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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 5, 2015 6:00am-8:01am EST

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>> we are getting the organization used to a way of thinking. it's focusing on the security component and the effectiveness
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of that, defining that mission in a very clear way and looking to see what we are learns as we are studying it. we've actually learned quite a bit already about system readiness both in the workforce as well as in the technology and it's leading to things that we have to do to improve that on both scores, also beginning to point the way we are going to effect iively measure performan. i see this as a very valuable partnership even recognizing that they have to be independent, but they give me valuable information about how my system is working. >> let me say this, one of the things that i pushed with the secret service and city police is i want them to create an organization which is the elite of the elite, in other words, a
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feeling that we are the best and that our standards are high and i believe that when you have -- when you get there, the people who are caught up in a cultural will fall off because they won't feel that they belong, period. some of them you may have to fire. most of them will just bag off. as i heard the testimony today, one of the things is the idea that we have now an agency that's willing to accept the recommendations and director keeps going back to some of the things you said about accepting these recommendations and then trying to do them, but we still have those gaps, and as i'm sitting here listening to all of this and saying, maybe it's not all of the things that you just
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said, but you had to add manager to it. i think when we have recommendations and then your agency looks at them and says, oh, yeah, we have to do this, we missed that, we have to do that, it may go back to the idea of trying to impress or get it done but not concentrating on why we are doing it, why that's important, and some kind of way i think they get to the elite of the elite, i think people have to have a full understanding of why it is in the fact that bad things can happen and perhaps if you're not on guard, they will. and i keep, for some reason i keep going back to katrina. i think about katrina almost every day because it's one of the situations where we claimed that we were ready, we couldn't even communicate across town. like i said, when they said
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river meet the road, we didn't meet the road. our country is better than that. one is leadership and another is metrics, i'm hoping that i talk to chairman and he's been very opened to accepting the model that we used in the subcommittee where we constantly brought folks back so that we could actually see where we were going because one of the things you heard me say many times, a lot of times, agencies, i'm not saying you did that, agencies will wait out a congress so there's no accountability going back to what you said ms. ro vrk er, come back and report and it may be that you don't achieve every single thing you twoont achieve but hopefully we can see our progress and by the way, i think when the agency see its progress that again, helps them feel like the elite among the
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elite. finally, you know, i just -- i thank all of you for working together and thank you for having the attitude that you have. one of the biggest mistakes is that we are on different things. what you are saying we are all on the same thing trying to lift up the american people an keep them safe. that's our team. and so if i've got a member of the team that can see things that i can't see and can bring them to my attention and help me become better, and again, become the elite of the elite, i think that's what we ought to be about, and i thank you for having that attitude because that's going to get us where we want to go. i go back to what mr. gally said a little earlier, i have met
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nothing but good experiences with csa, everywhere i go. i know that we've got some great men and women working for that organization. keep it, you know, refreshing their kills -- skills. they got the kids, they got the stroller and all this and they have to be checked. i'm sure that's an opportunity for people frustrations to get out of hand, but yet i've seen over and over again tsa officers have been very patient, understanding, and try to do the
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right thing at all times and at the same time protect us. so, again, i thank you all, we look forward to seeing you again. testimony has been extremely meaningful and i think it can lead us in effectiveness and efficiency. there's nothing like having motion, commotion, emotion and no results. i think you have given us a road map to get there. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman and the members for participating today. we've gone through all the membership and y'all have been most accommodating, i realize the task that you have but i particularly want to thank the inspector general and also the director. you have an important role. committee relies on you and your
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independence and going forward. the goal is to keep the american public safe to make certain that we don't have another 9/11 and we do the best we can by the resources given by the taxpayers. so with that being said, there being no further business before the committee, i will mention to the staff assayed that we will be submitting to you all witnesses additional questions in this interim time for response. we want you to know those responses will also be made part of the record. being no further business, this hearing of the government reform, the committee is adjourned. thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> former house speaker john boehner's official resignation from office announced last week. a special election to fill
