tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 10, 2014 6:00am-8:01am EDT
the of the people that were affected by the decisions you make i hope you can address that issue and you will be committed to is that end. with that, i thank you and would say to you, if you have three daughters, save your money. i had two of them get married in the last six months. >> i will do my best. >> senator ayotte. >> i want to thank the chair and
thank the ranking member. i wanted to follow-up on a question that the chair had asked. i recently sent a letter along with several of my colleagues regarding the standards for recreational highway vehicles and as you know there was a mandatory rulemaking on standards for recreational off highway vehicles open for four years and this is an important issue to new hampshire. in northern new hampshire, in other areas of northern new hampshire this has been an important part of tourism, in this part of our state. creating tourism and recreational opportunities in areas of our state where we tried to improve the economy this unresolved rulemaking has
created uncertainty for the recreational off highway vehicle industry in new hampshire as they work to update voluntary safety standards and provide clear guidance to the public, so people can enjoy the off highway vehicles while being safe but it is an important part of activities and there are concerns that in its current form this mandatory rulemaking doesn't consider the collective input of a wide variety of stakeholders and could stall something that could be important in the industry. so can you help me where this is and in order to provide consumers with the most comprehensive safety standards for off highway vehicles, will you work with the industry to maintain and update voluntary standards? can you help me understand if you choose mandatory standards will you work collectively with
all the stakeholders to assure standards make sense and don't necessarily burdens this important industry, because i see this as an opportunity in parts of the state where you can enjoy the outdoors and we want to do that safely so i would love both of you to give me a comment on those two questions. >> there is a rulemaking in progress pursuant to the operating plan of the commission the commission directed staff to send to the commission by the end of this fiscal year of draft of proposed rulemaking, in the interim i found it very encouraging that there has been an excellent dialogue between voluntary standards group which is industry as well as technical folks on the specifics of voluntary standards. they did invite the technical staff to participate in the next meeting. our staff has accepted it and that is a great sign going
forward. staff will abide by the commission's direction to send notices of proposed rulemaking absent the commission voted otherwise and during that process there will be full engagement in a public way, public notice and comment and any other meeting requested to try to hear the concerns of industry. ideally as i mentioned earlier the voluntary standard can reach a place where everybody can be in agreement. >> you think there is an opportunity for the voluntary process for everyone to get on the same page? >> i think there is. >> terrific. >> i do recognize the cpsc is directing resources with the voluntary standards activity. i also recognize that there is an open rulemaking and i must be careful not to prejudge in a matter of confirmed and likely that will have to vote upon but you do have my commitment that
if confirmed i would like to work with staff to understand the adequacy of voluntary standards to address the hazards whether or not staff feels voluntary standard is progressing in an adequate fashion whether or not there will be likely substantial compliance with that standard as well. this is up particular product category that has emerged after the first time at the cpsc which concluded in very early 2007. i apologize i don't have an intimate working knowledge of this particular product category but i recognize it being your priority it will become mine as well as confirm the. >> all i can ask is for you to work with all the stakeholders to provide some certainty. obviously the voluntary standards can be agreed upon by all the parties, we can address making sure this continues to remain a vibrant industry and
there will be concerns to the public and this can be a win/win for everyone. thank you for your willingness to serve in this important position. >> thank you, senator ayotte. senator klobuchar. >> they like kevin three women asking you questions you probably doesn't happen in the past. it is great to see both of you. there are some people who have your back, former commissioner, and my good friend chair can bomb. i was thinking she looked very fresh and springy and i was thinking she looked better than when she left the job. you have a lot to look forward to the two of you. i want to focus i have been involved in these issues since i got to the senate, former prosecutor and member of this committee, the pool safety
issue, something chair can bomb worked with me significantly on. i want to talk about the spa safety act. we had a little girl at the tailor who died in a pool after living for a year and a family, the taylors for incredible from minnesota. they would literally call me every week to see if the bill had passed and went public can talk about their experience. made a major difference in getting the bill done so i know they would want to ask me to ask you your views and i will tell you or call use themselves. >> i would love to hear from them. confirmed they would call me. and i know you were if there for the family during this horrible time and have been since then. it is something we take seriously as you mentioned. especially the education campaign we think is a great
campaign for us. the largest one we had since 2010. we had 1.5 billion impressions associated with that campaign. i think we can do more with it. we got from congress $1 million every year on it. we have a unique opportunity coming up with regard to the summer olympics in rio and i mention that because when london happened was a few weeks before london was happening or even closer and i received the most recent drowning statistics about summer and by was so moved by them i called up the president of nbc sports in his hotel room five days before the london olympics began and i told him what the numbers were and i said please, can you do something about it on air while you have that you wereship for the summer olympics? you will never have that audience until the next olympics.
