tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN March 17, 2016 3:15pm-5:16pm EDT
on topic, none of them dealt with the lead issue until later in the process because the experts continuely said there was not a problem. >> did you deal with any other issue that presented a health condition to the people that were drinking that nasty water? >> there was one -- there was multiple concerns, the one that arose, that was a major issue was tthm. >> i know what it is. >> in particular, we had to address that issue. and we worked to get relief to the city of flint. >> i see a lot of discussion taking place and i don't see a lot of work being done. i don't see a lot of accomplishment took place. let me go to something else, you campaigning and said that the government should be run like a business, your administration and the emergency managers you appointed to control the city of flint gambled with the health and welfare of the people in your city in order to save money. and those people through no fault of their own are now paying that price. governor, i want to know, i want to know, did that emergency
management system fail under your leadership in this instance? >> in this instance, it would be much to the case i that have. as you wished they would have asked more questions and pushed harder. >> is that a yes or no? >> in this particular case, with respect to to the water issue, that's a fair conclusion. >> it's a very important issue, since it negatively impacts the health and we'll fair of children, impacting their ability to laesh and be successful in life. your own former adviser, dennis sheranack learned the lesson, because he said that government was allowing the citizens to be on the losing end. were you wrong to run that government like a business? >> in terms of running it like a business, a government is not a business. >> it isn't. >> why should you say it should be run like one? >> in terms of accountability and measurement and delivering
results to the people and in terms of not just flint but the state of michigan, i'm proud we did things as healthy michigan bringing medicaid to citizens, and bringing dentedal care to children with no dental care. >> you can talk about what you want, but i'm going to ask what i want to walk. when the elected leaders wanted to switch back to safe drinking water, your hand picked manager overruled them saying it would be incomprhensible do you agree? >> in retrospect, it would have been funding the cost. >> let's talk about the cost. you had the money, you amass a budget surplus. so, why wouldn't you think that it was worthy to apply those resources in this situation? >> i'm sure you're familiar being in congress, the chief executive, the governor or
president doesn't simply spend money, we needed authorization to the legislature. i had no control. >> did you go and ask for the authority? >> we asked for the grant that we could at that time in terms of helping with the water in flint. >> do you know -- >> the gentlewoman's time exp e expired. >> thank you, the only other statement i would like to make is it would seem to me that the buck stops there. >> the gentlewoman will suspend. gentlewoman's time expires. we will now recognize the gentman from new jersey. >> to both of you, i'm troubled today because of the testimony we had a couple of days act, that would indicate that even though there's enough blame to go around, there were a number of times where people acted like it was not their fault. governor, your emergency management testimony from the
witness here, was troubling, he acted like, well, you know, i didn't know, i didn't know. so, governor, do you believe that there were people who made mistakes within your agency at multiple levels, in terms of addressing the health and welfare of the people of flint? >> yes. >> ms. mccarthy. i'm going to ask you the same question, because the witness that resigned indicated that there was nothing that they could have done differently and there was no fault on her part or the part of the epa, as it related to this unbelievable, horrific event. so, do you believe that the epa is partially at fault? >> i believe that we could have taken different action and been more aggressive. >> that's not the question. are you partially at fault, yes or no? >> i'm not playing a blame shifting game, sir. it would be easy -- >> you do agree that you are partially at fault?
>> the system failed, we were part of that system. >> let me, do you -- both of them indicated that the rules with regards to copper and lead are somewhat ambiguous, that they needed more clarity. we have heard that. would you agree with that, governor? >> i would go much further than that, it's a dumb and dangerous rule. >> all right. ms. mccarthy. do you agree that the current rules as they are are ambiguous and need clarification? >> they definitely need clarification and they need to be strengthened and we are taking a look at that -- >> let me stop you there. here's my concern, when anybody says, there's nothing at fault. we started doing research. clean water, safety, clean water, drinking safety act, 1991, required rules to be updated every six years. >> yes. >> do you know how many times it's been updated fully since
1991? >> i don't know -- >> i do. the answer is zero. zero in terms of fully updated. it's zero. it was modified slightly in 2007. and so, here we have this safe drinking water standards, that needed to be updated and yet, the epa did nothing about it. now, i could go further to say, well, maybe the epa didn't know but we did a little research on that too and to quote the geao in 2006, said indeed, that you needed to update your rules. are you aware that the geao has a problem with the copper and lead rules? >> i'm aware they were last updated in 2002007 under the pr administration. that's what i'm aware of. >> okay, so let me ask you further. i want to your documents which were actually regulation documents saying when you were going to update the rules.
and so, in 2010, you said that you were going to have a proposed rule in 2012, andmxyk with the fact that the law requires you to do a new rule every six years, at least revisit it and that you have not revisited it in ten years? and that you keep changing the goal post. do you not see some fault there? >> the revisions started in
ernest in 2012, and by 2013 -- >> you said, according to your own document you said that you were going to have them done in 2013? >> we have a -- we have a stakeholder group that is very actively told us that we cannot make tweaks to this, we have to make some substantive changes issues that would have been helpful in the case. that does take more time than making small tweaks and that is what we are working on now. and i'm glad we now even more today than we did before. we are going to take a look at it and get -- >> let me tell you why i'm concerned with that, in the same time, about the small tweaks -- >> yes. >> the epa has passed 3,571 rules in that timeframe while the people of flint and maybe washington, d.c. are waiting on you have the wrong priorities ms. mccarthy. i yield back. >> if they had properly implemented the law as it exists we would not be sitting here today. as it currently exists we would
not be sitting here today. >> but you are in charge. are you the administrator. >> actually, the state is in charge -- >> no, you are in charge of the lead and copper rule. you are in charge. >> no, sir. >> you think the governor is in charge of the lead and copper rule. writing the rule. >> i'm telling you that we didn't need a change to the rule to have prevented this problem from happening. it was the way in which mdeq actually interpreted it and implemented it. mdeq has said it and the governor's task force has said it. >> you are wrong. we will come back to this, let's recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania for 5:00. mr. boyle. >> thank you, mr. chairman. governor snyder, over the past two years, you and the individuals you hand picked to carry out your administration's actions, missed so many opportunities along the way to protect the people of flint. when the water changed color to
brown and orange, your administration said the water was safe. when people reported rashes, hair loss, odor, and even sewage, your administration said the water was safe. when e. coli and fecal bacteria were found in the water and boil water alerts were distributed, your administration said the water was safe. when a harmful by-product of disinfection in the water began to spike after the switch, your administration said the water was safe. when legionnaires disease began to infect and later kill citizens, your administration said the water was safe. governor, don't you have a moral responsibility to resign? >> my commitment is to fix the problem. this is a case where we should have demanded more answers, i
said that in my opening statement. >> and don't you have a moral responsibility, as the governor of an administration that failed and poisoned its own people, don't you have the moral responsibility to resign? >> what i would say is, when you have experts that you relied on, they failed. they worked for me. so you have a responsibility for that. i kick myself every day wishing i would have demanded more answers and asked more questions, but to put it in context, when somebody bad happens and this is a terrible tragedy. this has been the most humbling experience of my life. >> i believe for the citizens of flint it has been far worse than a humbling experience. >> i want -- i'm making a commitment to solve the problem. people deserve better. >> let me -- i think that answer speaks for itself. i think that ultimately when people are at the head of a government, they have to take responsibility for their
administrati administration's failure. ms. mccarthy, i want to switch to you, while this has been possibly the largest and most glaring failure of government since hurricane katrina, i'm concerned about the extent to which this could be a canary in a coal mine. so, let me ask you specifically about my home state of pennsylvania. in 2014, the pennsylvania department of health identified 18 cities in my state that have higher lead exposer than flint does. so, what is epa doing now, outside of flint to ensure that other locations don't end up in exactly the same situation? >> well, thank you for raising that. because that is one of the issues that has a spotlight on it, we should try to make something good happen of this. we actually, i have written to every governor and every agency, the ones responsible for implementing and enforcing the safe drinking water act, to ask them to look at their protocols
and what their guidance is, to explain to them what we know they should be doing, to actually post their protocols on to relook and make sure they are implementing the law as it's intendsed and every test they take should be posted on the web. they should post every lead line on the web. i know people have lost faith in government as a result of this. the best way we can help them is to have everything so transparent that individuals can hold us accountable. one of the challenges we faced is we cannot get a straight answer. people don't deserve that out of their government. i will take responsibility for not pushing hard enough, but i will not take responsibility for causing this problem. it was not epa at the helm when this happened. >> thank you. and i yield back. >> thank you, we will now
recognize the gentleman from wisconsin for 5:00. >> right, i have difficulty for a variety of reasons. that is why some of us like less government, it's hard to get it to work. my first question is for governor snyder. like every governor you inherit, in your case, you said, over 40,000 employees, you didn't pick them. even if you have an employee over a period of time, that is lazy and not doing their job, it's difficult to get rid of them. you have gotten rid of a few of them. but in general, if you go through the five or six employees, were they political appointments or civil servants that you inherited. >> the experts in the water safety division, you will find their experience was somewhere
