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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 26, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EST

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do or don't. i occasionally text some of the people. >> and the final question, how are you seeing that that text, which by definition is required to be saved under foia requirements, under the federal records act, how are you seeing that those texts are preserved since they're not otherwise preserved? >> that's precisely what we're work on. by the way, i don't text anything regarding policy. i only text my top -- i only text my logistical administrative staff with respect to whether i'm arriving somewhere or going something. there's nothing substantive ever texted. >> i would certainly assume your private e-mail to hillary's private e-mail also was intended -- >> yes, that's secured. all e-mails are on the server that is the state department and it's all preserved, it's all part of the national records -- >> i appreciate that, mr. secretary, but hillary
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clinton's and your -- >> -- i don't know how many investigations there are. i think people are really getting bored with it, congressman. there's an awful lot of important discussions, policies and other things. that's what i'm here -- >> mr. secretary, i appreciate that. as i said earlier, this is not about any of the investigations. this is about the work that was being done related to the federal records act and compliance. it absolutely is more about whether the american people can get what they're entitled to under a law that you quite frankly -- >> mr. chairman, i would note that the gentleman's time has expired. >> i have taken unprecedented steps including with the inspector general to make certain that is fully adhered to. i stand by the steps -- >> thank you -- >> gentleman's time has expired. appreciate the promotion. chair recognizes the ranking member. >> unanimous consent to enter into the record the memo of the inspector general.
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february 23, 2016, where he noted that secretary powell and secretary rice's staff used private e-mails as well. i really think we should be consistent and not just have a political attack on hillary clinton. >> as long as we can enter into the record mr. chairman the -- >> well, let me just say -- >> i reserve a point. i mean, the chair has recognized -- >> may i -- tell the gentleman this is not the oversight committee this is the foreign affairs. >> i appreciate that. the only thing i ask is -- >> gentleman's recognized. >> alongside that that the information that -- each of the former secretaries made their accompanying statements including powell saying they were not classified. i'm happy to have the record complete. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> all right. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> mr. keating's recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. i just wanted to know for those
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of us waiting to ask questions. how much time is the secretary allocated to this meeting? >> he's here until 12:30 and so with that, chair recognizes mrs. frankel for florida. >> thank you very much. mr. secretary, i want to just thank you for your service. i'm very proud to have you as ur secretary of state. i just want to -- most respectful way really object to my colleague's litigating the 2016 presidential contest here in this foreign affairs meeting. and i think there's some more important things to discuss other than hillary clinton's e-mails. specifically, i'd like to talk about what's happening in syria. i would first ask you if you could very specifically detail the type of suffering that is going on and how many people are involved.
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>> congresswoman, thank you. syria represents the most significant humanitarian catastrophe in movement of people, deprivation of rights, slaughter, since world war ii. there are 12.5 million people or so who are displaced or are refugees. about 4.5 million refugees. more than 2 million in jordan. million something in lebanon. 2 million or so in turkey. massive numbers of people. sometimes 5,000, 10,000 a day, trying to move across the border. but what has happened in syria trtz, the slaughter by assad of his own people. the bail bonds that have been dropped on schools. on innocent civilians. the torture which has been
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documented in vivid photographs, grotesque -- >> is it still occurring as we speak? >> well, the slaughter is still occurring. the innocent people being killed. the bombs that have dropped on hospitals and on schools. that has obviously occurred. which is why we have pushed so hard to try to get a cessation of hostilities. the combination of torture, of not just the torture but of starvation, communities that have been laid under siege. people who haven't seen food supplies, medical supplies in years now. >> and children out of school. >> children out of school. people walking around looking like skeletons, like people in the liberation of the concentration camps of world war ii.
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this is horrendous. beyond description. and the beheadings. the death by fire and the elimination of certain people by virtue of who they are. this is really a sad tragic moment for a world that hoped we were moving to a new -- new order of rule of law and possibilities for young people and so forth so it's really -- >> so let me -- just follow up on that. so if you could give us a prognosis. how long do you think it will be until these millions of people can either get back to a normal life in any way? >> it will be when russia, iran, the parties at the table at the international syria support
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group including the united states and our european allies and our gulf state friends and turkey and egypt and others come to the table ready to implement the geneva communique which requires a transitional government which is precisely what we are trying to do. >> so let me -- >> that is the moment where things could begin to turn conceivably for the better. but it's going to be very difficult. >> and once you get to that point, is that where you then envision a -- trying to go after isil or daesh as you call them? >> well, no, we're going after daesh now as powerfully as possible given the difficult circumstances of the country. it would be much better if we were able to get a transition government in place according to the geneva structure, and then have the united states and russia and all of the parties
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focus on daesh and nusra and be able to join together. the difficulty with that is with asad there and the suspicion about intent by some countries simply to shore up assad, it's very -- it's impossible to be able to do that sufficiently until you have resolved this process or at least sufficient ly engaged in that process far enough down the road that you then can license the ability to have a kind of cooperative effort on daesh. the cooperative effort could end daesh very, very quickly. >> but that will require ground forces you believe? >> well, the ground forces are there. yes, the syrian army. if you have an ability to be able to bring people together around a transition government, you have plenty of people on the ground who can then join together and together the forces from the air and the ground can quickly deal with the problem of
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daesh. that's why dealing with the question of assad is so critical. people aren't sitting around caught up in this notion that just because people said assad has to go, that's why we're stick with the policy. it's because if assad is there, you cannot end the war. as long as assad is there, the people supporting the opposition, countries that are defending their right not to live under a dictator are going to continue to support those people. >> thank you. >> mr. scott perry of pennsylvania. >> i'd like to try to take it back to something regarding the budget. my question, first question, deal also with the united states relief in work agency. regard to our support of the
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palestinians. to my knowledge, the american taxpayer. meanwhile, unrwa staff unions including the teachers union are frequently controlled by members affiliated with hamas. the curriculum has long contained materials that are anti-israel, anti-semitic and supportive of violence extremism. now despite activities that compromise its strictly humanitarian mandate, its strictly humanitarian mandate, unrwa continues to respond united states contributions including $408 million in 2014. just wondering, if you could quickly, sum up for us how your department is using this funding and your budget to discourage these activities. taxpayers are loathe paying for terrorism, terrorist activities and supportive terrorism. i know you know this.
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>> absolutely. not only loathe it, just bottom line is it's disgraceful. we've made that clear. so have the leadership by the way of anra and -- and the united states. there is now -- has been very strict policy and procedure in place in order to prevent this kind of activity, to ensure neutrality, to prevent the funds and programs from benefiting any terrorist activity obviously. and we -- >> how does -- with all due respect, how is that manifested? we have policies in place, yet they continue to do it. the american taxpayer continues to fund this organization, so how -- >> well, yes, and the people who have done it need to be fired and -- >> but are they, sir? >> they should be.
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>> how do we ensure accountability? how do you take that money and say to these folks you're not getting the money? how do you use the leverage -- >> we have pushed anra as a result of what happened to condemn racism and to assess every allegation that has been brought to the agency about this misbehavior and misconduct. by the way of -- they have, and the united nations. there is now -- there has been very strict policy and procedure in place in order to prevent i mean we've lost our vote at unesco, as i think you know, because of activities beyond our control, which the palestinians engaged in by going to the u.n.
