -- i am happy that i have the space i do. sorry i rambled on but from my own reasons, i think the ability of congress to create an earmark system that is fair and open is nearly impossible. i think the chairman and i
yelled back. >> thank you, mister chrman. an interesting day. going with my friends, he will takeou to the most fabulous dinner eating places in the world, he knows every place to go and i respect him greatly, he is a dear friend with a couple points. he gave a great description, i worked in the private sector, the public sector, never been in an organization in which those who tried harder to get rewarded more than those who didn't or got left out even when they did, like life fortunately is not fair. anyone who tells you it is is lying and i agree with him, that is part of the issue.
there is an interesting part that is interesting and appreciate them bringing this up because whether you agree or disagree the perverse nature, his district, if i saw a federal project, went to the county and city agreed with me. i came back up here and this is a -- i was actually told this. that was an earmark. taking money out, it -- not spending it with an earmark. not sure where we have gotten to in this. all the discussions i heard in the last several days, we have
policy discussions, here's how we can work on this and we had political discussions and i talked to several members from yesterday, that was the way it broke down. the chairman was spot on in bringing this hearing up, coming back from discussions of our conference and bringing it up, it is sort of funny because there have even been diverse and divisive tweets toward the chairman and others, the chairman said let's talk about this please how do you find that? that is what congress is supposed to be about but also taking personal responsibility. state legislature in georgia, then the governor, happened to be a member, long-standing
member of this body who was appear 18 years before he left, served on the health committee. we did a lot of stuff. what was amazing to me was how we did the budget in georgia. everything about the way we do the budget is an earmark. if you take it into that sense. i say that not to say i got to have this but constant oversight and discussion on every part of that budget. when you went down the list we had line items, we could go into the administrative, a discussion with one of our agencies and the agency was refusing to give us information we had asked for. secretary of the appropriations committee refused to give us the information so we went into subcommittee from this agency. went into administered of budget-cutting $300,000 off, came back in, voted it out, came back the next day, presented it for public vote, the agency that was their size,
passed it out to full committee and in less than 24 hours we had every document we wanted. that is oversight. we are the legislative body, we are going to oversight you and make sure of this. and didn't like my vote, wasn't even a bill. my friend from colorado said couldn't take my seat on the floor. me and others were moved out of office, i said at the end of the day, that was the speaker's prerogative. i chose to make this vote, i made the vote and he punished me, so what. i chose to do that. that is what every member has
to come to that conclusion on. vote for something, against something, doesn't matter, go for it and move on. that from my perspective as a conservative republican view, personal responsibility. you can never put enough locks on the door to keep a criminal out. you can never put enough boxes on things to make people not do something wrong. if they want to do something wrong. either way bring this back, don't bring it back, an issue in discussion, it is interesting especially when dealing with transparency issues and openness we talked about which is where we are going in all this. we made it darker in many ways. the internet and openness of twitter and everything else that helped out tremendously, people see stuff and that is a great part of government but there's also something the other gentleman from colorado brought up, i was not here but i was listening to the
testimony, goes back to something that is inherently broke and i got through leading the group at the direction of the speaker on the debt ceiling and the debt. it really cut across our caucus and needs to be a bipartisan issue because this -- my friend from florida will agree, we are just broken in this process and we have been broken for a while, not just us and them, it is all of us and from the ideological perspective of our conference, what we came out to was the debt ceiling until we understand a balanced budget and adding to the debt, until we go below that we are not going to bring the debt down. most of america did not understand, we didn't do a good job explaining. we always have the deficit until we balance the budget. doesn't get better on that one. what i found was after they talk about that, the issue of
the debt ceiling vote became the discussion, what can we do to begin to turn the corner here? earmarks is part of the discussion but it goes back to what mister cole said from colorado, i take even further view of this, what i found, you talk about how four times, i found something even more, i may be wrong, but so far checked it out. .. >> budget passed and taking the budget numbers without adjusting them and doing the appropriations bills and getting them done. we didn't have a time frame, just do it within the way the
law says. even up here on the hill, that's broke. that's failure, so, i think whate've got to look at here is every aspect of how we deal with this and it has to start with personal responsibility. number one versus one. and i think that this all goes back to you can bring back the earmarks and not bring back the earmarks, somebody, unfortunately, i don't know who it may be or whose party, but somebody up here we're going to do something wrong. you see it all the time. and it has nothing to do with an earmark being on it or not. the question is how do we best use the american people's dollars. and that's why we're here. that's why we're up every two years and we're so in tune with the american people. and my friend from colorado. if we don't take personal responsibility, if they weent care and don't acknowledge that life is not fair, get over it.
>> there's a guy that i have gotten into bow hunting, he has a saying and says on his shirt that says, nobody cares, work harder. frankly, first congress, nobody cares. work harder. we've got to do the best we can and i applaud this chairman for having these hearings and then up to the membership and leadership to figure it out, but we can't keep blaming the problems. process, the problems of an institution and who might do what and who gets what and who works harder and who doesn't work harder, this is about going out and doing it yourself. with that i yield. >> the panel has done an awesome job. >> from what perspective, when you don't want your picture with that failed project, people don't want a picture
with any project. they put it on there. we useded to have projects named all over their district and that's a problem, too, going to either side of the reasonableness test. thank you. i know this took a little longer than what i promised you, what i thought it would take, but this was very interesting and i want to say this, i think part of the process here would be when and if we do come up with some sort of recommendation, maybe we get that with the few of you, maybe in a public hearing, then have you shoot at something, because i think that what you're suggesting, each of you, we can get at. if we're noble about our job, then we can be noble about doing what's in the best interest of the country.