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mr. boehner's seat will be on june 7. primary election for the race is scheduled for march 15th. ohio sixth district expand six counties and includes the cities of troy and weschester. >> the 2016 open enrollment started november 1st. closeture -- closure and we will be in the subcommittee at 10:00 a.m. eastern. >> i thought, well, there is only one person about whom i would write if i were to write a second biography, i did write that book. >> i thought, i'm going to be
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standing next to the president speaking to 3,500 of the most important people in the room here in dc, who knows how i will feel in the moment, i don't know. i had the idea that i might do that. i thought maybe i'll give him the books later, but if i feel like a new yorker, if i feel in the moment to be able to pull off a goofiness, i'll do it. this sunday night on q&a, eric mataxas and crossover between religion and politics. >> it's important for everybody to take politics seriously and at least to vote, but never to make what we christians call an idol of politics. there are people who have done that and worshiping at that -- they are wereshipping that idol rather than the god that would cause them to care for the poor
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and injustices. it's a fine line. it's something that i talk fairly often. >> sunday night on c-span's q&q. >> next discussion of the navy with chris aquilino. this is 30 minutes. >> don't stop, welcome back for the afternoon session. i hope they enjoy, they looked pack and everybody is paying attention. that's what we like to see. we had a great morning and hopefully we'll just have informative and interesting entertaining afternoon. we have three sessions, to remind everyone, four sessions, how will the military prepare in
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the age of everything. he will talk about what's going on. south china sea. we have general who is the africa commander. guy most of you, probably all of you haven't heard from yet, i think he'll have a lot to say about operations there. we heard a lot about special operations forces recently. director to the cia and drew holman who is running individual director. getting start to come out and speak publicly. we had a very good exclusively interview on our site. we will get that talk. finally to close off the day, the deputy secretary himself. let's get it started with vice
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admiral and enjoy the rest of the afternoon, everyone. thank you. [applause] >> well, thanks for joining us admiral. i appreciate you talking to us. this really has been an age of everything. this year we have seen russia stretching out into the arctic more active on europe over in the pacific. we have seen china being more active around the south china sea. chinese navy around the world, drugs from the caribbean, yemen, everything is going on. how is the navy turning to meet those challenges? >> brad, thanks for the question and thanks for inviting, on behalf of new ceo i'm honored to be here with so many members of the national security community
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and look forward and telling you about how our navy -- how we are doing today and challenges that you mentioned. if you would ask me to prioritize, i'm not sure i could. what i could tell you, though is from a navy perspective we took a good hard look at challenge that is exist across the globe. we just released it in march. we took a real hard look at all of the things you mentioned. the strategy outlines kind of three key points that i think focused where our efforts are. number one is we are deployed forward, so the navy is your crisis response force and we are forward each and every day. today about 40,000 of young men and women are deployed on the tip of the sphere. they are ready to do a large number of things from
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humanitarian assistance when needed to detouring conflict and fight when in the nation's wars if asked. second, we are engaged all across the world. so our friends allies and partners are critical to what we do. we know that we are better when we operate together. so you pick the area that you mentioned, we work with those friends and allies and partners all of the time. the last is we are ready. so while we can't have all of our forces deployed each and every day, we have surge capability that is trained, ready and primed to be able to surge if called upon for a crisis. so without giving you that
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prioritization we are ready. >> 250 ships to goal 308. it's not going to get to 308 quite as bas. beyond that the number was set before resent resurgence of russia. we are entering period of great power at sea. is that 308-size fleet still going to do the job? >> i think it is. as we develop the strategy that threats and things that we would have to respond to were clearly a part of the calculus. our most recent analysis identifies that we need greater
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than 3008 chips, 11 aircraft carriers, we need three ships and we need 14ssbn's in order to execute the missions. those are the big moving pieces that the strategy determined were about right. that keeps us present around the globe in order to do the missions we talked about. you know, currently we have five carrier strike groups that are either deployed or trained and prepared to deploy today. the roosevelt is returning from an eight-month deployment. they executed a mission with indians and japanese. we have one east coast and one west coast getting ready to deploy. we have the uss ronald reagan, just departed korea and doing
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western pacific operations, and the shape and size of the structure as i outlined we believe will meet the commitments required by the global geographic command as the missions have been identified. >> that takes into account russia's resurgence? >> all of the threat we have to respond to. you can pick any day of the week and you might find one of those threats being higher prioritize than the other. in response -- in what we are doing together with nato which would go directly to your russia question, you know, last week we executed some ballistic missile defense exercise event with our nato partners and allies. we have four ballistic missile defense ships that we have forward stationed and road to spain in order to meet the threats you described. >> let's talk about that in
