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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  June 13, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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going to make it tough to do business. our plan for jobs in the 112th congress is clear. unfortunately, on the other side of the aisle, our colleagues on the democratic side, seem to have labeled their 112th congress mission the kick the can down the road tour. they're not going to present solutions for medicare, they're not going to present solutions to solve our energy crisis, they're not going to present solutions to solve our debt and deficit. no, they're going to pass it on to the next generation. they're going to kick the can down the road and say if you're 50 or 55, we're going to put the burden all on you. . all on you. that is not a solution for this country. that is december pay for our country as my colleague from illinois stated. debt, doubt and december pay and that is what they are -- despair
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and that is what they are running on. we will create jobs in this country and get back to economic opportunity and start by taking care of future generations and that work begins today. thank you the gentleman from arkansas. mr. griffin: i yield to the gentlelady from alabama. mrs. roby: i that i you for giving us time to talk about jobs. it is the number one issue here and what i see and what we have all testified to tonight as we travel throughout our districts, the number one thing we hear from business owners, the heavy-hand of government has created uncertainty that the private sector, even those who have the ability to create jobs are not doing so. they are fearful and don't know
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what the federal government is going to do next and this is evident of the recent unemployment numbers that have come out. since the first day this administration took office through the end of april this year, the economy has lost 2.5 million jobs. that is an average of 3,044 jobs every single day. and unfortunately, and just to talk about the gentlelady from washington's unemployment numbers, those numbers aren't even necessarily correct, because the rate is so much higher, because so many job seekers are giving up and leaving the labor force. i traveled, like you all did, throughout my district this week and went to a manufacturing plant that manufacture water heaters. they have over1,000 jobs in the city of montgomery. and they brought me into a room
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that was used for research and development for their company, but it was an addition, a $1 million addition to their headquarters, which is already over 700,000 square feet. but $1 million that they had to invest due to regulation alone. this is not a research and development facility to further their product. this is to keep up with the government regulation that they have to comply with. how in the world can we expect the private sector to invest in job creation when every dime they have is going toward complying with government regulations. companies in the united states of america are hitting the brakes on hiring and production. and to go back to the u.s. factory sector, the engine of
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our recovery, it had its biggest slowdown since 1984. and may showed private sector hiring dropped drastically. you know, i'm a mom. i have two children, margaret and george, that you hear me talk about often and a lot of members have their children up here this week and as i look around the floor and i see these young people, i think this is why we are here. and as was so eloquently said, it has to be about the future generation and not the next election. when i look into my children's eyes, i'm reminded about how important it is that we do all we can, which is what wer we are leading and doing all we can to lift this heavy hand of government. when i go to the grocery store and at the gas pump, we see it and feel it and know what is
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going on. in january of 2011, president obama said, entrepreneurs embody the promise of america, the idea that if you have a good idea and you are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country. and in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs play a critical role in creating jobs. that was president obama in 2011. the obama administration has done nothing to encourage businesses to create jobs. they have been obstructionists, causing uncertainty with this overreaching regulation, economic growth has been stifled. house republicans have stean steps to reduce steps in spending. the gentleman from arkansas has talked about about reducing spending and we have adopted a
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budget that will cut $6 trillion over the course of the next 10 years. our friends on the other side of the aisle have done nothing to show their commitment. increased spending, misguided attacks on the budget we passed, raising the debt without deficit reduction and burdensome regulations, this is the plan by the other side of the aisle and this is not what the american people have sent us to washington to do for our future generation. i ask the president and my democrat colleagues to let us make sure that entrepreneurs continue to embody the promise of america. enough is enough. more taxation, regulation and litigation will not create more jobs in this country. america is certainly at a crossroads. we have an opportunity here and house republicans are committed to taking every possible step to
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spur job creation and get our economy back on track so that americans can do what they do best, that is create and innovate and lead. thank you again to the gentleman from arkansas and i yield back. mr. griffin: you know when i think about where we are in this country in terms of unemployment and i think about what we can do to encourage job creation, it's clear to me that we can fix this problem. this is something that is possible. sometimes i feel like this administration's solution to the unemployment problem is to go around and beg the private sector to invest, to beg the private sector to create jobs.
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that doesn't work. there's a reason that folks in the private sector who have money to invest are not investing. they are sitting on the sidelines. why? well, it's a lot like investing in your own -- in your own family situation. you want to be careful with your money. you have a certain amount of money to invest. you want to invest it in something that's safe. you want to invest it in something that's there's certainty. you certainly don't want to take this money that you have, this limited amount of money, and just gamble it with something risky. you want to make sure that what you're putting your money into is going to pay dividends.
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and so what you have is you have a lot of businesses in this country who have money to invest , but they're uncertain. we have heard that word uncertainty tonight. well, it's not just a buzz word but a fact. when businesses don'ts know what's going -- don't know what's going to happen, job creators, they'll hold on to their money and say i better wait, i better wait until i know how things, with more certainty, how things are going to shake out. there are always going to be some sort of uncertainty. are the crops going to get rain? that's not something we have control over. but some types of certainty and uncertainty, we do have control
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over. and it directly relates to policy. >> will the gentleman yield? mr. griffin: i will. mr. gardner: we had an opportunity to discuss with some of the leaders of job creation and he made the observation and said there are a lot of businesses, exactly what you had said. there are a lot of businesses that have money on their roles, but not investing into our economy because of what he called and used the term, government activism, policies that relate to government activism. and i say said what do you mean by government activism? he said in terms of the policies that they are pursuing, whether it is a regulatory approach that takes away the certainty the business has for the tax structure, for business environment regulations. and the conversation he had was,
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if we could bring back certainty, if we could get this country back to a point that businesses know what's ahead, they can plan and won't be afraid to invest that money and start creating jobs now. one of the nation's leading economist is exactly what my colleague is saying tonight. mr. griffin: i think the debt is directly related to the issue of certainty or uncertainty. if you are an investor and you want to build a new plant, create a new business, do something that would result in job creation, whether you're from outside this country or here in the united states, you're thinking comb investing, you look -- thinking about investing, you look at the market and look at the debt that we have, you think about the
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housing collapse in september, 2008, and you sort of think to yourself, you know, this debt makes me nervous. i'm not sure where this is going. and they look and say, is the government of the united states, led by the president, are they going to get their fiscal house in order so that if i invest, it's a safe bet? so if i invest, i can be certain that i'm investing in a country where the government has got their act together. or am i looking to invest in a country that's going to just
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continue to raise that debt ceiling? see no limit? i was on the judiciary committee a few weeks ago and one of my colleagues on the other side made the argument that we just haven't spent enough money. if we only would spend another trillion or so, we might have some economic activity. i couldn't believe what i was hearing. and i said to myself, how does -- how high dose unemployment have to go, how high dose the debt have to go before we realize that we have to get the spending under control. ms. herrera beutler: i was thinking through your comments here and the gentleman from colorado mentioned, talking about the uncertainty investment, why would you invest
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when you saw someone just burning through cash? there is another reason that people wouldn't invest and i think a company in my district, a fiber company. they have taken steps in southwest washington, we have a tremendous resource in our timber, saw mills, paper companies, renewable resources. and one of those energy resources that people have researched is the availability to do green energy. in the last couple of years, the e.p.a. has signaled that they're not going to count biomass as green. so a company who takes considerable, time, energy, effort and resources to put -- to put in play a biomass
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facility and the e.p.a. says, time-out, doesn't matter how much money you have invested, time and resources you have invested, puts everything on hold. the e.p.a. decided to stay its ruling for a little bit and they aren't sure whether biomass is green or not. in an environment like that, what company would take the time, energy and resources to create a biomass facility? for a moment, let me explain, biomass isn't chipping old growth trees. it's the waste, the bark, it's actually fully using the resource of timber, right? it's properly managing that resource. but the e.p.a. actually -- what i think it is, some bureaucrat in washington d.c. said we don't understand that and we are going to tie your hands. it ties up resources, capital
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and jobs. and the fiber company in one of my counties, this is good family wage, paying jobs. businesses not hiring and why? i'm a member of the small business committee and through testimony two weeks ago, we had a whole panel -- had to do with health information technology, but interestingly, an organization was represented and some of the questions they asked, it showed small business owners were not hiring to capacity. about 40% uh there was about 40 they could hire. they could hire up to 40% more people, but they weren't doing it. so naturally, we asked why.
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and the answer, they didn't have the certainty to know if they were going to have any kind of cash flow or make payroll if they did it you know what was at the top of the list there? health care. health care costs. our small business owners continue to be targeted by government-run health care schemes and that's what they are, because if we want to talk health care, we can talk health care, we can talk compromise in health care, that's a passion of mine, but the schemes that were passed target unfairly these small businesses. some are getting waivers, some are not getting waivers, shoot, why in the world would you hire more employees if you didn't know if you were going to be targeted or not targeted. this is uncertainty and it's got to stop. it's time to put people before politics. we think about families at the pump, the moms trying to make ends meet, balance the checkbook, get groceries, pick up the kids from school, make health care appointments, it's
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time to put them first, not agendas, not ideas, it's time to put people before politics. that's what we've been doing and what we'll continue to fight for here on the house floor. mr. griffin: the gentlelady from alabama. >> the new work weeks, the new schedule we have that provides us more time with our constituents, that is so important, representing their interests, i can't tell you how many times in these meetings, just what you're saying in preparation for full implementation of this health care law, we are seeing businesses sit around conference tables throwing their hands up, having to spend lots and lots of dollars that could go toward creation of jobs but they're spending money trying to figure out how the law is going to affect them and
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their bottom line. mrs. roby: it's huge and i'm sure each of you has had similar situation bus we know there are free market solutions to driving down the cost of health care in this country and that law does nothing to do that, to increase competition or drive down costs, but what we do see every time we sit down at the table with these business owners is we see how the costs associated with implementing the law is killing them. so, you know, i wanted to add that to the table, on behalf of alabama, where i'm so grateful to be here to represent, i can't say it strong enough and loud enough about the plan that we have here in the majority of the house to do all that we can to untie the hands of our business owners so we can get this country back on track. i yield back. mr. griffin: thank you. you make some good points about
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health care and one thing we have pursued here in the house is medical liability reform. when we were meeting with the president at the white house a little over a week ago, someone raised the issue of medical liability reform he said, i'm for that. i'm for that. it's one thing to say you're for it. it's another thing to advocate for this sort of legislation. we're going to send it over to the senate and of from here in the house and we need the president to get engaged on this issue. medical liability reform is one of many solutions, market-based solutions, that can help reduce the health care costs and it's not enough for the president to say, i'm for that. the president said in the state of the union on the issue of
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business taxes, he understands that we're in a come -- at a competitive disadvantage he says he does. he says he would like to see us be more competitive with regard to business taxes, but no action. nothing. no leadership on the issue of business taxes. if he wants to talk about competitiveness, let's talk about competitiveness. let's talk about having a tax structure that welcomes job creators, not repels them. if you want to talk about competitiveness, let's talk about trade agreements. on january 27, 2010, president obama said, quote, if america sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the opportunity to
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create jobs on our shores. mr. president, opportunity lost. we've been waiting. we've got three free trade agreements just sitting on the shelf. one with clomyarks one with panama, one with south korea. and the estimates are that these trade agreements, if they were implemented, would increase u.s. exports by more than $10 billion. i've got to think that $10 billion in increased exports would equal some jobs. but no action from the president. i yield to the gentleman from colorado. >> i thank the gentleman from arkansas. i, too, have heard the
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president talk about his desire to increase trade and the exports of this country. in fact, i believe i've heard the statistic quoted, something to the effect of, if we can increase trade by 1%, we would create tens of thousands of jobs. we talk about what we're going to do to get this moving again. mr. forward for the: the fwoods to make not just u.s. consumers, but worldwide consumers, of the excellent manufacturing products this country can be, used to be, ought to be well into the future you talk about the opportunities we had missed. the other night we came to the floor an there was a group talking about make it in america. you know what we need to make it in america? we need a business environment that fosters job growth. we need a tax policy that
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doesn't penalize people for choosing to work in the united states. to make it in america, we need an energy policy that doesn't force people to pay $60, $70 every time they fill up a tank of gas just to get to work. to make it in america, we need regulations that are pro-business, not antibusiness. to make it in america, we need a government that represents the american working families, not just bureaucracy. that's what we need to make it in america. when it comes to trade agreements, i believe we can and ought to make it in america and sell it abroad. you make a good point, it's not just happenstance when a country has a good manufacturing base. mr. griffin: you don't just happen to have job creation. it's a function of policies. it's a function of the policies that we adopt in the congress or that we don't adopt.