and i think constitutionally is where i err on that balance. would you please make sure whatever you brought in writing you leave for us, we appreciate your help, good luck and thank you very much. miss booth will help you make sure you get out of here all right and i thank you very much. okay we are now ready for a second panel. i'd lik to also state that t gentleman, tom wickam, parliamentarian in the house of representatives, spent a good bit of time up here, obviously. tom is worried not only how things work in the rules, manuals and procedures, but he wants to make sure we're effectively able to understand what we've done and i want to thank tom for taking time to be with us today. we'll now welcome our second panel. our second panel consists of gentlemen who we offered them into some comfort in the office
this morning. it's cold outside so they didn't have to cool their heels outside, but tom shaft, who is govern governor-- government waste, and from the texas department of transportation. gentlemen, you probably saw some good policy, probably saw some good theater, but i do offer to you that your presence here is just as meaningful as when we began in the first pan panel. i'm going to let you lead this off. both of you should know that whatever you brought in writing will be in the record and the gentleman from-- tom, are you rey? the gentleman government waste
will be recognized, thank you very much, sir. >> thank you very much for holding these hearings. citizens against government waste has been discussing earmarks since the first congressional pig book in 1991, what was then called pork barrel spending and known commonly as earmarks. at the time we found 536 earmarks worth $3.1 billion, following as was mentioned earlier under speak are gingrich, politicalization of earmarks and blew up to $29 billion by fiscal year 2006. that was the year after it was 24.8 billion in the 2005 highway bill. so that's $50 billion between the highway bill and the appropriations bill over a two-year period, as that led to the reforms that the democrats initiated with transparency and
eventually, when the republicans came back in 2010, they established the moratorium beginning in fiscal year 2011. i would also note in 2006 the republicans lost the majority. again, right after those massive amounts of earmarks. there are several consistent arguments in favor of restoring earmarks in the last day enough. members know bet where the money should be spent. and members are giving up power to the executive branch and no check on spending. earmarks never constituted more than 1% of spending and your $15 million figure is about the average over the years. it's been lower and certainly been higher. but 99% of expenditures occurred without earmarks. and the bureaucrats in charge of that money as well.
the members believe they should have greater control of spending and maybe everything should be earmarked and agencies won't have discretion and there should be more oversight and information that the housing money should be spent and if something isn't working come back and fix it through the authorization process. one of the few major reauthorization bills passed by congress, during the hearings, is the bill of 2014 which reformed how the army corps of engineers spent its money. if the congress is not happy with how that works, they should go back and do another reauthorization and reallocate the money. in 2016, congressional budget office identified 310 billion in unauthorized programs and agencies. some of which have not been authorized since the 1980's. 20 years ago, that amount was 35 billion dollars. house and senate budget committees held hearings on this issue in 2016, but more should be done. hr 2174, the unauthorized
spending accountability act would establish a process by which unauthorized programs would be considered by congress. the bill was referred to the budget oversight and government reform and rule committe now, i really encourage you to hold hearings on that legislation. some have said that earmarks have been around since the beginning. republic and yes, there was a white house, but it was limited in scope, but they were the exception of the founder father's view that federal money should be limited to matters of national importance. in 1822, president james monroe argued that federal money should be limited, quote, to great national work only. if it were unlimited it might be liable to abuse and evil. >> yesterday, congressman mark sanford it not use those exact words, but did talk about how earmarks create duplication, thoughts of more ear marks,
thoughts of more spending, as members are encouraged to vote for large spending for earmarks. the corruption included members of congress, staff and lobbyists going to jail. the unfairness occurs because a small number of members purloin a number of earmarks. the appropriations bill under the congressionally directed spending section, the 81 members of the house and senate appropriations committee who constituted 15% of the congress procured 51% of the earmarks and 61% of the money. for those members who may be told that they could get an earmark if they returned, they will not get quote, unquote, their fair share becau the process in and of itself is simply not fair and never has been. and it's not a coincidence that earmarks are being brought up as congress is about to consider an infrastructure
bill. many members believe that earmarks are essential to passing such legislation. however, the first federal aid highway bill had no earmarks the entire interstate highway is it i am established in 1956 had two earmarks. in 1986 president reagan vetoed a transportation bill had earmarks worth over a billion dollars. and more than 6300 earmarks worth 24 billion dollars including the infamous bridge to nowhere. many members are talking about taking back constitutional authority others said nothing could get done without earmarks. and congress passed the most comprehensive tax reforms since 1986. and also, eliminated a major provision of the affordable care act. clearly a lot can get done without earmarks. >> others said there's no
consequence, one of the members who spoke yesterday made that point. the constitutional authority to provide executive branch oversight rests with the congress. particularly the nine subcommittees and one full committee that include that term in their title. the question is whether members believe that earmarks should take the place of oversight. yes, congress has that constitutional authority to spend money and we suggest that it should be done with far greater oversight, accountability, greater authorization, rather than through earmarks. again, thank you for inviting me to testify. i look forward to your questions and i noticed the very thoughtful discussion and committee that cares about the process, and i very much encourage you to read my full testimony, 30 pages, story, it's long, but we've been doing this a long time. and in particular, i encourage you to look at a study that was done by the department of transportation, it's a review
of congressional earmarks through the program since september 7th, 2007 that reviewed earmarks in the transportation bill. very relevant to what may occur in the infrastructure process that may be upcoming. and it talks about how many earmarks came out of the fiscal year 2006 appropriations bill. 99 1/2% of those earmarks were added in the conference between the health and senate and never went through the house or senate, they were just done by members of the transportation committee. and some of the programs, all of the spending was earmarked. another program, more money was appropriated than had been authorized in the highway bill so they had to do across the board cuts and other programs. another report came out from dr. james savage, a professor at university of virginia in regard to the office of naval research and written about academic earmarks, where he has demonstrated that they are-- ther may be more of them, but
they are far less-- help scientific advance, than the earmarks that come through the agencies. as the naval research pointed out, earmarks doesn't come have administrative costs, but calls from members of congress. when they're doing the business that congress already asked them to do 99% that's not earmarked, they not only have to drop everything, they don't have the staff to address what the congress wants them to do and finally, there are earmarks identified in the reports in the department of transportation ig that are simply not statutorily permitted and on one they wrote despite the law and despite the statutory restrictions we're demanding that you spend money on this earmark. two of them were for bus and bus related facilities and there were no buses anywhere near the facility. one was a parking garage near a
hospital. how can you make this work and be done in a way that's fair? i'm not sure it can be. what we've found over the years when you start at $3 billion you end up with 29 billion and it's extremely difficult to restrain the number of earmarks, the areas of spending in which they may be limited, there's a legislation that limi it to the army corps of engineers and bureau of reclamation. the sponsor of that said there should be earmarks for roads, bridges, land management and maybe public schools. we don't see how it can be limited in either spending or scope and thank you for your time, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. you were invited to be a witness because of your lifetime at this issue and the way you break things down and
have for years is enlightening and i think your testimony yields itself in the facts of the case. thank you very much. we want today make sure that states were heard from. states serve an important role in this and the gentleman, we're glad you're here. >> thank you, chairman. we certainly appreciate the opportunity to be here as the texas department of transportation and provides testimony for your committee today. my testimony will focus on texas experience competing for funds distributed through federal discretionary grant programs. i hope through my testimony that you will gain insight into a large state's perspective on these matters. it's best able to serve our customers when we have an allowable funding with long-term development. with two state-wide propositions to tex-dot.
