May 17, 2022

Biden’s Infrastructure Implementation Task Force holds press conference on 5/16/22 Transcript

Biden’s Infrastructure Implementation Task Force holds press conference on 5/16/22 Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsBipartisan Infrastructure LawBiden’s Infrastructure Implementation Task Force holds press conference on 5/16/22 Transcript

Senior officials and Cabinet Members from President Biden’s Infrastructure Implementation Task Force hold a press conference on the six-month anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law on 5/16/22. Read the transcript here.

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Mitch: (00:12)
Good day, everyone. It’s great to be here.

Mitch: (00:15)
Six months ago, the President signed into law, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It is a once in a generation opportunity to help build a better America. In the last six months, we have been building a team, we have been delivering results and we have been holding ourselves accountable to the American people and we have hit the ground running.

Mitch: (00:39)
Just in the last six months, this group behind us, on behalf of the President of the United States, has pushed out $110 billion of funding. There are a hundred billion dollars of NOFO going out in the short future. As you know, all of this money is designed to rebuild the road, the bridges, the airports, the ports, the waterways, to eradicate lead in the pipes, to actually redo all of the great lakes, to extend high speed internet to everybody in America, and essentially to prepare ourselves for a clean energy future.

Mitch: (01:12)
I have to say that this group of individuals behind us, one team, one fight, one voice mission has on behalf of the President and with the President and the Vice President, held over a 125 trips across the United States of America. They have done an unbelievable job. We have a lot of work to do, but as a President said, our mission on his behalf and on behalf of the American people is to build the better America and that is what each and every one of them are doing.

Mitch: (01:41)
So, as they come up to the podium, they will talk about their respective roles in this and please help me welcome OMB Director Shalanda Young.

OMB Director Shalanda Young: (01:51)
Thanks, Mitch. I like to say what we do at OMB is kind of the back end of the projects you’ll hear from the secretaries.

OMB Director Shalanda Young: (01:58)
One, ensuring that projects are done in a transparent and accountable way. We had an inspector general meeting with the President a couple weeks ago. OMB put out guidance to our agencies, with the President’s strong expectations on what he expects and how we deal with the inspector generals. The watchdogs are back, under this President, and I’m sure many of you have heard him talk about his time running the Recovery Act programs and his daily meetings with inspectors general. So, we have put that guidance out and laid out the President’s expectations. The second is Made In America. The infrastructure bill made the office of Made in America at OMB permanent and we are ensuring that our projects are built and made in America from a supply chain standpoint. That’s important. And also this President truly believes that the days of these blanket waivers, where we get everything imported, those days are over. So we are beginning implementation of our Made in America efforts with infrastructure.

OMB Director Shalanda Young: (03:03)
Third of all, we want to make sure that we do better permitting. These projects are often stalled in the permitting process, and we believe we can speed these projects up, while continuing our environmental regulations to ensure that projects are done in an environmentally effective way.

OMB Director Shalanda Young: (03:23)
So those three things are what OMB are working on and you’ll hear the rest from our agency partners and I believe I’m turning over to Secretary Haaland.

Secretary Haaland: (03:35)
Thank you, Shalanda. Thank you, Mitch. And hello everyone. It’s nice to see you all today. Grateful to join my colleagues today, as we mark six months since President Biden signed into law, the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. I want to thank President Biden and Vice President Harris for their tremendous leadership and my fellow cabinet colleagues for their partnership in helping to execute this administration’s, all of government approach.

Secretary Haaland: (04:01)
Through this milestone law, we are building a better America for working families and communities across the country. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is an historic down payment on ensuring that future generations, in particular, rural and indigenous communities, have clean air, drinkable water, balanced ecosystems, and an overall quality of life that is currently threatened by worsening climate crisis. As climate fueled extreme weather events, continue to worsen through the country, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes historic investments to address wildfires, combat the drought crisis and strengthen Indian country.

Secretary Haaland: (04:42)
As my home state of New Mexico continues to battle devastating wildfires, families are fleeing their homes, businesses are at risk, wildlife are in danger, and we see how critical these investments are. My heart aches for these communities. Much needed funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will put resources into climate resilience, safeguard local water supplies and support our wild land firefighting workforce.

Secretary Haaland: (05:09)
At the Department of the Interior, we’re acutely focused on implementing these measures. Already the law is working to better prepare communities and ecosystems against the threat of wild land fire by making historic investments in forest restoration, hazardous fuels management and post wildfire restoration activities across America’s national parks, forests, and grasslands.

