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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  February 16, 2012 1:00pm-4:59pm EST

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e in and buy insurance before it makes any actuarially -- actuarial sense for them to do it and the reason is because you've required insurance companies to give insurance to all these sick people. so you counterbalance that by bringing in a lot of healthy people whose insurance -- who the insurance companies make a lot of money off of. this is not me talking, it's the congressional budget office. it scored how much subsidy to insurance companies is coming in from the individual mandate. $28 billion to $39 billion a year $1,200 per insured person is being reduced because you're taking healthy 30-year-olds who have no need for insurance, except perhaps catastrophic insurance, which the act prevents them buying, the only kind of insurance you'd want as a single 30-year-old is catastrophic insurance in case i get hit by a bus or something like that and congress says no, you can't buy it. you've got to buy the
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contraceptive, the wellness programs, all these things that are going to do you a whole lot of good and why do we do that? because we want your insurance money to lower insurance premiums. so his fact is wrong. . there is an 11-month waiting period like everybody understands. you have a certain opportunity to buy insurance. what kind of person is going to sit there and say, gee, i really need insurance. i'm very risk adverse, but aim going to become a casino gambler because maybe during the one month in which i can buy my insurance i will be able to, as he put it, buy insurance on the way to the emergency room. not me. c.b.o. didn't score it. there wasn't an ounce of testimony. a line of testimony trying to document what causes this selection. second big point is, look, neil and i can disagree about the policies and economics about this stuff but what difference
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does it make? the court is not going to second-guess congress' policy judgments about what is beneficial for commerce. congress is the ones that make the policy. so neil and the justice department can come up whatever policy differences they think are important and whatever unique aspects there is of health insurance, but once congress has the ability to say the compelling commerce, compelling you to buy a product is regulating commerce there is no reason in the world it has to be limited to the unique health care context because congress has the power. once congress has the power, the court defers to their policy judgment and of course that's the proper role. while the government tries to jerry build all these economic and policy reasons why allowing this case in this one context is not--is unique, what they can't do is articulate a constitutional principle that says once congress has this power they can't, for example require you to buy a g.m. car for precisely the same reason. we impose all kinds of
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restrictions on the car companies, environmental safety regulation that is drive up the cost of cars. just like the so-called nondiscrimination provisions drive up the cost of insurance. if congress is allowed to force strangers to these transactions, to subsidize the companies that we have burdened with strong economic burdens there is no reason in the world that they can't do it in the cash for clunker situation just like they can do it in the health care context. so really as everyone has pointed out and as the justice department has been completely unable to show there is no limiting principle. congress has the power to serve the public welfare, improve commerce, game over. they can do it for banks, car companies, anyone else they want. >> do i want to come back. i know you have a third point. among your reactions both paul and michael have said there is no limiting principle here. maybe there is there one or does it not matter there is one?
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because this is within congress commerce part? >> the most important decision that the supreme court ever issued on the scope of federal power is mccullough vs. maryland. if you take the public seriously, everything that michael and paul said is clearly wrong. clearly. here's what john marshall says. by the way the argument, this -- bank is a corporation, it's special. it's an individual mandate. marshall says wrong, wrong. he says it for reasons that are applicable here. corporation for example, he said created unother clauses of the constitution, why not here? we had individual moon dates. george washington signed his name to individual mandate, militia asket 1972. we had individual mandates, i'll read you the language before the end of today. you can have it for that. but here's what john marshall says about the limiting principle. by the way can government tax
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me? yes. can it take that money and buy stuff with it? yes. once it has bought something can it give it to me? yes. if it can do those three things as a matter of logic, why can't you cut the middle man out? when he has, either of them has a one sentence or one paragraph argument, counterargument basic logical point, then can he start to take this seriously. but they don't. and so government can tax me. here's what john marshall says. it's about limiting principle. the power of taxing the people and their property is essential to the very existence of government. and may be legitimately exercised on the objects to which is applicable to the utmost extent to which the government may shooze to carry it. the only security against the abuse of this power is found in the structure of the government itself. in imposing a tax, the legislature acts upon its
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constituents. this is in general a sufficient security against erroneous and oppressive taxation. if you do not like this, vote the bums out. i personally don't much like many aspects of this law as a matter of policy. i personally would prefer to see a lot of tort reform and malpractice reform. my wife is a physician and we have been sued in malpractice. my brother's a physician and he's been sued. my mom's a physician, my dad. i don't like major proportions of this as a matter of policy. if you don't, vote them out. but we voted for president obama and his party in the last presidential leaks, they said they were going to do this, that's what they did. if you don't like it, then we can have another presidential election on this. the security, the limiting principle is that they are taxing in effect us. they are making us pay. if we don't like if, if we think -- if they do a cash for clunkers, don't think they will
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because there is no need for it. and we don't need constitutional lawyers and judges pulling principles out of thin air to limit the ability of congress to pass laws on cash for cluppingers, requiring you to buy a car. congress won't do it and hasn't done it because there isn't a need for it. if they do do it, then i would want to see why they did it and there might be a reason for it. just as there was a reason to have a -- an individual mandate in the militia after 1792, might talk about conscription. the government can conscript you. jury service is convippings. militia duty is conscription. let me just read you the language of the law that george washington signed his name to in which every citizen shall in the six months provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bacon net and belt, two spare flints, and knapsack, a pallet with a box therein and
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on and on and on. and you don't need if you are 30 years old a health insurance policy unless you are going to get hit by a truck, and they are subsidizing older folks, they say, welcome to the social security act. much younger people might be paying in for older people and there is nothing unconstitutional about that unless we roll back 70 years of progressive legislation. and on conscription and whether you need it or not, the next attack may very well be biological. germ warfare. and what we need to prevent that is everyone is going to need vaccines. viruses don't respect state lines. 200 years ago national security meant everyone had to have a musket. today national security means everyone has to have vaccines and they are more likely to get vaccines, if they have, they are required to have insurance so
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they'll actually go and get the vaccine when they need it. >> i want to, i do want to make sure so that -- there are two arguable constitutional basis for the statute that have been discussed. so far the three of you-all talked about the commerce clause. and akil has put on the table there is another power that could be used to justify the statute that's discussed by the government. it's a little cold about it, but, paul, can you address the question of whether this is a tax so that even if it weren't within congress' commerce clause power, it's been its taxing power? a sure. in the process i'll make a response to akil and mike will probably slement them. there is this argument, and akil has alluded to it, even if this isn't the individual mandate isn't valid under the power that
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congress expressly said it was exercising which is the commerce power, that it nonetheless might be supported by the exercise of of congressional power that at least the president expressly said was not being used here, and that's the taxing power. in some respects i think the simplest answer to that argument and to akil's point about mclulla -- mull cull low, i embrace that, here's the thing the simple reason why the mandate is not a tax is because it wasn't labeled as a tax. it doesn't operate the way that a normal tax does. it's clearly something different. because we haven't described how the tax -- >> could you just -- >> there is no tax. what this does, the mandate is
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an -- is a requirement that every individual save certain people who are incarcerated, people who are native americans and have certain separate plan and one or two others, everybody else has to get health insurance, now, there is a separate provision which is the penalty that operates as a penalty against those who do not buy complying insurance. that penalty, which is a little closetory a tax in the mandate, doesn't apply to everybody to whom the mandate applies. it has a separate set of exemptions that are much broader. there are a lot of people, virtually all the low-income people, that are subject to the mandate so they have a federal obligation to obtain complying health insurance, but they are not subject to the penalty if they don't. and the penalty like any penalty has the capacity to raise some revenue. but it's not the principal focus of the challenge, it's not the mandate that really has
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everybody obsessed. that's why i think you really need to focus on the mandate. this gets to akil's point from mull cull la -- mull kohl la what the chief justice said is the taxing power is broad you poyer and once you have the government exercising its taxing power there aren't going to be a lot of mechanisms for the court to limit the power. taxes are too high or this excise tax on this product is impermissible. all that's fair. that's why chief justice marshall, wise man he was, says the principle limit on the taxing power has to be structural. it has to be in essentially the people who are the taxpayers saying, look we don't want any taxes. that's exactly what the people said at the time that this health care law was being debated. it's precisely why even though anerly -- in earlier versions congress contemplated doing something similar by express use of the taxing power. and they backed away from it.
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the people did speak. the massachusetts election among others, senator scott brown, and the people who passed this law in congress knew full well there weren't the votes to do this directly as a tax. they used the mandate. the mandate has a similar attacks, it avoided the tax label which the president himself clear was critical to get this thing passed. was to make clear to everybody this is not a tax. but as michael alludes to it really is a tax. it's a sneaky tax. it's not a tax that is on any group of people you would otherwise rationally say should be subject to a tax. like people who are high income people, or people who raise -- engage in certain transactions that are risky. all of that might make sense from a logical tksing policy. it taxes what i would think, our people that you wouldn't logically really want to tax otherwise. which are reasonably healthy
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reasonably young people who don't have a lot of spare income. so they are inclined to maybe save their money by not buying a health insurance policy they don't want. so it has a lot of the aspects of the tax, but it doesn't have the one thing that chief justice marshall said is critical for a tax. which is the kind of up front accountability that allows the structural process of government to work. let me finish my saying akil said we could start a serious conversation if we had an answer for why this is different from just taxing people and taking things from some people and giving it to others. i think -- i think that the short answer is this is completely different from that for one way that's critical important, and that's accountability. there's a lot of accountability in taxing people. there's a lot of ginlt in being very clear -- accountability in being very clear about who is getting the benefit of those taxes. what happened here is that the group of insurance companies who otherwise would have protested
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long and hard against the new impositions that are implicit in the health insurance reforms that neal described, they were basically quieted because an effective tax in subsidy was devised where they get all this money on the backs of relatively healthy individuals. i think if you tried to do the same thing through taxes and subsidies, it wouldn't have happened. the act wouldn't have passed. that's accountability in action. >> begin by agreeing with akil, i absolutely agree with every word he said. his thought is anything that congress can tax and take and give to an individual, congress can require one individual to pay for another. since congress can pay for some of these insurance premiums through the tax dollars then it can require you to pay for this person's insurance premiums. so we all agree there is no constitutional limiting principle once we give congress the power to take property from a and give it to b.
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they can do it in any circumstances they deem advisable. and the only check we have against this is the honesty of the political process. so, for example, if somebody ran for president and said, clinton and the democratic primary i'm opposed to an individual mandate, and if he promised each american that he's not going to raise taxes on anybody making less than $250,000 a year he couldn't turn around and endorse an individual mandate and impose taxes on people making less than $250,000 a year. but the big difference wholly apart from the honesty accountability of our political process is, the tax system does apply to all americans or should. and if we want to accomplish social goods, if we want to conscript insurance companies and say, look, there are all these sick people out there, we know it's going to cost you a lot of money to insure them, we need to do it for the societal good. as the supreme court said in armstrong, if you are forcing people to engage in a public
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good, the public as a whole should pay for it. that's how we have done it in all other circumstances. if we require hospitals to give us service to poor people because of our normal charitable instincts in that regard, we give them a tax exemption or subsidy. that's all we are asking for here. if congress wants to force one private citizen, i.e., insurance companies to help other people for obvious charitable reasons, terrific. what you don't do is then not pay for it. you don't conscript some person who is not in any way responsible for the problems of either the insurance companies or the sick people and make that subset of the american citizenry take the entire tax. if we as a society think it's so important to give protections against insurance discrimination for pre-existing conditions, to wit, that's a policy choice that's open to us, but we've got to pay for it. you can't conscript somebody to say, i'm going to pay for this
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other person's insurance premium. >> in contrast to your friend, paul, i think you can read the case until you are blue in the face. you will never find the principal he's trying to tease ow. that congress has to say it's a tax in order to invoke the taxing power. rather the whole point of what chief justice marshall is saying is the great check against a lot of these hypotheticals is the political process generally. now, with respect to the tax power itself i don't think anyone is schooled that this was a tax, a constitutional point of order in the senate, after all, was defeated in part on the grounds that this was a tax and therefore constitutional. the way the act works, if you don't sign up for health insurance, you have to report it on your 1040 tax form and pay a penalty. every april 15 you are reminded that this is a tax. indeed the way that the tax is calculated, it looks to a percentage of your adjusted
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gross income and that's what you pay. which makes it look and smell very much like a tax. indeed, congress found it functions like a tax. it will raise money. the c.b.o. found that it will raise i think $19 billion a year in putting it in the federal coffers. i think it's clearly within the heartland of the tax power. i don't think akily. 's point is about the tax power as much as it's about what is the real check in our government against these worries that my friends pointed to. i grew up -- went to law school in early 1990's, i thought the great conservative idea, great idea was that the political process and not un-elected judges was the way we get this stuff done. i'm struck by the change in the way that debate has unfolded over the last 10, 15 years and it's now -- it's now striking legislation down after
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legislation as unconstitutional because they couldn't get their victory out through the political process. >> the challenge has been played down -- laid down by paul and michael on one particular point. i want to make sure whether we are agreed on it or not. that is they say that under the view of the defenders of the statute there is no nonpolitical limiting principle. that is other than the significant, no doubt, ability to vote out the president and congress and that sort of thing you can't -- there's nothing you could go to a judge and say this mandate is unconstitutional. is that -- >> i think that's wrong. could i flush that out? >> sure. >> first of all i think it's important to appreciate the role of government where paul does. the government's not going to come in and say, here are our limiting principles and foreclose a future congress from
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something they might decide is really necessary on all sorts of situations that we can't anticipate right now. so the government's job is often to say, here's what the heartland of our claim is. those cases are for down the road in a different thing. but if they wanted to, i think the limiting principles are fairly easy to articulate. the first one is the bill of rights up against any structural power in article 1, section 8. the example can congress force to you eat broccoli because it makes you healthier and it will reduce health care costs? the right to privacy and so on will preclude the government from acting in that way. the second principle is that they are limits. these are the supreme court cases in 1995 and 2000, that would strain the ability of the government in the commerce clause area, those are true limits. i think the government takes them seriously. the most important limiting principle you can get out of those cases is this, that when
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congress is acting to solve a truly national problem, that is one in which the states aren't competent to solve, that's when the power is at its effigy. here congress found that when any individual state like massachusetts tries to reform the health insurance markets, what happens is that the uninsured from other states will come in and swap those insurance markets. -- swamp those insurance markets. therefore in the state knowing that often will not enact legislation to deal with the problem because they don't want to become magnets for the uninsured. the only way to solve this health insurance crisis is a truly national solution. >> so limiting principles. i read you a passage from mcclulla where he was talking about the tax power as neal has said there are other powers and the political constraint kick in as well. there are two different basis for why this is constitutional.
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taxation and interstate commerce. on taxation, they have to be right about both. you just have to be right about one or the other. i think we are right about both. there are three at least different commerce clause arguments. but on tax first of all the constitution doesn't use a magic word tax. sometimes it's taxes duties, sometimes excises, sometimes revenue. that's a word -- word revenue is actually in the individual mandate section. it's part of title 26 which is the internal revenue code. it's enforced by the internal revenue service, the c.b.o. says it's going to raise $100 billion, with a b, overall. it's going to be revenue positive. makes it like a tax in the constitution. uses the word revenue. it is passed by the house and senate under specific internal rules that only apply to revenue measures. and by the way, if you don't
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have to pay income taxes at all, the mandate doesn't apply it's enforced on april 15 through the tax form and the tax code. and if you want to look at the word tax, if you think that somehow important, because people aren't fooled on april 15 when they have to pay the thing they understand it's a tax. the word taxable tax taxation, taxpayer appear 348 times. in section -- 34 times in section 26 u.s.c.. that's on the tax. what are the limits on that? it has to be a revenue measure and it is. and people will understand that. the political safeguards kick in on april 15. they understand what this is. now, on commerce it has to actually regulate -- act as a whole. not each section, but act as a whole has to be trying to solve a problem of interstate commerce. it has to be an interstate spillover problem.