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and seeking membership. and as a result of that, we are hurt. we don't have a vote. we didn't control their action. it wasn't a deter rent. but we've lost our ability to be able to protect israel and stand up and fight within the mechanisms. being draconian about it is not the best way to do it. we're being successful in being able to hold people accountable and i think that's the best way to proceed. >> i appreciate the effort. i see it differently. i don't think anybody is being held accountable and would beseech you that the federal government is $19 trillion in debt, the taxpayers are under siege and we don't have money to waste on organizations that support terrorism. and that's just how i see it. but i would ask you to consider that more than maybe you have. moving on, looking at your budget, it looks like last year we spent about $300 million on the united nations high commissioner for refugees and associated programs. and with what we see in syria, it seems to me that the american taxpayer is rightly -- i mean we want to do our part. we don't want to see anything --
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we don't want to see the horrific things happen to these people, the women and the children and we want to do our part to be good neighbors and stew wards in the world. that having been said, these folks are coming to our shores and school districts and hospitals and taxpayers pay doubly. i sent a letter to the administration asking why we haven't pursued a safe zone in the border region of syria and turkey as some sort of a program or a strategy to make sure that that they're not refugees far from their country. can you enlighten us? i haven't gotten a response. is that even a consideration? >> it's been very much a consideration, congressman and it's a lot more complicated than it obviously sounds. if you're going to have a safe zone within syria itself, it has to be exactly that. it has to be safe. how do you make it safe? how do you prevent a syrian air force barrel bomber from flying over it.
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well, you've got to have aircraft in the air. take away their air defenses as a result. how do you prevent daesh from coming in and attacking or the syrian army from coming in and attacking. it has to be safe. that means somewhere between 15,000 to. 30,000 troops have to be on the ground in order to make it safe. that's the judgment of the defense department. are we prepared to put that on the ground? i've heard calls -- >> i'm not calling for american troops to be in the ground. we're already flying in the area as you know. >> who is going to make it safe? right now safety is found by going to jordan or getting to the berm where there are 15,000 people trying to get into jordan and trying to make them safe there or getting to turkey or lebanon. that's safety. or trying to get to europe. we're trying to make it safe by getting a cessation of hostilities, getting humanitarian assistance delivered and a political process to end the violence.
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>> thank you, chairman. i yield. >> it doesn't require we hope thousands of troops on the ground to be able to provide a safe zone. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary. obviously this is a difficult time in the world. multiple complexities and challenges in the world. i'm going to shift to south asia where we certainly have opportunities but also some challenges. it is a time of unprecedented increasing relationships between the united states and india. so lots of positive movement there. one area of complexity is the pending sale of f 16 fighter to pakistan. and you know, given pakistan's given support of terrorism throughout the region -- certainly we saw recent terrorists attacks in india in january at the air force base. at a time where we're seeing
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progress in u.s.-india relationships, understanding the complexity of the region, understanding that we do have vested interest in helping pakistan fight terrorists. i would be curious from your perspective if pakistan is doing enough separating good terrorists versus bad terrorists enough domestically to fight the terrorists threats that not just threaten to destabilize india but also our interest in afghanistan as well. >> well, congressman, thank you. first of all, thank you for your thoughts about india and the sensitivity there and we acknowledge that. we've been really working hard building the relationship and trying to advance even the
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relationship between india and pakistan. i think it's required courage by both leaders to engage in the dialogue that they've engaged in. needless to say, we don't want to do things that upset the balance. but we do believe that pakistan is engaged legitimately in a very tough fight against identifiable terrorists in their country that threaten pakistan. and they've got about 150 to 180,000 troops out in the western part of their country. they've been engaged in a long struggle to clear the area and move people out. and they've made some progress in that. is it enough in our judgment? no. we think that more could be done. we're particularly concerned about the sanctuary components of pakistan and we're particularly concerned about some individual entities in
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pakistan that have been supportive of relationships with some of the people that we consider extremely dangerous to our interests in afghanistan elsewhere. the f-16s have been a critical part of the pakistani fight against the terrorists in the bern part of the country and have been effective in that fight. and pakistan has lost some 50,000 people in the last years, including troops, to the terrorists that have threatening pakistan itself. so it's always complicated. we try to be sensitive to the balance obviously with respect to india. but we think the f-16s are an important part. >> as one of the few physicians in congress i do have a real interest in global health and looking at the current threat of zika virus. we were grateful to have the doctors and representatives of usid in committee a few weeks ago. as we're looking at zika and
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gathering, you know, information, i know the president requested $1.8 billion. the one thing as a physician, you know, we know and very much so are recommending, if you're pregnant, if you're of reproductive age to take all precautions. obviously the one thing that we do know is making access to full family planning services available in areas where we know there's endemic zika. and you know, within usid's purview, within the $1.8 billion request, i'd be curious again the one thing is empowering women of child bearing age to have full family planning support services, whether that's birth control, whether that's -- we're seeing increasing cases of sexually transmitted zika virus as well. i'd be curious and i would want to make sure we are providing the full resources in these endemic countries. >> we're doing an enormous
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amount, congressman. i appreciate the expertise you bring as a physician and your concern about this. the president is extremely focused on the zika virus challenge. the white house national security council is actually coordinating the all of government response on this. and together with the world health organization with whom we are working very closely in its regional offices for the americas, for the pan american health organization, we're working with relevant international organizations and others. the president emphasized a need to accelerate researcher efforts to make better diagnostic tests available to develop vaccines, medicines, improve mosquito control measures and ensure that all citizens have the information they need to be able to deal with the virus. we are using multiple lines of effort, an all-out effort.
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we do not want this obviously to become as challenging as ebola was. as you know, we mounted a response to that and the same kind of effort is being put into this. >> morning, mr. secretary. congress recently passed a trade authority bill that among other provisions instructed our trade negotiators to oppose any boycotts of israel, including persons doing business in israel or in israel-controlled areas. and yet your spokesman recently said that the state department rejects that provision and does not believe that congress can conflate israel with disputed territories. so my question is, is why won't the administration honor congress's enactment? >> well, i'm not sure exactly what statement you're referring to or what happened with respect to that. i think we do honor legislation.
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but -- >> so you would say your negotiators, if a european country was saying they wanted to boycott people or businesses that are doing business over the green line, you think you would not fight against that? >> we do not support any boycott efforts. we've been openly opposed to them. we opposed them at the u.n. opposed labelling. >> so you don't -- well, good. maybe he was not -- >> that's why i said i don't know what the response was. >> okay. good. because i think that's great. the labelling, i would like to follow up on that. your spokesman, mr. kirby, said that the u.s. does not oppose labelling of israeli products from the disputed territories and said the state department does not view labelling as a boycott of israel. and the problem with that is once you go down the road of doing the labelling, that's really a precondition for countries to be able to boycott israel. so he suggested that the state department is not opposed to
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european efforts to require israel to label goods that are outside of the green line. are you saying that's not the position? >> no. that kind of labelling actually -- we require a labelling of where people send goods from. we require a labelling of goods -- >> but if someone sends it from a jewish community outside of the green line and they said made in israel, the state department's position per him would be it's fine to force them to say that was produced in the west bank. >> yeah. labelling it from the west bank is not equivalent of a boycott. >> but it sets a precondition for a boycott. >> -- knowledge to people so that they can, you know, have information about where products come from, which we require also, by the way. you know, we have made in america. >> but these are disputed territories. and you have jewish communities where they're producing goods and label it as the being made in israel --
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>> i understand that. which is why we're opposed to any boycotts or any efforts to isolate israel based on where something -- we're opposed to that. >> good. i appreciate you saying that forthrightly because i think we've been getting mixed signals from the state department. in terms of funding, over the last several years, about a million dollars has gone to this new israel fund, an organization that supports bds. do you think it's property that money that the state department is dispensing in grants be used for organizations that support bds? >> i'm not familiar with that. it's news to me. i'll talk it under advisement and review it. >> we'll get that. there's a movement to boycott israel on a lot of college campuses in the united states. do you view that as helpful and do you think it's appropriate that u.s. taxpayers are funding universities that take an official position in favor of bds? >> i believe in academic freedom, i believe in student freedom to take positions. it's a time honored tradition in
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the united states of america that we don't punish positions people take at any. >> what about -- >> we as a government make our position clear, that we do not believe it is helpful to be boycotting. but people have the right no america, thank god, to be able to make their own decisions and we as a government do not punish students for -- >> i don't think it would be punishing students. if a university adopted an official position that they were going to boycott israel. would we want to subsidize that -- >> that's a debate for congress. i would not advocate or support any challenge to the freedom of the university to make its own decisions and i think punishing them would be inappropriate. >> now, money that goes to the palestinian authority directly under federal law requires to state department to certify that the palestinian authority is acting to counter violence against the israelis. the last several years the state
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department that has not made that certification. is that correct?? >> i wasn't aware that we haven't certified the last couple of years. but we're following constantly the incitement issue. i just met with president abbas and raised the issue with him a couple of weeks ago, and we are working through our relationships and constant engagement on the west bank to make sure that incitement is not taking place in any official ways. >> i think the worry is that certification has not been made so that would prohibit funds directly but the state department has been directing funds to the israelis to pay down the palestinian debts. this question is that trying to get around the spirit of the law? >> no. it's trying to sustain the one entity in the west bank that is committed to a peaceful resolution and to nonviolence and to state solution. the fact is that there are many, many difficulties financially in
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the pa's ability to be able to meet its needs for education, for health, for this standard process of trying to govern the west bank. and these have been particular ly difficult -- to read today that iran has agreed to pay the families of people who have engaged in violence and people who have been, quote, the martyrs of the violence that's taken place that's completely inappropriate and seems to lend some sort of credibility to that violence and to those choices. and i think it's the wrong choice by iran. and we strongly urge any kind of encitement of any kind. and that even in its own way can
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be a form of encitement. you've got to have internal support and the families will be fine and this is okay behavior. it's not okay behavior. but president abbas is committed to nonviolence. he's the one leader in the west bank who has consistently, even in the middle to have violence, even in the middle of the gaza war previously condemned violence as a means of trying to achieve the two states. we believe trying to build the palestinian authority and give them greater capacity to be able to control their own security, be able to build their capacity is the way to ultimately move towards solving the problem of the violence itself. >> i'll remind the members we need to stick to five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary for being here today. i'd like to follow up on dr.
