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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 7, 2014 6:00pm-8:01pm EST

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is put together over the years is to find out where conservatives stand on the important issues on immigration reform, for example, or all of the others and that is what we look to when we analyze those results. >> host: david keene is our guest from the "the washington times," the opinion editor. we have a call from la crosse wisconsin on the democrats line. .. conservatives that they have lost the popular vote 5 times in the last 6 national elections? see from thean speeches, the body is moving further to the right. nobody is going to vote, independents and others are not going to vote for someone that far to the right. guest: that is what i say about the democrats, they keep moving to the left. it did not bother bill clinton
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that he only got 43% of the vote. any political party in a two-party system has to shape its message and its product to get a majority of the vote. there are anomalies, of course. we have the electoral college, which can make the difference on the margin. and we can have third-party candidates as we had with the perot candidacy when bill clinton was running. is asking,uestioner he is asking it rather sarcastically but it goes to a good point. as changes take place in the country and people focus on different problems, the job of a party and a coalition of people with strong beliefs is how to apply their values in a way that will attract majoritsupport. how to apply their values in a way that will attract majority support. i don't advocate the democrats give up what they believe in or
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the democrats but give up what they believe in but i do think it's important that if you believe strongly in something and if you are in the political sphere you have to figure out how to make those values connect with voters. you have to figure out how to communicate those values and you have to develop programs that help voters, that help the economy based on those values. if you can do that you are going to lose. i happen to think republicans and conservatives can and are doing that. >> host: tom in hand over 10 ohio on our republican line. you are on the line for "washington journal." >> caller: what i would like to see is when you're going to the internet and checking people out and stuff i would like to see a scale of one to 10 on each of them and let people number them. almost everyone so far has been
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on the cpac. i am all for them. jeb bush, i'm not for him. i just don't trust the bushes or anything. i've seen what's going on in florida and everything too but the rest of them you picked a lot of good men and they have values and integrity. this is what the country needs is values and integrity. i really appreciate what you do in advancing that. that was very nice. >> host: mr. keene. was jeb was invited do you know? >> guest: i don't know because i'm not charge of the invitations but jeb was here last year and spoke to cpac that then and you know as governor of florida he was a pretty good conservative. he was a market problem nationally because you can only think of the fact that if we had coming into the next presidential election at turned out to be bush versus clinton again we would have voters all
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across the country slashing their wrists. >> host: sea dog tweets in to you what ideas to cpac have for making joe sixpack's life better? >> guest: well i think that that is what it's all about and conservatives believe and history has shown this to be true that if you provide an atmosphere in which entreprenentrepren eurship can flores, you create jobs and you make life better for everyone. if you cut taxes in a way that both stimulates the economy and puts more money into joe sixpack or anyone else's pocket you help both the economy and the life that they live. that's really the difference between conservatives and liberals on the economic front in addition to which the one thing that this country stands for is freedom to make your own decisions and most of the folks that i know, and i grew up in a
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union family. my father ran a bar where joe six pack bought his sixpack. americans value freedom and that is what conservatives stand for. >> host: nick in fairview tennessee on a independent line. our guest is david keene from "the washington times." >> caller: yes, i hope that the democratic party is -- in establishing republican party stupid. they sit there and they don't know how to be tough. that is why romney got whipped in that is why mccain got whipped and that is why dole got whipped. no matter who it is democrats are going to find everything they can no matter what and destroy them because they don't have anything. they fear the tea party because we understand. we don't negotiate with the enemy. please comment.
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>> guest: i will. let me use by way of case study a reference in this last presidential election. going into at president obama and his supporters knew very well that you was going to lose millions of voters that have supported him in 2008 because he hadn't been able to deliver or didn't try to deliver on any promises that he made and his presidency was far different than the one he promised. they realize they're for what they had to do was first of all make sure that those voters didn't move over to the republican candidate which you would expect under normal circumstances when that kind of thing happens and they had to create a situation where voters would say well maybe president obama hasn't done that great a job but he sure better than this other guy so they set out in the summer before that election to demonize republicans and to demonize mitt romney in targeted states and it works. he didn't respond to it. he didn't respond to it is his
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reaction was and we now know it was nobody's going to believe that sort of thing. people will believe that if you don't respond to it and if you're not tough enough to come back. i don't happen to think conservatives or republicans should use the dirty tactics that for example the obama campaign used in this last election but i do think that they have to be tough and they have to get their message back out. they have to talk and articulate their values and they have to respond to attacks and get the truth out there for voters to recognize. you know sometimes voters don't get what they bargained for and i think that was true in the 2012 election because the narrative the president put out of obamacarobamacar e is for example and a number of other things had very little relation to what he actually intended to do so people voted for a candidate that wasn't really the candidate that they got.
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in other places they get what they voted for and if you are in that arena it's a tough arena and you have to make sure that when they vote they know what it is they are choosing between and if they know that i'm confident conservatives and republicans will win. >> host: david keene, and kohlmeier tweets and what do you find objectionable about mcconnell primary challenger matt evan? needs clarification. people have mcconnell fatigue. >> guest: i think one answer the previous question i said i'd him a believer in the primaries. i think voters have every right to put up whoever they want. i also said that if i were in kentucky i would vote for mitch mcconnell. as a voter i have nothing against him but mitch mcconnell over the years and now has been a very tough senate leader dealing with and often we
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can't in a minority situation, the senate but all the way back to campaign finance reform and the like mitch mccampbell has stood up -- mitch mcconnell has stood up and fight for values that we care about. mitch mcconnemcconne ll has been around for a long time and maybe some people are tired of mitch but i think he's done a good job and i think he deserves re-election. that's nothing against his opponent and nothing against the primary but it is support for a fellow that i think is done a pretty good job under very adversarial circumstances. >> host: mason is calling in from ohio on our democrat line. >> caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. i have two questions. the first is of all the speakers you are right they did have one thing in common and that was for i hate to use the word hate and that's a little strong but let's say strong dislike for the president of the united states and they have a lot of very rude
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disrespectful and mean things that they said yesterday. i was curious how you've dealt about what they said and do you support language such as some of the things they said yesterday about the president of the united states and the second thing i have this on conservative outrage. i hear you say the language needs to change in the conservative movement needs to incorporate more people when they are talking about policies. well i have got to say actions speak louder than words and you can say and use whatever rhetoric or spend that you want to but the problem is you need to support the people you want to outreach to. >> host: thank you. anti-president obama rhetoric and concerted outreach. >> guest: the last poll shows 38% of the american people approve of the way the president is handling his job so i think you can expect not for partisan reasons but for substantive reasons some harsh criticism of
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the way this administration is that in. you know the "washington post" fact checker at the end of last year's said the lie of the year was the president of the united states suggesting medical care that if you wanted to keep -- if you wanted to keep your doctor you could keep him period so this is a president who has disassembled and assembled and it is a president who has made and runs around constitutional guarantees. he has ended up in court on some of these things. this is a president who a lot of people, not just conservatives, are very upset with in the way way -- a democratic professor from george washington university who testified before the senate recently and the presidents overreached said i agree with barack obama's policies but i think that he is endangering the constitutional structure that has allowed this country to be free for so long and i think we
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are hearing a tipping point in terms of the constitution because of his actions which are unconstitutional. those are strong words. they come from a liberal democrats so you are going to expect that sort of thing. you know if you look at rhetoric and reality and you look at the way this administration has acted most of the policies that he has adopted at 10 most harmful to the groups that have supported this president the most strongly particularly minority groups. the unemployment rate among minority voters is much higher than it was in the past. everything from the minimum wage proposal that the president has made will make it virtually impossible for many people to get their starter jobs that they need. the regulations that have been put onto banks and the rest are going to make a more difficult for these people to realize their dream of homeownership. there are all kinds of things and yet your caller and i