Secretary Haaland: (05:34)
In the last six months, the law has already made significant investments in water and drought management. Water is a sacred resource and this funding is ensuring that farmers can water their crops, families are fed, wildlife are sustained and agricultural businesses can thrive, as we all deal with the worsening drought conditions, particularly across the West.

Secretary Haaland: (05:59)
The law is also making significant investments in tribal communities, putting resource in the hands of tribal nations. In the past six months, the department has consulted with tribes across the country, as we began dispersing millions of dollars in funding to invest in tribal climate resilience, repairing tribal irrigation and power systems, supporting water sanitation, dam and safety… Excuse me, dam safety and fulfilling Indian water right settlements.

Secretary Haaland: (06:28)
And the best part is we’re just getting started. I look forward to continuing to work with my good friends, and as we continue to build a better America for future generations and I’m proud to turn this over to Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (06:44)
Thanks very much secretary. Good afternoon. We are delighted as we see the six month anniversary of the chilly and sunny day when the President signed the infrastructure law, to note that infrastructure weeks without results are officially behind us and an infrastructure decade is very much underway.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (07:04)
With regard to the transportation portfolio that has included in recent weeks and months, the launch of the Bridge Formula Program, which marks the largest investment in bridges since the interstate highway system was created, the release of formula funds from what is now the largest public transit investment in U.S. history underway, to modernize and expand services, to connect people to jobs, schools, groceries, hospitals, and more. And major investments going out toward rural communities for modernizing their roads, bridges, transit ports, airports, and more.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (07:37)
With regard to safety, having announced and unveiled the National Roadway Safety Strategy to address the national crisis of deaths on our roadways. We are now able to back that up with today’s announcement of the Safe Streets and Roads For All Program, putting forward a billion dollars to help local communities make upgrades and improvements that are going to save lives on their streets and roads.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (08:01)
We also know that this work is going to bear on the long term resilience of our supply chains. Part of what was at stake when we awarded the largest round of Port Infrastructure Development Program grants ever, supporting upgrades, new docks and bursts, rail lines going onto ports and more, and have designated new marine highways. These have designations that are kind of like the highways we’re all familiar with I-95 or 66. There’s an M-95 or an M-66, which we can support for the movement of goods over water on our river system.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (08:34)
We have launched funding to electrify buses and bus facilities, helping people to get to where they need to go without there being fumes and emissions coming from those buses. We’ve introduced the Carbon Reduction Program, which is principally a formula program, allowing states to support and fund their carbon reduction strategies and announced the Electric Vehicle Formula Funding that’s going to help states to build out that national network of chargers that we know is so important.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (09:02)
So this is just the beginning, but we…

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (09:03)
… the chargers that we know is so important. So this is just the beginning, but we have already been able to get a lot out the door in these six months. And we know that we will be creating good paying jobs along the way. Folks across the country are seeing the summer construction season arrive in terms of the cones, the barrels, the hard hats and the shovels turning, and there’s going to be a lot more where that came from. And with that, it’s my pleasure to hand it over to someone we are collaborating very closely with regard to electric vehicles, Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm.

OMB Director Shalanda Young: (09:31)
Thank you. Thank you, Secretary Buttigieg. Just to underscore how much is happening in the Department of Energy. The Department of Energy was tasked with 62 billion worth of the funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 61 new programs that are competitive and so much of the funding that we will be sending out is competitively based. However, we have been and so therefore we require a lot of input from stakeholders around the country. Let me give you a couple of examples of things that have gone out. For example, the Weatherization Assistance Program and an additional over three billion to weatherize what will be over 450,000 more families homes across the country. The president is very concerned about the high price of fuel, and that means home fuel as well. And so weatherization is one way to make sure that homes are buttoned up and people are not spending money on fuel that is going out leaky windows, leaky doors, bad insulation, attics, et cetera.

OMB Director Shalanda Young: (10:36)
America’s public schools will get 500 million more for energy upgrades in K-12 schools. Very exciting. We also have been focused as well on supply chains. So we unveiled 3.6 billion to boost America’s battery supply chain so that we are not obtaining batteries and the components of batteries from our economic or global competitors that we are building that at home. And that includes battery recycling, battery manufacturing, battery processing. That’s $3.16 billion. And on climate change, we have been seeking input and we have announced a series of announcements requesting back information on the grid, the electric grid. And so we have a Building a Better Grid Initiative.

