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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 17, 2016 8:00pm-12:01am EDT

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they received $250 for their winning video. a special thanks to comcast cable and charter communication for helping to coordinate the visits. you can view all of winning documentary films at studentcam.org. >> tonight the student passes a bill allowing 9/11 families to sue the saudi arabian government. and the debate on 1.1 million in emergency spending and zika virus research. and the national urban league released their annual state of the black union report. today the senate passed a bill that would allow the family's of 9/111 victims to sue saudi arabian members who support terrorism terrorism.
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>> roughly, 3,000 people lost their lives and the nation hasn't forgotten their loss. the senator from new york and i introduced legislation called the justice against sponsors of terrorism act. this is bipartisan legislation that would enable americans and their family members who lost loved ones on that horrible day to pursue their claims for justice against those who sponsored these acts of terrorism on u.s. homeland. this bill was reported out of the senate judiciary committee without objection, and similar legislation passed the senate u unanimously last congress. that kind of support, i believe
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sends the support we will combat terrorism with every tool we have available and the victims of terrorist attacks in our country should have every means at their disposal to seek justice. i am grateful of the work from the senator from new york, along with chairman grassley for shepherding it through the senate judicial communityy and the support of like-minded senators in this chamber. we worked with the senator from alabama and south carolina who expressed concerned about earlier versions of the legislation and appreciate their willingness to work with us to deal with concerns that have now gained their support. i would say that this legislation amends the foreign sovereignty immunity act that was passed in 1976. so we already have a piece of
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legislation on the books that wave sovereign immunity under some circumstances but the problem is it does not extend to terrorist attacks on our homeland by countries and organizations that have not already been labeled as state sponsors of terrorism. this makes small changes in that legislation that first passed in 1976 to expand the scope of that to allow the families of the 9/11 tragedy to seek justice in our courts of law. mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that a cologu
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coloquey be made as part of the record. >> without objection. >> i would add, mr. president, there is already litigation pending by the families that lost loved ones on 9/11 and right now their appears to be somewhat of a split in the courts with regard to the scope of sovereign immunity and whether it applies but this legislation would basically clarify that vote for the pending cases and for future claims. at this point, i would defer to my friend, senator from new york, for any statement he cared to make, and i would be happy to offer a unanimous consent. >> thank you. i thank my good friend from texas for yielding and the great job he did. this is another example of bipartisan legislation and another example of a cornin
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cornin-schumer collaboration that which works well over here. we introduced this bill to the last three congresss. first, under the leadership of senator lay he, then senator grassley and twice passed through the senate judiciary committee and once by the full senate. the bill is very near and dear to my heart as a new yorker because it will allow the victims of 9/11 to pursue some small measure of justice by giving them a legal avenue to hold foreign sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions. the courts in new york city have dismissed the 9/11 victims claims against certain foreign entities alleged to help fund the 9/11 attacks. these courts are following what we believe is a non-sensical
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reading of the act. for the sake of the families, i want to make it clear every entity including foreign states will be held accountable if they are held found to be sponsors of the heinous of act of 9/11. the record goes into the more detail on some of the league nitty-gritty. we cannot lose site of the bigger pictures. what this means for the victims of 9/11 transcends the victims.
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terry strotta is seeking justice for her husband, tom. terry didn't just lose a husband but a son -- husband to a son and and daughter and a baby boy born soon after the towers fell. terry and many others are seeking what we would all be compeled to seek if we suffered such a lost -- compelled -- at the hands of hate and evil which is simply justice. the fact a foreign government may have aided and a baited terrorism is angry to the families families. terry and her three children have championed this bill. they are not stopped in the darkness as would be human
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nature to do at their terrible, injust, almost inexplicit loss, but ted her family and others chose to light candles and do what they can to make sure it doesn't happen again. so any foreign country that helps abate terrorism will pay a price if proven they have done so. terry and others are lighting a candle. i thank them. all the other families as well. monica gabriel, and all of the others for their tireless advocating and patience. in conclusion, this law is long overdue. a responsible fix to a law that has extended too large a shield
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to foreign actors who finance and enable terrorism on a massive scale. the victims of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks have suffered such pain and heart ache that they certainly should not be denied justice. >> majority whip? >> i thank my colleague from new york for his comments and partnership of working on this important legislation. i will ask the senate consider calendar number 362 and s 2040. >> the clerk will report. >> counting number 364 s-2040 a bill to detour tourism and provide justice for victims and provide other purposes. >> is there objection to
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proceed? >> without objection the senate proceeds to the measure. >> i ask consent the committee substitute be withdrawn and the cornyny substitute be agreed as a third time. >> i ask consent the motion be considered and laid on the table. >> without objection. >> the white house issued several strongly worded warnings about the bill to members of congress. you came out and said the exact same things before. but today when this bill passed,
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there was no opposition, doesn't that tell you there is just a strong of feeling ever n from the president's own party this is legitimate concern and the needs of these families to at least bring their claims to a court are more important than some indeterminate risk some other country should do something similar to the u.s.? >> look, the administration is strongly committed to assisting the 9/11 families. there are a variety of ways in which this administration has gone to bat for 9/11 families and those who did such important work around ground zero to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. i have in mind the legislation, of course, that for on a number of occasions got bottled up in congress to insure those who
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performed so heroically at ground zero were able to get health care. the commitment to the national security and to those who lost the most on 9/11 is steadfast. our commitment to those principles will not change but we have to acknowledge the significant, unintended consequences of moving forward with a piece of legislation like this. this is a concern that is not just expressed by the democratic administration. there are republicans in congress that expressed concerns about this. this is a sensitive issue. i would acknowledge the politics are tough. but, focusing on the substance, we need to make sure that this is -- that we don't overlook the
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potential, unintended consequences of a bill that could put the united states at risk around the world. that is a dangerous proposition and one that the commander and chief is rightly concerned about. >> it seems like democrats -- by there being zero opposition on the bill it seems like they are sending a message to the white house that the white house doesn't view this as important. what is your response? >> i will let them explain their position and why they didn't object to a proposal that has significant unintended consequences. look the education isn't going to intentionally inflict harm on
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the united states. we have a concern that is the unintended consequences of this and it is in the interest of the president of the united states to look out for the diplomats around the world. the concern we have is other countries would use the passage of this bill as an ex cuse to initiate their own proceedings in their own courts that puts the united states uniquely at risk. we can address and insure they are addressed as the legislative process moves forward. >> you urged members of congress not to proceed because it could
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have ramifications. the fact it passed the senate, are there ramifications to that alone in terms of the relationship that saudi arabia or anything else? >> i think as we discussed when the president traveled to saudi arabia, the president had a long bilateral meeting with the king of saudi arabia and the issue of this legislation was not raised. and you know, i think it is, i think it is an indication of the fact that right now, at least, this legislation is not interfering with our ability to coordinate with the saudi arabian government on a range of issues of mutual concern. but, you know, our broader concern is about the potential unintended consequences that the passage of this legislation would bring about. and that is basically giving other countries an ex cuse to subject.