voters look at texas must investigate into structure. the employees and all the leaders of tx dot take seriously our role as public servants. we know that they've been valuable resources and we must use those resources in a responsible and efficient manner. tx dot uses those to maintain a comprehensive network that includes approximately 180,000 center line miles and-- the largest such highway system in any state in the u.s. on that system we carry over 500 vehicle miles traveled each and every day. our system also will-- in the state we have 53,000 bridges that we inspect. we have 292 airports, the largest such air system in the
u.s. and we have 406 miles of the gulf intercoastal waterway which is approximately 40% of the intercoastal waterway mileage. it's the nation's third busiest waterway and plays a critical role in the economy of the state and of the u.s. we also oversea over 2900 transit vehicles that are in operation that have received capital funding through tx dot and serve over 2.1 million customers through our travel information centers. one of the challenges in texas, i'll state the obvious, is our huge population growth. our current population is 27.7 million and it's projected to grow to 54 million by the year 2050. no other state has seen the explosive growth. between 2016 and 2017, texas grew by more than any other
state adding more than 399,000 people during that time frame. the u.s. census bureau reports that four of the top five fastest growing cities are in texas. also noteworthy, text's place as the 10th largest economy in the world ahead of canada, australia and russia. as you can imagine, this tremendous growth in texas comes with tremendous transportation and infrastructure needs and that's why governor gregg abbott working with our legislature has prioritized that texas has transportation funding to meet the growing needs of our state. and i'd like to take time to explain our internal processes when we do decide to apply for competitive discretionary grant and our experiences with these programs over the past several years. as i previously mentioned, texas has the nation's largest highway system and fastest growing population. in response to the growth of federal discretionary grant
programs, particularly the transportation investment generating economic recovery or tiger program, tx dot charged an internal group to look at funding opportunities, selection processes, department leadership and submit the grant applications. due to growing federal application requirements, the amount of staff time and departmental resources devoted to competing for the discretionary grants has also grown. with the addition of fast lanes now known as infra grant programs, texas had to supplement with consultant contracts to assist with application development and economic analysis in order to deliver what we believe are competitive applications. while tiger, path lane and largest grants that d.o.t. administers, there's congestion management technologies grant
program. we believe that we've consistently demonstrated strong levels of stakeholder support and involvement in all of our discretionary grant applications submitted today. including with our applications are support from government partners who share responsibility, elected officials at the local, state and federal levels and letters from private business entities. collaboration will always be instrumental to tx dot's success and tx dot assures that only meeting or exceeding the funding criteria are submitted. and demonstrate the following, strong financial leverage, inclusion in state pnning documents, significant completi of dign elements, engineering and environmental approval processes and strong support from project stakeholders. we also feel like we maintain a best practice when we follow up with the u.s. d.o.t. program
after the announcements are made. the purpose of the meeting are to gain insight into potential weaknesses, to identify components for improvement, and determine if these projects are worth investing in for future funding opportunities. the share of awards that have gone to tx dot through discretionary grant programs remains very small. as detailed in my written testimony, tx dot received 1.3% of total funds awarded through life of tiger program. 8% awarded through the fast lanes program and 13% of total funds awarded through the atcmtd program. of course, infra-award announcements are pending and tx dot submitted for current tiger and infra rounds. if you combine those three programs together, tx dot received 1 1/2% of the funds that have gone out through those discretionary programs.
when we look at the formula funding coming from federal highways we receive 9 1/4%. that 9 1/4% lags well behind the contributions of the state of texas to the highway trust fund. it actually ranks 1.9% less than what we contribute to the highway trust fund. the largest deficit of any state. as a matter of fact, the number two state, florida is at.37. so we're five times greater than the number two state. however, with our tremendous growth, and importance to the national economy, and the disparity we would see within that again, we have come up with 1 1/2% of the total funds allocated shrew the discretionary programs. i now would like to offer some ideas how state can partner to improve discretionary grant programs and should congress decide to go from the administration discretionary grants programs to
congressional directed spending, i think these could apply to either instance. first one is increase transparency. as a public agency, tx dot is accustomed engaging with the public. we understand the benefit of public involvement and we strive to operate in a manner that's transparent, accessible and responsive. similarly, we would encourage u.s. d.o.t. to provide information as awards are announced for each funding opportunity. public information regarding winning applications is often limited to a general project description and award information. it would be useful for all applicants to have access to additional information regarding the attributes of successful applications and how their project components met the funding criteria. in conjunction with increased transparency, u.s. d.o.t. would consider pubc sizing additional informationelated to the prioritization of specific aspects of the
criteria, including scoring criteria in the waiting for the different critericriteria. all are advancing in the selection process. clear requirements, such as minimum project costs, project type and project location help tx dot in the internal selection process and providing certainties that our applications will compete at the most basic level. by providing additional information to the public, u.s. d.o.t. could assist applicants as they select beyond the minimum requirements. and it may benefit congress and u.s. d.o.t. the implementation of discretionary grant programs alliance with intent. whether the selected projects will achieve the desired objectives of the program and whether the distributions are fair and equitable considering national performance needs. in moving ahead map 21, congressman dated that state's
implement performance based requirements. tx dot welcomes this and believes the principles should apply to federal funding decisions both formula and discretionary. to increase partnership and collaboration, u.s. d.o.t. could consider publishing guidelines for entities wishing to conduct application debrief meetings and it would be useful for u.s. d.o.t.o provide applicants scoring information and constructive feedback related to the specific deficiencies of each application. tx dot along with numerous other entities considered significant resources in application development. regardless whether the current selection process stands or more transparency is implemented, public entities would benefit from a simplified and streamlined process. for some entities the requirements result in an added burden or staff to necessitate
the hiring of consultants or contractors. with additional guidance with u.s. d.o.t. they could have benefits and impacts with a simplified analysis. we believe that tx dot division, since we work and partner on a daily basis on a wide range of issues, congress could consider allowing for collaboration on grant applications so states can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of these local federal officials that we work with on a daily basis and know our regions quite well. to conclude. tx dot is proud of the work we do and strong partners with the u.s. d.o.t., congress and legislature and all of our stakeholders, there are many parallels to the decision making process and we look at benefits to our transportation systems. again, we thank you for this opportunities and mr. chairman, if one last thing, if it's an
