tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 8, 2013 2:00am-4:01am EST
i think we are in an atmosphere now were so much energy is being put into responding to the regulatory regime that resources that should be going out to try to help the person who is got the idea of a dream that they're trying to succeed and are not being used. they are being used in response to the regulatory regime. we will get through this obviously, as a government. as we move towards resolving all the issues raised, we just have to be sensitive that we don't swing so far that we undermine the basic strength of the american economy which is that it is a free market where people do take risks in order for it to succeed and where you basically want the financial sector to be properly regulated. without overwhelming the ability of the financial sector to be an aggressive player in promoting opportunities for prosperity.
>> pointing the finger in a different direction, this questioner asks how protection can be advanced while investors themselves continually ask for high risk high return investments? >> i am not speaking as -- i don't think it is our job to tell people what risks they take and what risks they don't take. the financial industry as a whole must participate in the efforts of the government and regulators to make sure that systemic risks are muted to the fullest extent possible. individuals in our society invest. when they invest, they take risk. if somebody wants to invest in a more risky way to get a higher return, that is their right.
if they want to invest in a more conservative way to protect their resources and not have any downside, that is their right to o. that is an individual choice. >> back to regulations, can you give us some specifics of regulations that you think have gone too far and what are you looking to change precisely? >> the original proposals on the issue would have forced out of the business of giving advice a lot of the industry. the loser in that would have been the consumer because the consumer -- especially the consumer who doesn't have a huge ira or 401k. they would have found themselves not being able to use advisors in order to determine how they wanted to invest their retirement funds. that is counterproductive. that would have undermined and
harmed a lot of folks' ability to get ready for retirement. that would be an example of one area where we think regulation simply was misdirected. it would have produced the opposite result of what we expected and what we would want as a society. >> are you supportive of a house bill to delay the labor department rule? >> that is the proper approach. dodd frank made it clear that the sec should take responsibility in this area of establishing rule. we as an industry support the concept. it should be put forward by the sec. the dol role here should be secondary to the sec moving forward. the sec has primary responsibility.
>> what is the relationship of financial advisors to the consumer? >> fiduciary relationships have all sorts of legal implications which would limit in many ways the ability of people to give advice in a constructive way or maybe even not allow it at all. it depends on how the term is interpreted under the advice being given. for example, the dol fiduciary language would have barred people from giving effective advice to folks who wanted to use it who had smaller accounts. we have another situation like this in the area of municipal bonds where advisors are subjected to fiduciary role that bars them from giving the types of advice that the community might want or the bond issuer might want.
they will find themselves unable to give the advice which would allow that issuer the most opportunity to get the return they want and pursue the course they want because of the limitations that are arbitrarily in the fiduciary language. >> a prominent blogger opined that the derivatives business is dead due to increasing regulation. do you think that is an overstatement or are derivatives disproportionately overburdened by regulations now? >> i don't agree with that statement. there is still a very vibrant derivatives market. what you're seeing is the derivatives market moving to much more clarity, transparency. it is moving more into an open arena and that is the way it should evolve. there are some derivatives that don't lend themselves to that
type of approach but as a practical matter, i think the derivatives market is adjusting to the new regulations. we weren't all that comfortable with some of them but the adjustments occurred. >> you used the example of the twitter ipo as a way of illustrating the benefits of a free market. of course, most of us individuals couldn't buy the twitter stock at the ipo price. how do you reconcile that disparity? >> you will have to ask the folks at twitter. they were the ones who chose the amount of the stock they were going to put out. it was a very narrow amount of stock they decided to issue compared to the value of the company. that was a legitimate business decision. they did not want to put the entire company into the marketplace and we can understand why. however, if you want to buy twitter stock, you can go right now and buy some twitter stock. the price will be a lot higher than what the offering
originally was but that is called a market economy. >> you talked about capitalization of banks. alan greenspan was here last night and talked about this topic of banks needing more capitalization. do you think progress so far is enough? >> i think you need to turn to this question constantly. the regulators who were responsible on the issue of the proper capital is a very legitimate question. if you require too much capital, you contract economic activity because money that is being used for capital can't be put out to investment or lending. there is no question, the issue of capital is at the core of a sound banking system. it should be constantly looked at. there has been huge progress on the issue of capital. the american banking system
especially is very well capitalized relative to the rest of the world. >> you talked about the importance of confidence in our public markets. this questioner says, the growing threat of cyber attacks could undermine the confidence. is there a role for the financial industry to address cyber security and information privacy? >> that is a great question. we consider this one of the truly big issues that we confront as an industry. chet's firm spends a tremendous amount of time on this. cyber attacks can be for the purposes of gaining proprietary information which can be used in criminal activity or it can be for the purpose of shutting down the industry. disrupting the commerce of the country. the industry fully recognizes the seriousness of this and is moving in all sorts of fronts to try to address it. let me tell you about one.
basically, we set up what amounted to -- we have done it twice now, a test case of a variety of attacks on the investment community and on the exchanges. it was called quantum dawn 1. it was a very intensive exercise. it involved a tremendous number of business entities and banks and investment houses. it involved the entire relevant part of the federal government including the treasury and homeland security, the fed and other agencies. the attacks were structured by independent groups which we hired to figure out what would be the most vulnerable places and where the attacks would come from without us knowing about them. there was a basically, a process of replicating what might happen
in an attack. we learned a great deal from this. the quantum dawn exercise occurred last july. we expect to do it again. the systems held up fairly well. we were reasonably accountable with the fact that the industry is doing a good job at trying to get ready for this type of a threat which we consider to be extraordinary. >> is there anything you think regulators should do on the cybersecurity front? >> i think congress should do something. congress has a responsibility to come up with decent cyber language which creates a proper sharing of information across agencies. this was a problem when i was there. we spent a fair amount of time on this. those were the good old days. that is the way it should be today. just kidding.
[laughter] it is hard. we all know it needs to occur and we need proper sharing and congress has had a couple of good bills that made it all the way through. we need to get something done. >> that is a good segue into the political questions. you have called senator ted cruz incredibly self-destructive. what can and should the gop leadership due to limit his influence given that he has a powerful base of supporters outside the senate? >> i am not speaking here as a ceo but as a republican. a former republican office holder from new hampshire. you can't do anything about a member of the senate's right to say things and you shouldn't be able to.
someone used to describe the senate as a task force moving around the halls of congress. everybody is their own power center. senator cruz has decided to pursue these issues but unfortunately, the manner in which he pursues them, especially the attempt to shut down -- make the condition of opening the government and passing the debt ceiling conditional on full repeal of obamacare and the affordable care act, it had no chance. it had no chance from the beginning. there was never an opportunity that was going to lead to governance. what the american people want and what the republican party has to do is govern. it has to participate in the governance of this country. it has to work across the aisles to solve our deficit problem and move forward as a nation that is actually addressing the issues that are critical to the
everyday lives of americans. you can't stand in the corner and shout out phrases. you have to be willing to come up with ideas that can go across the aisle and work. it doesn't mean you have to give up your philosophy in any way or your commitment to your basic goals. there are a lot of places where you can cross the aisle and still maintain your basic philosophies. there are a lot of good folks on the other side of the aisle. they are willing to try to govern. that is where i think the republican party needs to do something that reestablishes its credibility with the american people. as should the president. >> will you support moderate republican candidates in 2014 primaries if they find themselves running against tea party backed candidates? >> i don't think we are going to get involved in that issue. >> why not? [laughter] >> i just don't think that is a
role for us. we are going to support people who support the free market, who understand the importance of the financial markets to improving the lifestyle of americans in their everyday life. we will be there to help americans have a more prosperous lifestyle. >> does the u.s. deserve to have a lower debt rating now that many members of congress have shown themselves willing to default? >> of course not. we are not a government that moves linearly. we move all over the place. we are not a parliamentary system. the government can't do whatever it wants. we are a madisonian government built off of checks and balances.
both parties have to be consulted to move forward and there has to be some consensus in almost all major issues addressed in a bipartisan way. it takes a much longer time to accomplish that than if you're running a parliamentary system. what i think the more sophisticated rating agencies see is that we are making progress on this road. there has been progress made on the issue of getting the deficit and debt under control. the 2011 budget agreement was a $900 billion down payment on the discretionary side. the fiscal cliff was a $600 billion down payment on the tax side. now we have the sequester in place which is technically a $1.2 trillion payment on the discretionary side. not the right way to approach it but that is a mechanism to cause congress to return to the table and reach an agreement on
the entitlement accounts is where the real problems are. the process is going on now with the budget committee negotiations chaired by senator murray and congressman ryan. it is an opportunity to move the ball further down the field. i think most rating agencies are sophisticated enough to understand that this isn't going to happen overnight but that there is progress and we are hopefully moving in the right direction. >> you talk about the importance of both sides of the aisle working together. you are here speaking to us today as a ceo and not as a commerce secretary. why did you turn down that invitation from president obama? >> i have explained this before. kathy and i thought about it a lot. i like president obama. he was a friend in the senate, not a close friend that somebody i dealt with. when he was elected president,
like all americans, i thought it was a great statement. i wanted to try to be helpful. when he asked me if i would be willing to serve in his cabinet, i was caught up in the moment and was very appreciative. kathy and i talked about it and i should have realized this immediately but i didn't. my philosophy on fiscal policy was a long way from the president's philosophy. the number one job of a member of the cabinet is to be 100% with the president. it would have been very difficult for me to do that and maintain my values on fiscal policy. i should have recognized it earlier and i didn't. i have always regretted that. i will say this, he was extraordinarily gracious in the way he handled it. i have always appreciated that fact. rahm emanuel was also gracious.