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there are several, one is the welfare magnet problem that neal pointed out. another is the lock in problem. you have a job now you are worth more to the economy someone else. they are willing to pay you more but you can't go there because they are not -- they don't want to pay your health care costs which will have to be paid by the system. it's locking people in to their -- not their highest and best use. people are afraid to travel interstate. if you fall sick and go to an emergency room and if they don't pay for you, then you are not going to want to travel. if they do pay for you, they are paying for out-of-staters. at any given moment what proportion of people are out of state? i don't know the answer, but i would suspect more than 3% probably less than 30%. , when every monday, friday, i'm in new york. i live in connecticut. if i fall sick they are going to take me to a new york emergency room and i hope to god they'll take care of me there, but new
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york is paying for a connecticut person in that case. and it won't be fair unless i actually have insurance. new york taxpayers will be paying for me as a connecticut person. you need to provide for emergency room care so that people will be -- feel free to travel interstate. and you need in order to do that to make sure that people have insurance. some states aren't taking advantage of other states because it doesn't all evan out -- even out. this individual mandate itself need not actually regulate interstate commerce. it needs to be a part of a comprehensive theme that as a whole regulates interstate commerce. that is what justice ask legala -- scalia said. you don't look at each prong of the law. you look -- law as a whole tries to solve an interstate problem. >> that puts handcuffs on congress doesn't it? we have been listening to 20 minutes of this. you know what congress has got
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to do? it's got to rationally find it's a problem and the regulation doesn't have to do anything with commerce, but as long as you attach to it a bill that's got something to do with commerce that's ok. an then neal has said it's a national problem. >> give it it's due. given it's due, that is, i think we can agree that health care affects interstate commerce as do so many things under the modern conception. it's not just attached to something. it is part of an integrated scheme. that couldn't make -- doesn't make it constitutional, but is it fair? obviously you think it is, explain why it's right to say there is this bill that has five piece that is work together. one of them -- pieces that work together. one of them is an individual mandate. what we do we assess the constitutionality. the individual mandate as opposed to letting them getway with a statute as a whole. >> i think it's a fair question and i'm sure michael has great answer to it. before we leave completely the
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limiting principle. can i think two things? i'm not sure i heard one. particularly -- i think akil will give great defense for why this statute would be -- it was great argument for why the statute might be an interstate commerce but doing so, he laid out an argument that i think would apply to almost every commodity because -- >> the limiting principle. >> ok. look i argued -- when i asked for my limiting principle i pointed to lopez and morrison. but that has nothing to do with this particular power. ? power unique which a power to compel somebody into commerce to more efficiently regulate commerce. that power is precisely what doesn't have a limiting principle. there is really no commerce that i can't force you to engage in on the theory it would then be easier for the federal government to regulate the resulting commerce for the broader commirs market. >> the basis for the regulation is not the individual mandates.
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there is an interstate problem that pre-exists the individual mandate. this is one way -- hang on. >> maybe we should transition to the question that tom asked mike, which is your point here, i think, is that you don't have to show really anything about the interstate commerce. individual mandate as long as it's poort of a broader regulatory strkture -- structure that regulates commerce. we take issue with that. >> your initial statement of the facts twice you said, not just a part, you said, quote, a critical part. we have to be -- >> mike and i will -- >> it is a critical part of a comprehensive scheme, planp to deal with a genuine interstate prosh that no -- problem that no individual state can handle. and john marshall would have had no problem with that. >> every word you emphasized in that sentence, genuine, interstate, commerce are the kind of words that the supreme court will always defer to
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congress on. and so when congress in this context says it's genuine and in the next context all caps, exclamation point, genuine, the court's going to defer. that's why that's no limiting principle. >> interstate. >> interstate. let's start there. i'm signature at home in my living room. i'm not buying insurance. i'm not engaged in commerce. local intrastate, interstate. how can they force me to enter into the stream of commerce? this is not like mr. wicker or philburn growing wheat where he is producing a product which is indistinguishal from the interstate product and which greatly hampers congress' ability to regulate the interstate commerce. how am i a problem when i make a perfectly sound economic decision not to buy insurance? what other scheme have i screwed up? they keep saying this is an integral part of the scheme. they can still require insurance
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companies not to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions if i don't buy insurance. here's my role. i'm the solution to the cost problem that congress has created. so every time congress, all regulation does, drives up the cost when you regulate a company they can say, that's solving an interstate commerce problem. i don't want to pay for it with tax dollars. you, go solve my problem. go buy a car from g.m. go buy broccoli. maybe i have a right not to eat broccoli under a number of the privacy thing, but i can sure make you buy it. so i'm making two points. one is no limiting principle point. but this is unique in our juryries prudence. every other person person that's been regulated unthe commerce clause is an impediment to the congressional scheme. i agree they have abandoned the distinction between interstate and intrastate given how related those markets are today.
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terrific. but what they haven't done is said if somebody is not engaged in commerce at either the local level they are somehow within congress' reach. they can get to local bootleggers who's laker never crossed state lines. can they get to people who decided i don't want any part of the liquor business? you are going to help the liquor business if we start making you buy wine you don't want because that subsidizes them for all the taxes we impose on them. >> here's the problem with that. when mike sits in his living room and doesn't buy insurance, he is actually doing something that affects the national economy. that's what the government is saying. that's what congress said. that the failure to buy insurance is different in this circumstance than other things. because everyone -- this is judge sutton's point in the sixth circuit. >> why does this give rice to a
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limiting principle? -- rise to lamingt principle? the problem in 2008 was that people were sitting in their living room and they weren't buying cars. that was the problem. >> here's the difference. what congress is significant, what sutton is saying, health care is the different than the buying of cars. everyone is going to need health care and those costs are externalized on people right now. now maybe you can make that argument with other markets, but i don't quite think so because as judge sutton said, you can't predict when you are going to get struck by cancer or heart attack or get appendicitis. you can budget for things like buying the cars or other things. buying broccoli, whatever. this is something that -- wait, paul. let me finish. this is something, this is a product that everyone is going to buy. what congress is reacting to -- congress reacted is not the failure to by but the failure to pay for it. health care is going to inevitably going to be could be summed by everyone, including mike as he sits in his couch on
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the living room. and congress found that those costs abrogated means each family spends $1,000 per year extra. and that is across state lines. maybe you can tell that story with some other market and we'll deal with that case then, but i don't think sow. >> my question is, even if you're right we could debate the factual premise, even if you're right that the health care market is different in that respect, why does that suggest any limiting principle? this might have been the first market that congress regulated, but if the supreme court says accepts the government's argument, which is you can regulate this into the commerce power because the decision not to purchase health care has a profound impact on the health care market, why is the fact that everybody purchases health care mean that the next time congress tries to do this with the exact same theory, which is people's failure to buy a product, is making it a pain to regulate that particular market so we are going to make you buy that product.
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the next time it will be cars. some people don't buy cars. they walk. why is that going to make one bit of difference under the structure of the commerce clause argument that the government's making to the supreme court? >> because paul, i think what does the work in your argument, and you are truly the best lawyer of your generation, if you can't win this case, no one can, i don't think anyone can because of the following things. because the power congress is seeking here is -- what doesn't work in your argument, congress is forcing someone to buy something that they wouldn't otherwise buy. but what the congress is saying, no. everyone's going to buy health care. or they are going to use health care, they are going to consume it. what they are doing is regulating the financing of it. i think the court can easily write an opinion that says health care is a market. that is different potentially than any other market because of that and because of the demonstrated costs that occur across state lines. if you can tell that about some other markets -- >> health care is very distinct because everyone needs to have
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it and will have it at some point in their life. that's not true of other things. here's the second limit which we keep saying they don't want you to hear. i want you to hear it. it has to solve an interstate spillover problem. there are cases which the supreme court said, congress went too far. established a limit and we are on the correct side of those cases. lopez and morrison were cases where there was no interstate problem. people in one state weren't imposing costs on those in other states and congress therefore had no power to regulate because it wasn't an interstate problem. where people in one state imposing costs on people in another state. >> what congress is doing is saying that you can't pay for health care with your own money. that you have -- are you going to have to pay for it with insurance. that when michael says you make a rational economic decision not
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to buy health care, he's talking about an economic choice that are -- is being made by individuals. and that unlike the decision of teetotaler, which might be morrall, the decision to not use insures for self-insurance is what's being regulated by congress here and is that a limiting principle? >> no. because they could require you to compel every time you decide not to buy a product whether it's contraceptives or books in a school curriculum or any other kind of traditional thing, we think -- purely economic. if you want to make it purely economic, i will. cars an economic -- >> i don't understand your question. >> apo guise. are you going to buy health insurance. the premise of the statute. two sentences. and i take it the stat -- the statute is saying -- is that
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you're going to buy it. now we are going to tell you how you're going to buy it. you were going to pay for it yourself. now we are going to say you are going to pay for it this way. which is different from telling you how it is you are going to -- you have to buy health care. it's saying when you get health care you are going to pay for it with insurance rather than on self-. why isn't that different from saying you have to go buy a car? >> my transportation is my feet. i have decided to self-move or a scooter or a cab or airplane. what we are just telling you which way you have decided to engage in transportation. it's not limitting principle. this is the only market that most americans are going to go into is that right? food, clothing transportation, housing, communication? the labor market. everyone is going to go into the labor market. so under their theory they could start regulating college freshmen because it's predictable that 95% of them are
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going to ernt the labor market. i can't think of a more constraining limiting principle on commerce. if akil uses the word interstate one more time, i want to make two points. 95% of guns travel through interstate commerce. that was lopez. that was about as interstate a market as you could get. that wasn't the theory that it didn't have anything to do with interstate market, it was it didn't have anything to do with economic activity. and economic inactivity has even less to do with economic activity than the gun purchase in lopez. and will they defer to commerce on what an interstate market is, they have already held in paul's and in wickered, that growing pete for your own crops on your own land and having marijuana in your own basement for your own uses affects the interstate market. you know what? they are probably right. i don't know how you distinguish between homegrown wheat and
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homegrown marijuana and interstate marijuana. by the way it would create enormous enforcement difficulties. if their limiting principle is rationally establishing the nexus to interstate commerce, we want lost that battle in the 1930's when wickert was decided. >> this is why i think your lopez example backfires. our point is that lopez demonstrates the precise limits that in lopez the states were separately competent to deal with guns. they can act any number of regulations. there is no spillover when an individual state -- whether an individual state deals with a gun problem. by contrast, by contrast, health care is one in which one state does it it causes the interstate -- if can you tell that story about your transportation markets and your food markets and the like in which food expenditures are predictable and neighbors don't get stuck the same way they are in the health care market, then maybe if congress can tell that storery,
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that may be something that is constitutional down the road. but -- >> to come up with an interstate food market theory. but if i can just try. you started this -- neal, i'm soarry. you started this by saying we are all modeling this after massachusetts. the massachusetts miracle, the thing that worked perfectly. so by your own definition it's not a problem you can't solve at the state level. you are all holding up -- building a cathedral -- >> massachusetts itself told the courts their solution didn't work effectively precisely because it wasn't a national solution. >> because you can't have your cake and eat it too. what you can't do is tell people -- let's see if anyone disagree was this economic rationale. if fire insurance companies have to insure people after their house is burned down, is that going to raise premiums? yes. and it's the same thing if you have to insure people who are
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already sick for health insurance. i'm not saying it's a wrong charitable decision to make. but the notion that that won't drive insurance premiums through the roof is crazy. it's called the patient protection and affordable care act. the patient protection was protecting sick people against this discrimination by insurance companies. what made it affordable was conscripting healthy individuals to offset the insurance premiums that the insurance companies suffered. >> vote against it. >> it has nothing to do with politics. what it has to do with is your false assertion that this is somehow a unique factual scenario where congress is never going to be able to cobble together an interstate nexus analagous to this. every time somebody doesn't pay somebody, costs are shifted. either the seller absorbs the cost or other customers asosh the cost. it's not a limiting principle. just pretending otherwise because you know there is no limit. >> let's talk about massachusetts and cars and will
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i not use a certain word that begins with interand ends with state. they want you to think there is something distinctively dangerous, problematic about a mandate to buy a good -- another private supplier. how do we test that idea? we don't see in the case law any particular concern about that. they come up with that, but you don't -- won't find that in any supreme court case that they cited. it's not in the constitution. it's exactly like the argument the corporation, the corporation is somehow very bad. what's the limiting principle. and john marshall said there's nothing problematic about a corporation. just like i say there's nothing problematic in principle about mandate to buy a private good. how did marshall prove that? >> give them their due. they would say there isn't a big concern about this in the case law because there has never been a statute that required somebody
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to purchase something. >> every state requires you to get insurance, almost every state, before you go on the road because otherwise you are exporting costs on the people. that is is a mandate to purchase insurance. it's at the state level. this is proof of the following point, hang on. that there is nothing violative of the bill of rights, nothing particularly problematic about this. states do it all the time. they do it for cars. massachusetts does it. connecticut does it because otherwise when you drive uninsured, you are imposing risks of costs on other drivers. that proves that there is nothing wrong -- that's not -- other insurance, too. states do it all the time. now, -- >> their point is i take it is this, this is something that the state should be doing. and i don't think that they are going to be persuaded -- they are not going to be persuaded.