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there is a lot of resources going into the defending the united states in foreign courts. that is not a good use of our time. or a good use of our diplomatic capital. these kinds of cases would serve as an additional irritant in our relations with countries around the world. again, we believe that these kinds of concerns, are the concerns that should be taken into account by every member of congress as they consider their position on the bill. >> the family put out a statement saying the big difference is -- they are dissecting the arguments and the difference is the u.s. doesn't support terrorist organizations that target civilians. so if this bill is so narrowly tailored to involve just
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terrorist attacks on u.s. soil, and you look at the arguments the families are making, is that really such a huge risk someone would do something similar? targeting civilians on our soil in this case, and obviously, democrats in the senate don't agree that that risk is -- you know? >> i do understand what you are saying. i think the concern is about potential unintended consequences. there are a number of countries around the world that do falsely accuse the united states of engaging in acts of terrorism that result in the death of innocent civilians. there are countries that publically make that acquisition on a regular bases. if they have a precedent of establishing their own method of bringing the united states into court and putting at risk u.s. assets overseas.
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the united states and allies claim in an american court because that individual died on american soil. this is the thing. our court system is such that you don't have to be an american citizen in order to file suit in an american court. so, i recognize these are hypotheticals but they are potential unintended consequences that are quite serious and that is the bases concern about this bill: the
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potential unintended consequences that have and could have a negative effect on our national security and put at receiving our assets and personal in countries all around the world. okay? >> so is this just a close matter again? the whole issue of 9/11? you are dealing with unintended consequences and the families are trying to figure out what happened. you said before, i think saudi arabia investigation showed no saudi arabian connection and the 20 pages. others said that is not significant information. do you say to the families, do you say there are changes to the legislation that congress didn't considered that might have made it more palletable for the
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administration? is there a way to recognize the idea of sovereign unity or the family's concern? is this just the end of it as far as the administration is concerned? >> it is certainly not the end of it. there is a lot to impact. let's start by -- there was a commission, an outside government commission of experts established outside of the government to examine the attacks of 9/11, to take a look at what conditions led up to the attacks, what exactly transpired on that faithful day, and what sort of reforms can be implemented.
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the leaders of the commission reviewed the 28 pages. they have acknowledged the 28 pages including material that they had an opportunity to pursue. i am not saying that to suggest that will ease the pain of
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someone who lost a loved one or several loved ones on 9/11. our heart breaks for those people. these are thousands of americans who walk around every day with a hole in their heart because they lost a loved one on that tragic day. trying to make sense and move on with one's life is something many have been challenged to do and demonstrated heroism as they moved on. we are talking about parents who had to raise kids on their own, we are talking about first responders who continued to fight fires and respond to emergency even with the memory of their partner in the back of their mind. there is no denying the heroism of the 9/11 families and the courage they show every day.
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this is making sure the united states of america preserves the ability to protect our ability around the world and they understand our capacity to doing that is critical to preventing terrorist attacks on american soil. the president's priority is not different than the priority that has been identified by the 9/11 families when it comes to protecting the united states of america and protecting our men and women in uniforms and diplomats as they serve the world. >> there were changes they could have made and reconciled the whole concern in terms of the way the bills are written or is this just not a reconcilable situation? >> i think the reason we are going to talk to democrats and republicans in congress is to figure out if there is a way to address the serious concerns that are raised by the potential unintended consequences. i don't know if that is possible
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at this point. [inaudible question] >> first, we continue to have concerns with the bill.
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>> the potential unintended consequences that are represented in this bill and as my colleague at the white house said we will continue to work with members of congress to do the best we can to have those concerns and we welcome opportunities to engage with congress as the bill goes forward.
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it was the saudi arabians that hosted the first meeting. they have been a key member of the effort since the beginning. they are also a key partner in the fight against terrorism in the region at large. i think i would be hard pressed to say this issue is raised each and every time when there is a conversation with saudi arabian leaders. as you might expect, given the
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past those have come up. those bills from their perspective have been discussed. i suspect as it goes forward, i cannot rule out it would continue to come up as an agenda i'm in those bilateral discussions. but is it dominating every discussion and looming over every single issue that the secretary and the foreign minister or the secretary and foreign leaders in saudi arabia talk about it.
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>> during the last visit you talked about regional opposition and we made it clear, the secretary testifies >> you can see the updates here with 84% of the prestinc -- precincts reported and it has been back and forth throughout the evening.
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we are covering senator bernie sanders on the campaign trail later tonight. he holds a rally in carson, company. we will have live road to the white house coverage on c-span starting at 11 p.m. eastern. >> madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes the next president of the united states. [applause] >> wednesday we'll bring you
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live opening of the british parliament including queen elizabeth's speech outlibe -- out out out outlining the government's plan for the year. this sunday night on q&a. vanity fair columnist talks about old age, a beginners guide to living with parkinson's disease. >> what i really meant, obviously, was thinking; is it going to affect my thinking? thinking is how i will earn a living so that became pretty important. i asked this neurologist what is going to happen.
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he was trying to tell me it wasn't such a big deal. he said you may use your edge, as if that was nothing, and i thought my edge is how i earn a living. it is why i have my friends. maybe why i have my wife. >> sunday night at 8 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. >> the senate today passed a bill on funding zika virus research and prevention efforts. three months ago, president obama requested 1.8 billion in emergency funding. the house is considering a bill that spends 622 million. the senate compromise bill spends 1.1 billion on the effort and pass in a 68-29 vote. here is some of the debate beginning with washington senator patty murray. this is 20 minutes. >> thank you, mr. president.
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mr. president, as a mother and grandmother, i know that one of the most frightening questions an expecting parent has to ask their doctor is my baby sick? too many people are asking that question because of the zika virus. there are more than 1200 reported cases of zika virus in the united states and the three territories. more than a hundred of these are pregnant women. on friday, puerto rico announced its first case of zika-related micro micro. this is a public health issue and experts had made it clear as we get closer to the summer and mosquito season we cannot afford to delay. we need to better control had
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mosquitos that raise the virus, raise awareness so families are informed, and expand access to family planning services and accelerate the development of a vaccine. the president laid out a strong emergency funding proposal to accomplish each of those goals in february. i support that plan. and i was very disappointed that instead of acting on it as quickly as possible, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle simply refused to consider it. they said they needed more information even though zika virus has been discussed in 55 congressional hearing. after briefing by senior officials and even though the
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administration's 25 page proposal has been available for months for anyone to see and mow house republicans have releaseded a bill that would provide a meager 622 million, less than a third of what is needed for this emergency, without any funding for preventive health care or outreach to those at risk of zika virus. they are still insisting in the house that funding for this public health energy be offset. in the face of all of that partnership and public health experts making it clearer every day how much we need to act before mosquito season is in full affect, i want to encourage that chairman blunt and others were willing to work with democrats on a first step to respond to this emergency. the agreement we have reached put a down payment on the president's proposal in the hands of our first responders and researchers right away. it would provide much needed
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relief for puerto rico where near they would get nearly a hundred million where the administration was forced to reprogram, invest in prevention and support services for pregnant women and families at home and abroad and put research dollars in the developing a vaccine. i believe mr. president, the republicans should do what we have urged them to do and join democrats in supporting the president's full request. if they continue to refuse, at the very least they ask be willing to support a -- they should -- first draft toward protecting families from this virus and democrats will continue to push for every resource going forward. families across the country are looking to congress for action on zika virus. they don't have time for debates on more time to wait.