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forward basing and elsewhere in the world. there are a couple of ways to get more forward deemployed days out of a given ship. you can rotate crews, you can make sure that it's ready to go, i know that the navy has initiatives in three areas. is it time to consider more forward basing to make sure they go as far as they can? >> i think our current view as how we operate forward is based on two different models. some of it forward deployed naval forces, a group of ships that operate out of japan. we have submarines in guam. i think that the comment i would make to you is in viewing it with regard to our need desire
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and intent to be forward deemployed, it's -- it's about being where it matters and when it matters. >> understood. >> it's one of the initiatives that we've taken on. we currently have almost 60% of our naval forces deployed to the pacific station in pacific aor. 58, i think, is the latest number. we will get to 60% by 2020. and that's not just things, it's our most capable things, so our most advanced f18's are out
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there. bmd ships are out there and, again, it's not just about things, the rebalances more than just things. it's about partnerships, it's about how we think about operating and critical is the fact that we're aligned with each and every one of the nations out there in order to build a network of navies that can respond and support those in favor of the security of the global commons within international rules laws and norms. >> it's a national, you know, national decision to make. and yet you -- navy are responsible to respond to whatever request come up. a lot more stuff is happening in europe and a lot more is still
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going on in the middle east, not the mention to caribbean and other places, the arctic, how do you make sure that you've got what it takes to get in these places that aren't the pacific even if you try to execute that overall strategy? >> deployed forces are balanced across the area of responsibility, almost to the point of 30 ships in the middle east supporting the events that are going on there. somewhat less than that, i highlighted the ballistic my -- missile defense ships. we are supporting each of the global combat and commanders as required and meeting their needs. we're also mobile. those forces can shift as required depending on when and where the crisis might be. many instances from a navy
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perspective i have deployed in an what are into i was going to go in one place and ended up in another. it's one of the benefits the navy provides. while we are not tied to basis, we don't need access granted by any nation, we bring our own logistics, we can come and go and operate anywhere we need to support the tasking. >> it's what the navy does. the united states navy has carried that out. you've got a new -- you're executing a response plan that is trying to synchronize bits to get a fully functional powerful navy out there. what are the -- what are the challenges that you face now? what keeps you awake? what are you working to -- what do you still working through to make sure this happens? >> i just finished working with
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admiral, i sleep just fine if many reasons. number one knowing that i'm part of the greatest navy in the existence of time. the plan was to get in three pillars of getting ready. for us to have sustainable, affordable, force generation model that provides the high-end trained capability that's needed against today's threats, that's why we develop the admiral, the optimize fleet response plan. i worked with admiral as part of development of this and he was kind of the master mind. what it did was it took a variety of different inputs and sin -- synchronized focus to produce a affordable force that
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can deploy to execute that high-end mission. it took into account the hard things that go along with maintaining our ships to keep them ready to go to sea. it took into account our ability to train our amazing sailers to the high-end fight that they would have to do. social security sin -- it's sin cron >> synchronized the ordinance required to do the fight. when you take all of those things, it was really eye opening and the challenge but the team got us through a pretty good place. >> i think the navy announced this last year and put this into effect in november and now it's been going for about a year. how is it going? >> the first deployment was in
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'17. we are on track. i'm fot going to tell you we have all the answers as in anything, we are smart enough to know that we have gotten most of it right but we we are flexibler those thing that is might need tweaking and adjusting that we are ready to do that. if you take the maintenance community and figure out how to take navy group of ships and align crews and destroyer ships, pa's, submarines, it's a fairly large task. the team, is again, well ahead of schedule, the first deployment will be in '17 and we will take the lessons learned from that. >> i'm envisioning a spreadsheet [laughter] >> massive production plan. at this point i don't know if we
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are going to figure out anything. we are going to see what shows itself what might need focus, tweak, again, getting back to the ultimate goal, when we take on the task of being ready to support the nation's tasking, there's really no better way to do it than this path. so with regard to lessons learned, those will come out, we meet monthly on the status, the different communities brief to the fleet commanders, the status of the strike groups airplanes, any cc outfits and we will continue to make adjustments to produce the most affordable sustainable efficient and effective fighting force we can. >> how do you know when this has succeeded? do they stay on station longer because you have not fixing stuff?
