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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 7, 2014 8:00am-10:01am EST

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or not? >> be happy to. i think one of the important questions is why do we care about debt and deficits and how -- >> apparently we don't. none of us do. i'm not just beating on you. appearing on this care much about it. let me ask you about the deficit and debt. e we need to adjust the age of retirement for social security and medicare to sustain these programs over time? ..
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>> i'm just asking you, you gave ma ten-year outlook here. it's a simple question. i mean, ronald reagan and tipnef retirement for social security back this the '80s. should we look at doing that yet again and harmonizing medicare with social security age retirement as a nation? should we be doing that, republicans and democrats? >> i think the question is coming together on what are the first order things that people should change -- >> well, these are -- >> we propose what we believe are -- >> how about this as a good answer, yes, we should? republicans and democrats need to make structural changes to entitlements. together, theomers a day aree country would be better off. why don't we just admit that eventually we're going to have to adjust the age of retirement to save these programs from to
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>> on the means testing point, i think you know it is in our budget. on the cpi issue, i think you know that -- >> is it generally true that entitlement reform has to be adjoined by revenue increases? it's called the grand bargain, right? >> we believe you need both. >> so you've got $600 billion in revenue increases about a year ago, you upped the tax rates. i don't know how much revenue's enough. if you took every dollar from every billionaire, would that balance the budget? >> if you took every dollar from every billionaire, would it balance the budget? have not ever done that analysis. >> okay. well, i'll end with this thought. the flattening of the tax code, eliminating deductions for groups, billionaires, whatever group you want to include, i think it's an exercise that republicans have to embrace. and in return, we have to have meaningful entitlement reform. my problem with your budget is that you eliminate deductions in the tax cold, and you do
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nothing -- tax code, and you do nothing on the entitlement reform structurally. nothing that really matters x. there will be no money left for the grand bargain. so my disappointment is, and i'll just end with this thought, is that the president's got a couple of years left. after this election he's still going to be president. i just hope we could sit down as a nation, challenge the republican party to come up with a reasonable amount of revenue through tax code reform and have the democratic party come up with some real structural changes to entitlement before it's too late. that would be a good leg i for the president. -- legacy for the president. do you agree with that general thought? >> i am still hopeful that the idea and concept of a larger bar bane that goes -- bargain that goes beyond what we did to improve our discretionary spending -- which i think senator portman mentioned -- we were able to make some progress there, that that can happen. and i think part of why we believe that can happen is we reflected that the things we put forward we still stand by in our
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budget. >> senator graham, would you yield just briefly? you would assume that that tax revenue increase would be used to save social security and medicare, not spent on other things? >> i would say this, mr. chairman, that social security and medicare, medicare's been heavily subsidized by the general treasury. three out of four dollars, 60%, at least, from general treasury. so i want to save medicare from bankruptcy, and the reason we have long-term debt is the general treasury's going to be the funding source for medicare. as do social security, eventually you get in that same boat. i am willing to entice some of my democratic friends to reform entitlements. >> thank you very much. and, senator king, you've been very patient. you will be the wrap-up questioner here. >> thank you. the good news, administrator, i'm the last. but you haven't heard my questions yet. [laughter] i, i'm very interested in what
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senator graham just talked about, and i think it is a discussion that we should have and continue to have. i think one of the -- the good news is we got a budget, we got a two-year budget. the bad news is it has sort of lowered the level of intensity and interest in trying to find larger solutions to the longer-term problems which have been pointed out today generally do involve many of the mandatory spending programs. a couple of short points. one is, a lot of the discussion today of health care, and i think, frankly, some of the discussion is misplaced because it focuses, for example, on medicare. what can we do to solve the health care costs that's driving medicare? i think that's the wrong question because if you focus on that question, inevitably you end up shifting those increases in costs to either the providers or the beneficiaries. there's no place else to go. i believe that the emphasis ought to be lowering health care costs everywhere for everybody because it's a drag on our economy. as you know, we pay more than twice as much as anybody else in
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the world, our results are 17th-20th in the world, and there is just preposterous the amount we're paying for medicare in light of -- i mean, for medical costs in light of what we're getting. so i would urge the administration to continue to really look and work with us on structural changes, and there are promising results coming out of the affordable care act. we're seeing in maine a significant lower in accountable care organizations of emergency room visits and readmissions. that's a big -- they are a big savings, and that's where we need to be talking. you're nodding, i'll take that as a yes. >> yes, it is. i mentioned the 130,000 reduction in readmissions earlier. >> and, but that's where we've got to go. to me, the narrow focus op just medicare is really -- on just medicare is really misplaced. we've got to lower health costs for everyone, and there's plenty of room to do it given what we see around the world. next question, failing to
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support infrastructure is debt. it's debt just as sure as it's on the national books as the debt and deficit that we all talk about. and we're kidding ousts if we beat our -- ourselves if we're neglecting infrastructure, because eventually it's going to have to be built, it's going of to have to be repaired, and somebody's going to have to pay for it. do you agree with that? >> agree. pay now or pay later. >> a different point and that is i'm very concerned about interest and interest rate, and i think all of us are sort of whistling baas the graveyard on that. if interest rates went back to 6% on the national debt which it was in the year 2000, just the interest on the debt would be 1.02 trillion. if that number rings a bell, it should, because that's the amount of the budget that we just passed. in other words, the interest on the debt would equal the entire discretionary budget that was just passed in this body. and i believe we have to really
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be worried about that pause we've within lull -- because we've been lulled by these low interest rates over the last few years. i would like to ask your reaction to a proposal that would do tax reform -- everybody's talking about tax reform and where to get it, chairman camp and everyone else is, the difference is what do we do with the money? and just like senator graham, i would invite my colleagues on the other side to talk about a tax reform package where the revenues were dedicated -- i hate to use the term lock box, i'm old enough to to remember that ill use of a phrase -- but were dedicated strictly to reducing the deficit. because if we don't get that $17 trillion back, it's going to destroy our ability to do anything. it's going to eat up pell grants, national parks, the defense budget, everything that we want to do around here. and would you concur that there's -- how would you react to a proposal to do tax reform and dedicate it specifically to
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deficit reduction, not new spending? >> so a large portion of our tax proposals, actually, are dedicated to deficit reduction. and you are right, that is the distinction. >> but i'm talking about a legal mechanism, not just preparatory language. >> be -- well, pause we make clear our tax cut offsets are used for spending, the rest of our tax changes are dedicated to, as you're reflecting, deficit reduction. and i would also say having been a part of the creation of the lock box when we had a balanced budget, that actually was the objective, is by using the construct of a lock box it went towards deficit reduction which was about extending the life of the trusts. >> i think that's something that we really need the consider because otherwise all of us, democrats and republicans, independents, are going to be struck by the oncoming train of interest rates. finally, why don't we have a capital budget in the united states? it strikes me as odd that we
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kuwait building highways -- equate building highways with paying park rangers, and we're borrowing for both. it seems to me it would make a lot more sense, we could understand our budgets better if we had a capital budget and an or noting budget, and then we could -- and an operating budget. and then we could have a better -- i don't mind borrowing for building highways and schools and bridges. i do mind borrowing to pay ongoing operating costs. and if we had that distinction in our budget, wouldn't it -- everybody understand better what's going on? >> you know, i am open to conversations about how to think and talk about budgeting. one of the things i think that is challenging is the question, because we don't do multi-year commitments over a period of time in terms of how one pays back thing, so i think there are complexities in any of these things whether it's capital budgeting or some of the other budgeting ideas. but as always, open to any conversation about understanding ways that you think you can get around --
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>> i'd urge you to think about that. it's one thing to owe $17 trillion, the question is what do you owe it for and what part of that is legitimate capital which future generations should help pay for, because they're going to enjoy it. but future generations shouldn't be paying our costs of the ongoing budget of the epa or the faa or that kind of thing. so i'd urge you to give that some thought. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you very much. i want to thank all of our colleagues for participating today, and i especially want to the thank you, director burwell, for your testimony and your responses and just let you know that the committee really does appreciate the hard work that you and your staff put in on the budget and helping congress with our work throughout the year. it's a reminder to all of our colleagues, additional statements or questions more ms. burwell are due in by 6 p.m. today and, finally, for the information of everyone, we will reconvene a week from today to hear from treasury secretary jack lew on the president's budget proposals within the department of treasury.
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>> mad tam chair, if we -- madam chair, the witness suggested maybe secretary sebelius could answer some questions, maybe in the future we could have -- i know, senator. maybe in the future we should have her here because her department does impact the budget significantly. >> senator ayotte, we were just going to call it to a close. i think the vote has been called. we will give you a few minutes here if director burwell is willing to stay. >> happy to, madam chairman. >> thank you, director burwell. thank you for the last minute run-in. we've had, as you know, a lot of hearings going on at once today, so very much appreciate that. i guess what i wanted to ask you about this, the president's budget request seeks to improve the impact of federal investments in s.t.e.m. which is, obviously, an important issue that we care about. and so we've had this
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outstanding gao report out there that has talked about the overlapping and duplication in s.t.e.m. programs and, essentially, found that 83% of them are overlapping. also reporting that there was inconsistent in figuring out which ones work best and what are the measurement of those. so are you incorporating that in these budget requests, and are you planning to actually take up some of these gao reports that, unfortunately, have too many have been sitting on the shelf? because it seems to me that's something that i hope we could agree on a priority on a bipartisan basis. >> so, in terms of the gao reports, a coup of things. first, in the specific area of tele, there's s.t.e.m. reform in this budget. it is proposed, we proposed it last year. it was not accepted by the congress in terms of the changes that we proposed and the consol cautions that we proposed. we have reproposed it. we hope that it will gain support this year.