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for example, when we haven't reformed our business taxes, -- taxes in years, while other countries are making themselves more competitive, we're sitting on our hands. it's not happenstance. i want to be so attractive in this country to job create jors that manufacturers in other countries want to come here. i want manufacturers around the world to want to be in this country. and the manufacturers we miringt have lost, i want them to say, hey, they've changed their tune. i'm going back home. i want businesses, job creators, around the world, to say, that's the country where i want to create jobs because it's the best place to do
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business. and we, the policies that we adopt here, the regulations that the administration puts forth, it all has an impact. it's not happenstance. it's by design. we need to make sure we're doing things here to encourage private sector job growth. ms. herrera beutler: i've -- i couldn't agree more. i can't count the number of people who come up in my district in washington and talk about how hard it is to find work, how hard it is to find a good-paying, family-wage job. i mentioned timber resources, in our neck of the woods, we have tra decisionally had a booming timber economy and a lot of those operations have either shut down or moved
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elsewhere to be more competitive. we have got to allow job growth. it sounds simple. it really does. the last time our country had the amount of spending that we see happening right now was actually in the leadup to world war ii. i talked a lot about cutting and reducing government over spending and reducing growth, it needs to be done, in the last three years, what we call discretionary spending the money that has to be appropriated annually, has increased by over 80%. federal ploifment has increased by 10% in about that same time. so government spending has grown and people are saying that the way to -- not people, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and the president, are saying that the reason we don't have -- we have a stagnant job opportunities is because we haven't spent
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enough. well, i listed earlier the stimulus, the bailout the auto bailouts, all this spending that's taken place and we're still where we are now. and people say, what happened during world war ii, we spent a ton of money and coming out of that we grew jobs. the big difference was coming out of world war ii, the last time our debt to g.d.p. ratio was near where it is right now, the difference was and the thing that saved us was the immediate cuts, we cut government spending back, and we grew jobs. we literally made things here in america. you know why? we had an environment that fostered job creation. we had an environment that cultivated entrepreneurs. we grew jobs in america because we made things here. gep in southwest washington, we had a roaring timber industry that has all but shut down. and the sad thing is, if you don't manage the health of a
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forest, it deteriorates. some of these folks here in these bureaucratic offices in washington, d.c., i swear, have never stepped foot in a forest. they think you just tie a big ribbon around it and don't let anybody in or out and that's how we protect the environment. that's wrong. they think the requirement and the economy are mutually exclusive. chst a low opinion of american researchers. it says we don't think our citizensing our people, are intelligent enough to come up with new and innovative ways to manage our timber economy and protect our environment. what we have new is shut off stands of trees, ripe for beetle infestation, decide, or worse, fire. as we enter the summer season a will the of dry foliage and underbrur brush, it would have
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been great if the e.p.a. allowed countries to create the biomass facilities. we could create jobs, we would be taking the remnants of trees, we wouldn't be taking whole trees, but using those in the pie yo mass facility, we're fully utilizing a renewable resource, and creating jobs. my goodness, that's a novel concept. we need to get there. i yield back. mr. fwriven: i yield to the gentleman from colorado. mr. forward for the: i just came back from our work week, traveled better than 1,500 miles throughout colorado. it was remarkable to me at every one of our meetings, we found cities, counties, small business people talking about the opportunity to get america back to work. but the problem, the obstacle we are truly facing is not the
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american spirit, but it is overregulation coming out of washington, d.c. rather than being a steppingstone, it's become a stumbling block and we are going to be able to get this economy working and moving forward once again if we free up that american spirit. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. griffin: thank you, mr. speaker. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado leak to address. >> i ask that my name be removed from h.r. 1380. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> i ask unanimous consent that my name be removed from h.r. 1380. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. observation.
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-- the speaker pro tempore: without objection. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado like to be recognized. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly the house
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earlier today, we spoke with a capitol hill reporter on the upcoming spending bills and the debate over raising the debt ceiling. >> the house is finishing burch all -- work on the fee a spending bill. >> and what about an amended with -- which deals with military project? >> it is attempting to strike language that would prevent projects funded under the bill to east project labor agreements, and even though he
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is a republican, he supports the agreements were in essentially allowing union influence on projects that are not necessarily union affiliated. president obama issued an order encouraging the use of these projects, and republicans oppose this idea because they believed it favors unions in the federal contract thing and is unfair to small businesses. >> of what are some of the key issues coming up for debate in the agricultural issues? >> one of the main issues will be funding for the wic program, that is looking to a significant
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2011 to 2012 bud011 t get. republicans are looking to save money and bring down the deficit through discretionary items. >> eric cantor briefed reporters earlier and spent time talking about the debt ceiling. the talks that started up this week. how are the talks going? >> they continue. they are expected to meet three times this week, and mr. kantor was complementary of vice president by then and his stewardship of the talks. that seems to signal a positive note. their goal is to try to come up with an agreement before august
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2, which is the deadline that the treasury has set when action on the debt ceiling needs to be taken. the idea is to try to get as much as $4 billion, but speaking to some of the members of the group, they could settle for less than that. the idea is to get this debt ceiling increase by at least $2.40 trillion pare.. mr kyl has said in order to get that much in debt ceiling increase they would need about $2.50 trillion in cut, and close to $1 trillion already, if not an agreement, and that the agreement on $1 trillion, and
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they could get their easily before august 2. >> the cuts look like they may be possible? >> i think so. they have been hush-hush on what cuts that are looking at. they seem to be circling around the universe of about $1 trillion, and could get to $2 trillion by next month. >> we appreciate the information. in a few moments, a hearing on improving bus safety. republican jewish coalition and los angeles hears from newt gingrich. then andrew breitbart. >> connect with c-span2 on-line with the latest schedule updates. continuing conversations on
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facebook. political places in washington and beyond. hlights ong high youtube. >> now a hearing on approving bus safety. this follows accidents in the northeast and north virginia that resulted in deaths of several passengers. this is two hours. >> good afternoon. i would like to call this meeting to order. the hearing is entitled how to
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bus -- best improve bus safety on the nation's highways. the order will be opening statements by members and then we have a panel of witnesses a simple the day that will testify about the subject at hand. the order of business to proceed is i will begin with my opening statement and will yield the other members, and then we will try to expedite hearing from our witnesses of which we will hear from all them and then take questions afterwards. we are pleased to be with you this afternoon, and i will begin by trying to lay the ground will put my own living statement. i welcome our witnesses and never stick. thank you for coming back. the house is in session until a little bit -- it is in session but not voting until later tonight. the reason -- the reason for this hearing is very important.
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in a few weeks we hope to roll out the lead -- legislation that dramatically reestablishes, sets the policy for various modes of transportation. as some of you may know, we plan to roll out the new transportation legislation in two phases. starting on wednesday, we will have a rollout, a draft of a passenger rail reform bill. we are going to hit it is a separate piece of legislation dealing with that particular provision. we have some provisions that are rather dramatic change the way things are currently conducted with our major passenger rail provider, amtrak. we want full opportunity for
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again, a new direction in passenger rail to be fully aired and also included in a separate bill, which we will see if we have adequate support and the house and senate to move forward as part of a larger measure. the balance of the multi-modal bill will be rolled out in a few weeks after word. we are doing it in a different fashion. we started hearing testimony from around united states and started in mr. rayhall's district in beckley, west virginia. we went as far as the pacific ocean, probably, two or three dozen carries to try to craft and assemble the best ideas for any reforms necessary or that people could provide the
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committee with. we ended up in this room. we had a little libation and pizza where members discussed some of the basic parameters for the legislation. during the past few weeks, our staff have been working on incorporating provisions for both the passenger rail segment and also for the balance of the in a legislative illegal. we can hope to have that rolled out, but as they complete that work, we wanted to make shoes -- make certain that we have the best provisions possible for us safety. mr. defazio, i hope to thank him, and i thank you for bringing this hearing together. mr. defazio had done hearings
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previously on passenger bus safety, and i think it is vitally important that we have the latest, most up-to-date input from some of those involved with this matter before us as we conclude and finalize the drafting and provisions for our larger bill. this has been highlighted unfortunately by some very tragic, dramatic accidents that have taken place with some of our buses, passenger buses. we had that horrible accident march, 2011, on the new jersey turnpike. we had another horrendous accident in new york with 15 fatalities, injuries in the incidents.