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i hope we can move quickly to get this emergency funding package through the sentate, house and on to the president's desk. if we act now, we can protect the people from this tragic disease. there is no reason to delay. >> mr. president? >> senator from massachusetts. >> for months, democrats have asked us to react. for months we have asked the republicans to control the senate while more and more american travelers are back in the united states after contracting the zika virus. for months we asked the republicans who controlled the senate to let us act while health experts, world health
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organization, centers for disease control, have begged congress for the resources to fight this disese. more people are infected by zika virus have developed a debilitating and sometimes fatal condition that damages the nervous system. for months, we have asked the republicans who control the senate to let us act while more mothers infected by zika virus have given birth to babies with severe brain defects. for months we have asked the republicans who control the senate to let us act while the president has been forced to divert emergency funds from other critical areas including the emergency ebola response. today, months after president obama first requested nearly two billion to fight the zika virus in the united states, the republicans who control the senate will finally, finally,
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let us vote on options for funding to zika virus response. now, today the senate will consider three proposals. the first proposal completely funds the president's response plan. it offers our best hope to fully protect americans and i will vote for that proposal. i plead with every senator to do the same because that is what our nation's experts have said it will cost to limit the sickness, death and deformity caused by the zika virus. i know that some republicans understand this point. senator rubio whose state of florida is at great risk of local transmission for zika virus recently said this: i believe in limited government, but i do believe one of the obligations of a limited federal government is to protect people from dangers whether that is foreign offenders or outbreaks.
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i don't think we want to be halfway through the summer and wake up to the news that hundreds of americans have been affected and we did nothing. senator marco rubio supports fully funding the president's response plan. i hope it passes the senate. if it doesn't, it will be because the majority of senate republicans vote against it. if that happens, we will be forced to consider another proposal. this is a health emergency. the ship is sinking but you can only get the sick to take the sick.
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this might give the chance to tell republicans to respond. this is not how science works. it is not possible to delay a response to a health emergency for months after months without consequences. it is not possible to nickel and dime without consequences. in short, the republicans half measures has four million people facing the prospect of a half response. this proposal would only give the president half of what is needed but it would cover the cost by gutting the prevention and public health fund which
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provides significant support to local public health departments all across the country. you heard that right. some senate republicans think the best way to fund america's emergency response to the zika virus is to rob from america's topline responders who help identify and track infectious diseases like the zika virus. another side of congress, house republicans are kicking around another bizarre idea funding only about a third of the president's plan to fight zika virus and doing it by cutting hundreds of millions of dollars out of our ebola response. with the ebola epidemic just passed and still no fda-approved vaccine or treatment for ebola, what could possibly go wrong with that plan? i simply do not understand the
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republicans. the responsible thing to do, the rational thing to do, is to invest the resources needed to stop the zika virus in its track and to invest in more science and public health infrastructure so that we are ready when the next prices come. a as congressional republicans embrace this irrational ideology, this country is put in greater and greater danger. instead of investing in research so we can develop effective treatment, instead of supporting careful planning so we are ready for the next health challenge, and instead of fully funding emergency response infrastructure so we are prepared to respond to new threats, these republicans govern by lurching from crisis to crisis. we are in this mess with zika virus. a mess that is about to get a
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lot worse because of stupid decisions made right here in congress. keep in mind that zika virus, like ebola, is a disease we have known about for years. but our ability to do the necessary research to eradicate these threats have been undercut by republican's desire to make more, and more and more budget cuts even when they put the health of americans in danger. this country's scientific research capacity has been decimated. the budget of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases has lost 20% of its purchasing power. the fund that helped build the infrastructure that prevents people from getting sick and shutdown outbreaks like zika virus has been on the republican chopping block year after year after year.
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the bottom line: our doctors, scientist, and health officials need our complete support in fighting this virus. they told us how much money they need to do that. the less money congress gives them, the more people will be hurt by the zika virus. more babies with heart-breaking deformities, more adults with devastating illnessess. the zika virus does flaut care what politicians in washington decide is politically expediants. the virus is coming. if republicans block congress fwraum from protecting the people of the country then the republicans must accept responsibility for the devastating consequences. thank you, mr. president i yield the floor. >> senator from florida? >> thank you, mr. president. first of all, let me begin by
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how encouraged i am we are finally seeing action in congress dealing with the zika virus. today we have not one, but three separate proposals that will come up with a vote. i support fully funding the request made -- people say the republican's request. fine, it came from the white house. but it is really the scientist, doctors, public health sector's request for how to address this issue. the fundamental point i make is wo-fold. number one, 1.9 billion we can find that and we can come back later and find it too. this a public health emergency that cannot wait for extended debate on the issue. especially the 18 trillion debt -- zika virus funding is not why we have that debt. it is not the national driver of the debt. that is why dealing with long-term security, medicare and social security is critical. but we can pay for 1.9 trillion and we should.
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but it is public health experts tha that said the amounts we need is 1.9 billion dollars. i continue to urge my colleagues to take this with a sense of urgency the public health experts have. the people i am talking to are not political people. i am not talking to people in the white house political office. i have been meeting with people from the centers for disease control, the florida department of health, it department of health officials in puerto rico. i have been talking to doctors on the front line of dealing with the issues and what it means for the children that are impacted. that is who i have been talking to. and they outlined the things we need to be doing but more importantly they outlined there is so much we don't know about zika virus still. we don't know what the long-term consequences are of a mother who is infected with zika virus while pregnant and the child is
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born without signs but we don't know what happens down the road. many experts believe there will be further manifestations and many of these children will see them years after this. puerto rico is being ravaged by this. these are american citizens that have been infected with zika virus. tay don't have a senator from puerto rico, although i am honored to speak on behalf of them for these issues. people have to understand, and this isn't had right way to approach it, but if your approach is it is puerto rico, not the main land of the united states, i encourage you to go to the airport in miami and you can see the flow of people back and forth. and look at the fact the summer months are coming. this is mosquito-borne infection and we know mosquito season is here and coming fast. we know the zika virus is more potent as temperatures get warmer.
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guess what? is about to get warm not juts just in florida but throughout the country. we know places like brazil have been deeply impacted by there zika virus. tens of thousands of people are about to travel to the united states to and from brazil for the summer olympics. we know that major league baseball canceled a major game in puerto rico because they they believed there was a serious risk. we see something percolateing and don't know much about it. we don't know how far this is going to go. as a result, we see the people of the country facing a public health threat. let's deal with it the way medical experts say they need to deal with it. put language in the proposal that says if you don't end up spending the full 1.9 billion, all that money goes back to treasury within a year or two if you have not spent it. but why take the chance?
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why take the chance that at some point this summer we could have a significant and serious outbreak in the united states of america and everybody here is going to be back in their home state and you will have to come back here and either deal with it, and explain to people why, when doctors and medical experts were warning us, that this was a significant risk, we decided to low ball it? we decided to spend less than what is being called for. i by no means mean this as a criticism of senator murray and blunt. i thank them for the their work. they tried to come up with a bipartisan proposal that can pass. while i am proud of the efforts, alongside my colleague from florida, senator nelson, are proposing and hope the 1.9 billion passes, if we are left with a vote on the blunt and mcmurray amendment it is better than nothing and i support it. but why are we taking this
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chance? it makes absolutely no sense. i will say while i am happy the senate is taking action but i am concerned what is coming from the house. i am glad there is movement and something is happen but i am concerned about the direction of their funding measure. theirs is 622 million. that is not going to cut it. if we don't spend more than that on the front end i think we will spend a lot more later on. the problem is not going to go away and certainly not going to go away with 622 million to combat it. this is concerning because if we manage the pass the 1.9 million request i am afraid long-term that is not enough. the issue is the desire to offset spending. i support that. i believe we can find 1.9 billion and transfer it from another part of the budget. we can do that. we should do that. i am in favor of doing that.