understandably was not ideal timing that they worked in some programming. i will not wait five days before this time if confirmed. i hope we can work with maybe a thousand partners out there and really try to go to new york, meet with nbc and see if they can work in incredibly meaningful programming. >> we have seen some improvement since we passed that bill. maybe answer in writing. i have a few other topics, carbon monoxide poisoning, a bill but i offered, i think we continue to see with the cold weather, the importance of proper carbon monoxide alarm installation and system. obviously we thank you for mentioning the birth family in your opening. you know how important this is. amazing family and the story of
the mom losing her baby after putting her to sleep is something i will never forget and i hope you will work with us on that. maybe you want to handle that, mr. mohorovic. >> thank you for the question. to work with you i share with you the sympathy with regards to imagining a situation like that with three small girls at home, twins who will be 6 this month as well as of 2-year-old. that is the most horrifying of situations to have to go through synthetic to the issue in general with regards to carbon monoxide poisoning and i recognize the fact that the cpsc has strong influence under way in order to address that hazard and if confirmed by will also become a priority of mine as well. >> thank you. one of the major issues the commission handles in the last five or six years was the children standard for choice,
something our retailers in minnesota were very eager to get something in place and after the deaths we were seeing there, i worked to write that standard to make a pragmatic and practical and i think we have seen some improvement with that but that is something else to watch for and we would be able if the consumer subcommittee sitting next to me here, that we can look back at how that is working in terms of the number of deaths and how we have seen difficult situations with recalls and stuff like that and get an update on that beyond the questions of you two and last i will mention what has already been mentioned, working with the industry, recreational highway vehicle, little known fact, there are still american manufacturers of these vehicles that happen to be in my state
and primarily polaris and other companies that made it through difficult downturn when a lot of people were writing the moth and i know they're very interested in having good standards that protect safety and are also practical and work for everyone and i appreciate both of you, your answers to the questions of senator mccaskill and senator ayotte. i look forward to working on this in the future. thank you very much and thank you for being here and good luck. >> i just wanted to address one more thing. i was interested in your testimony, mr. mohorovic, about the problem we have with imported product of -- products that are substandard and this kind of mirrors a problem we had with dumping, where i have gone over to testify about illegal
dumping where these companies who have terrorists are putting their products through another country, labeling it as if it comes from that country and thereby avoiding some of the tariff requirements and i have seen it in my state impacting things like mattresses and coat hangers, where they have avoided tariff payments by illegal means. one of the things we looked at when we were trying to get at that was a bonding requirement because what would happen is customs and border inspections would try to track and down and then it would turn out to be a post office box and by the time they found the post office box for their agent in this country that box would no longer a be valid and the address would no longer be there and there was no bonding that had to be put in
place by the importer. so i would like to explore that with you in the context you are talking about. maybe there's a way to join forces, a more aggressive bonding structure, could be significant and facilitating. and invading teraflops. and consuming public. would like to look at that, and customs and border inspections and might be a great way to avoid some duplication and help on different fronts. i saw that as an issue to look
at. the final question i ask both of you. how do you see the job of prioritizing resources? you have a higher profile now and some assistance with legislation we passed, not just the distant past but there still is an overwhelming number of products out there that need to be investigated, overwhelming amount of work that could be done and the most important job of the commission is to prioritize the resources so what is the risk based analysis that you embrace that would show your thoughts on how you ever pick between the thousands of products that have been brought to your attention in terms of investigation and potential action that needs to be taken.