earmark or if it's administration discretionary funding we think it's critically important that whatever agency is going to be required or asked to implement that project be brought in before the award is made to see exactly where that project is at in the development cycle. often times, in the days of earmarks, people would get excited and get money for construction only to find out that the project hadn't even started environmental, hadn't begun to acquire right of way on the project. so to make sure that everybody has an understanding of what to expect and not expect, if that implementing agency could be brought in to just kind of check the status of where that project was at, we think that would be very beneficial to the process and once again, thank you. >> thank you very much. there's much that's been brought up today. you brought some real focus to state government. i don't need you to beat up
that process, but rather to offer a evaluatin evaluation. we have seen in some ga reports where people really didn't know why they were or were not selected or projects got no feedback. we're trying to take us into a position where you more readily understood why and what the criteria was. there something that you could help me with that would help us if we go to a process where we make recommendations? do we put it upfront, what the key criteria is? do we decide what the rules of the game are? how do we incent you to want to come fully participate, but also give the full incentive and here's the rules of the game? >> i think laying out the clear rules of engagement and clear rules how the project will be scored will be very important
and very welcome. >> that's scoring it once we saw it or only the winners you-- >> no, i think it would-- for us, it's helpful to have the debriefs with u.s. d.o.t. now. often times the feedback has been somewhat generic and we've been encouraged to reapply for the project, which one could interpret that the application on its merits was quite strong, but for whatever reason it ultimately was not awarded one of the grants so we've been encouraged to reapply. there have been times when they've had technical guidance and asked us on a railroad project to look at different size rail, higher weight could help us score better and the next year and the next go-round we did that and two or three times later we finally were awarded one of the grants for that. so that feedback loop is very important and i think going forward, and i'm assuming that
it's-- would, in this example would remain an administration discretionary program, to be able to see how your specific project scored or where it scored well, where it may have fallen short in certain aspects, would be helpful to se okay, do we need to strengthen our application or do we perhaps need to look for different projects to submit in the future. >> it's just very time consuming when you engage in that process, and so, give you an idea, all right. one last question i've got, holding people accountable, we've spent a good bit of time talking about members, holding them accountable, what might be a good way. how do we hold a local entity accountable? is there a process that tx dot and you believe across the country where you're engaged in
to avoid what i would just term the normal waste, fraud and abuse. not corruption so much, but influence peddling that a particular vendor might always get a project or how that might happen? because part of the matriculation, in my mind, would say that a member of congress cannot be involved in the selection of who might do something. do we need to put a criteria on the person that would receive it or the state or the city? >> so the -- for us, all of our bids go through a competitive low bid process. so, unless in the bid specifications you have a proprietary product, you're going to have competition and so we very rarely we try and avoid having a proprietary product in our bid specs because that eliminates competition.
>> you mean like a sole source contract. >> correct, there may be a polymer into goes into asphalt that makes it last five times as long as anything else and there may only be one producer of that, or there may be multiple suppliers, but we'll look at that and have to give consideration to that. one of the things that we do and we work with, we have 25 metropolitan planning organizations in the state of texas and before any federal dollar can be spent within their jurisdiction, that mpo must approve of that expenditure. and so, one of the things through the direction of our state legislature that we're working with, with our mpo's, is kind of this performance need and performance basis. we want to better understand how the mpo's go through and select projects in their areas with the dollars that have been provided to them, and then our commission kind of overseas that to make sure that there's a high level of comfort with the processes that are in place
at that local level. >> interesting. i will tell you that i think that your lifetime of seeing these things will be important to us. he gave us, really, good feedback about if you don't measure three times or saw incorrectly, there are devastating consequences to what you do, and i think we've got to make sure that we do to correctly. gentleman, dr. burgess. yes, if you would, ease, i've only been here a couple of hours, but i've got to go for a few minutes and i'd ask the gentleman to please take my pla place. place. >> myself for the balance of the time.
well, i just want to say how much i appreciate you being here and appreciate the testimony that you've provided for us, the chronological outlay that you have provided, having been here for a number of years, i actually went through many of those as a first person experience and it was sometimes good, sometimes the opposite of good to relive those, but i really -- i did like the way you finished up with the fact that this year house, at least appropriations deals done before the end of the year, big tax done, individual mandate, all accomplished without any type of taxpayer funded inducement in the form of an earmark, that's a powerful statement, don't you think? >> thank you, mr. burgess, mr. chairman. yes, it is an important point because, again, many of the members who testified yesterday, many of the discussions we've been hearing around the hill has been about earmarks are essential to get things done.
they're not. and to be even more-- make another point, the republs have been inower since 2010 and the first thing they did was to establish the earmark moratorium. it's going to be a difficult year, period. the senate has already said they will extend the earmark moratorium. even if the house makes a decision or comes up with something between now and then, it's kind of a fruitless exercise because senate has already said no. so i appreciate the discussion about thinking about how things might be done a little differently, might be done better, might be doen with more oversight, but we were looking-- while i was preparing my testimony, for a list of oversight hearings in the house, couldn't find it. you have to go to each committee and even there you don't necessarily know exactly what they did. gao issued since 2011 now, seven annual reports on duplication and fragmenttation. they said about half of those
recommendations have been implemented. in my view, that's what congress should be looking at and they should be doing reauthorization of $310 billion in programs before they even think about circumventing that process because that's what earmarks do. mr. bass made a good point how the metropolitan planning association starts at the bottom and makes its way up. one of the things we've talked about is sends gas money back to the states, where the decisions are made. when it comes up to washington, particularly if members of congress start substituting their process, and they haven't been there. for 99% for how the money gets spent, that's an excellent description of how it works in transportation. it works the same way in all other agencies in washington d.c. whether it's housing, or education. my father was president of our local school board. people in the communities know what goes on in local areas.