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but that is not going to keep me from trying to do something about it. in times of public health emergency, just like natural disasters, i don't think we should delay actions while trying to figure out budgetary moves and agreeing on what we'll cut from other parts of the budget. i agree we should do it but we cannot hold back another few weeks. the administer diverted half a billben that was intended to the fight against ebola. it is easy to say ebola is not in the headlines, it must not be a problem. ebola exists. it is not polio. it is not eradicated. it is just not a percolating crisis. but nothing says this couldn't pop up again. and these sorts of pandemics are going to become more common as people are able to extensively
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travel all over the world. we are at the cross roads of a lot of that travel. i am not prepared to walk away. maybe they don't need the full half billion but it is short sided to say ebola is finished and we don't have to worry about it. there has to be money in case that comes up again because it could. i believe the house can and should do better than what it is proposed. provide offsets to the spending. provide the 1.9 billion offsets. stimulate in the law you pass, if we don't end up spending or needing close to 1.9 billion or 1.1 billion that the taxpayer money is returned to the treasury. as of now there are 112 people in the state of florida who have been infected. we have many more american citizens who have been infected in puerto rico and many unborn
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children at risk. at the end of the day, these are the people we should be fighting for and we can do better than what the house is proposing. this is a devastating disease. it has taken life throughout our hemisphere and the way it impacts unborn children alone should call it action. you see the images from brazil. this is devastating condition. the cost of caring for those children throughout their lives is extensive. let's try to get real. scientist have been able to make a significant step toward potentially creating a vaccine and once there is a vaccine for zika virus this problem will be under control. but let's not play with fire here as i said earlier. i hope my colleagues jump on
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board and fund the 1.9 and let's put money saying if the money is not fully spent it will be refunded to the treasury. why take the chance on an issue that is not well defined? why take the chance on an issue that we don't know everything about this disease? why take the chance that we could have an outbreak much worse than anything any of else anticipated and we were caught off guard? why take the chance you will have to go home in august and september and explain to millions of people why are so many americans being infected by this and you were low-balling our approach to it a few months ago? let's do it once. let's get it right. let's ensure we are protecting our people. let's deal with this now and fully. this is our obligation. there is no reason why we should not fully fund this proposal and listen to the doctors and health care experts asking were this and build from there. that is what i hope my
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colleagues will do into few hours on these proposals that stand with us. >> jennifer haberkorn is here. health care reporter for politico. your police in political getting published today. there were three amendments considered in the senate. tell us the one that past. >> it was put together by senator blunt and murray. it is for 1.1 billion. it is not the 1.9 billion requested but it was the best they could do. it passed with support from nearly all democrats and federal republicans. republicans are concerned the white house hasn't provided all of the details they need and some republicans oppose this because it was emergency money.
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>> host: what did this amendment, the one by rubio and nelson and the cornyn amendment blocked in the senate? >> the republican amendment by cornyn was 1.1 billion paid for by cuts to obamacare. the argument is we are preventing zika virus so it could be funded through obamacare money. obviously democrats were not going to support that one because they don't want to see the aca cut at all. and the democratic amendment put forward by bill nelson and marco rubio was for the 1.9 billion the white house requested. that did not have support from most republicans because it wasn't paid for.
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>> what are the states we know are being affected most by this early on in the disease? >> guest: so far there is a local transmission of zika virus in the united states. but public health experts expect it will be happening in the united states by the summer and largely southern states. florida, bill nelson and marco rubio are from florida, are expected to get it first and southern states, you know, through the gulf to texas, and potentially up to the east coast is where it is supposed assault first. and from there, you know there are some experts who say it could spread even further into the northern states. >> guest: the house is calling for half of that. hal rodgers tweeted on monday saying the bill introduced provides 622 million to fight zika virus, all funding is offset and will last for the rest of fiscal 2016.
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why is it important for house republicans to have that offset? >> guest: they are very concerned about adding to do the deficit. they say zika virus is a public health emergency and they want to see it treated but it needs to be paid for. this funding goes through the end of the fiscal year we are in now through september 30th. so i would expect even if this were approved, which i think is unlikely to happen in the senate, they could come back and add additional money later. one of the biggest arguments republicans have had against the white house proposal is they are asking for money that has flexibility. no one knows how the zika virus is going to -- when it is going to peak and how long it will last. republicans are looking for a more incremental approach and approve this amount now and if the white house needs more they could come back later. >> host: and reflecting the differences in the spending
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levels and how it is done with the offsets here is statement from the office of management and budget, the president's veto threat saying the funding should be treated as an emergency and not offset. senior advicesoradvisors the president veto the house bill. what do you think the aventual number will end up? >> i think closer to the senate. the 1.1 billion. the house republicans are feeling pressure especially lawmakers in the southern states where people are already really worried about the zika virus and hearing about it and mosquito season is coming and i think all lawmakers are concerned about being caught flat footed and not having funded this money. if this virus is as bad as some people expect it to be, they don't want to be responsible for voting against funding that
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could have gone to help control the mosquito population, develop vaccines and better testing for it. >> more debate ahead in the house and senate on zika virus funding. our guest is jennifer haberkorn and she is a health care reporter for politico. thank you for being with us. >> >> guest: thank you. ... he will talk about the libertarian movement and the impact on campaign 2016 now that rand paul is out of the presidential race. gary peters will join us to discuss economic issues including the financial situation and dilapidated schools as well as other needs
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news of the day. then in our spotlight magazine we will highlight the bygone days presidential candidates trump and sanders are largely based on myth. sure to watch "washington journal" beginning live to join the discussion. >> madam secretary we probably give 72 of our delegate votes to you for the next president of the united states.
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today the national urban league release their annual state of black america report. it says african-americans are moving backwards on issues of equality and calls for $1 trillion in spending over five years. on education, small business and youth programs is where the need is. there at the museum in washington. this is 50 minutes. >> i am amber payne. i am the managing editor of the universal site for politics, culture and social issues. we tell stories by, for and about the black community. hello to everyone watching this historic broadcast online. we. we want to invite you to join the conversation online by using # locked out. we are coming live from the night studio in washington d.c. here to welcome us the formal
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president of colgate university award-winning author and political scientist. the ceo of the museum, mr. jeffrey hurst. >> hello and welcome to the museum. the museum states and defends the five freedoms of the first amendment and freedom of expression. we do so through a building which welcomes 800,000 people each year to 15 galleries to a set of programs that convene stakeholders to discuss important issues around our foundational freedom and an educational program which we hosted 3 million school programs through digital outreach. in our building you will see the long history of struggles for freedom in the united states and
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how those struggles have depended on the rights of assembly speech, press expression, religion and petition. critical to our building has been the long struggle in the united states for civil rights. we tell the story of what has been accomplished and we also tell the story of what still needs to be done. in that regard, it has been our pleasure to partner with the national urban league on this important launch of the 40th edition of the state of black america. this has always been an important publication, but this year it provides an opportunity to see what has been done and what still must be done. certainly we are part of that effort and we look forward and our ability to explain our foundational freedom to be part
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of the struggle of inequality in the united states. i'm delighted to be part of this program and i'm honored that the national urban league has chosen to launch the state of black america and i'm pleased to welcome you today and hope to see you often. thank you and welcome to the museum [applause]. >> thank you so much. this important event would not be possible without the support of the national urban league longtime partner at&t. representing at&t today is jim taccone. he is the executive vice president for external and legislative affairs. he is also the chair of the education focused at&t foundation. that's welcome jim's oconee. james is a county.