he was the chief of staff at the time. i was very appreciative of that. >> how do you see the differences in the republican party playing out? will things get worse before they get better? >> i am not speaking here as ceo, ok? the way i see it playing out is this, i think that this country is built on the two-party system. the two-party system is critical to our success as a nation. we are 330 million people. you can't govern a nation of this size and complexity unless you have a process -- what we in new hampshire call sugaring off. the first step in that exercise in politics is gathering people under the big tents of the parties. a multiparty system would be destructive to our nation because everybody would go to
their own corner. the two-party system forces people of very large philosophical beliefs under one tent. we have different philosophies but the folks under those tents also have lots of similarities. it is a process of building into an agreement. i think the republican party is the right force for good governance in this country on the issue of fiscal responsibility and i think we have to get back to those themes that have always been at the center of our policies which is that we believe this country must live within its means and that we have to have a nation which cares for those who are less fortunate, but in the process we also have to recognize that we can't have a nation that lives beyond its means for an extended period of time. i do think our party will be a
very strong voice as we go forward. >> treasury secretary lew previously said we would solve too big to fail by this year. is it solved? if not, how can it be solved? >> great progress has been made on that. capital which is the core of safety and soundness is up by almost 100%. we have the living wills. we have the restitution authority. we have the stress test. all of this works together in tandem to basically lead towards making sure that we never have a situation like 2008. there are other things that may still be thought of that can be done. tweaks possibly to the capital structure. as a practical matter, i think we are well on the road to
putting an end to, as i think we should, the concept of too big to fail. >> we are almost out of time. before the last question, a couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. i would like to remind you about our upcoming speakers. on monday, we have the president and ceo of the charles schwab corporation. he will discuss 401(k) plans. on november 18, we have gloria a feminist activist and founder of ms. magazine. next, i would like to present our guest with the traditional national press club coffee mug. >> thank you. [applause] >> one last question. here at the national press club we have the tradition of the last question being lighthearted. we don't usually have the speaker asked it of themselves. senator gregg has asked himself a question. he wants to know who won the world series?
>> nobody knows? [laughter] the red sox won the world series. go sox. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you for coming today. i would also like to thank the national press club staff including our journalism institute and broadcast center for helping organized today's event. you can find more information about the national press club on our website and if you would like a copy of today's program, you can find it there at well at www.press.org. thank you. we are adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] wax james amos said thursday that cuts could lead to more american casualties. he testified at a senate armed services committee. here is part of his testimony.
>> our exhaustive research backed by independent analysis determined that a force of 174,000 marines is the largest force that we can afford. assuming that the requirements for marines remain the same over the foreseeable future, a force of 174,000 will drive the marine corps to i wanted to dwell. it will be that way for virtually all of my operational units. six months to ploy, 12 months home recuperating, resetting and training and six-months deployed once again. this is dangerously close to the same tempo we had any rack, afghanistan while fighting in multiple theaters and maintaining amphibious operations around the world. the 174,000 force except a great risk when our nation commits itself to the next major theater war. there are significant reductions in my service, graham, and aviation units.
under sequestration, we will effectively lose marine divisions worth of combat power. this is a marine corps that would deploy to a major contingency, fight and not return until the war was over. we will empty the entire bench. there would be no vocational relief that we had any rack and afghanistan. marines who joined the coprrps at war would go straight to the battlefield without the benefit of pre-combat training. we will have fewer forces arriving less trained, later to the fight. this would delay the buildup of combat power, allow them enemy more time to build offenses and prolonged combat operations altogether. this is a formula for more american casualties. >> you can watch all of the hearings we cover at c-span.org. this entire armed services committee hearing will air at 4:30 a.m. eastern here on c- span.
>> president obama will be at the port of new orleans on friday to talk about the economy. the president will focus on exports. that is live at 1:10 eastern here on c-span. later, state department officials will discuss a u.n. resolution on keeping weapons of mass destruction from terrorist and other criminals. watch live coverage from the stimson center at 3:00 eastern on c-span. >> greg fugate updated congress this week on hurricane sandy recovery efforts. this homeland security subcommittee hearing is two hours.
>> welcome to the subcommittee of emergency management in the district of columbia. we thank you all for being here. we are here today to examine the recovery in the north east one year after hurricane sandy came to shore on october 29, 2012. as we mark this solemn anniversary we owe it to ourselves and to those who were lost a year ago to continue to learn from sandy, to improve disastrous response and recovery across the country. as we all know, the next big disaster can happen at anytime anywhere. my home state of alaska, we have our fair share of disasters from the gulf, from the alaska earthquake to the oil spill. we saw a along the yukon river.
the ongoing recovery is a testament in the same type of federal, state, and local coronation that was so crucial to the months following hurricane sandy. as cochair of the national preparedness month, which wrapped up at the end of september, i believe it is also important to remember that individuals play a large role in preparing their communities for disasters. following sandy we saw citizens from around the country donating their time, money, resources, and expertise to help the affected area. nonprofit organizations like the red cross mobilized volunteers and leverage nongovernmental resources. it is in this whole community response that proves to be the best practice in large disasters. alaskan state care -- alaskans take care of our neighbors. we understand that the interconnected infrastructure is both this countries to get asset
and our biggest vulnerability. all disasters begin locally and their effects can reach beyond established geographic boundaries. one of the most critical aspects of the recovery process following a disaster is learning from mistakes and integrating those lessons learned. since hurricane katrina, fema has worked with other members of the federal family to institutionalize recovery reforms. the agency has released the national disaster recovery framework just last year and it is already in used in states across the country, including my home state of alaska. all agencies were presented here today have illustrated a fierce commitment to response and recovery. i applaud their efforts but we can do better. our responsibility of an oversight committee is to make sure we do better. one area i leave we require oversight is the financial management of the sandy supplemental funding. congress approved $50 billion to
aid with response to recovery efforts, being performed by 19 federal agencies. assuring this money is spent in a timely fashion is critical. as we know there are many communities and individuals still in need over a year from the storm. we also must assure that at -- that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. federal agencies must be accountable for their expenditures and must be prepared to communicate exactly how these funds are being used. i don't advocate for burdensome reporting requirements the slowdown recovery. controls exist to protect our national investment. must assure that laws and regulation, mitigation, and response -- this must be the top priority. i look forward to hearing the testimony from today. we are doing something a little different. we will have senator paul interrupt the flow, allowing him
his opening statement. we have invited members who are not members of the committee to also artistic pay. having senator landry here, who was affected by katrina in her community -- i have asked members to make sure that -- we will have your full statements in the record and then a reminder that we want to hear from any of our folks here to testify. i will do an order of appearance. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am going to leave my comment weekly, submit my full statement to the record, and honor the delegation from the northeast that is here. the work of senator menendez angela brand was essential to this recovery effort. of course, welcome senator brooker to the committee. the former mayoral write-in the middle of the storm as it occurs -- i'm sure you can bring expertise to the senate and this committee as we struggle to
build a better response to disasters of all sorts, man-made or natural. small, medium, and catastrophic, which was clearly the case of katrina and came very close in sandy. we have a long way to go. but i appreciate the work of this special subcommittee. it is what mayors and county commissioners and chambers of commerce and individual families and consumers and residents -- the citizens count on us to do our best work. in times of disaster they know their government will be there for them and helping them to recover. i will submit my full statement to the record but really think the northeast delegation for their extraordinary work in recovery. we managed to get a little bit of money out of the bill in louisiana to keep going with our ongoing permanent recovery of the many storms that hit our state. >> thank you very much.
senator paul does not have an opening statement but i thank him for attending and being part of this. he is the ranking member and it is important we continue to analyze all of these issues related to the emergency response of our country. senator brooker is next great he is so new that you can tell by his sign plate. or he just brought his own as a former mayor. senator menendez, you were not supposed to say that. we wanted him to learn that process. i will start with you and go to senator menendez. >> first of all -- [indiscernible] not only to i appreciate the opportunity to participate but this is clearly my first hearing as a senator. it could not be more according to the people of my state.
that's more important to the people of my state. i want to thank those testifying, including secretary donovan, who has been a partner with me on many issues. i look for to working with him even closer now. i look forward to hearing what he has to say as well as those others who are testifying today especially mr. few gate -- mr. fugate. in the aftermath of hurricane sandy, many people in this room played such critical roles holding all table hearings and advocating for robust federal response, to ensure that new jersey, new york, and although states affected had the resources and support they needed. on behalf of the people of new jersey i think everyone for their leadership and for your recognition that much urgent work had to be done. i want to especially acknowledge my senior senator, senator menendez. he is a true champion of our state.