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barrow's questions with regard to the f-16s in pakistan. judge poe and i recently sent you a letter expressing our grave concerns about this potential sale and asking you to consider stopping it. in our view rewarding pakistan with such a sale when in fact they have not changed their harboring and support of terrorists within pakistan, whether you talk about the 2011 statements by admiral mull lynn there, that the network is an arm of the pakistani isi or statements that the isi played a direct role in supporting the deadly attack on our embassy in kabul or the 2008 mumbai attack both for security reasons and their actions in supporting these terrorists as well as the relationship that you and others have focused on and recognize as
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important with india. is this something you would be willing to reconsider given all of these factors? >> well, congresswoman, i'd like to talk to you sort of in a classified setting if we could. because i think there are some consideration that i can't go into here. i would say to you that i share the concern, as everybody does. the president, all of us are deeply concerned about isi relationships, deeply concern about the hakani's network freedom to have been able to operate. and we had recent conversations with respect to that. and i think in fairness because of the nature of those conversations i will follow up with you. and i will definitely follow up in a way that we can discuss this.
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>> that would be great. i'd appreciate that. the last time i met with you in my district in hawaii we met at the east/west center. >> i remember it. >> it is a place that's instrumental in creating dialogues between leaders at a critical time when we're facing potential destabilization within the south china sea, north korea, island nations in the pacific and the challenges they're facing. the funding has been reduced this year for the east-west center. and i'm wondering if you can talk about why that is as well as why the funding was moved from its own lie item into education and cultural exchanges and what impact that will have on this center's ability to continue to play this important role in the asia pacific region. >> the reason, congresswoman, is there's no policy shift whatsoever in reducing the importance of or the commitment to the east-west center. but beginning in 2017, the funding was going to be requested under the eca appropriation rather than a
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separate east-west center appropriation as in previous years. and i think the president's 2017 request is $10.8 million. you're right, it's below the actual level of 2015 and appropriated level. but i think, you know, it reflects just tough choices that we have with the budget that we have. not everybody is getting as much as they did the year before. but it is not a reflection of some sort of downward trend put i reflects the difficulties of the current budget choice. and you know, we will maintain our consistent support for the east-west center going forward. i can guarantee you that. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i've got a lot more questions unfortunately we don't have much more time. one issue that i'd like to
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follow up with you and your staff on is the budget request within your budget that goes toward train and equip programs within both syria and iraq and the concern about how those funds are being used, who they're supporting in training as well as what coordination is occurring between state and the dod program and other agencies that are using this funding and toward what object ty. you know, the concern we've raised consistently over time about whether or not these funds are being used to overthrow the syrian government of assad versus fighting and defeating daesh on the ground there and other al qaeda and the other islamic extremists group. this is something i think is important that we want to examine as we look at the budget for the state department. thank you. >> great. look guard to working with you
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on it. thank you. >> thank you. we'll go to david trot of michigan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, the capita christians have experienced some of the worst attacks in their modern history. we sent a petition to the white house urging that they designate the muslim broth hood as a terrorist organization. in response the administration said we have not seen credible evidence that the muslim brotherhood has renounced its we know that obviously. >> so the administrations do not recognize them as a terrorist organization, the state department welcomed them on an official visit last year. days after -- >> no.
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there was a member or two who were part of a delegation that was -- that attended and nobody knew, you know, what membership anybody had with respect to that. >> okay. well, days after their visit they released a statement calling for a long, uncompromising jihad in egypt and two days later there was a major attack on the sinai peninsula. what should i tell and how should i explain the administration's policies and actions with respect to the muslim brotherhood to the 750 coptic christian families in my district? how should i explain the actions that we're taking to address the atrocities? >> well, we're leading the fight. i think you can tell them there's no country doing as much to fight against violent extremism, to counter violent extremism as the united states. we are the ones who have put together the global initiative on countering violent extremism. it's a president obama initiative. he's led it at the united
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nations. we've had major conferences and meetings on this issue and all violent extremists are brought into the purview of these efforts as a result of the initiative. we're leading the coalition in the fight against daesh, against al qaeda, against anybody appropriately designated as a violent broadly based organization. we continue to carefully assess the status of the muslim brotherhood writ large as to whether or not it meets the specific legal criteria as set forth in the terrorist organization, you know, designation requirements. that's -- you know, while there are individual members that have engaged in violence and individual branches, the organization writ large under its overall heading has not expressed a commitment to that
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kind of activity. so it's difficult. how do you -- you know, we're looking at it. >> thank you, sir. let's switch to the president's plan to close the prison at guantanamo. we haven't received many details about that. we've heard the cost estimate is 300 to 500 million dollars to do the construction necessary to move the detainees and hold them here. no explanation has been forthcoming on how you resolve the conflict between that plan and the band to move the detainees around the national defense authorization act. two days ago one of the former detainees was arrested in spain for apparently plotting to carry out an isis attack in spain. so at a high level, do you believe that closing the prison in guantanamo makes america and americans safer? >> yes, i do. i'm convinced it makes us safer because i think it's been an incredible recruiting tool and i
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don't think it adheres to the values of our country to have people held in a military prison 14 years after they were, quote, apprehended without any charges or any evidence. >> so you believe as far as the recruiting tool, someone gets radicalized and joins isis because they are singularly motivated by this terrible situation in the prison in guantanamo? is that what drives someone to make that decision? >> let me ask you something. do you remember seeing people in orange jumpsuits in the desert having their heads cut off? where do you think the orange jumpsuits came from? they came from guantanamo. that was the image across the arab world. so yes, uh-uunequivocably, it wo accident. >> is guantanamo and the naval base, it is going to end up like the panama canal if we move the detainees out of there, is it -- >> no discussion. >> any plan to close that, to give it to cuba. >> i would personally be opposed to that.