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understand her partisan support for the president and that's fine but i think that i think that she needs to ask those questions about her party and about her president because it isn't the republicans who have been claiming as harry reid and the president had that republicans are unpatriotic if they criticize the policies of this president. >> host: the next call for david soap one of "the washington times" comes from joey on our republican line los vegas. hi jelly. >> caller: good morning mr. keene period romney would have won the election hands down all he had to do was ask president obama. when you got caught on the open mic saying he would be more flexible because either right or wrong or good or bad so it had to be something bad that he had intentions of doing with putin. he had no answer to that. also i would like you to
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investigate franklin rains who got $90 million in five years from fannie and freddie. he's the person that wrote the checks to the 90 million is still working for fannie and freddie. how did he get that $90 million for five years? and then if you want to put a stop to the democrats all you have got to do, there was a sitting congressman on the greta van susteren and show and said isn't there and agency that oversees the safety on these grids and the congress --. >> host: joey we have some issues on the table. let's see what mr. keene would like to respond to. >> guest: well i think if you look at the president's performance and the performance of this administration we focused because of the focus the american people usually have reticulated and bad economic times when we try to come out of
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a recession on domestic policy but the obama administration has completely failed internationally. not failed partly but failed completely and john oldman the former ambassadoambassado r made the point at cpac yesterday that while all of these other issues are important to us we cannot forget and we cannot fail to focus on what's going on in the world because the united states today as the president put it trying to leave him behind has stepped back and he thinks that leads to peace. it doesn't. in recent memory the president used american troops less than any other modern president was ronald reagan because he believed that the country with you were going to have to do that. the signal was going to be clear that does this and tyrants had to be a little bit careful and they were. what you have got now, the
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ukraine and you've got it in asia with china going after some islands declaring sovereignty over parts of the ocean that they have no right to declare sovereignty over. all around the world you have people like this saying you know the u.s. has checked out very at maybe we can do what we really have wanted to do and haven't been able to do in the past. so i think there is going to be some focus on the foreign policy of this administration as we go forward because it has been an unmitigated disaster. >> host: wayne lapierre spoke yesterday at cpac and you served as president of the nra for a couple of years. freeland tweets in mr. keene do you believe in the majority rule because the majority of america wants background checks before gun purchases. >> guest: that depends on how you ask the question. we represent at the nra when i was there not just the now five
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.25 million people who are former members of the nra but perhaps 50 million people who vote on 2nd amendment questions. in the amendment we oppose what we call a background check bill the to me manchin bill. it was simply a way to interfere with doing nothing about crime or mass violence that was a way to interview with gun owners rights and also we were very fearful in the way it was did it would allow the federal government to do with the justice department and the fbi and others have wanted to do for a long time which is to establish a national gun industry which is illegal under registration in this country the president of the united states suggested they been saying we were simply lying. it was interesting to me that the week before the election the american civil liberties union came out instead we have examined this legislation. the nra is right. we don't need anymore of these kinds of registers. we have enough people keeping an
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eye on everybody else in the government ought to be backing off so we are very proud of the fact that we have the nra opposed that so-called universal background check. the system that is in place isn't working and it's a system that we have supported in the past but the government has not gotten it straightened out so that most of the people that are prohibited from buying firearms are not people who should be prohibited, not convicted felons, not dangerously mentally ill people but people who are false positives. a little bit like under tsa when senator kennedy went to the national airport and wasn't able to board a plane because he was on some sort of databases that he was dangerous. they haven't fixed a lot of these things in the background system and we just don't think that adding to the burden of americans with a perfect right to exercise their second amendment rights, we have had no impact on crime but just to grow
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the government so they can keep an eye on people is not a good idea. we opposed it then and we oppose it now and interestingly when people realized not just legislators but when people realize exact to what was in this legislation and what it would lead to your callers mention of great support for the idea began to crumble. when people know what it is it doesn't have anything approaching majority support. >> host: john is calling in our independent land from portage maine. good morning john. >> caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. good morning general -- gentlemen. i have a hypothetical question for you. [inaudible] i wanted to ask you how you felt about ralph nader and ross perot
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the two of them got in there how things would be different and i will take, go off the air and get your response. >> guest: i assume what you're asking is my opinion about third-party candidates. obviously they have every right to do that that problem with the two-party system the kind of system we have if for example i was to support somebody running as a third party conservative in the national election that would aid the liberal democrat in the national election because we take votes away from probably the more moderate conservative running against them so the question is what do you want? do you want to make a point? you have every right to make that point and these candidates like ralph nader and the others have a right to make a point or do you want instead to try and move public policy in the way the country is governed in the direction that you believe it should be going in?
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in the two-party system that means that what you need to do it seems to me is in the final analysis after the primaries take basis support the coalition that is closest, closest to your values. >> host: the front page of your paper this morning mr. keene it returns to find gop without that bone. interview with tom delay who serves on the political conservative union action board and he regrets the gop does not have it back bone. >> guest: i think what tom is reflecting is the feeling of many people that perhaps the republicans in congress could have done more at least on the margins to move things in the right direction. the fights with the president and it's interesting as the senator of course president obama was all in favor of
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confrontations with the president including -- and as president he has refused to negotiate on anything. you know during the inaudmacinaudmac k and under the reagan administration and was shut down five times. the fights then were over missiles in europe and abortion policy. in each case the president of the united states and jim baker did a piece for a paper about how reagan handled this. he said the buck stops here and he got together with congressional leaders and in very short order work something out. this president or political reasons refused to negotiate with his opponent saying let's just see if we can't force this into a way that will hurt the republicans. the republicans have backed off on almost anything prior to the next election. some of that is natural because ultimately if you have a president who does not believe
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in governing so much is running a campaign, if you have a president who's willing to risk everything by saying i'm not going to negotiate with you on anything, remember the health care law whereafter saying he was going to talk with everybody he wouldn't include republicans and the drafting of it. he didn't get any votes than it was the first major thing ever to pass like that without some kind of bipartisan support. if you got a president who is willing to do that you have to find some way to get the votes you need in congress to support it. so again this is a strategic and tactical question. i'm not so sure that it's a lack of that bone. i am sure that it's perhaps overly cautious in terms of operating and making challenges because of the nature of this president and his unwillingness to even talk with people he disagrees with. >> what is your talk on job -- what is your take on john
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boehner? >> i think boehner has had a tough time up there because he has a caucus that is very divided. he has members of that caucus who want to push harder than others do and yet he has got to try to pass things that will get some kind of support in the senate. the republican house has passed dozens of really good bills. none of them have moved because the senate has thwarted every single one of them so i would hate to be in his position. lord knows why anybody would want to be because that's a really tough job right now. >> host: sherry is a democrat in oklahoma city. hi sherry. >> caller: hi. mr. keene you know the republican party has been talking about shaping their message and you know making sure that they can supposedly reach out to minorities. however, actually i like the
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fact that you all say what's on your mind. out of the hearts of man and the mouth speaks and you in your attempt to sound like you are a legitimate individual who is looking out for the well-being of this country, have even shown yourself to be no more than someone who wants to push back all of the policies that have helped people you know who are either minority or who fall under certain income levels. you are a corporate sponsor, individual and you weren't looking -- this new republican party is made up of two factions. that is the corporatist who are for big business and members of white supremacy groups.