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by saying states do things. is there a federal statute, you can give them their due, is there a federal statute in the history of the union that requires you to purchase a product? >> yes. i read it to you. militia asket 1792. >> you could have been given the guns. you weren't required to purchase them. >> you don't have to purchase this. you can be given a health insurance polcy. it's the same. logically all the way down. i'm making a twofold point. one, there is nothing wrong in principle with government. forget state or federal. government requiring you to buy something. governments do that all the time. there's nothing wrong in principle about that. now, what the federal can't do everything the state governments can do, it's limited in certain ways. these where the word that begins with inter and ends with state comes in. there is nothing wrong with a mandate. that's what we know it from insurance for cars and every
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state and all sorts of other mandates, the dates have, now the only question is whether that very traditional governmental tool that's been in operation for 100 years is a sensible tool to deal with the distinctively federal problem, interstate problem created when basically people in one state are as practical matter imposing costs on people in other states or people are afraid to travel interstate. and so on. that's the interstate problem to be solved. with this traditional regulatory tool. >> tom? >> i'm well, how are you? >> would you like me to respond to the militia act -- i'm happy to. >> on the question of whether there is a limiting principle, i take it that you agree that congress could have done this without it being a tax right? and so -- i also get -- i also
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get that you agree that congress could require that before you actually consume a health inservice, you acquire health insurance. at the point of sale. are you going into the hospital. does that cut against the concern about there not being a limiting principle if you believe that congress could accomplish the same thing through other means? >> no. it suggests there is a limiting principle and the limiting principle is you can't do this through an individual mandate. it suggests that there are in fact other ways that would be more politically accountable for congress to accomplish these objectives. which i think is important because there a's whole health care policy debate that i'm happy to weigh into to the extent necessary to argue this case, but it's beyond me. there are people talking about the health care market and dedicated their whole lives to studying health care. and to the extent they honestly believe that this series of requirements is necessary, they
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should take great comfort from the fact there is a way for congress to accomplish this. it's politically doable in the short run, but there is a way to do this. it's just you can't sort of have the short cut of the individual mandate. i think that's -- that's a really important principle. just to make two points that are complementary to that that respond to things that have been said, one is if really is important to accomplish between the mandate and the penalty. because it's true, if you decide that you are not going to buy health insurance you'll pay a penalty if you are not exempt from the bent. a lot of people are. that shows how different they are. that's something you have to do on april 15 and you'll be reminded this is the federal government doing this and that will hack you off. but you don't see the premium, which is what congress wants, they don't want you go the penalty route. they want you to get client health care. when do you that are you not going to write a check to the i.r.s. you are not going to do it on april 15. are you going to write a check
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to an insurance company. to the extent that that's really a tax, then it's really pernicious because when we try to figure out this huge budget mess we have in this country, we are going to start by looking at what are our tax revenues and government expenditures? and it's pernicious to have something that's really a tax that's going to be completely off that budget. it's going to be in fact -- people are taxed to whatever level they are, and then they are forced to buy this product that they don't want but if they are forced to buy it, they might as well have it as opposed to not have it and have to pay a penalty that's as large as what it would cost to get it. are you going to have this whole thing off budget. that's something that's very unaccountable and don't think the framers had in mind. >> call it a tax? >> no. >> now it's unconstitutional because you end up buying the insurance? >> you can -- if you call it a tax, then as michael suggests it's going to be distributed in a different way, more broadly. i don't think congress will pass
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a tax. i'm not sure they could. that's limited to healthy 29-year-olds. but even if they did, even if they did, then at least if would be on budget. that would be bert. second point is, i can't resist saying something about the militia act of 1792 because i do think it's different. which is first of all, congress was given specifically the power to raise the standing army. and i think it could certainly be argued the militia act was an act pursuant to that power. that's important for two reasons to me. one congress is given the power to raise armies. they are separately given power to regulate. it was recognized in the constitution itself those were separate things. the power to raise an army was very controversial. it gave rise to the second and third amendments to the constitution. the power to regulate an army once it was raised was not controversial at all. nobody wanted an unregulated army. by contrast, if you look at the commerce clause, all it cost is give commerce the power to
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regulate commerce. so i think it's fair to say, it assumes there is actual commerce ongoing. that congress then had the authority to regulate. that was a power i think precisely because it assumed that commerce to be regulated, that was not controversial at all. and i think if you go back to the minds of the framers and you posit the idea they really thought this is commerce clause was as broad as it is, and that it included the power to compel people into commerce in order to regulate them, then our whole constitutional history would be different. instead of having the second and third amendment that responded to the power to raise armies, we would have had the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 16th amount at the framing in order to control this really broad potentially dangerous power to compel people to engage in commerce. >> i want to give neal the chance to put in a response for further thought. then i want to make sure we have time for questions. >> just briefly, of all the arguments and criticisms against the act, the one that there is a
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lack of political accountability is that this act somehow stolen to the unsuspecting night seems to me the weakest. i think paul's concession here, which i understand why mike won't concede, that if they did it with using the word tax a few more times or something, that that would be constitutional. really cuts the legs out from underthem when it comes to this whole point about unlimited government and the like. they are concession is as long as they do it with the word tax i guess more than 32 times in it that somehow that makes it constitutional. and now we are just haggling over really how many times they have to do it. >> you could have an individual mandate if you label it a tax. i'm saying you could accomplish the same objective by raising everyone's taxes and providing a direct subsidy to the health insurance industry. you would end up with the exact same public policy result which was you would have guaranteed issue. you have community rating. and you have everybody paying
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for it. i'm not saying it's -- >> i misunderstood you. >> your argument there is no difference between requiring people to do something directly and creating a financial incentive to do so i assume the government will concede error on the medicaid thing because their entire argument on medicaid is we are not forcing states to do it, we are giving them strong financial incentives to do it. >> that was to do with something very different. >> we have 20 minutes left. let me make sure that we have the opportunity to ask questions. i think before -- i think we have microphones available. here we go. if you'll just bring it around. just because folks can see if you could introduce yourself. > i'm nina from npr. i have two questions that have not been addressed by this rather lively debate. the first is, if you -- if this
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is a tax, if it's kwlected by the i.r.s. -- collected by the i.r.s. and can be characterized by a tax, then why is it not in fact covered by the anti-injunction act and therefore putting the case off until 2015 or something like that? and my second question is whether i would like you each to -- at least one of you from each camp to address the question of severibility and why if you lose any part of this case the rest of the statute should stand or should not stand? >> on the anti-injunction act let me ask neal first. is that ok? >> i don't remember all the details. it might be better o to pose to those two. >> the first problem with the question is you refer to it -- but it's important to again, distinguish between the mandate and the penalty that enforces
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the mandate. the penalty that enforces the mandate does look a little like a tax. it's what's collected by the i.r.s. but the problem is the challenge focuses on the mandate. and the mandate, most people i think if they were rational, if the mandate's constitutional, they are not going to stubbornly say i'm not going to buy health insurance because the tax penalty, the penalty is sort of key to the amount of the premium you would otherwise pay. so i think most people are going to make the rational choice that if i have to buy insurance or be assessed at a equivalent penalty for not buying insurance, in which case i'll pay and won't have insurance, i might as well get insurance. people are going to pay. that's what congress wants them to do. >> the question assumed -- assume the statute is upheld under the taxing power dorks it then run into the anti-injunction act? >> ok. explain more broadly why i don't think it's a problem. it's not a problem because the
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principle challenge is to the mandate. that creates an important difference for purposes of understanding the anti-injunction act. the anti-injunction act is not a crazy piece of legislation. if are you a taxpayer and you are hacked off about a tax and you think it's unconstitutional you have an option that most people don't in most litigation. most of the time you face an obligation from the government and your choice is to either comply, in which case you can never sue, or bring reinforcement challenge, that's unconstitutional don't do that. in the tax context that's different. can i pay the taxes and then i can go get a refund and lit gate that way. -- litigate that way. once i pay my premiums to the insurance company, i can't go seek a refund from them. it doesn't work that way. the anti-injunction act is really a nonsec which tur -- nonsequitur. one of the reasons it wouldn't aply i'll give you and and
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there are probablely others, there is a long line of supreme court cases interpretting this thing that don't interpret it in a way that make it seem jurisdictional. they make it seem like it's basically a defense that the government can raise but they can also waive the defense. they created exceptions. the anti-injunction act is not jurisdictional, it doesn't matter here because the government and the private parties and the states all agree that the anti-injunction act shouldn't aply. -- aply. they don't have to reach the anti-injunction act if the court all agrees it's nonjurisdictional. we have arguments and i won't belabor them, we have arguments as to why the anti-injunction act wouldn't apply to the states no matter what. >> the second question is is the individual -- if the individual mandate goes down does the rest of the statute logically have to fall apart? >> the government has taken the position in this case that if the individual mandate falls, only a few provisions of the act fall that is the insurance market reforms and guaranteed
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issue and community rating. their theory is what i outlined at the beginning of our hour together which is that the reason why the individual mandate was put in was to deal with the adverse selection problems from the community rating and guaranteed issue provisions in the act. some folks have come in and said 2,400 pages of the act has to fall including things like funding for abstinence education and the like. that i think many people think is a very tough argument to have the entire act fall. it's true that there is no severalibility clause in the legislation and so that's what gives that argument to some teeth. i think the court has said a few times that the absence of the severibility clause alone isn't dispositive. >> what falls apart if the mandate goes down? >> precisely because neal's right. i don't think any reasonable
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people can disagree that the individual mandate is tied inextreekably to the what we call guaranteed issue and community ratings provisions. that is the heart of the act. it's called the patient protection and affordable care act. the two provision that is gave the patients the most protection were the guaranteed issue and no ban on pre-existing conditions. the thing that made it affordable was the individual mandate's massive subsidy. once you have taken away both pillars of the entire act once you have lifted the heart and lung out of a body, it doesn't matter if the fingers can continue to actually move. what matters is if they can move in the way that congress intended. and there is no way when the two basic pillars of that act are ripped out of it, that you could possibly say the rest of the act is ok. i suppose you could take the anti-competitive provisions out of the anti-sherman act and you could still have an antitrust division at the justice department which could function, but what it couldn't do is
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function in a manner that congress intended. and it's particularly true of this act because we know that it was a series of compromises and pulling out any one part was going to do the hole, surely if you pull out the biggest part it would doom the hole. >> severalibility would be rather than killing the whole thing or even the heart and lungs of it, would be to say, if it's all about the fact that the used the word revenue rather than tax, and the supreme court said it did say tax it would be ok, we in effect rewrite the statute so wherever it says revenue it says tax and the people now have -- there's political accountability and you might say that's weird. but that's what the telemundo case did and other cases. march bahrry vs. marshall at affected just rewrites one clause of the original it judiciary act of
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1789. the whole point is that people need to understand that the supreme court can make that clear. by the way paul, one important thing -- talk about individual mandates and he said that strictly speaking, you don't have to buy the insurance. you're not a lot record if you choose for philosophical or other reasons not to buy the insurance. that is fine. >> and the statute is actually structured in such a way that paying the penalty is not compliance with the mandate and amend it continues. you are under a federal mandate. >> strike that part down, read the statute so that it is clear it that as long as you pay the penalty, you are in compliance. if that satisfies everyone, that is in nicely small, severable holding. >> it is and not the labeling issue.
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i don't care if they called a tax, penalty, or a banana. what it is is a mandate to do something and if you don't do that, you are in violation of federal law. if they ban cigarettes tomorrow and the enforcement mechanism is of for dollar penalty -- is a4 $ penalty on every pack cusack that is a tax on cigarettes. the government conceded that it is not a payment for an unlawful act. we understand why that is so. if in the lopez for example, they said you cannot have a guns within 1000 feet up a school and the penalty is a purely monetary penalty,, congress just say that is a tax? no because they made the act of having a gun near a school on lawful.
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congress does not want anybody to pay this penalty. they want them to buy insurance to solve the problems that the folks have been articulating all morning. it doesn't work from their perspective if you have massive noncompliance, which is why they mandated purchase of insurance. it is the fundamental distinction between being a lawbreaker and a person who decides to comply with the law and pay their taxes. >> the government must position -- government's position is that to reach its goal of universal coverage, it is necessary to require people to buy private health insurance. earlier this week, 50 medical doctors who supports single buyer found a brief in this case -- filed a brief in this case that the mandate is aon constitutional -- un
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constitutional. i will ask you join, what you think of that argument. >> look, i am a libertarian, but i don't think the supreme court to judge the validity of congressional action by whether i.t. has more or less libertarian than options particularly options devised by western europe. they should ask themselves of the legal question of is this regulating commerce among the states. for all the reasons we have already are ticketed, it is not remotely regulating commerce among the states to buy a particular product. >> to the extent there are other options, including single payer, that might be scored differently by the american libertarian association or something, but the fact that they arguable is not irrelevant. -- that they are doable is not
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irrelevant. this is one way to deal with it and it just happens to be an arguably unconstitutional way to deal with it. >> i want to echo what paul said. if the argument is that they could have called this a tax rather than congress, what is the big deal? who cares if we went on the commerce clause? you should grant us this power because it will not hand as the ability to achieve your policy objectives. really what you are saying is that this is just a two over for congress and this time they have to be honest with the american public during the legislative process and say this is attacks. what is the big deal? i don't happen to believe that, but if that is their position, that seems to be a strong strike against their argument, not in favor of it. >> another question? >> barbara perkins, crs. what is the basis of the argument that the mandate is
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unconstitutional? >> the court has made clear that you have to go back to first principles. federal government is inherently different from the states because the federal government is one of limited enumerated powers. if you enter the commerce power to essentially give them to brett of power that the state's -- breadth of power that the states have come out that in power is to say that the standing alone is wrong. much greater than the commerce power, -- i start with the text, saying that this is not regulating commerce. even if there is ambiguity with that, we know that is going to be wrong, because if anything is visibly truth from this month, is that there is no limit in principle. congress can treat citizens like they treat militias, which is not a whole lot of limiting
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principle, and bill of rights would prevent states from doing this. that just means that the feds and states have precisely the same power. that is what the limit in principle conversation is so important. >> as the court has said, you should not get up to on on whether the limiting principle -- the court has said repeatedly it that as long as it is within the enumerated powers, the ends are legitimate, there is a means by which the court will defer to congress. why not have a $5,000 minimum wage and punished if you don't pay it by the death penalty? you could come up with a certain samples -- with absurd examples. every government power can be taken to the extreme. do you really want the federal court to be adjudicating these questions on the basis of observe hypotheticals? the court said from mcculloch
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on no, absolutely not. >> you can to the same thing with the income tax. they do not concede that there is a living principle. mike said that, i emphatically disagree. he does not want me to keep repeating it. the limit in principle on the commerce clause is about whether commerce among the states -- congress has to be legitimately trying to address a genuine problem between the states, where no single state can actually solve the problem on its sound because of spillover effects of one the state passed a policy on another state, positive or negative. you give insurance to one state with health care and you become a welfare magnet. we have one system to deal with the welfare magnet problem
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certain social security, other state workers' compensation. the limit in principle under the commerce clause is that congress has to act to be tried to address the problem that individual states are not able to handle on their own. >> i just want to make a comment because when i went to law school in the 1980's, i spent a lot of time talking about that, and i don't remember ever talking about no limiting principles other than interstate constraints and the bill of rights. how can the supreme court decided based on its president? >> there is an obvious distinction between regulating small producers of the product and the congress that passed the law in the 1930's, instead of telling mr. silver he could not grow wheat if they told every
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american to buy wheat. that would have addressed the problem and not more directly than harassing poor mr. filburn. the fact that congress has never done this before, even during, as tall pointed out at times of extreme national emergency standing alone it is the indication that they never had the power, and the difference between filburn and my clients is the difference between a local bootlegger and teetotaler. it is far more to require somebody to purchase a product than it to limit their ability to produce the product among interstate. >> in wickard these were situations where people are not doing anything at all. she was not engaged in interstate commerce when she was trying to grow marijuana in her
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backyard. as justice scalia said, as long as that regulation on marijuana was part of a comprehensive national solution, it would be constitutional. here the same structure of the argument applies, that there is this one apart, the individual mandate, a overall reform to the health insurance market, and it is constitutional, and you cannot slice and dice and say that that little provision is unconstitutional. you have to look at the overall structure, figure out what congress is reacting to, and defer accordingly. that is what the supreme court has done and why they have an extremely hard case. >> you offered -- you have heard all this talk about the limits lopez morrison, we think we are on the correct side of these cases. they basically draw the line between congress and trying to
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solve a problem that really does spell over across the state's, an economic problem and congress can regulate that. there really is an interstate market in drugs. situations where congress was intervening and there was no interstate problem to be soft, of violence against women and guns in schools. >> neal's commentary will capture the government's position. the administration like half of justice scalia's position. we have response to that there are other statutes, other cases where the court has not hesitated to strike down one part of a broader statute that it did not question. i think i can support it to focus on at that part of justice scalia -- i think it is
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important to focus on that part of the justice scalia's opinion, that what government was doing in regulating conduct involving marijuana was not regulating commerce at all, and that it was necessary and proper to the regulation of interstate commerce. his case rested on the necessary and proper clause, and that is the third clause you will hear about in these arguments. necessary and proper is going to be at issue. that way of analyzing, that half of justice scalia's opinion, i think is quite helpful to the challengers in this case, because if you focus on the fact that when somebody is in their living room, they are not engaged in commerce. the question is is forcing them into cars to more efficiently regulate commerce -- forcing them into commerce to more efficient at regulate commerce part of the necessary and proper power? it may not be necessary, but in
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all events it is it not proper, simply not a proper exercise of congress's limited and enumerated powers to force some into commerce and regulate them. you recognize that the interstate fire arms market was something that congress could regulate but it wasn't necessary and proper to force state regulatory -- state officials to be commandeered into the regulatory scheme. i think there is an analogy between that and what is at issue in this case. >> these are not commerce clause cases, and paul's is the problem is that when you are sitting in your living room, you are congress found affecting interstate commerce. creating infrastructure to deal with the problem that you cannot predict when you are going to get struck by cancer or heart attack. >> i really appreciate it, and
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thank you all for coming. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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>> the u.s. house is returning
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at about 3:00 eastern to continue amendments on an offshore oil and gas drilling bill. republican leaders decided earlier in the week to split the bill up in an effort to overcome opposition to some of the provisions in it. members yesterday began debating some of the 20 and then is allowed under the rule and they will finish that up this afternoon at some point and we will have live coverage when a they gavel back again. also this hour, conferees of the payroll tax conference are meeting in dave camp's office to sign the report on extending the payroll tax cuts. several tweets indicated that house leaders expect that payroll tax bill on the house floor sometime tomorrow. we will have live house coverage when a they devil and about 3:00 on c-span. also today on capitol hill, a number of hearings we covered this week, this one on the senate armed services committee did national intelligence
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director james clapper testifying on a worldwide threats. he said that recent bombings in syria had "all the earmarks of an al qaeda attacked." we will bring as much of his opening statement as we can tell the house g -- until the house gavels in guest: -- until the house gavels in. >> let me start by welcoming our witnesses to today's hearing. we are glad to have the director of national intelligence, james clapper, and ron burgess as our witnesses. we thank you both for your long and continued service to our nation on behalf of our troops, to whom we owe so much. this committee has a special responsibility to the men and women of our armed forces to be vigilant about intelligence
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programs because the safety of our troops, the decision to use military force, an hour into depends heavily on intelligence. in the last year, there are clear signs of progress. afghan security forces are in the lead in providing security in kabul including during the gathering over 2000 afghan leaders to the recent jirga last november. the afghan army and police are in charge of securing a former taliban strongholds. there are plans for combined team operations in 2012 and 2013. the afghan army is widely respected, and even the afghan police, traditionally lagging
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far behind in that virtue, are gaining increasing respect among the afghan people. nevertheless, a security remains fragile. a key to progress on security and afghanistan as the process of transitioning the leaders during the afghan people forrom coalition forces to the afghan security forces. the afghan army and police are assuming the security leak in it more areas throughout the country. we heard on tuesday from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general john c., that the transition process is on track to meet the goal of having the afghan security forces take the lead throughout afghanistan 2014. successful transition is going to depend on a number of
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factors, including the growth in the capabilities of the afghan army and police and their readiness to take the security lead, the nature of the insurgency and the progress of reconciliation talks. we look forward to the witnesses assessment on the current situation in afghanistan and their views on the progress both in terms of providing security in the transition and the possibilities of reconciliation with the todd andaliban -- taliban. i am concerned by reports that the latest national intelligence estimate nie reflects a divergence of views between our commanders on the security of the situation in afghanistan. according to these news reports, the nie contains a set of additional comments endorsed by coalition commander general allen, ambassador crocker
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central command commander general matis and european command commander admiral stavridis, with regard to the security gains, particularly in the south. i hope our witnesses addressed the difference of views in the recent nie. security in afghanistan will remain in jeopardy so long as there continues to be sanctuary for insurgents in conducting cross border attacks for u.s. and afghan forces and the afghan people. pakistan's refusal to go after the safe havens of the haqqani network in north waziristan the allies pakistan's assertions that it is committed to peace and security in the region. pakistan's support to the haqqani network which a former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff admiral mullen
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called "a veritable army of the isi," is a major cause for u.s.- pakistan relations at reaching a low point, where they are going to remain until the pakistan military ends its ties to these extremists carrying a cross border attacks. we need to understand the intelligence community's assessment of pakistan's strategy with respect to these insurgent groups and the reconciliation process as to pakistan's power to determine -- and as to pakistan's power to determine outcomes. the u.s. campaign against the global jihadist movement had a number of significant successes last year, notably operations against osama bin laden and on our awlaki. these stark major blows to al qaeda's leadership and one of
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its most active affiliate's. al qaeda and its affiliates are showing strain. we would be interested in the intelligence community's assessment of last week's announcement of our merger between al qaeda and al-shabab and whether it signals an increased threat to the united states and our interests from somalia -- in somalia. excuse me. last august, the president issued a presidential study directed, which identifies the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide as a court national security interest and moral responsibility. i am pleased to see it that director clapper is included in his testimony and discussion of the importance of prevention of mass atrocities and the need for the intelligence community to report on these incidents rapidly so as to inform policy
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makers of these deeply concerning events. over the past year, the international community has acted to prevent a mass atrocity in libya but we are currently witnessing a mass atrocity in syria. these tragedies have resulted in deaths of many civilians seeking their universal freedoms destabilizing a sensitive region that is critical to the united states and our allies. not relative to iran, which is obviously a major topic. excuse me. there is a strong bipartisan determination on this committee and in this congress to do all that we can to counter the threat posed by iran and in particular to stop iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. in the most recent defense authorization act, we made a major breakthrough with respect to iran's sanctions by requiring foreign financial institutions to choose between
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maintaining ties with the u.s. financial system or doing business with the central bank of iran, especially relative to the purchase of iranian petroleum and related products. president obama has appropriately focused considerable and determined diplomatic effort "to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon," and he has repeatedly said "there are no options off the table to achieve that goal." the american people are entitled to a clear intelligence community estimate about the length of time it would take iran to construct a usable nuclear weapon if and when at they decide to produce one and how likely is it that they will decide to do so. an additional matter of concern with regard to iran was raised in a recent report discussing airtran's rea a pair -- iran's apparent willingness to
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post senior al qaeda leaders and facilitators. this has not received a great deal of attention in recent years. however, if true, a sanctuary for al qaeda could preserve some of the group's most senior leaders and potentially provide iran with a dangerous proxy. the committee looks forward to the director's testimony on that matter as well. on syria the recent veto by russia and china of the arab league-drafted resolution at the united nations security council has bolstered the assad regime and demonstrated a willingness of china and russia to support regime's crushing individuals who are seeking a better answer your life. we hope that the directors here will share with the committee and what we know about the individuals seeking to overthrow the assad regime, what do we know about who is supplying the region with weapons, what the
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regime's intentions are, and what we know about the willingness of the syrian military to continue to kill and maim their own countrymen. relative to iraq, the government's leaders appear to be willing to work generally together to resolve issues politically rather than through violence. although there is much of this new democracy needs to do to build a new and truly pluralistic and sovereign nation, we would like to hear our witnesses' views on the iraqis' progress to date, their outlook for stability and political compromise. we would also be interested in the risk of unchecked iranian influence in iraq and what is the iraqi government's commitment and ability to deal with that influence or willingness to deal with that influence.