>> the starting point for us has to be those areas where congress has told us to focus on what we considered to be mandatory actions and we start with those we have to do by law and focus on them. we do have a pretty robust risk assessment system internally whereby integrated teams assess all the incident data as it comes in and internet reports and categorize them and code them and do their own assessment and we rely on technical staff and don't impose our judgment on them because we don't have the knowledge they do. and allow the recommendations and the commission's operating plan. they will prioritize the work product starting with mandatory work as i mentioned where congress requires us to do and based on risk depending on the level of resources put a line
there and say this current funding level these other projects we suggest the commission work on. usually the commission accepts that. what that ends up focusing on is vulnerable populations, in particular children. i will say something that if confirmed by would like to continue to work on. something the acting chairman has begun which is a focus as well as on seniors. unlike children's product which manufactures specifically for children, products that someone purchased a long time ago and by the time they reach a senior age their interaction with the product becomes very different and chairman at this is on to something where he wants the staff to look at mechanical hazards generally and see if there is a better way to focus through voluntary standards on trying to address those but we have a pretty good internal risk
process to rank those products. >> i think first of all you will find a tremendous alignment between my position with regards to risk based decisionmaking described by mr. k and at first starts with congressional mandate and those priorities that are identified by congress but with regards to risk based decisionmaking it is a three pronged approach identifying, being able to capture magnitude of the hazard in question. critical part number 2 would be the susceptibility of that hazard to remedial action and the cost of achieving that remedial action and that would be general process by which risk-based decisionmaking with prioritization can be met effectively well. >> as chairman of the subcommittee on consumer product safety i would appreciate a
glance at where the line falls. i think it would help us get more resources for you. if members of congress understood what was falling below the line. i don't think people realize the body of work by virtue of resources that are available and it will be shocking to see where that line might fall and how many things by the nature of the work you must do and the resources you have that you can't get to. it would be helpful to your agency for us to have a sense of that and i would look forward to you if you are confirmed sharing that with our subcommittee so we can maybe put out some kind of publication about without going into specifics, we don't want anyone to think they are off the hook in terms of getting looked at for consumer product safety but getting public and members of congress and idea of what it would look like if we could do all the work we needed to do.
thank you all both for being here, thank you for your willingness to serve. i know we had some other -- acting chairman adler in the audience, thank you for your service and thank you for your testimony today and we will try to get you out of the committee. thank you very much. >> the head of the usaid testified his bed budget request for international aid programs. a number of presidential nominees. live coverage on c-span2. house secretary kathleen sebelius will be on capitol hill to talk about the health and human services budget request for 2015.
use also expected to take questions on the health insurance enrollment numbers and the implementation delays. live coverage from the senate finance committee starts today at 10:00 eastern on c-span2. later in the day officials from the state department and pentagon will testify about transatlantic security challenges in central and eastern europe. senate foreign relations subcommittee hearing will begin at 3:00 p.m. eastern live on it c-span3. the head of the u.s. agency for international development faced criticism of the agency's so-called cuban twitter program and whether it was implemented to create social unrest in cuba. usaid administrator rajiv shah was asked about global hunger, tv and education programs for girls. the house foreign affairs committee is chaired by
congressman ed royce. >> this hearing on the committee on foreign affairs will come to order. we ask all members to take their seats at this time. we welcome ambassador rajiv shah of the agency for international development who is responsible for managing 60% of the total $32 billion foreign operations budget. the common refrain is foreign-aid accounts for less than 1% of the federal budget. aid programs that are effectively executed can help create more stable societies, speed economic growth and advance u.s. national security interests.
still the bar for justifying this spending must be high given our unacceptable deficit. the principal goal of u.s. foreign assistance must be to get the united states eventually out of the business of foreign assistance because to succeed, developing nations must unlock their own growth potential. to that end i am pleased that the administration is committed to the goals of the electrify africana act, bipartisan legislation which recently passed this committee. targeted investments in power generation can help africans attract foreign investment and produce the goods to grow their economies. we look forward to continuing to work with usaid on this important initiative. i am encouraged by the administration's commitment and by the administrator's commitment to a new model of development that focuses on
transparency. it focuses on science and innovation and engage in with the private sector. rajiv shah has shown he is not afraid of upsetting the status quo. i am also pleased that this budget builds upon recent gains in the international food aid reform effort. last year i worked closely with the ranking member of mr. elliott angle of new york and representatives marino and bass and usaid on a broad coalition along with a broad coalition of advocacy groups and ultimately we succeeded in freeing up an additional $100 million from in efficient purchasing and shipping regulations so we could strengthen food markets, promote greater self-sufficiency and save more lives more quickly and for less money. i have seen firsthand the need for quick and efficient food aid program.