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>> it's an honor for at&t to be here today. thank you for the national urban league for all you've done to promote civil rightsequality and opportunity. your efforts are a shining light was all. we have a more society because of what you've done. the urban league and at&t work on a lot of issues together. rarely is there a situation in which our two organizations goals are as closely aligned as they are today. if there's one constant in the state of black america report, it's the importance of spreading opportunity and empowerment. that's were at&t wants to help. their business is to spread access to one of the opportunities and empowerment. broadband is a great equalizer. it's great to help people reach their potential. it helps address disparities and
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details in the report. it will take more than technology to address these issues. we must all lead by example in supporting social justice. in our view it's far too important to be only a matter for individuals. it must also be an endeavor for corporations. looking at the results in the report, all of us see the challenges. there is no magic bullet. by working together with the urban league, we help to continue to make progress to address these critical issues. that is just what we intend to do. thank you very much [applause]. >> thank you james cicconi and thank you to at&t. we are proud to join at&t into active one and the museum to present this first of its kind live broadcast to commemorate
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the 40th anniversary. over the last four decades, the state of black america has become a national touchstone for the social, economic status of the nation's african-american and minority communities. serving as a barometer for the progress of people of color, relative to write white america. here to share the findings of the report and to discuss the implementations of the nation is the president and ceo of the national urban league mr. marc morial. let's welcome him to the stage [applause]. >> thank you. thank you. ladies and gentlemen, good morning. i want to thank you for being here today and thank you to at&t as well as to the museum for hosting this today. of course i'm tran11, president and ceo of the national urban league and urban league movement. as we discussed, this year is
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the 40th anniversary of the state of black america. it was introduced by the legendary vernon jordan who was executive director of the national urban league from 1971 - 1981. vernon jordan spent his childhood living under segregation of jim crow. unable to imagine that one day yes one day, a black man would be elected president of the united states. in his early years, and as as a young lawyer, he was immersed in the struggle for civil rights. one of his first cases was a successful challenge of the university of georgia discriminatory admission process it was a period when the united states was experience and
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sweeping changes of the civil rights era of the 1950s. dealing with the rubble from the 1960s. despite the turbulence of the era, the poverty, the crime, the racial violence, president gerald ford made not one mention of the fight of african-americans in his 1976 state of the union address. vernon jordan was appalled and the state of black america was born. he is unable to join us in person today but he graciously sat down to share his memories of the past and insights into the present. take a look.
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>> when i think back on my term the aftermath of what happened in the 1960s were defined the rights of black people. the 1970s were about making real the life that had been at the time to let let me give you an example. in the 1960s we conferred and designed the right to check into motel or hotel. the 1970s were about providing the wherewithal to check out. you know the right to check-in is meaningless if you don't have
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what it takes to check out. so that meant a good education so you can get a good job. the implementation of the definition and the rights of the 1960s was a primary goal of the 1970s. 1975 was an interesting year. president gerald ford was running the country. he was a good man, he was a friend of mine but in the area that i most cared about he was not very aggressive. we weren't getting much leadership on the issue that the urban league was interested in and that was the equal opportunity for black americans.
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i was still relatively new having succeeded and we lost martin in the late 60s and then we lost whitney on and roy wilkins was not feeling so well or doing so well. so i was sort of the youngest guy, new guy on the scene, and it was important to fill this gap. i thought that was my job, and and i thought institutionally it was what the urban league ought to be doing. one of the programs that we initiated was the state of black america. it's interesting that in the
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state of the union address by president ford, he didn't say anything about equal opportunity applying to black people. we came out the same month with the state of black america. we were, it was sufficiently potent and sufficiently research that the new york time aid a piece about it and said we had done the nation and the blood the parties a service by issuing the state of black america. they started issuing it in their local cities, the the state of black people in xyz city. that got duplicated. what i'm proud of is my successors who, in my judgment, have the good judgment to
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continue it. it was not only in the interest of the national league in their program but it was in my interest in the interest of the nations because politicians, ministers, academics, they used this data to make their points in their lectures and in their speeches. it was good data. i remember election night in 2008 when they announced obama was going to be the next president of the united states and i found myself sitting there watching the television with tears just streaming down my eyes. it dawned on me that my tears
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were not really my tears but they were the tears of my grandparents and my parents they were the tears of all those black people who lifted that bail. the notion that obama is going to be president or any black person is going to be president is stunning. i feel good and gratified about the continuance of a program that i was privileged to start. it is in its 40th year, and that tells you something about the substance of the urban league and the consistency of its leadership and so i am very pleased about that.
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>> thank you for enjoying that. [laughter] now ladies and gentlemen, we weren't able to include everything vernon jordan said in that interview. when he was talking about president obama's' presidency, he mentioned his steadfast earliest political memory. it was listening to eugene town as a governor of georgia in the radio in 1943. he was only eight years old. he remembers him saying, i have 2-platforms. the n-word and rogues. imagine the distance his life has been. here is what the new york times had to say in the editorial vernon mentioned. in all aspects of life there can be measured statistically, the gains that were made in the 1960s have been decimated.
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in intangible terms those demanding equality on the countries conscious, all gears have been thrown into reverse. all gears have been thrown into reverse. black america is moving backwards. the similarities of the united states of 1976 and the united states of 2016 are profoundly striking. we are now as we were then, i nation struggling to overcome the worst economic downturn since the great depression. all gears have been thrown into reverse. we are now as we were then facing growing pressure to improve progress for the poor who are often demonized as lazy
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slackers trying to cheat the system. all gears have been thrown into reverse. we are now, as we were then, responding to hostility and violence triggered by challenges to the status quo, whether a response to busing programs to integrate public schools, our resistance to commonplace police brutality today, all all gears have been thrown into reverse. have racial justice and race relations improved over the last eight years? does as our president wraps up his final time as president, cmdr. in chief, we begin to assess the progress black america has made under his administration. how well has the nation recovered from the worst economic crisis it has seen in generations? how much closer are we to the very important goal of universal healthcare coverage?