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there's no discussion that i'm aware of. no, that is not what is at stake here. what is at stake here is living up to our values. i mean, it seems to me -- >> we can live up to our values without closing the prison. we can just correct the mistakes that were made and make sure they don't happen again. >> i think guantanamo now has such an imprint in the world. and as i said, those jumpsuits didn't come out of the imagination of daesh. they came out of the images of guantanamo. >> and last question, sir, since i'm running out of time. >> we're out of time but the last questions could be in writing. we go to brian higgins of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, the continent of africa, you know, 55 countries, a population of a billion people. that population is expected to
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double by the year 2050. and a lot of failed states, particularly in central africa. we see the introduction of isis in libya, we see the terrorism of boko haram in nigeria and we see the tearing apart of the newest country in the world in south sudan with the population of some 11 million people. the u.n. reported that in south sudan soldiers with government uniforms were entering united nations mission in south sudan, protection of civilian camps, firing on civilians and killing many of them, creating great instability. so i think when you look at, you know, particularly the activity of nonstate terrorist actors,
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isis and in boko haram, which seemingly are now moving toward, away from some traditional ways of gaining revenue and toward territorial control, to charge protection of people, the continent of africa i think poses a great, great challenge to the united states. what in this budget and what is the vision for the department of state with respect to containing and rebuilding that continent which i think has a lot of troubled spots right now? >> well, it's a great question and i really appreciate it. i would say just about everything that we're doing with respect to our development policy, our countering violent extremism policy, our aid policy, our military to military assistance policy is all directed at this. we're deeply, deeply involved. the president was in africa, i was in africa. we have many of our cabinet secretaries traveling there. we're working on power africa
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because we're trying to get electricity into communities that don't have electricity so they can begin to develop and provide health capacity, provide education and fill the void that exists for a lot of young people who otherwise get their heads filled in a very calculated strategy by extremists to reach them. when i was -- to give you an example, when i was in ethiopia in adiss ababa, i met with the foreign minister there and i asked them how they manage their sort of 30%, 35% population that is muslim. and he said increasingly they were concerned about it because what happens is an extremist cell will go out and target young poor kids and pays them initially and they would pay them and then bring them in, proselytize, fill their heads with this distortion, and then they don't need to pay them anymore because they're ready to operate based on what's been, you know, washed into them. what's been inculcated in them. and then they go out and start
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replicating this recruitment process. and what he said to me is, they don't have a five-year plan. they have a 35-year plan. they're ready to keep building this. and so, you know, we have to think about this, i believe, and this is what the president is trying to embrace in his countering violent extremism strategy. that we've got to recognize that failed or failing states that have no revenue, that can't build a school, that can't provide health, that can't organize the community, that can't even build their own security structure to fight back against these radicals are going to require some help. now after world war ii we had a thing called the marshall plan where we rebuilt countries that had fallen into absolute
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economic despair as a consequence of the war and even rebuilt our former enemies, japan and germany. look at the difference it has made today. that is the greatest success story statement about why investment and why this engagement is critical. in africa we need to engage more. we need to be able to help them. we're fighting to help nigeria now deal with boko haram. we have a u.n. mission in somalia. it needs more help, more people, more assistance. we had al shabaab on the ropes last summer but now there's reductions and so they push back. this is a long-term constant struggle. and i believe that the security of the united states of america is absolutely at stake in the choices we make in order to help fill these voids. not do it alone, but work through these global institutions in order to push back against this potential vacuum that invites failure and violence and extremism to fill
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the void. and i hope people will see this budget in that entire context. there's so many different things. what we're doing on aids, what we did with ebola. what we do in terms of our broad-based entrepreneurial encouragement. what we do with the program the president started for young african leaders in order to bring them here and help them to train and learn. all of these things are good, solid investments for the long-term future and security of our country. >> we go to mr. lee zeldon of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for coming back before the committee. i wanted to discuss the iran nuclear agreement. the president has stated that the nuclear agreement is not based on trust but is based on verification. this past monday i received a letter from your talented
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assistant secretary for legislative affairs. i wanted to discuss a couple of components of that. thank you for the response. in the letter it says that the iran nuclear agreement, quote, relies on the unprecedented monitoring and verification measures. the letter further refers to, quote, an unprecedented iaea monitoring and surveillance and quote legally binding obligations under the additional protocol to iran's safeguards agreement with the iaea. my first question, mr. secretary, is have you read the iran's safeguards agreement with the iaea? >> yes. >> and how can i access that? >> well, i've been briefed on it. put it that way. it was read by our staff when we were there. i didn't read the entire thing, but i was briefed fully on what the contents are. >> has the president read it? >> i can't speak to that. i don't know. i don't think so because it's in vienna. >> there's actually, if you visit the iaea website, they have a link to access the iran
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safeguards agreement. when you click the link, it goes to the next page and it says sorry, the information -- it's some type of a broken link. but i would be interested in reading that safeguards agreement. would that be possible? >> i don't know. i think that's a part of -- what? yeah, that's the part -- the safeguards component we were briefed on and we worked on and we were satisfied with. but it is part of -- it's a confidential -- it is always traditionally between every country, including us, we have an agreement. but ours is confidential. other countries can't go read our agreement with the iaea, and that's the way the iaea works. but we, as i say, were briefed on it so that we had a sense of what was included, what needed to be included was satisfied because it was critical in the context of this, but we don't possess it. >> members of your staff have read it. you haven't asked to read it yourself? >> no, i was fully briefed on it
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at the time. i was in vienna, and i was there obviously on the last day. this was of high concern to us. i believe then undersecretary wendy sherman and others went over and met with the iaea and then they came back and briefed me out on it. but i didn't feel it was imperative at that point. >> and you feel comfortable stating that there's unprecedented iaea monitoring and surveillance and verification measures even though you haven't read it yourself? >> with one caveat, yes. with one caveat. the -- there is unprecedented allowance for that full measure of intrusive oversight and access. the key now will be to plus up the iaea budget. we have the license for 130 or so additional inspectors to be permanently in iran.
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there's a permanent office in iran. but the iaea is going to need resourcing to meet this. now, we've always banked on the fact that's got to happen and it will happen. but i just want to signal that that is an imperative component of this. >> i'm just concerned when there are reports that start coming out that says that the iranians collect their own soil samples, that the iranians inspect some of their own nuclear sites, and we have this opportunity to have the secretary here in front of the committee and these very concerning reports, i would love to be able to get confirmation as to whether or not you've read that in there. >> we have the right, under the agreement, under the assumption of the additional protocol. the additional protocol you can read. that is a public document.
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the additional protocol was negotiated by the iaea, was put in place as a consequence of what failed in the framework agreement with respect to north korea. the lesson of that was there has to be the ability to follow up and have access in order to investigate any suspected or -- >> mr. secretary. >> -- suspicious sites. >> i apologize. >> i'll just finish quickly. so we have a right of access for -- the iaea has a right of access for any suspicious site not to be collected by the others, not -- but they themselves have the right of access. >> mr. secretary, why didn't you ask for a signature from iran on the nuclear agreement? why didn't you ask iran to sign the nuclear agreement? >> well, i believe they did sign it. >> well the letter that you sent said it's not a signed agreement. i mean, it specifically states, as a matter of fact -- >> there was a signed -- excuse me. iran did sign.
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the vice president of iran, ali salahi, went over to the iaea and signed the agreement at the iaea headquarters, signed it the morning before the implementation -- before the agreement was announced. >> the reason why i was asking is it says ". jcpoa is not a treaty or an executive agreement." >> that's accurate. >> "and it is not a signed document." >> that is accurate. it's not a treaty. it is a political agreement. but the actual agreement between the iaea and iran is signed. and that is a legal obligation. >> but the iran nuclear agreement, the jcpoa, the p5+1, whatever we call it, is not signed. >> that is a political agreement, correct. but it is -- >> well the question is -- why didn't we ask iran to sign it? >> because it is a political agreement with force of law behind it, international law, because it's been embraced in and fully adopted by the united nations and the united nations security council. so that is why it has force of law and that is why the snapback is a particularly forceful position in this context.