having recently visited the philippines, which was ravaged by the typhoon that struck that island. unfortunately usaid will have no shortage of challenges ahead. needs in syria and the region are growing. humanitarian space is shrinking, u.s. investments in afghanistan and pakistan must contend with debilitating corruption and waste and withdrawal of u.s. forces from afghanistan will only place aid at greater risk. i am disappointed that the administration's request for egypt failed once again to prioritize through economic reforms including a focus on the clear title to property and property title transfers that would enable entrepreneurs to enter the formal economy. as explained to us in our
committee here that we had on the focus of the importance of aid reform, usaid programs in haiti are poorly planned and unsustainable and this committee passed good oversight legislation aimed at improving conditions and the value of our work on that troubled island. there are concerns about the administration's lack of focus on democracy assistance. needless to say your challenges are great and growing every day, your task is compounded by the fact that there are no quick fixes in your line of work. that would be the case even if you did not have to contend with a wave of extreme is affecting many countries. with that in mind we should be looking to maximize every resource at our disposal and this includes better leveraging the support and investment of the many communities throughout the u.s. that are active in the same regions that you are. i look forward to working with
you. to address these pressing concerns, while advancing our strategic goals and promoting economic growth and graduating more countries from foreign aid and i will now turn to ranking member elliot angle from new york for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for holding this important hearing, thank you for your service and for being here today to review the administration for an assistance budget request for fiscal year 2015. i would like to begin by reminding my colleague that the international affairs budget as a whole is only about 1% of the entire federal budget. the foreign assistance funding we will discuss today is only a fraction of that amount. i have constantly been saying we should have more money in the budget for foreign aid.
the american public thinks that we spend 15% of our budget on foreign aid and in reality it is just under 1%. having said that it is important every tax dollar is spent wisely. one of the key responsibilities of this committee is to conduct effective oversight of usaid, the state department and other foreign affairs agencies but let's not fool ourselves to believe we can solve our large it budget issues by cutting foreign aid. that is not the case. and on foreign assistance is easy, we promote american leadership around world, support allies in need, create new markets for american goods and generate jobs here at home. we help impoverished men, women and children suffer hunger and disease, prevent worse before they happen and through all these activities make a critical investment in our own security. i would like to commend you
personally for your leadership on so many important issues. i am very impressed with your intellect, hard work, dedication and your good heart. the administration made some tough decisions on funding priorities and i am impressed with usaid's ability to do so much on a low-budget. i'm disappointed by the proposed guts on the tuberculosis program. the united states helped the world with survival. and it will be difficult to sustain progress that we made. and humanitarian relief in fiscal year, not left to deal with famine and crises without sudan and the central republic and other countries. on food aid i am pleased with
the budget request on the gains we made in the farm bill. and it would allow usaid to reach 2 million more people. and there are extensive discussions why there needs to be food aid reform. we can get more food aid to people faster and cheaper and to me that is the bottom line. thank you for your leadership on that as well because we have piggybacked on your proposals, the chairman and i have made great progress in letting people know that this has to be done. i am concerned about the gains on food security will be imperiled unless we mount an aggressive effort to combat the effects of climate change. this budget would help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emotions and held vulnerable populations deal with impact of global warming. your signature initiatives emphasize public/private partnerships and innovation.