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what's the ultimate measure of this to this plan? >> i think the metric is when the schedule is built, when you go in on time and when you come out on time, when you deploy ready to execute the high-end missions. again, i talked about some of our missions from humanitarian, deterring aggression no matter where we go, responding to crisis and ultimately defeating adversary of task. i think that's the ultimate goal. >> if we go to war and we win, i think you're right. >> correct. >> let's go back to what you were talking about earlier about international partnerships. we haven't talked about the thousand-ship navy for a few years now, i think it's a good concept and international partnerships are more important as ever if not more so. what are the -- what are the mean areas that are changing where you said, who is really coming along and who is -- who
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is the navy want to go bring along more? >> we don't talk about the thousand-ship navy anymore. all like-minded partners with regard to understanding time operations for the global security of the global commons, to be able to enhance the economic portions that go on in the world as the protector of the sea line of communications and, again, i don't think we have a lack and stack that one is bitter than the other. we are all in it together. we operate across the groab. we did an exercise in india called malibar. we work with nato partners.
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we have the george washington carrier right now is just finished completing a transit. it's executing operation with our southern american partners. ..
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what you'll find is actually try signed. it is signed by the city and no, admiral greenert. it is signed by the commandant, then general dunford, and it is signed by the commandant of the coast guard. so the maritime services industry and age are more together than ever. specifically with the marine corps. with a variety of events where we synchronize content together and work our war fighting concepts, our ability to operate for together more effectively. that's called a naval board. the naval board as a monthly event that i host with, co-chaired by general walsh, and we bring to that event the
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critical concerns and tasks that the commandant and the cno want us to get after. again to increase war fighting capability, to increase our engagement with our international partners come ambition to ensure that the navy, marine corps team is ready to go head into the 21st century. >> can you talk about some specifics speak with there's plenty of things. to are events like i said with regard to enhancing and improving our war fighting events with regard to any access denial area access. that's a threat that seems to be i would to increasing across the globe. the navy marine corps team is working on a variety of events in order to enhance our capabilities. let's talk about that a little bit. >> but that awful lot of talk about aqap as it is known. it is certainly a big problem in the pacific.