between 20 to 30 years of government experience. >> so, you know, you can be an expert, but if you don't care, doesn't matter how expert you are, or how many classes you took in school. so largely the people that you got rid of were people that were around 20 years, civil service protection that sort of thing. >> yes, the head of the water division, that was terminated, had 28 years experience. >> i know it's difficult for a governor to come in and clean house with civil servants and i'm sorry it had to have this to make it to come to light. one of the most callous employee we had was susan hedman. she reached out to secretary jackson, and i wish secretary jackson could be here to explain what in the world she was doing hiring her. your agency had image huge
mistakes. you cannot deny that they made huge mistakes. can you rattle off the people that you feel were the most responsible for the mess. del toro was around there fighting to get the answers out here as far as i can see, when susan hedman was trying to keep them in the dark. would you rattle off the people you feel are most at fault in p epa? >> i think that could be one of the easiest things that i could do, to find a couple of career bureaucrats to pin the problem on. i'm not going to do that. >> i don't think it was career bureaucrats, i think it was susan hedman. >> she did not know about the issue until late in june. she took immediate action. she actually worked, was it june or july? i forget, i apologize. she took immediate action to reach out and put a death statement out that was picked up in local newspapers about the lead concerns, we did everything
according to the numbers. the reason i'm so impressed with susan, she immediately came and resigned, because she could have waited to find somebody to blame it on. but instead, she wanted full attention to flint a the ability for epa to help resolve the situation and she resigned. >> wait, maybe you missed something. when did she resign? >> she resigned in late january. >> that's not immediate. >> because she was working the issue. >> that is five or six months. >> i'm sorry, sir, she was working the issue every day. the question was, did we have too much interaction with the state trusting individuals who were not giving us the right information and she worked really hard. in fact, it was susan who forced our way on to the task force to be helpful in designing a strategy moving forward. it was susan who suggested not to go back to the detroit water. it was susan who suggested that bottled water would be necessary. so, she was taking the steps she
needed to try to resolve the problem. >> it seem to me that if the del toro memo was made public, that would have raised the sense of crisis -- >> sir, it was made public, it was public the day he sent it out. the only thing she was reacting to -- >> stood with the memo rather than down playing the memo, highlighting the memo. >> the you look at the entire chain of e-mails, you will see that miguel was the personal that everyone in that region turned to for advice on how to handle this. he was part of our task force. he was part of the decisions every step of the way. we in no waysidelined him, it is actually something that mdeq started by saying he was a rogue employee. it was susan hedman that called mdeq, and said, to stop doing that, that is not the case. he is part of our team. and a valuable member. >> i think it's incredible that if all the people went through -- of all the people went through, you can still not
identify anybody that did a bad job, it's amazing to me. >> i have asked the office of the inspector general to give their eyes on it. i cannot possibly know everything that happened. do i think the system failed? yes, do i think epa could have been more aggressive? if we knew we were not getting the right information, absolutely. even when we figured that out, we talked to the state for too long, it should have been elevated, i would have loved to have an opportunity to intervene in a more aggressive way. >> all right. ms. maloney of new york is now recognized for 5:00. >> administrator mccarthy, would you please check on the level of lead in new york city's water and get back to me and i'm grateful that there are professional employees working for the health and to protect the health of the american people. and i want to thank you for the job that you are doing.
>> thank you. >> the people, people in flint were drinking high levels of lead in their water and governor snyder, you utterly failed in your responsibility to protect them. earlier, you testified that we needed action. we needed action by the epa. we needed action by the city council. but even after you have found out that there were problems, that it was in paper, in front of you, and with your staff, once you knew even when you knew, you delayed and you put people's lives in danger. on april 25th, 2015, epa official miguel del toro sent an e-mail to pat cook at mdeq on the state level, expressing concerns that no corrosion control was being used in flint and he wrote and i quote, i'm
worried. i'm worried that the whole town may have much higher lead levels than the compliance results indicated and i would like his note put in the record, please. but governor snyder, you didn't add corrosi on. n control in april. you did not add it in may. you did not add it all summer long. and you didn't add it in october. and even when you switched back to the detroit water, you didn't add it then. so you never added corrosion control, the entire time that your citizens were drinking out of the flint river. and isn't that true, yes or no? yes or no. >> in terms of -- >> yes or no. get back to me in writing if you cannot answer yes or no right now. >> there should have been corrosion controls from day one, and they were not there. >> excuse me, i asked for a yes
or no. get back to me in writing and i can give you a paper trail for six months you knew and you did not do anything about it. and epa, it was epa that warned you. it was epa that warned the state, and i find that unconscious able and i'm asking you to warn me if there's any problem in the state of new york. please. and i'm grateful we have professionals who can do this, who can act, and they did act. now, let me turn to another delay. the october 2, 2015, you rehens but did not declare a state of emergency until january 16th, 2016. and that was three months later and i find that unkconsciousabl and you did not call the
national guard in until later. until january 12th. and governor snyder, on november 13th, 2015, the deputy state director of michigan state police sent an e-mail to one of your legal councils with the subject line, declaration questions. he wrote and i quote, as you know, the governor can declare at any time for any reason a state of emergency. that e-mail was sent on november, yet, you still waited two more months before you declared a the emergency. and how can you explain that to the people of flint who are now incredibly sick? the truth is, you dragged your feet. because you didn't want to take responsibility. and in fact, that very same e-mail from that last november lays out clearly. it states and i quote, the state will formally own the event if we put a governor's declaration
in place, this could be viewed as the state having owned up to how the water issue was caused. end quote, and governor snyder your people knew in april that you should be using corrosion control and you did nothing for six months. you dragged your feet in declaring an emergency based on political and financial concerns. say whatever you want, say whatever you want about being in the dark, about the warning signs, but even when you did know, even when you did know, you did nothing. so, your delay sickened an untold number of additional people. i believe this is a national disgrace, and a national scandal. and i think we all should learn from it. >> gentlewoman yields back, time expired, now recognize the gentleman -- >> thank you, i'm a freshman, i have been here for 16 months
now, and i struggle sometimes with acronyms, can you help me out, epa, what does that public stand for? >> protection. >> protection. i thought that was the case. so, just a second ago, i looked up the definition of protection, it says a person or thing that prevent someone or something from suffering harm or injury. you would agree with that, yeses? >> sounds right. >> so, environmental protection agency. >> correct. >> ms. mccarthy. i'm correct when i say that epa has the authority to warn the public when there's contamination in the drinking water that poses immediate threat to human health, is that correct? >> yes. >> yes, so you are aware of the june 2015 memo from miguel del toro, you are aware of that memo? >> yes. >> yes. okay. so mr. del toro and we have
established, he is a drinking water specialist and he was a key member of the region five drinking water task force. when he reported the high levels of lead in the flint drinking water, the epa, the environmental protection agency, they didn't do that. they didn't protect the public. they didn't warn the public. instead, ms. hedman, she had a bunch of excuses. none of which i believe. she had a lot of excuses as to why the epa, the environmental protection agency didn't take any action. none of them would have prevented, none of them would have prevented from the epa standing up and saying, hey, don't drink the water. it has lead in it. stop, don't drink it. none of the excuses she had would have prevented epa from doing that. but epa did not do that. they did not protect. they did not -- they did not prevent someone or something
from suffering harm -- >> will the gentleman yield? >> i do not yield. ms. mccarthy. you had an op-ed in the washington post and you stated that the epa repeatedly and urgently told the state of michigan to act with a sense of urgency and inform the public. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> yet, as i understand it, you mean to say that you repeatedly told the state of michigan to warn the people of the toxic levels of lead in the flint water is that correct? >> we repeatedly told them they needed to begin corrosion control -- >> you said that you wish you could have done something different by the law or common sense, would common sense not have told you, hey, hey, stop drinking the water. >> not at this point in time. >> at what point in time? >> the challenge was that you are referencing a report that if you look at the final, clearly indicates that it was most likely a localized issue.
i cannot -- >> so what ms. hedman did, she sought a legal opinion. that makes us all feel better? my goodness -- >> that's not what she did, sir. >> she did, she sought a legal opinion on this. and i know, everybody here feels much better about that. because the environmental protection agency. we are going to make sure we have a legal opinion first before we tell the people, stop drinking the water. >> this report was done after we had been working with the state to tell them consistently that they had to start corrosion control, i could not -- >> corrosion -- ms., mccarthy, corrosion control. >> did i say corrosion control, right? >> you did. but that is not what we are concerned about, at this point, we know there's lead in the water. >> we knew there was lead in one localized area and we were concerned about it -- >> this didn't come from just
some member, this came from a drinking water specialist. >> yes, and his advice was heeded. >> his advice was heeded immediately? >> we did everything -- >> was it heeded immediately? >> we used everything we had available to us. >> so you are saying, you got on tv and said, don't drink the water. there's lead in the water, don't drink it. >> we knew there was lead in three, in a localized area. had i made the assumption, using a presumption like a -- >> ms. mccarthy. i'm sorry, i'm not with you on this. because again, environmental protection agency. some -- you are trying to prevent someone or something from suffering harm or injury. the epa -- why don't we change the acronym. come on, let's change it to something else. let's take prevention out of there. >> the state did give the state -- the law did give the state primary authority. we -- >> the law. the law. yeah, i don't think that anybody here cares about the law.