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second, in terms of the gao, we have included gao analytics in how we think about some of our medicare changes, in terms of places where they believe that there are overexpenditures, and some of that's in a number of places. and so, and the last thing is our cuts and consolidations, as we review those lists each year, there is some alignment with gao. >> well, i think this is an area where i hope that you certainly would do more, because with i believe that there's a whole host of areas if i had a lust -- i'm -- a list, i'm actually the co-sponsor of the duplication elimination act that a's bipartisan, and essentially what it would require is for the executive branch as a gao report is issued within a certain time frame to make the legislative recommendations to the congress on implementing themment so, you know, not just s.t.e.m. areas, but also we've seen duplication in areas of the pentagon, we see
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duplication in areas of even drug prevention areas which i'm, you know, i think is a very important mission. but you've got multiple agencies doing a lot of the same work. and, you know, there's lists of these areas, basically. and i'm hoping that you'll be more agrandsonnive on that in -- aggressive on that in terms of making proposals which will help us really review which programs are effective and which aren't and to make it actually easier to deal with the federal government on important issues. >> and i hope you'll see there are a number of areas in addition to s.t.e.m. where we do that and, hopefully, you'll also see an increase in the omb/gao conversations about not just in areas of duplication, but other areas where the management function of omb can build on some of the work of gao. >> so as i understand the president's budget proposal overall, that we're still with this proposal on the path to be at a point of close to $25 trillion in debt over ten-year
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window, is that true? >> when we look -- i'm not sure if you're using publicly-held debt or -- >> we're at, because right now we're at over 17, right? so as i look at the president's budget request based on the amount of debt where we would be in 2024 would be about $25 trillion using that measure of right now what we understand, not unfunded liabilities, nothing like that. >> so i think putting aside the question of gross or publicly-held debt, i think what we believe is the most important measure is considering the debt in the context of the signs of the economy, the debt to gdp. and as you look at the numbers in our budget and our policies, what we do is stabilize that debt to gdp ratio in 2015 and then take it on a declining path. >> well, i understand that measure, and, certainly, we could have a dispute whether how we measure that total debt, unfunded liabilities, but i'm just asking you this straightforward question of regardless of how concern even
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if you think the better measure is as compared to gdp, right now we're over $17 trillion, 2024, as i understand it under this proposal, we get to $25 trillion. is that yes or no? >> yes, in terms of the measure that you're using. >> right. well, that's the question that i asked, with that measure, 25 trillion. >> with that measure. >> so, essentially, this really -- as i view this budget -- this is one that continues on the path that is dangers for our nation in terms of the fiscal challenges that we face as we see mandatory spending growing at even higher growth. and, obviously, as well. so i think for us to get to $25 trillion in debt is not where this country should be, what the nation should be and certainly presents significant risks for us in terms of the fiscal challenges facing the nation. so we can dispute the measure,
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but with i just want people out there to understand where this, where we are going. it's not a downward trajectory, it's an upward trajectory. >> actually, i agree that helping folks understand the importance of these numbers is quite important, and when one thinks about the deficit, which is what contributes to the debt, that is on a downward trajectory. it has the steepest slope of decline that we have seen on a continuous basis since world war ii. and as a nation, i think what the american people are most interested in is the trade-offs that our fiscal policy isn't about a number, it's actually about what it means for them in terms of economic growth, job creation and people coming into the middle class. and when you have a decline that's the steepest slope that we've seen since world war ii, i think the real question that we should be discussing is do you want that slope to be more steep, and if you do, what are the costs in terms of the the sits that were mentioned but your d the deficits that were
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mentioned by your colleagues in terms of infrastructure and other things -- >> but, director burwell, do you dispute that the deficit then goes up again? >> in our budget window, all of our numbers, the debt to gdp and the deficit to gdp are on a declining path. >> but my question to you is, you say declining. so the desits under your proposal under your proposal are going to continue going down in real numbers? >> in terms of the debt to gdp -- >> no, not to debt to gdp, in real numbers. i'm not asking you debt to gdp. i'm asking you if i have a $500 billion deficit this year, does it go to 400 billion the next year, then a 900 billion and then a 200 billion? as i understand it, you have, actually, a situation where -- i don't have the exact numbers before me, but you have a number of years where you have -- several years of declining deficits, but then you go back to increasing deficits. >> senator ayotte, i'm going to
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let director burwell answer, and we have votes, and we are going to have to adjourn. >> the number stays -- in terms of the number that we are at the beginning of the window, it's 564. at the end of the window, it's 434 billion. during that period of time, it vacillates around a 503 billion level, but the every f over the period of the trajectory in real numbers, it is a decline. >> is there any point where concern. >> senator ayotte, we're going to have to adjourn here. laugh which we already did five minutes ago, but appreciate, director burwell, you staying and really appreciate your testimony, and with that, we adjourn this committee. >> thank you, chairman. [inaudible conversations]
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>> coming up morning on c-span2, live at 11 a.m. eastern, ukraine man professionals discuss the future of their country. and the brookings institute holds a discussion on ukraine. today, a summit examining the u.s./israel relationship. we'll be live from the event hosted by the nonprofit institute for research, middle eastern policy. live coverage at 9 a.m. eastern on c-span3. the conservative political action conference, cpac, continues today with speeches by kentucky senator rand paul, texas senator john cornyn, former arkansas governor mike huckabee and texas governor rick perry. live coverage at 10:10 eastern on c-span. and join the conversation on facebook and twitter.
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>> suffice it to say, most of health policy really isn't health policy at all. it is, essential essentially, budget policy. and so the congress just ducks on so many of the big issues and ends up putting together something that in the parlance of washington might be called a patch. maybe it's an extension, maybe it's called a stopgap. but the fact is, it ducks the big issues. out repeated hi ducks the big issues. and particularly on medicare when you have 10,000 people eligible for medicare every day, there is a very real cost attached with that. so now the challenge is to try to find a way to move beyond this fixation on budgeting.
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it'd be one thing the it was sound budget policy, but so often we -- as i indicated -- don't get at the structural kinds of issues. and move beyond this sort of lurch from one kind of budget calamity to another and come up with some sensible budget policy. >> this weekend on c-span, senate finance committee chair ron wyden on the challenges facing medicare and hospitals. saturday morning at 10 eastern. and on booktv, the historical and cultural ties between russia ask ukraine, sunday at 5:45 on c-span2. and on c-span3's american history tv, the grounds and architecture of george washington's mount vernon, sunday night at 8. c-span2, providing live coverage of the u.s. senate floor proceedings and key public policy events. and every weekend, booktv. now for 15 years, the only television network devoted to nonfiction books and authors.