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i'm going to put my comments relative to china and the asia/pacific and a general in the record and end with just a comment on cybersecurity. director clapper's prepared statement indicates that the intelligence community places the cybersecurity threat to our country and our economy in the top tier of threats alongside terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. that's surely where that cyber threat belongs. a recent report from the national counterintelligence executive stated that entities operating from within at china and russia are responsible for the massive and routine theft of u.s. commercial and military technology, and that could threaten our national security at our prosperity. it is important to note that our
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intelligence community regards this economic espionage as whether it is a significant national security threat and also whether that view is shared by our policy makers and whether china would believe that we are just bluffing if we talk about ending normal trade relations if the economic espionage and counterfeiting of our intellectual property do not end. before turning to senator mccain for his opening remarks and to our witnesses for their testimony, we have arranged for a proposed session in the office of senate security following this open session in the event that such a closed session is necessary. senator mccain. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and let me thank you for thinking -- thanking mr. clapper and general
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burgess, and i want to take this opportunity to thank the men and women of our intelligence community. is a group that fails publicly but succeeds privately. i wish the american people would know the full extent of what the intelligence community does to keep us safe. as secretary of defense panetta the chairman of the trenches of staff, -- joint chiefs of staff told his committee on tuesday the reductions in defense spending would entail greater risks to our military, our missions, and our national security. this stands to reason. what does not is why we would choose to increase the already growing risk to our national
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security at this time. just consider the scale and scope of these risks. despite the remarkable damage inflicted on al qaeda's core leadership by our military and intelligence professionals allocate at affiliate -- al qaeda affiliates are growing stronger more independent, more diffuse, and more willing to attack american interests. as evidenced by their plot to assassinate the saudi ambassador in a washington restaurant, the rulers in iran clearly pose a more direct threat to us than many would have assumed just a year ago. that is on top of a hostile actions and to which iran has been engaging for years, including killing americans in iraq and afghanistan, supporting terrorist groups across the middle east, destabilizing our countries, propping up and rearming the assad regime in
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syria, and continuing there and heard pursuit of nuclear weapons capability -- their undeterred pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. it could bring the middle east to the brink of war if it is not there already. north korea is in the middle of the dangerous and potentially destabilizing transition. and inexperienced 29-year-old is now in charge of a government that continues to produce nuclear weapons, develop ever more sophisticated ballistic missiles, threaten our ally in the republic of korea administer the most brutal apparatus of state oppression of any country on earth. the chances of increased conflict and his calculations are as real as ever before. the people's republic of china continues with a non-transparent build up its military forces while in beijing and a provocative acts against its neighbors in international
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waters. tensions in the south china sea have never been higher. at the same time, the number and sophistication of cyber attacks on american targets by chinese actors likely would the chinese government involvement in many cases, is growing increasingly severe and damaging. indeed as last year's report from the office of the national counterintelligence executive makes clear, "chinese actors are the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage." in afghanistan, the taliban insurgency is damaged but not broken, and regrettably, they ticket and our afghan partners have been increased by the administration repeated public commitments to certain dates for with rahman's regardless of conditions on the ground.
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pakistan remains as combustible as ever. as our witnesses' statements make clear pakistan's intelligence service continues to support terrorist elements inside afghanistan that are attacking and killing americans. in iraq, the fragile stability of the democratic gains of iraqis thanks to the surge seems to be unraveling. prime minister maliki appears to be consolidating his power at the expense of the other political blocs. violence is up significantly since the departure of u.s. troops. al qaeda in iraq and by extremis -- and extremist shia groups are still very much active trade is increasingly difficult to argue that iraq, to use the president's words," is stable and self-reliant."
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one year since the arab spring, the situation remains fluid in many cases. from tunisia and libya to egypt and bahrain, countries are undergoing a monumental changes and the outcome of those changes are still far from clear. and then there is syria, where the conflict appears to be entering a new phase. more than 6000 lives have been lost and there appears to be no end in sight. the budget must be stopped. we should rule out know of -- the bloodshed must be stopped. we should rule out no option that could save lives and consider actions of inviting opposition groups in syria, both political and military, with better means to organize their activities and care for the wounded, to find a safe havens to communicate securely to defend themselves and fight back against assad's forces. the time has come when all options must be on the table to end the killing and force assad
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to leave power. we could not continue for some time listening to -- could continue for some time listening to a myriad of threats to our nation and i am sure we will cover them in this hearing. what should be clear is that no assessment shows threats to our national security degreasing. they are increasing. as the testimony about when this is make it vividly clear to the question to members of congress and members of this to me in particular need to think long and hard about is this -- why, in an international environment of growing insecurity and threat, would be added to the six -- what we add to those risks by making large and misguided cuts to the defense budget cuts that by themselves will not significantly reduce the national debt, the real driver of which is our domestic entitlement programs?
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i don't see a compelling answer to this question at this time, and i imagine today's hearing will underscore that point. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you so much, senator mccain. director clapper. >> thank you, chairman glavin, distinguished members of the committee, for inviting us to provide the 2012 worldwide threat assessment. you have probably already given it for us. i'm joined by the director of intelligence agency, my friend and colleague of long standing, lieutenant-general ron burgess. these remarks and my statement of the record reflect the collective inside of the men and women of the united states intelligence community who you have recognized, and we must appreciate that, and who is our privilege and honor to lead. we are most appreciative of your acknowledgement of the work,
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sometimes under very hazardous conditions, of the men and women in the community around the world. i would like to highlight some of the issues that we identify for the coming year, some of which you have already done for us, as i said. earlier this month it was the 51st anniversary of my innocent in the marine corps. during the subsequent entire career, i do not recall a more complex and interdependent are great challenges that we face today. the capabilities, technologies, know how communications, and environmental forces are not confined by borders and can trigger international disruptions with astonishing speed. never before has the intelligence community been called upon to master such complexity on the so many issues in such a resource-constrained in farming. we are rising to the challenge by continuing to integrate the
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intelligence community implementing a new efficiencies, and as always, simply working hard. but to maintain it the world's premier intelligence and a price in the face of a shrinking budget will be a challenge. we will be accepting a managing risk more so that we have had to do in the last decade. when i say "we," i mean both the legislative and executive. we began our threat assessment with the goal oterrorism and proliferation. the next three years are critical transition phase for the terrorist threat of al qaeda and like-minded groups trade with osama bin laden's death the global jihadist movement lost its most inspirational leader. the new al qaeda leader is less charismatic. however, even with its degraded capabilities and focus on smaller, simpler plot, al qaeda
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remains a threat. as long as we sustain the pressure, we judge that for al qaeda will be largely symbolic importance to the global jihadist movement, but small cells and individuals will drive the global jihad agenda. proliferation efforts to develop, acquire, or spread weapons of mass destruction, is also a global strategic threat. among nations states iran's technical advances, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthen our assessment that iran is more than capable of producing a weapon if leaders, specifically the supreme leader himself, choose to do so. north korea's export of ballistic missiles and associated materials to several countries, including iran and syria, demonstrate the reach of the north's proliferation
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activities. we don't expect that kim jong un will change the policy of attempting to export most of its weapons systems. i note that in this year's stamen of the record as you noted yourselves, we elevated our discussion of cyber threats to follow tourism puller for asian -- followed terrorism to a restoration. the cyber threat is the most challenging one we face. we perceived a cyber environment in which emerging technologies will be implemented before security responses can be put in place. among state actors, we are particularly concerned about activities with russia and china of stealing u.s. data. the growing role that non-state actors are playing in cyberspace is a great example of the easy access to potentially disruptive and illegal technology and know- how by such groups. -- and lethal technology and
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know-how by such groups. two of our challenges include real-time attribution of the cyber attacks, no it to carry out such attacks and where they are located, and managing our enormous vulnerabilities with the supply chain for u.s. networks. in this regard, the cybersecurity bill was recently introduced by senators lieberman, collins rockefeller and feinstein, and it addresses the core homeland security requirements that would improve cybersecurity for the american people, our nation's infrastructure, and for the federal government's networks and computers. the intelligence community considers such legislative steps essential to present our infrastructure vulnerabilities which pose serious national and economic security risks. briefly, looking geographically at around world afghanistan -- gen. burgess will have more to say about this -- during the
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past year, that taliban has lost some ground, but was primarily in places where isaf was concentrated. it is continue to enjoy safe haven in pakistan. -- leaders continue to enjoy safe haven in pakistan. corruption and governance challenges continue to affect the effectiveness. the international security assistance forces and the support of afghanistan's neighbors, notably an particularly pakistan, will remain essential to sustain the gains that have been achieved. although there is broad international political support for, the for -- there are doubts -- for the afghan government, there are doubts in many capitals about whether to fund initiatives after 2014. in iraq, violence and sporadic high-profile attacks continue. prime minister maliki's is an aggressive moves against sunni
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political leaders have heightened political tensions. for now,the sunnis view the political process as the best venue to pursue change. elsewhere across the middle east and north africa, those pushing for change are confronting ruling elites, sectarian and tribal divisions lack of experience with the democracies stalled economic development military and security force resistance, regional power initiatives. these are fluid political environments that offer openings for extremists to participate more assertively in political life. states where authoritarian leaders have been toppled -- to be sure, egypt, and libya -- have to construct or reconstruct political systems are among the competing factions. nowhere is this transition, i believe, more important than in egypt, which will be a bellwether, so strategically important because of its size, location, and of course the
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peace treaty as with israel -- it has with israel. in syria, social divisions are prolonging internal struggles and could potentially it turned domestic upheavals into crises. in yemen the security situation continues to be marred by violence and fragmentation of the country is a possibility. as the agent roman historian once observed, the best day after a bad emperor is the first, and after that, i would add, things get problematic. the intelligence community is paying attention to development across the african continent europe, and across asia. virtually every region has a bearing on our key concerns on a terrorism proliferation cybersecurity. wherever there are environmental
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stresses on water food, natural resources, economic crises and organized crime will see ripple effects around the world an impact on u.s. interests. amidst these extraordinary challenges, it is important to remind this distinguished body and the american people that in all of our work, the u.s. intelligence community's drive to exemplify american values. we carry out our missions with respect to the rule of law. that pledge leads me to mention our highest legislative priority this year it, and it requires the support of both houses of congress. it refers specifically to the foreign intelligence surveillance act amended act or faa, set to expire at the end of 2012. title 7 of fisa allows the intelligence community to collect the vital information about international terrorists and other important markets overseas. it authorizes surveillance of non-u.s. persons located
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overseas who are of a foreign intelligence importance, meaning they have a connection to or information about the threats of terrorism or proliferation. it provides for comprehensive oversight by all three branches of government to protect the privacy and civil liberties of u.s. prisons. -- persons. my office conducted extensive oversight reviews of these activities and report twice a year. intelligence collection under fisa it produces crucial intelligence that is vital to protect the nation from international terrorism and other threats. we are all considering whether there are changes that can be made to improve the law but our first priority is reauthorization of the authorities in the current form. we look forward to the speedy enactment of the legislation of reauthorization of the fisa amendments. i will end the biggest in more i began and then i will turn it over to general burgess.
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the fiscal environment we face will require the intelligence community to consider the challenges we focus on and the risks we must mutually assume. with that, i thank you and members of the committee for your dedication to the security of our nation and support of our men and women of the intelligence community and your attention here today. with that, i will stop and turn it over to general burgess. >> thank you, director clapper. general burgess. >> chairman levin ranking member mccain, other members of the committee, i want to thank you for the opportunity to join my friend and colleague director clapper, and recognize the members of the intelligence community. i would like to begin with operations in afghanistan, where we assess that persisted corruption and deficiencies in the army and police forces undermine efforts to extend
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effective governance and security. the afghan army remains reliant on isf a rafferty, support, such as logistics intelligence, and transport. while the afghan army performance improved in some operations in partnership with isaf agreements, additional bins required mentoring and support. despite successful coalition partners, the taliban remains resilient and able to replace leadership losses while competing to provide governm -- governance at the local level. from its pakistani safe havens the taliban leadership remains confident of eventual victory. to the west, iran remains committed to threaten u.s. interests in the region through support to terrorists and militant groups, including in iraq and afghanistan, while it remains committed to strengthening its naval, nuclear, and missile capabilities.
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iran can close the strait of hormuz, at least temporarily and may launch missiles against united states forces and our allies in the region if it is attacked. iran can also attempt to import terrorist soared its worldwide. however, the agency assesses that iran is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict. iranian ballistic missiles and development range across the region and central europe. iran's new space launch vehicle demonstrates progress towards a potential icbm. iran today as the technical, scientific, and industrial capability to eventually produce the terrapins. -- while international -- to eventually produce nuclear weapons. while international pressure has increased, we assess that tehran is not close to agreeing
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to abandon its nuclear program. in iraq, the assessment that baghdad's security forces probably can maintain current security levels this year, despite manning shortages an overly centralized command and control. despite perceptions of the sectarian bias and need for logistics' intelligence, and tactical training, forces are on the street, securing high- profile sites, and they are conducting intelligence driven targeting. however, sunni insurgent and shi milliken -- groups shia -- shia militant groups will remain challenges until a reconciliation produces lingering tensions among religious and tribal constituencies. more broadly across the region, the popular forces sweeping the middle east and north africa are demonstrating the potential to reorder longstanding
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assumptions relationships, and alliances in a way that invites a risk and opportunities for the united states and our allies. our domestic opponents provide a challenge to the assad regime in syria, and its collapse, it would have serious implications for lebanon hamas hezbollah. improving the economy and regime postures about remained -- in during an regime's survival remain in during priorities. p'yongyang will use proceeds and leverage to extract concessions. while north korea may abandon portions of its nuclear program for better relations with the united states, it is unlikely to surrender its nuclear weapons. p'yongyang's military can attack
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south korea with little or no strategic warning but it suffers from logistic shortages aging equipment and for training. p'yongyang likely knows it cannot reunite the peninsula by force, and is unlikely to attack on a scale that would risk its own survival. we see no sign that the leadership transition has changed the regime's calculus regarding nuclear weapons and the defense intelligence agency retains continued focus on the peninsula to provide warning against additional attacks from the north. china continues to build a more modern military to defend our interests, which -- its core interests, which are territorial salt thatsovereignty and access to resources. investments in naval and at high air and anti-ship capabilities are designed to achieve
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periodic and local sea and air superiority to the islands closest to the main line. china's air forces are developing strike, air and missile defense, strategic mobility, an early warning and reconnaissance to builcapabilities. china may develop new capabilities in ways that presents challenges for u.s. forces. last year's fifth flight of a fifth generation fighter _ the breath and quality of china's military modernization program. however, a lack of modern combat experience is but one example that steps remain before gyges the potential of its new technologies, platform -- before china achieved the full potential of its new technologies and platforms and personnel. regarding cyber threats, we see
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continued attempts to gain access to our network including our secured systems. this threat is large, growing and scale and sophistication. finally, al qaeda at losses in 2011 have focused the core group and its affiliates in yemen, somalia on self preservation and reconstitution did the damage, the group and its affiliates remain committed to attacks in europe and against the united states. al qaeda acquired weapons from libya at this year, and continues its support to a nigerian-based group. while we have made important gains, we remain in a race against their ability to of of, regenerate leadership, and launch attacks. self radicalization, or a lone wolf individuals including within the united states even within our own ranks remain an enduring concern.