>> the gentleman's time of course -- gentleman's time expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and this is a really tough hearing for all of us. right, and as both sides try to tackle this problem, because our real issue is to figure out how to prevent it from happening again and secondly what we can do about restoring faith to the -- our constituents who don't believe either of you. right. and there's plenty of reason for them to not believe either of you. governor, i worked for three governors those governors were just as unlucky as i was, two different parties and 17 years and i got plenty of e-mails and calls from governors who told me to light a fire in my department and move quickly to address problems. so, i'm having trouble with i was not really sure. and i will tell you as a member
of congress, when there's a veteran's wait list, my hospital said we don't have it, i didn't believe it. i was right, i went down and got it myself. i was having thousands of complaints about the social security office, they told me everything was fine, so i went down and got in line, and it was not fine. therm harming people. all right. you have an obligation. the both of you. but governor, particularly you. these are constituents in your control with your cabinet, he was the health secretary. when we had any alert, we got on it. you said you were the common sense governor in your campaign? when you knew in the fall of 2014 that you had fecal chloroform in the water and there were boiled water alerts, what caused you with everything else that you saw in the press, in addition to your own staff, not to have a common sense approach and just fix it, because i don't understand?
>> that issue did get resolved in terms of the chloroform, the e. coli issue. again, this is where you look back in hindsight, again, i wish we would have asked harder questions. and -- >> so what do we do with governors in your situation? because if they say later, i wish had i done more, you know what, there were warning signs and we did a little and not enough and the same, the same with the federal government. what do we do, so that everybody sitting here today is clear that when that's a warning signal, no matter how small and here they were not small, they were huge. then what do we do as policy makers to make sure that my constituents in my state and all over the country, who have similar issues that are ready to have the same consequences that they are going to believe their state officials and elected officials and appointees, that's what i want to do going forward, how do i do that, sir?
>> in my state of the state address, i said, these are failures. we need that urgency and i demand people bring me the issues. in terms of flint -- >> how many staff have been accountable? how many retrainings have you had? >> i have a jet fuel problem, everyone was working on it. it was not enough. i went to the pentagon and now they are pulling it out of the water and treating it. i mean, out of the aquafor, i'm sure it is not supposed to be in the drinking supply, so for 15 years bureaucrats and other leaders just let it sit there while they studied it. so what exactly, give me a list of the things that you are doing, right now, to address these constituents who have been actually harmed, who could be harmed, and every water system in your state, how much money have you identified and appropriated to make sure that you are dealing with it productively. >> one of the things included in
your exhibit is an exerpt that we track information on a daily basis. it talks about every active water customer -- >> tell me the constituents that you responded to based on that report? >> the constituents? we are out to talk to every person in flint. >> you are talking to them? >> in terms of a visit to their home? >> that's your response to date is to know who is affected, maybe, by your report and then to talk to them? >> not maybe. it's to go to their homes to actually have an opportunity to ask, would you like a filter? would you like a water test? how can we help support you in terms of giving water? had again, we have not hit every home, but we are tracking -- >> let me ask you this question. i think that is not, and this is my opinion as someone who does this kind of work for my whole career. we would just fix the water system so it's all safe. what do you do with someone like my mom who has a cognitive impairment and you ask her at her house?
>> we ask them to dial 2-1-1 or get in contact so we can help bring water to them. >> i think i have my answer, i don't. >> now, recognize the gentleman from minutes. >> i think everyone should respect the apology that you have offered because i believe that everyone realizes there were mistakes made at every level here, local, the local level, the state level, the federal level. i think, sir, you have accepted far more blame for this problem than you deserve. i can tell you that several years ago in another committee i chaired the water resources and environment subcommittee for six years and i traveled all over this country and i can assure you that this is a problem with our clean water and waste water infrastructure that's been building up for many, many years. many of the systems in the northeast and midwest are 75 or 100 years old.
and this is -- where it's especially acute is in the people have been moving from many years from the high tax states to the low tax states and they have been moving, i understand that flint's population was 193,000 in 1970 and now it's 99,000 and what's unfortunately happened not just in flint but in many cities, the higher income people have been the first ones to move. and it's left these cities with not enough money to do all the things that they need to do. and then, i personally have hated to see and have spoken out for years against the fact that we have spent trillions over the last 15 years in a failed effort to rebuild the middle east. and we haven't done enough for our own country. but do you realize, sir, that this is a problem of very long standing that was there long before you took office? >> in terms of we have a number of urban and rural areas that have major challenges and that's
why i've tried to work hard to improve those places. and again, that's -- things getting healthy michigan, health care to people, in terms of healthy kids dental care, pathways to potential, a program cutting caseworkers in local schools. great start is a program we have to compliment head start where we're bringing opportunities for preschool to kids all over michigan. we created community ventures, a program where we have put over 400 and some people in permanent jobs in flint in terms of people structurally unemployed because the federal programs weren't doing enough. we'll add to that to go to supplement is programs of early on to help kids when they're born of an assessment, to do developmental childhood. these are the kind of programs, i appreciate your comment. some of these are in response to lead.
many of these we were doing and the thing is let's do things here that not only can help mitigate the lead. we can't take that back but we can do every mitigation we can but it can also help with other issues to create an environment for success in these communities. >> let me mention one other thing. >> yeah. >> you mentioned the -- what was it 267 million or some -- >> 232. >> 232 million. my guess is that there's very few cities anywhere around the size of flint that are getting that kind of money or that kind of attention to their systems an i'm glad that it's happening but before my time runs out i do want to say that i chair now in this congress the clean water caucus and we've been -- everybody's been trying to bend over backwards to place blame some place or another and as i said, there are many people who should be accepting responsibility for this other than you but there are two bills that i have, h.r. 499 which is the sustainable water infrastructure investment act and h.r. 4468, the water infrastructure trust fund act to set up a trust fund for waste
water and clean water water systems. if people want to do more than just place blame but if they want to try to do something to help not just flint but cities all over this country then i would appreciate it if they talk to me about these bills. i yield the balance of my time to the chairman. >> i think we'll go to the next speaker unless you have something else. >> that's all right. >> given the time, gentleman yields back. recognize the gentleman from vermont, mr. welch. >> thank you very much. i thank the administrator for being. governor, thank you for being here. you're witnessing the kind of usual scene here in washington trying to figure out who to blame the most. but we have a real problem. we have got a real problem. governor, obviously, you have major responsibility.
and i want to focus on the solution. i mean, a lot of governors i think if they had a problem they'd be digging trenches and replacing pipes. you have requested from the michigan legislature little over $200 million. is that correct? >> yeah. $232 million. 67 million of which is already appropriated. >> you have 67 million. now, is it the intention in using this money in addition to dealing with infrastructure issues to address the health needs of these children who have been permanently injured as a result of ingesting lead in the water? >> absolutely. >> explain to me what the plan is for mental health. explain to me what the plan is for cognitive disabilities. explain to me what the plan is for day care. explain to me what the plan is to assist these parents whose kids are in their arms, are not whole like they would be whose future is compromised and these parents and the midst of
contending with this have to figure out how to go to work when their kids need them at home. so my question is, if you acknowledge those are real issues as a result of ingesting the lead, what in the $238 million is going the address those ongoing needs? >> yeah. congressman, what i'd say is it's worse than you stated it in my view. >> i didn't ask -- >> in terms of what we're doing, physical, social and educational well being of the 232, $63 million identified and the programs break down as fol lows and i apologize. the time limits. early on is a program to help kids from birth essentially to have assessments a couple times year and then intensive follow-on services to the degree they identify issues.
we are talking about adding developmental child care to help kids beyond that point. >> let me interrupt. i appreciate it. i have five minutes. >> i'm sorry. i thought you asked me to answer. >> i did. and i'm going to let you -- you can submit that in writing. >> okay. >> here's the apprehension i have. i'm a parent. and you've got the programs you just announced. i'm trying to figure out today what i do tomorrow. and who does the parent call when things aren't working out? who does the parent call out when they're late for work because their child is having an episode? you know, will there be somebody answering the phone? >> my commitment is to get a long-term solution to this. >> all right.