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c-span2, created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> officials from the state department, usaid and the treasury department testified on capitol hill thursday about russia's actions in ukraine. after the hearing the committee took up a resolution condemning russia's intervention there. this portion is two and a half hours. [inaudible conversations] >> i'm going to call the chao to order at this time. we'll ask all the members if they can come in and take their seats for this hear aing, and let me begin by pointing out that ukraine is facing not one crisis, but a number of them. it's new government is
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confronting an economic and financial crisis brought on by years of mismanagement, years of corruptionit by previous goth officials.l cr government officials. and it is doing this while under military invasion and economic coercion by neighboring russia. the world has been speaking up, sending a clear message and, and that message is that moscow's actions over the past week are out of bounds. the new government in kievmo cannot succeed without strong and rapid support by the international community. working in close cooperation with our european allies, the u.s. is crafting an immediate assistance package. if ukraine is to stabilize its economy. only ukraine can help us help them. i'll also mention that later
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month, prior to the elections in ukraine, i will be leading a codel to the country because we must also help to insure that the elections scheduled for may will be fair, will be free and reflect the true voice of the ukrainian people in all regions of the country, a country that is becoming increasingly divided. and i think our oversight and engagement there right now is very important. a successful election is essential to ukraine's ability to resolve the many issues it's got on its plate and to advance toward democracy and security and long term toward prosperity. addressing ukraine's energy security must be part of our response. russia has repeatedly used its supply of natural gas to pressure ukraine economically and politically and has announced that it will significantly increase its costs in a deliberate effort to
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squeeze ukraine. fortunately, we have ab option to help -- an option to help count canner this threat; namely, reducing the current impediments to exports of american gas to the ukraine. the administration has it within its power to do this by removing the current bureaucratic obstacles that only empower putin. they should do so rapidly. this committee is working to provide appropriate assistance to all ukrainian people, but also to pressure russia to withdraw its forces and cease its efforts to destabilize ukraine. as part of that effort, immediately following this hear aing we will mark -- hearing we will mark up a resolution that the ranking member and i have introduced that condemns russia's aggression and outlines these steps. i strongly encourage the administration to increase efforts to isolate russia diplomatically. there is much that should be done such as introducing a
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resolution at the u.n. security council that condemns russian aggression, isolating moscow. the rest of the international community will support such a resolution. moscow alone will veto it, but it will increase the pressure. the treasury department should also make clear that the u.s. is on the lookout for russian banks that are involved in ill his sit activities -- illicit activities such as transfer of stolen ukrainian assets, especially those banks that are primarily owned by the government of or by the oligarchs. we also in our resolution lay out other steps that should be taken such as the limitation on travel. many of us have been calling for action, and last evening the administration called me to indicate that it was going to take steps on precisely these
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issues, the visa and asset bans here. and so we will look forward to that statement from the administration i think further elaborating the executive order announced early this morning. but we must remember that the purpose of our pressure on russia is not simply to puppish aggression -- punish aggression, and certainly it is not to escalate the confrontation. but instead, to move putin toward a resolution that protects the territorial integrity of ukraine. that is our ambition here. and as we look forward, we have with us today three administration witnesses to answer questions from members regarding the current situation in ukraine, and the administration's ongoing efforts to provide assistance to key ye and -- kiev and to pressure russia. the ranking member will be here
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shortly, and while he's enroute, i'll also take this opportunity to introduce our witnesses. we have limited time this morning, so before i introduce the witnesses, we're honored to have with us today the ambassador from the embassy of ukraine. mr. ambassador, we know that it is a very difficult time for your country, and we want to extend a very warm welcome to you. as you can see, ukraine has many friends on this committee. this morning we're pleased to be joined by representatives from the department of state, the u.s. agency for international development and the department of the treasury. a career foreign service officer, mr. eric rubin previously served as deputy chief of mission at the u.s. embassy in moscow from 2008 until 2011 before assuming his duties as deputy assistant secretary in the bureau of european and eurasian affairs. with other 20 years of
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experience in the region, ms. paige alexander is the assistant administrator of the bureau for europe and eurasia at the u.s. agency for international development. mr. daleep singh is the deputy assistant secretary at the u.s. department of the treasury. he advises the senior economic leadership at the department of treasury and the white house on global markets. and without objection, the witnesses' full, prepared statements are going to be part of record. i'm going to encourage you all to summarize and just use your time to present your viewpoints, and afterwards the members will have five calendar days to submit statements and questions and any extraneous materials for the record. without objection, as member offices were notified last night in light of our tomb con statement -- time constraint, we're limiting to three minutes to help maximize the
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participation of all the members this morning. .. if i could now go to our ranking member, mr. engel, whose family is originally from the ukraine, mr. engel from new york. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. deputy assistant rubinrubin. thank you for appearing before the committee today. and for your tireless efforts in support of ukraine. on an issue that is in the forefront of all our minds right now. the u.s. has strongly supported a democratic prosperous sovereign ukraine. in keeping th ining with this c, we supported a peaceful resolution of the recent crisis there as hundreds of thousands of ukrainian citizens came out in the streets of kiev and throughout ukraine to express their desire for a more democratic state.
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signalled that ukraine was back on the path, but instead of welcoming this event, as was the case in the u.s. and europe, president putin has reacted in a very different and very disturbing manner. so let me be clear, president putin's aggressive military actions in crimea fragrantly violate ukraine's sovereignty. they violate international law. they're deeply destabilizing and have serious implications for security in europe. all of us should be profoundly concerned about this and furthermore, justification for this is unsupported by the facts. there have been no persecution of russians in ukraine. all credible on serbservers agr this point. i believe this is a critical moment. must stand up for ukraine's unity and territorial integrity. russia has deep historical ties with ukraine and russia and
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ukraine should enjoy good and close relation. president putin must support ukraine's sovereignty and the right of its people to freely make their own choices and chart their own future. russia must also understand there are koconsequences for it aggression. including visa bans, freezing assets and banking sanctions. so president putin understands that this will not be business as usual. i call on our european allies and other members of the international community to take similar measures. i also support the administration's initiative. to send international observers to monitor the situation in crimea and other parts of ukraine. russia in turn should welcome such a mission and return its troops to its bases immediately. our other priority would be to help the government deal with the formidable challenges it faces. secretary kerry was just in kiev and this was the right time to go be an the right way to show our support.
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given ukraine's dire economic situation, we and our iron allies should be ready to provide a robust pledge. i strongly support the initiative to provide loan guarantees to ukraine and i'm very pleased that the house will pass legislation authorizing these guarantees later today. i also welcome the eu's announcements that it will provide very efficient loans and credits and will support ukraine's efforts to reach an agreement with the imf and implement reforms to address structural weaknesses. we should also provide additional assistance in areas of urgent need such as to help ukraine recover looted assets, combat corruption, increase energy security and counter politically motivated trade actions by russia. with regard to his last point, i also believe we in the eu must steadfastly support other nations facing similar russian pressure such as moldova and
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russia. i urge them to reach out to all groups and to work together to build a tolerant pluralistic society. must protect the rights of the minority populations and make it clear that it protects all citizens. mentioned as another justification for russian military aggression. i recognize there is a concern, but as the respected ncsj recently stated, i quote, although there has been isolated incidents in crimea and eastern ukraine since the protest began in november, there's not been a pattern of violence against the ukrainian jewish population. finally, let's thank the witnesses and the administration for its tireless efforts to support democracy in ukraine. as the people in ukraine confront the many challenges ahead, they should know the united states will stand with them. we will support ukraine's
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sovereignty and territorial integrity. to build a more democratic process and just future. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we're going to go to mr. rubin. >> thank you, chairman choice. memb royce. i'm thankful for this opportunity. i'd also like to thank my appreciation for the ambassador for joining us today. we very much appreciate his presence. let me begin by thanking this committee for its deep engagement on this issue. we've been heartened by the robust bipartisan support we've received from this committee. house resolution 447 introduced by the house in february 10 sent a powerful message that the american people stand wholly and unequivocally with the people of ukraine in their hour of need. you've notified us you're, ma g
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i marking up a new resolution today. our united efforts have demonstrated to the people of ukraine and to the international community that the united states is resolute in its support of ukraine's desire for a democratic, peaceful and prosperous future. i will talk about regional stability. russia's military intervention is ukraine and the international community to russia's action. i've submitted a more detailed written testimony for the record. i underscored the situation in the region extremely fluid and changing by the hour. i would also like to underscore the situation has changed as recently as this morning. which i'm prepared to discuss in further detail. let me also add a few words about my personal commitment to ukraine and its future.
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when i was the internal politics here in the state department. i helped open relations with independence ukraine in 1991. worked and lived in kiev from 1994 to 1996. i speak ukrainian and i have friends throughout ukraine. i've watched with horror as ukrainians were cut down by snipers in the heart of kiev. their determination, their courage and their assistaninsis the possibility of the future for themselves and their country. it is not about the united states. it is not about russia. the people of ukraine have made a decision about their future. has taken the steps of creating a government following yanukovych's abdication.