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>> we need to go to mr. william keating of massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you for your service, mr. secretary. as the ranking member on terrorism, trade and proliferation in this committee, i want to focus on terrorism for the purpose of this questioning. and i want to really focus on the fact -- this is a budget hearing. and one thing i'm aware of and i think most experts agree with, taxpayers get the most -- it's most cost effective for taxpayers and most experts will say most effective is the work that we do in those areas where terrorism is likely to incubate, maybe just starting to incubate or moving out and metastasizing. i just want you to comment on a couple of things. number one, we had king abdullah here talking to some of the committee members a while ago and he identified 17 fronts
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which are generally agreed upon in the world where isil and other groups are a great threat. but if you could, i just -- if you could comment on some of the areas where it's ripe for incubation or incubation in the world, what those geographic areas would be, indonesia, somalia, bangladesh, you know, areas we might not think of. number two, how we approach that is so important. and it's important for this hearing this morning. because i think the most effective things we can do in those areas before things incubate, before they metastasize, is to look at what we can do as a country with our resources to intervene. now, i think clearly you touched on some of the economic areas that we could do it. i also think in terms of human rights, if you could comment on how we're utilizing an increased role for women and mothers in trying to deal with this issue in those type of situations. and also, in terms of the
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narrative, the extremists, the counterextremist narrative that we really want to pursue, whether it's broadcast, social media, something i think we're getting beaten on a little bit now globally in some areas. those are the kind of things that we get the most bang for the buck. and those are the things that keep us the safest and where we're the most effective. if you could take a few minutes and comment on geographically where you think there's some areas of concentration we may not think of first off the top of our heads and how we can deal with it economically from a human rights perspective and from a counterextremist narrative. >> you know, congressman, i really appreciate the question an i want to try to answer it carefully because i don't want the -- i don't want the speculation or statement to become the father to the fact. >> i understand. >> so i don't want to run
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through a whole bunch of incubator locations that some people may not have thought of yet. but i think generically i would simply say to you that where you have a poor population, where you have a bad governance, where you have corruption, where you have a lack of opportunity, a lack of education, and you have a population that may be particularly susceptible to a religious extortion -- distorted narrative, you have potential obviously. and there are plenty of places where, unfortunately, what i just described is the fact today. now, the key here is the latter part of your question dealing with the narrative. because the narrative, left
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unattended, can be very attractive. where you have corruption. and where you have lack of opportunity. and if a void gets filled with that narrative without the truth, without, you know, facts to the contrary, it could start to take hold and it has and it does. and we see that in various places. so we are now very, very focused. part of our strategy to fight daesh, al qaeda and others, is to do a much better job with the counternarrative. undersecretary rick stangel has been deeply involved in this, working with different countries, working with our young best talented communicators in america beginning to fight back on the social media, for instance. there is a center that has opened in the arab emirates, in
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abu dhabi, the sawab center, that the emirates is engaged in supporting, which has a bunch of young folks in there and obviously mostly arabic speaking and other language speaking who are able to communicate the counternarrative. we've actually taken people who are disaffected from daesh and put them on the social media who have told the story of how they were exploited, raped or made slaves. by the way, many of those have been executed when they try to leave. those that made it out are powerful testimony to the contrary. so we're doing a lot of that. saudi arabia is about to open a similar communications center. malaysia will. others. so there are lots of places where the communications effort is as critical as anything in preventing future recruits from being created and we're working very hard at that. >> thank you. >> we need to go to mr. jeff duncan of south carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> secretary kerry, you seem to have an affinity for iran that i don't share. going back to 1979, iran has
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shown a strong animosity for america. they regularly chant "death to america" and recently tried to humiliate united states sailors. they're the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism and we just gave them billions of dollars, upwards on 150 billion that they could use to continue to export terrorism around the globe. will we ever learn? i just hope that that lesson doesn't come at the cost of american lives through an act of terror backed by iran. i'd love to go back to something chairman mccall was touching on earlier and that's hr 158, the visa waiver program and terrorist travel prevention act. there were three areas that were exceptions under the law, military service, government travel and national security and law enforcement were exceptions for the visa waiver issue. during the negotiations, as the chairman pointed out, the state
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department asked for other exemptions and they were explicitly denied in the law signed by the president. so in that, mr. secretary, there are national security and law enforcement waivers. could you please define for me your interpretation of national security and law enforcement? >> sure. let me just, if i can, with your indulgence, i just want to make it clear. i don't have an affinity for any country that is engaged in activities that are counter to our values and that put our people at risk and that are supporting terror. no affinity whatsoever. my job as the secretary of state and as a diplomat is to try to find solutions to problems that
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don't involve, if possible and we can achieve our goals, sending young people into conflict, going to war. war is the failure of diplomacy to solve a problem. so we looked at iran and saw them about to be putting us in a situation where they may have a nuclear weapon, which would be bad for everybody in the world, particularly our friends closest -- >> mr. secretary, i appreciate you making that clear. but i also understand you sent a letter after the visa waiver program law was passed -- >> explaining that it didn't violate jcpoa -- >> explain to me -- define national security and law enforcement, if you don't mind. >> sure. we have an interest, obviously, in being able to guarantee that iran over a period of time or any other country may be able to change, may be able to move to a different posture. and our belief is, from a national security point of view,
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that if people are able to do legitimate business, that over a period of time that changes things. we look at what's happening in vietnam today, for instance. or we look at what's happening in burma, other countries. transformation takes place. and we believe that transformation is in the national security interest of our country and some of it comes from entrepreneurial activity being able to take place where people begin to feel better about life, see that they're not threatened, do better, travel, see the world and so forth. >> that's a good answer, sir. but let me reference a -- >> we have people -- we have friends -- >> reclaiming my time. let me reference a white paper that the state department put out, sir, that says as discussed in the legal paper -- which we've asked for a copy of the legal paper referenced in this white paper and have not seen that yet. it says, "as discussed in the
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legal paper, this is a lesser standard. national security and law enforcement is a lesser standard, your word, the department's words, not mine, than was imposed by other statutes that require a finding that a waiver is vital to or essential to the national security interest to have united states. furthermore there are no findings of fact or other determinations required to be made before exercise of the waiver authority. additionally as discussed in the legal paper, yet to be seen, the national security waiver can be exercised by category, not just individuals. so you're going to broaden this to humanitarian, other categories that y'all asked for during the negotiations which were explicitly denied by congress in the law. >> what we're doing, congressman, we're not -- i think we've adhered to the discussions that we had because we're not doing a blanket waiver. we're doing -- these are individual, case-by-case basis. so we're not doing some blanket waiver. and i think that's frankly not only adhering to the standard but it's in our interest.
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we have people -- you know, the principle threat that we are concerned about of terror from daesh is not coming out of iran. it's coming out of other places. and if some european business person or an ngo that happens to be advocating human rights travels to iran and they have a visa waiver with us -- which by way has an extraordinarily rigorous standard before it's given. we don't lose any -- in fact we have greater insight with somebody with that than we do in other cases. >> i'm on homeland security. i've followed this issue for a long time. what this white paper looks like, and maybe i would have a better understanding if you would provide us to a copy of the legal paper. mr. secretary, this looks like you were trying to find wiggle room to work around the intent of congress and the actual wording of the law. my time has expired. you can keep talking if the chairman will let you.