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we have unfortunately had in north carolina another horrible accident in the greensboro, north carolina, area, where four passengers were killed and 53 others were injured. the purpose of the hearing is to look at our current laws, regulations, and the administration, those provisions we currently have in statutes or rules and make certain we have the very best measures in the bill the we are drafting. we have taken ideas from both sides of the aisle in our preliminary work, and hopefully we will have some additional input today, because again, one fatality is far too many. let me say that as i conclude that the industry overall does have a very excellent safety
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record. bus operations, transport between 750,000,800 million passengers -- 750,000,800 million passengers per year. we have had very few fatalities. we have great safety records, particularly among the well- known and legacy passenger companies. unfortunately, that is not the case with many of the other operators, and we do not have an exact number. i asked for the number of operators, but that troubles me that we did not have that data. how can we monitor if we do not have the exact the death? the federal motor carrier safety administration will hear
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from representatives of that agency's, responsible for some of the federal enforcement and administration of loss, and our states are vital players and need to make certain that they also have in place the very best safety provisions so that any and all accidents can be prevented. it may be impossible, but it should be our goal. unfortunately, we are brought here by a series of bus tragedy's that have -- -- that havees captured the attention of the nation. i notice that even over the weekend i am told that federal motor carrier safety
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administration has closed down a couple of operators, marginal at best, operators. i am glad to hear that, when -- and i understand they were actually transporting people under the bus. i do not know if that was in the luggage area or what takoma -- what, but that is not an acceptable mode of operation. we will provide inlet all, again working with our state partners, whatever measures are necessary to make sure that people are transported on buses safely throughout the united states. that is our reason for this hearing. we appreciate our witnesses and hopefully we will come out of this hearing a little bit more knowledgeable, were prepared to finalize the import legislation we are about the craft and submit. i will say as we go forward with
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this process, in closing, whether the passenger rail segment or the bill, not only that do i want the democrat minority members that have full opportunity for purses of asian, but also other members -- opportunity for participation, but other members and other industry people who are affected by the law and any organizations that again support safety and good transportation for the and i did sit of america. we will have a full opportunity to participate on wednesday. we will be wet casting at 11:00 and people can go to our website at participate in the rollout of the first section of the bill, and in several weeks, the same procedure will be followed. we will have a number you can call. we will have the ability -- you
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will have the ability also asked questions as we roll out these new provisions in law. we want full participation, and please, members, are able to be with us. with that, i would like to deal to the ranking member of the committee -- subcommittee, mr. defazio, and this is a full committee hearing. i thought it was important to bring it to a full committee level, and i am so pleased that he would come back. and continue his hard work to make certain that bus passenger safety is a priority. >> thank you for bringing this important issue forward. it is timely before we move forward with authorization because some new authority is needed and perhaps some mandates, but when we
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deregulated interstate commerce we had absurd regulations where they had to define -- had to file their rates for different seats or whatever and difference get chills. the intention of the regulation was to bring about competition, but not to kill people. that is where a total deregulatory environment fails us. i am pleased see they have stepped up the number of inspections and enforcement, but given what we are told, the level of new entrants, it seems an impossible task, and ever-
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changing group of characters carry only a small percentage are those who would put people in the baggage compartment, had incompetent or exhausted drivers, drive buses with bald tires, failed breaks, causing fires and other problems. it is a very small problem in the industry, but those who are industry -- those who are legitimate should draw together to to figure how to keep these people out. when they kill people, people just disassociate with the entire industry. it is a few bad actors. that is what i hope comes out of this hearing, that we figure out a way to keep these people out if they are and, to get them out, and to vigorously prosecute them when they have committed violations the law. i think a number of our state partners have failed us in this.
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some states just allow these gypsies, these fly by night folks to present a certificate saying they have inspected their own bosses and their bosses are ok, and the state says their bosses are ok. other states are more rigorous. we may need to set a higher bar in authorization for the state's before we can have a carrot-stick approach, too. many states have diverted their money into truck inspection safety. that is a problem, too. maybe we need to look at the levels of funding, and the proposed levels of funding under the ryan budget would be a dramatic reduction in funding for the federal government and federal pass-throughs to the
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states. then there is this whole thing of morphing, which the agency tries to deal with, but more authority needs to be there, with people are morphing in this case. in virginia, they morphed quickly into another company. we need to figure a way to get at that so they cannot continue to operate under any guise, the people who are responsible for the substandard operations for killing people. that is the ball line here. this of the be all heaven,, and i would welcome industry representatives as well as the regular fares to give us a vision as to how we can get there. we are not going to regulate every route. no one is proposing that.
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how in a regulated environment we get the level of safety security want and a legitimate operators. i welcome the testimony from the panel. >> thank you for your excellent comments and for your strong advocacy on behalf -- on behalf of bus safety. the gentleman from north carolina. >> i will be very brief. i know of no issue that is more significantly important that promoting safety on our nation's i ways. that is the purpose of this hearing. thank you all for being here. i think he and the ranking member for having schedule this, and i yield back. >> good to see back, and you are looking pretty good, fighting a little bit of that skin cancer. >> i have not yet reached the threshold of hollywood hinson,
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but i am working on it. handsome, but ind am working on it. >> in this committee, city is a top priority. we have to strive to make it secure because this is critical. i want to say to those folks who have lost loved ones, families of those who have been a injured, you have our deepest sympathy, but it is important to note that the inner city motorcoach industry is an extremely safe mode of transportation. the nation has about 35,000 motor coaches that provide 750 million passenger trips annually.
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it is the safest way for passengers to move around this country. they have had a record that has been saved. we have had fatalities recently, and we got to make sure as the ranking member said to get this bad actors off the road. there is room for us to improve. the recent accidents have highlighted the issues regarding enforcement. we need to make sure the best trained drivers are out there transporting our citizens safely around the country. i am interested in hearing from our witnesses regarding how we can keep unsafe as operators of the nation's highways. a bus crash near frederick virginia killed 53 others. an operator has had seen the
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numerous -- numerous safety violations. they had that accident, but today are operating under a different name. we have got to figure out a way to keep those rogue operators who consistently violate safe standards make sure they're off the highway the whole . we must evaluate the effects of the standards as we go for it. i want to make sure that the u.s. dot as the appropriate
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authorities to ensure safety and look forward to the testimony today. i want to point out that the industry is largely a small business industry. 95% of motorcoach companies operate fewer than 25 motor coaches. we must ensure we take a balanced approach to this. we want to make sure there is the highest level of safety. this is a small business, family-owned industry that we cannot take a broad brush and paint them all, because they are committed to making sure they are transporting passengers in a safe manner. we have to focus on that and make sure we do it in a way that is not going to hurt them in this already weak economy. i want to mention the legislation that i have proposed, the bus uniform
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standards and safety act, which focuses on increasing oversight and enforcement, ensuring the most well trained drivers, and improving standards based on sound scientific research, testing and analysis, not on the motion. we got to make sure we make sure this makes sense scientifically. i look forward to hearing testimony today for your ideas and i appreciate the chairman holding this hearing today. thank you. >> i am pleased to yield to the gentleman from indiana. >> they give, and thank you for holding this very important hearing today, and i think the ranking member. i took advantage of the motorcoach system when i was in college. and i know how important it is to the people in indiana since i am in a fairly
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rural state, and people take advantage of the motorcoach system. it is also important to continue to look at the safety, realizing we have bad actors out there that compromise the system which for the most part is an extremely safe way for people to travel, even in light of the recent tragic crashes that resulted in loss of life. thank you for holding this hearing. i am looking forward to hearing the testimony so we can continue to make this mode of travel very safe for our >> thank the gentleman. mr. harris, recognized. >> my colleague from north carolina.
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my district will depend upon bus transportation. we do want to keep it safe. i would just ask that we do not do what has been trendy in the past which is when something like this happens become up with a new series of regulations that punish the good actors almost more than the bad actors. a lot of the bus companies are in fact small bus companies. they are the small businesses that can thrive. two of my daughters to interstate bus trips over the past month. the air-conditioning ran out on one. it is not a safety issue -- certainly it is not comfortable. but they both felt saved taking that mode of transportation. they trusted the carriers. creating a said of regulations that paint -- a set o
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regulationf is that have an of safety d overall. >> we will proceed with our panel of witnesses. again, i thank them for coming in on short notice. i feel this will be a very important hearing, as we try to craft and finalize provisions before the new six-year authorization. our witnesses start out with ann ferro. major david palmer, texas department of public safety. thank you for being with us. mr. peter pantuso. president and ceo of american bus association. mr. vicotr perra, president and
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ceo of united motor coach association. queline gillan.eln thank of the witnesses for being with us. we were the like to try to limit your testimony to five minutes. could submit a request through the chair. additional information, documentation, or information that you would like to be made part of the record, we will do that.
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>> chairman, thank you for the opportunity to speak today. this year has been the worst period in recent history for motor coach safety. my condolences go to the families of of loss of a lens = cr =oved ones in these ashes. the risk to passengers continues from a few bad actors. fmca's safety mission is our number one priority and we are fully engaged in a crackdown, illegqa passlanof centre carriers. -- illegal passenger carriers.
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when we found out the sky express was attempting to operate and sell tickets after we have shut them down, we issued a cease and desist order. on the same day, we subpoenaed the record of 3 internet web sites that sell tickets for sky express and other bus companies. the leasing practices of some motorcars companies allows them to skirt safety rules, moving equipment and drivers among companies. and unregulated websites sell tickets with no transparency to the public. we are shutting down on save carriers as quickly as are authority permits. since january, we declared 18 bus company's unsatisfactory. issued an out a service order for those 18. we have another 15 pending. that means they must stop operating. if a carrier opresent a severe
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risk, we do not wait for the 45- day appeal period that is allowed for motor coach carriers. we shut them down immediately. this past week, we used are imminent hazard authority to shut down three companies, including one in michigan that had put passengers and cargo hold. we have got to stop that. transportation secretary ray lahood has had his eye and motor coach safety since 2009 when he charged fmcsa and ntsa to develop a plan. the actions within its plan to address many ntsb regulations, including on board reg ting, anda ban on texsti stronger oversight of drivers medical and alcohol test results.