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these decisions have been supported by overwhelming majorities, including members of president yanukovych's party. the united states welcomed the formation of the new government and is working with its leadership as it ensures the protection of the rights of all ukrainians. as the international community look, for ways to help ukraine, you will focus on the efforts to build a democratic country reflecting the will of the people of ukraine. the decision of the ukrainian people regarding the government needs to be respected. russia's military intervention in ukraine has derailed the process. as secretary kerry said in kiev, the contrast could not be clearer. a russian government out of excuse, hiding its hand behind intimidations. the united states fully and unambiguously condemns russia's military intervention. we've repeatedly indicated it is a violation of territorial
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integrity. including russia's obligations under the u.n. charter and its treaty of friendship with ukraine. as well as russia's agreement of 1997 with ukraine. russia agreed in that treaty to respect the sovereignty of ukraine and not to interfere in ukraine's internal affairs. this is also a blatant affront to the 1994 budapest memorandum. we've taken action, consistent with the unacceptability of russia's military action. we have suspended preparation in the g-8 sochi preparationings. we have suspended military to military contacts. we have issued a statement with the unanimous approval of the members of the north atlantic council strongly condemning the escalation in crimea. nato was stepping up efforts to increase our commission. we are considering other
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measures to provide reassurance to our allies. today, the united states has marshalled the full package of measures aimed at demonstrating the u.s. resolve in the face of unprovoked military intervention. pursuant to the president's guidance, the state department is putting in place visa restrictions on a number of individuals reflecting a policy decision to deny visas to those responsible for or complicib co policette. undermining democratic processes or institutions in ukraine threatening the peace security stability sovereignty or territorial integrity of ukraine. contributing to the misappropriation of state assets in ukraine. without authorization from the ukrainian government and kiev. we've made it clear to russia and others that steps to undermine ukrainian democracy will result in further political and economic isolation should they continue on this path. mr. chairman, our focus remains
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on deescalation of tensions. the possibility of an offramp that could lead to the relaxation of tensions in ukraine if the russians are willing to take it. secretary kerry met yesterday in paris separately with the foreign ministers of ukraine and russia. the osce and the united nations are in the process of deploying monitors in the country. these monitors will provide transparency about the activity of military forces. and defuse tensions between groups. they along with senior delegations will offer objective on the ground information to counteract russia's flagrant propaganda campaign. let me be clear on this point. there are no confirmed threats to russian naval bases. the interim government is a body that represents the will of the
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people. i would also like to state before this committee that the united states is closely monitoring reports of anti-semitic acts. we take this issue very, very seriously. and i would like to concur would the statement that you made indicating that we have no such information indicating there are widespread anti-semitic incidents. we have been in touch with the chief rabbi and we believe this accusation is, again, being used to justify an unjustifiable military intervention. >> thank you very much, mr. rubin. now, we have five minutes for opening statements and so, page, if you could summarize, i think that's for the best. miss alexander. >> thank you for inviting me here today regarding the u.s. assistance package for ukraine. >> page, go ahead and put the microphone there. >> to recent events are
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momentous for ukraine and the response of the united states government is critical to the region's future. the u.s. is working with our international partners. especially the international monetary fund to provide needed support to ukraine's people and its economy as they approach this crisis. for peace, prosperity, freedom and human dignity. the very things that the people have been for the last three months explaining their concerns. as the chairman mentioned, for the upcoming elections, moving forward with a series of programs in five specific areas to help ensure these elections are free, fair, transparent and inclusive. we'll work to improve the legal framework to strengthen the election administration, support civil oversight of the process by domestic and international monitors. encourage civil society coalition tossing advocate for further reforms. promote a more balanced open and
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diverse information environment throughout the country. and support a robust yet a fairer political competition in informing the public through support of public opinion polls and ensuring training for our party poll watchers. we recognize the more inclusive and accountable governments will not be established with just one presidential election. over the mid to longer term range, we will pursue a multifaceted approach to strengthening ukraine's democratic institutions and processes. years of economic mismanagement have left ukraine with a heavy debt burden. we regulatory oversight of financial institutions and an uncompetitive business climate. the ongoing stability has led to a heightened insecurity, prompting the bank of ukraine to impose capital controls as depositors become wary of the soundness of domestic banks. recognizing the serious potential for failed banks, usdi will work to help provide banking supervision to increase
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public confidence. we realize ukraine's inefficient and import dependent energy sector continues to be a significant drain on ukraine's financial resources and this needs to be addressed in the medium term as well. so u.s. technical assistance will be provided to the government of ukraine as it makes important policy reforms and comb battats the corruption has prevented ukraine from reaching its economic potential. we need to revitalize support for the private sector which has staggered in recent years. usdi is working with agencies to develop plans to improve the financial sector transparency, refor the energy sector and improve the operating environment for private sector businesses. mr. chairman, mr. engel, members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to testify on the issues of great importance. not only for ukraine but for the region and for the united states. this is a critical moment for an opportunity for ukraine and
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usdie is well positioned to help ukraine meet some of its most pressing challengings. the ifm will be crucial to those efforts. this concludes my testimony. i'm prepared for questions. >> thanks, miss alexander. we'll go immediately to mr. singh. >> chairman royce, ranking member engel, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i visited kiev last week to meet with government officials and express our solidarity during this difficult moment. secretary lu has spoken several times with the ukrainian prime minister. who has assured us that the government is prepared to take the necessary steps to build a secure economic foundation. including the implementation of urgently needed reforms to assure financial stability, unleash economic potential and promote the economic aspiration, of the ukrainian people. the fragility of ukraine's financial condition underscores the urgency of its new government committing to an
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imf-led program and securing the financing it needs while difficult adjustments are made. the fragile economic situation in ukraine stems from many years of poor policy choices, lack of reform and corruption under previous governments. as well as it is negative confidence effect from russia's recent actions in crimea. ukraine's new leadership has declared publicly and committed privately its willingness to undertake the necessary steps to secure assistance from the imf and others and the united states has made clear that as ukraine implements reforms, we will work with our partners to support the ukrainian people and restore the country's economic and political stability. as part of this international effort, the united states has developed a package of bilateral assistance, funded primarily by a loan guarantee that is focused on meeting ukraine's most pressing needs. these efforts will complement what must be the centerpiece of an international assistance effort and imf program. only the imf has the capacity to
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provide the necessary large-scale re, sources and the expertise for agenda in ukraine. an imf program also sends the strongest signal of confidence to markets, businesses and households at a time when sentiment remains volatile. more specifically, the imf has the expertise to develop in consultation with the ukrainian authorities an economic adjustment program that eliminates unsustainable economic imbalances, removes costly and poorly targeted government subsidies and improves ukraine's business climate and competitiveness. the central role of the imf in this assistance effort is an illustration of why the imf is so vital to political interests. the imf is the world's first and more of the active responder in an economic crisis by providing financial support and hands-on policy advice. the imf helps keep our allies and partners strong and prevents dissatisfaction from spiraling in a political disability. this makes the imf role critical
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to our nation's economic well being. when instability abroad washes up on our shores, it results in fewer jobs and savings are hurt through financial markets. for the united states to continue playing a leading role at the imf as it helps ukraine, one of most significant steps we can take right now is to pass the 2010 imf quota and government reforms. why is this so important? first, the united states has the only major economy that has not passed a 2010 reforms. and our inability to act has led other countries to worry that the united states is retreating from its position at the imf at a time when its role is so pivotal to the future of ukraine. the refors would support the imf capacity to lend additional resources to ukraine if it meets bridge financing to a larger package. we should be in favor of providing as much financial flexibility and resources as possible to the imf.
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there exists broad support in the american business community for these imf reforms. the u.s. chamber of commerce, financial services roundtable, financial securities, financial forum and business roundtable all agree that these changes are necessary and in the best interest of american businesses and the global economy. part of the reason why the business community supports these reforms is it's a safe and smart investment for the united states. the legislation will not add one new dollar to our overall commitment to the imf. the imf has a rock solid balance sheet with liquid reserves and gold holdingings that excise all of its credit. on the imf since its inception seven years ago. our voice may diminish and we will miss an opportunity to bolster the fund's re, sos and economies may turn away from the imf towards regionalism.
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which means the united states will lose the leverage and influence it has built up over decades at a time when our leadership on the global stage is so critical. ukraine has asked for our support during this difficult time and the united states, along with its partners, should be ready to answer the call. thank you. >> thank you. in the interest of allowing our newer members of this committee to ask any questions and get information they need, i'm going to forgo my time and pass to mr. engel of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm going to only ask one question to give more people an opportunity to ask questions. i think i'm going to ask it to you, mr. rubin. russia's exerted intense pressure, especially economically, on ukraine in the past, and my fear is ukraine can expect more pressure in the months ahead. how can we and our european allies help ukraine and other countries such as moldova and georgia, which are attempting to build democratic states, resist
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this pressure? one of the things that worried me about leaning to this crisis is that putin in trying to lure these countries into its customs union offers them all kinds of goods, bonuses, gas, money, and the european union says, well, we'd like you to affiliate with us in the eastern partnership but there are 12 hoops you first have to jump through and if you jump through them and land on your feet, we'll consider you. i really think we have not -- the playing field has not been level leveled. and we create obstacles to having these countries enjoin with us to look westward rather than eastward. they all complain to me when they come into my office, and what can we do to change this? >> thank you. i would like to first talk about the economic aspects of your question. i think i can point to some recent action both in the european union and the united states to address the very
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concerns you're talk about. congressman, i think most importantly, i would like to talk about the emergency assistance we've announced. which is tied in with the key reforms the government needs to make to get the economy back on its feet. the european union announced a major package this week and secretary kerry in kiev announced we are starting to put together a package that will include a loan guarantee that we've already been consulting with members on the hill about, including this committee. i think it's very important to recognize the perilous financial situation that ukraine finds itself in under russia pressure but also under serious mismanagement. the new government has taken a promising set of steps and we believe that the new government is very serious about moving quickly to get ukraine back on its feet. it needs support. we're committed to providing that support. starting with not just the loan guarantee we're talking about but increased technical
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assistance and other form, s of aid. supporting ukraine with the united states as the leading part of that effort. moldova and georgia are very vulnerable as well, there's no question. we had the prime minister of georgia here two weeks ago at the white house meeting with president obama. prime minister of moldova also meeting with the vice president, the secretary of state. we're doing everything we can to help them financially but to provide the critical support for the democratic choices of their people. and we'll be doing that in the months ahead. but i think it's very important to basically underline the point that this is a critical moment when yave grnme m support now >> eric, your little too close to the mic. just moved back a little bit. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman, for calling this hearing and for your excellent bill.