your latest effort launched just weeks ago is u.s. global development lab. i have high hopes of this initiative and would like you to describe the key products in innovation. particularly impressed by the invention of the pouch which effectively prevents the transmission of hiv from mother to child. .. the purpose and effect of these
programs. in africa come usaid is leading the power africa initiative which will increase access to affordable electricity to hundreds of millions of people in sub-saharan africa. this will help fuel greater economic growth and development across the continent. i hope the electrifying africa act that we authored will bolster your africa next -- in afghanistan and pakistan the u.s. has spent billions on roads, agriculture, rule of law and capacity building. i hope you'll focus on how you and a -- after the withdrawal of all u.s. combat troops at the end of 2014 and the continuing value of our aid to pakistan. on ukraine, the president recently signed into law a bipartisan legislation to provide additional assistance with a focus on strengthening civil society, ma combating corruption, promoting efficiency
and diversification and preparing the country for democratic elections. usaid will be a lead agency in implementing this assistance and i look forward to hearing your views. i might add that the chairman and i are leaving a trip to ukraine in the very, very short time. finally, i regret the budget request plans for a long road ahead in syria. the assad regime continues to commit atrocities with impunity. the country has become a magnet for extremists and imaging crisis gets worse each passing day. i believe we should do more to help bring this come to an end and leave the immense suffering of the syrian people. dr. shah, i'd like to thank you again for being at the look forward to your testimony. speathank you, mr. chairman. >> we are joined by rajiv shah, the administrator of usaid. dr. shah is the 16th administrator of usaid, and
previously served as undersecretary of research, education and economics at usaid. s. chief scientist at the is department of agriculture. we welcome him back to the committee. without objection, the witnesses for prepared statement will be made part of the record. members will have five calendar days to submit any statements or questions or extreme ease pitcher for the record. and we will ask administrator shah, if you would, please summarize your remarks. administrator shah. >> thank you, chairman royce, and thank you ranking member engel, and to all of the members of the committee. i am pleased and honored to be here to present a justification for president obama's fy '15 request for usaid and for development assistance around the world. as the president has said on numerous occasions, our investments and development of
health and humanitarian affairs and in supporting civil society and democratic governance are a critical part of our own national security strategy. i first want to start by saying thank you, to all of the members of the committee and in particular the chair and the ranking member. your support over the last years has helped us rebuild our staffing, rebuild our capacity to manage budget, rebuild our policy leadership at usaid. you help us expand our partner base to include local organizations around the world, private companies, civil society organizations and ngos. you have helped us to prioritize science and technology as a core driver of how america can help accelerate fight in extreme poverty and supported the launch last week of the u.s. global development lab, designed to bring universities, sciences, businesses and young people altogether too literally in that
new tools and technologies that can accelerate the fight against disease, hunger and poverty. and you support our efforts to aggressively transform the way we define what our programs. so that today, all of our major programs are evaluated by third parties and those evaluations are conducted at a high level of quality and made public in full form. we have tried to pursue a new model of development that expands the partnership base and brings innovation and technology to the task of ending extreme poverty. i think we've seen in many instances the success of this effort. the president feed the future program which operates in 19 countries now reaches 7 million small-scale farmers each year, helping to move 12 and a half million children out of the condition of chronic hunger and malnutrition. this takes place in partnership with the private sector who has
made nearly $4 billion of private investment commitments alongside u.s. investment. and this is generating concrete, specific results that are reducing extreme poverty in some of the most impoverished countries in the world. in child survival, this budget calls for a to $.7 billion commitment to a topic where america's traditionally lead. from 1990 to today we effectively have helped save 5 million child of lives every year through our collective efforts with partners. we have now set for ourselves and ambitious goal of taking down from 6.6 million to near elimination the remaining number of children who die every year unnecessarily and we know which are ongoing commitment and support we can achieve that objective. similar outcomes are being seen in education, in water and in energy where we really value the
leadership. in disaster assistance we have had, unfortunately, extraordinarily active year. the response in the philippines to typhoon haiyan has been seen as a global best practice, and edges gathered with secretary gail -- secretary hagel to learn from that example. one reason that was so successful was the ability to use food purchase locally to meet the needs of children who otherwise would have suffered from hunger. and quickly scale up a program to reach 3 million people in the context of a natural disaster. we look forward to further discussions and support on the president's proposal to take food aid reform forward with request for 25% flexibility in the program. we know that we're currently facing three-level three