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>> host: sherry we have a lot of opinion on the table. let's hear what mr. keene has to say. >> guest: i love her too. >> host: we will move on to the l.a. republican reading pennsylvania. >> caller: i'm so glad to hear from you. in my situation i began -- for 15 years and i'm proud of it to keep my gun in my car is the only thing i'm looking for in this country. the first thing i would like to say to you guys is i'm a barry goldwater void and rand paul. the only problem with our partner -- party is we have to stay away from religion and abortion. that's a very important thing to stay away from. there's no such thing as an
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opinion. it's what's the right thing for the whole united states and all the people? that is what we have to concentrate on to work on that basis. [inaudible] it's a republican country. we stand for the republicans. >> host: all right bill, thank you. david keene any response for that call or? >> guest: i would say in the two-party system each party is a coalition of voters. republicans excesses and conservative successes and the conservative movement has been this coalition from the very beginning. the conservative coalition consists of economic free marketeers people who believe in freedom and the free market and individual rights. people who believe in a strong national to dance in the strongly protect that country and the people who believe in traditional values and religious
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conservatism. you don't want when you are trying to put together a winning coalition you don't want to drive anybody out of the coalition. you remember ronald reagan said anybody that agreed with me 80% of the time i considered my friend and i suspect that when our caller looks at that coalition he agrees with that 80% of the time. so i'm not one who believes in driving people out of the coalition. i want to welcome more people in. >> host: three minutes left with her guest david keene. lori keene. lori in keene. lori and virginia on our independent line. you are on the air. >> caller: good morning and thanks a lot for c-span. i would like to ask mr. keene if you raise with the 47% comment that mr. romney was caught on tape saying and whether he thinks it's all right for someone worth a quarter of a
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billion dollars to pay less taxes than the average truck driver and i will take my answer off the air. thanks. >> host: are you a truck driver? i guess we will never know. >> guest: first of all i think numbers often tell a story that is not as accurate as the people quoting the numbers might think. that 47% includes veterans and includes lots of people who receive some government assistance or some government subsidy. it might be lies -- nice if we lived in a society where none of that was necessary or not if it existed but we don't. that so-called 47% of people who are conservative and who would vote for a conservative republican candidate who articulates his values well so now all that dough -- i don't think that romney minute that way was a statement that obviously was incomplete and was used rather effectively to push him them off into a corner.
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secondly i guess that may be warren buffett pays less taxes than a truck driver but the fact is what we need in this country is a tax code that is fair, a tax code that is simple and a tax code that doesn't punish people for success. the president believes we should punish people for success and that hurts everybody. you know was john kennedy when he was president who in simplifying and lowering taxes on all americans said he was the first to use the line that a rising tide lifts all votes and it does. it did then and it does now in the policies that we have today are basically swamping all of those. >> host: karen tweets in mr. keene, as anyone who wanted the straw poll won the nomination?
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>> guest: i assume they have but i can't remember. oftentimes they don't because oftentimes in fact this sort of -- this is not a scientific poll. this is a straw poll of the people who attend the conference i think probably this time there are a dozen or more names on their. in the actual contest for nomination there will be a dozen or more candidates so what might be important is an attendee's second and third choice. i will say that most of the people who attend this conference are ultimately pleased with the way the primary process and the convention process works. >> host: the jobs numbers just came out mr. keene i want to get your reaction. the unemploymunemploym ent rate is at 6.7% of jobs added, 175,000 in january. what is your take on that?
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>> guest: you know one of the reasons that we have been able to beat expectations as more and more people continue to drop out of the workforce so there are fewer people working today as a percentagpercentag e of the population and there have been in many many years. the unemployment rate is still high. the actual unemployment rate if you counted these people differently, if you included in it people who have stopped looking for a job on the one hand or people who have accepted jobs way below their qualifications on the other, the situation is much worse than a lot of people think it is. if you realize that 25 cents of college graduates can't get a job anywhere near what they have trained for we still have a serious problem in this country and the economy is growing very sluggishly. more sluggishly than it has after any three years in government. so it's good that we are adding
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jobs. we are not adding nearly enough jobs and this trough that we are and has lasted far too long. >> host: david keene opinion editor of "the washington times" has been our guest former president of the nra. longtime chair of the american conservative union which sponsors cpac which is taking place this weekend in washington mr. keene for a long time you are at the omni shoreham tell. why did you make the move out of national harbor? >> guest: too many people. we were at the shorr are many years and we were in virginia before that. the hotel in virginia couldn't hold the crowds and we move to the shore and which we had been at years before and then it couldn't handle it and then we moved to the marriott out there which was a little vigor and then it couldn't handle so now we are here. this is the largest facility in the area and is the only facility in terms of the hotel
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that will handle this conference. the only other place we could hold it would get the convention center in the district. >> host: david keene thank you for your time this morning. >> guest: my pleasure. earlier today we had live coverage of the political conference taking place in the washington d.c. area. join us mauro for the wrap-up the cpac meeting. we will go live starting at 12:40 stand with speakers including it gingrich ann
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coulter and sailor -- sarah palin among others. >> suffice it to say most of health policy really is and health policy at all. it is essentially budget policy and so the congress just docs on so many of the big issues and ends up putting together something that in the parliaments of washington might he called a catch. maybe it's an extension. maybe it is called a stopgap but the fact is it ducks the big issues. it repeatedly ducks the big issues particularly on medicare. we have 10,000 people eligible for medicare every day. there is a very real cost of the catch with dad so now the
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challenge is to try to find a way to move beyond this fixation on budgeting. it would be one thing if it was sound budget policy but so often as i have indicated in the structural kinds of issues, it moved beyond this sort of lurch from one budget calamity to another to come up with some sensible budget policy. >> we do not have a criminal investigation role. we have a vast enforcement role.
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one of the most critical things the agency does is to enforce the federal securities laws to make sure that wall street abides by the rules. we also have rules for broker-dealers and investment advisers. we have the power to bring with the approval of our commission civil actions civil fraud actions and negligence actions against those who violate the federal securities law so we can send anybody to jail but we can assess civil penalties. frankly our level of penalties isn't as high as we would like to be in there some legislation in congress to give us an ability to assess higher penalties. we can require those who commit wrongdoing to discourse their ill-begotten gains and the profits they make from their wrongdoing and we have the power inappropriate case to bar somebody from the securities administration so that they can't basically live another day to defraud again.