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i would like to close with how honored i am to represent the men and women of the intelligence agency. we remain acutely aware of how much of what we do is secret our work is always a public trust. on their behalf, i would like to thank the men and women of this committee for their continued support and confidence in our work. thank you. >> you will see all of that hearing later in our program schedule and in the video library at the u.s. house should be dabbling in shortly to continue work on an offshore drilling bill. it is one of three parts to the surface transportation bill. we will have live coverage of the house went they gaveoll in. >> booktv is live and saturday from the savannah book festival.
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10:45, "what it is like to go to war." at 1:30 eastern the change in israeli-palestinian conflict. irshad manji connects "allah, liberty and love." toure on "who's afraid post- blackness." in 1966, and julian bond was prevented from taking his elected seats in the georgia state after state representatives voted not to see him do to his stance against the vietnam war. his appeal went to the u.s. supreme court. >> i went to the court to hear the argument, and i was sitting just behind the bar with lawyers in front of me, and i was
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sitting with my lawyers partner -- lawyer's partner and the attorney general of georgia was making the argument that gethey had the right to throw me out because i was saying things that work treasonous. it was judge whizzer white -- "is this all you have?" [laughter] i said, "we are winning, aren't we?" [laughter] >> black history month on american history tv on c-span3 and online at the c-span video library. >> here on c-span, we expect the u.s. house gavelling back in shirley to resume work on the offshore oil and gas drilling bill. it is part of the three parts to
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the surface transportation bill. we will have live house coverage when they returned. also at this hour, the payroll tax cut conference are apparently signing the conference report on capitol hill. a producer with foxsays we're waiting for the house side. lawmakers came to an agreement last night on the payroll tax cut. nancy pelosi talked about the deal. she also talked about the transportation bill that the house will be discussing and has been discussing for the last couple of days. she spoke to reporters for about 20 minutes.
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>> we are having some issue bringing you the nancy pelosi news conference. we do want to let you know that we have that in our video
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library. also want to let you know that the house should gavel in in about 15 minutes. they're going to reserve -- resumed dealing with the oil and transportation bill, the part that deals with oil and natural gas drilling. that is part of the transportation bill that the house has under consideration. it will likely finish up the men and votes this afternoon. the senate meanwhile also though -- also debating a transportation bill. the senate at this hour is in general speeches. no further action on the transportation bill in the senate other than senator brand paul attempted to bring forth an amendment that would temporarily suspend foreign aid to egypt based on the 19 aid workers in egypt.
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barbara boxer objected to that amendment. next up, before the house comes in, we will bring you part of nancy pelosi news conference from this morning. >> good morning. it appears that we may be shortly voting on this legislation to give a payroll tax cut to 160 million americans without having the offset that was one of the
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pillars of the legislation that we had hoped to see. we insisted on three things, one that we had the payroll tax cut in the bill. second that we have unemployment compensation extended for a number of weeks respectful of the needs of our workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. that is in the bill. it does not say that you have to get a high-school diploma in order to get unemployment benefits. for workers who have been in the workforce for a long time, that would be an unfair barrier. third, that we enable seniors to see their doctors under medicare. that is in the bill too. wow we do -- while we do
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recognize that the bill does contain the three procedures we said was necessary, at least in terms of the payroll tax cut and the unemployment insurance in the way that i think is susceptible to most of us. -- acceptable to most of us. with the medicare and doctors and seniors, we think it could have been done in a more economic way that is better for the taxpayers and better for our seniors. we will wait to see if the bill gets moved later this morning. suddenly, on the floor right now we have one piece of the dicks secondly, on the floor right now we have one piece up -- secondly, on the floor right now we have one piece of the transportation bill.
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this is a bill that for the first time in probably 50 years has not been written in a bipartisan way. it is a transportation bill that loses jobs, maybe more than half a million jobs, cuts safety, and i would call it the republican horse and buggy bill because it is a bill that says no to mass transit where it comes to trust funds being used. the house bill secretary of transportation ray lahood called it the worst bill yet seen in 35 years of public service. the house bill takes us back to the horse and buggy era. that is why over 300 amendments have been offered many by
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republicans to a republican bill. that is what -- i guess there are some issues in their caucus about the bill. they have broken it up into three pieces to try to get people to vote for it. we're engaged in a long amendment process now. it is really an unfortunate missed opportunity. it cuts jobs. it cuts safety. it is just wrong. getting back to what we talked about last week the chief author of the bill chris van collin, i want to talk about the disclose act to get secret donations out of politics and to get everyone to stand by their ads.
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the public should know who is saying things. yesterday, there was a request for an oversight hearing on the increasing role and influence of undisclosed money in our electoral system. we're very pleased that a coalition of reform groups have come out in support of this act saying this legislation provides the essential new requirements to cover the hundreds of millions of dollars in secret contributions being injected into federal elections by nonprofit groups, special interests, and other entities. this legislation strikes right to the core of our democracy. our founders intended that the people would decide elections. now we have a system where it bankrolls will decide the outcome of elections. we're very pleased with the response we have received to our
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many manifestations. we've got in the drumbeat of support across the country for disclose. in many places, people are initiating their own disclose, whether it is municipal entities or state legislatures and the rest. we hope that even though we may not be -- or if the republicans resist resist the disclosed and the disclosure of who their sources are, at least public sentiment on the subject will be such that people will either disclose or not contribute. with that, i will answer any questions you have. [inaudible] i think it would be important to bring it up tomorrow because i do not think the american people can wait. we cannot have it be in doubt.
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if the agreement is reached then we should bring it up as soon as possible so that all doubt is remove that we will have a tax cut for 160 million americans, that unemployment insurance will kick in as well for people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and the seniors will be able to have access to medicare. although i would have preferred a longer time for review, this has been the subject of discussion for a long time. if this is the bill, i hope we can take it up tomorrow. >> has the speaker approach you about anything they you or the democrats would want in this bill should they seek democratic
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support? do you see any scenario in which a transportation bill would be preferable to an extension of current lot? >> this is the first time a bill has been written in a strictly partisan way in the house contrary to the senate, where they have worked in a bipartisan way. and not people who are necessarily compatible on many issues. barbara boxer of california and senator is to go to oklahoma -- istook of oklahoma are not very close on the spectrum but nevertheless working clothes in a bipartisan way for a senate bill. i think it is important for us to be able to go to conference to reconcile and negotiate a better bill. but this bill is so far away
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from something that is -- that will even pass. i do not know if republicans even have the votes to pass this in the house on their own side. so now, we have not had any suggestion of what would you like to see here. what we would like to see here is a bill that creates jobs for the american people, the promote safety, that promotes commerce. this is a very important bill. it is transportation and infrastructure. it is about moving people and products to market. it is about quality of life issues, people not sitting in their cars for 45 minutes when they could be on mass transit for a third of that time to get to work. it is about being a jobs bill right from the start. it is a safety issue right from the start, and it should be put together a bipartisan way. and the fact that they cut off -- this is really quite
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remarkable. i mean, just when you think you have seen it all they go another place, which is the trust fund will not be used for mass transit. i think they're seeing a lot of opposition in their own caucus for that. what i am saying to you is, you have to have the bill first before you can go to reconciliation. this does not look like the bill that can pass. [inaudible] did i use the word strange? >> i think you did. >> well, whatever. strange as a good all-purpose word around here.
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i think that some of that is -- what i would like to see is the actual wording. i have not seen that. some of the bill is extension of current law. republicans are characterizing it as something bigger than that as some reason to go forward with it. i really cannot respond to you until we see what the actual language is, which we have not seen, but we do know that they have not insisted on the provision of high school graduation or a ged, and i think that is a big improvement. >> you have talked a little bit about newt gingrich.
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>> have i? [inaudible] let's leave the republican nomination process up to them. i think they are branding it in their very special way, and i will leave it up to them. [inaudible] well, i have played many roles. i have been state party chair responsible for platform in california 30 years ago. i have chaired the platform for the democrats in 1992 -- >> you can watch all of this in our video library at the u.s. house is caviling
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beckoned. an from georgia, mr. woodall kindly resume the chair. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 3408 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to set clear rules for the development of united states oil shale resources, to promote shale technology research and development and for other purposes. the chair: when the committee of the whole rose on wednesday, february 15, 2015, amendment number 12 printed in part a of house report 112-398 by mr. deutch had been disposed of. it's now in order to consider amendment number 13 printed in part a of house report 112-398. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition?
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mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number a 13 printed in part a of house resolution 547 offered by mr. thompson of california. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 547, the gentleman from california, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: this would clarify that h.r. 3408 would not open drilling along the northern california coast. proponents of h.r. 3408 claim that northern california does not meet the minimum production potential to be eligible for offshore drilling. however, i do not simply want to take the house majority's word for it. in a congress that has seen an unprecedented push to weaken
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safety standards for our environment, i don't want to leave the door open for alternative interpretations. the people of the north coast of california want to make sure that their environmentally unique and critical coast is protected. period. because this amendment is a clarification of the legislation's intent, there is no costs associated with it. it's important to me and to my constituents that h.r. 3408 makes clear that drilling will not occur in the northern california planning area along the coast of humble, sonoma and moren counties. the coastal area of my district with one of the most productive ecosystems in the world and support rockfish and has a successful tourism industry which represents millions of dollars to the local kess and to the working families of our area.
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if an oil spill were to occur in this area, the environmental and economic costs would be staggering. response and cleanup efforts would be hazardous and minimally effective given the rocky shores and rough waters. drilling for oil or gas off california's north coast would cause serious harm to a unique and productive ecosystem abundant marine life and tourism businesses. this amendment will simply clarify that this bill does not require drilling off the north coast of california. i urge a yes vote on the amendment and i yield to ms. woolsey two minutes. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. woolsey: thank you. i thank my friend and neighbor for yielding. i don't know how many of my colleagues have visited the north coast that mr. thompson and i represent. if you haven't, i don't know what you're waiting for. the waters off our shore are quite simply the most abundant
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and exquisitely beautiful on the face of the earth. our commercial fishing industry depends on this thriving marine ecosystem. these waters are invaluable to the research of university scientists and more than 16,000 tourism jobs depend -- in sonoma county alone depend on this -- these open beautiful waters. if the majority were truly in interested in helping job creators they would not be supporting a drill everywhere approach. actually, oil and gas resources available off our coast don't come close to justifying opening this area in the first place to any drilling, and even parts of the country where there is oil i believe the costs to our natural environment is much too great when we start punching holes in
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the ocean floor. we have learned nothing, it would appear, from the deepwater horizon disaster if we don't pass this amendment. we can and we must address our energy security challenges with a stronger commitment to clean technology and to clean and renewable energy sources and we can start by saying no, no to drilling in northern california. i strongly urge my colleagues to support the thompson-woolsey amendment, and i yield back -- no, i -- mr. thompson: i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from california reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? mr. hastings: mr. chairman i rise to seek time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. hastings: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i rise to oppose this amendment. last year during our offshore debate, an identical amendment was offered and failed in the house by a bipartisan vote.
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in fact, 263 of our colleagues voted no on this amendment. right now under existing law, the northern california planning area is available for leasing. it's been available since 2008 when gasoline prices hit $4 per gallon and the president and the congress at that time lifted the offshore drilling moratorium. i'll remind the house that in 2008 when gas prices were rising and the democrats controlled the house nothing was done regarding these $4 a gallon gasoline until after the session ended and the president, his moratorium and the congress entered that moratorium. so going into 2009, there essentially was no moratorium that existed. this legislation, then aims to open up our federal resources and increase energy production despite president obama's failure to do just the
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opposite. this amendment was simply brought additional areas from energy production in the future. the outer continental shelf and the resources it contains are under the jurisdiction of the federal government. it belongs to all of the people of the united states. the state of california -- i need to remind my colleagues of this -- the state of california's top import is petroleum from overseas. this amendment would block the domestic production potentially of petroleum off their coast. production that could use to help consumers -- california consumers, california people from getting jobs. this amendment would do just the opposite of what the underlying bill intends to do, so i urge my colleagues to vote no on the amendment, and i reserve my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. thompson: thank you. i don't see how this is going to do anything to affect oil production or jobs.
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the website says there's little oil there and we wouldn't be drilling there. you can't have it both ways. either there's little oil there and we're not going to drill there or you have something else up your sleeve. this area is an area that historically prone to earthquakes which would make any kind of drilling there extremely dangerous, and it's one of four major upwells in the entire world's ocean. this is a critical area to our entire marine life and the businesses that thrive because of it. and my friend from washington is 100% right and that this coastline belongs to all the people of the united states of america and for that reason alone we ought to break our pick to make sure that we do everything to protect it, to protect the fisheries jobs, the tourism jobs and that beautiful area so not only the people today can enjoy it but for future generations to enjoy as well.
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i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? mr. hastings: i yield myself the balance of the time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: i just want to tell my friend that going into 2009 there was no moratorium, and the reason there was no moratorium on either the pacific or the atlantic coast because the american people demanded that we seek areas where there was potential resources of energy. why did they demand that of the american -- of congress? because gas prices hit $4 a gallon going -- you know, potentially going higher. we are now in that same situation again, and this underlying legislation, as i mentioned, because the gentleman rightfully said there may not be resources off northern california, because this legislation directs department of interior to offer leases where there are known resources. now, there may be some
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resources, maybe new technology we'll find, we need to keep that option open. but i think this amendment will start the precedent of blocking off areas when the american people want to have more american energy, more american energy jobs and in underlying legislation will do precisely that and i think this amendment will harm that prospect and with that i urge a -- mr. thompson: will the gentleman yield? mr. hastings: i yield. mr. thompson: do you believe we should be drilling off the coast of northern california in an area that's one of four major upwellings in the world's oceans, an area prone to earthquakes and people knowledgeable about this particular issue claims there is not enough resources? mr. hastings: reclaiming my time. i would just remind my good friend from california that you can make the same argument in alaska and yet we drill off the coast of -- in alaska. you can make the same case that
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there are faultlines in southern california, and the gentleman knows very very well that there are huge potential resources in southern california. so the -- thorpe thomp -- mr. thompson: if the gentleman will yield? mr. hastings: i believe we should keep these resources open for potential. i yield. mr. thompson: my amendment does not affect southern california. it only affects the area on the counties that i mentioned, an area that's been designated by the scientists and the people in the oil business that there's not enough oil there to bother with and an area -- mr. hastings: reclaiming my time. reclaiming my time. i know that's -- i know that's what the gentleman said. i'm arguing against the precedent, like the precedent yesterday where there was an attempt to block offshore drilling from essentially northern maryland north and
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that was defeated by the house. what i'm afraid in the long term is the precedent and i believe we should keep these options open. with that, mr. chairman, i urge rejection of the amendment and i yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. mr. thompson: mr. chairman, i ask for a voice vote. recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california will be postponed. it's now in order to consider amendment number 14 printed in part a of house report 112-398. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? mr. holt: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 14 printed in part a of house report 112-398 offered by mr.