so let me ask you this. you have got about a billion dollars in michigan from partly from a rainy day fund. right? and partly -- >> no. about 600 million. it is a significant amount of money. >> in the rainy day fund. >> yes. >> and then money from your surplus. >> that money is identified for the state water infrastructure fund. >> all right. let me ask you this. let's say that when your own assessment reaches the conclusion that to meet those needs that you have acknowledged, i described them. you said my description didn't actually fully state how bad it really is. if new revenue is required to meet the obligations to these young children, years from now, but your assessment shows today that money will be needed and it requires you to promote revenue raising measures in order to get it, would you do that? >> what we are doing already is identified ongoing dollar that is we think are appropriate to cover the cost of those programs. but to go to your point, one of the things in particular i have in that appropriation is a $50 million reserve because it's too soon to tell all these things. >> but you have asked for $238 million. we don't know what it's going to cost. we just don't know. we're in the wild blue yonder here. you don't know.
we don't know. let's be fair. none of us really know and you wish as i'm sure we all wish this never happened. but there's an open-ended problem where we're going to be hemorrhaging lives and futures unless we really double down now. and what assurance would i have as a parent that those future and even unknown needs are going to be met if i don't have a state through its governor saying whatever it takes, we're going to be there? >> well, that's why i've made a commitment to get these resources to start the programs with reserves to say we'll learn more. >> one other question. you know, i actually buy in to the argument that a lot of my republican colleagues make about local control. i think the more things are tunnel at the local level the better. but the request now, in your request is the $750 million from the federal government. >> gentleman's time is -- >> okay. i appreciate the indulgence. yield back. >> expired. members advised there's a vote on the floor but it is the intention of the chair to continue the hearing. and until its conclusion. both of these people have a lot of things to do rather than wait around for us to continue to
vote. so members will have to make a choice. and we will continue until we have run through the questioning. but we'll now recognize the gentleman from california for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and, governor, one of my favorite quotes of justice brandies is familiar one saying that the cure for what ails government is frequently sunshine. my comments are consistent with that. if you will be brief so i don't have to interrupt you i would appreciate that. the committee requested copies of your records relating to the flint water crisis and this week your attorney told us committee staff you deleted personally many of your e-mails. he also said you only started preserving e-mails on april -- in april of 2013 when a litigation hold placed on your account. is that true?
and have you ever acknowledged that previously in public? >> i hope that would have been corrected. because that's not accurate. >> all right. in your state of the state address you committed only to releasing e-mails from 2014 and $15. have you committed since then to release the e-mails of 2013? >> i'm releasing my personal e-mails to this going back to 2011, releasing executive office e-mails and going through the process of departmental e-mails. so far we have 43,000 pages up on the web of documents. >> okay. and in terms of the time line that switch to the flint river, of course, in march of 2013. that was a month before you stopped deleting your e-mails so the question is, have you directed any of your staff given what you just said to search backup files for flint related e-mails prior to april of 2013? >> again, congressman, i thought i mentioned and i thought i communicated that that belief you had about the deletion was inaccurate. >> all right. just want to see if we're being consistent. i am not an attorney. you don't have to worry about
that. last week your lawyer sent us a letter with the first set of documents, blacked out or redacted for a variety of reasons. there are a lot of redactions. for example. we have a copy of what you or your attorney sent us. there's a document of governor rick snyder, your weekend briefing. it includes a line about flint water and then 49 page of reductions. is there a reason as far as you can remember why there's 49 pages of reductions? >> again, i didn't review the specific one. those would have been issues other than flint. >> okay. would you -- would you release that information, the redactions then? to the committee staff as we often ask for people to release their information. >> to the degree you have that request, i'm happy to go through the process of reviewing it. one of the challenges is in particular with much of this information there's personal, confidential information that if we were to release it creates
liability to the state. >> so you make a commitment to release those things that aren't personally liable. >> again, there's a series of those issues in addition to legal matters to be careful about. i'm happen foy have the discussion. >> there's an issue of the committee staff of campaign related e-mails. are you also willing to share those e-mails with us? because some of them concerned overlapped in terms of information what you were doing on flint so you have your e-mail in your governor's office which you personally manage and then campaign related. wasn't willing -- >> per se. it was an account originally created for my campaign. i do some personal e-mails in. and i believe we've already posted much of that information on the web. >> okay. as long as you're willing to share what the committee has asked you for and if you could explain to us why you could not specifically on both accounts that would be helpful. and then, we have asked your
current and former staff to search their personal e-mails. are you willing to in terms of their relationship to this issue, willing to share that with our staff? >> again, i believe we have already done a lot of work on the government e-mails. i would have to look into the issue with respect to their personal e-mails. >> okay. and regards to last question, texting. texting. you equally willing to share that with the staff? >> i believe people are already making those reviews. >> and, and just a comment. this is all due respect to epa but in california with all due respect and we have great regional administrators in region 9. i have the pleasure to work with them. it's sort of hard to -- when we look at epa in california as a threshold and proud of the fact we go beyond that.
this is decades of both republican and democratic administrations. so, forgive me politically, but it seems as if for people who as mr. welch said believe in states rights and local control you would be more willing to accept both responsibility when you slipped up and seems in terms of finger pointing, i know in california we would be embarrassed in any sort of situation and you have acknowledged that but our threshold is california threshold, not the epa threshold. you have any comment on that? governor snyder. >> well, again, what -- >> i mean, it seems as if we're looking for states rights but when you fail, from my perspective, then the responsibility is the federal government. but when you do well, it's because state has done well. so there seems to be a disconnect here from my perspective. >> congressman, if you would like, i would be happy to provide a copy of my state of the state address where i stood in front of the state of michigan and accepted the failure, i'm sorry and i'll fix it. i'm clear about accepting responsibility for the people
that work for me, so-called experts that created the crisis, a terrible tragedy that never should have happened. >> agreed. >> i want to make sure it never happens again and take care of the people of flint. >> we also have to accept accountability. thank you. >> thank the gentleman. now recognize myself and i will not close this hearing until mr. cummings has equal time, as well. but let me go to administrator mccarthy. the lead and copper rule requires you by law to update it every six years. but you did not do that. correct? >> actually, requires us to review it every six years to see if it needs -- >> you don't believe it's required. under law to update. >> there are many laws that -- just. >> just supposed to look at it? >> no, sir. we were actively looking at this -- we are actively looking at the rule. it is challenging to do a -- >> well -- >> the last administration did, tweak it a bit? doesn't take that -- >> don't blame the bush administration. been in office for more than seven years now.