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a russian military truck broke through the gates of the crimean port city of sebastopol. there were 20 attackers who threw stun grenades while ukrainians barricaded themselves inside one of their barracks. thursday the house passed a resolution condemning russia's violation of ukrainian sovereignty and independence. the obama administration officials from the state and treasury departments and usaid testified on russia's actions in the region. they appeared before the house foreign affairs committee for about an hour and 20 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> i'm going to call the committee to order this time and
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we will ask the members if they can come in and take their seats for this hearing. and let me begin by pointing out that ukraine is facing not one crisis but a number of them. its new government is confronting an economic and financial crisis brought on by years of mismanagement, years of corruption by previous government officials. and it is doing this while under military invasion and economic coercion by neighboring russia. the world has been speaking out, sending a clear message and that message isn't moscow's actions over the past week are out of bounds. the new government in kiev 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. but this help must be
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accompanied by fundamental economic reforms if ukraine is to stabilize its economy. only ukraine can help us help them. i will also mention that later this month prior to the elections in ukraine i will be leaving all code -- a co-deal to the country because we also must ensure that the elections scheduled for may will be fair, will be free and reflect the true voice of of the ukrainian people in the country, 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 has got on its plate and to advance toward democracy and security and long-term core prosperity. addressing ukraine's energy
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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 cost in a deliberate effort to -- ukraine. fortunately we have an option to help counter this threat. mainly reducing the current impediments to exports of american gas to the ukraine. the menstruatmenstruat ion has it within his 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 hearing we will market the resolution that the ranking member and i have introduced
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that condemns russia's aggression and outlines the steps. i strongly encourage the administration to increase efforts to isolate russia diplomatically. there is much that should be done such as reducing -- producing a resolution of at the u.n. security council that condemns russian aggression. the rest of the international community will support such a resolutioresolutio n. moscow 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 illicit activities such as the transfer of stolen ukrainian assets especially those banks that are primarily owned by the government or by the oligarchs. we also in our resolution layout other steps that should be taken such as the limitation on travel
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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 issues. the visa and assets bands here 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 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
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for members regarding the current situation in ukraine and the administradministr ation's ongoing efforts to provide assistance to kiev and to pressure russia. the ranking member will be here shortly and while he is en route i will also take this opportunity to introduce our witnesses. we have limited time this morning so before introduced the witnesses we are honored to have with us today ambassador mossadegh from the m. vest -- embassy of ukraine. we know it's a difficult time for your country and we want to extend a warm welcome to you. as you can see ukraine has made friends on this committee. this morning we are pleased to be joined by representatives from the department of state, the u.s. agency for international development in the department of treasury. foreign service officer eric luman served as deputy chief in
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moscow in 2008 until 2011 before assuming his duties as deputy assistant assistant secretary in the barrel of eurasian affairs. with over 20 years of experience developments in the region page alexander's statement straight straight -- assistant. mr. daleep singh is the deputy assistant secretary for europe and eurasia. he advises that his senior economic leadership of the department of treasury at the white house on global markets. and without objection the witnesses full prepared statements are going to be part of the record. i will encourage you all to summarize and 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.
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as member offices were notified last night in light of our time we are suggesting we limit to three minutes per member to maximize participation this morning. if i could go to our ranking member mr. engel his family is originally from the ukraine mr. eliot engel from new york. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. administrator alexander deputy assistant secretary singh thank you for appearing before the committee today and your tireless efforts in the last couple of months in your support of ukraine and let me thank chairman of royce for holding this hearing on this issue that is in the forefront of all of our minds right now. since 1991 the u.s. has strongly supported democratic prosperous sovereign ukraine in keeping with this commitment we support a peaceful negotiated resolution pic as hundreds of thousands of ukrainian citizens came out in the streets of kiev to express
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their desire for more democratic and just stayed. the recent selection of new interim government signal ukraine is back on the path towards stability and economic health but instead of welcoming this event is in the case of u.s. and europe president putin has reacted in a very different and disturbing manner so let me be clear president putin's aggressive military actions in crimea flagrantly violated territorial integrity violating international law and russia's commitment to ukraine. all of the should be profoundly concerned about this and furthermore as justification for this aggression is completely unsupported by the facts and there has been no persecution of russians or russian speakers in ukraine. observers agree on this point. the international community must
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stand up for the ukraine's unity and territorial integrity. russia has deep historical ties with ukraine and russia and ukraine should enjoy it and close relations. president putin must respect ukraine's sovereignty in and the right it's the ultra-freely make their own choices and chart their own future and russia must also understand there are consequences for its aggression. i think we should consider a range of sanctions including visa bans freezing assets and sanctions the president putin understands that this will not be business as usual. i call on our european allies and members of the international community to take similar measures. i also support the administration's initiative to send observers to monitor the situation in crimea and other parts of ukraine. russia in turn should welcome and return his troops trips to their bases immediately and comply with these commitments. other immediate partner should be to help ukraine's interim government deal with the formidable challenges that it
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faces. secretary kerry was just in kiev and it's the right time to go in the right way to show our support. given ukraine's dire economic situation we and our european allies should be ready to provide a robust assistance pledged. i strongly support the administrations initiative to provide loan guarantees to ukraine. i'm very pleased at the house will pass legislation authorizing these guarantees later today. i also welcome the e.u.'s announcement that will provide very sufficient loans and credits and of course we must 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 a step ukraine recovered looted assets combat corruption conduct free and fair elections increase energy security trade actions by russia. with regard to the last point i also believe we in the e.u. must
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steadfastly support other nations facing similar russian pressures such as muldova and georgia. as ukraine's leaders restore stability and order in a country order in a country or time to reach out to all groups and regions and to work together to build tolerant pluralistic society. the interim government and any craning government was protect the rights of minority populations can be clear that it supports all ukrainian citizens. let me take this opportunity to say what about anti-semitism. i recognize there is a concern and as the respected and see sj recently stated in my quote while there have been isolated incidents in crimea and eastern ukraine says the protest began in november there's not been a pattern of violence against the ukrainian jewish population unquote. finally let it once more thank our witnesses and the for his tireless effort over the past several months to support a mock sea and ukraine.
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as a people of ukraine confronted many challenges ahead they should know the united states will stand with them and we will support ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and we will support ukrainians aspirations to build a more democratic prosperous and just future for their country. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you chairman royce and members of this committee. i'm grateful for the opportunity to speak today on u.s. policy toward ukraine. i would also like to express appreciation for the ukrainian ambassador visiting us today. we very much appreciate his presence. let me begin by thanking this committee for its engagement on this issue. in our rush to back the efforts of ukrainian people we have been heartened by the support we have received from this committee and from congresspeople. house resolution 447 passed by
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the house february 10 sent a powerful message that the american people stand wholly and unequivocally with the people of ukraine in their hour knee. he notified us that your resolution today and we welcome your leadership. we have had close and constant contact with congress in every step of this great situation very night efforts have demonstrated to the people of ukrainian international community that the united states is resolute in its his support of ukraine's desire for democratic prosperous future. i would like to address two areas in my remarks i'll begin by discussing the political situation ukraine and second will talk about original stability. i have submitted a more detailed written testimony for the record underscore the situation in the region is extremely fluid and changing by the hour. we continue to adapt as it evolves. i would also like underscore the situation that has changed as recently as this morning and we have taken additional actions as recently as this morning which i'm prepared to discuss in further detail.