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fmcsa has proposed rules or programs in all of those areas. we need additional authority. we provided technical assistance to the committee with regard to several recommendations that would strengthen our authority over these bad actors. first is to allow us to conduct en route inspections at the state level. not just restrict us to inspections on motor coach companies at origin and destination. second is to develop a successor liability standard to enable us up to more surely shut down reincarnated carriers. third is a requirement for safety audits. the fourth is to raise the penalty for violations by bus companies that attempt to operate illegally to $25,000 per violation. it is currently $2,000. lastly, allow us to regulate
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passenger ticket sellers. we refer to them as brokers. we currently regulate household could brokers. we have no authorities over passenger bus brokers. our commitment has never been higher. i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you 3 testimony. we will hear from major david palmer -- thank you for your testimony. he is with the texas department of public safety and testifying on behalf of commercial safety vehicle alight. welcome and you are recognized. >> members of the committee, thank you for holding this hearing. let me say at the outset that on behalf of my members we pledged renewed emphasis on bus safety, a step we can take it no additional cost is to lift the current restriction law that
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prohibits en route bus inspections. we commit to you that if this restriction is lifted, we will encourage our state companies to take an aggressive enforcement actions when warranted. this step will provide an infusion of enforcement activity and enhance boston highway -- bus and highway safety. this has resulted in a significant number of buses and drivers being placed out of service for mechanical or driver violations. these strike forces included safety inspections at origin or destination. we are believers that many more lives could be saved if en route inspections for once again permitted to allow states to conduct these inspections when and where necessary. since the so-called kerbside
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operators such as sky express do not operate at a fixed place of business, the most effective way to inspect them is through random en route programs. this this past week, they stopped four buses operating on the capital beltway. although they were not _ i express's -- under sky express's authority, two did not have driver's licenses and all four did not have log books. this is one of many examples like en route inspection is necessary. how many more are out there? enforcement is a major component of bus safety but not the only one. when it is necessary to close down the passenger carrier operating illegally, the full force and authority of fmcsa is necessary.
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state enforcement and oversight is necessary to the inspection and audit process is to uncover potential passenger carrier drivers and equipment problems. when it comes to crashworthiness, and it's a must aggressively -- ntsa must implement safety system requirements. vetting process has been an important tool to take action on carriers that are changing their stripes. fmcsa working with the states must be given authority to transfer pass safety performance authority for one carrier to another one discovered it is the same operation. we must also be given more authority over brokers, companies that purchase transportation for customers need to be held accountable for not conducting a proper due diligence for safety. brokers discovered not doing so
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when hiring unsafe operators must use shut down. -- must be shut down. another is bus fires. a bus or market is lost to a fire every two days in the united states. we can conduct more roadside inspections were reinspect brakes, tires, and wheels, which are the origin of many fires. we support provisions in the house and senate bus safety bills that require a safety audit compliance review of all interstate passenger carriers. each statements also have a bus safety enforcement program that is appropriate for the needs of that state. as you might expect, by directing more of their efforts toward bus safety, states face the potential need for additional resources and funding. what we do not want to happen is by focusing on safety and inspection, it comes at the expense of other programs.
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unlike trucking companies, intercity passenger carriers have been exempt from any hours of service changes in recent years. since driver fatigue seems to have an attention getting factor in bus cresses, we recommend -- bus crashes we recommend if studying the roles of for driver hours are adequate. if congress chooses to once again to enable en route bus inspections, we will commit to assisting the state's by immediately conducting bus inspections as well and continues strike forces and other enforcement activities throughout the country. we believe this is the most appropriate and effective response to impact bus safety. mr. chairman, this concludes my remarks. i will be happy to answer any questions. >> next we will hear from peter pantuso. welcome and you are recognized. >> aba is the trade association
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for the bus industry and for the tour and travel industry, all of whom have a deep interest in safety. our motor coach members operate 60% of the coaches on the road today. we share this committee's concerns and frustrations over unsafe motor coach companies. mr. chairman, i cannot over emphasize the concern or discussed that we have over the manner in which illegal companies continue to operate. these companies are not part of the american bus association. more important, we are encouraged by the work of administrator ferro that they have done to seek out and save companies. making bus travel safer is at the top of our agenda. it continues to be one of the safest notes even -- however, even one fatality is too many. we ask for more regulations and more enforcement. we were an early supporter of secretary lahood's motorcar
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safety action plan. we believe in strengthening state bus inspection programs, and forcing medical qualifications for drivers, and using technology to enhance safety. the lack of dedicated federal and state funding for bus inspections leads to is consistent enforcement, making it too easy for carriers to reopen after they have been put out of business, too easy for financially marginal companies to obtain authority and too easy for individuals to obtain a commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement. the lack of consistent and adequate enforcement of current federal regulations must be addressed today. when secretary lahood issued the action plan he declared, "a robust compliance and enforcement program is critical to ensuring that motor coach carriers operate safely." we applaud the stepped-up enforcement over the last couple months and a near-record number of motor coach companies being put out of company -- put out of
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business, putting on qualified drivers of service and declaring some of hazard. certainly, they have done an excellent job of better vatting new entrants into the system. we welcome the new york department of -- the police unsrtment's twoinowing of afe buses. it's consisted, and effective best.orcement that is 54% of fatalities from 1999-2009 were accident caused by unsafe or illegal companies. fmcsa needs additional staffing and money to inspect bus operations. funding for commercial motor vehicle inspections is largely via the mixat program. a certain percentage of the funds should be allocated for bus inspections. if states are unwilling or
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incapable of managing bus inspection programs that meet federal standards, we believe that some of that money should be used to hire third-party inspectors. as it stands now, eight or 10 states have very good, effective inspection programs. this and equity must end. bus inspection programs must be uniform so as not to create safe havens for illegal operators. we must raise the safety bar. while fmcsa has made gains, we would certainly like to see a query into the fitness of an operator before the passenger boards the bus. we believe that congress should require an applicant's background check for drivers, especially those with a passenger endorsement on their cdl. when fmcsa has determined an eminent safety danger, they need congressional authority to not only closed the operation but make sure the facilities are
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locked up and make sure the vehicles are impounded. aba recommends that they undertake more consumer awareness, as was begun on may 5 with the secretary's consumer checklist. we also believe a more friendly database, a safer system is appropriate for consumers. finally, regarding seat belts in coaches, aba supports seat belts in new buses, following the testing that was done by the department of transportation that they undertook to determine what type of belt, the seat design and anchorage that would be appropriate. we are supporters of h.r. 1390. our industry continues to grow. we will provide the safest and most cost-effective and environmentally efficient mode of transportation, but we can only do it if current regulations are enforced equally and all carriers.
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i.t. why, mr. chairman. i will answer any questions you might have -- i thank you, mr. chairman. >> now we will hear from mr. victor perra, president and ceo of the motor coach association. welcome. you are recognized. >> i appreciate your calling the hearing today and the opportunity to appear before it. the committee has a long and distinguished record of promoting safety. it is my goal to provide the committee with our perspective on the factors that contribute to our industries noble safety record but our goal of improving on that record. founded in 1971, the association represents the full spectrum of us and motor coach operations from small family charter and tour to nationwide commuter service operations. the united states small business administration estimates that over 90% of the motor coach operators are in fact small businesses.
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we were deeply saddened by the recent accidents and we extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families. while it is a fact that our industry as the safest record -- one fatality is one fatality too many. one of our objectives is to promote safety and compliance in this industry. we do this for several initiatives. first, we have our bus and motor coach academy which is a credit to the college of southern maryland. we do training for drivers as well as motor coach companies to instill safety cultures and their organizations. we a safety management seminars that we hold that the ntsb's training center. of course, our annual conference and regional state meetings are also laden with the safety training programs.
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we routinely volunteered to assist national transportation safety board in any of their investigations, as we did following the accident involving worldwide tourist. uma has long advocated for stronger enforcement of existing federal and state motor carrier safety regulations for our vehicles and drivers. initially, we have long supported initiatives based on sound science and research that truly improve safety, many of which are included in mr. schuster's bill, which is co- sponsored by members of this committee. as well as other members of congress. the bill contains obtainable guidelines that enhance the national transportation safety administration's efforts to promulgate rules that will improve medical its occupant protection. in addition to the bill, in august, 2007, ntsa
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announced a series of the valuations including window glazings, emergency egress, stability control, roof strength and flammability. they conducted the first ever motor coach crash test. subsequent, they promulgate regulations for seat belts on all the coaches. uma supports that initiative. in december, 2010, fmcsa launched its long-awaited safety analysis. fmcsa now have the capability to readily identify noncompliant carriers with the goal of preventing accidents before they occur. just once and implementation, uma concludes that csa is producing results. we are satisfied this program will serve the long-term needs of the enforcement community. uma has reservations regarding
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legislative efforts that could intentionally harm small entrepreneurs and new carriers. while some of use the terms of the legal road carriers and new entrants in the same reference, there are no direct parallels that would signify new entrants before a disproportional risk to the travelling public. having said that, we supports the secretary's efforts to establish minimal requirements for companies to seek to transport passengers. we recommend plaster an exam requirements falling by compliance audits within 45 days after operating authority is granted. while uma continues to support limited driver and vehicle inspections to locations that do not interfere with schedules, we do not support allowing drivers or vehicles to continue operating safely. we remain concerned that
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roadside inspections. 76-year-old woman from minnesota died when her car that she was driving hit the back end of a motor coach that was stopped alongside i95 by a state trooper. fortunately, no passengers on the coach rick engine. congress has wisely protected motor coach passengers. in conclusion, we appreciate the opportunity to submit testimony and stand ready to contribute to ongoing efforts to enhance safety of bus and motor coach operations. thank you. >> we will now hear from jackie gillan. she is vice president of the advocates for highway and auto safety. welcome and you are recognized. >> good afternoon. thank you for the opportunity to testify. i first testified in 2006 about motor coach safety problems. again in 2007, i testified after
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a crash in georgia. both hearings highlighted the need for congress to take action to improve federal oversight of the industry as well direct dot. five years later, after those hearings, there have been more than 100 crashes resulting in 136 deaths and thousands of injuries. it's time for congress to act and passed the motor coach enhancement safety act sponsored by representative john lewis and others. the legislation will directed d.o.t. to implement life-saving recommendations of the ntsb that have languished for over four years. does that trouble by motor coach rather than aired tonight expect to be treated as second-class citizens when it comes to safety, and they do not -- they do not expect the motor coach to be a death trap in the event of a crash. h.r. 873 is supported by
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consumer health and safety groups and the families of those killed and injured in motor coach crashes. why is this legislation needed? further excuses can no longer be tolerated and have contributed to needless deaths and injuries. this is not just advocates opinion, but the opinion of the ntsb as well. congress must act now and insure the safety improvements that ntsb has recommended are implemented. hr 873 will protect consumers before they buy a ticket and after they take this seat in the trip begins. for example, there are no training requirements and federal regulations for entry- level commercial drivers, including motor coach drivers. compare that to a recent proposed faa role issued at the direction of congress that requires at least 1500 hours of flight time before a pilot can operate a commercial flight. also, safety ratings for motor coach companies are incomplete,
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out of date, or simply not available. in my testimony, a reference efforts by advocates staff to find out about the safety of ford motor cars companies. there are 143 companies headquartered in florida. 36 have no safety ratings at all. five companies are operating with conditional ratings, indicating there are safety deficiencies. among the 100 companies with satisfactory safety ratings, only to have ratings in categories. h.r. 873 would require that every motor coach company receives a safety rating within three years. driver fatigue and violation of federal hours of service rules are common. is time that we revise the hours of service role for motor coach drivers and get tough on companies that pushed drivers to exceed driving limits and falsify their logbooks. the virginia crash that occurred last week has also revealed a
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dirty little secret that safety advocates have warned about for years. giving motor cars companies an unsatisfactory safety rating 45 days or longer to continue carrying passengers is simply unacceptable. passengers boarding sky express had absolutely no idea dangerous risks they faced choosing a carrier. in the 48 days during which sky express operated with an unsatisfactory rating, the company may have exposed as many as 100,000 passengers to dangerous and deadly operating conditions. the ntsb has been loudoun clear -- loud and clear, that motor coach operations -- passengers need better protection in a crash. motor coach crushers are violent and cause passengers to be thrown around and frequently ejected. this is why the national highway safety traffic administration needs to be directed to issue
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basic safety standards in the next two years that will result in our japan's having the safety protections that we now have -- will result in occupants having safety protections we have in cars. i am talking about seat belts, anti ejection window glazings and rollover protection. the motor coach industry gold- plated cost figures secret waiting around for safety improvements required in h.r. 873 are inflated and undocumented. the cost of equipping new motor coaches with the safety improvements required in the motor coach enhance safety act will cost less than a dime per passenger. who in this hearing room today would not pay an extra dime to protect their child or parent or spouse in a crash? >> in closing, i urge you to pass the motor coach enhanced safety act and thank you for the opportunity to testify.