OMB Director Shalanda Young: (11:26)
One component of that is called a transmission facilitation program that we rolled out last week to make sure that we are building a grid that is resilient both for cyber attacks, as well as for extreme weather events, as well as is able to take on the capacity that we know we have to add for renewable energy. So much going on at the Department of Energy. It’s an honor to be part of this team. One of the members who is Michael Regan, administrator of the EPA. Turn it over to him.

Michael Regan: (11:55)
Thank you. Thank you, Secretary Granholm. I am incredibly proud of the progress we’re making at EPA over the past six months. Just this year alone, we’re going to make over $10 billion available for investments in clean water, bringing relief to communities that have been long plagued by pollution and improving the air for kids riding yellow school buses to and from school every single day. I’ve traveled the country and whether it’s been talking with parents in Milwaukee, whose children have been lead poisoned or visiting schools in Jackson, Mississippi, where the water pressure was so low school was canceled.

Michael Regan: (12:30)
We know that these precious resources are needed. And just this year alone over eight billion will be made available for water infrastructure investments. Over one billion just this year alone for investing in cleaning up our contaminated lands. Those blighted sites that played many of our communities, old abandoned gas stations and warehouses that could be turned around for economic development opportunities. And yes, over $1 billion we hope to allocate just this year alone in replacing old diesel school buses with electric yellow school buses to carry our most precious cargo again, to and from school, not only carrying them to and from school, but also improving their lives, reducing school lost days. And also for those school bus drivers increasing time that they can spend at work and decreasing those lost work days as well. So we’re really excited to be part of this transformational team led by the president. And with that, I’ll turn it over to my good friend, secretary of Martin Walsh.

Martin Joseph Walsh: (13:30)
Hi Michael. President Biden’s been very clear from the very beginning of this, that the infrastructure investment must create good jobs, good middle class jobs, good union jobs. And we’ve been equally clear about these good jobs must be available on an equitable basis across the entire country workers in every single community. At the Department of Labor, certainly our mission is to empower workers, all workers. And as I travel around the country, I talk to organizations, I talk to workers, I talk to local officials, employers looking at the job data and the choices workers are making. The labor dynamics are very clear. Workers want better opportunities. We’ve seen it every month and the communities of color and rural communities want access to better jobs and better paying jobs in our country. The Infrastructure Law is a historic opportunity to use federal investment to raise the bar on job quality and job equity across the board.

Martin Joseph Walsh: (14:20)
We created the Good Jobs Initiative at the Department of Labor to make sure that we’re doing just that. Good jobs start with middle class wages and benefits like healthcare, childcare and paid family leave. They also include pathways into the middle class for workers who’ve been shut out, modular workers who have been shut out in the past, women, black workers, Latino workers, native American workers, Asian American workers, veterans, rural workers, workers with disabilities and formally incarcerated. So one of the examples I just want to give here quickly is that Secretary Buttigieg in the Department of Transportation to make sure these first rounds of infrastructure grants require good local jobs, high labor standards, and access to apprenticeship and underrepresented workers. These are billions of dollars that are not only for roads and bridges in train station and climate resilience. These are investments in people. So when I think about the infrastructure law, I don’t just think about all the physical that we’re doing you heard about a minute ago, but it’s also about building a whole family and supporting families and communities all across America. These are not just rebuilding our infrastructure, they’re rebuilding our middle class. So thank you very much for joining us and I get the chance now turn over to Secretary Mayorkas.

Nicholas Mayorkas: (15:27)
Thanks very much Secretary Walsh. Good afternoon, everybody. Let me first thank Mitchell Andrew for really just exceptionally leading the interagency effort on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration. We in the Department of Homeland Security really have two broad lines of effort. One is of course, to enhance the safety and security of the American people. And two is to be an engine of economic prosperity by facilitating lawful trade and travel. And I’d like to give you just a few examples of how we’re doing so through this infrastructure bill. I’ll start with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. We are distributing on an ongoing basis $60 million to victims of hurricane Ida so that they can retrofit, elevate or if needed relocate their homes. FEMA is announcing today the distribution of 33 million to state and local governments to ensure the safety and strength of water dams, an issue that is of increasing importance with, of course, the rise in climate change.

Nicholas Mayorkas: (16:33)
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA will be distributing $1 billion in grant funds to ensure that state local tribal territorial governments are strengthening their cybersecurity. We’re going to be distributing more than 100 million of those funds this year and distributing the one billion over a five year term. The United States coast guard modernizing its facilities to ensure that its responsibility to the security of the maritime domain is assured. And lastly, as another example, US Customs and Border Protection and modernizing the land ports of entry as engines of facilitation of lawful trade and travel. We’re doing so much with all of us together under the leadership of Mitch Landro and the vision of President Biden, Vice President Harris. Thanks so much. I’m going to turn it over to Brian Deese.