as a mayor who had significant impact and loss of life, he was a champion of the whole state and every community that was suffering. from day one you are crisscrossing the state ship shepherding -- shepherding desperate resources to new jersey. there's no denying the process we have made -- the progress we have made. low-interest loans, national flood insurance program payments and public assistance grants. in new jersey we are resilient we are determined, and we are incredibly resourceful. our famous boardwalks have welcomed families and tourists to the jersey shore. cities like hoboken atlanta city, and newark are bustling with activity. emily's and business people continue to pick up the pieces and move forward. still, far too many are
recovering and it is challenging. it is a daily struggle. from a little fairy in north jersey were we were -- where we were, thousands remain out of their homes. countless businesses have been washed away in the storm and have not been reopened. in july i visited orderly beach. there were many signs of birth -- of rebirth. i saw houses that stood like skeletons on the roadside, the sots intact but insides gutted. many of the residence i spoke to felt left behind and forgotten by washington. they were still in pain. any of them had challenges not just with d.c. but with trent. i know no one in this room has forgotten those families. they remind us that we have so much more work to do. in new jersey we have an estimated gap of 28.3 billion dollars between what is needed for a full recovery and what we
are receiving in federal support. this number considers residential and commercial sector support reimbursement of municipalities and activities. though congress passed a release package in the aftermath of the storm, billions of dollars in federal assistance have yet to make their way to families in need. once they run federally run packages, the reason that the reconstruction mitigation grant program provides up to $150,000 to individual families, critical dollars to help them rebuild their homes. until last week, this 600 million dollar program had yet to make even a single payment. the logjam in federal funding's is devastating. indeed the delay has put lives on hold and entire families were uprooted from their homes. small businesses still shudder. retirements postponed, and i
have heard directed from any of those affected painful stories of strong people struggling against incredible odds that determined to make it one way or another. there is understandable concern as i go across my state. they speak of a bureaucratic maze that forces those impacted by the storm to complete reams of what seems to be unnecessary paperwork sometimes just to be considered for federal aid. they detail stringent regulations that lead to little to no flexibility. they worry about impending flags -- impending hikes in their rates as well. we must increase our sense of urgency to get funding out the door as quickly as possible while still remaining goods stores of taxpayer dollars and always protecting against fraud. it is critical that we provide accessible grant programs and to avoid something that has been championed but i -- by the
people to my right, were rooted bring -- where we would bring in economic concern. recovery from a national disaster of this magnitude is a very long process. it is not easy. as hard as it seems for those here who have been toiling for over a year to make this work. , we can make sure it is much much harder for the new jersey -- we can assure you it is much much harder for the thousands of new jersey business owners and families. my commitment to them is to join with all of you to ensure the folks from the -- to everywhere in between get the health they need, the health -- the help they need, the help they s respect, and the help they deserve.
thank you. >> thank you very much. i have senator menendez next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. since you are going to include our full statement for the record i am not going to go through it all. or are a couple of points i want to highlight particularly for the committee's consideration as it moves forward in thinking about future disasters. we just say i am thrilled to be here with my colleagues from new york, who were extraordinary in our joint effort to fight for the resources for recovery in our area. i remember my late colleague, a member of this committee that was passionate about this issue -- i appreciate then mayor ohchr doing an extraordinary -- then- mayor ohchr doing an extraordinary job. -- mayor booker doing an extraordinary job. that is where you really test
the mettle of leadership. we appreciate his leadership in this regard and look forward to having him work in with us and continue to recover. i want to commend the hud secretary -- the transportation department, fema, there were many successes. there are many people who are hurting and they continue to language -- to language. there are those who find themselves in new flood zones that mean the ability to keep their home and what they have built in their lifetime is known the crosshair because of new requirements to either raise their homes and or a variety of
other issues as well. there is a responsibility to ensure that when we give out the taxpayer cost money, even in a disaster, that we do it in a way that ultimately ensures the integrity of that money. that has to be balanced by the urgency of now. i appreciate that, hopefully part of what the task force is doing is how we do this prospectively. so we do not wait for disaster to figure out what the appropriate programs are needed to set up in response. trying to balance the integrity of the money with the need and urgency of now has been a challenge. there has still been too much money flowing to the state that does not quite flow to the people of new jersey. we need to do a better job of that. and the one thing i do want to
take the balance of my time to talk about, and i appreciate virtually all of my colleagues sitting here and the chair having joined us, is the question of, not the natural disaster we face, but the man- made disaster we have if we do not rectify it. that is the question of flood insurance. the reality is that for thousands of people in new jersey recovery is an around- the-clock effort. new jersey families and others in the nation, as he saw by the broad bipartisan support, have been hit with a triple whammy. they were first flooded by sandy and lost their homes, their lifetime of effort, many memories of a lifetime, and then the second was they had to face repair and mitigation costs and then now thirdly they are facing astronomical increases in flood insurance costs built into
the flood reform bill that was passed before sandy hit. the fact is that the combination of updated flood maps and the phaseout of premium subsidies for the national flood insurance program buttons to force victims out of their homes and destroy -- threatens to force victims out of their homes and destroy communities. homeowners would be forced to pay premiums several times higher than the current rate. and those that cannot afford the higher premiums will be forced to sell or be priced out of their home, which will drive down property values and local revenues at the worst possible time. so i want to take the opportunity to promote a partisan legislation -- a bipartisan legislation that seeks to take a timeout, that seeks to say, we asked fema to do and affordability study. we shouldn't have premium that -- premium increases until that
affordability is done and we find and affordability mechanism so we can keep the solvency of the program but also create affordability so people do not lose their homes and be the victims of a natural disaster. that, mr. chairman, i think is one of the most urgent things. i look forward to your help and the help of our colleagues. >> thank you very much. senator jill brandt. -- senator gillibrand. m a i want to get a special thanks to senator landrieu, who i have dubbed the third senator from new york. she was such a visit for us advocate for our families. she made sure we could fix as many things in a dance to make sure recovery flowed on the make sure all of the logjams she experienced with hurricane katrina did not happen in new york, new jersey, and other states. she is someone who understands what works and what doesn't work. i just want to thank her for her continued focus on recovery and
preventing and creating resiliency. her leadership has been extraordinary. i also want to thank senator menendez and senator schumer. you have never seen stronger champions than my colleagues to put themselves in the shoes of every family and advocates for what they need most. i want to thank them for their leadership in i know senator booker will not only state -- will stand in issues but he will be the same strong advocate. he has shown it as mayor and i know you will shun it as senator. obviously, the road to recovery is long and hard. new yorkers are strong. we rebuild, we rebuild that are -- rebuild better, we rebuild stronger. we lost 61 lives. we lost hundreds of thousands of small businesses. we lost 300,000 homes.
i remember senator landrieu, who suffered far more loss of life cannot quite conceive of the loss we separate at home because our population was so dense. our road to recovery was difficult and different. our solutions are difficult and different. i think what you're doing is essential to meeting our goals. congress is try to work hard on a couple of problems and did a few things that were necessary. we extended the critical deadline to give sandy survivor's the time they needed to document the losses, which is difficult for some families. we did ease regulations that would have invented substantially damaged homes from acquiring excess of funds. this is something that senator schumer was very aggressive on, very early on. there were a lot of projects that the army corps has designated as necessary. he made sure that it was not funded. we have to do so much more.
that is what the senators have already talked about, have touched upon. we have to continue to assure that the red tape does not get in the way of reimbursements. we need to make sure that these communities can get the financing and the money they need. we has to make sure that homeowners, individual homeowners receive the kind of resources that they need to build. the senate must pass legislation that we have cosponsored to delay flood insurance premium increases. these increases are set to take affect and no one can afford them. they are of -- they are on affordable for nearly every new yorker i have spoken to. you cannot have a flood insurance program that is too expensive for everyday americans. it just does not work. we must do that. when fema has completed the study we can look at it and congress can help make a plan on how to raise the affordable --
given as homeowners are rebuilding their seeing this increase. many new yorkers may not be able to rebuild. they are homeless. as we continue to recover from sandy we need to throw that we need to strengthen the resilience for our future storms. this is not the first nor the last superstorm. as we see storms come and more violently, more damaging, more lives lost, we know what is to come. when we rebuilt would have to rebuild for the future storm. -- when we rebuild we have to rebuild for the future storms. we introduced a bill called the strong act, we introduced it in the ep w committee. it is a bipartisan bill. it is the kind of bill that builds on the progress that mary landrieu and others have been making on these storm recovery efforts. it also do something that engages the local government by requiring the government to
develop strategies. we have come a long way in the last year. as i have said, we have so much more to be done. when i read reports of how few homeowners have been actually able to rebuild, it breaks your heart. new yorkers want to rebuild, they want to rebuild stronger but they need your help. >> thank you very much, senator schumer? >> thank you mr. chairman. -- thank you mr. chairman. senator landrieu has been invaluable. we have learned from the mistakes that were made in katrina and she was our guide as we went through this. i want to thank my colleagues here. we were a great team. they made the impossible getting $60 billion -- we were held up for a two. -- ray too long -- for a too
long. bang -- too long period of time. i want to welcome senator booker . he will fill large shoes as a member. i want to say to the five of you, i have worked closely in making sure getting things worked -- making things work. you have done a public service at the federal and city level. and i thank you for that and look forward to continuing to work. i can think of accomplishments on each of you that we have done together in terms of negotiating and getting things done. thank you to shaun donovan, jo ellen dorsey, cass holloway. keep an eye on us.