so, you said in your own words that you were going to have this new rule out in 2013. correct? >> i'm really not aware of that, sir. i know that the schedule that i'm aware of is a 2017 schedule. >> you mean 2018 is what we heard testimony for. >> the draft would be out in 2017. that's what i'm aware of. >> this is what's so frustrating. you have somebody like an expert like marc edwards come and tell us there's so many ways around this and there's so much confusion. do you believe there's any confusion about the lead and copper rule? >> i do believe that it can be strengthened -- >> no, no, no. strengthened. i'm asking if you think there's any confusion. >> well, it's -- i believe there probably is confusion. i'm not the one on the receiving
end of it but we work to clarify that whenever anyone -- >> you're the administrator. what do you mean you're not on the receiving end? >> we manage the program. the states do the implementation and they do the enforcement. and in this case, we were very clear to them what their responsibility was under the existing law. so while i understand we should strengthen the law, i agree -- we had what we needed in place to prevent this from happening. >> really? then why did it happen? >> because the state didn't implement and enforce appropriately. >> so, you sent miguel del toral in february 2015 out to go do the testing. >> that wasn't for a lead and copper rule testing. that was testing for an individual in their home which was three houses with a localized problem. i did not have information until july 21st that there was a systemic problem with that system. yet, as soon as we knew there was any problem in three houses, we told them to start doing -- >> no, you didn't. no, you didn't. no -- >> you did. >> the timeline is such that
miguel del toral, goes, does the testing. >> yes. >> the report gets leaked and he feels he was reprimanded for. it gets released. the mayor calls the epa, susan hedman saying is this report true? should i be worried? the answer is, no, you have nothing to worry about and the mayor went on television. we played it before this committee and says it's safe to drink the water. >> sir, i think i've tried to explain that susan did not dismiss the substance of the report. she indicated that it was interim. the data hadn't been quality controlled and it wasn't leaked. it was actually sent out. it was in the newspapers. >> that is not -- i know it was in the newspaper and the acl pushing on it and the person's home she came to. it was out there. and when -- so why -- >> in april -- >> why do the testing if you're just going to simply blame the state? i mean, there is no doubt in the governor's admitted that the people at the information that were happening from the career
bureaucrats at the department of environmental quality got it wrong. let me read to you this. this is -- you said they did everything that you immediately wanted to have everything done on the corrosion control. correct? >> i said by starting april 24th when we realized that they were not doing corrosion control, we told them under the current law they should do it. >> okay. i'm going to enter into the record an e-mail, who's jennifer cooks? >> she is one of our staff people. our managers in the water program in the region. >> she competent? >> as far as i know. i don't know her personally. >> okay. well, on july 1st, she sends and there are a lot of deq personnel on here. i'm going to read part of what she says. you just said you told them to introduce the corrosion control in april. this is what she wrote to the department of environmental
quality. the idea to ask flint to simply add phosphate may be premature. there are many other issues and factors to take into account and require a comprehensive look at the water quality and the system before any treatment recommendations can and should be made. >> let me -- then let me explain that if you wouldn't mind. >> sure. >> because that actual advice came from miguel. because when i say you need to do treatment, it doesn't mean i have a switch to turn on. he indicated that the agency didn't have the full water quality data. that's when we demanded and offered and begged to be on the technical advisory -- >> you were. this was a summary of the conference call between deq and the epa. >> no. there was a flint technical -- >> no what do you mean? >> i'm sorry. >> the public can look at this for themselves. >> okay. but was not as easy as flipping it switch. it didn't mean they didn't need
to require to do it. the question was, whether we were going to be premature in how best to get -- >> no. what you did is came here and blamed solely the state. i'm here to tell you the state has a big part of this blame. not trying to excuse them whatsoever. you're trying to excuse everything from the epa saying you told them to put phosphates in the water and they didn't. the document -- no. wait until i'm done asking you the question. the documentation says that you actually had a conference call from the epa telling deq to not do it yet. >> no. we were telling them that they had to do corrosion control. the method and treatment depended on the experts to tell them how to do it. we offered that consistently from march on and they actually never even took us up on it until september. >> that's not true. i'm going to enter into the record. we entered this before. november 3rd. who's peter grevatt? >> he is the manager our drinking water office and headquarters. >> yeah. he's the washington, d.c. expert. here's what he wrote. okay? this is november 3rd. it appears -- it appears there are different possible
interpretation of the lead and copper rule with respect to how the rule's optimal corrosion control treatment procedures apply to this situation. which may have led to some uncertainty with respect to the flint water system. here you have a city who's begging for help, they know they're in trouble. okay? they're asking for that help and i've got e-mail after e-mail from the environmental protection agency saying, you know what? maybe you should hold off because we're not sure. maybe there is confusion in the lead and copper rule. maybe we are supposed to do six months of testing. i'm not excusing them at all but you need to take some responsibility because you screwed up and messed up 100,000 peoples' lives. 100,000 of them. 10,000 of those people are 6 years old and younger. and you take no responsibility. you don't think you did anything wrong. right? you don't think there's anybody did anything wrong. >> i already indicated we could have worked more aggressively. could i explain the memo? >> i want you to have an appreciation and understanding of why the deq people are
confused by the direction from the department of environmental protection agency -- in from the epa. >> there was no confusing signals from the -- >> what were they supposed to have done? put the phosphates in the water? yes or no? >> not connecting it without the expert voice at the table because they refused to let us to the table. >> they were at the table. they come -- from the epa. >> that is not the -- sir, i'm sorry. >> start it is e-mail -- >> that is not the task force we are talking about to provide technical expertise. >> okay. go through the list. leeann smith. richard benzie. chris phillip. carrie monosmith. dana. i'm going to mispronounce the last name. >> it's okay. i don't know those individuals so -- >> they all work for you. and the epa -- >> some of them work for the state. >> here's what it says. here's what it says. i'm sorry. deq. but from the epa, thank you, governor. governor knows who works for him. here's a below are my draft notes from our call last week. thank you all for participating. i apologize, first apology i had
seen, for the delay in getting out this draft for you to all review. and it says, don't simply add the phosphates. can you -- i only want you to acknowledge is there that -- >> could have created more damage in the water systems are difficult. >> exactly. >> deserve experts which they did not have available. we did. they wouldn't let them at the table. >> they were at table. they were in the same -- >> that is not the table. that is a semiannual call we have with the department where we share information. if you look through the record, we consistently said we have national experts. we want to help. we had worked behind the scenes to figure out how to do that. we never got invited. nor were we accepted at the table at that point in time. >> the last point and then mr. clay here. you said you didn't have the authority to do -- i want to read to you part of the law here. okay. this is section 1431 d. emergency powers within the safe drinking water act. the administrator, that's you. upon receipt of information of a contaminant in or likely to
enter a public water system -- and skipping ahead, which may present an eminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons and that appropriate state and local authorities have not acted to protect the health of such persons may take such actions as he may deem necessary in order to protect the health of such persons. so if they weren't doing what you wanted them to do, why didn't you take action earlier? >> i'm surprised, mr. chairman. the second part is about state's rights and what we have to do -- >> what do you mean second start in. >> there's a two-part process of us issuing a 1431. the second is we need to make sure that the states aren't already taking appropriate action. that's what's so -- >> when did you know they didn't do it? >> july 21st of a systemic problem. the state agreed the next day and then all they did was slow
walk it. that's why we had to do it the way we did. i wished we had gone further. i wish we had farther. i wish we had yelled from the tree tops but there is no way that my agency created this problem or there was ambiguity in the existing law that wouldn't have done the same thing that the governor said. don't put people at risk just because we couldn't figure out on the life of us in our guidance we never thought anybody goes from a treated system to an untreated system and not treat it. i didn't think we ever had to say that. because i never thought anyone would. that's where we are today. >> you can't have it both ways. you can't have people on the ground testing it, people like miguel del toral doing the types of tests -- sending up the warning flags. sending up the warning flags and then not -- i'll recognize the gentleman from missouri mr. clay.
>> thank you. thank you, mr. chair. you know i have to hand it to my republican colleague. they are actually making their argument with a straight face. and you know, just to be clear, republicans here today are claiming that the epa, the obama epa, should have been more aggressive in stepping in, seizing control and overruling the republican controlled state of michigan. they are just outraged that epa wasn't more assertive with michigan and didn't immediately go public with their complaints about the state's failure to follow the law. ms. mccarthy, the irony is almost overwhelming, isn't it? >> yes. >> and republicans have been absolutely slamming the epa for
overreaching it at every possible turn. now they criticize the epa for not doing more when governor snyder fell down on the job. you know, let's go through some of these ridiculous republican statements. donald trump has called for entirely eliminating the epa and handing power over to the state. he said this, and i quote, environmental protection, we waste all of this money. we're going to bring that back to the states. we are going to cut many of the agency. we'll balance our budget and we'll be dynamic again. end of quote. ms. mccarthy, the epa did ultimately step in here because michigan was not doing their job and if you have been criticized for not stepping in sooner, you have been criticized for not stepping in sooner. right? >> yes. >> another republican candidate, senator ted cruz, agrees with donald trump.
he said this and i quote. i think states should press back using every tool they have available. were you aware of this statement? >> yes. >> marco rubio, now former republican candidate, has vowed to scale back the clean water about. he said this. regulations in this country are out of control. especially the employment prevention agency. the epa. ms. mccarthy, that was a dig at you. right? >> yes. >> saying that ensuring clean water costs too many jobs. is that right? >> that's how i would read it, sir. >> there are many more republican statements like this. republican governor scott walker of wisconsin proposed converting the epa into, and i quote, an umbrella organization that really is limited to mediating interstate conflicts. senator ernst of iowa said this. shut down the epa and focus on those issues we where here in the state where the state knows best how to protect resources. what about the state protecting
people? ms. mccarthy, obviously the state of michigan did not know best in this case. they poisoned thousands of their own people. is that correct? >> they did not do their job, yes. >> house republicans including those in this committee have voted there at every turn to gut the epa's authority to enforce the clean air act, the clean water act, the national environmental policy act and the list goes on. you know, despite all of these republican statements that epa should be eliminated and that it overreaches, the main criticism of republicans here today is that the epa was not more aggressive in swooping in to the state of michigan.