Brian Deese: (17:31)
Thank you. I have the privilege of closing us out. For those of you keeping score, I will be the ninth speaker, which means we’ve got a full baseball lineup here today, and a full inner agency effort against this priority. I just want to close by putting this historic law in the context of President Biden’s broader economic strategy to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out. As you all heard from President Biden last week, the president…

Brian Deese: (18:03)
As you all heard from President Biden last week, the President’s top priority is fighting inflation and lowering costs for American families. This bill is integral to that effort in a couple of ways.

Brian Deese: (18:13)
First, by directly lowering the costs that families are facing right now. Just last week with the announcement of the Affordable Connectivity Program, making more than 50 million families eligible for lower cost, high speed internet, and in many cases, high speed internet for free. You heard Secretary Granholm talk about lowering utility bills that American families face by weatherizing homes, and more.

Brian Deese: (18:40)
Second, this law is going to lower price pressures in our economy across time by enabling goods to move cheaper and more quickly through our transportation infrastructure system. We’ve learned in this crisis, the threat to our economy of brittle supply chains, where when we cannot move goods efficiently from water to our ports onto trucks onto rail and to stores and to family’s homes. What we see is supply chains, grinding to a halt and prices increasing. The investments that you’ve heard about today are going to be key to building a more fluid transportation system, which will reduce price pressures.

Brian Deese: (19:19)
And third, what economists call increasing the productive capacity of our economy. And I just use one example, Secretary Pete, and others conditioning grant funding on increasing more affordable housing development as we make transportation investments. By increasing the supply of affordable housing, will not only make home ownership and affordable rentership available for millions of more families, but will help to reduce price pressures in housing and rental as well.

Brian Deese: (19:49)
And a final point that this law is key to the President’s industrial strategy to build more secure and resilient supply chains, particularly in light of the global threats that we face. And I just leave you with the point that of all of the investments that we’re talking about, this year, now, because of this law for the first year in more than two decades our infrastructure investment is growing faster in the United States than China’s. And we’re putting ourselves in a position where for the first time in generations, we can actually build more secure supply chains, whether that’s in electric vehicle battery manufacturing, or it’s our ports and our airports and our roads and runways. So with that, I will step back and let you all ask him some questions.

Speaker 1: (20:35)
Start with Justin.

Justin: (20:37)
Thanks guys. Senators Manchin and Murkowski sent, I think, a number of you guys a letter today expressing concerns about the delayed implementation of critical mineral provisions of the infrastructure law. It kind of went to department by department, but said that there were a number of deadlines that have been missed. And that despite the executive actions that the President has taken on critical minerals, including using the DPA, that there’s still a risk that these critical minerals won’t be available as we try to do exactly what Brian was just talking about. So I’m wondering why we missed those deadlines and what you would say to the senators about those concerns?

Brian Deese: (21:18)
Well, look, I would just say top line and then maybe Secretary Granholm, could talk about the DOA battery provisions. It’s a core national security and economic security priority that we build more resilience in key supply chains. And top among those is the critical minerals and materials that go into producing and manufacturing large capacity batteries. We are focused across government in moving and accelerating those efforts. And as you say, the infrastructure law gives us a lot of those tools. We’ll be happy to follow up on any of the specific elements, but I think what you’ve seen over the course of implementation is with the resources at the Department of Energy, as well as elsewhere, we are moving out in a way that is historic for the country and we’ll continue to do so.

Speaker 1: (22:08)
Justin, a follow up.

Secretary Haaland: (22:10)
What I’ll just say is that the Interagency Working Group on Mining reform has met and they’re working very expeditiously on ensuring that we can move this issue forward. The mining law was 150 years old last week and it has not had any changes to it since then. So I think working to make sure we’re modernizing that piece will certainly help us to move forward with it.

Speaker 1: (22:41)
[inaudible 00:22:41]

Speaker 2: (22:41)
To what degree are you seeing challenges with increased costs in the month since this law was enacted and any worker either shortages or kind of slow return to work in some of the processing where you have distributed money, how are you seeing those real world hurdles having an impact on how you are implementing?