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>> we will see with the missing pieces are to making certain that we have the very best legislation in place, best regulation where we are going to regulate, best cooperation from the states and the private industry. federalfrisirst from our motor carrier safety administrator a list of recommendations that have been suggested, and we heard other recommendations from other panelists. there are issues with just about all of these. for example, if we start with
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the end route inspections, and i think there were restrictions put under the last six-year authorization that to inhibit some of the en route inspections. i think the thought there was that we inspect the bus before people get on it or at the end. and not unless there was a serious indication there was some problem en route. it would not shut down the service. we probably could tighten that uppe some. part of the problem starts even before that. mr. defazio spoke about it. getting a hand on rogue operators. changing the name of the operation over the internet. we have seen that in other industries, where bad players -- to try to build a mouse trap
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to catch the rats and they find some other way to get to the cheese, whether it is in a passenger bus operations or in other endeavors. i guess i would go back to the very basic involvemnt of the the federal motor carrier safety administration in reviewing these folks and the time also that we have. what is it, 18 months they can actually start operations before they get some of that inspection? is that correct? correct.s it is 18 months for new entrants. for motor coach passengers we set a standard of inspection it within nine months of their first receiving that authority for motor coach operators. >> so your recommendation is that before the start service
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they should have that certification. someone else was talking about a review of their capability. if it could be done by -- you have 1080 employees with fte's. i believe the division is about 800 in the field and maybe 200 in washington. >> that is correct. >> approximate. most of the inspections are done or enforcement is done at the state level. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> i know the administration recommended additional positions in washington. sometimes, though from a practical standpoint, it is better to empower the state folks who are closer as far as enforcement and regulation.
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what would you think of -- you are recommending more federal employees. any pre-review or audit that could be done you think that could enhance the performance? the other thing, too, is the bad actors. i've heard of games and other industries, they go through inspections. the good times come off and put them on another vehicle. the drivers the list are not the drivers that drives. keeping up with that. how do we get the best enforcement, other than just adding -- the second tough question for you, maybe i should ask other than just what the fed. other other things we can require on the spot that would do a good job, too.
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>> in other words, multi- fold. additional inspection activity creates additional data and identifies the behavior of carriers. rogue carriers are not gonna comply with the standard of origin and destination. >> when you are carrying passengers, it is unique.
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we do not inspect planes and route -- en route, pull them over, or parachute passengers out what we do an faa inspection. that plan should be inspected before it takes off and carries a passenger. the same thing with amtrak and others. they do not meet safety standards. we are not pulling the train over with everybody disembarking on the side for a quick fta inspection. again, the you want a practical solution. i'm trying to stop them. from getting in business in the first place. when i ask the staff how many operators to we have? they said that the federal motor carrier safety administration
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cannot tell us because it is a revolving number of the way things are set up now. people get into business by various means. again, they are circumventing the provisions we have. how do we get a handle on that from the very beginning? >> perhaps the most efficient model is to combine the roadside inspection activity that is underway, where we have 12,000 state law enforcement across the country that are trained, complemented by the new entrant grant program that is in existence today. within the context of a pre- authorities safety audit by a cadre of state and federal inspectors. fy2012 request, we include additional grants. it is utilizing what we already have and boots on the ground.
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-- in boots on the ground. >> but tough enforcement of the $25,000 fine compared to $2,000. what is the best -- american buses use asian feel about that? >> when it comes to more enforcement, i do not think anything can be second. we are in favor of anything that gets the bad actors of their road. we are in favor of more inspections. one of the ways that we can talk which it we have talked about -- what we have talked about is increasing their budget and taking the companies that are undergoing department of defense inspections, about 500 of them, and taking them off to the side. they are being inspected. inspections are almost the same, some would say it is more rigorous. why have themre- inspected a month or year later. , when they have been looked at very rigorously? >> i think will never forget the
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testimony we have in one of our field hearings were a small family operator, a husband and wife, a trucking firm in this case, and the wife gave testimony. was that in arkansas? might have been. we did a number of hearings. at the wife had compliled list of all of the agencies that their little two-person firm had to comply with. and she read that thing. most of taking her five minutes to read all of the agencies and regulations she had to deal with. after she got through with that, then she cited all of the taxes, all the fees they had to pay. it was quite an eye opener. the problem we have in dividing congressmmiic pie in
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is how much regulation, taxation, law in physicians do you put on businesses. i know it is easier for a big player may be that is on the stock exchange to stay in business. we want everyone to comply is far as safety. we have to balance the small operator and give them some shots. sometimes folks are trying to eliminate some of the competition. through over regulation of industry. we do have that balance to keep in mind. thank you, again, jackie, for your testimony. a number of your recommendations we are considering. and i hope that through better inspections and better de fined authorities, requirements
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and safety and equipment in that sort of thing, that we can have and betters anuses passenger bus safety. we appreciate your advocacy. let me yield if i may to the ranking member, mr. defazio. >> thank you. to ms. ferro and major palmmer you were emphatic about en route. how would you solve this problem, inconvenience? how could we solve the en route problem. it seems that is critical for these gipsy operator. s. they have a post office box somewhere. how would you do it? >> i would think major paul miller will provide more detail. we set it clear guidelines in terms of where and when, what conditions the to exist in order for the bus to be pulled over. there is a suggestion to
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consider something like business continuity insurance said they would be required to provide another bus to come to the location and move passengers away if that does is put out of service. there are provisions like that to insure that safety and safe passage of passengers. in terms of process, i defer to major polymer. >> yes, sir. that is absolutely correct. i really do not know the numbers, but i can tell you in taxes, we have policies and procedures in place already, so even under current regulation if you stop and en route bus for a serious safety violation, we have procedures in place that the utmost importance when we stop a bus is the safety of the passenger and the driver. and also our enforcement officer. we do not want to put them in
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harm's way. so, for example, depending on where it was an forever reason that boss was stopped, if it was deemed inappropriate -- unsafe, then we would escort that bus to a safe location and inspect it there to ensure that passengers are well taken care of. typically, a very quick screening or even a driver inspection, you are talking maybe 10-15 minutes to be able to do that typically. and we would focus on those efforts. it has been the late 1990's since i inspected a bus. when i would stop a bus roadside back then, one of the first things i would do after making contact with the driver is i would address the passengers, because the passengers are like, what is going on? what i found historically is that the passengers were very appreciative when we did take the time, when you tell them what you're looking for and about the safety aspects, they
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encouraged that. so we would have specific procedures in place. that is something that fmcsa can provide leadership on. cbsa would be able to provide that. we have operational policies that all of the states agreed to. and we could enhance that enforcement that way. >> if a bus were speeding, you could stop them. we did have this elderly person that drove into the back of a bus, clearly not good driving on that person's part. so to say, we should not have any capability of pulling people over because every once in a while someone who is asleep, under cell phone, or incompetent is going to drive into it, this is a problem. in my state, if your patrol car is here and the boss is there, and it is a two or three lane highway, you're required to leave alain montana and move to the left. there are ways -- you are required to leave a lane and
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move to the left. it only favors the people that do not have a sixth operation. where are you going to get them? i think opposing this entirely is not reasonable and would urge the association in saying that there should be no capability. think about how we can get at it again. again, how we did at the bad actors who are not in your association? this is the key. it was from law enforcement and from the administrator. i think we need to modify that provision of the law. the other thing would be state inspections. i see here in the aba testimony that you say state inspection programs must be strengthened. fewer than a dozen states have effective bus inspection programs and less than half have
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any program at all. >> that is correct. we do not think there are enough states focusing on buses. they are focusing on trucks and commercial vehicle inspections. they are doing an admirable job with the resources they have. they're not focused on buses. we saw the accident that happened in new jersey two months ago. that company was based in pennsylvania, but nobody saw them in pennsylvania. the company that had the accident in virginia was based in north carolina and a housing development. there was no sign of that bus at the facility or that house whatsoever. we are concerned. we are concerned about the way some of these companies operate, as you are. we are also concerned, talking about en route inspections, about the safety of passengers carried most are seniors or children. we have passengers with disabilities on the coach. we need to make sure whatever change there is allows for accommodation of those
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passengers. >> and on, basically, operating out of the housing or a postlopment office box, requiring an annual inspection by each state of these -- of each vehicle every year, would that be an unreasonable burden? >> it would not be unreasonable. >> ok. and that would also get at some of these people. could the kind of like, this is different, but with the coast guard, i live on a boat, they can certify your boat. it is improbable they will do a random boarding to do a safety inspection if you have a current sticker showing you are inspected. if we do and inspections, and people had some sort of decal, although those things could be counterfeit, then that would be someone at that the police would be much less likely to look as
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someone who needs in en route inspection, seems to me. some way of getting states to do this, incenting them to do it, and requiring them to do read and some sort of a process. then, perhaps, and take it one step further, what if you had annually, $300 good forever. on an annual basis, you have to show your vehicle has been inspected or we will suspend that authority. mr. panuso? tuso? >> as we look at the new entry program, we think $300 is not enough. costs $350 to get a hot dog vendor license on the streets. we think there should be a
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higher bar of entry. and that amount could be used to fund the pre-inspections as well. it could be $1,000 or $2,000. has to be reasonable. we cannot create a barrier to entry. it is a mom and pop small business. we want to encourage that. but at the same time, we want to make sure that people have the wherewithal to maintain their equipment. if they do not have more than $300, i question how they could do that down the road. >> what do you think of that? >> we do not have any objection to raising the bar. we want to make sure that the bar is reasonable. if it is $500,000, that is reasonable. we want to make sure it is not a barrier, because these companies create jobs. they are good for the economic base wherever they are. >> i get that. i am glad you agree. to the administrator, do you have the authority is that
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statutory? >> it is statutory. we would propose increasing the limit. keeping in mind, it is a one time fee. >> we have some consensus on that. that is something we can put in the bill. requirements on states for inspections, a higher one time fee for registration which could help fund some of the safety and doing the pre-inspections. i will see if i can get one step further. the chairman reference airlines. when we do airlines, we require that the operator actually be certified. and i've been here long enough that i remember when we threw frank lorenzo out of the industry. so, the question would be, -- we talk about background checks for medical's and all that -- could we have background checks for operators because that way we could get at this phantom problem because we know this person, they had a company that violated, they are not qualified