they vote for more or less property tax to help fund the schools. and a member of congress comes along and says, well, this school down the block needs the money more than this school. well, that's superceding the expertise of what the local community has decided. and there have been many examples of that, unfortunately. so, i appreciate your comments and appreciate the opportunity to make sure that members who are not here understand what happened and why and what may or may not happen in the future has to be extremely careful. >> i do recall, i don't know whether it was 2004 or 2005. the labor appropriations bill was brought to the floor. and it was brought to the floor without earmarks and failed. and that was sort of a, you know, demonstrative, here is the-- here is the proof that you
can't pass a bill of this size without earmarks. and again, i think you have-- you have adequately refuted that concept just by what everyone here has experienced this past year, and certainly, we saw that with our own eyes. mr. bass, obviously, you and i come from the same state and a lot of the things that are being discussed today on how do you do the merit-based assessment and the merit-based assignment where the funding goes, you've referenced-- i think we've done two state constitutional amendments the past couple of years who increase highway funding, no increase in the gas tax and the state is growing at such a rapid clip that the demands for infrastructure state has difficulty meeting those demands, so as a consequence, i think if i understood the
measures correctly and there was some bond indebtedness taken on by the state to expend in transportation projects and then some removal of diversions have the state gas fund to allow for additional projects. but then, i will have to tell you, i feel a little like mr. mcgovern on this, he had 635 and it sucked up every dollar and a district like the 26th district that's north of dallas, denton county, rapid, rapid growth area, but you know, we're not really urban, we're not rural, we're one of those transition areas that is going rapidly from rural to urban and it has been difficult, even at the state level. to get the attention-- of course, i feel should be necessary for those routes. so, i mean, it does--
it does open then the thought process, is there some way that this could be impacted to benefit the district that i represent. >> well, and i think that challenge happens at a national level. how much does each state need for transportation. texas needs more, i'm sure everybody else would say the exact same thing. >> no, texas needs a lot more. >> yes, we do need a lot more. within the state, every region thinks that they need more. again, each of our 25 metropolitan planning organizations would probably say they need more and then within each mpo, you know, they are dealing with, so the north central texas council of governments for dallas-fort worth has 20-plus cities within its boundaries, it's dealing with that same issue, east and west, within the metro plex, where there's a need here and they're directing money here so
there's only so much money so they're working to create that balance. and so, in texas we do have a commission, five-member commission appointed by the governor and they allocate funding, but and then our planning document, we have a 10-year planning document and there is some money that's kind of held to the side, if you will, that it's the commission's discretion, so if they do see a gap, a funding gap and a critical project that needs to move forward, they have the ability to add money to that particular region to help advance a particular project, and then they can do that across the state. >> and how much flexibility is there inherently? and that's a state structure. how much flexibility is there? because we are growing rapidly and in some cases the growth is quite predictable, but in other ways, it perhaps wasn't predicted. i'm thinking particularly the location of the toyota
headquarters in plano, texas, that's colin county, but i think a good number of their employees have figured out the property taxes are a lot cheaper on the denton county side of the line and we're very close and as a consequence, we've got a large new neighborhood literally springing up in a couple of month's time. so, do you take that type of-- or perhaps the growth wasn't anticipated in an area and it is now exceeding what the expectations, is there a way you have the flexibility to take that into account? >> yes, and within texas we have a formula, much like federal highways to the states, we have a formula which where much of our money, not all of it, but much of our money is allocated out to the metropolitan planning organizations to the mpo's, and so, as you get, you know, these population growth spurts that start to be accounted for in that formula whi also includes vehicle miles traveled, truck mileage, different factors like that. so as you see the population
increase, that metropolitan organization will get more money. now, one. challenges may be within a big metropolitan planning organization, you know, you may have a pocket that's growing faster than expected and how does that mpo deal with that unexpected growth. they would need to do that, come together as a region, and make those tough decisions. >> thank you. i do appreciate the graphic that you've shown us on the tiger grants and fast lanes. i don't want to be accused of misinterpreting it, but it doesn't look like the percentage that came back to the great state of texas was in any way commence rate, it doesn't look fair and equitiable to me. am i overcalling that? >> obviously, i don't think so. i think you're spot on, and even, you know, one. challenges, again, for us,over time, over the last 20-plus years, whether it was congressional earmarks or
administration discretionary grants, we receive less money through that process than we do through the formula process. we happen to think the formula is flawed. it's continuing to use 2005 census data so the last 12 to 13 years of growth doesn't factor into that. the state of texas although we have additional demands we're not seeing it in the formula, but again, from a very simplified financial, youknow, door one or door two, 9 1/4% through the formula or 1 1/2 through discretionary grants, we'll choose the 9 1/4. >> yes, sir. >> if i may, and again, in relation to what mr. bass talked about in the report it says, our review of 7, 760 earmarked project value 8.05
billion, federal highway transportation, federal transit, federal aviation, those programs 7, 724 of the 7,760, 99%, either were not subject to the agency's review processes or bypassed the state's normal planning project, in other words, earmarks. so this entire process that mr. bass just described was superceded by members of congress in those 7760 earmark projects. >> in fact, i am concluded and i-- >> no, i'll yield to you, you're recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just wanted the year on that? >> congressman hastings, this was september 7th, 2007. >> '07, so it follows the
highway bill and appropriations. it's an excellent example of what happens in the appropriations process and followed by the authorization process. it was requested by dr. coburn when he was in the senate and again, i really do recommend that members look through this because it's illustrative of what happens in the process to transportation programs because i know a lot of members say we should be more involved in makes these decisions, but when you have 99 to 100% of the projects being earmarked, it's a problem. i actually would ask you to enter this into the record. i did summarize it in my testimony, but feel free to-- >> excuse me. >> we'll see if we can reproduce that. >> yes, it's available on-line as well. i didn't enter it with my testimony, it was just my testimony. so i'm happy to enter it now. >> put that in, mr. chairman. there were several written testimonies and i would ask you
unanimous consent that all that the chair received he make a part of the record without trying to identify them. i know the institute, freedom works, off the top of my head, a couple of those. mr. schatz, at your agency or place of business. >> yes, sir. >> you analyze government was waste. where is the most government waste? >> citizens against government waste the grace commission under president reagan and out of 424.4 billion dollars that the grace commission identified in wasteful spending 25% was related to the pentagon. so, we have not hesitated to certainly make sure and, in fact, following, i recall the 2010 election when the republicans took back the house, i think there was 35 or 36 conservative groups that said don't forget about defense spending when you're looking at
where you could make cuts in wasteful spending so we don't spare anything. our organization, also, promoted the base closing commissions among many other recommendations. and i'm glad to see they're auditing the pentagon, i'll believe it when i see it and-- >> and that's confirm tri of what i hear all the time when very occasionally, members point out the waste in medicare and medicaid, and i always say to them, i could go right across the 14th street bridge and show you a substantial of amount of waste as well. and that needs to be carefully considered when we are undertaking measures here. but you do understand that some members feel that it's
particular particularly beneficial for them to be able to direct spending and not so much for election puoses, but for identifiable proam a projects in their respective districts and the earmark measures allow that they could undertake to do something, but without it, some members feel that they are unable to help at all. you do understand that. >> oh, i do, congressman and i do understand the everglades issue and i've seen what your colleague has written about the need. as i recall those projects were funded at the amount requested by the administration. clearly everybody wants more, everybody has a project or two in their district and then when you start getting through all of those projects, 33,000 requested the last time they had earmarks, it's in my view very difficult with your staff, appropriations staff and
others, to literally substitute their judgment on the quote, unquote merits, because the projects' being judged against each other, are they judged against the criteria? i heard mr. elliss, he mentioned we worked together on the project. he was essentially describing what goes through the authorization project. if we're talking 15 billion or 1% of spending to me it should be folded in together with more oversight and authorization. there are always going to be projects that don't get funded simply because there unfortunately isn't enough money and there are other projects that need to be funded for the state leve >> yeah,well, we do try to have robust oversight, but the agency's very capable of having the ball and that creates a problem for us, and another thing that happened, i do want to say this and i know that
it's a controversial statement when i make it, but i have never shied away from too much controversy. with that said, not you two gentlemen who i appreciate so much or the others that were here, but a lot of talk about the bridge to nowhere. it depends on whether or not you were in that area that needed a bridge and therefore wasn't a bridge to nowhere, it was a bridge to somewhere that folks didn't like how it got authorized. and the late senator ted stevens wasn't doing that with any thought in mind, i don't think, of anything that was harmful, those 3,000 plus people that lived on that other side. it was a bridge to somewhere. and in many instances, and i use bridges as afo for-example.