emergencies around the world, syria and its neighbors, essential after republican, and south sudan. given the pressures that will place, we will appreciate opportunity work with the committee to continue to optimize our response. we just for democratic governance, civil society and human rights throughout the world in our programs. one manifestation of that was our support for the afghan elections this past weekend which i believe defied expectations in terms of turnout, and in particular the turnout of women in the context of that vote. we look forward to discussing how democratiour democratic gove programs in greater detail. i'd like to conclude just by noting that people often tell me that foreign assistance is difficult to justify lyrically, and another each of you spend time with your constituents in your communities doing the work. i want to thank you for that. i was deeply that america stands
in a unique time in our history when it comes to our efforts to address global poverty. really for the first time we can credibly suggest that it's possible to end extreme poverty within the next two decades. it will require continued support from this committee, from businesses, scientists, from members of the faith community, from ngos and civil society and governments around the world to achieve that goal. we appreciate your support. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, administrator shah. i want to start with a few questions your. one on land grabbing and the lack of enforceable property rights. and title transfer in developing nations. and that acts as a significant barrier to sustainable developments and to long-term growth, and we have seen this up close in terms of the results in
tunisia and egypt. we seem the shockwaves created. it's a source of political instability. in december, there was an insightful article, lessons from the past, securing land rights in the wake of typhoon haiyan. in the article quoted a usaid official saying that unequal access to land is a central issue that cuts across both rural and urban sectors in the philippines, unequal access to land is a significant issue that occurs worldwide. we know of significant land grabbing that is occurring and has occurred for some years now in cambodia and in china and in the rue. administrator shah, what is a usaid doing to urge the government of the philippines address the issue of land grabbing? most important what about the rampant corruption that at a
local level that allows land grabbing to occur? i have heard over and over again that the philippines is making progress on fighting corruption. however, even philippine anticorruption officials will admit that corruption in this area, in terms of land grabbing, that is an ongoing tragedy. with all of the assistance funding that we are providing to minello, isn't it true, and isn't it time that usaid and the administration focus on this issue given what's at stake and i've asked for three years now, try to work to make this a priority with usaid. i received emphatic support verbally three years later after returning, i see no progress. so would this be the year where we finally make a difference? >> thank you, mr. chairman. it will. we believe this is a critical
issue. as icing personally, and efforts were i handed out land titles to colombian farmers who were returning to their farms after conflict that has lasted as you know decades. the power of respecting property rights, providing title, giving people the basis to invest in their own future is an extraordinarily powerful strategy to reduce poverty and extreme poverty. in the philippines, 46% of the 24.2 million parcels are titled, and even amongst those, the high degree of corruption and ineffective respect for those titles hamper the ability of many poor families to secure their future. i'm thrilled that we've been working together on this. i want to say thank you for your specific visits to the country and work with the program. we can commit today to you, to
use fy '14 resources to engage in the effort that will help both work with the government on corruption issues, enforcement, community policing, and support for their land management office, as was with local communities to help address this challenge. >> the other question i was going to ask you is, last week this committee held a hearing on women and education followed by a mark upon our legislation. our debate i think drove home a very important point, and that is education is a very powerful tool that can advance u.s. national security interests while creating more stable societies. for many years now, i've expressed concerns about the rise of these schools. i've made three trips to pakistan to urge the government to close been. they would prey upon the
disenfranchised and they are breeding radicalism. and i visited schools that if they've been destroyed by the taliban of the northwest frontier. i think the pakistani american community in the united states based on my work with them, they see how we can better coordinate efforts to promote education and private sector growth in pakistan. they have a very real interest in making sure that this radicalization is offset and that the education of girls is advanced. what can be done to better leverage and support investments by the pakistani diaspora in education and in private sector development in pakistan? and how are you safeguarding u.s. assistance against corruption inside pakistan? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the leadership the community -- committee has shown in taking forward the legacy
that this is great by using her voice and the power of her moral example. to advocate for this issue. u.s.a. has supported a large-scale program in pakistan on education with a specific focus on girls and early great learning and literacy outcome. we target reaching 3.2 million children. we've helped to reconstruct more than 1400 schools. we worked with federal and provincial governments in a number of the states to make sure that this issue is a priority, and we've engaged on teacher training, curriculum standard and perhaps most importantly, the meshing of literacy outcomes through the early great leading assessment which usaid has tested. we look for to working with pakistani american committee on this. we have no mechanism to allow us to do that and i think that the platoon engaged the diaspora committee which is something we enhanced over the last several