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operator to start another company with a different name and run those buses. could we have something like that, yes? >> yes, indeed, we could. in terms of liability and responsibility for principles identified as unsafe and reincarnated, that they could be barred from operating. >> can you do that administratively? in the statutory authority. i hope we can provide that. it would be used only in extreme cases. but some of these people are bad, repeat offenders. we want to stamp them out. we want to provide more business for the good operators. with that, thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mr. kobel. >> thank you, all, for your testimony. the private over the road bus industry provides 750million passenger trips annually. how safe is the motor coach
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industry compared to other modes of transportation? >> disir, is that question for me? we agree with many of the other speakers that it is among the safest. we are somewhat limited in our data and the industry writ large bite virtue of the inspection -- by virture of the inspection it is under. in terms of the number of crashes, they are very low. >> i realize that accidents are inevitable, but do you attribute anything specifically to the short -- a shortcoming to the recent market accidents? >> let me just clarify. the vast majority of the industry is operating effectively. these are small operators. those individual owner-operators small-business owners. in regard to the recent crash, again, we are in the midst of the investigation, but at the outset, we can see that the
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facility with which some of the bad actors movie critic and drivers -- move drivers. tos within our authority proceed, as well as stronger tools to prohibit reincarnation on a more effective level than we can today. add to kobel, can i that? motor coach crashes that increased dramatically. we have many, many more people taking them. unfortunately, our safety systems are not adequate. so, well, yes, it is a relatively safe mode of transportation, we have zero tolerance for aviation crashes, even though we now have as many people using motor coaches. and we have hundreds of people dying. already this year, 24 people
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have been killed and hundreds injured in 11 motor coach crashes. >> i thank you for that. major palmer distinguish for me the difference between en route bus inspections and strike force operations. in terms of time and money, which of the two serve us better? >> they're both unique in their own right. they accomplish inspections, but they do it any differently. the en route inspection is something -- it is a surprise. it is not something that you can prepare for. i mean, the good carries out there do not have an issue. the ones that do not, they do not have time to prepare or changeup some equipment or make some quick fixes to get by for a day. most of the strike forces that are done now are related, they are going to be some type of m&a hazardan -- imminent
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involved. >> strike force inspections, do they give advance notice? are they surprised? >> they can be both. they are surprised at the beginning, but once the first group of buses gets there to the location and we start inspecting them, then the surprise is gone. so then other folks can find out, that is where we are at. but they both to have their benefit. it is just that -- they both have their benefit. you are also at the mercy of a business, whether it be somebody like seawolrrld of some other venue, or the actual passenger carrier company, whether they would let us come to the facility to do inspections. that is one of the downside to
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the origin and destination. >> thank you, gain, for your testimony. >> i have one quick question for the administrator. it is my understanding that you grant the operating authority for all of these buses. it is my understanding that d.o.t. gave operating authority to sky express worldwide travel and super luxury tours operating authority. you did that little number that they put on the side. you get all of those, right? those were the ones involved. then after the incident, you with true that authority. >> that is correct. all three of those carriers had passenger carrier authority prior to are betting programs and all three have been shut down. >-- prior to our vetting programs and all three have been shut down. >> ms. richardson.
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>> thank you. ms. ferro, in your testimony, your reference a new program -- think safety every trip every time. you say this is available on- line. what other processed you have in place for consumers to know about this? this seems a little unrealistic. i was recently in new york. i bought a ticket for the lip trip. -- the loop trip. i did not go on line. what else are you doing besides this to communicate? >> we have several strategies. one is to just make sure people know that there is safety information available on our website about carriers. some of the trade associations also provide links to individual carriers, safety data so the customers themselves can link in and understand they can think safety every trip every time. >> other than websites, what process do you have for the average consumer?
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in testimony, you are talking about seniors, people not going on website. do you have nebraska process, people call a number, is there something available -- do you have any process, people call in number, what other aggressive things have you done? >> to areas in particular. there are van operators and the whole population of the faith based community that utilize the 16 passenger vans. with regard to motor coach operations, is through our web site, it is through this particular campaign it that the secretary launched recently. i would add, very important, it is the proposal to our technical assistance who allow us to regulate brokers of passenger tickets. that is those who sell tickets online and to parker's and travel services. >> i do not
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>> i do not think you understand my question. i go to buy a ticket for a motor coach and i walk up, how do i know what to look for to know that it is safe or they are approved by the department of transportation? is there any system to communicate to the average consumer who walks up, do we have any communication emplaced? >> we do not today. >> i have to keep going. you mentioned in your testimony that you think there should be some sort of inquiry into the fitness of an operator prior to the individual being able to begin operations? can you describe what you meant by that? >> right now, there is an 18 month window.
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before the first passenger gets on board, somebody needs to look at that carrier and asked them where they're getting the maintenance done. what kind of equipment are they going to operate? what kind of training today have for their driver? those kinds of questions before the trip ever takes place. >> if there is no objection, would you mind submitting some of those helpful questions that you think should be considered? >> i will, absolutely. >> i am not done yet. there was talk that the states used the same pool of funding for truck inspections as they do for bus inspections. coming from a port community, i find that to be very problematic. are you opposed to identifying a specific percentage?
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>> we are pleased to work with committee on the recommendation. through the annual safety plan process, we require states to develop and include the identification of a region or a state appropriate bus safety plan driven by what their data is saying, their bus population. it is incorporated into every plan. it is less formal and some the states. i would be happy to work with the committee on that. >> my last question, in this statement, he said that dozens of states do not even have programs at all. how -- is this your understanding? >> to clarify, we do not see
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good bus inspection programs in some states. we see programs that are very vigorous. michigan, california does a great job. massachusetts does a great job. there are others that do very good jobs. at the same time, we see a lot of places that do not put an assist on a bus inspections. >> we work closely with all of our stakeholders in this regard to identify the best strategies. >> you are familiar with the ones that are not appropriate? >> we are familiar with that concern. it has been part and parcel over the last four years by the agency has inc. and expectation of an action plan without each -- would then each commercial vehicle. it is an evolving process. >> thank you. >> i grant unanimous consent
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that to the recommendation requested be made a part of the record. information or response to questions. without objection, so ordered. let me recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania. i apologize for the delay. i know you have to get all by 4:00. >> i am a little confused. i will direct the question to roadside inspections. are we allowed to do -- it is not prohibited to do roadside inspections? >> roadside inspections are authorized for high risk operator behavior. if that dryer it is -- if that
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driver is showing on safe operating behavior, that could take action. >> what about targeting a bus company that has shown -- that has violated operations safety rules? that would not be a reason to target. >> that is not currently authorized. >> your view on that? >> are concerned goes back to the safety of the passengers. as long as the passengers are protected, as long as the seniors, the students, those passengers with disabilities are taken care of, we are fine with modifications to the existing law. >> the bill i have proposed, if we put in there that -- allowing those bus operations that do not
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have a home base, is that something that you would support? to be able to inspect them on the roads? obviously, most of your operators have a home base. it is easy to get in there. >> that is a good question. companies that operate from the curb may not have a terminal where people go, but they have a home base. there is an owner of that company. hopefully, they have a garage, training. they all take passengers to the same place. they all go to the same destinations. if it is a scheduled service operation, they are doing other point to point service. there is a destination, and origin. if there as an opportunity to do and enrapt and take care of the passengers, the passengers
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are first and foremost. >> i would hope that if a company does have a marginal safety record, they would be stopped before they got on the road. whether it be closing down or -- the program right now red flags those companies that may not have had an accident, but because of one of the five categories, they are considered a risk. we will intercede at that point and hopefully, when the carrier has enough alerts on their listing, at bay would be stopped, prevented from operating. that is the best way to catch them as opposed to trying to get them on the road. >> i appreciate the point. the challenge is that these operators are the very ones that would never have been inspected
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because we do not always know where their origin or destination is. large parking lots, at various that are no fixed terminal in terms of a destination or a casino. this is the very population that we do not have inspection data on. >> they start somewhere. they have some sort of home base. >> i can give you an example in texas in the houston area, we have operators that literally the only way we can sometimes figure out where they are out or were they will pick up or come out of is we go to certain areas and we look for fliers. the flyers tell them where to pick them up at. that is one of the major challenges and that is happening in houston, texas. in relationship to specific legal language about who the
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inspection would be applied to would be very difficult. from a state perspective, that is more of a policy issue. at the very least, you would see the states, what they would implement certain policies to ensure the safety of the passengers. that is the bottom line. >> if you cannot get them en route, you can inspect them at both places. >> that is right. that is correct. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> the gentleman from indiana. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i had a couple of questions related to the budgetary process. do you know what your budget was in 2008? >> i do. >> can you tell me? >> we had $300 million in grant
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of 40 and $220 million in operating revenue. -- in grant authority and $220 million in operating revenue. >> 2010? >> we were at $310 million in grants and 2$50 million in operating. it is about 560. >> the request for the 2012 budget? >> for our 2012 budget, the request is $50 million more, a 20 million of that for state grants. predominately system's
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investment. it is about 100 positions. >> anytime when we are expanding spending at the federal level exponentially, compared to 2008 and this year, i am trying to figure out exactly why it seemed like what you were doing was adequate, but every year, it seems like every agency continues to ask for more money. we recently had bus crashes in 2011, which did not seem like the increased amount of money really made any difference. in my own mind, i am trying to justify exactly why that would be. it seems to me that it might be more or a better thing to do to
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transfer more of the money that he was allocated over to the state so that we can have a more pointed inspection program rather than continuing to increase our budget at the federal level. what the think about that idea? >> i in the new agency, and the shape
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of what it means to have the proper regulation, it is still being formed. it is an agency that was spun off of federal highway it's a little over 10 years ago. with regard to the investment that is proposed, it is specific to boots on the ground either the state grants or are owned field system. one of the challenges that has been identified has to do with are we getting to arthrocare inspections -- till i worked thorough inspections quickly enough? that is always a resource issue. >> i was responding somewhat to the unfair characterization of trying to control the budget. it seems that a lot of folks want to say that if we go back to a spending level that we had a few years ago, these are draconian dramatic cuts that will intent on our ability to run your organization and others. i would argue that is not true. i want to clarify exactly what you are planning to do. how many people do you have working for you? >> we have 1090. >> what's -- what is the breakdown? are they all year in washington? >> 800 of them are in the field. we have division offices in every state.