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let me also add a few words about my own deep personal commitment to ukrainians future. i worked to support the craning people and their aspirations for freedom in 1989. i helped open relations in 1991 and my wife and i lived and worked in kiev from 1994 to 1996 in the early days of ukraine's independence. i speak ukrainian and i friends throughout ukraine. over the events of the past several months i have watched with horror as ukrainians were cut down the snipers in the heart of kiev but have also been inspired by the people of ukraine. their determination, there it courage and the insistence on the possibility of a better future for themselves and their country. the democratic transition is an expression of the will of the craning people. it's not about the united states and its not about russia. the people of ukraine have made a decision about the future and the democratic parliament has taken steps in creating a transitional government
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following former president yanukovych's abdication. these decisions have been supported by overwhelming majorities including members of president yanukovych' party. we are working with his leadership as insures the protection of the rights of all ukrainians including all members of the minority groups raise international committee looks for ways to help ukraine will focus on the government's efforts to build a strong sovereign and 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 has endangered the promise of the democratic transition. a secretary kerry sitting kiev the contrast could not be clearer. determined ukrainians demonstrating strength unity of the russian government out of excuse hiding behind falsehoods in intimidation and --
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we have repeatedly indicated the russians actions are violation of the craning in sovereignty and territorial integrity and a breach of international law. including russia's obligations under the u.n. charter and the treaty of friendship with ukraine. as well as russia's agreement of 1997 with her ukraine. russia agreed in the treaty to respect the sovereignty of ukraine and not to interfere in ukraine'ukraine' s internal affairs. this is also a blatant affront to the 1994 memorandum and the helsinki final act. we have party taken actions consistent with the unacceptability of russia's military intervention shoulder-to-shoulder with their g7 counterparts. we have suspended sochi preparations and all talks with russia on any future trade or investment. have suspended military-to-military contacts. we have issued a statement the m.'s approval to the members of the north atlantic council in condemning the russian military escalation in crimea. we are stepping up efforts to
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increase the i'll take air policing mission and strengthening our detachment cooperation -- cooperation with poland. today the united states has a full package of measures aimed to demonstrate the force of u.s. resolve in the face of military aggression intervention and threats. pursuant to to the presence to the presents guidance to state departments putting in place visa rejections a member of officials and individuals reflecting a policy decision to deny visas to those responsible for or are threatening the territorial integrity of ukraine. in addition to present signed and an executive order that authorizes sanctions on the entities responsible activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in ukraine threatening peace security sovereignty or territorial integrity contributing to the misappropriation of state assets were purporting to usurp governmental authority without authorization from the ukrainian government in kiev. we have made clear to russia and
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others as such undermined ukrainian democracy will result in further political and economic isolation. mr. chairman of focus remained on the escalation. we continue to for the possibility that could lead to the relaxation of tensions in ukraine. the russians are willing to take it. we support direct talks between ukrainian and russian governments. secretary kerry met in paris separately with the foreign ministers is you've train in russia and effort to get talks going. the the osce and divided nations are in the process of applying monitors in the country including crimea and eastern ukraine. monitors for abuse and diffuse tensions between groups. day with our nato allies to the region will offer an objective on the ground of permission to contract russia's flagrant campaign. let me be clear on this point. there are no confirmed reports of threats to the russians no confirmed reports of a massive movement of ethnic rathjen
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refugees. the agreement is a body that represents the will of the craning people. it's not an extremist cabal. russia's assertions are nothing more than a new -- to justify military reaction. united states is closely monitoring reports of anti-semitic acts. we take this issue very seriously and it's an issue i've worked on for more than 20 years personally and i would like to concur with the statement that you made indicating we have no such information indicating that there is widespread incident. we have been in touch with the chief rabbi and the jewish groups in ukraine and we believe this accusation is again being used to justify an unjustifiable military intervention. >> thank you very much mr. rubin. we have five minutes for opening statements so page if you could summarize i think that is for the best. ms. alexander. >> thank you and thank you for inviting me here today regarding
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the u.s. assistance package for ukraine. >> page go ahead and put the microphone on. >> recent events for ukraine and the response of the united states government is critical to the region's future. the u.s. is working with their international partners especially the monetary fund to provide needed support to ukraine's people and the economy as the basis current crisis. our goals and aspirations of all people of ukraine for peace prosperity freedom and human dignity. the very things that the people had been -- for the last three months explaining their concerns. as the chairman mentioned for the upcoming elections usaid and partners are moving forward with a series of programs in five specific areas to help ensure these elections are free, fair, transparent and inclusive. .. oversight of the process
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by domestic and international monitors. encourage civil society coalition tossing advocate for further reforms. promote a more balanced open and 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
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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 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
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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 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,
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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 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
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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 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
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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 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
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bridge financing to a larger package. we should be in favor of providing as much financial flexibility and resources as possible to the imf. 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
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will miss an opportunity to bolster the fund's re, sos and economies may turn away from the imf towards regionalism. 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
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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 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
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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 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
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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 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 to give them that support now when you have governments making
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the right choices. we recognize that. we will be doing that. >> eric you're a little too close to that mic. just move it back a little bit. >> thank you very much for calling this hearing and for your excellent bill. the magniski list. denying and evoking visas of russian regime members who is connected to belligerent actions in ukraine and freezing or prohibiting any of their u.s. property in transactions are move, in the right direction. now we move name them and other officials responsible for human rights abuses. not just in ukraine but in russia as well. to the magniski 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 rescind. i've already committed many names to the obama administration to add to that
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list. since we passed the magniski act. there are many names here. names, position, examples and ev of gross human rights violations. i will send a new letter to the administration asking for more names of human rights violators to be added to the list. i would hope that my colleagues will join me in that letter. and the president must take similar actions actions. and the executive order of the president, he talks about actions or policies that undermine democratic process or institutions in ukraine. well, he and his officials are also responsible for 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
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the international emergency economic powers act. is the administration considering adding more names of russian officials guilty of human rights violations to the m magnaski list? is it simply an historical document for academics to ponder? are we simply going to stay with those few names put on the list and have not added many since then? >> thank you, congressman. we are actively considering adding new names. absolutely, we take the legislation very seriously. and i do not have any new information for you this morning. that is something that is underactive consideration. >> thank you, sir. >> gregory meeks of new york. >> let me just see if i can do -- real quick question. first, mr. singh, i know that the treasury department is working closely with the department of state and the white house on a loan guarantee package for the ukraine. have you ta
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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 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 our basic mission to fund it, the support may diminish. passing the reform 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
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agreement with the imf. now, the imf's on the ground, looking at the data. we don't know yet whether that flexibility will be needed. it's a good idea to have it. >> thank you. miss alexander, as you prepare for the long-term engagement and the development of the ukraine, are you confident that the interim ukrainian government is a stable partner for usaid? >> thank you, congressman. the benefit of the people that we've worked with in ukraine is that one of the development assets that ukraine has is also its vibrant multifaceted civil society. so we not only work in ukrainian government, we work directly with civil society. but we've been very impressioned with what we've seen in the ukrainian government so far. we've been impressed with the restraint and we consider them good partners. so we're confident our money will be well spent. >> finally, mr. rubin, i'm a firm believer in
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multilateralism. in a multilateral way. i think it's vitally important for the united states to do that and to have this unified voice towards russia, for the reaction in ukraine. how can the united states -- i think this is something -- i just want you to elaborate a little bit more, better engage our allies in european to ensure we have the same strategic goals for prosperity of the u.s. and european relationship? it seems there have been some cracks recently. >> well, thank you, congressman. we have actually made this a very high priority. secretary kerry has spent the past few days working on that. working with our allies and other interested governments to try to craft the united international community approach to ending this conflict, for russia to withdraw its troops and restore its recognition of
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ukraine sovereignty. we agree this needs to be a collective international approach. it needs to be a democratic approach. we believe the call of the international community for this to be settled through dialogue, for russia and ukraine to immediately begin talking about this can only happen if the international community is united in supporting this. that is precisely what the secretary is doing in europe right now. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. rubin, how do you assess the risk of miscalculation? with so many 747s pointing at each other only one troop -- or one soldier has to fire and things can get out of hand. you mentioned the oec monitors. they've been stopped. as you know, they can't get in. when i visited oec monitors and other countries including georgia and croatia and elsewhere over the years, they have such limited capabilities to mitigate a firefight or any kind of hostility. secondly, i was in belizzie, georgia, after the russians
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rolled into okasia and south ossetia. they several times put their tanks on a road as if they were going to belizzie only to turn around, you'll recall that. their objective strategically was south ossetia. what is the objective of the russian, now? is it just crimea or other regions and cities in ukraine, typically on the east coast or the east area, i should say, in the cross hairs? and mr. singh, if you could, sergei glasiab has said russia will abandon the u.s. dollar as a reserve currency if the u.s.ish in aipt u.s. ish ish in ainitiates sanctions aga russia. and the eurasia economic union, a meeting this week with belarus and kazakhstan and putin talking about that union that comes into force in 2015. how does that play into all of this?