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china is rapidly developing its own military. but even elsewhere whether our air defenses and there's always the good old navy mind. there are ways our enemies can keep naval forces a way from the fight. it's been noted that this is itself a kind of asymmetry. you take the mine, it takes $1000 to put a mine in the water that can keep a billion dollar fleet away from the water. >> with regard to the f. access area denial threats, they are not new, and our strategy has identified them as a key component and a challenge that we've taken on and will clearly overcome. the ability for the navy-marine corps team to execute see control, that is, going to a
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place at the time and place of our choosing in order to execute our mission is critical to how we do business. the marines are going to be the first to bring online the jsf, where's the navy will be not far behind them. that the capability is critical to our ability to get into and access and execute our mission inside area access denied. >> because of its stealthy ms.? >> it is a critical component. the mix of the air wing of the future is a critical component. our ability to execute electromagnetic maneuver warfare is a critical component. and our vast amounts of things that we trained and execute in order to defeat the type of threat. >> image of the electromagnetic spectrum. the jsf, the f-35 will be the most sophisticated jamming
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platform as opposed to, or electromagnetic action platform as opposed to just a dumb bomb truck that you guys have. what's the plan for starting to exploit that, to learn how you fight that and use it in your battle plans? >> dimension was going on in the naval board. that's one of the topics. the navy-marine corps team is working together to determine how to best employ. we are building concepts of employment, concepts of operations. again the marine corps will believe because they will deploy into plucker jsf version first but the navy is completely plugged in and working into understanding an naval employment of that asset spent so the marines get to go try it first and you watch how they do it. >> we are working with them before after weapons school and our training bases. the teams are working together as we speak to understand how it
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best supports the fight that exists in the area, how to best synchronize the effects of the marine corps standpoint, from a navy standpoint, and ultimately how the two teams work together to defeat the anti-access area denial threat. >> we talked about china a little bit. on the headlines in recent days have been filled with the south china sea. that is one of the most contested areas in the maritime domain in the world. lots of stuff going on. the u.s. i has begun freedom of navigation patrols. china has in response is sent armed jets through the area. this is not the only place in the world that is so contested. from where you sit what are you doing, what is your team doing, what is your section of the navy during to think about how you approach this kind of problem? >> i don't think this kind of problem is really very much different than what you each and
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every day. our forward present and global deployment plan, we execute these operations age at every day, not just in the western pacific, better training, north atlantic, south america. so i don't think we view it as a singular problem. we view it really as standard normal ops. the secretary of defense i think said it best when he said that we the navy will operate anywhere we desire within the international norm standards rules and laws. so that theme is nothing different than we've been doing for a number of years. >> fair enough. how about this, this is something that is really unprecedented, climate change. we have rising seas come extreme weather events, all sorts of projections and predictions about how this going to cause unrest as resource access
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shifts. from where you sit what are you thinking about? speak with as the climate change issue again is not something that recently to shut up on our radar scope. the navy i think has kind of taken the lead. it is built in as a part of our strategy. we believe that we are to carry will open up over the next few years, and we are not waiting for the. we are doing operations each and every day as we speak to become familiar with and be able to operate imputed in the arctic when the time comes. we have developed out of my office and my predecessor, build what we call the arctic roadmap. i will tell you we do things in the arctic frequently. so not long ago the uss seawolf surfaced at the north pole. we have executed operation in the not too distant past. we swap sailors with our nato
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partners to work navigation strategies, and with u.s. sailors on a couple of foreign ships militarizing or so for the area that they operate probably more frequently than. we will be ready for the arctic challenge. i see only our operations increasing over the next five years. >> a little bit closer to home. congress and the president has concluded a budget deal that seems like it is bound to give a little more stability, two years maybe, to the military budget and, of course, the navy budget. what does that do for you? >> i think the stability is the critical part that we were looking for. and i would argue the other services. the unknowns really make it hard to build a plan that is consistent. and it just impinges on getting
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to execute the strategy we talked about. so if you don't all the analysis to get to greater 300 ships, 33 amphibians, and nuclear submarines come anytime the budget impacts our ability to stay on path just makes it more challenging. a good thing is i don't have to touch the budget in my job. my friend joe molloy does that. it is a tremendous job. but it directly gets impacting operations and other things when that uncertainty reduces what's required to execute the strategy. >> the world is going to produce enough uncertainty i think for everybody coming up. of the things you can foresee out there in the world, the challenges, over the next year what are you going to be thinking about? what are the big things you will have to grapple with? >> i think it's to keep us focused. i think the plan we built is really on target.