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (23:08)
Yeah, both of these are very real challenges. Just speaking with a governor today about this, trying to get a sense of what they’re seeing on the ground, especially as they’re starting to look for the bids that come in and how much they reflect increases in costs. There’s a lot of work that’s going on to try to forecast and smooth that, and it’s something we’re going to work closely with project sponsors in. Especially if we find that maybe one area in one region of the country in terms of access to a certain flow of raw materials or something like that is going in a direction that is more pressure than another. What can we do to help coordinate rebalance.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (23:41)
On the workforce piece, this is one of the reasons why workforce is specifically contemplated in a lot of our programs. So for example, in our bus programming there’s actually a requirement that a certain amount of funding that goes to a transit agency goes specifically to workforce development. And we were just with the community college in Cayuga County that has a relationship between the transit authority and the community college in order to create that pipeline. That’s going to have to happen across the transportation space, and I think construction more broadly. It’s one of many, many reasons we’re looking at things like local hire, broadening the participation of workers, including working parents, women, workers of color, who haven’t always been included. We’re doing that not just because it’s the right thing to do in terms of equitable wealth creation, we’re also doing it because we won’t succeed in delivering if we leave any talent on the table.

Speaker 2: (24:29)
Do you think any of the cost issues are threatening any of the projects?

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (24:32)
Well, certainly that creates an additional pressure and it’s something that we’re going to need to monitor closely and manage, but I’m sure Secretary Walsh has more on that.

Martin Joseph Walsh: (24:39)
Just real quick, just add a little bit to what Secretary Buttigieg said. The people are there, we just need to make sure as we make investments in job training, in workforce, develop and mining that we go out and make sure we train the people for the jobs. And certainly we’ve been doing this for a long time, looking at the projects, where they’re going to be growing, not just in this infrastructure law, but across construction in different areas. So we’ve certainly been working hard at the Department of Labor, making sure these investments go to the right communities so we can get people into work.

Mitch: (25:04)
And just add to that. There’s going to be a lot of pressure and natural tensions that come with actually implementing this once in a generation opportunity. You haven’t seen this kind of money in a long time. I don’t see anybody in here as old as eyes Eisenhower, but that’s the last time you saw something like this. Wherever the challenge is, there’s incredible opportunities. One of the challenges is going to be on workforce development. All of you know, already, because it was said this many times, that governors and mayors are going to build 90% of these projects. Which is one of the reasons why on behalf of the President, we’ve asked each state to appoint an infrastructure coordinator, which 53 of the states and the territories have done. And we’re in touch with all of the governors now to make sure that as these opportunities come, we see the challenges and then we began to push down to the ground how actually to alleviate those challenges because you’re building a team.

Mitch: (25:54)
The team is not just across all these incredible agencies, we just had our 12th meeting to talk about how each one of these agencies are coordinating. And you saw an example just today with Senator Granholm and Senator… I mean, Secretary, sorry. Secretary Granholm and Secretary Buttigieg talk about the coordination they have between their agencies on just the EV charging stations. We also have to coordinate with all 50 states and all of the 50 states also have to coordinate with the governors and we’re pushing that team together. So there can be one table.

Mitch: (26:21)
One of the issues that we’re going to face, which is an incredible challenge because as the Secretary of Labor said there are lots of people that are available that need high paying jobs is to link them up, get the workforce process in place and make sure that everybody’s benefiting from this infrastructure investment.

Speaker 3: (26:37)
[inaudible 00:26:37] Brian while you’re here, can we get you please address the infant formula supply chain issues there. Are you expecting consent degree coming out in the FDA today and how quickly do you expect the Abbott plant to be able to get its [inaudible 00:26:51] back online?

Brian Deese: (26:52)
Yeah, I would just say, we anticipate news on that forthcoming, but I’ll let the FDA speak specifically to the consent decree when they’re-

Brian Deese: (27:03)
Specifically to the consent decree when they’re prepared, but we anticipate that. I think you heard that from Director Kayla this morning. The other piece that is in process today is the FDA guidance around importation from outside the United States. I would expect additional information on that as well. Over the course of the weekend and continuing through to this morning, in direct contact out of the White House with every major manufacturer, existing manufacturer, the three big manufacturers of infant formula, every major retailer of infant formula, as well as the manufacturers of the input components that are necessary to produce formula, and have made clear to all of them that federal resources including transportation and logistics are available and on call. And we are prepared to move assets in coordination with them as and when we identify any need to do so.