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>> thank you, congressman. the question of international observers and monitors is absolutely critical. as you stated. we believe the best way to deescalate this conflict, to ensure there are no accidental incidents that lead to escalati escalation, is to have an international presence, eyes and ears, on the ground. that is what we've been supporting. that is what we've been supporting. that is what the special envoy is there for. we believe that they need access to all areas of ukraine. they have access to all areas except crimea. the government has been supportive in encouraging monitors to come in to address any allegations of abuses, to address any concerns about minority rights. and that is the way to address these concerns, is through eyes and ears on the ground that can provide an objective assessment of what's going on and also be there as witnesses to what's going on. we find the fact that the monitors have had extreme difficulty in getting into
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crimea, to perform their activities in crimea, 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 be pushing to expand the monitoring. we will be pushing to expand the scope of the monitoring. and without that, we fear it will be very hard to actually know what's goggin. to answer your questions as to what the russian's objectives are, i have to say, i wish we all knew the answer to that question. we've seen that clearly one objective is to militarily occupy and control the territory of the autonomous region of crimea. we have condemned that. we considered unacceptable. we consider the russian forces must return to their barracks under their treaty obligations in the basing treaty with ukraine. we condemn any further use of russian military force or aggression on the territory of ukraine. we hope we will see no further use and we can return to a diplomatic dialogue to end this
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very, very unfortunate situation. with that, help turn to mr. singh. >> the reserve currency portion of it, mr. singh. >> yes, congressman, let me give you a simple answer. russia doesn't get to decide the world reserve currencies or the united states level of interest rates. 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 is not -- we control our own destiny in this regard, not russia. >> we'll go to albio siris from new jersey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you the members here today. i believe we should have strongs sanctions. i don't think putin understands anything else. but how can we get strong sanctions when europe over the last few years has become more and more dependent on energy from russia? for example, germany didn't jump right away because obviously, i
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think it's something like 40% of the gas from russia. how can we get a consensus to come up with strong sanctions against russia, when they are so dependent? so -- and the other question that i have is russia threatening if strong sanction, start to infect our economy, they're going to go after the assets in russia that are american assets. what are they prepared to do? if they go after those companies and american assets in russia? >> thank you, congressman. let me address, first, the question of coordinating the policy. the european council of the european union yesterday issued very comprehensive framework for imposing sanctions and the leaders of the european union are meeting today to consider that. we believe that what our allies and partners have done understand the seriousness of this. we have been working very
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closely with them including secretary kerry meetings in the past two days. we agree with you there needs to be a coordinated international approach to make clear to the russian federation there will be serious consequences for russia, for the russian economy, for russia's standing in the world, if russia continues its current course of action. this is not intended as a threat. this not intended as any form of economic coercion on anyone's part. this is intended to say the international community is based on a set of principles, the set of laws. the united nations charter, the helsinki final act. members hav toward each other. it must be followed. that's the basic foundation of the international system and the postwar settlement in europe. this is simply a clear message to russia that russia has to return to respecting those normts, foez commitments, those laws. we believe that there will be coordinated international action, that it will not be just the united states imposing sanctions and other forms in response to russia's actions. we believe we will see that very
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shortly, and we will work very hard to ensure that this is a coordinated international front. i would adjust to say that we will very strongly support the rights of our economies, our investors and the basic principles of international law and all the other obligations the countries have toward foreign investors. we take that obligation very seriously. >> mr. singh, can you address the issue of russia? >> sure. congressman, mr. ruben is right. we're working very closely with our european counterparts, but the reality is russia is a very large economy, a $2 trillion economy, eighth largest in the world. sbr enter connections on the trade front, the financial front, the market front. it's important that we're proportionate in our response depending on russia's actions. with respect to the energy question in particular, i would observe there's a co-dependence. yes, europe relies roughly a
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third of their energy imports come from russia, but so, too, does russia depend on those earnings, on those export earnings to europe. so they also need to be careful. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> we go to mr. steve shab bot of ohio. >> thank you, mr. chairman. president putin's recent explanationtion for his aggressive actions in crimea don't pass the laugh test. he suggested he's obligated to protect his fellow russians in ukraine when crimea was last part of the old soviet union back in 1956 when i was 3 years old, when it became part of ukraine and remained so after the fall of soviet union and add vesht of an independent ukraine in 1991. his arguments are weak and his actions are clearly in violation of international law. unfortunately there is the perception at least that there's a growing power vacuum around the world and various bad actors are filling it, from the middle
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east to the south china sea, now ukraine. in the last few weeks we have 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 that we were hearing about drawing a line in the sand. frankly, i fear that there may be a growing perception among our friends and allies in the international community that the united states at least in the area of foreign policy lax resolve. i hope our witnesses this morning will be 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've heard vague comments about consequences from european officials. how serious are they? who are the players in the region that are working closest with us and where are the weak links? it's been suggest thad 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.
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well, here is an idea. perhaps our friends 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 reverse its anti-production policies, approve the keystone pipeline, for example, open up anwar, encourage the development of our shale export program, and the europeans could buy their energy from us while increasing american manufacturing jobs. just a thought. i've given you a lot to think about. any comments? >> congressman, thank you. let me say that in terms of ensuring 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 objective of secretary kerry's work in the past several days in europe. we believe we've seen clear
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statements that the leaders of european union, of the european union's member states and countries in europe that are 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 our action with them so we're presenting a strong coordinated front on this. let me also say that we've seen action taken by countries not in the european union and countries in the european union already to impose sanctions, to freeze accounts, take other steps, visa bans, to make clear there will be consequences for violation of the international order. additionally, let me say it is our highest proi or the to ensure the solemn commitment wes have under the north atlantic treaty to our allies in europe are upheld. we take that obligation with the utmost seriousness. we have worked within nato in the past several days to ensure that we are prepared within the alliance to support all its
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members. we've taken action to expand. we'll be working very closely with them in coming days and weeks to ensure that the alliance stands strong and united on this. the last point you mentioned, i would just like to say that energy diversification has been at the heart of our policy toward europe for the past 25 years under every administration, and it remains at the heart of that. obviously there's still a long way to go. we strongly believe that diverse sources of energy, lack of reliance on a single supplier is very important for europe's security and future development. thank 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 going to make the point that it's clearly important to collaborate closely on sanctions. we should acknowledge a very welcome announcement by europe in terms of their assistance to the ukrainian people.