what do you think, governor snyder? was the epa aggressive enough? >> congressman, the way i view it is i don't want to get into finger pointing and blame. the state of michigan, people that work for me, the experts, made a mistake. they made a huge, tragic mistake in terms of going over to the flint river. they called for two six-month studies to determine optimizing corrosion controls. that was not a good answer. technically, they believed, i believe, they believed they were doing the right thing to put it in context, where's the common sense? where's the urgency? because we were on detroit water before. which had corrosion controls in it. >> okay. >> isn't it common sense to also have them in the water you have coming in? >> before my time runs out, what do we do now? what about -- i know they're
talking about changing the pipes and the lead and all of that. getting that out of there. what do we do for the people who have been impacted negatively? do we have a plan? do you have a plan as a state of michigan? >> yes, sir. >> what is it? >> and we're implementing it. >> what is it? >> it begins by -- we have had $67 million in appropriations so far and requesting $232 million in total and it's involving water, water infrastructure, food and nutrition because that's one of the critical elements needed, physical and social well being and educational programs. >> early childhood? >> what that's? absolutely. >> it's element because they're the one impacted the most. >> under 6, critically important. >> okay. >> going on, water bill credit relief because they shouldn't have had to pay for that water
in this time period they were using. >> okay. >> significant reserve fund because as we go through this, we are going to find new needs and we need to be ready to act. >> all right. and then, that includes the adults, too? they probably need special attention, also. >> i'm particularly people with suppressed um mine systems, foster care situations, elderly. again, one of the things we took immediate action on that is mind boggling about this process i never understood is there's no requirement to test the school. not only gone into the schools to test them, they didn't have lead service lines going in but they had problems with fixtures. we said, enough of the testing. let's just start replacing fixtures in schools to address the issue. >> i see. thank you for your response. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. and now recognize the ranking member. >> thank you very much. i want to thank our witnesses for being with us and staying through all of this. governor snyder, based on the record, before the committee, many of your top advisers and key state officials knew there were problem with flint's drinking water but you say you were not aware. i'd like to run through what these people knew.
first, let me ask you about one of your top legal advisers in your office. michael gadola? he wrote an e-mail on october 14th, 2014, stating, and i quote, the notion that i would be getting my drinking water from the flint river is downright scary. too bad the emergency manager didn't ask me what i thought. because i'm sure he heard it from plenty of others. my mom is a city resident. nice to know she's drinking water with elevated chlorine levels and fecal chloroform. they should try to get back on to the detroit system as a stop gap as soon as possible before this thing gets too far out of control. end of quote. that was written in america by
one of your top legal advisers. would you -- would you consider him a top legal adviser? >> yes. >> okay. do you take your legal advisers advice? >> on legal matters. >> yeah. all right. do you remember hearing any of this, getting this? >> i don't recall discussing it with him and i don't believe i was on that e-mail. >> okay. you didn't receive in e-mail in
2014. so did you know that your top legal adviser even raised these kind of concerns? >> i don't recall. i recall we were concerned about water in flint, though. again, the issue is not a lead issue at that time. there was issues with e. coli and the odor and color of the water. >> you know, governor, i keep hearing that. hearing you say things like that. i swear to god, if somebody gave me water that looked like urine and had a smell to it i'm sorry. you know, maybe -- maybe your standard is different. i wouldn't want my family drinking it and i wouldn't want to be drinking it. and my standard is, i want for my constituents, what i want for my own. my own family. and but let's go on. let me turn to your top officials at the mdeq. on april 17th, 2014, about a week before they switched to the flint river, the water quality
supervisor at the flint plant sent an e-mail to three top mdeq officials. adam rosenthal, mike fitzby and steven bush. let me tell you what he wrote and i quote. if water is distributed from this plant in the next couple weeks it will be against my direction. i need time to adequately train additional staff and update the modernizing plans before i will feel we are ready. i will reiterate this to management above me but they seem to have their own agenda. did you know that the water quality supervisor warned your top official that mdeq not to go forward one week earlier? >> to my knowledge, i had no awareness of that e-mail. >> that's not what i asked you. were you aware that they were -- had the concerns? >> no. >> okay. >> i don't recall any. >> all right. let me turn to the director of urban initiatives in your
office. harvey hollins. in mid-march 2015, mr. hollins received an e-mail warning him that there had been a, quote, significant uptick, unquote, in the number of reported legionnaires disease cases. were you aware of that last march? were you aware of that? >> not to my knowledge. >> okay. let me turn to your former chief of staff. mr. muchmore. now, i want to make sure. you know, somebody i think -- i don't know whether it was ms. lawrence, somebody was asking you about the structure of the way things are situated in your office. but in congressional offices, for the most part, your chief of staff answers to no one but the congressman. now, is there anybody in between you and the chief of staff? >> no. >> all right. so he -- the chief of staff would answer directly to you? >> yes. >> all right.
and if it's logical if the chief of staff has some concerns and was saying we ought to do certain things, doesn't it seem logical that that would come to you? >> i don't recall specific conversations. we had discussions about water quality in flint. and we were working a number of issues, you mentioned harvey hollins. i was working with the chief of staff and harvey hollins to get a donation of filters to deal with the odor and color issues for the pastor's group in flint. >> in july, mr. muchmore, your chief of staff, he sent an e-mail warning that residents, quote, are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they're receiving and the quota and they quote they are basically getting blown off by us. end of quote. you were not on that e-mail either, were you? >> no. i don't believe so. >> did -- so he didn't forward
it to you? >> i don't recall ever receiving it. >> does it alarm you that he's saying that they were blown off? >> that -- >> that, in other words, your constituents, the ones that you asked to vote for you, the ones that you are supposed to be about the business of improving their lives were saying that they were being blown off, does that bother you? i mean, when you look back at it. i'm not saying you knew about it. would it bother you? >> in terms of looking at the record as i recall, he went out to both mdeq and ddhs and asked the expert it is question in terms of the water being safe or not and they told him it was. and that was wrong. >> now -- >> in retrospect. >> okay. it looks like almost everyone knew about these problems except you. you were completely missing in action. that's not leadership, do you think? >> i was not missing in action, congressman. i was -- i had ongoing
discussions of water issues in flint. i received numb a number of briefings on it and continuing response from the experts whether to dennis muchmore or other people when you look at the record is telling you it was safe. >> you can understand why the residents of flint would be skeptical about what you're doing, right? i mean -- >> they're -- >> they're not like us. they just know somebody, chief of staff, that sounds like somebody very important. sounds like somebody that would answer directly to the governor. i mean, you can kind of understand that concern, can't you? >> i absolutely do, sir. i will have to live with this my entire life. >> on your website -- governor, you know what? you know, i have heard you say that but i got to tell you. there are children that got to live with it, the damage that has been done for the rest of their lives. and it is painfully painful to think that a child could be damaged until the day they die. and that their destiny has been cut off and messed up. so, yeah, you have to live with it.
but they -- many of the children will never be what god intended them to be when they were born. and conceived. i just have a few more questions. on your website you say to the people of michigan, quote, we'll learn from the experience but entire -- but an entire generation is poisoned. governor, what are the children supposed to learn from your utter lack of -- let's say from this incident, what are they supposed to learn? >> one of the terrible parts of all this is there's a huge issue in addition to all their medical issues and educational issues as you mentioned, sir, but there's a question of trust in government. >> why. >> there's good reason for them to ask that question. and that's going to take a huge amount of time to earn back if it can be earned back and it involves getting third-party experts such as professor edwards and dr. mona to be part of the process so people can have confidence in people they trust, the heroes that helped bring the issue up. >> governor snyder, i would like to talk about priorities in the
administration. you have shown over and over again that money is a high priority. despite the fact that michigan had a budget surplus, not even bother asking the legislature to provide the money necessary to move flint back to the detroit water, in fact, governor snyder, flint was not -- did not seem to be a priority because on january 24th, 2015, you sent an e-mail to your staff with a list of priorities for 2015. most of the document is redacted. but we can see that number 36 on the list, number 36 on the list, was the flint water system. so, governor, flint water was not your first priority. it was not in the top ten. wasn't even in the top 20. not even in the top 30. flint was number 36. shouldn't the children and the residents of flint have been higher on your priority list, mr. governor? >> in retrospect, with it becoming a true safety issue with the lead issue, it should have been higher. that was not the issue at the time. >> now, mr. governor, we also know what you do prioritize,
when things rough for you and your administration started being investigated by law enforcement, you got the people of michigan to pay your legal fees. governor, do you admit here today that you have asked the people of michigan for more than $1 million to pay for your criminal and civil defense fees? >> yes. >> and it makes me sick to think you found a way to have the state of michigan pay over $1 million in legal fees, yet you thought so little of the people in flint that you could not be asked to ask the legitimate -- legislature for money to switch them over to clean water. you cannot be trusted and i have to tell you you need to resign.
i know we're at end of the hearing. i want to thank both of you for being here. we have to do better than this. we all deserve better. i told the chairman from the very beginning no matter who is responsible, we wanted to address this issue and one of the things, mr. governor, 15 of your people you talk about transparency, but 15 of your people refused to talk to us. refused. so i hope that you will urge them. i read something yesterday where you said you urged them to talk. we need to hear from them. all right? thank you, sir. >> i thank the gentleman. i want to thank all of those that have participated in the three sets of hearings that we have had. there's no doubt after having gone through this that there
were a lot of mistakes is just a total understatement. i want to thank those who have stepped up to be part of the solution have recognized where wrong has been done. because they need to take care of these children. and take care of the city of flint. that's where everybody's heart is. it reaches people's lives. if you don't step up and understand the problem, if you don't step up and understand where the mistakes were made, if you don't take some accountability then you don't solve it going forward.