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we have a division administrator and safety investigators. how many administrators obverses investigators? >> there is one division administrator for each state. investigators are driven by the size of the motor carrier population in that state. out of that 800, roughly 500 are dedicated to investigation and inspection activity. we also have four regional service centers which process each investigation, has the risk of prompting a legal action by the carrier. it may be related to the results of the inspection or investigation itself. there is a mission critical support associated with our work, which has to do with lawyers as well as litigation attorneys as well as our system support.
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out of the numbers i cited, up 400 investigators and 250 inspectors along our southern border. at about 800. there are additional support personnel and auditors. >> thank you. i yelled back. >> -- i yield back. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i do not intend to ask any questions because i was just able to get your a few minutes ago. i have read key portions of the testimony. i want to say that the organization has 800 members. mr. perry's organization has called hundred members. what that says to us is that this is an industry would mostly very small and medium- sized businesses.
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in almost every industry that becomes very hard to regulated or overly regulated, it ends up in the hands of a few big giants. i hope that we do not go overboard in reaction to a couple of bad operators. i do not have any problems with coming down hard on be very bad operators. when i was in law practice, i represented -- one of my clients was a small bus company. they had three drivers. the owner of the company had driven 2 million miles at the time i represented him. the other to driver's side driven over a million miles without an accident. as far as i know, they never had any kind of accident that was their fault at all. that was a good company.
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it was a very small business. i appreciate the work that these companies do. they provide a very important service to the people of this nation and to lower and middle income people. let's be very careful in what we do what wes work to need to do and be careful that we do not run out a little guys are making it hard for new people to come into the business because of two or three companies that have messed up. thank you very much. >> i think that a comment from tennessee. let's go back now -- i thank you the gentleman from tennessee.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i am pleased that chairman duncan was able to have an opportunity to review the testimony. i agree with this sentiment, which is we do not want -- we are not proposing to regulate those who are doing a good job. we have had some consensus on fees that are charged for entry from both the associations, the possibility of raising those fees, that would not bar entry, but would also help better find the inspection certification program. we had discussion of certifying operators so when you get a bad operator, it sticks with them, even though they might come up with a new corporate entity or a new name on the website for their curb to curb service. that could be helpful. we had some discussion on what
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you do en route versus people who do not have a fixed place of operations. i do not understand -- it says, revised current law to ensure driverdcdl can be revoked. i thought that was already allowed. >> right now, most of those offenses -- i saw that same point. that is a misprint because i agree. for serious offenses, we have the authority for states to disqualify. to clarify the particular
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provision, when the issue and out of service order on a driver, and there is no connection between our action and the state cdl. and we feel there needs to be an action. another employer may hire that driver. >> ok. right now, even though he may suspend or -- you may suspend or bar them, the states and are required to follow suit. >> that is correct. >> i think we talked about this with trucking were you have people who hop states when they have had serious problems. we talked about having a unified data base to keep track of people. is there a requirement on the trucking side? >> only for state convictions.
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for sufficient serious violations, a state is required to disqualify that a driver from holding their cdl. and out of service order is not necessarily in that list. >> i would appreciate seeing some language on bad. >> if i could just clarified the drug and alcohol peace. there is no link to the individual cdl. that randomized process for testing, should a driver test positive, there is -- >> that is certainly something to think about. how you would do with that. -- how he would deal with that. that would be someone that is operating and build a test while
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operating? >> that is correct. >> isn't the person put out of service to that point but they test positive for drug and of call? >> it is a positive test after a crash and is not related directly to the cdl -- let me provide language, if i may. >> one other thing on your penalty -- these are people who did not pay the $300. these are total rogues. >> it is that population that we might have shut down, and resume operations. we have removed their authority to operate and they have resumed operations regardless. >> i think we had some consensus that that fine for those kind of people could be raised.
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we want to discourage those kinds of people. we want to focus on the people that are good and encourage them to do better. we want to get those other people out. >> look at criminal penalties and people better operating without sufficient operating authority. the financial penalties are not enough to persuade these people that they should not be going back into business. if you had criminal penalties, that increases the stakes and that may get their attention if they thought they might be going to jail. >> we would have to think about that. the key thing is if you go criminal, we get a referral to the judiciary committee. that is bureaucratic. beyond that, the u.s. attorney's
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generally -- if it involves somebody to has actually had serious infractions that lead to injury or death or something, perhaps they would pursue it. normally, they would not be very interested in pursuing it. we have to qualify it and then about how we might do that. i would be open to suggestions. >> if i might mention it to other strategies. -- mention the two other strategies. the authority to regulate brokers, as long as passengers who are buying tickets, whether it is through the web or through a site at a curbside, if there is no requirement for the brokers to disclose who they are selling tickets for, passengers continue to buy tickets blindly.
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furthermore, they buy tickets thinking that the seller has the connection and some responsibility for the quality of the operations. the passengers to have lost their tickets have no recourse other than going through some state consumer protection agency. we would recommend, we have authority over the brokers of every other commercial movement. we would encourage the authority to have some level of requirements on brokers of passenger tickets. >> you have a requirement over freight brokers? >> yes. >> moving, storage, those things. this is the area -- this is the only area where you do not have that authority? i would like to see a suggestion. did these associations have any insight into that? >> we have had a concern about brokers for a long time.
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they have the skin in the game. --and in the game. we have fought to ensure that consumers work directly with motor coach operators and bypass the middleman. our concern with any kind of registration would give them some level of legitimacy, which we do not believe they should have. we are sort of torn. we understand the concern with brokers. we share that concern, but we do not want to give them a level of legitimacy that would make someone feel comfortable that they are dealing with someone that is reputable. because they are reps -- because they are "registered" -- >> the devil is always in the details. those of the kinds of brokers
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that we're talking about. by the same token, a lot of the industry buy and sell from each other. companies are leasing buses from each other if their capacity is full. how bad broker is to find is a key question. -- how that brokerage is defined as a key question. >> if we are doing freight brokerage, they are required to have bonding. >> that is correct. >> maybe that is something -- at least, there would be some potential recourse for people who bought tickets to a broker and that bus company -- they would have someplace to go and file a claim. maybe something along those lines would help to some degree. any suggestions that you have regarding that would be welcomed. >> i think this has been very helpful and i think i find substantial grants -- grounds
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for some modest improvements that will get at the bad actors. i welcome those actions by the committee. >> he has my assurance, and we have been talking and between the testimony and looking at the provisions that we planned -- that we intend to put in that will strengthen our ability to deal with the problems that we have heard. one fatality is too many, which i said at the beginning. i've learned some things here, too, and let me clarify, the federal government now the -- all but two steps -- all but two states are recipients for those funds, is that correct? >> allstate's receive assistance. >> they are now all receiving -- alt states received assistance. >> they do not have -- they do
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not meet the federal standard. hide -- had a limited enforcement operation and we found that their state law was not compliant with the federal regulations. we were having a rash of truck accidents. we went back to the state legislators and they cooperated. we are providing funding, and talking about the ticket brokering, by this time somebody is buying a ticket, that is way down the pike from where all of this problem and responsibility starts. if you are getting on a bus and it has a dot license number such and such and operator carrier # and dot has initially certified
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that in some way, the public does not know, members of congress do not know what that entails. but there should be some responsibility to make certain that you have the very best operators possible. not pulling the certificate after they had killed a host of people. you may control the american bus association they control 60% of the buses, but one of the worst accidents occurred with one of your members who was debarred from your membership after the accident. that is late in the games. but if we are putting federal money into state enforcement, most of the activities are now around truck and highway safety
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issues and we had testimony that only 12 states actually are taking an active interest. we heard some anecdotes about the level of operations as far as bus passenger safety enforcement. that has got to change. we are going to have to make a change there. i think we agree on that. we have to have some better assurances, both from d.o.t. and further down the pike, at each level. enforcement is so important. if i have 1080 federal
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officials, i am never going to be able to handle what needs to be done on the road. we have to empower them to do this. the other thing, stopping the bus on the highway, you know i have great concern that some of the provisions we put were good, but we may need a different approach. on the interstate, a major highway, basked -- the last thing i want to see is bus passengers on loaded. before a passenger gets on the bus, there has to be some assurance that it is safe. for heaven's sakes, we know that most of these operators are small operators. many are in the gaming industry. what kind of enforcement rocket science is it to inspect the bus before this ever leaves the station?
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i mean, people know where they are leaving from or where they are departing. i have concerns about how we do this from a practical standpoint and i do not want to put more people at risk in the process. competition is important and we want to make sure that a little carrier has a shot at this too. this is not just about preserving the bottom line for major carriers. we will have to look at some innovative ways, a third-party inspections, some way of getting more inspection for less dollars and less bureaucracy. that might be an innovative approach from washington. maybe we can do that, too. we will go back -- i want to go back and look at the
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recommendations. we did not get into detail, but we want to make certain that we do not give those recommendations on the shelf. in other industries and modes of transportation, we have done that in the past to make certain that there is some follow- through and compliance. when we see end -- when we see a gross error, it should not happen again. i appreciate your testimony today. this is a quickly held a hearing, but we are looking at to all of the provisions that we are trying to incorporate into a major piece of legislation. we thought it would be fitting that we review this in a bipartisan manner and try to come up with the best possible provisions to ensure that the traveling public have every
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element of safety in place and that we responsibly provide for that to end our legislation to allow the agency to help do its job better. and for the states that end up with a lot of the responsibility. again, i think the witnesses. we will leave the record open for 2 weeks as a unanimous request. we may be sending additional questions to the witnesses. there being no further business, the committee of the u.s. house, this meeting is adjourned. thank you.