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there will be a lot of pop-up things as you across the globe, bright shiny objects that will cut get your attention. i think a plan force it remain a forward deployed naval force and not get pulled back into garrisons. to keep our ships forward. as the nation's crisis response force is critical we've got to keep our eye on that ball. the president still asks when a crisis occurs worst offenders aircraft carrier. that's our role, that's what we do. we have to keep aligned with our nato allied partners and friends across the globe, and we have to have some surge capacity should crisis break out to be able to respond. i think if we just keep on the path we will be any good place no matter what happens. >> i think that will do it for us. admiral, thank you very much for joining us today. >> thanks for having me. [applause] >> the 2016 open enrollment
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season for the affordable care act started november 1. today senator ben sasse of nebraska testifies about the closure of several health care insurance co-ops. we will be live at a house energy and commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span3. >> c-span has your coverage of the road to the white house 2016 where you'll find the candidates, the speeches, debates, and most importantly your questions. this year we're taking i road to the white house coverage into classrooms across the country with our studentcam contest giving students the opportunity to discuss what important issues they wanted the most on the candidates. policies bee been studentcam competition a row to the white house coverage 2016 on tv, on the radio and online at c-span.org.
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>> next, the senate commerce committee examines online consumer reviews and the anti-disparagement or gag clauses companies used to discourage criticism. this hearing is an hour and 40 minutes. >> good morning. this hearing will come to order. today we convene to examine a growing and disturbing trend affecting consumers in the united states. imagine you're a consumer who purchases an item online, but the product isn't what you bargained for. because you don't want other consumers to waste their time or money, you take to social media to post an honest account of your experience. you're then aggressively approached by the company that sold you the substandard product and threatened with a stiff penalty unless you immediately take down the critical review. little did you know that buried in the fine print of the ou did y website's terms and conditions was an anti-consumer clause forbidding you from posting a anonsu negative review about the causeg company, even if it's true. this scenario sounds far-fetched, but the sad reality
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is that it's happening every dab across the country. ut hap so-called non-dipesparagement, r gag, clauses are being forced or consumers and then being used ta intimidate them. these gag provisions are egregious from a consumer protection standpoint, butintime they're also doing harm to ourrs internet ecosystem. our committee spends a significant amount of time focusing on how we can increasee broadband adoption and create policies that unlock the trueusi nttential of the internet, but speech-stifling contract terms undermine what we're trying to s accomplish in internet policy. a core tenet of the internet isl the ability to freely share information with whomever you like. what good is information if it'. been sanitized to removeood is truthful criticism?hful critism? simply put, imposing consumermpt gag clauses can result in unfaim bullying. er the practice is frequently abour a larger entity abusing its power and insulating itself frot legitimate and constructive criticism. often consumers don't believe they have any power against companies that treat them have poorly, but online review sites and social media have givenpart. american consumers a tremendous
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americanf power. consumers rightfully place highc value on the experiences of other consumers and therefore frequently rely on the wisdom of the crowd when deciding where te spend their money. do some consumers sometimes abuse the internet with falsewir reviews? sure they do. but businesses that face unfair reviews? reviews have existing remedies available to them, including the ability to sue for defamation. in addition, businesses should d be able to offset phony reviews with positive assessments from e satisfied customers. regrettably, there are a growing number of businesses in the grog marketplace that are blockingrkt honest consumer speech through gag clauses rather than responding to negative criticism by providing a better product o. service. today we are joined by jen palmer, who will share her h personal experience fighting against an unscrupulous company that sought a $3,500 penalty simply because she told theing e truth about poor customer service. fortunately for the palmers, they were able to challenge thir abuse in court and persevered.tt the palmers are far from alone in their experience. in one case, a dentist included
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a non-disparagement clause in her contract, as well as a clause that purported to grant the dentist the copyright to anything the patient may laterpt write about the dentist. when a patient posted an online review complaining about beingda overcharged, the dentist sent at post takedown notice to the reviewed site. the the dentist also sent the patient a series of invoicessh demanding payment of $100 for each day the complaints continued to appear online. the patient sued the dentist and a court found the clause to be unconscionable and void, awarding the patient nearly $5,000. in another case, a consumer whop did not receive her order from an online retailer informed the company she would report the matter to her credit cardce company. in response, the company demanded the consumer pay $250 d for violation of its fine-printr terms of sale, which prohibited a customer from even threatening s to make a negative publicwith pv statement about the retailer. the consumer filed suit against. the retailer alleging its actions were unfair, deceptive, and contrary to public policy. g the court ultimately found in the consumer's favor.