well, you know, there's so much to say here. first, there's a question everyone asks. how is it going? it's going overall, very well. the amount of money that has been spent and allocated is large. and at least up till now, and let's hope it continues, we haven't seen a major misspending of money. we wanted to avoid the scene of trailers being unused which happened despite mary landrieu's great efforts in louisiana. and then what she warned us of as well, lots of money sitting there that couldn't be used. so the way we structured these programs particularly cdbg but the army corps's programs, the transportation programs, the fema programs as well, was to make sure that the money would go where it had to go and go quickly but without wasting money. so i know there was a move -- all the money should be spent in
three months. if that were happening, there would be still millions of people, or thousands of people complaining that they didn't get what they needed because it wouldn't have been allocated carefully and properly and there would have been lots of our newspaper reporters writing about, oh, all the misspent money. we haven't seen that. so it's taken longer than we would like. and it is certainly true that homeowners have not gotten the money that we would like to see them have gotten more quickly. but i believe while the first year was one of laying the structure and recovery, making sure the roads were cleared making sure people had electricity, making sure rents were paid for the hundreds of thousands of people who were pushed out of their homes, the second year -- first year was recovery, but second is rebuilding. the money is flowing and flowing well, and flowing, i think, in a way that it will be better used than in any major public disaster in the history of this country. our homeowners will see
see $1.4 billion. we told many of them, we all did together, lay out the money to rebuild and you will be repaid. and the combination of the fema program, which is fairly rigid and the cdbg program which is more flexible, will lead to that happening. now, it couldn't happen immediately for a lot of reasons. first, people did have to rebuild. second we weren't going to pay when private insurance should step up to the plate. so we had to see how much private insurance people were getting. what we made sure of is if your damage was $100,000 and your fema money was $10,000 and your private insurance was $40,000 and you had a $50,000 gap that the cdbg money will be there. good thing. second, we worked really hard to make sure that there were mitigation processes put in housing and transportation and in everything else we did. so when we rebuild, we'll be much more resilient against a future storm, which has been
said will happen. and we've done that. and that makes a great deal of sense, too. so i predict that the second year of sandy recovery will be a year when people see lots of re rebuilding. and by the end of year two people will be a whole lot happier with the program than they are at the end of year one, but it's because of the good work that we all did together the five of us here. cory, of course, doing his work in newark. the five of us at the federal level and those of you back there. it's been a strong team effort that i believe will be regarded as one of the most successful efforts in terms of getting a large area to recover from a powerful horrible storm as well and as quickly as possible.
>> thank you senator. the first to speak secretary of hud, secretary donovan, and has served in the position since 2009. thank you for coming to alaska as you have done before. you i know you have a personal concern of what happens in new york. let me turn it over to secretary donovan. >> chairman, senators, it is a great pleasure to be joining you today. i want to begin by remembering that last week on the one-year anniversary of hurricane sandy our nation paused to remember all of those who lost their homes, their businesses, and most tragically lost their lives. i remember visiting the region soon after the storm struck and being stunned by the breadth of destruction. $65 billion in damage and economic losses 650,000 homes
damaged or destroyed, 9 million people lost power. it was clear that the road to recovery would be long and difficult. but if you know anything about the people from this region, and i'm proud to count myself as one of them, it's that they are resilient. they may get knocked down, but they always get back up. after sandy, they began the work of putting their lives and communities back together and president obama pledged his support of these legal efforts in order to ensure a full recovery. so he create -- we created the taskforce to maximize cabinet level coordination in support of the work to rebuild this region. i have been enormously proud to chair this effort as we worked to achieve two basic goals. one, to get the assistance that you all fought so hard to make a reality, to communities as quickly as possible. to meet the immediate needs. and, second, to ensure that the region rebuild stronger and smarter than before so that it's better equipped to deal with future storms. let me begin with the work of
getting assistance to communities quickly and effectively. as you know, in january president obama working with all of you in the congress, state and local leaders fought tirelessly to get $50 billion in sandry supplemental funding in order to aid victims of the storm. it's been a priority to get these dollars into communities as quickly and responsibly as possible. that's why we thought it was critical to include several measures in the supplemental that facilitated more efficient spending of these dollars. i want to particularly call out senator land landrieu for all of her help and assistance on this. a few examples. giving hud the authority to reduce duplicative environmental reviews. as a result of these and other measures, we made great progress on a number of fronts. more than 230,000 people in small businesses have received direct assistance from fema, the small business administration, the department of labor. more than 99% of sandy-related national flood insurance policy claims totaling more than
than $8 million have been paid out to policyholders who filed claims. 97% of public beaches in the affected region were opened by memorial day 2013, sending a strong message that the shore was ready for business. and when you include the national flood insurance program, the administration has allocated nearly $40 billion in funding for recipients with roughly $13.5 billion of this already paid out. hud in particular, has allocated allocated $10 billion in community development block grants including an allocation that took place within eight days of the signing of the sandy supplemental into law. this it represented the fastest ever allocation following the signing of an appropriations bill. so relief is getting to communities. but as you have all said, we know it can never be fast enough. that's why we've been creative in finding ways to work with local partners to expedite the rebuilding process. this includes the small business administration's work to accelerate application processing times which has fallen from 61 ok's during --
days to 42 days, a drop of about 1/3. the use of a streamlined permit and review process for complex large infrastructure projects that's based on a model which is which has reduced implementation times by 51%. one example, cutting three to five years off the projects like the tappan zee bridge. the alignment of foreclosure prevention policies in disaster-effected areas making it easier to stay in homes at such a critical time in their lives. and the establishment of a uniformed minimum flood risk reduction standard across the federal government for major sandy rebuilding projects representing the first time a federal government-wide standard has been set that accounts for the effects of rising sea levels of and moving forward, we'll continue to look for new ways to remove unnecessary barriers and headaches, ensuring that the billions that flow into the region are put into use as quickly and efficiently as possible. this complements our other goal,
rebuilding stronger and smarter so that the region is better prepared to withstand future storms. on august 19, the taskforce released our rebuilding strategy for the region which included 69 recommendingions to do just that. it included steps to harden our producer grid and our fuel supply chain to address the outage and gas lines we saw during sandy and steps to help families and small businesses rebuild in these new times. the strategy also identifies ways to leverage additional private funds to support infrastructure projects. investing in projects that will make our communities more resilient is vital to their safety. it's also good for our economy. as senator guillen brand point the out, we know for every dollar we spend, we save $4 in avoided costs in future storms. every recommendation in this strategy has a detailed implementation plan, and i and my department will be accountable to the region to you, to see them through. and we will stay at it for as long as it takes knowing that eventually we'll emerge stronger and more vibrant than ever. as i mentioned earlier
following sandy, it was clear that the road to recovery would be long and difficult. we made significant progress. families have gotten back on their feet, businesses reped o communities turning the page and looking to the future. we all know that much more work needs to be done. all of us in the obama administration are committed to working with local partners and with all of you to continue to get assistance to those in the process of rebuilding, ensure the region is better prepared to withstand future extreme weather events, and work to improve our recovery efforts across the nation. these are goals i look forward to working with this committee on and i look forward to answering your questions today. thank you. >> thank you very much. the next person i have on the list is has served as a deputy secretary of dot since 2009 before becoming the deputy secretary he served twice as a secretary of the maryland department of transportation. thank you very much for being here. >> thank you, chairman. and members of the subcommittee. it's a pleasure to be here today to highlight the department of transportation's role in
assisting the communities that were devastated by hurricane sandy a year ago. when the hurricane hit, the damage it caused didn't just take a tragic human toll it also dealt a devastating blow to the regional transportation system which is the life blood of the region's economy. the aviation side, three of the busiest airports in the country and 19,000 flights were effected. the highway system, as well suffered significant damage. but what stands apart is this historic storm triggered the worst public transit natural disaster in the history of the united states. in response to this disaster, congress passed the disaster radio he leaf appropriations act which included $12.4 billion in aassistance for transportation programs. it's worth noting that assistance was reduced by by $6,750,000,000 due to requestions taking -- taking -- $650 million, due to sequestration. the emergency relief program pro
prosed by president obama in 2011 later authorized by our transportation bill map 21. this emergency relief program for transit was in place for about 30 days before the disaster hit. in addition to helping transit agencies make immediate repairs the program also supports mitigation activities that will improve resiliency and help transit infrastructure resist similar storms in the future. disaster relief appropriations funding also went to fix the rest of the transportation network as well, roads and bridges, restore amtrak service, and as i mentioned repair airport facilities at newark, lag lag, and -- la guardia and j.f.k. to date, the department of transportation allocated nearly $7 billion for repairs and resiliency efforts in response to sandy. we've learned a lot from the hurricane experience that will help us respond to future events events. first, a coordinated and efficient federal response is essential. president obama's hurricane sandy rebuilding taskforce has
helped all the federal agencies involved work together to deliver the best possible outcomes for the communities effected by the storm. secretary donovan's leadership has been important in moving forward. second hurricane sandy and other recent disasters underscore the nation's vulnerability to extreme weather events under current climate conditions. that's why one of our top priorities moving forward is to better protect existing transportation infrastructure and equipment from the impact of future natural disasters it just makes sense if we're going to spend money rebuilding transportation, let's build it to last. we'll soon be issuing a notice of funding availability for capital projects that will reduce the risk of damage from future disasters in the region impacted by hurricane sandy. we're going to do that on a competitive basis. we believe these investments in resiliency will help reduce the need for any future recovery efforts. and has been previously pointed out, research has shown every dollar spent by fema on actions
to reduce disaster loss now saves the nation almost $4 in avoided impacts. we're hoping to realize similar cost savings for the american taxpayer by ensuring that our transportation infrastructure is build to withstand future storms. however, i must caution the need for resilience investment far exceeds the available funding. the f.t.a. has only emergency relief funds available for hurricane sandy recovery efforts and nothing nationwide beyond that. that leaves us without any ability at the department to address our next crisis, including future emergencies occurring outside this region. much of my own career has been at the state and local level. i know firsthand how important it is to respond quickly and effectively. i strongly encourage congress to appropriate funds so that when the next disaster strikes and takes public transportation systems offline, we'll be in a position to respond immediately. i thank the subcommittee for invite meg to -- inviting me to
testify. thank you. >> thank you very much. the next speaker is mr. craig fugate who was confirmed for the fema administration -- administrator in 2009 after serving as the director of the florida division of emergency management. in 2004 he managed the largest federal disaster response in florida history as four major hurricanes impacted the state. thank you very much. good to sigh again. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senators. secretary donovan laid out a lot of the numbers. i want to come back to what you have done to set the stage for what we were able to do as a federal government and then our next steps. i'm going to start with something that you're not hearing a lot about, but i think it's important we talk about. and that's been the continuous support and fulling for -- funding for state and local governments and grants and emergency management grants building the capability at the state and local level to manage the impacts of these types of disasters. without that the federal
government could not have done its job if our state and local partners weren't able to do theirs. so this is one thanks for the investment over time specifically since 9/11, those investments are paying off in increased capability and resiliency our communities have against all hairs yards. the -- hazards. we would not have been prepared to respond without the formation and i doubt very much i would be here testifying. that law substantially changed what fema mission was requirements of the person that has chosen to lead the organization, as well as the tools required to not wait until states are overwhelmed before the federal government can mobilize. this put us in the position under the president's leadership to move resources and plays before any state was hit by the storm, before we knew how devastating this was going to be. again, those tools set the stage for the response and support of state and local government.