when i came here there were 14,000 bridges in this country in need of repair and today, the numbers are way in excess of that amount. as a matter of fact, it's more than 100,000. and that said, i would like to see an analysis on how many bridges were built as a result of earmarks versus just leaving it to the vagares of democracy. and you pointed out that sometimes when we get the earmarks we don't have them properly vetted and so, considerations of the local communities are not undertaken properly and the earmark is there, but then you still have permitting and environmental considerations and i thought
that was particularly helpful. both your presentations are enlightening and i parallel when i'm listening to you, i'm listening to my department of transportation and i know you all know each other, but i would be interesting to know and you almost touched on it, when dr. burgess asked you about it, you have been around a while and so you know when earmarks were in force, what if anything transportation received from the department of transit, transportation, or t-dot, or the local community from your delegation, and you have a large delegation like we do, and therefore, my question
is, do you feel that more resources came to texas by way of earmarks for transportation or less after earmarks? >> i think at the end of the day, again, if you compare earmarks to formula funding, earmarks, we always lose. . >> wow. >> that's true. there is discussion earlier, well, even when president bush was in, that was an era of earmarks so the administration wasn't controlling the earmarks, so, no, it was not, you know, great, great days in the state of texas for transportation because president bush was in office. we still would have received more money had the money that was allocated through earmarks gone through the formula process. >> i follow you and that's been consistent over time. >> i wish i had the time and i
will with our colleagues at another time talk about fix grants and what transpired in the clinton era. but i also will point out that in the obama administration and in the bush adminiration very occasionally grants were ma made-- grants, not earmarks, and members weren't even told that the grants were made. >> if i may, we have an example of that, so between the mainland and south padre island in texas there's a two mile long bridge, queen isabella causeway. the city of brownsville won $10 million to add bicycle and pedestrian facilities to the bridges. two miles long, 10 million probably is not going to get it
done. we didn't know anything about it as the d.o.t. it's our bridge, it's on our system and for safety concerns, as you can imagine, it's a bridge that doesn't have wide shoulders so more than likely if you add bicycle and pedestrian you're probably going to have to add concrete and infrastructure to that bridge and there's likely no way that that's ever going to happen for 10 million, but that 10 million is now on the books and sitting idle because it can't, can't complete the project. >> mr. schatz, you were going to say? >> yes, you asked about earmarks in general and how they work or don't work and their effectiveness and in my written testimony there's a section about academic and scientific research and i mentioned dr. james savage briefly with this office of naval research report and reviewed academic research and ins a quote from the harper's magazine to summarize what he said. academic research is supposed to be peer reviewed, the best
scnce wins out. with earmarks, quality has nothing to do with it. schools have research funds because they're in a powerful district or have the money to hire a lobbyist. that was big business back then. study october 2007 from the bureau of national research, paper on academic research found the political's representation is a predictor whether that university received earmarks and the average earmarks of the appropriations committee abouts three times higher than noncommittee members and research to lower impact than does competitive funding, i had mentioned that earlier and this is more precise. universities that received earmarks funding at one time do not subsequently improve their research standing. if the purpose of academic research in the united states government through the agencies which improve scientific research, they did not have that impact. >> that's interesting and here
again, if i could exercise personal privilege, when i was able to earmark, if i just used academic institutions as a for-example, i helped to get earmarks for florida international university. university of miami, florida atlantic university, indian river community college, broward community college, or just to mention a few and if i were to go, you know, in the southeast and when i think about carl and what have you, none of them were in my congressional district, but the-- it's sort of like the good tha we do, buried with us, with the evil lives on. [laughter] >> you understand. so i do appreciate both of you and i wanted to say to you mr. schatz.
you obviously prepared extremely well and in light of the fact that you paid attention to yesterday's hearing as much as you did, i just want to say that you're as much a glutton for punishment as we are when we came here. [laughter] >> but thank you both for your enlightening testimony and your patience. i yield back. ... i think it is, no matter the
process, people who work the process, determining what is good and what is bad how we actually do this, look at it honestly. look at programs we do like, programs we don't like, are they working? and also the human element. i heard mr. hastings say this. there is knowledge by member, knowledge of a district from all of us sitting up here is a says for certain program, there is reason obviously may look wrong or right either way. that is the human element that needs to be here. this hearing is good, what is does of anything, we need to be transparent what we do. we need to do what we do better. thanks for what y'all have done. thanks for sitting through the first panel being here today. i yield back. >> chair thanks the gentleman. gentleman yields back. the gentleman from alabama.