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has the affordable care act obamacare gotten us? has president obama himself said in his recent commencement address at howard university, my election did not create a alteration society. you are right. the national urban league a quality index tells an all too familiar story of persistent racial disparity in american life. your presidency has, however made a difference, a profound difference and we are proud of it, yet we cannot in eight short years eliminate america's long-standing challenges around racial inequity but your presidential presidency has given it new. under constitutional convention
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compromise between northern and southern states, america's founding fathers agreed to count in slaved america's three fifths of a person. that is 60%. looking for a way to measure how far black americans have risen from being considered just 60% of their white counterparts. back in 2004 we introduced as a new element of the state of black america, the quality index. so how far have we come? in 2016, that number is 72-point to percent. and a quality index of 100 would indicate that conditions for white and black americans are equal. we calculate the quality index based on data in five key areas economics, health, education social justice and civic
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engagement. the overall index might not change much from year-to-year. last year's index was just two tenths of a percentage lower at 72%. there can be significant shifts within each of those key areas and we take a close look at the conditions within a select group of cities. economically, for example, the the most equal metro area with regard to unemployment is providence, rhode island. they have an index of 65%. that means the gap between the white and the black unemployment rate was the smallest of the cities we measured. it does not necessarily mean that conditions there were the best for african-americans. tulsa, which also had the same black unemployment rate is providence ranked 39th on our
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list because the white unemployment unemployment rate there is only 4.3%. that makes the gap between the white and black race much larger unemployment and joblessness is just one of the many injustices that keep too many of our cities locked out. i realize that standing here and reciting numbers is not the best way to illustrate the profound impact of economic and social justice in this nation. ladies and gentlemen behind the statistics are real people, men women, families, children and they are affected in dramatic ways. now we right the wrongs in history. now we must right the wrongs in our education system. now we must right the wrongs in our economy. now we must right the wrong of mass incarceration and unequal
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justice. ♪ today when the glory comes ♪ ♪ it will be us, it will be ours ♪ we will be strong, we will be heroes. glory ♪ ♪ glory ♪ ♪ hands to the heaven, no man no weapon ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ the movement is a rhythm, it's like religion to us ♪ ♪ justice for all just ain't
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specific enough ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ that's why we walk through with our hands up ♪ ♪ they say stay down and we stand up ♪ ♪ see on the ground the camera pans up to the mountainside and we ran up ♪ ♪ one day when the glory comes it will be ours, it will be ours ♪ zero, one day when the war is one ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ glory ♪
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♪ glory ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ justice now for every man woman and child. even jesus got his crown in front of a crowd. they march with a torch and were going to run with it now ♪ ♪ never look back will go hundreds of mile ♪ ♪ facing the league of justice for the people ♪ ♪ staring the face of jim crow under a bald eagle ♪
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♪ our music is the touch that we bleed to ♪ ♪ someone had an epiphany. now we fight the wrongs in history ♪ ♪. ♪ were coming to the lord because i have seen the glory ♪ ♪ one day ♪ [applause]. >> but the glory won't be ours without a plan. it's not the man, it's the plan. it's not the woman, it's the plan. it's not the wrath, we need a roadmap. my predecessor john jacob, 25 years ago, at the 15th state of black america, he said america can't compete if she continues to warehouse a
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significant proportion of her work force in poverty and ignorance, and she cannot compete without investing in human capital and human resources. his idea was simple and profound it was to replicate the most successful anti- poverty initiative in modern american history, the european martial plan. his urban marshall plan introduced in 1990 was meant to be the completion of what he called our unfinished revolution for democracy and human rights. we don't finish a revolution by thinking about it. the urban league is not a think tank. we don't finish a revolution by just talking about it. the urban league is not talking. the urban league is a new tank.
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what we need to do is save our cities, big and small, north north and south, east and west from coast-to-coast. we must save our city and we must develop our economic infrastructure and move people out of poverty from welfare to payroll. we can commit the nation supports were struggling urban communities just as we did the postwar europe. not only did the marshall plan wipeout poverty and starvation overnight but it triggered what carried europe to the next decades. we can do that again for the state of black america. we propose a sweeping and decisive solution to the nation's most persistent and
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economic disparity, the main street marshall plan from poverty to shared prosperity. the main street marshall plan from poverty to shared prosperity. if we can rebuild the banks, if we can rebuild europe and rebuild baghdad this, all the strategic investment in our communities right here in the united states of america necessitates a commitment of $1 trillion over the next five years. some say, can we afford it? i say we cannot afford not to do it. our cities from east baltimore to chicago and cleveland and buffalo, to the industrial midwest to the sun belt, there are too many neighborhoods that
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are locked out and left out for whom this recovery has bypassed them. your voice, my voice, the strength and power and history of the urban league must align squarely behind their interest until we do so. until we do so our work is not yet complete. universal early childhood education, you know and we know people who were in preschool programs are less likely to repeat grades or enter the criminal justice system. they are more likely to graduate from high school and own homes. the return of investment in early childhood education is estimated at 12% after inflation summer youth employment
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programs, our young people deserve an opportunity to work. we know that young people who work in summer jobs do better in schools, they are less likely to get in trouble with the law, and perhaps nowhere has the impact of high youth unemployment been felt more keenly than ferguson missouri. our affiliate in st. louis is rising to that challenge building a a center for job training and other services at the site of a convenience store that was destroyed at the undress unrest that followed michael brown's murder. i had the honor to be there for the groundbreaking. >> [applause].
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[inaudible] >> while we are constructing the new facility we are proud of the fact that thus far we have 100% african-american and female companies that have worked on this building to date and we plan on continuing that commitment so that we can show the community the best and brightest of african-american and female construction industry and that we are committed on making a difference on our own projects and working with those were committed to making a difference on their. >> great work for our team [applause]. >> great work for the team led by michael mcdill in. thank you michael. it is the example of what this investment can do.
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examples like a minimum wage of $15 per hour indexed to inflation [applause]. now not only what an increase in the minimum wage help people lift thousands of themselves out of poverty and help to shrink the nation's dangerously wide income back gap it would add billions to the economy. every dollar increase for a minimum wage worker results and $28 in new, that's right new consumer spending. investments like an infrastructure fund to rebuild schools. community and youth centers, libraries, water systems and urban transportation. every dollar spent on infrastructure produces $2 on
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economic growth. they estimated that a 250 billion-dollar annual investment boost gdp by $400 billion in overall employment by 3 million jobs in one year only. investments like a new main street small and micro business financing plan with an emphasis on businesses owned by women and people of color [applause]. we know small businesses accounted for 50% of all businesses created since the end of the recession. we need large firms and new technology and pattern creation. small businesses have produced
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16 times more patents than large firms per employee. the entrepreneurship centers have served nearly 50000 small business owners over the last five years. they procure nearly $350 million in new contracts and financing ladies in financing, ladies and gentlemen those are results. this year we were so proud to be in baltimore to announce the creation of a new entrepreneurship center there. >> i'm pleased to announce that later today we will receive an award and i'm going to leave that up to my great leader out of new york to explain to you all the pieces of that. two announce a partnership, the
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national urban league, the baltimore urban league working with the support of commerce and with the support of the city of baltimore will establish in this location a new entrepreneurship center that has a very simple purpose. it is to help small businesses with a focus on businesses owned by people of color. to help them grow their businesses and increase their revenue. to create more jobs and to build the wealth that the communities not only only need but that this community justly deserves. >> thank you very much. to make this happen. [applause]. >> we look forward, ladies and gentlemen to great success in
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baltimore under the leadership of jay howard henderson. thank you jay howard. now for the full list of recommendations for the main street marshall plan, let me encourage you to go to the state of black america.org. i want to focus on one more investment and that is in workforce and job training. with a focus on reentry. sentencing reform, and i hope it happens is likely to result in an increase of former offenders reentering the workforce who are in need of job training, who are in need of education, who are in need of counseling. employment focused training programs have been tremendously successful and in this area of the urban league has led the way. those initiatives produce returns for workers that far exceed the cost of those programs. i want to highlight today one
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such program and that is at our affiliate in atlanta georgia where incredible results are being produced. take a look. >> this is what life was like for him during his youth. convicted of arm robbery and classified as a felon at the age of 14. his education and career were not top priorities. >> my mother worked two or three jobs a day so i became the man of the household. i wasn't able to help my mother as much as i thought i would be able to. i went on breaking into people's houses and actually pulling gun on people and robbing people. >> after serving two years in jail, he decided it was time to change his life around. while meeting with his probation officer, he noticed a flyer a flyer for the urban league of greater atlanta.