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what's important right now is we all come together as an 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 an independent future. >> mr. higgins? >> thank you, mr. chairman. russia has violated all kinds of international law including the treaty they signed with ukraine guaranteeing its borders in return for which ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons. russia's occupation of ukraine is a direct and clear violation of ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. president putin has acted like an international street thug. in 1994 when russia 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, then it would seem to me that russia's status as a
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member of the g8 should change a little bit more aggressively than simply a suspension. their membership should be revoked. it should be revoked. number two, nato, which is 28 countries including the united states and canada and 26 european countries was essentially 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 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. as we've said previously it's
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hard to imagine the president would go under current circumstances. the larger question you ask, obviously is something the president will need to consider. i think this gets to the bigger picture question which is russia's role in the world, how russia participates as a member of the international community. under the structures and laws and obligations that 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 are looking actively to consider how 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 a set of values and commitments and principles, what kind of societies have come together. in this case we have stated publicly, for example, that georgia will be a member. that was stated twice by the
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alliance and remains our position. we believe all societies should have the right, all countries based on the will of their people to choose their alliances, their friendships and the organizations they wish to join. that's just a basic set of principles. that's something each country should be free to decide for itself. that's the most important principle. >> we go to mr. mike mccall of texas. >> i recently went to russia and got the sense that mr. putin is going back to a cold war mentality. this is more of a philosophical question. do you believe russia is intend on reconstituting its empire? >> i think, as i said earlier, i don't really want to speculate about why rush is doing what it's doing. honestly we don't know. i think what we have to judge is simply what is russia doing. what we see russia doing is what has caused so much concern and
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that is intervention on the territory of another sovereign state through military source. >> my time is limited. which they have done prior. i think we learned from history they invaded georgia and then they continued to occupy georgia. i think that's very instructive as to the ukraine experience. today, in fact, crimea just voted to join russia. it was announced today. and i'm concerned the same thing that happened in russia will now happen in -- that happened in georgia will happen in ukraine. and i don't know if these sanctions will stop that. that's my biggest concern. when one nation invades a sovereignty of another, definitions are important. we usually define that as an act of war. does this administration believe that the russian invasion of ukraine is an act of war? >> congressman, we've said very clearly that we know what we have seen which is military aggression, intervention in the
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affairs of a sovereign country, violation of legal commitments, violation of international law. that is what we see. i'm not an international lawyer so i wouldn't want to get into the terminology. it's clear, also, russia continues to occupy territory of the republic of georgia, something we've been clear in condemning. it is also clear that their commitments that all countries have to each other to settle disputes peacefully. that's certainly not what we're seeing here. >> i think we should call it what it is. you said it's very clear it's a violation of international law. i believe it's also very clear that this is an act of war against another nation. when we look at nato, i think mr. putin feels very threatened by the european union and nato. poland called for an emergency meeting of nato to discuss concerns about this russian aggression. what are we doing to ensure that
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poland and our other nato allies are protected? >> one of the things we're doing is increasing our aviation detachment deployment. we are also working to ensure that the baltic states have the support they need to defend their territory, that's why we've increased our commitments to the baltic air policing mission with additional planes and refueling. we're working in brussels at nato to address any other concerns that the allies have. as i said, we take these obligations extremely seriously and we will do our utmost to ensure the alliance stands together. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> if i could make a quick announcement. our strategy will be to recess -- i think our witnesses know how congress operates. we've got amendments up on the floor to the energy bill. there's about 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.
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with that, let's turn to karen bass. >> thank you, mr. chair. i believe my question is brief. it's for mr. singh. on page three of your testimony you talk about the imf and what is needed is an economic adjustment program that eliminates unsustainable economic imbalances and poorly targeted government subsidies. i was wondering if you could be more specific as to what those subsidies are, what needs to be changed and also, is the imf support contingent on that. >> thank you, congresswoman. that's precisely how the imf works. its sis assistance is contingent upon reforms being made. the three core forms that i referenced, number one, there has been an unsustainable build up in physical spending over the years in ukraine. that needs to be addressed. number two, there are truly massive energy subsidies that
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have been a part -- >> subsidies to companies or to the population? >> to the population, to tariffs paid for heating and gas and so forth. that's led to coop assumption of energy that's among the highest in the region. >> would you be concerned that some of the reforms might cause problems, dissent if subsidies are cut off? >> that's why our notion on the loan guarantee is to try to direct the proceeds of that issuance that we have in mind and direct those to ukrainian society so those reforms are easier to implement and they don't fall on those who can least afford to bear them. the third piece, apart from moving on the energy subsidy problem which i mention has led to overconsumption and reliance on russian gas, i should say. is on their exchange rate. it's overvalued, caused them to
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have a real problem in terms of exports. it's made their economy uncompetitive. one last thing is, i should say it's very good news in terms of the political will that we're oeshing on the ground that we're already seeing movement on these reforms. the currency in ukraine has weakened quite a bit and become much more flexible. it's becoming much more driven by market forces. that's a condition of the imf and the leadership of ukraine has shown a willingness already to move in that direction. that's a positive sign. >> i know elections are supposed to be scheduled for may. do you think there's the leadership there with the current person that's in power just running for election? and that's to anybody and then thank you, mr. chair. >> congresswoman, the elections have been set for may for the presidential elections in ukraine. candidates have not yet been formally announced, nor has anyone formally submitted their candidacy. we're not sure.
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the current prime minister indicated he would not be a candidate and would be running the interim government. we do believe it's absolutely critical there will be a fully free, fair election in ukraine to choose its new president. we'll go to mr. bill keating of massachusetts. would you like to have the last question before we recess? >> thank you, mr. chairman. a couple of quick questions. number one, nato secretary general rasmussen has said the alliance plans to intensify its cooperation with ukraine. can you give us a more detailed description in terms of nato's plans. if the ukrainian government were to request member ship action plan, would the administration consider that, possibly support it? that's question number one. the other one deals with imf reform. would that improve that to make sure our dollars are more effective live used and we don't have squandered money, important
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taxpayer money for the u.s. and money from our european allies. will that provide more ability to maximize the use of that? those are the two questions. mr. singh can take the second. mr. rubin, if you want to take the first. >> certainly, congressman. the question of nato cooperation, ukraine has been a member of the partnership for peace for two decades. we have very extensive positive experience working together with ukraine on training, on improving the 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 and ukraine has a mission to nato. we have regular meetings of the nato ukraine council in which that can be discussed. as a matter of fact, we just held a session in light of current events at ukraine's request. we have a very strong partnership through the partnership for peace, through the nato ukraine council.
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we do want to continue to develop that with the new government and in the future with the new president. >> specifically, with the membership action plan, i can't see in the very near future i can see the need to address this issue frankly because our options are limited now. if ukraine is interested and wants to pursue this, will we entertain those discussions and be supportive? >> we've said from the beginning that countries need to be free to choose their memberships, their alliances, commitments to other countries, this is basic principle of sovereignty and, therefore, as a matter of basic principle, nato is an open alliance. i think in terms of what the people of ukraine want and what the government of ukraine wants will be up to them to decide will be very interested in having that conversation based on what they tell us. >> on imf quota reform. >> congressman, the answer is
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absolutely. this imf quota reform wouldn't require a single extra dollar of u.s. financing to the imf but would preserve our lead role as the world's preeminent responder, the first responder to national crisis. it preserves our voice and influence at the institution that would be at the very center of the assistance in ukraine. by the way, it also increases the imf's flexibility to respond to the situation on the ground in the event of a node for bridge financing to a larger package. it should be a slam dunk. >> thank you. mr. deutsche, you a minute. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just have -- i want to focus the discussion in a different way. in addition to targeting individuals responsible for undermining the democratic process and threatening the territorial integrity of ukraine, are you considering additional robust sanctions that would have a more significant impact on the russian regime? for example, will you look to impose sanctions, mr. singh, my question to you, will you look
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to impose sanctions discussed previously for those providing the funding and equipment necessary for the syrian regime to kill and terrorize its own people? that it seems is a way to really strike at russia in a way that is significant and appropriate. >> congressman, let me just say, we have not listed specific individuals or entities today. this is broad authority that we'll use as appropriate given the situation on the ground. >> is it appropriate to impose sanctions on those individuals who -- in russia who are assists the assad regime in slaughtering its own people? >> congressman, i can only say this specific tool is designed to allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing ukraine, including the military intervention in crimea. it doesn't preclude further steps to be taken. i can't comment specifically on your question. >> it does not provide the opportunity. do you understand the opportunity to impose sanctions in a significant way that would
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impact the russian regime and the decisions they make by going after those who are responsible for aiding assad? that's the question. >> i'll have to come back with a fuller response. >> we stand in recess.