>> thank you, for the lengthy email he sent before the hearing. i know you have a lengthy document that you will leave us with. i appreciate that. talk about the one thing in your email, myth and reality. myth, earmarks are distributed equally among members of congress. your reality says, this is most egregious claim by earmark problem points. in 111th name of members of congress who obtained earmarks, 81 house and senate appropriators or 15% of congress had 51% of the earmarks and 61% of the money. for those members of congress who did not sit on committees, who were not senority they did not share eally in earmarks. would you expand that. >> i'm not suggesting that there should be equal share of earmarks. let me clarify that. what we point out, everyone knows the appropriation
committee members write the bills. one testified yesterday, i have my local community take it directly into the bill, push it through. that circumvents the process mr. bass described. that, sr. with the money goes because those bills get written. there is conversation about members putting little stickies, staff writing earmarks at last minute. 99% of the earmarks, were transportation in congress. that room might be smaller than this. independent is extremely difficult for members who may have a project in their district to get it into a particular appropriations bill. what it also does is it tempts members to vote forelegislation they might not ordinarily volt for, particularly fiscal conservatives. many members had high ratings with the citizens against
government waste and lobbying arms with our vote ratings in 2000 when there were earmarks. they otherwise voted for fiscally conservative principles but they still got earmarks. those numbers i by the way have gone up, on average the ratings have been higher since the earmarks disappeared because there is less temptation to vote for bills that are bloated in the appropriations process. i would argue that spending has been restrained. obviously budget control act had something to do with it, but all 12 bills were passed. restraint is better without earmarks, members are not tempted with a few million dollars earmarks to vote for hundreds of million dollars appropriations bill. >> flip that around. some people say we need earmarks to get people to vote for legislation. how would you respond to that? >> talking about transportation in particular, i urge members to read the report, share it with
your colleagues, it is extremely important to understand what happened after the highway bill in the fiscal year twix appropriations bills -- 2006. we're almost in that situation again. it circumvents the process. members come in, ask for these projects, to me it makes it harder in some ways because you've got members who come in say i want six earmarks. and the way that it worked is, if you were on the, mr. ellis described this in his testimony, if you were on the transportation committee, the chairman got a billion, the chairman of ways and means got 700 million, he wasn't even on transportation. it was literally a formula based on where you sat on that committee. so your highway project may have been the most important in the country but if you didn't sit on that committee you weren't going to get all the money. >> i appreciate your insight about that. i do appreciate the indepth work
you've done on this i yield back. >> chair thanks the gentleman. gentlema yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from the appropriations committee, mr. newhouse. >> new member of appropriations. been there not even 12 months yet. thank you, mr. chairman. and thank both you gentleman, mr. schatz and mr. bass, for being here today and being patient. i know you've been waiting since the hearing started at 10:30 even yesterday. i had to be gone for a few minutes of your testimony so i didn't get the benefit of hearing everything that you have had to say today so i apologize for that but, and i think from what i have heard though at least mr. shiatsus, you would probably fall under the category of being against going back to any kind of a earmark system, which think all of us accurately
would be agreeing with that. we don't want to go back to anything but keeping status quo is more accurate what your position would be. i don't want to put words in your most but probably what i am getting from it. mr. bass, you seem to at least, from your statistics, texas department of transportation seemed it fair better in a system of not using earmarks. which speaks i guess to also not us moving towards a system of congressionally-directed spending. but there are aspects of this that i wanted to try to see if i could get some reaction from you. it is not frustration of members of congress is not just getting money for projects. there is an example, a couple of examples in my district, if i could relate to you the
definition of an earmark is something you know can be somewhat sub what objective and weighing and used in situations that don't necessarily have a dollar figure attached to them. one, if you, indulge me. one example in my district, clearly in my view is, has deterred economic development, for instance the port of kenowit, which you may have heard of, located in the tricities in central washington. they had a piece of land conveyed to them by the u.s. army corps that deed specified restricted, that the land be used only for industrial uses. the port sought to change that to allow that land to be used for mixed use.
changing that deed required an act of congress, and i can tell you that was blocked for a long time because that was deemed an earmark. no dollar figure attached to that. no appropriation of money. and so as the frustration, does that really, something that, one would characterize as simple change, is that really constitute a misuse of taxpayer dollars? does it threaten transparency? does it really threaten oversight if an earmark, definition of use is not used there? so that's one example where not asking for any money, just asking for change of words on a deed. another example, i come from the state of washington, maybe, i'm not sure where you're from,
mr. schatz the state of texas also has water issues. those of us in the west, what's the old saying whiskey is for drink and water is for fighting. it is truly is the, an essential part of life for our economy, for our communities, for industry, for agriculture, for recreation, for wildlife habitat all those type of things so my short time in congress i spent a lot of time fightg for the ability of those of us in the west to get projects approved. so it is really frustrating when we have buy-in, investment of local government, state government, all the studies completed, when things have been looked at every which way but sunday on whether or not they're feasible and we can not get
authorization by the federal government. i can not propose legislation on that because that is deemed an earmark. i have communities struggling because of the availability of water. so again, does that fall under that same category? can you sit here and tell me that there is no reform that needs to be made, no changes need to be made to the status quo? that we should go on as we are while these kinds of things perhaps are being caught up inadvertently, what was good intentions i'm sure, i know, to a system that had grown corrupt but is impeding the ability for economic development, for communities to grow and prosser prosser -- prosper, more american citizens to realize the same thing other american citizens have the ability to live and grow in their
communities? that is part of the frustration many of us feel. i wanted to get some reaction from you from your points of view. >> congressman, i would, i think all of those issues can be addressed in the authorization process. excuse me, they all can be addressed in the authorization process and not appropriations process. >> but they're deemed earmarks. >> i understand. in the wrda bill of 2014 if they were not fixed or done in a way that allows flexibility, that flexibility can be provided for he have project like that across the country. again the issue is, can a member of a committee or anyone in congress say, i have this particular project and i am essentially writing the bill or sitting on the appropriations committee, therefore i'm able to do it? because i'm sure there are projects all over the country. maybe a common problem needs to be addressed. maybe your colleagues also have this issue. whatever happened in the 2014 wrda bill can be fixed with a technical amendment.