but the other part of that which we oftentimes talk about the money and the supplemental, overshadows something i think is very fundamental, a change to the stafford act. and that was the sandy recovery improvement act. many of the issues that we still had, that became impediments to recovery. probably one of my best examples was in in debris. we were actually increasing the cost of removing debris because we had rules and policy that said if you use your folks and your public works department to pick up debris we're not going to reimburse you for those costs. only their overtime. if you hire a contractor to do that we'll pay you the full cost share on that. it was these tools that we began to implement. we have used them in disasters post. these were not sandy specific, but sandy became the catalyst of how we would be better stewards of getting money out effectively to empower local and state
governments to rebuild faster without losing the ability to maintain the fiduciary responsibility of ensuring that the dollars go towards the things they were intended to go. we have used these not only in now sandy but in some of these that we were allowed to go to previous disasters, where we've been able to use estimating tools in vermont to did a big challenging project there. we have been able to do some things that quite honestly they always made sense, but you gave us the tools. and although it was only a few tribes impacted, this came after sandy, i think for our sovereign federally recognized tribes also something that was very unheralded. you finally gave federally recognized tribal governments the recognition of their sovereignty that no longer requires them to go through a state to request declarations. and we implemented that program after the law was signed. the first tribal government that came ins with the eastern band
cherokee. we did not wait for the rules to catch up. we did not wait for our procedures to catch up. we implemented the law as intended and have successfully executed disaster declarations at the request of tribal governments. we have a lot of work to do. not only -- we tend to look at one-year marks. but i knew going in this was going to be a multi-year recover rix think senator schumer said it right, that the first year is oftentimes those initial steps where you see a lot of progress in the beginning and then it starts to slow down. because now we're starting to move in the rebuilding. and from the president's direction on down, what we want to make sure is we rebuild for the future and not the past. we know that we can make these improvements and make investments that we may spend a little bit more in the front end, but we assure the delivery of critical services and infrastructure in the future. and then lastly, senator martinez, again, we agree the administration's position on the reauthorization of flood insurance programs, we needed to have affordability, but we found
that in the legislation past, we did not have the tools to allow us to use that to build affordability o before the increases took place. so, again, we look forward to working with congress to get a tool that allows us not to keep kicking the can down the road but address affordability for people that live in their homes but also ensure we're not building back the same way, putting people and future generations at risk. thank you. >> mr. chairman, martinez was my former colleague from florida. >> sorry, senator mendez. >> we're both cuban but we don't all look the same. >> yes. sorry. >> great. thank you very much. >> let me also say i really appreciate the work you did with the tribes. that's a huge opportunity. thank you for that. next person i have is ms. jo-ellen darcy, assistant secretary of the army civil works which is primary supervision over the u.s. army corps of engineers. prior to her appointment
ms. darcy served as the advisor to the senate finance committee responsible forest conservation, energy issues. good to sigh again. thank you. >> thank you, senator. thank you for the opportunity today to testify on the corps's continued working on the recovery from hurricane sandy. the federal support during the response to sandy was unprecedent. the corps was part of an interagency team to include state and local governments which provided technical assistance and rapid response activities across the impacted areas. the disaster relief appropriations act of 2013 provided the corps with $5.35 billion to address damages caused by hurricane sandy. this money's being used to reduce future flood risk and increase the long-term sustainability of the coastal ecosystem and communities while reducing the economic costs and risks associated with large floods and storms. the corps has made significant progress in the year since hurricane sandy. and in the time since the passage of the appropriations
bill. the corps's hurricane sandy recovery program has three major components. first, it's our near-term component that supports emergency operations and repair and restoration of previously constructed corps projects along the coastline, dredging federal navigation channel and repair of corps-operated structures. secondly, investigations component that expedites the completion of ongoing studies at full federal expense and funds the north atlantic coast comprehensive study. thirdly, our construction component rehabilitates repairs, and constructs projects to reduce future flood and storm damage risk in smarter and more sustainable ways. as part of the near-term component, the corps started beach repair and restoration of existing projects along the atlantic coast in february of 2013 and is scheduled to conclude these actions by the fall of 2014. to date, the corps has placed approximately 12 million cubic yards of sand to repair dunes and berms and will continue work
to restore them to their original designed conditions. also, the corps has obligated almost $390 million to restore damage projects. of the total 33 projects in this phase, seven are completely restored, 22 have been -- have awarded contracts, construction contracts, and four are in the design or pre-award stage. near-term efforts also include addressing the storm's impacts to our navigation infrastructure. the corps's operations and maintenance work began in february of 2013, and most projects are scheduled for completion by the spring of 2015. by the end of fiscal year 2013 the corps had obligated over $160 million for this work with 35 projects completed and 28 in construction. for the investigations component, the corps is using funding to expedite completion of 18 flood and storm damage reduction studies in the northeast that were underway when sandy occurred. $20 million of the investigation funding is for the comprehensive study which will assess
31,000 miles of the north atlantic coastline bringing together experts and coastal planning, engineering and science from more than 90 governmental academic, and non-governmental entities. the comprehensive study team has developed a draft framework that's currently under review. and the results of the study, we think, will inform our future planning erst. -- efforts. the corps was also directed to conduct a performance evaluation study to evaluate the effectiveness of completed corps projects during hurricane sandy and to include summary recommendations for future improvements. i signed the transmittal of this report this morning. so it should be here on the hill by now. [laughter] the third component of the program will construct projects that were previously authorized but not constructed at the time of hurricane sandy's land fall. potential projects identified for implementation following the investigation process and projects that will fall within our continuing authorities program. planning, design and expedited
reevaluations are underway for the 18 previously authorized but not yet constructed projects and the corps anticipates construction will begin in early 2014. the corps expects to complete construction working on roughly half of these flood-risk reduction projects by mid 2015. of the identified continuing authority projects, massachusetts, connecticut, new york, new jersey delaware, maryland and virginia are currently scheduled to receive beach erosion and coastal storm damage risk reduction projects. and we expect 70% of this work to be completed by 2016. there will always be residual risk for americans who live in coastal regions. expected changes in sea level rise extreme weather, and other impacts are likely to increase the risks fating these areas. -- facing these areas. together with noah and fema, the corps of engineers developed a sea level rise tool to help communities anticipate the influence of sea level rise. we will use base flood elevation
maps from fema, the coastal mapping capabilities of noaah. and a sea level rise calculator from the corps of engineers. this tool yesterday was recognized by the president and was awarded the green government climate change champion award. so the collaboration between our agencies as a result of sandy has already produced a future-looking sustainability and tool that we can all use throughout the federal government. in addition, noaah and the corps of engineers are working together to help rebuild more resilient and sustainable coastal communities. while working on post sandy recovery efforts in new york and new jersey know ya and the corps set systems, rebuilding principles in order to promote a unified strategy for activities in restoring the coast. collaborative efforts on all levels continue to explore and implement solution that reduce risk from coastal storms such as appropriate land use planning
non-structural solutions and well communicated evacuation planning. mr. chairman, and members of the committee, i thank you for the opportunity and look forward to any questions. >> thank you very much. our next speaker is ms. kathleen thai, chair of the recovery, accountability, and transparency board while continuing herr position as inspector general for the department of education. the board has been charged with tracking federal dollars being spent on the sandy recovery. thank you for being here. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, senators, i want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. as chair of the recovery board, i will be speaking to you about the board's roll and the oversight of funds expended in support of hurricane sandry recovery efforts. the boards with a created in february 2009 ooze part of the recovery act. it consists of 12 inspectors general and its mission to s to provide transparency of the use of recovery funds and to prevent
and detect fraud, waste and abuse. we meet this mission by managing the federal reporting.gov website through which recipients of recovery funds report and by displaying that spending information in unique ways on our public website recovery.gov. we also develop the recovery operations center or what we call the roc as a central data analytics service to support fraud detection and prevention. the roc has the ability to rapidly aggregate and analyze large, complex volumes of data to screen for potential risks or identify targets and provide deeper investigative information in the support of audits, investigations and prosecution ises. while the board was originally due to sunset on september 30 of this year, the sandy legislation extended the board through september 2015 with additional duties for the board to develop and use our resources and oversight mechanisms to detect and remediate fraud, waste and abuse in funds related to
hurricane sandy. our oversight efforts related to hurricane sandy have focused on applying the techniques and processes developed by the roc to examine the spending, primarily working with our ig partners. in coordination with the department of homeland security office of inspector general we conducted a review of 104 entity that received hurricane sandy debris removal contracts from 32 cities in new york and new jersey totally over $329 million. among the particular risk indicators we reported to dhsoig were firms whose owners had federal and state tax liens ones that had been listed on the federal list of suspended or debarred bidders, and companies that had filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy and had federal tax liens. in addition to this work, we have provided assistance to dhsoig on its investigations of other fema, hurricane sandy public assistance grants, and to
other ig's and their sandy work. for the state of rhode island, we undertook a proactive analysis of 10,000 potential hurricane sandy contractors against our data bases that would show potential risks and reported information back to that state. in addition to our work in the roc, we are using our website federaltransparency.gov to display what information is available on hurricane sandy spending. we visually display hurricane sandy-awarded contracts from the federal procurement data system and agency award information as well as links to fema spending by state and state hurricane sandy websites. we also display the department of justice's disaster fraud reporting hotline. we are currently in the final stages of moving the hurricane sandy information to our recovery.gov website to be able to better use the functionalities of that website. since commencing our working on hurricane sandy mission, we've identified a series of challenges that we continue to
face. the first is a painting accurate and complete hurricane sandy spending data. with no mandated centralized reporting such as in recovery, access to standardized data is limited. while the federal procurement data system and usa spending have information related to hurricane sandy, each has its limitations. for example, on usa spending, hurricane sandy grants and loans lack a unique identifier, making it problematic to accurately extract and analyze hurricane sandy awards. in addition, the lack of sub recipient data will further complicate our work. given the types of hurricane sandy grants expected to be awarded, prime recipients of these awards oftentimes will be a state or a municipality but historically the majority of fraud occurs below this level by entities performing the actual work. that concludes my testimony. thank you for the opportunity to discuss the activities of the board. i look forward to answering any
questions. >> thank you very much. for our last speaker, again, i want to thank you for being here. i just want -- before i mention you and your title, i want to make sure the folks know for the record we did invite representatives of both the new york state and new york -- or new jersey state government. they declined the invitation. so we're happy a local government person is here. i appreciate that as a deputy mayor for operations on august 4 2011, as deputy mayor mr. holloway oversees offices including the police department, fire department, office of emergency management. mayor michael bloomberg, but you had an legislation last night. i'm not sure what it is today. we're glad you're here. we appreciat it, especially from a local perspective. so, please. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. just for clarification the inauguration is january 1. so i still have my job for the next 55 days. [laughter] >> and so does the mayor. >> very good. good afternoon march and senators. -- mr. chairman and senators.