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holt of new jersey. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 547, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. holt, and a member opposed will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. holt: thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment comes from both sides of the aisle. i'm joined by mr. murphy, mr. bass mr. gerlach mr. dingell, mr. kind and i see mr. dold of illinois here. almost five decades ago, the land and water conservation fund was created on a sound and fair principle. oil companies who drill on public lands and are therefore taking a resource that belongs to all citizens of the united states should in return, out of fairness give americans the protection of land so that as they take this resource and refine it and sell it, they preserve these resources,
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parks, recreation, direct preservation of cultural and land resources. the bill before us today aims to increase the amount of oil and gas production in federal waters as a means to raise revenue for transportation funding. these oil fields belong to all americans. just as the revenues generated fromoff shore oil drilling must be shared with all americans a portion of those rev lieu -- revenues should be used toward conservation and preservation of public lands that belong to all of us. that has been the principle now for four decades almost five decades of the land and water conservation fund. the lwcf enjoys strong bipartisan and -- bipartisan support. it has supported more than 41,000 state parks and open space parcels. the trust for public land
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conducted an analysis of the return on investment from lwcf funds. in a -- an 11-year 12-year period going up until about a year ago of the $537 million invested in conner is -- conserving 131,000 acres, $2 billion was generated in economic goods and services. in other words if every dollar invested in lwcf funds $4 was returned in economic value. and these are not taxpayer dollars that are invested. this is revenue that comes from the oil companies. our amendment stipulates that nothing in the bill would reduce the amount of revenue from oil and gas receipts available for deposit into the lwcs. i urge adoption of this amendment and reserve the plans of my tame. the chair: the gentleman
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reserves his time. mr. holt: i'd be pleased to yield to the gentleman from illinois one minute or more if he needs it. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, and i thank my friend for yielding me the time. since 1964, the land and water conservation fund has been our nation's primary conservation fund. uses money collected from energy production on the outer continental shelf, this provides matching grants to state and local governments for acquisition of land and ensures land and water conservation projects can move forward. mr. dold: in my home state of illinois, the benefits of preserved public lands are undeniable. sportsmen, wildlife watchers and others combine to spend over $2 billion annually on
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outdoor recreation in illinois. our amendment today is simple. we believe that this congress should continue its commitment to conservation programs by ensuring that the underlying transportation bill will not reduce the amount of revenue available for the land and water conservation fund that has supported over 41,000 state and local projects over its 46-year history. with that, i yield back my time. i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. holt: i continue to reserve my time. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? >> i rise to seek time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for fife minutes. mr. hastings: mr. chairman, this amendment is not needed because you can look with a magnifying glass through this whole bill and see absolutely no mention whatsoever of the land and caughter -- water conservation fund. there's nothing in here that impacts that i know my good
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friend from new jersey has a passion for this particular fund, sometimes we don't afree on that but he has a passion for it. but there is nothing in here at all that talks about the land and water conservation funism understand the gentleman wanned to make the statement, i appreciate that and his desire would be to withdraw the amendment so with that i'll reserve my time pending his action. the chair: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. holt: thank you, mr. chairman. although the land and water conservation fund is authorized to receive $900 million annually from revenue, congress must appropriate those funds. taxpayers aren't footing the bill for this program, oil and gas companies fund the lwcf. the amount they pay is less than 1% of the massive profits these companies take each year.
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it's a small token of what we can do to preserve these other resources as the oil and gas resources are used. preserving open space is more than a narrow environmental issue, it is a quality of life issue. as my friend the chairman has assured us, there is nothing in the underlying bill that would reduce the amount of revenue available for the land and water conservation fund system of with that assurance that this will in no way harm the legislation here -- the legislation here today will in no way harm the land and water conservation fund, i ask nam consent to withdraw this amendment. the chair: objection, the amendment is withdrawn.
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it is now in order to consider amendment number 15 printed in part a of house report 112-35 . for what purpose does the gentlewoman from hawaii seek recognition? ms. hanabusa: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 15 printed in part a of house report 112-358 offered by ms. hanabusa of hawaii. the chair: pursuant to the rule the gentlewoman from hawaii ms. hanabusa an a member opposed each will control five minutes. ms. hanabusa: thank you and i yield myself such time as i may need. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. hanabusa: september 19, 2010. i was not a member of this body at this time but i remember when the b.p. oil spill started, april 20, 2010 and when we cheered when it was
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supposed to be capped, september 19, 2010. almost five months of watching it daily even in hawaii, of the oil and the attempts and cheering and then being disappointed when they couldn't take care of this oil spill that was devastating, clearly, the coast. now, there was an independent b.p. panel appointed, their findings were published they said it was preventable, that corners were cut, bad decisions were made and stronger safety standards could have prevented the disaster. it also pointed out that the united states has a fatality rate in terms os -- terms of offshore drilling that is four times that in europe and they found that the problems were systemic. -- systemic to this industry. the amendment i have before you is a simple one and very common
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sense amendment. it simply states that the secretary of the interior shall require that when he does leasing that each lease must meet the requirements for a third party certification of safety systems related to well-controlled -- to well control such as blowout preventers it must meet requirements for performance of blowout preventers including the qualitative risk as well as sub-c zesting -- testing and must meet requirements for an infeint third party certification of well casing and cementing programs and procedures and must meet requirements for mandatory safety and environmental management system of the operators on the outer continental shelf and must meet rirltes and procedures of technologies to be used during drilling operations to minimize the risk of igniting an explosion of hydrocarbons.
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anyone who remembers the b.p. oil spill, watching it on television as i said every -- as i did every day, watching the news all of these points are so relevant to what occurred. so mr. chairman, i ask that my colleagues vote along with me to pass this very common sense amendment as we remember what happened on those five months, april, 2010, to september, 2010. we have the opportunity of being the safest offshore oil industry in the world and this amendment would help us get there. and that's what we owe the people. we owe those people who suffered through this and we owe the rest of this nation a seps of being secure and knowing that when we are drilling, that we are drilling safely and we will not see those fatalities again.
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thank you, mr. chairman, and i reserve the remainder of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? mr. hastings: i rise to seek time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. hastings: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: i rise to oppose this amendment. we have seen amendments of this nature multiple times throughout the debates both in the committee that i have the privilege to chair, the natural resources committee, and here on the house floor and every single time amendments of this nature have failed, often with bipartisan votes. the amendment would write into law the imposition of strict safety requirements as part of the lease terms. this amendment would override the judgment of two agencies that have the authority to set and enforce safety regulations. those agencies are the bureau of ocean energy management and bureau of safety and
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environmental enforcement. i might add, these agencies within this administration are have -- have on multiple occasions testified that offshore drilling operations are being done safety and this is post-b.p., i might add. it seems like the effort is to continue to try to divert attention away from the real issue of increasing american energy production, increasing american jobs, lowering energy costs and improving our national security. how? by lessening our dependence on foreign oil. it seems that the efforts and our good friends on the other side do not want to face the fact that this bill says we can move forward with responsible oil an gas exploration here in america while at the same time ensuring that increase safety measures are undertaken. these are in the mutually exclusive goals. republicans want to make u.s. offshore drilling the safest in the world. so that we can produce more
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american energy, thus creating more american jobs an thus strengthening our national security. as i mentioned mr. chairman, amendments of this nature have repeatedly failed in the house. i hope they'll it will do so again. i urge opposition to this amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington reserves. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from hawaii rise? ms. hanabusa: mr. chairman, i'd like to use the remainder of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman is regular niced. ms. hanabusa: it's become quite troubling when we hear that -- from the republican side, the other side of the aisle that the obama administration is doing ok or they're taking the representations of the opaw ma administration and we know continually that that's not the case. so if anything this should send up a red flag for everyone and wonder what is it that's really causing this concession to an agency?
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the facts are the facts. we have the b.p. oil spill. it took five months. there's nothing that's been proposed in concrete as to how to prevent that from happening. that's why we're the congress of the united states. that's why we're asked to pass laws because it is only with the passage of laws that we can say, you know, you've got to do this. and if they are doing it and they can guarantee that and they can say that these leases are in fact in compliance, it's up to them. all that we're seeing in the statute is giving a format and framework to say, hey, make sure these points are met in these leases. they're the ones who are going to determine whether it's met or not. that's why i think we owe it to the people who died, we owe it to the people who suffered the economic losses, we owe it to everyone in this nation to make sure that we do not suffer a b.p. oil spill again. that -- with that, i yield back, mr. chairman.
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the chair: the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i yield myself the balance of the time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: i want to ointpo -- point out that after the b.p. spill we had a committee meeting down in louisiana. part of that was to ascertain the economic impacts on that part of the country but also to work with or seek from the industry what would happen if there were heaven forbid, another spill like this. and the industry has responded by building -- by building a consortium, funding a consortium, i should say, in order to respond to a spill like this. i ask, there's two that were testifying at the hearing that day, i said, in the event, and hopefully it doesn't happen, there were an event like b.p. again, how quickly cowl you respond to something like that? that's what the issue is. you want to make sure that people can respond if there is in fact another spill. in both cases, both of them
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said, it would be -- they could respond immediately and probably cap it something like this in less than three weeks. i suspect that was over a year ago, i suspect now that that technology is even greater than that. but my point is, we have the regulations, we have to have american energy and the ensuing jobs that creates and i'm afraid that adopting this amendment would hinder that. i urge my colleagues to reject this amendment and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from hawaii. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from hawaii will be postponed. it is now in order to consider
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amendment number 16 printed in part a of house report 112-398. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek recognition? mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk made in order under the rule. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 16 printed in part a of house report 112-398 offered by mr. hastings of washington. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 547, the gentleman from washington, mr. hastings, and a member opposed, will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for such time as he may consume. mr. hastings: mr. chairman, this amendment passed the house natural resources committee last year in a form of a stand-alone legislation on a bipartisan vote. my amendment would accelerate the development of clean, renewable energy projects on federal lands by streamlining and simplifying government regulations while ensuring thureo environmental reviews. -- thureo environmental reviews. house -- thorough environmental
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reviews. house republicans are wanting to implement the all-of-the-above american-made energy strategy we put forward last year. that is utilizing our public lands for renewable energy project. these projects have the potential to create thousands of american jobs to generate economic benefits and contribute to our energy security. unfortunately, renewable energy projects on federal lands frequently get caught up in bureaucratic red tape. regulatory roadblocks and burdensome lawsuits continue to plague and delay these projects sometimes by many years. this amendment will if a till tate the development of clean reunusual energy on federal lands by providing a clear, simple process for completing important environmental reviews. it would require an environmental review to be conducted only for the specific location where the renewable energy project would be located rather than requiring thousands
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of pages of environmental review for numerous different locations. this would significantly reduce the number of years it takes to develop clean, renewable energy projects. so i want to stress this amendment includes no subsidies, only the streamlining of government regulations. america has been blessed with an abundance of energy resources of all kinds. we all know that. and we should be actively looking for these resources to create jobs and improve american energy security. so i ask my colleagues to support the regulatory relief plan i have and support this amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey rise? mr. holt: i rise to claim time in opposition to this amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. holt: thank you, mr. chairman. you may think the gentleman from washington has suddenly decided that he's going to accelerate renewable energy deployment in the united
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states, but the fact is, no, he has not gotten religion. this is not intended to accelerate renewable energy. it is to remove protections for the environment. the amendment really is highly problematic. it has very little upside and significant downside. both in terms of protecting the environment and in producing renewable energy. the measure fundamentally changes our public lands policy. in a way that could be extremely harmful. completely gutting bedrock environmental review processes is not something that should be done lightly. it shouldn't be done with a 10-minute debate on an amendment on a completely separate bill. this $250 billion transportation bill is not the appropriate place to debate a fundamental shift of public lands policy. we spent nearly a day debating this in committee and it
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deserves a debate at least that thorough here on the floor. right now a renewable energy project that's proposed for federal lands can get a green light, a yellow light or a red light from the permitting agency. what the gentleman from washington would do with his amendment is get rid of the yellow light. by only allowing consideration of the proposed action and not allowing any no action alternative. you know what that means, mr. chairman? well, it means and it should be obvious, it means that projects that could be viable would get a red light. the permitting agency requiring more data requiring care requiring additional conditions will have to say yes or no. they're going to say no. let me state that again. projects that could otherwise get built if their plans were
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tweaked would now under this amendment get killed. that means fewer megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands. no, the gentleman has not suddenly gotten religion about renewable energy. we've heard from the bureau of land management. we've heard it from the renewable energy industry, the solar energy association the geothermal energy association have not endorsed this proposal. the way to make sure our public land managers are expeditiously permitting renewable energy projects is not to handcuff them like this amendment would do but to make sure that they have the resources to do the job. now, the republicans last year did the opposite by trying to take $1 billion out of the interior department's budget. in addition to keeping the land management agencies from doing their job, this amendment would
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also reduce the ability the public to participate in the process. if the public is not given meaningful opportunity, say through environmental hearings you know what they're going to turn to? they're going to turn to the courts. so this amendment would actually lead to more lawsuits, more delays, less renewable energy on public lands. this is not endorsed by any renewable energy industry group. that should give you reason to pause. the representatives of the reunusual energy industry have testified that this language could have a perverse effect of having agencies reject projects, of sending projects into court of preventing the actions we should be taking to develop renewable energies. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? mr. hastings: thank you very much, mr. chairman. i am pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from colorado, mr. lamborn. the chair: the gentleman from colorado is recognized for two minutes. mr. lamborn: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in support of the amendment of the committee chairman. this amendment promotes the republican all-of-the-above approach to energy policy in this country and will just streamline the nepa process to ensure the efficient production of energy on public lands. right now we don't have a balance. we need to strike a balance. yes, there are good environmental laws in place that are well intended and that need to be followed to protect our air and water, but sometimes the threat of litigation or the burdensome application of regulations is used to simply slow down the production of energy even renewable energy projects on public lands. so this amendment will allow renewable energy developers to commit their limited resources to a single project and have
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some certainty that the project will actually take place. they will make the investment necessary, put in the dollars that are required to bring forth wind, solar geothermal, even tidal types of renewable energy projects that right now will otherwise be held up by burdensome regulations. these projects have the potential to provide many thousands of american jobs and generate millions of dollars of benefits because right now we're not getting these projects built on public lands. we need some streamlining of the burdensome regulations. the administration claims to placed a priority on reunusual energy development and yet roadblocks keep popping up, litigation keeps coming forward and we don't have anything really happening on public lands. we have to get the ball
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rolling, and that's what this amendment does. i'm sorry that my colleague from new jersey doesn't see it that way, but this is intended to bring forth and actually see the realization for once of some of these renewable energy projects. so i'd ask for support of this amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? mr. holt: i reclaim my remaining time and i ask of the time remaining. the chair: both sides have one minute remaining. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. holt: it would result in rejected projects. if the republicans really wanted to help renewable energy, you don't need to gut environmental safeguards. ensure financing tools are available, establish tools that create a market demand for renewable power in the regulated electricity industry. establish policies that create
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market -- support smart from the start policies. if you really want to help renewable energy, don't raise taxes on the wind industry. extend the production tax credit. that would save -- well let's say 30,000 to 40,000 jobs. yes, the production tax credit. that would be the way to help the renewable industry, not to gut environmental protections. please, i ask my colleagues don't support this amendment. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek recognition? mr. hastings: i yield myself the balance of the time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for such time as he may consume. mr. hastings: this is a good amendment because part of the process of creating the american energy jobs is to reduce regulation, and i was struck when my good friend from new jersey said that this amendment would lead to more
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litigation. for goodness sakes when we heard testimony, the cape wind project off of massachusetts testified something to the effect and i can't -- i don't have the exact testimony in front of me, but they are the poster child of litigation. and why? because that litigation covered a very, very broad area. this specifies where if somebody has a problem with it the regulations would deal with the specific area. this really clarifies the whole process and anything else. i urge adoption of the amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from washington. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. mr. holt: mr. chairman. mr. chairman, on that i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18 further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from washington will be postponed.