that is not earmark. you're fixing the money is spent across the country. that is always concerned about these kind of situations. everyone has something to be fixed writing a provision in a bill and it may help economic development. if it is not done uniformly or done? one or two or three places where it is disproportionate for everyone else. >> sure. fairness, is, absolute, statement was made that texas needs more. everybody needs more but texas need as lot more. i would say washington needs a lot more too. we all wan to be fair to each other. so a fix would have to be uniform, unilateral across the board but that is some of the restrictions that weac tod. andognizing that part of the reason for this hearing today, to be able to ininvestigate, look deeper, to shine a light on
system we have, how do we make it better. mr. bass, do you have any comment? >> just one on the water. in working with the corps there is a process, at times a lengthy process to go through the feasibility study, get the chief's report and go through it. it gets added to the wrda bill but then omb gets involved and goes through a separate and different scoring process and in a project that may have gone through this lengthy process with the corps may not score well under omb. so it never ends up in the administration's budget. we find ourself in that situation in texas as well with the couple of different projects and i don't know how to balance that but it is a challenge because after you've got through a lengthy process, you think you're close to the finish line,
no, now you're on the bell lap, you're on the final lap and if you can't pass through omb then it is not going to probably bode well for that particular project >> well, anyway, i do appreciate, mr. chairman's giving us the opportunity to talk about these issues and appreciate you folks coming in to share your expertise and your perspectives. i think it has been a great opportunity for those of us on the panel to listen and learn. that's exactly what we intended to do here. i have said before the jury is still out on this. no one's decided one way or the other but it is certainly important to hear from folks on the outside of congress so that we can learn from your expertise. with that, mr. chairman, i will yield back.
thank you. >> congressman newhouse, thank you very much. i want to express my confidence and thanks in judge alcee hastings to be a the past this. judge hastings said we were agreed to talk about a difficult issue properly. it is my hope you as witnesses an anybody watching this on c-span will see that the rules committee really, i think, asked leading edge questions, got more than leading edge answers and in testimony that enlightened us. i think you gave us not only much to think about, but from a philosophy perspective you begin arguing in your own mind should everything just go back on a priority basis? what good are we of the unite states if everything is on 12/20
or 1/17 or 1/50 basis. texas pays, ands i get it only donor state? >> correct, depending how you look at it -- >> all depend how you look at it. >> there is numbers but given the current math at u.s. dot we in colorado, i'm not sure if there is another donor state. i think nebraska. >> those states yell they are not getting back. why do we collect it in the first place? what good are we? well, we're the united states and we're trying to keep us together. we argue, fuss, and fight over emergency spending. and i well remember some of the people that are the quietest, meekest, nicest people in this body, john thune included, all of a sudden south dakota flooded
badly. became a little bit engaged, more engaged his first year of congress. i can't say what's right or wrong. but what i can say we were not afraid to take on this issue and there are some that suggest that i'm trying to do one thing or the other. i'm trying to hear from people. i've been tasked. my job as chairman of the committee to bring this committee together. you have seen how on both sides, including in our members that spent nine of, first 2 1/2 hours i think as we got to noon came a little bit more difficult but we take our job seriously and i would like for people to view us as serious and we're willing to be told the truth. you were here to tell us the truth today. i want to thank both of you and your staffs for not only participating today but perhaps
more importantly some, from some of the follow-up that is going to be necessary i think we may come back to you and ask some questions. tom, i will tell you your confidence in what we do is important, even if we kind of go maybe 15% different than what you think. what i would say to you is your feedback, i would still like to be 100% with you. i'm wrong at least some of the time but the american people do need to get their money's worth but they also need to make sure that it's done is in their best interests. so, it is a tough, tough angle to get. i want to thank the gentleman, mr. collins, for sitting in the chair, for a long, long time yesterday. yesterday was a little bit vigorous. tom, evidently you saw it. some vigorous action took place here.
we come from a body where people have strong opinions. judge hastings you represent some of those strong opinions late. sir, do you want to offer any advice. you were a part of this and i appreciate -- >> no problem, mr. chairman. i appreciate very much we have gone forward with it. i only just to clean up one thing, you were not here when i made the unanimous consent or request that the written testimony of other individuals, senators, former senators, and other organizations be made a part of record. >> without objection that is agreed to. we will do that. >> i have a side from that i really appreciate all of what has transpired and compliment our full committee as well as the presenters of the ones here now, ones that were here yesterday. >> i think it was worth our time. i personally want to thank you and your chief for the time that
she invested in this project too. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> so, what's going to happen, you y'all may want to hear this, i would probably do it while we're here. for the record we have a number of items will be entered. one of them will be statements submitted by jeff davis, senior fellow, eno center for transportation. most interesting things that also came from mr. schatz' organization there, national taxpayer union sent us some very, very worthy not only information but some that we will take from nan swift, director of federal affairs dict nator ofnal taxpayers union. we g this letter which was most interesting, center, campaign for accountability citizens for responsible ethics in washington, democracy 21, government accountability project, thomas e. mann, norman,
project of government oh sight, public citizen, and they asked that be a part of this. we actually invited former member of this body the gentleman, mr. pa net tax the gentleman -- panetta, secretary panetta could not make this gentleman part of this body, mr. tom coburn provided us feedback that i make sure we all get. senator jim demint, well-known young man who served in this body. freedomworks, jason pai, vice president of legislative affairs freedomworks, united states states house of representatives, power of the purse, this came from drew white, senior federal policy analyst at texas public policy foundation. one of my city council members, some could say ply favorite city councilmember, he is a dear
friend, lee kleinman from dallas, texas, testimony from city councilmember, dallas city council. campaign for accountability, and other outside witnesses that really provide us great information that we alluded to. we'll make sure we get copy of those and our awesome ten -- stenographer will get those. i thought that the professional nature of your presentation was exceeded only by your own personal performance and i appreciate that very much. do you have anything before you leave that you would like to close this with? was it timely and favorable do you think. >> mr. chairman, i want to thank you and judge hastings and your committee and your staff for your hospitality and appreciate your willingness to hear all of these comments about this very,
very important issue. i have no doubt you're being an honest broker about this. i've known you for many years. i know what every you do you do with the utmost integrity even if we only agree 96% of the time. >> i will also call you before we do it. i'm not a mathematician. i'm a statistician. i will let you check my math. >> mr. chairman, thank you for inviting us to be here today and as you go forward if we or the staff of techside or the you or any member of this committee, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. >> director, we appreciate you very much. this now closes the hearing portion we began on wednesday, today thuday. we have now completed our testimony. thank you.