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magnus to list, that's what i want to ask about, denying and revoking visas of russian regime members who are connected to belligerent actions in ukraine and freezing and prohibiting any of the u.s. property transactions are move in the right direction but now we must name and shame these persons, them and other putin officials responsible for human rights abuses. not just in ukraine but in russia as well. to the list which imposes similar sanctions. adding these names to the list would make these sanctions permanent rather than an executive order that the president can reason. i've already submitted many names to the obama administration to add to that list. simply passed the act under many names here, names, evidence of gross human rights violation but i will send a new letter to the administration asking for more
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names of human rights violators to be added to the list and i hope that my colleagues will join me in that letter it and the president must take similar action in venezuela where they continued suppression of the people who seek freedom and democracy and executive order of the president who talks with actions or policies that undermine democratic process or institutions in ukraine. he and his officials are also responsible for actions and policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in venezuela. now is the time to act. 16 of my colleagues sent a letter to the president asking for those similar powers under the international emergency economic powers act. so my question to you is, is the administration considering adding more names of russian officials guilty of human rights violations to the magnitsky list? is it simply historical document
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for academic to ponder? are we just going to stay with those few names that we put on the list and have not added many since then? >> thank you, congresswoman ros-lehtinen. we are actively considering adding new names. absolutely we take the legislation very seriously. i do not have any new information for you this morning but that is something that is under active consideration. >> gregory meeks of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me see if i can do real quick questions. first, mr. singh, i know the treasury department is working closely with the department of state and the white house on a loan guarantee package for the ukraine. ukraine. have you ta you talked about it briefly in your opening statement. i wonder if you can discussi in more detail how we in congress can support and improve the capacity of the imf to provide
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guaranteed -- a guaranteed loan package. >> thank you for your question, congressman. so the imf and any assistance package for ukraine that's going to be credible needs to play a central role. and the best thing we can do right now is to maintain our leading voice at the institution, the imf, that is going to be at the heart of the assistance effort. if we don't meet provides the imf with more financing flexibility particularly in the case where ukraine could need a bridge a short term assistance package as a means to get to a larger agreement with the imf. now the imf on the browned are looking at the data. we don't know yet whether that flexibility will be needed but it's a good idea to have it. >> miss alexander, as you
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prepare for the long term engagement and development of the ukraine, are you confident the interim government is a stable partner for the u.s. aid. so. >> thank you, congressman meeks. one of the developments, ukraine has is the multifaceted civil society. we not only work with the ukrainian government but we work with the civil society we've been impressed with the ukrainian government and impressed with the restraint and consider them good partners. so we're confident our money will be well-spent. >> finally, mr. rubin, i'm a firm believer in multly laterallism, in a multilateral way. i think it is vitally important for the united states to do that, to have the unified voice for russian towards their action inte ukraine. how can the united states, i
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think this is something you i want you to elaborate a little bitho more, engage the allies in europe to insure we have the same strategic goals and long-term planning for the continued prosperity for the u.s.-european relationship? seeps there have been some cracks recently. >> thank you, congressman. we actually made this a very high priority. secretary kerry spent the last two days in rome and paris following his visit to kiev working precisely on that and working with our allies and other interest governments. international community approach to supporting ukraine, ending this conflict, to convincing russia to withdraw its troops and recognizing ukraine's territorial sovereignty and integrity. this needs to be a diplomatic approach. we believe the calls of international community for this settled with n dialogue for russia, and ukraine to inpeopled talk about thisco can only happn if the international community
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is united and supporting this andg that is what is the secretary is doing in europe right now. >> chris smith of new jersey into thank you, mr. chairman. mr. rubin how do you assess the risk of escalation by miscalculation? with so many ak-47s pointing at eacho other, only one troop r one soldier has to fire and things could about out of hand. you p mentioned the osec monitod have been stopped. they can't get in. ih visited osc monitors in gong ga, elsewhere over the years. they have such limited capabilities to mitigate a firefight orat any kind of hospital hostilities. i was in russia a few days after the russians rolled into setia. they severalie times put their tanks on a road as if they were going into the belisi only to turn around if you recall that. their objective was south of
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setia. what is the objective of russians now. is it just crimea or other regions and cities in ukraine on the east coast or east area i should say in the cross-hairs? and mr. singh, if you could, sergei glasov said russia will abandon the u.s. dollar as reserve currency if the u.s. initiates sanctions against russia. how. seriously do we take that threat? sanctions have been levied as they ought to be. eurasian economic union, meeting with belarus and kazakhstan and putin about the union that comes in force in 2015, how does that play into all this? >> thankh you, congressman. the question of international observers and monitors is absolutely critical as you stated. we believe the best way to deescalate that very dangerous conflict, to sure there are no accidental incidents that lead
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to escalation have international presence, eyes aneers on the ground that. is what we've been sporting that. what the special envoy of the night made is secretary-general is there for. they need al el areas of ukraine access to all areas except crimea. they encourage monitors to address a mitigations of abuses. address concerns about minority rights. that is the way to address these concerns is through eyes and ears on the ground to have broad assessment of what is going on and witnesses to what is going on. we find the pact fact that monitors have extreme difficulty getting into crimea, performing their activities in crimea is very worrying. that is something we consider unacceptable and we believe all the authorities involved including the local authorities have an absolute obligation to allow that to happen. we will push to expand the monitoring. expand the scope
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of the monitoring. without that we fear it will be very hard to actual know what's going on. to answer your question as to what the russians objectives are, i have to say i think we all wish we knew the answer to that question of the we've seen that clearly one objective is to militarily occupy and control the territory of the autonomous region of crimea. we have con depped that. we consider it unacceptable. we believe russian forces must return to their barracks under their treaty obligations in thec basingon treaty with we wouldep certainly con dep any further use of russian military force on the territory of ukraine. we hope we will not see any further and return to diplomatic dialogue to end this very unfortunate situation. let me turn to mr. singh. >> the reserve currency portion of, mr. singh. >> congressman, let me give you a simple answer. russia doesn't get to decide the reserve currencies or united states level of interest rates.
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that's determined by our economic outlook and our monetary policy. we have the most deep and liquid capital markets. we have the most attractive investment environment. this isve not. we control our own destiny in this regard, not russia. >> go to to mr. seris from new jersey. >> thank you,al mr. chairman and members here today. i believe we should have strong sanctions. i don't believe putin understands anything else. howha can we get strong sanctios when europe ovei r the last few years has become more and more dependent on energy from russia. and for example, germany, because obviously they have something like 40% of the gas from russia. how can we get consensus to come up with strong sanctions against russia where they are so dependent? so, and the other question that iwi have is, russia is threateng that if strong sanctions start
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to impact their economy, they will go after the assets we have in russia, that are american assets. what are we prepared to do if they go after those companies and american assets in russia? >> thank you, congressman. let me address first thef question of coordinating scene shuns policy with our a lies and partners. the european counsel of the european union yesterday issued very cop hens sieve framework for imposing sanctions and the leaders of the nations of the european union are meeting today to consider that. we believe that our allies and partners in europe understand the seriousness of we are working very closely with them including secretary kerry in representative. we need to make clear to the russian federation there which be serious consequences for russia, the for the russian economy and russia's standing in
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the word if russia continues this current course of action. this is not threat or economic coercion on anyone's part. the international community is based on set of principles and set of laws, the united nationsn he sing caden i fine a act, awen gawkses members have towards each other it must be followed and basically found takes international system and postwar europe. this is clear mess an that russia has to return to to respecting those forms and commitments and those laws. basic principles of international law and all the other obligations countries have
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towards foreign investors and we take that obligation very seriously. >> mr. singh, can you address the issue of russia. >> sure. congressman, mr. rubin is right. we're working very closely with our european counterparts but the reality is, russia is a, it is a very large economy. it's a $2 trillion economy.rp 8th largest in the world. there r are interconnections ona the tradrge front, on the financial front, on the market front. it is important that we're proportionate in our response depending on russia's actions. keth respect to the energy question in particular i would observe there is codependence. yes, europe relies roughly a third of their energy imports come from russia, but so does russia depend on those earnings, export earnings to europe so they also need toa be careful. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> we go to mr. steve chabot of
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ohio. >> thank you, mr. chairman. president putin recent explanations for his actions in crimea don't pass the laugh test. putin suggests that he is obligated to protect his fellow russians in ukraine when crimea was last part of the oldim soviet union back in 1956 when i was three years old when it became part of ukraine and remained so a after the fall of the soviet union and advent of an independent ukraine in 1991. hi s arguments are weak and his actions are clearly in violation of international law. but unfortunately there is the perception at least that there is a growing power vacuum around the world and various bad actors are filling it. from the middle east, southum china sea now to ukraine. in the last few weeks we heard from the white house about consequences and all options on the table and so forth. it wasn't that long ago my colleagues will remember we were hearing about drawing a line in the sand and frankly i fear that there may be a growing
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perception among our friend and allies in the international community that the united states the area of foreign policy lacks g resolve. so i hope our witnesses this morning will bena able to alleviate some of those concerns. a couple of questions. where are we in regards to our cooperative efforts with our european partners. i heard some vague comments about consequences from european officials. how serious are they?s who are the players in the region that are working closely with us and where are the weak links? it has been suggested that some of our allies in europe would never agree to strong sanctions on russia because of the fear that their sources of energy supplies would be cut off. well here's an idea. perhaps our friend in europe would be able to avoid that fate if they in fact produced more of their own energy which is present but untapped because of their own domestic energy policies which we encourage. or even better. the obama administration could
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its anti-production policies, approve the keystone pipeline for example, open up anwr, encourage the development of urachal export program and the europeans could buy their energy from us while increasing american manufacturing jobs. just a thought. you a lot to think about. any comments? >> congressman, thank you. let me say that in terms of the insuring that we have unity of purpose and action with our allies and partners in europe this is our highest priority. again this has been the main e secretary kerry's work i the pasts several days in europ. we believe we've seen clear statement that is the leaders of the european union, of the european union member-states and of countries in europe not members of the european union are very serious about the threat that this set of developments poses, will take action and we're working very hard to coordinate action with
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them so we're presenting a strong, coordinated front onhe this. let me also say we've seenin action taken by countries not in the european union and countries in the european union to impose sanctions, to freeze accounts, other steps, visa bans to make clear there will be consequences of the violation of the international order. additionally let me mention it is our highest priority to insure that the solemner commitments we have under the north atlantic treaty to our allies in europe are upheld. we take the obligation with the utmost seriousness. we worked with nato in the past several days to insure we're prepared within the alliance to support all its members. we've taken action to expand our baltic air policing mission and detachment in poland. north atlantic council issued a very strong statement on behalf of all a the allies. we'll work closely with hem in the coming days and weeks to insure that the al -- alliance
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stands strong on this. diversification has been the heart of our policy toward europe in past 25 years under every administration and remains at the heart of that. obviously there is long way to go but we strongly belief diverse sources of energy, lack of reliance on single supplierwe is important for europe's security andve future developme, thanks you. >> we go now to mr. brian higgins of new york. or did you have a point you wanted to make, mr. singh? >> i was just going to make is clearly important to collaboraterk closely on sanctis but we should also acknowledge a very welcome announcement byke europe in terms t of theirle assistance to thear ukrainianon people. what is important we all comeno together as anwl international community and meet ukraine's financing needs as it makes the reforms it needs to achieve economic stability which will pave the path to independent political future. >> thank you, mr. higgins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. russia has violated all kind of
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international laws, including the treaty they signed with ukraine guarantying its boarders in return for which ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons. russia's occupation of ukraine is direct and clear violation of ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. president putin acted like a international street thug and in 1994 when russiave was included into the g8, it was in recognition that the post-soviet russia was behaving like an honorable member of the international community and not a rogue state. if russia's behavior has changed it would seem to me that russia's status as a member of the g8 should change a little more aggressively than simply suspension. their membership should be revoked. it should be revoked. nato, which is 28 countries i, including the united states and canada and 26 european countries
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was essentially a established to safeguard freedom and security through political and military means. it was a vehicle through which democratic principles could be promoted. any thoughts about the idea of permanently kicking russia out of the g8 and offering membership to the, to ukraine in nato? >> thank you, congressman. as the white house announcement stated this morning, we have suspended all preparations for attending the g8 summit in sochi and, as we've said previously, it is hard to imagine that the president would go under current circumstances. the larger question you ask obviously is something the president will need to consider andr i think this gets to the bigger picture question which is russia's role in the how russia participates as a member of the international community.