i know you love this country working hard. take a lot for it. but i also believe in my heart that it's just offensive to suggest that there was nothing wrong done and to not apologize is just wrong. so that's just my own personal opinion. we have our own personal opinions. i appreciate working with mr. cummings. we will continue to work together. >> mr. chairman, again, i want to be clear. i thank you. i really do. for holding these hearings. a lot of chairmen would have never done it. i really appreciate it. on behalf of all of us, you have set a shining example of what leadership is all about. >> well, thank you. you're very kind to me. i want to thank the congressman, this is his district. he cares deeply. we thank him too. i think that's appropriate. with that, the committee stands
c-span. >> secretary of state john kerry officially announced that isis has committed genocide. here's part of his statement this morning to reporters. >> daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including christians and shia muslims. daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, ideology and by actions. if what it says, what it believes and what it does. daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at the same groups that in some cases also against sunni muslims, kurds and other minorities. i say this even though the ongoing conflict and lack of access to key areas has made it impossible to develop a fully
detailed and kpre hencive picture of all that daesh is doing and has done. we have not been able to compile a complete record. that's obvious on its face. we don't have access to everywhere. but over the past months we have conducted a review of the vast amount of information gathered by the state department, intelligence community, outside groups. my conclusion is based on that information and on the nature of the acts reported. we know, for example, in august of 2014 daesh killed hundreds of men and older women in the town and trapped tens of thousands of people on mount sinjar without allow iing access to food, wate or medical care. without our intervention, it was clear those people would have been slaughtered. rescue efforts aided by airstrikes saved many, but not before daesh captured and
enslaved thousands of women and girls, selling them at auction, raping them at will and destroying the communities at which they had lived for countless generations. we know that in mosul and elsewhere daesh has executed christians solely because of their faith. that it executed 49 christians in libya and has also forced women and girls into sexual slavery. we know daesh massacred hundreds of shia turkmen at mosul. besieged and starved a town ask kidnapped hundreds of women, raping many in front of their own families. we know that in areas under its control daesh has made a systemic effort to destroy the cultural heritage of ancient
roman catholic churches, blowing up monasteries and tombs of prophets, desecrating cemeteries and beheading an 83-year-old scholar who spent a lifetime preserving antiquities there. >> every weekend on "american history tv" on c-span 3, feature programs that tell the american story. some of the highlights for this weekend include saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. eastern on lectures in history. david o'connell discusses presidential legacies and the factors that contribute to a successful presidential term. then at 10:00 p.m. on real america in september of 1963 two months prior to his death president kennedy traveled across the united states to promote conservation of natural resources for future generati generations. sunday morning at 10:00 on road to the white house rewind, a
1984 debate in atlanta includes former vice president walter mondale, gary heart of colorado and john glen, george mcgovern and jesse jackson. for the complete "american history tv" weekend schedule, go to c-span.org. housing and urban development secretary testifies about the president's 2017 budget request for his agency. he also talks about affordable housing, homelessness, long and short-term grant programs and internet access for low income americans.
>> the subcommittee will come to order. before we get started, i want to take the time u to recognize our minority clerk. today's kate's last hearing. i'm not sure if they are applauding -- i'm not sure if they are applauding because you're leaving. i'm not sure what this is. but she has now after 29 years of federal service i will tell you personally i have u enjoyed working with kate. she's incredibly knowledgeable on transportation issues. her dedication to this committee and to the members of this committee has been unwavering.
i have again considered her a friend and kate, you will be deeply, deeply missed. now we should be able to applaud. i do also want to congratulate joe carlisle. he will be taking over as staff director. we obviously know him. he's been a valued member of this team. again with deep understanding of this bill and so congratulations. all of us look forward to continue working with you and know we have big shoes to fill, but we know you're ready. but kate, love you and miss you already. >> let me add to that. she has been a worker here for awhile and we are going to miss her. the next chapter of your life, good luck.
>> thank you. >> why don't we do something very briefly? i'll yield to the ranking member. >> i had something in a statement, but i think it's so important i'd rather begin at this point because i have known kate for a very long time. in fact, my middle daughter was the deputy of department of transportation years ago and told me all about kate. 29 years, 29 years of government service. she is ddynamic, she is hard working, she is dedicated and
she has spent an incredible portion of that career dedicating herself to this subcommittee. i always say, kate, you're the answer woman. you . if she stunt, boy, she gets it for you quickly. how fortunate we have all been to have the council of kate and kate, i wish you good luck, i know we will all stay in touch and we will all miss you and i know you will continue to succeed in whatever you decide to do, even if it's just enjoying the day in the sunshine. so, thank you so very much, kate, we love you and appreciate you, and we support you in everything that you want to do in your future. thank you. >> thank you, and again, ms. secretary, thank you for your n
however the appropriation's committee must abide by the agreement. so the administration is only cheatsi s itself out of the opportunity to communicate the priorities. they must pass things within the discretionary caps that we all agreed to and we cannot depend on accounting gimmicks to do so. in the hud request itself. we find evidence of gaming the system and breaking promises made just last year. like d.o.t., hud proposing extra spending by classifying new programs as mandatory. mr. secretary, your request
makes a commitment of $11 billion in new programs for which you provide no details. no legislative language and not much more than frankly lofty talking points and wishful thinking. so don't get me wrong. i represent low income and urban areas and i support the spirit of hud's mission and if desire to always try to do more. my mayors and city councils and community leaders and constituents rely on hud programs. but that's why it's so important hud gets real about its resource challenges to help the subcommittee identify which programs must be made priority in this next year. in addition to targeting the right priorities, it's so critical hud be a good steward of its resources. as nearly all of what hud oversees helps the most vulnerable and deals with the most vulnerable. yet i continually receive
reports, i continue to receive reports that hud has tremendous difficulty with basic management the number and seriousness of negative inspector general reports is frankly astonishing. poor financial control, possible anti-deficiency acts violations, lax program oversight. major risks to it systems. major gaps in cyber security. the list goes on and on and on. now you see i want to work with the administration to make hud the high quality high functions organization that it must be to oversee these important programs. if the department remain this is dysfunctional, frankly, what hope is there that we can tackle homelessness? that we can tackle economic stagnation and all other major challenges that are part of hud's mission. i look forward to working with
you, mr. secretary and i think we enjoy a great relationship and great communications so i look forward to working with you as we make the hard choices necessary to meet our nation's housing and economic development needs all while being accountable to the taxpayer and respectful of last year's bipartisan budget agreement that again we were bound by. now, before we go to your opening statement, mr. secretary, i would now like to recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee, the gentleman from north carolina, mr. price, for his opening statement. mr. price, you are recognized, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to join you in welcoming our secretary of housing and urban development, julian castro, glad to have you with the subcommittee. i also want to say a few words about our retiring democratic clerk kate hallahan. we hate to see her go, as the remarks of other members have indicated.
you've heard about her past 29 years in public service. i think of kate as the model of what public service is about. she started on the hill in the office of representative al swift of washington state, worked at the department of transportation then at the senate appropriations committee before she joined us and settled down for a in 2016. kate simply has an expertise in transportation policy that's unmatched. she also knows the hill very well and the appropriations process very well. and she knows everybody. everybody knows and likes kate and admires her and respects her. she has that network of personal contacts which let her be very effective and find out the question that anybody raises very quickly and effectively. she's tireless, determined, creative in finding ways to get
the job done, even against formidable odds, as they often are formidable. she does it all with terrific good humor and a cooperative engaging manner so i am really sorry to see kate go. we all are. we wish her well. she's earned this retirement. still, we're going to miss her so congratulations and godspeed. now, turning to the request before us, the fiscal 2017 hud budget request provides $38 billion in resources, that's $628 million reduction from last year's level. the lower number comes from higher anticipated receipts although i think that number is likely to change once cbo scores the request. as was true with the department of transportation, the constraints of the budget agreement which only partially
corrects the distortions of sequestration mean that it's likely the bill we put forward will not sufficiently address the known needs of housing in our communities. an estimated three out of four eligible low income households do not receive federal rental assistance because of funding limitations. it's well known that most public housing authorities are overwhelmed with multiyear wait lists for access to subsidized housing so the resources available make it virtually certain we can only address the most pressing needs rather than thinking boldly about the future of housing in this country. underscoring this reality. more than three quarters of this budget request is dedicated simply towards maintaining current tenants in housing. in this budget environment, simply keeping pace with our existing obligations is a channeling task. we know we have a maintenance backlog of over $25 billion.