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going even a step further, in a wedding contract, one hotel went so far as to inform prospective newlyweds they could be fined if they or any of their guests violated a gag clause by leaving a negative review. after this clause was reported widely in the press, the business changed its terms. keep in mind, the vast majority of non-disparagement clauses never see public light. this is because consumers often succumb to pressure and remove the negative review. understandably, they'd rather avoid the fight than face the threat of excessive penalties, costly litigation, or damage to their credit scores. the proliferation of this problem led senators moran, schatz, blumenthal, mccaskill and me to introduce the bipartisan and bicameral consumer review freedom act that would ban non-disparagement clauses in form contracts while still permitting companies to pursue good faith defamation claims. our bill empowers the federal trade commission and state attorneys general to enforce against these anti-consumer provisions. the ftc recently filed suit against one company over a consumer gag clause and the
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consumer review freedom act would guarantee the commission's ability to fight against these provisions. since introduction we've worked with stakeholders and plan to make a few changes prior to marking up the bill. i'm looking forward to moving this pro-consumer legislation through our committee and the senate so americans can continue to help each other make informed decisions. we have an excellent panel here today with diverse experiences on this issue. you each bring a unique perspective and i look forward to hearing about your experiences and thoughts on our legislation. thank you for agreeing to testify. senator nelson? >> thank you, mr. chairman. so companies want to muzzle consumers, and these companies are using their size and unequal bargaining power to force consumers to sign these take it or leave it agreements or contracts.
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some cases these agreements are just online pop-up items that a consumer clicks on, usually without reading all the small print, to purchase a good or service on the internet. almost no one reads them, but they can have major consequences. now, when i was in law school they called these contracts of adhesion. they are called adhesion, because you're stuck with them. you can't modify the contract in any way, and you are bound by the fine print that lawyers are so good at drafting. and the idea that some companies are suing, or threatening to sue, their customers for truthfully reviewing their
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consumer experience because of the so-called disparagement clauses in the contract and fine print, i think it's appalling. so we need to do something about it, thankfully, mr. chairman, you are. in a state like mine of florida, that is so dependent on tourism, we want visitors to share their experiences. businesses that do a good job should be rewarded with good comments, those who do not, they ought to be punished by telling the truth. so, mr. chairman, i'm glad that your bill would stop this practice by voiding contracts of adhesion that punish consumers are sharing their experiences and their opinions with other consumers. now, i think this hearing is
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timely, mr. chairman, because of this issue and your bill brings up also in my mind a related issue that needs to be discussed. just a few weeks ago, the los angeles times reported that fiat chrysler was requiring consumers who wanted to receive a family discount on a car, they must, in order to get that, signed a mandatory arbitration clause as part of the sales contract. so if the car is defective and kills or injures that consumer, as was the case with toyota's sudden acceleration or gm's faulty ignition switches, or the goddess exploding airbags, then you're potentially barred from seeking redress because of that take it or leave it arbitration
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clause. this type of provision is outrageous, and i think it's obvious. and beyond the automakers themselves, many dealers are also trying to use these arbitration provisions to shield themselves. on so this committee has seen too many examples lately of companies giving away scott free for killing and injuring and hiding the truth. and these non-disparagement at arbitration clauses are just another way for companies to avoid accountability by silencing consumers. so yes, consumers ought to be able to write a negative review about their business experience, but consumers should also have the ability to seek justice in a court of law when businesses fail to hold up their end of the
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bargain. especially if that failure ends up in injury or death. we just simply can't let people continue to get off scot free. so thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for the hearing. >> thank you, senator nelson, for those comments. i want to for the record add a couple of letters of support for the legislation at this one is from angie hicks of angie's list in which she says the bipartisan consumer review freedom act would prevent the use of these clauses, agreements and waves which are blatant the often cleverly disguised. internet association assess we applaud today's hearing on the bill, bipartisan bill, introduced as a major but some of our colleagues. american consumer institute, center for citizen research, our street, institute for liberty also a letter of support, then one as well from another