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it is now in order to consider amendment number 17 printed in part a of house report 112-398. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? mr. markey: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 17 printed in part a of house report 112-398 offered by mr. markey of massachusetts. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 547, the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. markey, and a gentleman opposed, will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. markey: thank you. mr. chairman, this amendment is very simple. it prohibits the export of the natural gas produced from the leases that are going to be given to oil and gas companies under this bill. so the bottom line is, what the
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republicans want to do is open up drilling for natural gas off of the beaches of florida off of the beaches of california off of the beaches of virginia off of the beaches of new jersey and massachusetts. and what they say is, oh, we have to do this. it's for our national security. but, right now, over at the department of energy, there are eight applications seeking to export 18% of our natural gas overseas to china, to europe, to latin america. why is that? well very simple. the price of natural gas in the united states is six times lower than in asia. these companies want to make a big profit, not here in america but selling our natural gatt,
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drilled for off of our beaches to other countries. in europe, four times more expensive natural gas. that's who they want to tell it to. why would we support that? only if there's an oil and gas company agenda. because unlike natural gas, oil has a price which is set on the international marketplace. so if it's $100 a barrel in china, it's $100 a barrel in the united states. not so ladies and gentlemen, with natural gas. natural gas is our greatest asset. it's what is fueling our economic recovery. manufacturing new jobs is the highest in the last five years. it's very low priced natural gas fueling this revolution because the price of energy is so low in america for natural gas. what is the plan of the oil and
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gas companies? send this natural gas around the rest of the world. and what would the impact be? it would increase prices for american steel industry, increase prices for the chemical industry, increase prices for the plastics industry. and increase the prices for the utility industries, the general -- that generate electricity for american homes and businesses and ultimately increase prices for consumers in our country. this amendment, the markey amendment, is aimed straight at the strait of hormuz and it's saying to them, we have got the natural gas here in america. we're going to drill for it. but we're keeping it here because it's six times lower in price than it is in asia and europe and that's what we're going to keep here for our american citizens. we're not going to play this game of international markets so the oil and gas industry can raise the price of natural gas
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up to the price of oil. they get rich and exxonmobil's reporting $137 billion in profits even as we give them through the republicans $40 billion worth of tax breaks. when do american consumers gets a -- get a break? when do american manufacturers get a break? when does the chemical, when does the steel industry get a break in low energy prices? is it all a one-way street for exxonmobil and these big multinationals? the markey amendment says, we drill for natural gas off the beaches of this country. that natural gas stays here in this country. it is not exported. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? mr. hastings: i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. hastings: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: this amendment was offered in committee markup
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and failed on a bipartisan vote because it was a bad idea. this amendment mr. chairman, has one goal, to stop the development of natural gas on alaska's north slope. this amendment is completely unnecessary and irrelevant. currently there is no way to export natural gas out of anwr. there's no liquefying gas facilities on the shore and not a single natural gas pipeline out of anwr to transport natural gas anywhere in the united states. there are limited ways to export alaska natural gas. one is -- one of the preferred meths would be to build a pipeline to cross the u.s.-canada border and back into the united states but under the gentleman's amendment this wouldn't be possible. i might add, we all know how the gentleman feels about pipelines in general. another method would be to convert gas to l.n.g. and ship it to the united states. i know the gentleman is well aware of this process because his home state gets about 40% of their natural gas from
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countries like yemen from egypt, or trinidad. however, should alaska choose to convert to l.n.g. and try to ship it to california, this amendment would stop them from considering that because the import terminal in southern california is in mexico. where they get their natural gas from, from russia. the transportation of natural gas across alaska is a tremendous challenge. as with any major pipeline and construction the investment will be in the billions of dollars but it would employ tens of thousands of people. it is something that should and can happen. however, without a market for the natural gas, it is unlikely that this pipeline will ever be built. as mentioned, this amendment would stop gas from reaching the u.s. marks both by pipeline and by ship. on this side of the aisle, we hope that a pipeline like this can be built for all of the reasons that we have said in the past. we want the gas to come to
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america. our hope is that this gas will displace the natural gas shipments from russia coming into southern california and possibly even the yemenese shipments to boston. this is our hope and that would be a challenge if this amendment were to be adopted. so this amendment goes against the main objective of the bill, american jobs, american energy, and american energy security. so i urge my colleagues to vote no on the amendment and i reserve my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? mr. markey: may i ask how much time is remaining on either side? the chair: the gentleman has one minute remaining. mr. markey: and how much is remaining on the other side? the chair: the gentleman from washington has two minutes remaining. mr. markey: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i'm pleased to yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from texas, mr. brady. mr. brady: america is best when we are not hypocritical and don't shoot ourselves in the
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foot this markey amendment does both. we insist china play by the rules. in fact, they've been hoarding their raw materials and holding it back which harms american companies, we want a ruling around the world that says china has to stop that. here we are on the house floor tiing to do the same thing to our export, natural gatt. and we'll be called on it just like we're called on china. secondly besides being hypocritical, this is going to kill american jobs. we need to not just buy american but sell american around the world, our cars, our ag products, our computers and our natural gas. i urge defeat and yield back. the chair: the gentleman's tame has expire. for what purpose does the -- the gentleman from washington reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? mr. markey: i continue to reserve and inquire as to who has the right to close and if the majority is down to their
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last speaker. the chair: the gentleman from washington has the right to close. mr. hastings: i advise my friend from massachusetts, i have squs from two other members, not including myself, three including me. mr. markey: i would prefer to wait until the final speaker for the majority is going to take the podium. the chair: the gentleman reserves. mr. hastings: i am pleased to yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from texas, mr. farenthold. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. farenthold: i rise in on stoigs this amendment as well. there's no market in alaska and we know how the other side feels about building pipelines through canada. right now, we've got historic low price of gas and that's great for america but it's great for the rest of the world. this is our opportunity to use our excess capacity, we're producing more than we can consume, hence the low price through areas of texas. this is our opportunity to
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lower our balance of trade, make some money and as the price goes up, the government gets more in royalties. i would like to point out if we ea plied this same logic to other commodties let's not export our food so our food prices go down let's not export cars so our car prices go down my time has expyred thank you very much. the chair: the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i'm pleased to yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from texas, mr. olson. chip the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. olson: mr. chairman, i rise in opposition to the markey amendment. the gentleman from massachusetts has displayed a clear lack of understanding of our great nation's history in his amendment to restrict american exports of natural gas. exports have made america a world power. our country grew stronger economically by providing the products the world demands. no one, no one believes that if
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ford or g.m. could supply domestic markets and ship cars overseas. no one is proposing to limit exports from massachusetts. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized for such time as me he may consume. mr. markey: the republican slogan was drill here, drill now, pay less. today their slogan is drill here, sell to china, pay more in the united states. if all these terminals get built, the energy department says the price is going to go up by 54% for american consumers rm let me tell you what boone pickens says, he says something that's very, very clear. he says if we do it, if we export natural gas, we're truly going to go down as america's dumbest generation. it's bad public policy to
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export natural gas. american energy for american jobs. oil and natural gas are not lobsters. they are not toothbrushes. they are the key to our stratenalic protection of our national security. this is a signal to opec that we mean business. we're going to drill for the natural gas, we're going to keep it here and tell them we don't need their oil any more than we need their sand. vote for the markey amendment and keep the natural gas we drill for off the beaches of this country in our country and tell them to keep their sand, we'll keep our beaches an our natural gas here in america. vote aye for the markey amendment. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired, the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i yield myself the balance of the time. my friend from massachusetts makes a great point with great, great passion. i thought that the gentleman was arguing for support of the
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underlying bill. and the reason i say that is because the underlying bill opens up areas on the atlantic and pacific coast for drilling for oil an gas. and the gentleman said that he, yesterday, that he is very much in favor of natural gas. there is natural gas off the shores the north shore of the atlantic. the shipping cost would be very very little. i'm somewhat confused but i don't think the gentleman's amendment will accomplish what he says, but his rhetoric, i can tell you, mr. chairman, will accomplish what the underlying bill says and that will make us energy independent, or less dependent on foreign sources and crea ate american energy jobs. with that, i urge a rejeck of the markey amendment an i yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it.
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mr. markey: on that, i request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 18 prinned in part a of house report 112-398. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? mr. markey: i have an amendment designated as markey 54 at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 18 printed in house report 112-398 offered by mr. markey of massachusetts. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 547, the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. markey and a member opposed will each control phi minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. markey: last year, exxonmobil made $41 billion in profits. together the top five oil companies made a combined $137
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billion in profits. you would think that every time these larming oil companies extract oil from public lands offshore and the gulf of mexico, they'd be required to pay the american people a fee, a royalty, to do so since the lands are owned by the people of the united states. well, you would be wrong. because as a result of an oil company court challenge to a 1995 law, oil companies are not paying any railities to american people on leases issued between 1996 and 2000 on public lands of our country. the republicans want to drill into the pensions of federal workers to fund our highways, they want to drill in the arctic national wildlife refuge america's serengeti, off our beaches in florida california, new jersey, to fund this transportation bill but if we are looking for revenue to
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fund our road projects, start by ening this free ride big oil is feting on public land. in recent years, the amount of free oil these companies have been pumping has gone through the roof as more of these free drilling leases have gone into production. in fact, right now, more than 25% of all oil produced offshore on federal lands is produced royalty-free, tax-free. they don't have to pay any taxes whatsoever. let me say that again. these companies get a complete windfall profit by paying no taxes for drilling or for the coastline of this -- off of the coastline of the united states owned by me american people. what kind of plan can that be in order to make sure we have sufficient funding, in order to pay for med kay pay for kids going to college, pay for the research to find the cure for cancer. of all the companies that should be kicking in their fair share of the dues to run this country, it should be the
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companies who made $137 billion last year and getting away scott free and not paying taxes for drilling off the coast lines of our country on public lands. i reserve the plans of my time. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? mr. hastings: i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. hastings: mr. chairman, this amendment is virtually identical , once again, to amendments that have failed on the house floor by a bipartisan vote and i'm speaking specifically last year. let me give a little bit of history. in 1995 the democrat senator and the clinton white house negotiated the deepwater relief act. the intent was to promote interest in deepwater leases. according to the 1995 law, the royalty relief is on the volume of oil and gas produced on a lease. while other royalty relief provisions are dependent on economic hardship, these are
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soully dependent on volume produced -- solely dependent on volume produced. while the gentleman's amendment aims to fix the problem by including price thresholds this issue has been repeatedly settled in courts of law and the courts have determined that including price thresholds to this law would be a violation of the contract law. the united states supreme court found the department did not have the authority to include price thresholds on lease agreements issued under the 1995 law. and in fact the department of interior has lost this issue in the district court, the appellate court and the supreme court. simply stated, including price thresholds on these leases would be illegal. if this amendment passed the issue would almost certainly be challenged in court where the department would again use what? taxpayer dollars to lose again.
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ultimately this amendment seeks to force u.s. companies to break a contract negotiated under government law or else be denied the opportunity to do business in the united states. the ranking member aims to back companies into a corner and force them to break a legally unbreakable contract. i think this is a bad amendment the house has rejected it in the past and i would urge the house again and my colleagues to reject it this time and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? mr. markey: may i inquire once again as to how much time is remaining on either side? the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts has 2 3/4 minutes remaining. the gentleman from washington has three minutes remaining. mr. markey: i yield myself a minute and 3/4. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. markey: i thank you. the amendment that i'm offering would give these oil companies a strong incentive to renegotiate their leases to pay their fair
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share of royalty taxes. my amendment would offer these oil companies a choice. they can choose to either continue to produce royalty tax free in the gulf of mexico on public lands but not be able to receive any new leases on public lands or they can agree to pay their fair share and be able to bid on new areas but they can't have it both ways. with oil prices at $100 a barrel, this free drilling is absolutely unacceptable. the congressional research service has repeatedly found that this amendment would not be an abrogation of contract. in 2010 the congressional research service wrote of my amendment to reiterate the amendment imposes no legal compulsion, just as as before, congress would be posing an election. this amendment does not require these companies to renegotiate their leases to pay their fair share. it just gives them an incentive
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to do so. and this amendment would not force companies to give up their leases. it would just impose a condition in issuing future leases. as s.r.c. has stated as a general matter the united states has broad discretion in saying the qualifications of those with whom it contracts. these companies would be perfectly free to choose to continue producing this free windfall oil even if prices climbed well past $100 a barrel and gas prices go past $4 a gallon. they can do that. they can hang onto these windfall leases if they want, but if they do they're not getting any new leases from the american people on the public lands of our country. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: thank you, mr. chairman. i am pleased to yield one minute to the gentleman from texas, mr. brady. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized for one minute. mr. brady: thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment has been defeated so many times on the house floor
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it's like one of those bad "american idol" tryouts. there's good reason for it. it is, as chairman hastings said, in the 1990's we wanted to encourage more american-made energy, not importing it from the middle east. so we encouraged companies to explore in deep waters. they did. american companies invested hundreds of millions of dollars in leases paid to the american government in new investment, in new equipment and in work. they found oil and gases, they pumped it, they paid billions of dollars in revenue, in royalties to us based on how much they pumped. the more they pumped, the more they paid the american taxpayer. this outraged our democrat friends. they've tried to break those american contracts force the government to go back on its word four times the courts have said, including the supreme court, said no. the american government's word means something. today they want to break that word on the house floor extort our american companies into breaking those contracts. we're going to say no.
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the american government contract, in the words of -- means something and we're going to create the jobs that come from american-made energy. mr. hastings: i yield the gentleman one additional minute. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized for an additional minute. mr. brady: thank you mr. chairman. i just want to reiterate the point you're making. the goal of this amendment is not simply to break america's contract. it's really to stop american companies from investing here in america. in creath jobs from clean natural gas, from oil, from traditional energy that fuels so much of america's economy. to make sure we are reliant on our energy, not on the middle east or venezuela. and so the goal the reason it has been killed so many times is it works against america's energy interests, it works against american energy jobs and it breaks the rule of law. america's not a banana republic. our contracts mean something. and we're going to uphold them. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back.
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the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. markey: these oil giants are the most profitable companies in the history of the world. the republicans are going to give them $40 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years and rather than reclaiming them for our soldiers, or for medicare recipients, they say,, no you can't touch that. and so -- they say, no, you can't touch that. so i turn to them and i say, what about all of the royalty tax-free drilling they're doing? 25% of all oil drilled for off of the coastlines of our country on public lands, no taxes. no royalties. no contributions to america. they're not paying their fair share of the dues and the gentleman from texas just said, the more they drill the more they pay. absolutely not true. the more they drill the bigger their profits, they don't have to pay a nickel in royalty
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taxes. they get off scot-free. everyone else gets tipped upside down by the tax man on april 15 to pick up what they're not willing to pay. it's time for them to pay their fair share of the dues. that's what the markey amendment says. either stop renegotiating those leases or you're not drilling any longer on the public lands of the united states of america. vote aye. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i yield myself the balance of the time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you, mr. chairman. there is a real, very important principle here. and that is a contract is a contract. you abide by what you negotiate under the existing law. and this existing law has been worked -- has been -- worked its way through the courts all the way to the supreme court. and in every case the 1995 law in these leases were upheld. why would we want to jeopardize and send the wrong message to those that would want to take
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the risk and make the investments under this law? it would just send a very, very wrong signal in my view. once again, this amendment has been defeated on this floor a number of times. i urge my colleagues to vote no one more time, to defeat this amendment. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. mr. hastings: mr. chairman, i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 19 printed in part a of house report 112-398. for what purpose does the gentleman from idaho rise? mr. labrador: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk.
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the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 19 printed in part a of house report 112-398 offered by mr. labrador of idaho. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 547, the gentleman from idaho, mr. labrador, and a member opposed will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from idaho. mr. labrador: thank you, mr. chairman. for far too long the federal government has imposed regulatory burdens that have impeded economic growth and limited our access to domestic energy. this legislation which passed out of the natural resources committee on a bipartisan basis establishes a commonsense streamline policy for the development of clean, geothermal energy resources that will create jobs and provide low-cost energy to american families -- families. in idaho we have an abundance of geothermal energy potential that is unavailable due to federal bureaucracy impediments. idaho has a unique history of developing geothermal energy. i served in the idaho legislature for four years where our 100-year-old state house is
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entirely heated by geothermal energy. that's right. many of our downtown boise office buildings, old and new. the annual operating costs for generating this abundant heat are essentially zero. current law requires each geothermal exploration hole to go through an individual environmental review and approval process. discouraging energy companies from investing in projects and curtailing our access to geothermal energy. each individual environmental review process can take between 10 months to two years to complete. now more than ever we should encourage private enterprise by removing the regulatory burdens that stall our economic growth. my amendment does just that. what the legislation does, number one it improves regulations that hamper geothermal exploration and allows projects to be done without the construction of new roads and without the use of offroad motorized vehicles to ensure minimal environmental damage. number two, it protects the
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environment by requiring the removal of any surface infrastructure, to minimize surface impact. and number three, it sets firm deadlines for permitting to occur, providing that geothermal companies the certainty they need to make appropriate business decisions. this is important. what my amendment does not do, it does not subsidize the geothermal energy industry. it merely eliminates a regulatory hurdle that is unique to the process, -- plosess -- to the process, allowing that. it also does not allow geothermal development to occur in any of our pristine areas that are currently offlimits to exploration. the bill simply removes bureaucratic layers that companies must endure after they obtain a lease. i urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan amendment. i yield back. the chair: does the gentleman reserve? mr. labrador: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from idaho reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> to speak on the amendment. the chair: is the gentleman opposed? mr. garamendi: in opposition.