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x the republican jewish coalition in los angeles hears from newt gingrich. in about an hour, the head of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases on the treatment of hiv aids in the 30 years since the first reported cases. after that, we will be air the hearing on improving bus safety. >> several live events to tell you about tomorrow. a house energy subcommittee will hear an inspector general's report on how the chairman of the nuclear regulatory commission dealt with the mountain repository of license application. that is at 10:00. at 1:00 eastern, a former
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national security adviser talks about foreign policy following the annual gerald ford foundation and journalism awards. the senate commerce committee looks out threats to rail security as members here from the head of the transportation security administration and the amtrak police. did gingrich says that as president, he would move the u.s. embassy in israel to jerusalem and suspend u.s. funding of the united nations it recognized a palestinian state. he spoke in california last night to the jewish republican coalition.
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>> i am always delighted to be anywhere where kevin mccarthy, one of the great rising stars of the republican party in. [applause] it is a great opportunity to be here this evening. it is good to be among many close friends going back for many years. it is wonderful to be here with miriam. i hope all of you will join me in extending good wishes to sheldon. i treasure my friendship with both of them. i salute you for your well- deserved awards and recognition. [applause] i also salute the work of the
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republican jewish coalition. the work that you do to champion free enterprise in america is a force for good in the world's is more vital than ever. as we gather this evening, america is in an economic crisis. more americans are without jobs and for longer periods of time. than at any time in our history since the great depression. i am running for president to lead a movement of americans who will insist on changing washington so we can renew america. to do this, we must insist on a dramatic and bold changes in washington. but appealing policies that are killing jobs and stifling -- be peeling policies that are killing jobs and stifling growth. there is no more important task
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for the next president. as someone you has been in public life for nearly 40 years, i know full well the rigors of campaigning for public office. in fact, i have had some recent reminders. [laughter] if i could paraphrase, i will endure the challenges, i will carry the message of american renewal to every part of this great land no matter what it takes great with the help of every american who wants to change washington, we will prevail. [applause] 8 via lead important parts of
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american renewal is renewing american leadership as a force for a lasting peace, especially in the middle east. this is why i was so happy to receive your invitation to be here tonight. earlier this big, -- earlier this week, jewish people all celebratedorld' pentecost. today is pentecost sunday in the christian tradition. it was on this feast 44 years ago, a mere six days after the old city of jerusalem had been reunited, for the first time in almost 2000 years, jewish people were once again able to visit the western wall.
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walk the streets of the old city as citizens of a sovereign jewish nation. [applause] hours before dawn that day, thousands upon thousands gathered at the gates to await entry into the city. at 4:00, the crowds were finally allowed to stream into that jerusalem. the first time jews had been allowed to carry out a pilgrimage to the western wall since the pilgrims to the temple 2000 years earlier. as the sun rose over the zero old city, the total of more than 200,000 jews made their way through the city's streets that today remains the heart of the people, the religion, and the nation. [applause]
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each year, the festival is celebrated in a similar fashion. by a pedestrian pilgrimages' through the streets of jerusalem to the western wall. it is a program mentioned in which generations of jews and signifies the connection between the identity of the jewish people and the land of israel that has existed for thousands of years. during this last week, today's generation of jews made a similar pilgrimage for the streets of jerusalem knowing that the freedom that allows them to visit is more in danger at this moment in history than anytime since that morning 4.5 decades ago. both israel and america are at a
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dangerous crossroads in which the survival of israel and the safety of the united states both men in the balance. -- both hanng and the balance. or that the world is a safer place. year after year, the forces of terrorism become stronger than the claims of terrorists become more acceptable to our european allies and more powerful in the united nations. year after year, the iranian dictatorship with its openly stated desire to annihilate israel and defeat the united states, moves closer to having the nuclear means to do so. year after year, hamas and grow stronger in gaza.
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today, the greatest obstacle toward achieving a lasting peace is not the strength of the enemy, or the unwillingness of israel to make great sacrifices, but an inability on the part of the obama administration to tell the truth about terrorism, to be honest about the publicly stated goals of our common enemies and to devise policies appropriate to an honest accounting of reality. [applause] during congressional >> the report issued in the aftermath of the fort hood attack, and which he carried
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around business cards that said "warrior of allah" while firing on men and women, that report did not once mention radical islam. in an eerily similar incident earlier this year, a terrorist opened fire killing two people. yet the state department spokesman when asked if it was a terrorist attack, responded by asking, "was the shooting of gabriel giffords a terrorist attack?" the moral confusion which cannot see the difference between a madman and then attacked at its in radical islam, is typical of
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an administration that -- [applause] the obama administration oppose the policies toward israel has meant a become of this and confusion. in his recent state department speech, president obama rightly stated that israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization that denies its right to exist. he then went on in the same speech to pressure israel to do exactly that. president obama wants israel to enter into negotiations with a palestinian authority that is now in league with the terrorist organization hamas. the president said that applying the pressure on israel was not the politically savvy thing for him to do. he is essentially telling us that he is doing the brave
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thing by pressuring israel to negotiate with terrorists who want to destroy it. president obama and his state department should recall some basic facts. how moss was founded as a terrorist organization dedicated -- hamas was founded as a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of israel. it instructs its followers to kill jews wherever they find them. also consider these recent statements. the head of the home loss -- hamas organization -- the jews are the most despicable and contemptuous nation on the face of the earth." two days later, the liaison said, "i think that we are
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entering the state of the liberation of palestine. we are talking about the notion of return. the return of the refugees to their homeland and the return of the israelis to the countries in which they came." on may 11, how moss said, "and just a few years, all the zionists and the settlers will realize that their rivals were for the purpose of the great massacre by which allah once a relief humanity of their evil." that was just said one month ago. hamas has gone well beyond words in its effort to destroy israel. in 2010, all over 200 missiles were fired into israel. no country can be expected to conduct these organs -- peace
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negotiations with a terrorist organization dedicated to its destruction or with a palestinian government authority that joins forces with a terrorist organization. [applause] because the moss has not changed, and israeli peace with hamas is impossible. 20 years of hopes -- [applause] 20 years of hopes with the so- called peace process cannot change this fundamental reality. it also means that entering into peace negotiations with any organization that includes hamas is a fool's errand. it is something that no friend of israel should ever ask israel to do. [applause]
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let me add, i certainly hope that this administration does not resort to the meaningless exercise of trying to artificially distinguish between the military and political wing of hamas as a way of trying to justify pressure in israel to negotiate. [applause] we understand full well that money is, -- >> it makes no such distinction. the play dangerous game with the survival of israel. in recent speeches, president obama also calls for israel to accept the 1967 lines as the beginning for peace negotiations. he went to great lengths to have us believe what he said at the state department was no
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different than what other pro american presidents declared as policy. unfortunately, that is just not true. president obama has in fact called for a remarkable shift in u.s. policy regarding the peace process. he wants israel to accept the lines of 1967 as the starting point of negotiations. accepting such a proposal would be a suicidal step for israel. [applause] fortunately for israel, the president's plan for israel to accept the 1967 lines is an absolute nonstarter with the american people. [applause] like israel, we are committed to seeing a peace agreement that protects jerusalem has the undivided capital of the jewish state.
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[applause] after all, it has only been under jewish authority, the religious freedom including access to holy sections, for people of all faiths has been protected. [applause] meanwhile, we must readily see the president's policies for what they are. the dangers accommodations of middle east dictators, and worse, the accommodation of terrorist groups like hamas whose ideology opposes freedom, and to use such accommodation as a weakening of u.s. resolve and commitment to israel's security. president obama's policies represent a sharp break from the
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post world war ii political consensus on one of providing unwavering support to israel. [applause] the decision to adopt a policy of accommodation with terrorists using the political objectives and a codeword of those who wish to drive israel into the seat of firms the administration's radicalism in its headlong flight from the legacy -- legacy of u.s. presidents from truman to bush and is leading u.s. and western democracies into danger. [applause] know where were this danger be shown more clearly than this coming september at the united nations general assembly. the palestinians have said that they will request you s -- you and recognition of palestinian
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statehood based on the 1967 borders. this action would violate every standing agreement the palestinians have with israel to negotiate a final border agreement. [applause] such a recognition would take place totally apart from any negotiation with israel and without the palestinian's renouncing violence or acknowledging israel's statement. while president obama rightly says the is this will vote against this unilateral action, some nations, including some in europe, are sending the signal that they may vote for it. they vote to unilaterally recognize the palestinian state. their commitment to violence, and their unwavering has begun to produce their desired goals.
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[applause] president obama and the state department must be clear to remember the mistakes of history and to reject this unilateral action that would reward terrorist groups that refuse to abide by the principles of human dignity and freedom. stephen harper, prime minister of canada had it right when he said, when israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack has singled out for condemnation, i believe we are morally obligated to take a stand. president obama's focus on israel, is particularly
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disturbing, that is the threat from iran. the dictatorship is methodically developing weapons. of all the world's diplomatic meetings have not slowed down the dictatorship by a single day. the iranian leader has been very open and explicit about his desire to wipe israel off the map. when you realize that only three nuclear weapons used against israel would bring about the equivalent of a second holocaust, you have to take his words seriously. the united states. without america." a goal he said is attainable. the iranian threat is hardly new.
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mark bowden in his book "guests of the ayatollah" described the 1979 seizure of the u.s. embassy and hostage taking as the first shots in iran's war against america. for decades, america and israel have shared a common enemy embodied in this poisonous ideology that threatens our safety, freedom, and peace. it is the same ideology that murdered israeli athletes in 1972, that took american hostages in iran for 444 days, that murdered marines in their barracks in 1983, that bombed the world trade center in 1993, riyadh in 1995, the khobar towers in 1996, the u.s. embassies in 1998, and the uss cole in 2000. many of the terrorist groups that have carried out these and many other attacks have been supported directly by the nation of iran. today iran is watching whether the united states keeps its promises with its ally israel and how we deal with iran's
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proxies, hamas and hezbollah. the iranian regime will also be watching how america and our allies treat israel at the u.n. general assembly this september. just earlier this week, iran's nuclear chief announced their intention to triple their production of highly enriched uranium and to continue to install more advanced centrifuges for that purpose. iran has also experimented with polonium and nuclear triggers, which have only one purpose to detonate a nuclear bomb. what then should america do in the face of these facts? we first need to acknowledge that 20 years of trying to negotiate peace with evil regimes and organizations dedicated to the destruction of israel and in many cases our own destruction has been a failure, and the time has come to clearly and
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decisively take the offensive against them. this begins with a firm and consistent commitment by the united states in the reagan tradition to speak plainly and truthfully about the nature of our enemies. next, our policies must reflect the fact that there is no moral equivalency between terrorist regimes and a legitimate self- governing country that abides by the rule of law. a foreign policy based upon this moral distinction is increasingly critical during a moment many have termed the "arab spring." the uprisings in egypt, tunisia, and libya are evidence


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