Speaker 4: (28:18)
I’m wondering if you guys have an estimate of how many jobs have been created in the first six months of this law and if you have a forward estimate for the next six months? And then Secretary Mayorkas, since you’re here, I’m wondering if you could comment on whether you believe yesterday’s attack in Boston that qualifies as an act of domestic terrorism, and whether you think that more steps need to be taken either by the administration or by Congress to combat domestic violent extremism.

Martin Joseph Walsh: (28:45)
On the job fine, a lot of these programs, these money has just gone out. So I think it’s still a little too early, and over the last month or so, a lot of these money, a lot of these jobs gone out. We’re not going to see that data… There’ll be a couple month lag there, but I can tell you this, there has been an awful lot of job training going on in workforce development through the agencies Mitch talked about. State boards all across the country, we’re in constant contact with them on a weekly basis from the Department of Labor.

Speaker 5: (29:07)
And 4,300 grand has gone out to 3,200 counties in all 50 states.

Brian Deese: (29:12)
Let me just underscore that, and also to Kelly’s point that while there are real challenges to the point that the Secretary made, that the people are there, the opportunities are there. And in the last three or four months, we’ve seen a historic pace of job creation for this point in the recovery. And a lot of that has been in construction and manufacturing and other sectors where you can draw a direct line to people getting prepared for what is to come. So we’re seeing the impact already in the economy.

Speaker 4: (29:42)
You’re seeing it, but real quick, your policy is that-

Nicholas Mayorkas: (29:42)
If I may, with respect due, with respect to the tragic events of this past Saturday, it is being investigated as the FBI articulated as a hate crime. The term of domestic terrorism is a legal term and because the investigation is ongoing, I won’t employ that term, but let me share with you some of the things that we are doing to battle domestic violent extremism, which we have identified since last year as one of the most significant terrorism related threats to the security of the Homeland. We in the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the FBI have issued an unprecedented number of information bulletins and alerts to state local tribal territorial officials who are on the front lines to equip them to identify when an individual is descending into violence by reason of an ideology of hate or false narrative.

Nicholas Mayorkas: (30:40)
We have additional grant funds for the first time in our grant programs, identifying domestic violent extremism as a national priority area. We have distributed those funds at an increased level in an unprecedented way. We created the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnership to equip and empower local communities to address the threat within their respective jurisdictions. This is a higher priority area, and we’re executing on the President’s national strategy to battle domestic violent extremism.

Speaker 6: (31:17)
First for Mitch, for a law that has this much money, there’s always the potential of fraud. And given what may be the outcome of the November elections, you may have a Congress next year that is looking at doing more investigations into, into that. Can you just give us a sense of what you’re doing to prevent that and prepare for that? And then a follow-up question for Secretary Buttigieg on [inaudible 00:31:39].

Mitch: (31:38)
First of all, that’s a great question. One of the first things the President told me is that he wanted to make sure there was no waste fraud and abuse, and reminded me of the work that he had done with all of the Inspectors General when he was the vice president overseeing a program. One of the first things that we did was begin to engage with them with the Director of OMB Shalanda and her team with Jason Miller. Organized them with Gene Sperling who had done some extensive work with them. So our team from day one had been in touch with the Inspectors General, as you may recall, just a couple of weeks ago, I think it was two Fridays ago. We actually brought all of the Inspectors Generals together and the President was at that meeting to make sure that they, without getting in the way of their independence, have been able to talk to each one of the Secretaries about what the design of their programs can look like and should look like so that we’ve learned from past mistakes.

Mitch: (32:27)
And each one of these Secretaries has been directed by the President and all of them obviously have said yes to work very closely with the Inspectors General on the design of the program and the implementation thereof. It was President’s first priority that he mentioned to me when we got here and we feel very good about where we are. We know that there are going to be some contentions from time to time between Inspectors Generals and Secretaries. That’s what it’s supposed to be for. But early intervention, early design helps make sure that the American taxpayers have open books and transparency, and that we deliver the results where we’re supposed to.

Speaker 7: (33:08)
[inaudible 00:33:08] It’s real quick. Will the Department of Transportation waive the hours of service rules for truck drivers to deliver for me?

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: (33:16)
So we looked at that and we do believe that would be covered. We can reiterate that determination as needed. This is principally an issue of production more than goods movement, but anytime we see an indication that goods movement is becoming a limiting factor, we’ll do anything we can to tear down obstacles.

Speaker 8: (33:36)
[inaudible 00:33:36] The pilot shortage?

Speaker 9: (33:38)
One for the Business Channel? No?

Speaker 10: (33:39)
About permits, I just want to know.

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