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coalition that includes yelp, public knowledge, public participation project, real self among many others. i want i to into those for the record and i want to open it up and look for during from our panel today. we have with us begin on my left mr. adam medros, tripadvisor. mr. robert atkinson wa who is te president of the information technology and innovation foundation, ms. jennifer palmer glenn mentioned earlier is the one, is one of the named plaintiffs in palmer versus kleargear. mr. eric goldman is professor at santa clara university of law and is also the director of the schools high-tech law institute. and then finally mr. ira rheingold whose executive director of the national association of consumer advocates. so welcome to all of you. which of your today and we will start on my left and a right with mr. medros, am pleased
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proceeds with your statement and it will give them some questions and hear from the panel. une. thank you for inviting me to testify on a very important topic. i very much appreciate your recent introduction of the consumer review freedom act. i am the head of global product of trip advisor. i lead it team that is responsible for all aspects, including the collection, moderation, and display of traveler reviews. for those who do not recall what it was like to book a trip, prior to the internet must let us rewind. because of the nature of travel and the importance we face on vacations was a risky proposition. weaver and research on your own, called multiple airlines or rely on a travel broker. if you are really lucky, maybe
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you would find a visitor would been there before. but putting simply, you are buying blind. platforms like trip advisor improved that. with access to customer reviews, you are no longer constrained to what family purchased. as a result, american consumers can makes infinitely more informed decisions about how to spend their money. but as most businesses have come to embrace the shift in knowledge, a minority refused to let consumers share experiences. a popular tactic is to use their contractual language to silence critics. this underhanded practice harms those reviews, those seeking transparency from other experiences, and those businesses that are playing by the rules. trip advisor hosts more than 250 million reviews from our community. trip advisor encourages good or bad, and experiences at hotels
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attractions, we believe in the right to do so. arerder to ensure they presented with both sides of the story. as you know, trip advisor is far from the only source. americans are increasingly returning to amazon, yelp, angie's list. from what doctor to visit to whom it can hire to remodel the kitchen's. in fact, recent study revealed 70% of all american choppers rely on online views. just this year, the united kingdom found that 54% of adults rely on online reviews and every 70% of hotel shoppers consider online reviews to be more popular. it is clear that consumer reviews have become a cripple heart of the marketplace -- critical part of the marketplace.
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we know that some businesses do not like the transparency that online views have brought. some believe they need to intimidate consumers to get critical reviews from being submitted. other seek the same result by hiding small print, stability that any negative review will incur a hefty fine. consumers usually have no idea they are signing up for such agreements, which are usually only provided in small print at the point of purchase. and even those who read the clauses lack the leverage to have them removed, while thinning of the check in d esk. while the intention is mainly to gag negative opinions, exact language can vary. "since thatlude reviews are detrimental to our business, if hotel receives a and is out of
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context, than a fine of $300 will be charged on a credit card on file." dealing with companies and individuals that deal with these agreements can be tricky for a platform like trip advisor. the easy solution would be to remove the listing, but that is often exactly what the company wants -- to eliminate the ability to comment on them. doing so would be a disservice to all travelers. andre taking the businesses warning travelers of the unscrupulous behavior. this is imperfect, and one would be improved by the passage of the act. boilerplate goes against everything we stand for. a consumer can tell people about her friend offline, and she has a right to share that opinion online -- along businesses and other customers to benefit therefrom. everyone is harmed by gag orders. when the consumer is censored,
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the public is less informed. and a given business, even the business doing the silence, it is harmed. these types of clauses serve no positive role in the american market place. and they stand in the way of consumer transparency. in conclusion, after the looks forward to working with you and the committee to ensure that american consumers are not prevented from sharing opinions and expenses with potential customers, whether it is done in person or the internet. i welcome your questions on this important topic. >> thank you. mr. atkinson? >> i appreciate the opportunity to come before you today to talk about the impact of non-disparagement clauses on consumers in the economy. the information technology foundation has long focused on policies to enable the internet economy to thrive.

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