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under the structures and laws andhi obligation that is all members of the international community have toward each other. so i think the larger question is very clear. we, as i mentioned, take the north atlantic alliance and its obligations solemnly, seriously and we're looking actively to consider how t we can do more as an alliance to respond to this set of developments but i would also add that we've said all along that the alliance is based on aon set of values and commitments and principles. what kind of societies come together. e stated publicly for example, that the georgia will be a member. that was stated twice by the alliance and remains our position we believe societies and countries should should their alliances and friendships and organizations they wish to join. that is air basic set of principles. that is what each country should
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be free to decide itself. that is the most important principle. >> we go to mr. mike mccall of texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. rubin, i recently went to russia and i got the sense that mr. putin is sort of going back to a cold war mentality. this is more of a philosophical question. do you believe thatto russia's intent on reconstituting its empire? >> i think as i said earlier, i don't really want to speculate about why russia is doing what it is doing because honestly we don't know and i think what we have to judge simply what is russia doing? what wey ru see russia doing ist has caused so much concern and that is intervention on the territory of another sovereign state through military force and other coercive means. >> my time is limited. which they have done prior. i think we learn from history they invaded georgia. and then, they continued to occupy georgia. i think that is very instructive as to the ukraine experience
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today. in fact, crimea just voted to join russia. it was announced today. i'm concerned that the same thing that happened in russia will now happen in, happened in georgia will happen in ukraine and i don't know if these sanctions will stop that. that is my biggest concern. when one nation invades a sovereignty of another we usually, definitions are important. we usually define that as act of war. does this administration believe that the russian invasion of ukraine is an act of war? >> congressman, we said very clearly that we know what we have seen which is military aggression,ac intervention in te affairs of a sovereign country, violation of legal commitments, violation of international law. that is what we see that as what we're calling it. i'm not an international lawyer but i wouldn't want to get into terminology. it is pretty clear what we're seeing. it is clear that russia on coins
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occupy territory of republic of georgia. we've been clear in condemning and clearsi commitments all countries have to each other to settle disputes peacefully. that is certainly not what we're seeing here. >> we should call it what it isu you saidnt it is very clear. s it is violation of internag law. i believe this is very clear>> this is i act of war against another nation. when we, look at the nato, i think, i think mr. putin feels very threatened by european union. and nato. poland called for an emergency meeting of nato to discuss concerns about this russian aggression. what are we doing to insure poland andem other nato allies e protected? >> one of the things we're doing is increasing our aviation detachment deployment. we're also working to insure that the baltic states have the support they need to defend their territory and that is why we've increased our commitments to the baltic air policing
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mission with additional planes. and refueling. and we're working in brussels at nato to address any other concerns that the allies have.n as i said we take these obligations extremely seriously and we will do our utmost tons insure that the t alliance stand together. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> if i could make a quick announcement before we go to karen bass of los angeles, our strategy will be to recess. i think our witnesses know how congress operates. we have got amendments up on the floor to the energy bill. - there are- six of these amendments. two-minute votes. so we will recess until we get to the recommittal debate. that will give us time to come back and finish some of the questioning. with that let's turn to karen bass. >> thank you, mr. chair. i believe my question is believe and for mr. singh. mr. singh on page three of your testimony you talk about the ima and what is needed as an economic adjustment program that eliminates unsustainable
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economic imbalances and poorly-targeted government subsidies. i wonder if you could be more specific as to what those subsidies are, what needs to be changed? also is the imf support continuing on that. >> thank you, congresswoman. so that's precisely how the imfu works. itspp assistance is contingent upon economic reforms being met d these reforms are good for ukraine and the three core reforms that i referenced, number one, there has been unsustainable build-up in fiscal spending over the years in ukraine. that needs to be addressed. number two, the, there are truly massive energy subsidies that have been a part -- >> subsidies to companies or subsidies to the population? >> subsidies to the population, for tariffs on heating and gass and so forth. that led to consumption of energy that is among the highest in the region. >> would you be concerned that some of the reforms might cause
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problems, dissent, if subsidies are cut off? you know what i mean? >> that's why our notion on the loan guaranty is to try to direct the proceeds of thatof issuance. it's a bond issuance that we o have in mind and direct that towards more vulnerable segments of ukrainian society so those reforms are easier to implement and don't fall on those who least can afford to bear them. thenai the third piece apart frm moving on the energy subsidy problem, which i mentioned as led to overconsumption andth reliance on russian gas, i should say, is on their exchange rate. it is overvalued. cause them to made their economy uncompetitive. one last thing i should say is. very good news of political will we're observing on the ground we're seeing some movement on these reforms. the currency in ukraine has
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weakened quite a bit it is much more driven by market forces. that is condition much imf. leadership of ukraine has shown willingness already to move indi that direction. that is very positive sign. >> i know elections are supposed to be scheduled for may. do you think there is leadership there. or would the current person in power just run for rec hundred -- election. that is to anybody. thank you, mr. chair. >> >> congresswoman, the electionsa are set for may in presidential election for ukraine. candidates are not formallyid announceden. nor has anyone formally submitted their candidacy. the current prime minister indicated he would not be candidate and will run the interim government. we see what develops. but we believe it is absolutely critical there is fully, free, fair election in ukraine toen choose its new >> we'll go to mr. bill keating of massachusetts. would you like to have the
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last question before we recess? >> thank you, mr. chairman. couple of quick questions. number one, nato secretary-general rasmussen has said the alliance plans to intensify cooperation with ukraine. could you give us more detailed description in terms of nato's plans and if ukraine ran government were to request membership action plan, would the administration consider that, possibly support it? that is question number one. the other one deals with imf quota reform. would that improve flexibility and make sure our dollars and imf fund are more effectively used and we don't have squandered money? that important taxpayer money from theo u.s. and money from or european allies, will that provide more ability to maximize the use of that? so those are the two questions. mr. singh can take the second. i don't know, mr. ruben if you want to take the first.
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>> certainly congressman. thank you. on the question of ukraine nato cooperation ukraine has been a member of nato's partnership of peace for two decades and we havece very ex-extensive positie experience working together working with ukraine on training, improving readiness, on all sorts of questions that relate to building a modern military, civilian military control. that is something that we certainly hope to continue. ukraine has a mission to nato. we have regular meetings with the ukraine nato council. wen just held the session in light of current events at ukraine's request. so we have a very strongss partnership through theed partnership for peace. through the nato-ukraine council and we want to continue to develop thatng with the new government and in the future with the newna president. >> specifically with the membership action plan, i can't see, in the very near future i can see the need to address this issu te frankly because ourer options are limited now.