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i appreciate it. >> where did the white paper come from? i'm sorry. i missed that. >> it's called the visa waiver program waiver recommendation paper. and it's a state department document. and it references in there twice that i know a legal paper which helped you determine your findings here. please provide us a copy of the legal paper and maybe this will be a nonissue. thank you. i yield back. >> okay. mr. chairman, thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. and we will continue looking at your budget. your department has many good programs that need to be supported. but as i said in my statement, even good programs may not be able to get the level of support we'd all wish given our deficit. we'll work at doing the best job we can with embassy security a priority. and i for one am particularly supportive of your initiatives promoting women's education and social status in the developing world. on the iran deal i'm afraid the dam has been broken with foreign investment rushing in and in the
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real world it will not be reversible if and when iran cheats. but that is a continuing discussion. mr. rohrabacher had a question for the record which will be submitted without objection. it's on the subject of the release of dr. friedi. we all hope and want to see dr. friedi released immediately. the problems and threats but also the opportunities we face are great. the committee looks forward to its continued work with you to strengthen our nation's security. and thank you again, mr. secretary, for being with us today. >> pleasure. >> we stand adjourned. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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[ room noise ] on capitol hill friday morning the house energy and commerce committee holds a hearing on 3-d printing
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technology and the recent advancements in the field. we'll bring that to you live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 2. then a house homeland security hearing on the security of the nation's food supply. and that's live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. one of the headlines in the "wall street journal," also available online at wsj.com, congress ponders president trump. something that seemed highly unlikely now seems like a real possibility. christina peterson covers congress for the "wall street journal" and is joining us on the phone. thank you for your time. >> thank you for having me. >> as you talk to members of congress, republican leaders, what are they telling you? >> well, you know, this question seemed far-fetched a couple months ago, and now it definitely seems less so. i would say that republicans in general expect trump would
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become a little less brash if he were to inhabit the white house. they in general have a lot of confidence that his business background could be useful, and they at least are publicly saying they think he would be able to work with congress and form coalitions and get stuff done. i think there may be some anxiety behind those pronouncements as well. and there are a few members of congress who have said they would not support trump if he were the nominee, including carlos corbello, who's a republican from florida. but in general i think the democrats are a lot more skeptical that they would be able to get anything done with a trump administration. >> nearly all of our presidents had elective experience, with the exception of general eisenhower and general grant. they had military experience. but we've never had anyone who's never been elected to anything. can a businessman deal with washington politics? >> well, i think there is a lot of anxiety around certain pieces
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of his background, particularly in foreign policy. his praise for vladimir putin, for instance, has raised some eyebrows around capitol hill. senator claire mccaskill said she thought there would be giggles around the globe if he were dealing with foreign leaders. so that i think is an area of real concern, that he doesn't have experience in. and some of his stances are pretty controversial. for instance, he's said he would build a wall along the southern border with mexico and deport all of the illegal immigrants in the united states. that doesn't bode well for trying to reach some kind of compromise on an overhaul of the immigration system. and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they just don't think anything would happen on that front if trump were elected president. >> and with regard to that wall, the former mexican president vicente fox using a few choice words saying that there was no way mexico would pay for the wall. >> yeah. i think the payment of that
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could become contentious among other things. it seems hard to imagine that congress would appropriate funding for that. but i think we are sort of dealing with scenarios now which seemed far-fetched before and you know, seem increasingly possible now. >> kristina peterson, let me get your reaction to what speaker paul ryan said earlier today about the possibility of donald trump as the republican nominee and if he were president dealing with a republican congress. >> you said you want to give the country a choice. but how can you present that choice when your nominee potentially has no interest in pursuing any of the policies that you've outlined? >> we'll cross these bridges when we get to it. but i do believe we will be able to unify as a party and i doev whoever our nominee is going to be will find a way to make a unified front work. and by the way, congress will have our own ideas. and that's what we do. we're republicans. we all have our own individual ideas and we gravitate from the same principles and we'll be applying those principles and offering people a choice. and i'm very excited about that project here in congress.
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and like i said, whoever our nominee is i'm sure we'll find a way of working together. >> speaker paul ryan earlier today in washington. kristina peterson, how likely is that, though? >> well, the speaker has been very careful to maintain the stance that whoever is the gop nominee, house republicans will work with and can work with. but there are some big differences. i mean, house republicans right now are fighting over the size of their budget. there are a lot of conservatives who want to exert their influence to reduce spending. and trump has not shown any inclination to make that a focus, saying there are areas in which he would increase spending. enlarging the military and expanding social security. so you do see the potential for some real conflict there. but i think that that's something politically that house gop leadership can't afford to say. >> one of the criticisms president obama has been getting from both democrats and republicans is that he has not used the white house, he has not built the personal relationships you that need to forge in this
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town. explain what you write about in your story about how donald trump has tried to do just the opposite in his business dealings with elected officials. >> yeah, i think there is a lot of optimism among lawmakers that a president trump would be more hospitable and enjoy the schmoozing a little bit more than president obama. and he does in fact have a background with some of the lawmakers. he would be no stranger. he has held fund-raisers for senator harry reid. senator charles schumer, who would be the next democratic leader. he has met nancy pelosi in the house. and he actually had something of a rapport with former house speaker john boehner. the two of them had gone golfing in the past and would then exchange text messages including during some of the big legislative battles. he has had an interest in politics and he does know some of the folks on the hill. but that's a little bit different than having to pass spending bills, sign them into law or, you know, working at some of these big trade agreements and getting them passed. it's a layer of complexity that
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i don't think he's necessarily dealt with on capitol hill yet. >> lawmakers contemplating the possibility of a president donald j. trump and the reporting of kristina peterson, who covers congress for the "wall street journal," joining us here in washington. thank you for your time. >> thanks so much, steve. c-span's campaign 2016 is taking you on the road to the white house. and saturday as the south carolina democratic primary. our live coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. eastern with election results and speeches from the democratic candidates. hillary clinton and bernie sanders. also get your reaction through your phone sxaulz tweets. join us saturday for live coverage on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. acting education secretary john king answered questions from members of the senate health education, labor, and pensions committee at a hearing on his nomination to become the permanent replacement for arne duncan, president obama's first
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education secretary, who left after seven years of service. most of the questions asked of king related to a recent education reform law and its implementation by state and local education authorities. student loans and education for rural students. this is about two hours and 15 minutes.