thanks for the opportunity to testify about the role and effectiveness of federal aid to new york city's recovery from hurricane sandy. i want to begin by thanking you oen behalf of mayor bloomberg and all new yorkers for answering new york city's call after the unprecedented devastation caused by hurricane sant sandy. from president obama and members of his cabinet including secretary donovan who's here today to entire agencies of the federal government particularly fema hud, and the army corps of engineers, to assets including generators, fuel, food and many others to the billions of dollars in recovery aid that congress made available through the disaster relief appropriations act of 2013, what i'll refer to as the sandry recovery bill. the federal government has been there for new york city since well before sandy made landfall on the new jersey coast last october 29. sandy was the worst natural disaster to ever strike new york city. it took the lives of 44 new yorkers, caused unprecedented damage to public infrastructure and private property and triggered an enormous and on
doss going response. i will touch on the role of federal aid in three components of the recovery. before and up to five months after the storm the second stage housing recovery efforts that are underway now and will continue for the next 12 to 18 months and the city's plan to protect and mitigate against the climate-related impacts that have become an increasingly frequent part of everyday life. i'll start with the pre and immediate after sandy aid. our partnership with federal agencies began well before sandy moved up the east coast to the united states and took that left ward hook that would subject new york city to the storm's most devastating impacts. as the city implemented its coastal storm plan, fema and the national weather service were embedded with us at the city's emergency operations center. and i was there for days. so i can attest we had much support. though the storm did tremendous damage, the prestorm evacuation operation was largely successful. and post storm surveys indicate that most new yorkers knew about the storm, knew if they lived in
a vulnerable area, and knew they should eyak kuwait -- evacuate. after storm together with fema enat new york national guard we removed an estimated 700,000 tons of storm debris through some of the contracts that mrs. tighe mentioned. fueled more than -- and the defense logistics agency. distributed more than 2.1 million meals ready to eat and canvassed more than 100,000 households in affected areas to distribute food and water sanitary items, and make referrals to healthcare case management services. as we reported to you when congress took up the act, the city suffered an estimated $19.5 billion of damages due to the storm including nearly $5 billion in direct recovery costs, hundreds of homes were totally destroyed, thousands of famesly, families displaced. given the density of new york city and the challenge of relocating, mayor mayor bloomberg made it a priority to get people back into their homes. thanks to the entire -- the
creativity of craig fugate and his team at fema we developed what fema called the shelter and temporary essential power program step. in store city we called it rapid repairs. rapid repairs was an innovative approach to shelter that is based on a simple premise, the best temporary shelter is permanent shelter. step enabled the city to hire contractors to make emergency heat hot water and power repairs to victims' own homes. and only 110 days since we went into the first home on november 21, the city was able to complete repairs on 11, 800 homes and multifamily buildings. that enabled roughly 54,000 new yorkers to return to their homes. and our survey data indicates that many -- most people, the vast majority, are back in their homes in new york city although many still need to recover. i have -- have additional recovery to do all federal dollars are accounted for properly -- and we want to make
sure they're properly spent. it's been a priority for new york city since the beginning. will we have established monitoring programs overseen by the department of investigation for each of the housing initiatives we have undertaken. we will continue this rigorous oversight. and we can provide reporting at any level that the committee would like. while rapid repairs helped thousands of new yorkers to move back into their homes, that was the beginning. thousands of families need much more work to be done to make a full recovery and make their homes able to better withstand severe storms and other climate impacts. thanks to 15.2, it was 16 unfortunately due to sequestration, of community developed block grant funding and the leadership of shaun donovan and the federal recovery taskforce, we launched build it back a $700 million program in june, with the city's first allocation of cdbg funding and the basic idea is to help homeowners continue that recovery. avs october 31, nearly 26,000 families have signed up for the program and approximately 500 of
those had homes that were destroyed. we have encouraged many new yorkers to seek this help and we're glad that they've done so. of course, the overall need and demand does exceed supplies. so we will need additional allocations and to make sure that the neediest get funding and support first. we've prioritized by income level and those who are the most damaged. we estimate that between 55% and 60% of all of these applicants are in our first priority group and we're focusing on them. right now we're actually working, and we have 8,000 people who are going through insurance verification processes, tier two environmental assessments, and secretary donovan's been very helpful in trying to streamline those processes to take advantage of the work the federal government has done. at the homeowner and building level, the greatest remaining challenge for new yorkers is the affordability of flood insurance. members of this committee is well aware of it. the city commissioned an independent study that shows
that only 35% of property owners in the floodplain who were required to have flood insurance actually had it. premiums could go up for the new fema maps that are going to be coming out from an average of of $430 a year to $5,000 to to $10,000 a year. so we are encouraged by the legislation working its way through to delay until affordability can be addressed in a real way. of course, the greatest long-term challenge we face is protecting new yorkers over the long term. at the same time that we are getting families back into their homes and repairing the city's principle structure, the mayor commissioned a study on the impacts that new york city will face between now and the 2050's. the result is this plan, stronger more resilient new york. i brought some extra copies for the committee. you can get it on our website ncc.gov. it has initiatives to protect new york city's 520 miles of coastline as well as critical infrastructure and service networks over the long term. sandy took out huge segments of
the power grid. 95% of the telecommunications network in this lower manhattan. it took out hospital row on 1st avenue closing down hospitals around the city. this plan is an achievable, affordable way to mitigate the most -- most of these impacts when the next big storm or other climate event, whether it's a flood, downpours or drought hits new york city. and we are on track to complete 43 critical milestones before the end of the year. the army corps of engineers is one of our most important partners in this effort. we estimate more than than $1.5 million of cubic yards of sand were lost. 3 million more cubic yards are on the way. i have to say having worked with the army corps for the last seven years, the work that they're doing on the beach right now is the fastest i've ever seen them operate without exception. >> can i have you summarize? you're a little over the limit. >> sorry about that. >> don't worry. your statement will be included in the record.