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the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. garamendi: thank you. we're all for geothermal. there's nobody on this side that's opposed to geothermal. we think it's a really good resource. in fact, in my own history, way back in california, the first geothermal wells were drilled when i was on the resources committee in the state. we did it well. we required an upfront review of the potential wells and we continue to do that in california. it turns out that this particular law would waive the neep' requirements -- nepa requirements simply a categorical exemption for geothermal test wells. not necessary and not wise. already the bureau of land management rapidly approves geothermal test wells with a very quick environmental review to determine if there's any potential problem in that particular area from that particular well. in fact, about 72 applications have been made, 47 have been
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done very quickly. why were the others not done? there was the potential problem. perhaps they were near somebody else's resource, perhaps they were in an area that was environmentally sensitive. perhaps they were in an area where you could draw down a naturally occurring hot spring or a geyser. so there are reasons for the review and what there is no reason for a categorical exemption. unless of course you want to somehow bit by bit terminate nepa which seems to be the strategy of the republicans here. just anybodyle away enough so that nepa has no -- just nibble away enough so that nepa has no meaning. the natural gas industry obtained an exemption for natural gas tracking from the e.p.a. the result at least in pennsylvania, and in new york, was extraordinary trouble for
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the natural gas industry. so let's not rush forward here. there's a process in place that provise for a -- an exemption, a very quick process to determine if that particular well is appropriate and allowed to go forward. where there's trouble, don't do it. i reserve the remainder of my time. the chair: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from idaho is recognized. mr. labrador: i yield one minute to the gentleman from colorado, mr. lamb born. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. lamborn: thank you and i thank my colleague from idaho. this would expedite the development of geothermal energy on federal lands. being from colorado, i know well the potential for geothermal energy development. in fact, just last year the national renewable energy laboratory teamed up with ikea to build the first ikea store
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in the united states partially powered by geothermal energy. as our nation heads down the path of energy security, we should be facilitating the development of renewable energy on federal land. this is a good amendment that could potentially shave years off the process of geothermal energy exploration and contribute to our increasing domestic energy portfolio in the united states. i urge your support of the labrador amendment. thank you and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from colorado yields back. the gentleman from idaho reserves. the quelt from california is recognized -- the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. garamendi: i ask the remaining time. the chair: the gentleman from california has three minutes remaining. mr. garamendi: sounds good doesn't it? until the well destroys the neighbor's well, until the well happens to destroy one of the many hot springs or geysers that exist in public parks,
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national parks. sounds good until you begin to understand the implications of what happens when there is no environmental review. oh, yeah sounds good but i guarantee you this, if this exemption goes forward it will only be a matter of time before there's a major controversy over the exploration of a well and the effect on surrounding resources. if that's what the majority wants, then go ahead. the result will be a huge blowup such as we now see with fracking. we don't need that. what we need is to rapidly expand our geothermal production in america and there are many different resources available to us. i would just remind my friend from colorado that the kind of geothermal he's talking about is not the deep well holt geothermal but a geothermal that uses the ambient temperature of the soil several feet deep in the ground. that's a different geothermal situation. what we're talking about is tapping a hot portion of the earth. and extracting from that the
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energy. do it with care because there's the potential for serious problems if you do it incorrectly. to our knowledge, the geothermal industry is not interested in this exemption. there may be some company out there but in testimony it was clear that the geothermal industry said, we don't need this. things are moving along the way we want them to move along. and understand there's competition between geothermal companies. one person may be on this side of the resource, another on this side. a third person comes in tries to extract the oil in a test well and voila, now we've got conflict. no need for a cat gorical exemption. i reserve my time. the chair: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from idaho is recognized. mr. labrador: may i inquire how much time is left? the chair: the gentleman has one and a half minutes left.
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mr. labrador: i yield to the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i want to congratulate the gentleman from idaho in this -- on this bill. i want to correct something, the geothermal industry testified in favor of this bill. but there seems to be a pattern here when we talk about activity on federal land which is on -- under the jures diction of the committee i happen to chair. we hear it dozens of times, in virtually all the testimonies we hear, is the red tape you have to go through to utilize our public lands for multiple purpose use, and let me just say this mr. chairman, our public lands were designed, unless congress sets aside specifically, multiple use. that means commercial activities, that means recreational activity a wide variety of activities. when we have these other laws that inhibit that use, then i
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think it works against what the american people are trying to to accomplish. this is a very simple process that says goodness, if you have a lease in an area, why do you have to have so. redundancy to do the same thing over and over again. i think this amendment is a good amendment. as i mentioned it passed out of committee on a bipartisan vote and i urge adoption and yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from idaho reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. garamendi: i suppose it's time to finish up this debate. a quick time of paul thompson, in committee representing the geothermal industry at the lennell slative hearing on union 3 2011, quote if we can get implementation in keeping with the current policy, we would be happy with that i don't think it necessarily requires an exemption from nepa. i don't have much time, you can use your time, sir. don't need an exemption.
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and it was just stated if you got a -- an area, a resource area, what difference does it make if someone drills within that area. i can tell you what difference it makes in california the geysers, a huge resource, it makes a yeat -- great deal of difference where somebody else drills in your neighborhood. because that drilling can dry up your resource. it is exceedingly important to understand the geology, understand the environmental risk associated with exploratory and development. no need for an exemption unless of course you want to once again nibble away at nepa until it's not worth having at all which is apparently the strategy we're hearing from this committee and numerous amendments. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from idaho is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. labrador: let's correct two statements just made. number one, the chamber of commerce and geothal industry
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testified they're for this i have letters from them saying they're for this amendment and the boogeyman they keep using geyser holes and other thing the g.i.s. expressly states the b.l.m. is prohibited from issuing leases on the fol logue lands, lands contained within a unit of the national park system or that are otherwise administered by the national park center. they continue to use yellowstone and other boogeyman and we know that's not true because we can't do leasing or geothermal on those lans. the chair: the gentleman yields back. all time has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from idaho. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from idaho will be postponed.
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it is no in order to consider amendment number 20, printed in part a of house report 112-39 . for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 20 printed in house report 112-398, offered by mr. scalise of louisiana. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 547 the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scalise, and a member opposed will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. scalise: as we approach the two-year anniversary of the deepwater horizon disaster, my amendment sets up the gulf
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coast restoration trust fund and requires that 80% of the clean water act fines that will be directed to the fund for the purpose os restoring the ecosystems an economies that were directly impacted by the oil spill. this amendment shares strong bipartisan support and is the first step in ensuring that the gulf coast states have the ability to recover from the largest environmental disaster in our country's history. mr. chairman, i reserve the plans of my time. the chair: the gentleman from louisiana reserves. for what purpose does the gentlelady rise? >> to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentlelady from florida is recognized for five mins. >> thank you, i yield myself three minutes. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. >> mr. chairman, in the aftermath of the b.p. deepwater horizon disaster a consensus was reached that 80% of the deepwater act fines and fenlts pa that b.p. is required to pay foe to the gulf coast. ms. castor: president owaugh ma
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has proposed this, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed to this, a national commission recommended it, another national task force recommended it, businesses, environmentalists, we've all reached consensus that 80% of the fines and penalties that b.p. will be required to pay for violating the clean water act go to gulf of mexico recovery and research. but congress must pass a law to do this. and everyone has urged the congress to act on this. but the congress has not done so. unfortunately. and as the co-chair of the bipartisan gulf coast caucus, i ask my colleagues not to let the effort languish any longer. the house should act expeditiously to do so and devote 80% of the deepwater horizon fines and penalties to the gulf of mexico. unfortunately, the scalise amendment could be interpreted
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as an endorsement of a particular piece of legislation. the restore act. and while the rescore act does devote 80% of the fines and penalties to the gulf coast, it is flawed in its current form and does not achieve meaningful recovery for the gulf of mexico. so while i urge my colleagues reluctantly to defeat this amendment, the time is now for the congress to pass an 80% bill and focus on the economic and environmental recovery of the gulf of mexico. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from louisiana is recognized. mr. scalise: thank you, mr. chairmanism remind me colleague from florida that this legislation actually is the only instrument available that is germane to this legislation that does direct 80% of those b.p. fines to the gulf coast states as the president's commission and many others have called for who support our legislation, the restore act, by the way. with that, i yield 45 seconds to the gentleman from florida, mr. miller. the chair: the gentleman is
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recognized for 45 seconds. mr. miller: i thank the gentleman from louisiana for the time an thank you for all you've gone to bring this forward. i want to thank my colleagues from the gulf coast who fought so hard to make sure this legislation came to the floor. i would say that given the time that i have that this amendment is vital and it's porn to not only the state of florida but the entire gulf coast area because it would rainshower a great portion of the fines that will ultimately be paid for the spill back to the gulf coast. the amendment is the first step, the first step in a very long process to make sure that b.p. and the other responsible parties are held responsible and would start to restore the gulf coast from the damages that were suffered as a result of the worst oil spill in the history of the world. so i urge all my colleagues to support this amendment and i do yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from florida yields back. the gentleman from louisiana reserves. the gentlelady from florida is recognized. ms. castor: i'm pleased to
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yield two minutes to our colleague from louisiana, mr. richmond. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. richmond: i rise today in support of the amendment from my colleague from louisiana, mr. scalise. i'd like to remind the chair that it was a little less than two years ago when the deepwater horizon oil spill occurred and we lost 11 americans, the lives of 11 americans and 200 million gallons of oil were spilled into the gulf of mexico. when you look at the damage that occurred, our shrimp supply was down 37%, crab down 39%. every day when a waitress or waiter or bartender went to working they made less money. business owners were making less money to make ends meet. all because of the deepwater horizon oil spill. what we want to make sure is that those who suffered actually recoup the benefit of it so they can protect their coast and make sure that they protect their citizen from future hurricanes, not only
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their citizens but protect big investment of this country when we talk about our ports, when we talk about the oil and gas industry i would just remind my colleagues that when katrina happened, oil an gas price, the gas prices went up 48 cents around the country. that's because louisiana was suffering an we could not produce the oil and gas we normally produce. this bill allows taos protect the coast, protect america's energy investment and also make sure that we can save the lives of louisiana citizens. the last thing that i will add is that we should not let the 200 million gallons of oil and 11 lives that were lost open up an opportunity for a wind fall for the american treasury. we should make sure that these funds go exactly to where they should go so we can help the gulf coast which is so vital to this country's energy independence an the seafood we all enjoy. i would again just say that, mr. chairman that i rise in
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support of the amendment, it's not perfect, it's not the end all, but this is the best way right now to make sure that the sentiment is established that 80% of the fines should go to those coastal communities so that they can help their own recovery. with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from florida reserves this egentleman is recognized. mr. scalise: i would like to allocate 45 seconds to the distinguished gentleman from alabama, mr. bonner. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for 45 seconds. ms. bonamici: i'm pleased to join my colleagues -- mr. bonner: i'm pleased to join my colleagues. this amendment if adopted, is not the end of our efforts to make the gulf coast whole. after the tragic oil spill, almost two years ago. but make no mistake, this amendment is critically important as a step toward that end. the creation of the gulf coast restoration trust fund is absolutely essential if we're
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going to ensure that the penalties paid by b.p. and other responsible parties are set aside for future expenditure to remediate the long-term environmental and economic damages done to each of the five gulf coast states. marle, the federal government should not -- mr. chairman, the federal government should not benefit from the tragedy that occurred at our backyard and i can't say enough in thanks to chairman hastings and his leadership in giving us this opportunity with this amendment to this broader effort. i urge adoption and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from louisiana reserves. the gentlelady from florida is recognized. >> i'll reserve my time. the chair: the gentlelady from florida reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition? mr. scalise: at this point, mr. chairman i would like to yield 45 seconds to the gentleman from mississippi, mr. palazzo. the chair: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized for 45 seconds. mr. palazzo: thank you, mr. chairman, and i thank my colleague from louisiana for yielding. nearly two years ago the deep water horizon explosion took the
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lives of -- deepwater horizon explosion took the lives of 11 americans and caused an oil spill of epic proportions. for 86 days millions of barrels of oil gushed into the waters of the gulf of mexico and threatened the ecosystems and the economic stability of an entire region of the country. the road to recovery for the gulf coast has been a long one and it's not over. with this amendment we take a huge step forward in making things right for those most devastated by this spill. these fines are not taxpayer -- funds are not taxpayer funds. the federal government, as my colleague from alabama says, should not profit from the gulf coast's pain and suffering. at a time when congress agrees on so little, this effort has broad bipartisan support in both houses of congress. many agree that restoring and replenishing the gulf coast is more than a responsible decision, it is the right thing to do. thank you and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from louisiana reserves. the gentlelady from florida is recognized. >> i'll continue to reserve. the chair: the gentlelady from
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florida reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana rise? mr. scalise: mr. chairman, at this time i would like to yield 45 seconds to the gentleman from florida, mr. southerland. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized for 45 seconds. mr. southerland: thank you, mr. speaker, and i'd like to thank the gentleman from louisiana for yielding. also would like to commend him on his leadership, regarding the work that we have performs on this bipartisan effort, to really restore the gulf of mexico. you know, the five states that were affected most their representatives here have worked extremely hard to make sure that the federal government never profits at the pain and the suffering of those who call the gulf of mexico and the gulf coast their home. this has been a wonderful experience to work across the aisle with many who understand how critical it is that we take care of the men and women the hardworking men and women along the gulf coast and i urge approval and passage of this amendment and thank you for the time you've given me. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from louisiana
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reserves. the gentlelady from florida is recognized. ms. castor: i'll continue to reserve. the chair: the gentlelady from florida reserves. the gentleman from louisiana. mr. scalise: can i inquire on the balance of the time, mr. chairman? the chair: the gentleman has 1 3/4 minutes remaining. mr. scalise: i yield 45 seconds to the gentleman from texas, mr. olson. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized for 45 seconds. mr. olson: mr. chairman, i rise in support of the amendment introduced by my friend and colleague on the energy and commerce committee. the gentleman from louisiana. in april of 2011 the deepwater horizon rig exploded, killing 11 workers. and starting the worst oil spill in u.s. history. while the whole nation suffered, the five gulf states were particularly hard hit. each of our five states suffered different damages. a moratorium was ordered that sent u.s. jobs overseas with the rigs that went overseas. tourism on some of our most
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pristine beaches was lost. the fishing industries were unable to bring their catches home. the water restore act will not replace the lives lost, it will ensure that the five states most impacted by the spill get their fair share of the compensation for our damages. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and come back to the gulf. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from louisiana reserves. the gentlelady from florida is recognized. ms. castor: i'll continue to reserve. the chair: the gentlelady from florida reserves. the gentleman from louisiana. mr. scalise: i'm prepared to close, mr. chairman. so i would reserve and allow the gentlelady from florida to close. the chair: the gentleman from louisiana reserves. the gentlelady from florida is recognized. ms. castor: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i'm very pleased to see so much bipartisan support for legislation to devote 80% of the fines and penalties under the clean water act from the b.p. deepwater horizon disaster to the gulf of mexico. and i reluctantly have to oppose this amendment because the amendment is entitled restore
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and that is one of the pieces of legislation that, on the one hand, does devote 80%, but on the other is completely flawed. and so for that reason i'm going to have to urge everyone to vote no. but, let's not lose momentum here. let's redouble our efforts in this congress as soon as possible to pass legislation that does devote 80% of the fines and penalties to the gulf of mexico. the problems with the restore act are many, it doesn't focus on gulfwide research and recovery it does not devote the kind of resources to long-term monitoring in the gulf of mexico. there are many other areas in -- that many other areas in america enjoy. for those reasons i urge a no vote. the chair: the gentleman from louisiana is recognized. mr. scalise: thank you mr.
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chairman. and i want to thank the chairman of the natural resources committee, mr. hastings, for his support and help in this. despite the gentlelady from florida's comments, the restore act actually has a broad range of support, not only from over 30 members of congress from both sides of the aisle, but also from numerous outside groups, both on the environmental side and on the business side. i would like for the record to include -- i ask unanimous consent to include all of these letters from various business and environmental groups in support of the restore act. the chair: the gentleman's unanimous consent request will need to be made in the full house. mr. scalise: thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment is a crucial first step toward ensuring that 80% of the g.p. fines will be dedicated to help gulf coast states and especially our fragile ecosystems along coastal louisiana to fully recover from the deepwater horizon disaster. just the other day, parish president brought me these pictures that were taken just 2 1/2 weeks ago from a marsh where you can still see clearly, dead
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turtles, oil in the marsh. we're going to be dealing with these impacts for years to come mr. chairman, and we've seen from other disaster tharts proper way to do it bisetting aside those funds to make sure that b.p., the responsible party, not the federal government pay to restore that damage. i urge support of this amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? mr. hastings: i move the committee do now rise. the chair: the question is on the motion that the committee rise. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly the committee rises.
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the speaker pro tempore: mr. chairman. the chair: mr. speaker, the committee of the whole house on the state of the union, having had under consideration h.r. 3480 direct mess to report that it has come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house on the state of the union reports that the committee has had under consideration h.r. 3408 and has come to no resolution thereon. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan rise? >> mr. speaker, i send to the desk a conference report to accompany h.r. 3630. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: conference report to accompany h.r. 3630, an act to
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provide incentives for the creation of jobs and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: ordered printed. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 3408. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. pursuant to house resolution 547 and rule 18, the chair delairs the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 3408. will the gentleman from georgia mr. woodal, kindly resume the chair?
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the chair: the committee is in the whole house of the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 3408 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to set clear rules for the development of united states oil shale resources, to promote shale technology research and development and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: when the -- the chair: when the committee of the whole rose earlier today, amendment number 20 printed in part a of house report 112-398 by the gentleman from louisiana mr. scalise, had been disposed of. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, proceedings will now resume on those amendments printed in part a of house report 112-398 on which further proceedings were postponed in the following order. amendment number 13 by mr. thompson of california. amendment number 15 by ms. hanabusa of hawaii. amendment number 16 by mr. hastings of washington. amendment number 17 by mr. markey of massachusetts. amendment number 18 by mr. markey of massachusetts.
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amendment number 19 by mr. labrador of idaho. the chair will reduce to two minutes the minimum time for any electronic vote after the first vote in this series. the unfinished business is on request the for a recorded vote on amendment -- on amendment number 13 by the gentleman from california, mr. thompson, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 13 printed in part a of house report 112-398 offered by mr. thompson of california. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly
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prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]


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