that's $25 billion in our nation's public housing stock. unfortunately in this era of fiscal fundamentalism, providing the budget resources to eliminate this backlog is impossible. even the more manageable goal of keeping up with the annual accrual needs, about $3 billion for the public housing capital fund each year remains out of reach. our states are struggling to provide housing and opportunities for people with disabilities but this budget would provide no resources to provide new housing if this vulnerable segment of the population. similarly, we've built no new section 202 rental housing for the elderly for years. this budget wouldn't change that. even after the disaster in flint which exposed the dangers of underinvestment in our infrastructure and the persistent threat of lead in many communities in budget requests flat funding for lead has reduction. in fact, in fiscal 2015 the department could only fund half
of the applicants seeking to remove the present of lead from their local housing stocks. i hope this request reflects a belief inside the administration that congress intends to deal with this issue rather than a belief that we do not need increased resources to address this health hazard. simply put, this budget request lays bare the difficulty of allocating sufficient resources for our housing and community development priorities. especially when the majority continues to insist on misguided and arbitrary constraints on discretionary spending. meanwhile -- and this is the irony -- mandatory spending and tax expenditures which are the primary drivers of our long-term deficit, remain unaddressed. now there are a few bright spots and i'll close with those. despite these concerns, the choice neighborhoods initiative,
for example, a program that revitalizes and transforms communities by modernizing aging public housing that receives a modest increase. they also ask for $88 million for resources for homeless families with children and to confront the challenges of housing in indian country. the request includes targeted increase in programs for native americans to improve living conditions to provide economic opportunity. i'm also pleased the budget request proposed to update the statutory formula for the housing opportunities for people with aids program. to ensure limited federal resources are allocated to jurisdictions with the most need. i'm hopeful hud will work with me and members of the authorizing committee to ensure an updated formula is passed into law during this congress. so mr. secretary i look forward to working with you on these important programs. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you mr. price. it was always a privilege to recognize the chairman of the
full committee, the gentleman from kentucky. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks for the introduction. mr. secretary welcome to the kate show. [ laughter ] we're delighted to have you with us to talk about your budget request which as the chairman has said is $48.9 billion in discretionary funds which is a $1.6 billion increase over current levels. but additionally as has been said, you've requested $11 billion in funding for new programs on the mandatory side of the ledger. that alone is shocking. but the fact that the administration is proposing new mandatory programs with in specific information or details as to where it goes.
this has been a troublesome and recurring theme across the budget and i've conveyed a similar message to your departmental colleagues in the last two weeks. in december we came to a bipartisan agreement with the white house on spending caps for the fiscal year and we simply can't afford and will not tolerate efforts to circumstance vent those caps by putting these funds on automatic pilot in the mandatory column over which we have no control. congress fall lowed the law and stay within the caps on the bill. i hope the message is clear that this committee is committed to staying within those caps for 2016. if these programs are truly priorities for the
administration, we'll need to find a way to make it work within the agreed upon framework. we look forward to working with in that regard. we've been working on our regional development to help my area yeah which has been hit hard with a loss of over 10,000 mining jobs since the president took office. one program that provides a true benefit to struggling regions like mine is the committee development block grant program. incredibly popular and effective because it provides flexibility to address unique community development needs from town to town, county to county and these are often leveraged over times to carry out projects that otherwise would not get started. they've been used to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses. i was disappointed to see the
cuts proposed in the administration's proposal. i would be remiss if i didn't mention my concern over the self help ownership opportunity program. for the past few years they've moving shop into the program and congress has kept it as its own lie item. this year again you proposed moving it under home. this allows low income home buyers to contribute significant amounts of their own sweat equity toward the construction or rehab of their homes.
this allows many low income families, the otherwise out of reach opportunity to own their own loam and provide their children with a safe and sanitary place to live and play and grow. the huge impact this program has across the country justifyings it remaining an independent program. we look forward to working with you over the next few months. we want to be helpful. we appreciate the service you're giving to your country and the we look forward to working with you. i yield. >> thank you, mr. chairman. great privilege to recognize the ranking member of the committee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to join my colleagues in welcoming you, secretary castro. thank you for joining us today. mr. secretary, hud's budget request includes some bright spots, including 20.8 billion
for ten gnat rental experience, $200 million for the choice neighborhoods initiative of 75 million or 60% increase over fy 2016 and $88 million for a new program that would fund 10,000 new vouchers for homeless families with children. i was disappointed by not only a 1% decrease in hud's overall budget of $328 million decrease from fy 2016 but also some significant cuts to programs that our constituents depend on, a cut to the committee development block program. it also plat fronts the home
program as well as the led hazard control and healthy homes programs at $110 million with $83 million for led hazard control grants and $25 million for the healthy homes program respectively. this funding, as you heard from my colleague and the ranking member is just not adequate or sufficient to meet our country's actual housing needs. led hazard control has made tomb strides in eliminating household toxins that affect our communities, resulting in lower led rates, better educational outputs for children. work remains to remove the lead from the homes of millions of families. now is not the time to flat fund it. many communities throughout the
country lack adequate safe funding for all housing levels. the housing sector must play a big role in strengthening and growing the middle class, empowering hardworking families and providing economic opportunity for all americans. i look forward to working with you, secretary castro and to listening to your testimony today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. mr. secretary, your full written testimony will be included in the record. with that you're recognized for five minutes. thank you again for being here. >> thank you very much, chairman diaz-balart, to the ranking member price, to chairman rogers, ranking member lowey, and members of the subcommittee. thank you for inviting me to discuss hud's proposed budget for fiscal year 2017. our request honors the president's commitment to
provide more americans with the chance to secure quality and affordable housing. and to use housing as a platform that sparks greater opportunity in people's lives. this proposal comes at a time of tremendous momentum for the american economy. the unemployment rate has been cut in half since 2009. over the past 71 months, businesses have added 14 million jobs, the longest streak of private sector job growth in our nation's history. now we must ensure that this progress reaches every corner of our nation. and expanding housing opportunity is a vital part of this mission. today, one quarter of american renters spend more than half their incomes on housing and for every dollar that goes toward a rent payment, one is taken from a family's grocery budget, a child's education, or a couple's retirement savings. that's what the president's budget calls for increasing hud's funding to $48.9 billion. $1.9 billion over the enacted
level for fiscal year 2016. 85% of our budget would go solely toward renewing rental assistance for nearly 5.5 million households. but we've also taken strong steps to maximize our remaining resources. investments that would support our nation's most underserved communities and empower more hard-working americans to lift themselves into the middle class. six years ago, the president set forth a bold vision to end homelessness in america. and since then, we've made great strides. the best example of this, a 36% decline in veteran homelessness, between 2010 and 2015. i want to thank the members of this committee for funding hud bash over the years and with your support, we can fully achieve the president's vision and help the next generation to escape the cycle of
homelessness. hud's family options study offers clear evidence that the vouchers are the most effective solutions for families with children experiencing homelessness, so we've asked for historic $11 billion investment in mandatory spending over the next 10 years that would use these tools to assist approximately 550,000 families. we've requested $20.9 billion for our housing choice voucher program. an increase of $1.2 billion from the enacted level from fiscal year 2016. this would provide 2.2 million low income families with a chance to move into neighborhoods with better schools, safer streets and more jobs and stay there for the long term. but hud's mission also extends beyond housing mobility. too many communities remain segregated by race and by income and too many americans see their futures limited by the zip code
where they were born. and hud's proposed budget reflects our duty to revitalize underserved communities. our rental assistance program has already leveraged nearly $2 billion for crucial repairs in housing and other hud assisted property. we've asked congress for $50 million to make targeted investments in 25,000 new units and eliminate the remaining caps on the number of units eligible for conversion. which improves infrastructure, rehabilitates housing and creates jobs for folks with modest means. and $200 billion for folks in choice neighborhoods which helps to transform areas of concentrated poverty by creating quality mixed income housing and sparking neighborhood small business growth. finally, the president knows that many native american communities face significant barriers to opportunity.
this budget requests to improve housing and development on tribal lands including 20 million for native youth programs like community centers, health clinics and head start facilities. the president's budget reflects his determination to promote inclusive opportunity for all americans. i look forward to every american can live in a home that offers them pride, progress and hope. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. we will proceed with five-minute rounds, alternating sides, recognizing members in order of seniority as they were seated at the beginning of the hearing. please be mindful of your time and allow secretary castro the time to answer it within that five-minute period. >> mr. secretary, as i alluded to in my opening statement, the
hud office had to express a disclaimer on hud's financial statements. billions of dollars improperly accounted for at cpd and tens of billions in other problems at jeanie may. it would be bad enough if it was one year but it's terrifying a financial institution as important as hud can't get a clean bill of health from its auditors two years in a row. please, as simply as you can, can you just explain what's going on with hud's financials? >> thank you very much for the question. the audit you're talking about is one we take very seriously. let me begin by saying we have a close working relationship with our inspector general. we meet on a regular basis and