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and if ukraine is interested and wants us to pursue, will we entertain those discussions in will we be supportive. >> congressman we said from the that countries need to be free choose their memberships, their alliances, theirth commitments to other countries this. is the basic principle of sovereignty. as a matter of basic principleli nato isan an open alliance. in terms what the people of ukraine wants, what the government of ukraine wants is up to them to decide and we'll be interested in having that conversation based on what they tell us. >> on imf quota reform. >> congressman, the answer is absolutely. thisy imf quota reform would not require a single extra dollar of u.s. financing to the imf but it would preserve our lead role at the world's preeminent responder, the first responder to financial crisis. it preserves our voice and our influence at the institution that will be at the very center
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of the assistance in ukraine. and by the way, it also increases imf flexibility to respond to the situation on the ground in event of need for bridge financing to a larger package. it should be ato slam-dunk. >> thank you. >> mr. deutch, you have a minute. >> thankbr you, mr. chairman. i just have, i want to focus discussion in a different way. in addition to targeting individuals responsible for undermining the democratic process and threatening territorial integrity of ukraine are you considering additional robust sanctions that would have considerable impact on the a russianre regime? will you look to impose sanctions, mr. singh this, is my question to you. will you impose sanctions for those providing funding and syrian reagain to kill its own people? that is a way to strike russia in a way that is significant and appropriate. >> congressman, let me just say, we have not listed specific
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individuals or entities today but this is broad authority tha we'll use as appropriate given the situation on ground. >> is it appropriate, is it appropriate to pose sanctions on those individuals who in russia who areat assisting the assad regime in slaughtering its own people? no congressman, i only say this specific too al is designed to s allowow us to sanction those involved in destablizing ukraine and military intervention in crimea. i can't comment on your specific question on syria unfortunately. >> soud it does not provide thea opportunity. would you support, do you understand the opportunity though to impose sanctions in a significant way that would impact the russian regime and decisions they make by going after those who are responsible for aiding assad? that is the question. you can't answer? >> i will have to come back tous you withsi a full response. >> i appreciate it. we stand in recess.
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[inaudible conversations] >> this committee will come to order and pursuant to notice, meet today to mark up house resolution 499, condemning the violation of ukrainian solve
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ripty, ukrainian independence and territorial integrity by military forces of the russian federation. i now call up the resolution and without objection it is considered read and open for amendment at any point. furthermore without objection all members may have five calendar days to submit statements for the record or any extraneous materials they might want to provide. after my brief remarks i think i will recognize those who wish to offer amendments and, okay. after my opening remarks, let us do it this bay. any members who would like to speak on this resolution, let's get that debate out of the way. then we'll go to the members amendments, some of which will be accepted en blanc after they make their case. some will be voted on
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independently that are more controversial. i'd also like to thank the members for their cooperation in considering this resolution so quickly. as we heard during this morning's testimony, ukraine is in a very difficult, very tense situation. time is of the essence. congress needs to have its voice put in play soon on this and this resolution is a straightforward declaration by the house in support of freedom-loving ukrainians in their time of trial. it also condemns russia's unprovoked aggression in no uncertain terms. this resolution is one part of a larger effort to provide assistance to ukraine and to impose real costs on russia for its actions which this committee is working on. this resolution among other provisions condemns the violation of ukrainian sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity by the russian federation. it declares the you rainian
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people have right to determine their own future without outside interference. it calls on the administration to work with our allies to impose, visa, financial and other sanctions as appropriate. this action can not go unchallenged. the action by russia can not go unchallenged. as part of an effort to show moscow how isolated they are, world leaders are speaking out. the house should speak out as well. with that i will open to, committee to any comments that members would like to make on the resolution itself at this time. mr. meadows. >> i just would like to thank the chairman for his work and quite frankly for bringing this to the attention of the house and such a expedited manner. the chairman is correct in terms of the critical nature. every hour makes a difference.
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so i would just like to thank the chairman for his leadership and the committee for their work bringing this forward and i support the resolution. yield back. >> any other members who would like to be heard on the resolution at hand? mr. brad sherman, california. >> i support the resolution. happy to cosponsor it. i think it's important in this resolution not only to urge russia to do what it should do. i think the resolution does a good job of that, but to also urge those in kiev to broaden their coalition, to include people in the government that were with the party that actually won the last internationally-monitored election and to not adopt measures that would question the use of the russian language or
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reduce the level of official language status that the russian language has according to laws that existed at the beginning of 4 year. it is -- of this year. if we want a united ukraine the government in kiev has got to not be a government of the winners but a government of the entire country and i hope that that is part of the message we send whether it is empty text of the resolution or not and i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. mr. gray son of -- grayson of florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i support this resolution and strongly object to and condemn russian interference in any other country including neighboring countries. that being said i think that the resolution fails to comes to grip with the fundamental issue that is facing us around the
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world when we're addressing the situation which is this. the ukraine is an artificial creation and specifically a creation of lenin and khrushchev, slapping together a ukrainian population with a russian-speaking population and a russian ukrainian speaking population. time after time in an election after election we have seen a sharp geographic division in the country between east and west. in the west you have ukrainian, ukrainian speakers. in the east you have both russians and ukrainians who speak russian primarily. once again, over and over again we see in the west one party winning 80 or 90% of the vote, ukrainian party. the other party in the east winning 80 or 90% of the vote, the russian party. these are siamese twins joined at the hip and they need to be over time very carefully and tenderly separated. that is the only way we're going
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to see any sort of resolution of the situation. i would hope to see a u.s. policy that recognizes that. i would hope to see a u.s. policy that favors regional autonomy and right to self-determination to both sides of the country. it is clear now in the west there is a strong desire for the western part of the ukraine to join poland and other neighboring countries as part of the e.u. that is not shared by many people in the eastern part of the country. the russians and russian speakers in the east favor a different policy entirely. we have to come to grips with that. if autonomy means anything, it means the right to determine who it is who will be determining your future. in the west there's a desire to see the e.u. to help determine the future of the ukraine. in the east there is desire to see russia help determine the future of the ukraine. the area that the russians are now using military forces to try to control is an area that voted for the deposed government with
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over 90% of the vote. again, i don't in any way agree with what russia has done but i do have to wonder what point there is in engaging in this kind of cold war attitude, this us versus them attitude and failing to come to grips with the underlying problem. basically we're talking about a country that can not even agree on an alphabet. as long as that remains true, there will be no peace in the ukraine, regardless what we do or what the russians do. i yield back. >> yielding myself such time as i may consume, let me, let me point out that there are many countries in which more than one language is spoken but in the case of the ukraine when ukraine russians-speaking portion of the country, as well as the ukrainian-speaking portion voted
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overwhelmingly for independence. likewise, when the vote came on the referendum basically on yanukovych , to remove him from his post, 328rs, both east and west, from the east and the western portion of the country, voted in favor of his removal. that is 100 votes above and beyond the number required for passage. indeed the parliamentarians who belong to his own political party, the party of regents, voted overwhelmingly in favor of impeachment. the e.u. observers including polish, french and german foreign ministers were at kiev at the time and immediately affirmed to the media that there had been no coup. that in fact, the overwhelming majority of parliament had voted for a new government. now as ukraine goes to elections in may, this is an opportunity,
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it is an opportunity for us in the congress, as we stress in this resolution, to inencourage inclusion in the ukraine. we recognize that polling shows in the ukraine shows the overwhelming majority of people want an independent ukraine. yes, it is true, some look east and some look west and ultimately it is up to the ukrainian population peacefully through their elected government, but i think we cap assert the principle that ukraine be allowed to serve both those roles. to trade to the east and to trade to the west. to trade to the north to pole lan and to the south to moldova. i think we have opportunity also in engagement, i hope to do this in our delegation that we take with this committee in april in kiev, to stress the importance of inclusion with respect to different languages because so many conflicts start out over
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language. but in this particular case, if we recognize the history, part of this is because of soviet meddling in the past. the eastern ukraine once had an additional eight million ukrainian speakers. jo stalin unfortunately during the collectivization, forced collectivization of the country. moved them out to siberia. most of them perished, most of the population that was moved. subsequently there were the purges under the soviet system. so yes, russian speakers moved in but what is interesting about ukraine and independence is the overwhelming support from all parts of the country, whether tartar or ukrainian or russian speaking. given this important consideration, i think we have, we have here before us a resolution that carefully explains in a way that will help bring leverage to wind down this
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crisis our recognition that all minority groups need to be included there. and i think the template for democratic governance, and i don't doubt this will be difficult because ukraine does not have a history of compromise in its political system but what we are suggesting here and with further e.u. engagement, our hope is that we can help bring together the different political party and factions. the best way to do it, is what is in this resolution, calling for an election in which everyone goes to the polls and legislature which is representative and then bring in the reforms which end the corruption. because also a portion of this resistance you see in the country is to the historical corruption, endemic corruption there. that is the other issue that needs to be addressed and we are addressing that as well with the engagement of europe and the united states. and i will yield to
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mr. kissinger. >> i just want to make the point as republican from illinois, the united states actually votes quite differently based on geography and some cases seems like we speak different languages as well. we're able to stand together as one country to achieve a common objective. i want to add that to a chairman's point. >> i thank the gentleman. mr. cicillni from rhode island. >> yield my time to mr. grayson. >> thank you. responding to the point that was just made, if you go back and you look at the election results for the 1868 election and the 1872 election, here in the united states, at the end of the bloodiest war we ever experienced, you don't see the polarization state by state that you see in the recent ukrainian elections going back to 2004. there is actually a greater polarization today in the ukraine, determined by the
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election results than there was in the united states. there was no state voted 80-20 in the 1868 election. many, many provinces in the ukraine voted 80-20 for the pro-ukrainian party or the pro-russian party. that is a fact. that shows they reached end of the line. there must be some acknowledgement of fact that the people in the eastern part of the ukraine do not want to be part of the e.u. and the people in the return part of the ukraine don't want to be lorded over by russia. if we have any hope of progress we need to recognize that. we've had our velvet divorces around the world before. nobody claims anymore that the czech republic should be slapped together with slovakia. -- slovakia. sometimes a less peaceful manner which occurred with sudan and south sudan recently there are
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irreconcilable differences between the population. i will vote for the resolution but i think it's a shame that the resolution does not acknowledge the basic fact that caused situation in the first place. >> could i ask mr. cicilline yield me some time? i understand the gentleman's point. i would point out if we're looking at 1868 and 1872 elections, i'm not sure if you follow this logic that would be borne out because confederate soldiers were not allowed to vote in these elections. indeed, indeed the distance between the north and the south would be far greater if they had been given the franchise to vote. this is different than in the ukraine because in the ukraine after the collapse of the soviet union, those who had been on the side of the soviet union were allowed to franchise, were allowed to right to vote. would make that as an example of the fact that we in the united states have gone through
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something as wrenching, perhaps more wrenching with respect to the civil war and eventually come closer together. i think the point you make, mr. grayson, which is the most concerning one is about the fact that the difference with respect to language itself creates probably more of a impediment than anything else. and that is an area where we can weigh in. where we can assure minority rights and do so and articulate the fact that all minority rights should indeed be guaranteed and respected and, i think this way forward is perhaps the one way we can underscore your vision of trying to address this issue. i do not think a balkanization of the east in the ukraine would, based upon the polling that i have seen, it is opposed by the ukrainians themselves.