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[ room noise ] today we're holding a hearing -- the committee on health education labor and pensions. so please come to order. our hearing today is on the nomination by the president of dr. john king to serve as the united states secretary of
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education. senator murray and i will have an opening statement. then we'll introduce the nominee. after dr. king's testimony senators will each have five minutes of questions. we especially welcome bobby scott from the house of representatives. whose leadership played such a key role in the passage of the every child succeeds act. it would not have happened without him. he was forceful and diplomatic and oriented toward a result. so we admire that and appreciate his work on that. i'll introduce him later to introduce dr. king. we also dr. king's family, who i know are here. i'll let him do the introducing of them at a later time. i'm very glad we're having this hearing today. when senator murray and i and representative scott and others were at the white house on december 10th for the signing of
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no child left behind by president obama, i urged the president to send to the senate a nominee to succeed education secretary arne duncan. i did that because this is such an important year for schools. we need an education secretary who is confirmed and accountable to congress while we're implementing a law that may governor elementary and secondary education for years to come. i want to make sure we work together to implement it as congress wrote it. so congratulations on your nomination, dr. king. if you'll permit a personal note, this very month, 25 years ago, i was sitting in the same position that you're sitting today having been nominated as u.s. education secretary by president george h.w. bush. i remember thinking that the senators had deliberately set me
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way down there and them way up here so i'd be intimidated by that. the hearing lasted four hours. we won't do that to you today, i don't think. my appointment was announced in december, but i wasn't confirmed until march 14th. what happened to me at the hearing, and my family was there, like yours, i can remember it vividly, senator metsenbaum from ohio said, well, governor, i've heard some disturbing things about you. i said, oh? and he said, but i'm not going to bring them up here today. and senator castlebaum leaned over and said, well, howard, i think you just did. and he probably put a hold on me. and i hung for about two months waiting for that to be lifted. i don't suspect you'll have any of that sort of problem like that today. senator dan coates was on the committee. he said 25 years ago many states are ahead of the government in terms of opening them up to more solutions in education. that was true then, it's true today. when the president signed into
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law the every student succeeds act in december, he was signing a law that passed the united states senate 85-12. 19 of the 22 members of this committee voted for it. i believe it is fair to say that every single member of this committee made some contribution to the result. we achieved the result because, as "newsweek" said, this was a law that everyone wanted fixed and fixing it was long overdue. not only was there consensus about the need to fix the law, there was a consensus about how to fix it. and the consensus which we repeated over and over again was this -- continue the important measures of the academic progress of students, disaggregate the results of tests and report them so everyone can know how the school, teacher and children are doing, and then restore to states, school districts and classroom teachers and parents the responsibility of what to do about tests and improving
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student achievement. it reverses the trend toward what in effect can become a national school board and restores to those closest to children the responsibility for their well-being and academic success. the "wall street journal" called the new every student succeeds act "the largest evolution of federal control of schools from washington back to the states in a quarter of a century." more importantly, i believe the new law can inaugurate a new era of innovation in student achievement by putting the responsibility for children back in the hands of those closest to them. the parents, classroom teachers, principals, school boards and states. the law is so important that the nation's governors gave it their first full endorsement of any piece of federal legislation in 20 years. the last time they did that was
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the welfare reform bill in 1996. the law has the support of organizations that do not always see eye to eye. in fact, almost every education organization that supported the bill is already beginning to work together to help to implement it. we held a hearing with several of them on tuesday. those groups have formed a coalition made up of the following -- the national governors he association. the school superintendents association. the national education association. the american federation of teachers. the national conference of state legislators. the national association of state boards of education. the national school board association. the association of elementary school principals and of secondary school principals. the national teachers association. and it also has the support of
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the chief state school officers. any of us who have been around education know that these groups do not always see eye to eye all the time. but they do on this bill. you already know this because they've sent you a letter in which they said, "although our organizations do not always agree, we're unified in our belief that e.s.s.a.," or as senator franken says, essa, "is an historic opportunity" -- well, that's your suggestion for what we call it. right? right. "essa is an historic opportunity to make a world class 21st century education system. we are dedicated to working together at the national level to facilitate partnership among our members and states and districts to guarantee the success of this new law. continuing their letter, the new law replaces a top-down accountability and testing regime with an inclusive system regime with an inclusive system based on collaborative state an3 local innovation. for this vision to become a reality, we must work together to closely honor congressional intent. e.s.s.a. is clear -- education decision making now rests with states and districts and the federal role is to support and inform those decisions."
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i will include the letter in our record. the letter accurately reflects the consensus forged by these disparate organizations and by the democrats and republicans in congress. the consensus ended the practice of granting conditional waivers through which the u.s. department of education has become, in effect, a national school board for more than 80,000 schools in 42 states. governors have been forced to go to washington and play "mother, may i" in order to put in a plan to evaluate teachers or help a low-performing school, for example. that era is over. this law ends what had become, in effect, a federal common core mandate. it specifically prohibits washington from mandating or even incentivizing common core or any other specific academic standards. it ends the highly qualified teacher definition end requirements, teacher evaluation mandates, federal school
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turnaround models, federal test accountability and annual testing progress. because it moves decisions about whether schools, teachers, and students are succeeding or failing out of washington, d.c. and back to states and communities and classroom teachers where those decisions belong. this hearing provides congress with the opportunity to ask questions, learn more about your background, and get your commitment to work with us if you are confirmed. my colleagues and i will have questions about such important issues as should parents have the right to opt their children out of federally mandated tests? and how will you balance the new law's requirements on that important issue with deference to state and local decision making? how will you manage the department's $1 trillion portfolio of student loans? how do you plan to deal with the issues raised by congressman chaffetz in the house about the security of information technology systems at your
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department. what about the civil rights practice treating guidance without issued notice and comment as binding on our nation's college campus on the serious issue of campus sexual assault. you have a distinguished career. you've been a public school student, a teacher, you founded a charter school, served as education commissioner in new york, a state of nearly 20 million with responsibility for more than 7,000 public schools, as well as 270 colleges and universities. you were delegated duties of deputy secretary of education by secretary duncan and you are also the father of two children. you've seen our education system from nearly every angle. as you and i have discussed, i believe that if you are o?sl6mfi confirmed, we'll be able to work together not only to implement the new law governing elementary and secondary education, but that we can take some bipartisan steps which we've already begun in the committee to make it easier and less expensive for students to go to college and
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that we can begin to cut through the jungle of red tape that's strangling our 6,000 institutions of higher education. many of these steps are well under way, they have broad support and we should finish the job. so welcome to you and to your family. i look forward to hearing from you today. our new every student succeeds act is an important change in direction and is excellent policy. it should provide a much needed period of stability for federal policy in schools for several years. but we all know that a law is not worth the paper it is printed on unless it is implemented the way congress wrote it. that's why i'm glad the president has appointed an education secretary who can be confirmed and be accountable to the united states senate. and if you are confirmed, i look forward to working with you to help you and our new laws succeed for the benefit of 50 million children, 3 1/2 million teachers and 100,000 public schools.
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senator murray. >> thank you very much, chairman alexander. thank you to all of our colleagues for joining us today. dr. king, thank you for being here. i, too, want to acknowledge your wife and two daughters for being with us today. in public service we all know we couldn't do the important jobs without having support from our families. having your two daughters in public schools i'm sure provides tremendous motivation for and you inspiration for what you do. i want to acknowledge my good friend bobby scoot who's the ranking member of the house education and work force committee who's joined us today to introduce dr. king to our committee. and i want to take this opportunity personally to thank you for all your great work and leadership on education. you've been a true partner throughout your career on efforts to improve outcomes for all of our children regardless of where they live or how they learn or how much money they make, as well as championing efforts to ensure that college is affordable to all americans. so bobby, welcome here to our committee as well. this is an important time. for students of all ages.