>> great. i just want to note, new york city can't do all of this recovery alone. there are many areas over which we have little or no control. the power grid, telecommunications, and other critical networks. and so we want to work with congress, with additional allocations that we'll get to make sure we can implement this plan. clearly we have a long way to go and we'll need additional allocations. but if the support we've received from congress and the federal government so far is any indication, i'm confident we'll be able to meet those needs and better prepare new york for whatever climate challenges come next. i'm happy to answer any questions. >> fantastic. thank you very much. i'd like to go to the ranking member and then i'll come back to me and then down to the other two members that are here. senator paul? >> thank you. thank you. i grew up on the gulf coast, so i know about hurricanes from personal experience. we appreciate all of you trying to help in the aftermath of a terrible hurricane. question for secretary donovan.
do you think that sandy relief funds ought to be spent on tv ads? >> i assume what you're referring to, senator is that there has been an effort in a number of states not just in sandy but historically as well in many, many prior storms to encourage economic development. we did see a small amount of cdbg money that was used for an economic development campaign to encourage people back to the beaches. >> do you think it's a good idea or bad idea? >> the evidence that we've -- >> spending funds on tv ads. >> the evidence that we have seen is that those campaigns are effective in growing economic development in those areas. and, therefore they actually reduce the cost of recovery to the federal government. >> i don't think we need to argue about whether ads work. ads work. but do you think ads for sandy
relief should be spent on tv ads? yes or no? a good idea, bad idea? >> as i said, we looked at the evidence and we have seen it encourages economic development. >> my understanding is you all gave -- you have to give a waive tore do this. >> senator, if i could -- the community development block grant is a very flexible program. this is clearly within the legal boundaries of what congress has determined the program can be used for. and we were -- it was demonstrated to us that this could be an effective tool. and actually lower the cost of the federal government. >> it gives a little bit of a black eye to something that maybe a lot of it is going to a good purpose. but i would say that if i were in your position i would have said no, we're not going to spend ads. here's another problem. some of these ads people running for office put their mug all over these ads while they're in the middle of a political campaign. in new jersey 25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office. you think there might be a conflict of interest there?
that's a real problem. that's why when people o who are trying to do good and trying to use taxpayers' money wisely, they're offended to see our money spent on political ads. that's just offensive. in new york, you actually have a rule. they're not allowed to do it. sox new york did the same thing -- so new york did the same thing, which i object, but at least they didn't put someone's fates face on the ad and their family. it looks like a bioad. i think, yeah, come to new jersey but it's like, i don't want to pay for ads for someone's advertising out of sandy relief fund it gives the whole thing a black eye. but it isn't just sandy relief funds. we spent $684 million advertising for obama care. well, it's a fairly contentious issue that was very partisan and passed by one party. should we then get to spend taxpayer money advertising for political purposes? i don't think a penny of taxpayer money should go to advertising. tv advertising. here's the other criticism. people appointed -- pointed out it's taken a while for money to
get to people. i think it was like one article said one house or one homeowner in one instance coming for an department yet the money tv advertisers got through quickly. when people want to advertise and promote themselves, all of a sudden, bowed 3w5078, money -- boom, money is on tv it and so is their ad. i would just ask -- i know you want to do the right thing. reconsider whether or not it's a good idea. my understanding is it took a waiver from your office to use these grants for this and that the tv ads had to be approved in that sense by your office. the other thing is, there have been community development grants given to something called a river festival in manhattan. i sure hope none of this money is going to it and that i don't find in and out a year the river festival got money for this. because the river festival is full of all kinds of great and groovy things like performance art, bunch of people showing up and holding their cell phone up playing the same songs. that would be a lot of fun. i would thereof attend. but i hope we're not going to find sandy relief money went to
stuff like that. as you said, community block grants can go to anything. so i sure hope that someone is watching the taxpayers' dollar. that's all i have. thank you. >> thank you very much. secretary donovan, can i follow up? i want to make sure we're clear on one thing. the cdbg money, as a former mayor and i think now senator booker would say the same thing it can't be used for anything. there's limitations. is that correct? >> exactly correct. i did not say it could be used for anything. it has very clear statutory purposes. we reviewed and made sure that it did meet those purposes. if congress determines that economic development campaigns should not be included, then obviously that could be added to legislation. but currently they are within the bounds of the law. >> let me get to a broader question. and this is one that -- i have a chart i've seen. i'm trying to analyze this. fema -- i think i know the answer, but i want to have at least a three agency people other than fema, answer this. feelia, when i look at the
money -- fema, when i look at the money of appropriated, obligated, expendeds you're fairly high up there. you've moved the money out there there. the other is in the process or not as much in the percentages compared to what's appropriated. so maybe if i could start with secretary donovan and then go to the next two, just so i understand why there's a lag -- i think i know the answer, but i want to make sure i hear this for the record. i understand fema, because you've got to get in there. you don't have the luxury of waiting three years and bring the money after the fact. so help me understand that. because that's one of the questions that i get a lot of times when they see the reports and say -- where's the money being spent? i start with you? >> absolutely. i think this is a very important point. one of the things that's critical to understand is by law it is only allowed to be used on needs that are not met by other funding sources. >> so you're the last bucket. >> we are the third step effectively for homeowners, for
small businesses. first -- i think we've seen very consistently that fema moved very quickly to make that first allocation. but only up to $30,000 can be used for homeowners, for example example. and that takes care of the moderate damage. you must make sure that your insurance company has paid their full claim. and that process needs to happen. and then only when those two have been utilized can we then make cdbg available. and that's why cdbg only began to pay out more recently. let me just give you one comparison. at the point where we are today since the appropriation was made by congress, we are more than 20% faster in sandy than we were under katrina. we are more than 300% faster than we were in ike on cdbg. so clearly we have improved the process. are there things we could do? legislatively or within our own
power to make it faster? yes. we are working on many of those things. but relatively speaking, i think we both have been faster and more careful in the way we're using cdbg money in this storm. >> as i move -- i ask you, some of those ideas at some point legislatively or regulatory, you can share those with the committee at some point? so if there's things we could be doing to help in the future as we continue to improve that flow, that would be helpful. >> absolutely. i would just compliment the committee on having made many changes for sandy that have sped up spending already. >> very good i was going to ask you if i have time i'll ask about the bridge issue and how you used the techniques. i want to know more about that. >> mr. chairman, thanks. an excellent question. the transportation funding that was provided in the supplemental is being used for very specific transportation purposes. and i'll quickly go through. the federal aviation administration with the direct appropriation is -- has repaired the damage to the three major
airports in the region. that is work that we've done ourselves or with contractor forces. the federal highway administration first released money within hours of requests under what we call quick release authority to get the work started on rebuilding the highway system. and then its emergency relief program operates on a reimbursable basis. so the work gets done. it's done by state or local governments. and the federal government reimburses at the end. that is a way that we protect and make sure that we get the project built the way it should be. flan this case with some resiliency for the future. the transit program we've made extensive use of what we call pre-award authority. so specific transit projects as part of the sandy recovery have been given pre-award authority where the transit agency will be rebuilding those facilities according to federal requirements and then reimbursed as part of the process.
that's a way to get project underway quickly and make sure we get the product that the taxpayers deserve. >> very good. jo-ellen? >> as i said in in my opening statement, we have several buckets of money. some for investigations, which is ongoing studies, as well as our comprehensive study. so the spend-out rate is not as quick as would be for our emergency money. the emergency money that we had we've expended nearly most of our expenditures. and that will be completed in the early part of next year. those were the repairs to our existing projects. repairing the sand dunes that had been devastated. and the third bucket is for construction. what we're doing is we had 18 projects that were authorized but unconstructed. and some of those projects had been authorized several years ago. so what we're doing now is looking at those projects to see whether in the light of climate change and sea level rise, whether those projects are still -- will be sustainable and resilient. so that study is the less
expenditure. but once we go through that study process, once we do the design preconstruction engineer and design which is a smaller amount of money, once we get to the actual construction, that's when you see the outlays. >> one quick question. then i'm going to go to the members. we're trying to do five-minute rounds. ca srks i'm going to speak in a moment. i'm going to substitute myself back to my mayor days. the frustration always with the state organizations was they would get this money and then you'd hope and pray it would come down to you at some point in some rational deliverable way. you can give me your sense of how that workedded or could have have been main maybe later give recommendations, how did that work? cdbg i don't know if it went directly to state or local. but can you tell me how that worked when money went to the state? and you're there waiting for it?
>> well in this case, mr. chairman the funding -- new york city got its own direct allocation, which was great for us. the level of damage that we sustained and our ability to take those resources and really start working with them immediately is really strong. so far the allocation that have come there's a separate allocation for the state of new york and new york city has gotten its own allocations from that perspective it's been great. >> that's worked? >> yes. >> let me stop there. i have additional questions but let me go to senator booker. >> senator from new york, who has a wonderful view of new jersey would like to go first because she has someplace to go. >> please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you very much, senator booker. i appreciate all the work you've done and every single one of you has done extraordinary work in terms of getting money flowing getting large projects done getting things up and rung. i appreciate it. but what i hear from my constituents is not good.
i hear so many stories of constituents who can't rebuild who haven't gotten money. there's so much red tape that they cannot possibly find their way through. so i want to ask each of you some issues of red tape that concern me that hopefully you can give me the road forward so i can let my constituents know that relief is possible. secretary donovan, this one seems very difficult. a number of my constituents were dismayed to learn that because they accepted small business administration loans that they are now ineligible for cdbg funding. i understand the need to make sure there's no duplication in getting federal benefits and we want to protect against fraud but -- and that is absolutely critical to the integrity of this program. but is there any distinction that can be made between grants and loans under the duplication of benefits regulations? and under the current federal regulations what are the options for sandy affected homeowners who accepted sba loans but who believe they are at a financial
disadvantage relative to homeowners who chose not to accept an sba loan? >> this is something your office raised with us and that others did. and we actually made clear that even if a homeowner or business had been approved for a loan, they were still eligible for sba assistance. so in fact, it is not accurate that they are ineligible. >> but they had been told they're ineligible. is that something we can fix in terms of those communicating? >> let me be clear though. like everything else in cdbg, it is up to local communities to determine exactly how they use these funds. and one thing that we have encouraged communities to do and i want to be clear about what situation the homeowners you're talking to, if a homeowner -- if a small business can afford to repay a loan, we do not think, and we've made
clear, that communities should make grants available because these are precious, limited dollars. so what we've encouraged communities to do is to do an evaluation. and i have heard frustrations from business owners, homeowners. they say, well, somebody else is getting a grant, i'm getting a loan. fact is, if they can afford that grant -- i mean, that loan, then we encourage communities to do an underwrite and evaluate that and to use grants only where a homeowner or a business cannot afford to repay a loan. so that's the guidance that we've given. but we do leave flexibility for communities to make that determination. >> i would appreciate that you make that guidance very clear when someone's looking at an sba loan. they need to know what limitations they will be under in the future. it needs to be clearer. >> i agree there was confusion. we have absolutely worked with your office. you've raised this before to try to clarify that. >> thank you.