years would be quite welcome to take this program to an even greater level of effectiveness. >> thank you, administrator shall. we will now turn to mr. l. the angle of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have four questions i'm going to try and do it -- eliot engel. i'm going to try to quickly. the first one is about something mentioned in my opening statement, tuberculosis. it's usually treatable as you know with inexpensive drugs but it's still the leading curable infectious disease in the world, claiming 1.3 million lives per year. and the emergence of multi-drug-resistant and extensively, drug-resistant strain really poses a direct threat to the public health of the u.s. this year's budget request, u.s. aides to the goes program or pose a $45 million cut from fy 2014 of 236 million. at a time of tight budgets with pat far and the global fund, and
you elaborate on how usaid tuberculous program could absorb the cut of this magnitude and stuck it on its mission? >> thank you. i appreciate your leadership on to rigid sister i think it's been very, very important and that's part of why we sing a reduction in tb mortality and tb is projected to achieve its blame development called target. we are very concerned about multidrug-resistant tuberculosis which largely has emerged in places like india, south africa, china, brazil and russia. and i did note a few things. the first is in a difficult budget environment we've had to make some trade-offs but we want what i did is recognized with three types of funding for tb, u.s. aid by the program from the one at 80 plus million dollars in that particular city become and the global fund commitment which is gone over the last several years and where the united states recently encouraged and voted for global
fund spending more of its resources, i think 14-18%, on tuberculosis in particular. so in aggregate i think that united states commitment to tuberculosis remains at a consistent and strong level. second, we're engaging more in partnerships, especially in countries that can afford to pay for much of the response but require some technical partnership with us. i saw this specifically transpire in india where they are very focused on what they call xdr tb. third we look forward to working with you to continue to make sure we are optimizing our but i think u.s. aides is have a very strong history of supporting the world health organization, cdc and local country governments around the world to take more of their own domestic responsibly for this issue. >> let me as a couple of middle is question the first one on syria. the u.n. security council has unanimously approved resolution
which demands all parties, particularly the syrian authority, probably allow rapid safe and he mentioned access -- humanitarian access. assad stealing the food, stealing aid, not letting it go. can you give us a quick overview of how serious humanitarian aid? >> well, thank you, and as you know and as members of the committee have really worked hard to highlight, this is an extraordinary crisis with nine and a half million people in need inside of syria and two and a half million refugees now, especially men in jordan and lebanon that are really -- social services for those mostly young syrian refugees. that united states is proud of the fact that our aid and assistance both in $1.7 billion
over the last few years has reached and continues to reach more than 1 million people inside a series. more so than any other country. we reached effective communities even in opposition areas. surgeons and doctors that we support have provided more than 250,000 surgeries, everyone of them heroic in the context of being targeted, and in many cases having staff lose their lives. we continue to provide support by want to say just a few things. one is the usc could account the resolution was reviewed by valerie a most just a week ago, or two weeks ago. she reported to the security council that, in fact, he is averaging have not lived up to the terms of the security council resolution in terms of greatly expanding access. second, we know their specific pockets intimate inside of syria, roughly 220,000 people that are held in areas were literally the preventing food and water from reaching them is
used as a tactic of war. that is in violation of every basic humanitarian principle. including how wars should be conducted. so in this context this is an extraordinary difficult problem. the committee's work and your personal efforts to allow for more flexibility and food assistance have allowed us to reach so many more beneficiaries, women and children, especially in jordan and lebanon, that we simply couldn't truck american food to but now they get a card that has usaid logo on it that says from the american people. and our humanitarian leader just sat with a group of women who said thank you so much for this card. is what gives us the dignity and keeps us going. that is only happening because you have bought for greater flexibility in food and food assistance, and i just want to say thank you for your leadership. >> i'm just wanting if quickly i can stay in the middle east and ask you one quick question about
the israeli-palestinian negotiations. the administrations requested over 409 in fy '15 funds for the palestinian authority, and last week the palestinian president abbas announced palestinian would be joining 15 international convention seen in violation of their obligations under the agreement to negotiate. now they're calling for several new preconditions of talks making -- the only path which a palestinian state and sustainable peace between israel and the palestinians is through a negotiated settlement, not unilateral declaration by the palestinian authority. so let me just a basic, how will our assistant strategy change if they pursue a unilateral path? >> let me just say, secretary kerry has i think very ably articulated the administrations position and the extraordinary leadership he has taken to support negotiations and continues to moving forward. we played a part at the sectors
direction in providing support in the west bank as you've noted. none of the agreements that were signed last week in danger at this point that support right now, but we will be looking for a carefully to see of this transpires, coordinating our efforts. and i'll just as with secretary kerry, a few months ago when they launched a high impact infrastructure initiative in the west bank, and i think the american people should take some pride in the fact that our assistance in the region helps to maintain stability and create some opportunities for dialogue and negotiation. but the secretary of course went into this in much more detail yesterday and i'll defer to his comments. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> we now go to ms. ros-lehtin ms. ros-lehtinen, from florida. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman.