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then. >> at think we all understand the urgency of the moment and the necessity of joining an international response to their nuclear active russian aggression. i presume that many standard your assessment seizures are likely to be expedited or maybe even waved. i would like to just ask you to speak to the sort of long-term obligations of the united states that we are contemplating. typically the united states required the u.s. credits and volatile out countries are minister by an independent facility administered under u.s. a revision which will not be the case here. that payment on the bonds and retaining the principle. of the u.s. have the effective oversight? how will that occur? what do you assess the prospects for successful repayment and what happens if that does not occur. finally, in addition to the loan guarantee, where are the source
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of aid that the administration is considering? >> they you, congressman. the way the loan guarantee works is that the u.s. government guarantees the repayment of the principal and interest on the bond which would be issued by the ukrainian government head. the cost to the u.s., the way that it is calculated is that there is an assessment of the possibility of the ukraine government cannot repay the interest and principal in which the u.s. government would be irresponsible. that is how it is designed. now, the way we can mitigate the risk is to fold. one is that we make the loan guarantee conditional upon the existence of the nine math program which has strong conditionality in increases the probability of repayment. number two, we can use the proceeds from the loan guarantee to lessen the impact of those reforms and warmer will segments of the ukrainian society and therefore that makes reforming
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the success more likely. >> and in addition to the loan guarantee, what other aid is the administration considering and what other things can we do support that? >> i think you for your question i think that the reality is we have had a bilateral support program with the ukraine says 92. we have spent a lot of money and work of the government and civil society very effectively. as we look at the fiscal year 15 requests that were just made, obviously that was drawn up before we knew what the actual needs would be. so of my colleague was talking about what the imf team is looking at, usaid in particular will go in and looked at the various s -- elements of technical assistance call whether it is true banking supervision, energy, subsidies as we were talking about love and most importantly in the media that think we have the elections in front of us which is something that i think will
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provide a lot of emphasis for the ukrainian people to recognize their troop have inhibitions and where they want to go. what to make sure those are free and fair and transparent. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. kennedy. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you to the witnesses. appreciate your testimony earlier. now wanted to build of a little bit on what my colleague said earlier. russia has threatened to not use the dollars in reserve currency in the french and not pay back outstanding loans to the u.s. are you, again, and all concerned about that or can you assess that threat and the economic outcome? >> congressman, thank you for your question. and i think it would be prudent for me to speculate about the various areas that could unfold. what i would say again is that russia does not get to decide whether the u.s. dollar is a reserve currency and that we control our destiny in that
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regard. >> i appreciate that, sir. with regards to outstanding loans can you give me some idea as to the volume of loans outstanding that they have that is a threat are we are talking about? cinco billions, tens of billions, order of magnitude. >> we have some initial data on the amount of claims that reside in the u.s. financial system to russia. our exposure is somewhat lower than that of europe. as it relates to our system particular it is well under 1%. >> thank you. >> perhaps mr. rubin or for any of you, i understand the imf is currently doing an assessment of the ukrainian economy. there have been issued transparency, issues with the full disclosure of the true state of that economy. the figures and i have seen our summer between 20 and 35 billion
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over the course of the next you're so. how long until the full assessment is done? and with any degree of certainty are you confident that that figure in there again is accurate or is the potential for what is needed to actually shore up the finances going to be quite a bit larger? >> congressman, thank you for your question. on the actual figures i will defer. let me just say that we have been saying now for years the ukraine needed to address the very serious deficiencies not just in the economic policy-making but in the entire weight its economy was structured. we have said all along the way to do that was to engage in a dialogue with the international monetary fund and then have a serious initiation. the previous government did not do that. as a result they did not get the help and advice that it needed. we are encouraged by this current interim government readiness to engage with the fund, welcome the advice and began making the difficult reforms.
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we believe that the package which includes imf support pskov , imf quota were from which we do believe is critical to getting is to be able to have the kind of support that the ukraine and other countries that find themselves in this kind of situation is a critical part of that package and the bilateral assistance that we are committed to providing together with an imf package of the european union has not committed to providing can get the crane through this difficult time and launch it on a healthy passed back toward prosperity and economic stability. let me just ask mr. dissing had anything to add. >> i want to say that there are wide range of market estimates in terms of the ukrainian financing needs. i don't want to speculate without having facts. the imf will provide that transparency in terms of the transparency. i will say that in their estimate of what the ukraine needs to much of that will depend upon the willingness of the ukrainian authorities to undertake the needed reforms. every indication that we have is
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that they're willing to make our decisions. i should just add that the imf and the international community have more than enough resources to reprint -- the ukrainian needs. >> any idea, if i can, when we will see that report? is that weeks, days? >> it depends on the speed with which the relevant data can be handed over and analyzed. it does not need to take a long time. >> thank you, sir. i appreciate that. >> let me ask a question just about the brutality against reporters. this is one of the concerns i have about the ability to get the free flow of information hour on the ukraine. we have of radio free europe, radio liberty, and the voice of america target by security forces there. we had to radio free europe
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reporters who were badly beaten and then detained in january. a prominent journalist and contributor was forced to leave the ukraine to death threats in mid january. we head ukrainian service tv reporters who faced repeated intimidation motorcade protest. so in the run-up to the next elections, it seems to me that uncensored information, sort of a sordid radioed to give we real-time information about what is actually happening on the ground and to discredit misinformation is going to be important. what steps are being taken to increase messaging to the ukrainian people and specifically one of my concerns is how do you focus that, target that to the eastern ukraine and maybe people in crimea to make sure that they have a real case of what is going on.
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>> thank you, chairman. we have been working effectively with the public diplomacy arm of the embassy to do exactly that. as use of the white house fact sheet can mad about the top-10 myths that of being portrayed up there. the independent media has been a bright spot that we have seen to be adjusted if the iranian crisis media center set up by ukrainian activists themselves. these are things we don't have to support because they're doing it themselves. however, we are trained to give a bit of a bully pulpit. think in a lead up to the elections that will be one of the most important elements, to make sure the disinformation out there. and training journalists and working effectively with the lot of stations that really have been trying to get the message out. >> i did think -- and i have talked to corelation journalists and others, i tried to restart
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radio-free yugoslavia. we never had that. that was the one country will never broadcast and during the cold war. and had a number of reporters telling me -- use of away the czech republic and slovakia handle this. they told me if there had been as surrogate radio like we had broadcasting into the country it would not have been possible with a great deal for each of these ethnic groups to whip up the types of hatreds that were created which is why i think at the end of the day having this kind of capability going in before the election was not the same time reassuring of the russian-speaking ukrainians, you know, the ukrainian government will respect all languages. in these broadcasts have to be not just in ukrainian but in russian. i will follow-up with you on that. let me just say at this moment we will have to adjourn in order to get to the floor for the final vote.
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thank you very much for your testimony here today. [silence] [inaudible conversations] >> on the next washington journal, faith and freedom coalition founder of the mix of the role of religion and politics in the 2014 midterm elections followed by "usa today" politics senator and a discussion on the effectiveness of the office of congressional ethics. senior reporter julia talks about whether privacy is a right or a luxury good as she wrote in an op-ed for the new york times. ..
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it is essentially budget policy and so the congress and the big issues have the job of putting together something that in the parliaments of washington might be called a catch. maybe it's an extension.
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maybe it's called a stopgap but the fact is it ducks the big issues and repeatedly ducks the big issues particularly on medicare when you have 10,000 keep all eligible for medicare everyday. there is a very real cost attached with that. so now the challenge is to try to find a way to move beyond the fixation on budgeting. it would be one thing if it was sound budget policy but so often as i have indicated we don't get at the structural kinds of issues and move beyond this sort of lurch from one budget cowan amedi to another and come up with him sensible budget policy.
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this week the supreme court heard oral argument in hall v. florida a case testing the limits on the court's ban against executing the intellectually disabled. the issue rests on how states define intellectual disability when using iq tests. florida has an iq cutoff of 70 for determinin


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