deputy mayor holloway, we've done yoman's working on so many infrom a fra structure issues -- infrastructure issues. but there's still enormous challenges for homeowners. while fema caps the payment at 30k, very few people receive the full payout. their home might have been destroyed and their eligible for a grant $8,000. so while we do our best, it's not enough for these homeowners to rebuild. and in fact, there are families that are still homeless a year unit. that's-- a year out. that's horrible. for breezy point, staton island, the rock aways how quickly do you think cdgb money will get to homeowners? what percentage have received any? >> each of those areas having been there many times and worked with particularly in breezy point the homeowners association, we have done a lot to try to advance building. it's not only getting the money. it's being able to actually build. put things in the ground.
so we've been able to advance that. i think in terms of fema recovery that really is a case-by-case determination of their assessment of what the damage is. we now have 26,000 families that have signed up for build it back. and we are in some stage of financial assessment for them. so as secretary donovan said, the cdbg money is money of last resort, which means that you have to do an insurance verification, figure out whether they got any other fema money any funds from any other sources. we're working closely with insurance companies. but we have 1400 request for verification from one company in particular that hadn't been met. and these steps in this process which we're not opposed to in any way because you do have to make sure that the dollars are going to people who actually need it, but they do take time. now, i think we have had some cdbg money flow, but i will say the mayor is not satisfied that it's gotten to enough people
yet. i think you will see -- i'm confident you will see -- between now and the end of the year we will begin to ramp up to hundreds and then ultimately thousands who will be getting funding. >> thank you. let me address some of the red tape your mayor is probably experiencing with regard to administrator few gate. -- few gate. fema worked with these throats submit project worksheets which makes them eligible for reimbursement. over the last year many of these project worksheets have still not been paid. and these delays have cause the set theback -- setbacks to projectsprojects. do you know how many project worksheets fema is process and what the anticipated time frame for returning those around is? >> it depends upon the project. a project worksheet is a tool to determine what's damaged and what's going to be needed to make repairs. we have prioritized working with the state. some of the first projects we're going to be -- were going to be
all debris and all of the emergency costs that were expended. those were dollars that went out the door immediately. so as we've been going through that, we have to have documentation to demonstrate the cost so that we can satisfy the requirements that they did the work. it was expended. and we reimbursed that. we have put out most of the emphasis has been on the initial cost. there are some that were still either needing more documentation -- and if you got specifics, we'll working on them. the rebuilding piece of those project worksheets is going to take more time. once we get in the permanent work, we have several different tools we're trying to use to speed this process up. but we still have to work through the processes to ensure that is this over 50%, are we going to be able to mitigate this? and what is the longer term requirements to build. >> thank you. for assistant secretary darcy obviously long island is so important. people are very concerned about the time it's taking for the
stabilization projects within the study to be started and to know when these emergency stabilization projects will be done. you can just give a quick update about where we are on that process? >> when the fire island to -- >> correct. >> we have begun doing some of the emergency response which was part of the rebuilding what was there. but we're currently reviewing the fire island to montauk point as i mentioned. it's unauthorized but un-- an authorize but unconstructed project. we have to look at that time to make sure it's in today's sea level rise and climate change lens that we're look through and building to the right dimensions. we're committed to doing some expedited review processes for all of these projects. >> thank you very much, senator booker. we'll probably have time for another round if there's available questions. >> i just want to say, again thank you for holding this hearing. i have a lot of affection for you even though we've only been colleagues for six days.
[laughter] that affects affection is born from the fact that you know what it's like to be a mayor and the difficulties you have grappling with the real issues on the ground every single day. people don't know what a secretary's number is. they don't know what a legislator's number is but they know where you live. it's something that i take very, very seriously. i just want to say to the panel assembled, i'm grateful that you're here. only been here for six days. i still have that new senator smell, i'm told. i've had a chance to deal with the secretary on multiple occasion as mayor. i think the obama administration has many stars and frankly none of them shine brighter than you do. the frustration my office already has is that we are dealing with lots and lots of people who feel the sense of discontent, ill at ease frustration. and a lot of stories. and we're unraveling them. the team assembled here has been incredible with my office. again, i look forward to meeting with you and bringing a lot of
the individual concerns that were not necessarily necessary to go through here because you've made yourself so available. i'm sure, and i expect, i'm sure i can expect, the ability to meet with all of you as i deal with what is a sense of urgency for my office. shaun, excuse me, secretary donovan -- thank you very much. you can call me cory. i know the best thing about you is that your head is with the entire state but you married a new jerseyan, so your heart is with new jersey i'm sure. >> as your colleague says, i married up. >> yes. most exceptionally. so for me and my office, and we plan on spending time in the district over this next month meeting with a lot of families because many of them don't know who to call. they're so frustrated. they don't feel like they can rely on government anymore. they've gone through some of the red tape and gotten nowhere. as we stood -- two points to make. to the chairperson, i'm hoping that we can do more of these as a recovery continues. this is to the going to be finished in a month, in two
months, in five months. but this is very good as awe move forward. >> quickly on that, i will sell you one of the goals of this committee and another committee that i chair is one of the roles the senate should do more of is oversight so we're not waiting for a crisis to occur but six months from now or a year from now we're going is have these same conversations baugh we want to keep track of how it's going. and if there's legislative and regulatory changes, we should be trying to do that in concert. the idea is to have oversight and to bork with -- work with agencies improve what they're doing and make sure people are getting what they thought they were getting. >> my hope -- >> that shouldn't count geeps your time -- against your time. i'm telling that to the staff the clock holder. >> senate is a generous institution i'm finding. >> he is new. >> the point is that sense of urgency you get from being a mayor is the sense of urge urgency we're going to treat this problem with. we have challenging counties on
the western shore of new jersey who feel they've been left out of this equation, who feel like there's everything from debris still in bodies of water to houses still destroyed. so my hope with everybody is we set up our internal benchmarks that we'll be able to touch base over a regular period of time to make sure that your professionals are operating with that constant sense of urgency and driving your teams as hard as possible to meet the needs of the state of new jersey. in the 90 seconds i have remaining to my friend again, a leader i have respect when we stood together just about two weeks ago when i was still senator-elect, we talked about the next tranche being released. it was interesting. i heard from the mayor's assembly and some individual frustrations so my hope is there's going to be a third tranche. and you've done a lot to expedite funding compared to what happened in previous -- you brought it to a whole new level. but my concern is, it still
doesn't seem fast enough. i'm wondering secretary donovan in the few seconds i have remaining, could you just talk generally about things you're doing to further expedite it and help me understand your expectation on that third tranche which is so critical. >> thank you for your leadership in newark as well. the city is much stronger. many family that would not have gotten help without your leadership i have know there is still pain there. but thank you for your leadership. i know you're going to bring the same energy to the senate as well. i think the problem with talking about these is this is blocking and tackling hundreds of small citieses that are made a-- decision that are made along the way. i could give you a list of 20 or 30 key changes that we've made that have made a difference. just one example, there was some cruel irony that anyone who started rebuilding themselves wouldn't then be eligible for
cdbg help. we changed that with urging for many of your colleagues so that now somebody can get reimbursed. that's just one small example. historic preservation reviews in the environmental. we followed on with fema's good work made a programmatic agreement that sped that up. so there are hundreds of small things like that. i think the areas where i would say big picture are most important, the insurance process. not just on flood insurance and having enough reviewers and other things in a very very dense area like new york or new jersey but also getting homeowner policies align sod that families can know -- often they get their insurance. then they can't even get access because their bank is there. and that's something we've worked on. i think that's critical. and then the environmental reviews. the committee did something very important in giving us the authority. when fema puts money into a project to just accept their environmental review, we don't have that authority for any
other agency. it's something we think legislatively ought to be done. that's an example. be happy to provide you a longer list. >> ok. thank you. >> i'll get back if you're able to stay. we'll give you another round. but senator schumer? >> thank you. the first question is to secretary a-- assistant secretary darcy. i'm really worried about more bureaucracy getting in the way of doing rock away, fire island. one of the problems we ever as omb, omb, even though we gave the secretary the authority to approve general reevaluation reports, without extra review by omb, they seem to be demanding review. i've called omb about this. we've talked about it. but i'm really worried about their getting in the way of both the fimp study and east rock away inlet to rockaway inlet.
if they have to review everything, it's going to slow things down too much. that gives me worry about another storm. could you tell us what's happening, what's your view, your candid view, of o.m.b.'s shall i say meddling here? and what we can do to speed things up. >> one thing that we're doing senator schumer, with both the limited reevaluation reports as well as the general reevaluation reports is we're having monthly meetings with c.e.q. and o.m.b. with our division commander who's behind me, to give them a status report on a monthly basis of where we are on each of these -- of the 18 projects that you're referring to that were in the interim two report so that we can all know what the status is where we are so that that will help to speed that review. it will be ongoing before there's even a final product. >> it's my understanding