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>> the urban league found me. they gave nothing but 100% love to me. they help me create a resume and a portfolio, cover letters, they help me find jobs that i could not take because i was in school. they help me obtain my ged and go to college. >> they helped him turn his life around. another ex- offender and owner of an organization dedicated to helping them find work played a key role. >> i was an ex offender and spend years in prison and came home and just couldn't get a job >> you have to have steel toed boots because your moving stuff around. >> you can be what you want to be, you can do what you want to do if you just believe in yourself. >> he worked with brown and successfully landed a job with the restaurant goods delivery company. >> everybody makes mistakes.
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you're going to do that to the day you die. we are all people and were in perfect. >> was honored at the urban league spirit award. he's also studying biology and planning for a career. >> have a bright future ahead of me and it's all because of where i've been. >> he hopes his transition inspire other ex- felons who want to change their lives. >> find something that your passionate about, find something you can wake up and be happy about and gives you drive and motivation every day. when you find that, put hundred% effort into it. >> cnn, atlanta [applause]. >> great work, incredible work by the urban league of greater atlanta but you have to love him. how many javon's are out there? how many javon's can we left in touch and guide can we assist?
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that's our work. no life should be thrown away. i want to say that not only are the affiliates that we highlighted today examples of the do tank work of the movement but there are dozens and dozens all over the nation so all of my urban league colleagues across the nation, as as we release the state of black america i want to lift all of you up. i want to say thank you to each and everyone of you. your work does make a difference and investments in your work will yield a return. not only for the lives that the work touches but for the community that we serve and the nation that we are working to rebuild. in closing, i'd like to share the words that vernon jordan spoke 40 years ago. words that cannot ring any truer today. it is our hope that this
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document will pierce the dark veil of neglect that has thus far smothered efforts to right the wrongs of the past and the present. i hope it will be read closely by the white house and in congress. i hope that it will influence decision-makers to open their eyes to the plight of black americans. i hope it will be read by all the candidates in both political parties whose campaigns largely exhibit a refusal to grapple with the concerns of black citizens. i urge black people to educate themselves to the issues, to register and vote in the upcoming primaries and election. this election could be the most crucial in recent history for black people. the implications of the empowerment of blacks and the
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massive assaults on our rights demand that every black vote be mobilized for black interests and aspirations. in 1976, that was vernon jordan's message to the next president. my message to the next president is this this disparities are real and the conditions are tough. the times demand real leadership as i mentioned the leadership in the will to confront these vexing problems in these challenges, to forge a better tomorrow, does this nation have the will to confront that the urban league's main st., street marshall plan represents a direction, represents a map represents concrete proposals and a serious approach beyond talking points innuendo and name-calling. we must help this nation confront the need to complete
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this recovery. president obama has gotten us to second base. now we need to bring it home so this recovery is complete. ladies and gentlemen that is the state of black america. thank you [applause]. >> thank you. marc morial, president marc morial. thank you what did you think? [applause]. in the words of mr. marc morial, we don't finish a revolution by thinking about it. there is a lot to think about that behind the statistics there are real stories and solutions
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that were presented today. to continue the solutions and discussion, today we are also launching the state of black america web series. we had an incredible group of panelists. i was privileged to be able to moderate the panel and some of them are in the room today. we covered topics from confronting race and privilege the state of black women criminal justice reform, the state of black america at 40 and black votes matter. we invite you to please visit state of black america.org and check out the web series and share it. i want to thank the sponsors. thank you so much to our partner at&t, thank you to comcast for their production of the state of black america web series interactive one, and and our gracious host here today at the museum, it's an amazing building , my first time here. the full report state of them black america.orc involves thought-provoking essays from
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several authors and leaders in business, economics and social change. i want to thank you all so much for coming today and let's continue the conversation. let's keep it going on social media. let's keep it going in your barbershops and salons and grocery stores, everywhere, and, and let's use the # on social media locked out. thank you all so much and have a great day i really enjoyed that [applause]. thank you all so much for participating and for your presence. [inaudible conversation]
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now you can go to the second floor for the state of black america reception and enjoy yourself. give yourselves a round of applause. [applause]. [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation]
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[inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation]
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>> 99% of the precincts reporting in the state of kentucky and as you can see it is close, about 4/10 of a percentage point separating hillary clinton and senator bernie sanders. we will watch will watch these results and update them as they develop. that extra 1%, the what they call the difference. we will continue coverage.
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bernie sanders will hold a campaign rally in carson california. rode to the white house coverage gets underway at 11:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> madam secretary we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states. >> tonight on c-span two, a house hearing on the security of new flights between the u.s. and cuba. they vote to allow lawsuits from
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9/11 families against saudi arabia. and the latest on the zika virus research. >> our campaign 2016 bus continues to travel throughout the country to recognize winners from this years student cam competition. recently the bus stopped in massachusetts to visit several winning students from that state. they went to the same school in foxboro where all the students in first through eighth grade honored students for their video entitled gunning for safety. they also made a stop at the middle school. to recognize honorable mention winners and her winning video called veteran services.
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the two were honored in front of their classmates, family members and local officials receiving $250 for their winning video. a special thanks to our cable partners, comcast cable and charter communications for helping to coordinate these visits in the community. you can view all the winning documentaries at student cam.org. >> today house hearing looked at the presumption of direct flights between the u.s. and cuba and the security risks posed by the new air service. tsa and border protection officials testified at the hour and 15 minute hearing at the house subcommittee. >> the subcommittee on transportation security will come to order. the subcommittee is meeting today to examine the risks involved in resuming commercial air service to cuba. i now recognize myself or an opening statement. on every 16th, u.s. and cuba
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officials decided to allowed 100 daily round trip flights to the u.s. and cuba. the deal was signed with minimal input from congress. in fact, congress comes by this committee to obtain information about the requirements to begin regularly scheduled service to cuba and they've been stonewalled. despite having been briefed numerous time bike the department prior to this hearing, i learned only yesterday from a press release that on may 5, deputy secretary signed a memo of understanding with cuban government that has far-reaching implications for the department of homeland security. the administration's lack of transparency on this issue is unacceptable and leads me to believe that the ministration is either hiding something or worse, simply negligent of the security concerns associated with this policy. immediately following the signing of the february 16 agreement, the department of transportation opened implication process for u.s. air
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carriers to bid on regularly scheduled routes to all ten of cuba's international airports. after 54 year freeze in diplomatic relations administrations attempting to designate these ten cuban airports as less points of departure or lpd's for the united states as early as late summer of this year. only seven other foreign countries in the world have ten or more lpd's airports through the united states. they include our closest allies and trading partners such as the uk, canada and mexico. china china with an estimated 1.3 billion people in the third largest country in the world by landmass has only 11 lpd airports to the united states. the administration wants to designate ten airports of lpd stature to cuba, a country that could fit into china over 127 times in a country whose in a country whose population is less than 1% that of china. in the briefing on march 17, officials from tsa stated their
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intentions to certified three additional airports in cuba as lpd by late summer. the picture this pain to the security situation is indeed bleak. cuba possesses no explosive detection equipment. let me repeat that, they do not have any explosive trace detection equipment. the dogs are poorly trained at besson have been described by some as mangy street dogs at best. the nine other airports will not have body scanners other than havana. we have no idea as to whether they work at all or how they work or how well they work. to make matters worse, it is not even clear other federal air marshals will even be allowed to be on these flights. tsa could offer no information on the security training, if any, that airport officials received and were unaware of airport workers being fêted for potential links to terrorism.