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i think a the about every resolution would be one, as i stated earlier, where ukraine looks east and west. think resolution overall urges that right to self-determination to all of the people of the ukraine. mr. cicillni, did you want to reclaim time to make a point. >> thank you, sir. you're like the timekeeper now. i just, i thought the chairman made a great point earlier and just wanted to reiterate, it wasn't lost in his overall powerful overall point. in terms of ethnic you cranes divisions this was engineered by russia, engineered by stalin. stalin intended to populate eastern ukraine or whether 2014 or some day after he did it some day he could claim legitimacy to that very important part for him. i hope that point is not loss, this was something engineered in the mind of stalin. i thank the gentleman from rhode
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island and i yield back. >> may i ask for some time? >> recognizing mr. grayson. >> thank you. just to be historically accurate, it wasn't stale lynn that added eastern part of the ukraine, it was lenin and it was khrushchev. so the gentleman seems to be misinformed in that regard. >> if i could, it was mr. khrushchev with respect to, if i, mr. grayson, yielding myself such time as i may consume, it was in 1956 that mr. khrushchev actually transferred crimea to the ukraine. thus creating the current, the current boundaries of the country and you're correct, mr. lenin prior to that. but, you know, so many countries across eastern europe are the consequence of these machinations over time and to and i think the bottom line
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again is that self-determination has to be left to the people of the country and i believe if we have a fair and free election in may that this will be the best way forward for the ukrainian population. let me recognize mr. connelly from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wish to associate myself with your remarks, mr. chairman. i certainly appreciate mr. grayson's reminding us of the historical context but where do we go with that? i'm concerned about two things here. one is, there is no end of boundaries and borders we could start redrawing based on artificiality or convenience from the middle east to africa, to, as you point out, mr. chairman, former soviet
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republics. many boundaries are very arbitrary and, you know, we've paid a price sometimes for that arbitrariness but to go back in and decide we're going to redo them all because somebody in history got it wrong i think is somebody else's task way beyond the work of this committee. secondly i also believe that the danger of dwelling too much on that is that unwittingly, unwittingly gives a rationale for what putin has already done. the fact that crimea was added to ukraine in 1956, is in no way, i know mr. grayson is not suggesting this, in no way justifies what russia and putin has done. who wants go down that road in terms of that justification? so i believe the resolution in front of us is a balanced one, as you suggest, mr. chairman. and i intend to support it. i yield back the balance of my
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time. >> did mr. kinzinger want some time or is he -- all right. >> mr. chairman, i would yield back the balance of my time. unless mr. grayson wants more time? >> i would simply reiterate that i have already indicated that i support the resolution but i think the resolution is at best a half measure that doesn't acknowledge the underlying cause or attempt to come up with a solution. self-determination has to be the key. the way to self-determinemation in ukraine is devolution of local autonomy and perhaps ultimately through independence. i don't see this crisis ending in any real way without that happening. i yield back. >> i'm going to close my arguments, yielding myself such time as i may consume with this point. the resolution does not assert a position on crimean secession. what it does is call for all citizens in ukraine to respect
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the current government authorities, and that's a necessary step promoting stability and rule of law in the country. the resolution also calls on the ukrainian government to protect the rights of all minority populations in ukraine which is important particularly for ethnic russian minorities in the eastern and southern regions. i think mr. duncan of south carolina was seeking recognition. >> i thank the chairman for his effort here. you know i appreciate the comments that brought this into historical perspective. the time and history i think about as we talk about the ukraine is 1776, 1777. i think about a people in the ukraine that are speaking liberty and seeking self-governance and i think about when we talk about the crimea and we talk about the different ethnicities of the ukraine territory i think about should we be cons stating on --
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concentrating trying to engineer another state or should we let the ukrainians deal with that? and definitely the russians are involved in not just the crimea but by sinking one of their ownerships and blocking the naval passage for the ukranian navy to have access to the black sea for their own protection and own protectionion of their maritime fleet of the we definitely see russia social engineering and militarily involved there so when i think about 1776 i think about this being the ukraine 1776 moment, pursuing self-governance, pursuing liberty, things we take for granted in this country. i also think about their desire for help from another free country, the united states of americas and i think about the french courts at the time in 1777 when ben franklin is asking for financial aid so that this fledgling nation could win its war and win its independence and actually pursue self-governance.
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and so as we debate and vote further on today with financial loan guaranties we need to keep in mind we wouldn't be here had not another country stepped up to provide that opportunity for us, and with that, mr. chairman i yield back. >> thank you. before we go to the enblank are there any other members seeking recognition on the underlying bill? seeing none, in order to expedite consideration and with the prior concurrence of the ranking member i ask unanimous consent that the following amendments which members have before them be considered enblank. holding amendment, 15, kennedy amendment, 8, kinzinger amendment, 10, med doughs, amendment, 32, perry amendment 31. without objection so ordered. do any members seek recognition to speak on any of the enblank items that they have -- en blanc
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items. mr. kennedy from massachusetts. >> and i want to support for my amendment. includes amendment i would offer include a resolution the house already passed on february 10th, additionally to add a clause and have some grammatical corrections to make sure that clause fits in, to state that the quote, instability forced in the ukraine forces 230 peace corps volunteers out of ukraine. mr. chairman, as you're aware, i am a former peace corps volunteer. organization that has special place in my heart. recognizing on february 24th, 2014 peace corps announced that all peace corps volunteers in ukraine are safe and accounted for but had to be evacuated and rounded up and evacuated. peace corps had been work in ukraine since 1992 under
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agreement brokered by president george bush and the former ukrainian president. to date, 2740 american volunteers lived and worked in ukraine, fostering competitive, collaborative, croptive spirit between our two countries. fostering foreign exchange of information and best teaching practices. social economic development working in tandem ukrainian communities, assisting local institutions fostering cooperation between non-ngo government entities and private enterprises. most importantly for me, mr. chairman, peace corps volunteer alex kaplan, native of my district, one of many americans evacuated from ukraine within the last two weeks as the crisis escalated. he was teaching secondary education at a local school as well as volunteering at local animal, homeless shelter and
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several language clubs. he talked in recent article, interview about the strong bonds he formed with his community and most importantly the fact he would go back in a heartbeat to continue his service once the threat subsides. since inception of peace corps volunteers like alex embodied the spirit of service, peace and cooperation that are a fundamental pillar american foreign policy their inclusion in this resolution underscores enduring commitment to those values and endorse world freer and fairer than before. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. perry of pennsylvania and mr. sherman of california. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i want to just speak on behalf of my amendment regarding the paramilitary forces in crimea. it seems that mr. putin continues to propagate the myth that russia does not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations. the fact is, that russia has a very long history of interfering in former soviet states. it seems mr. putin mourns the
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loss of the empire and has set win of thinks goals to reconstruct a modern version of it through his proposed you rash shan union. to do so he needs ukraine and doesn't need a democratic revolution so close to moscow that threatens his defacto autocracy. he reserves the right to resort to economic blackmail. in georgia in 2008 and now ukraine, military intervention to keep his neighbors in hine. russia has been stoking sepulveda a activity sentiment in crimea and now doing it at gunpoint. strong evidence suggestions that members of russian security services are at heart of highly organized anti-ukraine forces in crimea. they wear uniforms without insignia, violation of international law by the way, they drive vehicles with russian military license plates and freely identify themselves as russian security forces when asked by international media and ukrainian military. my amendment, simply reflects the consensus of the
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international community and identifies reality of the facts on the ground calling on the russian federation to end its support for separatist and paramilitary forces in crimea and i yield back. >> thank you, we go now to mr. sherman. >> just a brief comment. the meadows amendment does call on the president not to attend the g eight or -- g8 or g7. i support that but with the hope that russia will respect the territorial integrity of the ukraine and nothing would make me happier than for russia to do the right thing and the president to enjoy his trip to sochi but i don't want to offer an amendment on this. i think it is understood that we're calling for this boycott on the assumption that the russians don't get the message between now and then. >> thank you. we go now to mr. holding, north carolina.
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