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from our very youngest learners all the way to those who are pursuing college and career training. in recent years the cost of college has skyrocketed, leaving families and students to struggle with high costs and the crushing burden of student debt and there have been recent cases of institutions that deceive and mislead students and student loan servicers making it harder for borrowers to pay back their loans. when it comes to early learning we've seen improvements but we have much more to do to expand access to high-quality preschool so more kids can start school on strong footing. and this is a critical moment for k-12 education as schools and districts and states transition from the broken no child left behind law to our bipartisan every student succeeds act that the president did sign into law late last year. i'll talk more about that transition a little later. but with all of these challenges and students, it is important for the department of education to have strong leadership and i
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am confident that dr. john king is a strong nominee to transition from acting secretary to taking on the position of secretary of education. through his personal background he knows firsthand the power that education can have in a student's life. he has enriched student's lives as a classroom teacher and as a principal. he has worked with schools to close the achievement gaps and he served as the commissioner of education for new york state for four years. overall he has spent his career fighting on behalf of students so they get the chance to learn and grow and thrive in the classroom and beyond. no one can question his passion for our nation's young people. this administration, as we all know, has just a little less than a year left in office but that is still plenty of time to make progress in several key areas. in higher education, i along with my democratic colleagues will continue to focus on ways
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to make college more affordable and reduce the crushing burden of student debt that's weighing on so many families today. i'd also like to see the department take new steps to protect students who are pursuing their degrees, and that includes issuing clear guidelines for students like those who attended corinthian college, who went to an institution that did engage in widespread deceptive practices. these students have the right to seek loan forgiveness and get some much-needed relief through what's known as defense to repayment. i've also been especially concerned by cases where servicers have overcharged men and women in the military on their student loans while they served in active duty. in august, senator warren, senator blumenthal and i requested that the inspector general examine the department's review of servicers' compliance with the service members' civil relief act and i anticipate that i.g. report very soon. i will continue to press the department to fully address cases of service members who were overcharged and take corrective steps to make sure it
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never happens again. all borrowers should receive the highest level of customer service and protection under the law. of course, the role of education secretary has become especially important as the department begins implementing the every student succeed act. this new law gives states more flexibility but also includes strong federal guardrails to make sure every student has access to a high-quality education. i expect the department to use its full authority under the every student succeeds act to hold our states and schools accountable, to help reduce reliance on redundant and unnecessary testing, and to expand access to high-quality preschool. i look forward to hearing more from dr. king about his vision for implementing the every student succeeds act, to help every student gain access to a quality education regardless of where they live or how they learn or how much money their parents make. a good education can be a
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powerful driving force for success in our country and it can help more families live out the american dream. that's what makes education such a vital piece of our work, to help our economy grow from the middle out. not the top down. and as secretary of education, i hope dr. king will be a valuable partner in that work. i look forward to working with all of our colleagues on moving this nomination forward. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator murray. before i present dr. king to the committee, i'd like to call on representative bobby scott who senator murray and i both talked about. he played and indispensable new role in this law as ranking member of the education workforce committee in the house of representatives and represents virginia's 3rd congressional district. so representative scott, we welcome you and we know you have a busy schedule so after you make your remarks, you're certainly welcome to stay or to go, whichever fits your schedule. and then i will introduce the nominee.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. and ranking member murray. i want to join in the comments made about the work that was done on the every student succeeds act. the work that was done was cooperative and collaborative, constructive and i think we ended up with an excellent bill. you indicated the list of people that support it. would not have been possible without that cooperative effort. i want to thank you and the ranking member for that work. also that couldn't have been done without a cooperative committee. so i want to thank all of the committee members. and also thank you for the opportunity to introduce dr. john king, an inspirational and tested leader who is before you today as president obama's nominee to serve as united states secretary of education. our nation continues to make strides in closing achievement gaps, improving graduation
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rates, increasing minority attainment and higher education, but there's much more work that needs to be done in order to fulfill our moral and civil rights obligation to ensure that every student has the opportunity to fulfill his or her academic and lifelong potential. there's no one more qualified than dr. king to lead the department as it endeavors to fulfill that obligation, especially as we implement every student succeeds act. the fight for education and educational equity is a deeply personal and life-long fight for dr. king. his life is an extraordinary testament of the powerful role that education plays in creating opportunity. his life's journey, supported by new york public school educators he credits as role models, is a symbol of what we collectively seek for millions of disadvantaged students across the country. his belief in both the centrality of education a opportunity to the american dream and the vital necessity of
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the second chances for our young people are founded in his impressive and improbable journey, overcoming daunting challenges early in life, going on to earn not one, but four ivy league degrees, empowering young people as an effective teacher, school leader, and charter school founder. serving as education commissioner for the state of new york, and now sitting before you today nominated by the president of the united states of america to serve as the nation's top education official charged with protecting and promoting educational opportunity for all students. acting secretary king brings a continued commitment to advancing excellence and equity for every student, elevating the teaching profession and improving access to higher education, college affordability and completion rates. while it is impossible for me to highlight his long list of experience and accomplishments with the limited time i have, i would like to share with you just a few of his accomplishments. before becoming acting secretary, dr. king served at the department as principal senior advisor.
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in that role he carried out duties of deputy secretary, overseeing all preschool through 12th grade education policies, programs and strategic initiatives, as well as the operations of the department. prior to his arrival at the department, he served as the commissioner of education for the state of new york where he served as chief executive officer of the state department -- state education department and as president of the university of the state of new york. at the time of his appointment dr. king was one of the nation's youngest state education leaders and the first african-american and puerto rican to serve as a new york state education commissioner. dr. king also brings to his role extensive experience leading urban public schools that are closing the achievement gap and preparing students to enter, succeed in and graduate from college. prior to his appointment as senior deputy commissioner in the new york state department of education, he served as managing
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director with uncommon schools, a non-profit charter management organization that operates some of the highest-performing urban public schools in new york, new jersey and massachusetts. dr. king earned a bachelor of arts in government from harvard, a master of arts in teaching of social studies from columbia, a juris doctorate from yale and a doctorate in education and educational administrative practice from columbia. for his leadership initiatives and education equity, dr. king has been honored with the award from the new york urban league, the eugene m. lang lifetime achievement award from the i have a dream foundation, from the new york immigration coalition, the builders of the new new york award, and the robin hood foundation heroes award. many of you became familiar with dr. king during last year's successful reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education act, and no doubt found him and his staff to be accessible, responsible and responsive and collaborative. knowing the character and
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leadership of dr. king, i know that accessibility and collaboration will persist through the remainder of his term as he and his staff at the department work closely with this committee and with the house committee on education in the workforce and i could not be more confident that dr. king will effectively lead the department as the nation's tenth united states secretary of education. mr. chairman, it's my pleasure to introduce dr. king. >> thank you, representative scott. thank you for being here. dr. king has been well introduced by representative scott. we welcome him, his wife and his children. he is currently the acting secretary of education. before joining the department, he served as commissioner of education in new york, the managing director of the uncommon charter schools in new york, and co-founder of roxbury preparatory charter school in massachusetts. dr. king, we now invite you to
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give five minutes of opening remarks. and i know that if you would like to introduce your family we'd like to meet them. your written statement will be entered into the record in its entirety. then following that, we'll have a five-minute round of questions because we have a number of senators here who would like to talk with you. dr. king. >> thank you so much. thank you, chairman alexander. ranking member murray. and members of the committee for welcoming me here today. i am humbled and honored to appear before you as president obama's nominee for education secretary. i'm proud to be here today with my wife, melissa, and my two wonderful daughters, amina and mira. i am grateful to the president for his faith in me. i am appreciative of the committee's hard work and continued focus on behalf of our nation's learners. i'm mindful of how remarkable it is that i am here at all. as some of you may know, i believe education is the difference between hope and despair, between life and death even, because it was for me. i grew up in brooklyn, the son
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of two life-long new york city public school educators. although i never had the chance to know them well, my parents' faith in education continues to inspire me. when i was 8, my mother died of a heart attack. my father passed away just four years later after suffering through undiagnosed alzheimer's disease that made our home a scary and unpredictable place. amidst that trauma and uncertainty, school was my refuge and teachers were my saviors. and it is because there are so many young people out there like me that i feel such urgency about the work of education. thanks to the efforts of this committee, the obama administration and our nation's educators and parents, there are many reasons to feel hopeful. last year we achieved the highest graduation rate we've ever had as a country. since 2008 we've halved the number of dropout factory high schools. tens of thousands of children have access to high-quality
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preschool and millions more students have access to higher education. these are meaningful, positive steps. and yet so much work remains. for all our progress, students of color, low-income students, english learners and students with disabilities still lag behind their peers in nearly every important measure of school achievement. and in far too many schools we still offer them less, less access to the best teachers and the most challenging courses, less access to the resources necessary to thrive. so we have urgent work to do. i believe we stand well positioned in part due to the every student succeeds act. the new law preserves the critical federal role to ensure guardrails to protect civil rights. but the locus of decision making is rightly shifting back to districts and away from the one size fits all mandates of no child left behind. as a former teacher, principal and state commissioner, i know from experience that the best ideas come from classrooms, not from conference rooms.
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the new law creates a renewed opportunity to focus on equity and new freedom for state and local leaders to establish better, more balanced ways of assessing student learning. together i hope we can harness the bipartisan momentum of its passage to advance college access, affordability and completion. it won't be easy. the most critical work rarely is. but i sit here today ready for the challenge and mindful of its tremendous urgency. if you'll indulge me i'll close with a story about my father that captures that sense of urgency. my father was a teacher in new york city public schools. he loved to play basketball on the weekend. and one weekend he broke his wrist playing basketball, and so he had to have a cast on his wrist. he came in on monday after the
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