thank you, dr. shah. i would like to give you an opportunity to clarify some press reports about the cuba twitter program. first, was the program covert and top secret? >> no. >> second, does usaid implement similar programs aimed at increasing the free flow of information throughout the world in closed society of? >> we support civil society, yes. >> third, a usaid remain committed to reaching out to people suffering under closed societies and dictatorship the? >> is. >> thank you, dr. shah. so contrary to what the media have reported, the democracy program for cuba are transparent, they are open. the cuba democracy program with its $20 million price tag in fact is one of the most scrutinized programs in our foreign aid of portfolio. the real question here is, why does the press and some in our
congressional family demonized these programs? the freedom house has a report called freedom on the net in this report lists the cuba as the world's second worst violator on internet freedom. only iran is worse. so cuba is worse than countries like syria, belarus, where no one incomes have a problem promoting internet freedom in those countries. so why not cuba? some may have a political agenda here toward supporting the castro dictatorship instead supporting the people of cuba and wish to put an end to these successful programs. many of us on this committee has spent a lot of time and energy supporting human rights in russia, in vietnam come in egypt and tunisia, ukraine, iran, syria. so why not cuba? why does our foreign policy agenda discriminates against the freedom seeking people in the western hemisphere? as you know, dr. shah, and i
congratulate you for being so sensitive to this, the cuban people have been suffering under the castro dictatorship for more than 50 years. not because of u.s. policy not because the castro brothers continued to harass, to imprison, to torture, to kill the opposition. i'm a political refugee because my family immigrated to the united states when i was eight years old. we were seeking democracy. and i remember driving to havana and my father telling me, ducked down, because gunshots were being fired all around us. my dear friend was 11 when his family came here from cuba, and he can also share some of these heartbreaking stories. but these tragedies continue today in the daily lives of the people of cuba. one pro-democracy leader is named as you know dr. shah, -- known by his nickname. he was in captures the jail over 17 years.
now that he is free from one jail to a bigger jail, that is cuba, he continues to fight for democracy and for respect for human rights. in fact, just too much ago, he risked his life and went on a hunger strike with no food and no liquid. why? all for the sake of freedom. another human rights advocate, a leader of the opposition, the ladies in white. these brave women are comprised of imams, the sisters, the friends, the relatives of political prisoners and they march every sunday in peace to mask wearing all white calling for freedom. they march in peace, mr. chairman, as you know with the glad y'all is in their hand. you've spoken about them. these women are met with violence. beatings, imprisonment. these pro-democracy advocates are the faces of the people that
you under your leadership and usaid has been trying to help with these programs. thank you for that, dr. shah. and u.s. citizen allen crow's as we know is on his fifth year of being unjustly incarcerated in cuba and has begun a hunger strike. according to the cuban commission for human rights and national reconciliation, there were over 1000 arbitrary and politically motivated arrests in cuba just two months ago in february in one month, over 1000 arrests. does this sound like paradise? if this were happening in any other country in the world, the u.s. would be engaged. so why should cuba be an exception? there's a independent press in cuba. has complete control over the cuban airways and programming on television and the press to promote the political propaganda spewed by this dictatorship. that is why our state department and that's why you, dr. shah, with usaid democracy programs in cuba are so important to offer the other side of the story,
aside to promote american values, god-given values like freedom, justice and liberty. i recognize that some in congress don't think that cuba is a national significance, but they are wrong and this issue goes well beyond cuba. this issue we're debating, mr. chairman, is whether or not usaid should be taking steps to promote human rights, rule of law, and democratic governance throughout the world. and i say yes. thank you, doctor shah. thank you, just eight. this is the cornerstone of our foreign policy to promote democratic ideals. i'm sorry i'm out of time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> we now go to gregory meeks of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, dr. shah for your outstanding job. in leading usaid. i want to try to do it as quickly and i guess if you write them down, hopefully you'll get a chance to answer them. if not we will talk later.
but first usaid plays a significant role in providing trade related assistance, and congress has appropriate funds for the purpose of specific targeting certain countries with which we have trade agreements. it a strong supporter of trade capacity building, so i would like to know more about what usaid is doing to enhance trade capacity abroad and what does he think congress can do to help. that's question number one. number two, as indicated i also applaud what the agency has done in progress in dispersing aid funding in haiti but however research congressional black caucus was at the u.n. and we were told that there could be a serious outbreak of malaria in haiti. and so i want to know, do you think is that so and what can we do there? third, of course, i am also