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even the continued u.s. embargo, we are prohibited to providing any equipment or providing training to the cuban government. additionally, tsa protected that with the introduction of commercial air service, it would increase exponentially passenger that they are unprepared and unable to handle. the status quo remains the same, the cuban government will not allow u.s. airlines to hold hire their own personnel to perform basic functions such as ticketing and check-in or more complex functions such as airline security operations. at the airports in cuba, instead, employees of the cuban government, employees of the cuban government instead of the commercial airlines may be the ones doing all these tasks. even though earlier this year, lieut. journal stewart, the director of the intelligence community agencies testified before the senate armed services community, cuba also remains a credible counterintelligence threat. did ministration is telling us we should trust the safety and
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security of the american citizens to the cuban government. they were just relieved removed from the terrorism list one year ago. country whose leader have repeatedly violated the values we stand for. this this is, to say the least unsettling. they have been attractive targets for terrorists and hijackers. in may 2007, 2 arms cuban soldiers went awol and hijacked a bus in havana and attempted to hijack a plane bound for miami. to passenger flights were hijacked in 2003. there are other examples and i could go on. these types of incidents which have occurred far to many times in recent history raise serious concerns about the ability and willingness of cuban officials to take airport security and passenger screening seriously.
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to make matters even more concerning, on april 17, the washington post published an article on the increased flow of individuals from afghanistan traveling to cuba. the article states that quote, travel agents in kabul have been surprised at africans showing up with cuban visas which are suspected to be issued in iran or on the black market. at suspected they use cuba as a gateway into the u.s. or canada. without objection i ask unanimous consent that this article be inserted into the record. this article reflects and it's truly frightening given the fact that cuba currently has zero document verification verification machine that the airports for they have no electronic means of verifying the documents being presented to them are in fact what they report to be and authentic. there you have it, these are the concerns and they arm multifaceted and serious. we are here today not to elaborate on the merits of the administration approach met with cuba but to take a serious look, as is our job, at at the implications of the policy that
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has been pushed through at breakneck speed with disregard for the safety and security of the american people. : cuban airports meet international security standards before they board a plane bound for the respite and looking for to hearing from tsa and oliver
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witnesses about how they would would -- what they are doing to enhance security and cuban airports and whether they have concerns about cuban security capability. i'm looking for to hearing how tsa is working with air carriers and what kind of regulation will be issued to further enhance security. for instance what lessons are in place to ensure they know who's on board a flight down for the u.s. how will we ensure we pay me accurate information passengers traveling to the u.s. , how does cdc plan who verified travel effect meant to determine whether or not a certain individual can enter the u.s.. those are some of the salient questions that need to be addressed in this discussion. allowing scheduled air travel petunias in cuba has the potential to benefit out of our countries but it also comes unique security challenges. i hope our conversation will help verified what those challenges are and how we will overcome them. mr. chairman thank you for convening this hearing and i yield back the balance of my time. >> i recognize the german folk
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made gemma from texas mr. mccaul for any statement he may have rays thank you chairman katko for holding this hearing and for your leadership on aviation security and to kathleen rice the ranking member thank you as well. i believe the issue of security airports are critical importance to her homeland security. we saw this first-hand earlier this month when a congressional delegation had the opportunity to visit egypt and examine the security measures in place at the cairo airport paid i think the egyptians i'm making progress but what i saw was so concerning especially when we compared to our own airports. for instance they are not using full-body scanners and airport workers are apparently not fully vetted against up-to-date terror terror -- and at the cairo airport serves as a last point departure to the united states. now the administration is
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rushing to open regularly-scheduled commercial air service to cuba and designated 10 new airports as last points of departure into united states. i fear the security situation at these airports in cuba is much worse in places like cairo and while there are only five direct flights to the united states each week from somewhere like egypt the administration's proposal calls for up to 110 daily flights between the united states and cuba did i hope to visit cuba in the near future with representative katko and others to evaluate the airport security situation myself. the administration's plans to open direct commercial air service to cuba is in my judgment being unnecessarily rest. there are serious security concerns here that seem to be taking a backseat to a legacy building effort. also cuba has taken steps to
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liberalize its economy the country is led by communistic tatar who has been ruthless against his own people and brutally suppress calls for more open and democratic governments. restoring relations has done the castro regime's hateful rhetoric towards united states to loosen its tyrannical grip. in fact it's done the opposite. by rewarding bad behavior and now the regime is giving us no indication -- indication is acting in good faith or has the best interests interest of the united states or our citizens in mind. accordingly we must do all we can to ensure the safety and security of americans that choose to visit the island that so far remain entirely unconvinced the administration has done its due diligence. while the obama administration me put the security of americans at risk appease a dictator.
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>> i now recognize the ranking member of the full committee the gentleman from mississippi mr. mr. thompson for any statement he may have. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. thank you for convening this important hearing. i welcome our witnesses also to this hearing. earlier this year the obama administration and the cuban government finalize an arrangement that the present commercial aviation between the united states and cuba. we as a committee with oversight jurisdiction of transportation security measures have a great responsibility of ensuring that the transportation security administration, the department of homeland security, customs and border protection and other relevant agencies are doing their due diligence to ensure that the flights departing from cuba to the united states are secured.
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although the recent bombings of planes originating from mogadishu where one was killed and sharm el-sheikh tragically killing everyone on board served as a stern reminder that there are those who wish to do us harm using commercial aircraft. there are over 300 airports around the world that serve as last points of departure a that fly directly to the u.s.. the standard is always tsa and other relevant entities perform the investigation mitigation measures necessary to ensure that these flights are not able to be targeted by the various characters. as i understand it the agency's efforts to inspect and prepare the cuban airports are noted different than stringent inspection efforts and. tory schemes that are in place
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at other last points of departure airports. the timing of this hearing would lead you to believe that nothing has been done to assess these are towards before they scheduled commercial service to and from the united states. tsa informs us that they are inspecting and a guy waiting airports even as we speak. these airports must have a level of security at least on par with international pseudo-aviation all organizational standards and inspectors ensuring their security. tsa and the persian government regulatory schemes that compare erold -- compel airlines to perform additional security measures he ons standards. i look forward to hearing from assistant secretary fujimura the head of the office of global strategies on what his teams are doing to ensure security at cuban airports and what additional mitigation measures
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he plans to implement. i also look forward to hearing from deputy assistant wagner who will talk to us about the role cbp plays and foreign flight or travel prevention and forged document detection efforts. i think assistant secretary stodder for appearing to speak on a broader aspect of policies in these matters. understand deputy assistant secretary tong has another engagement so it would be even harder because we just had boats called so i hope you are with us for a while. i yield that mr. chairman. >> due to ozone the force of the subcommittee stands on recess due to the call of the chair. it will probably take a half an hour or so. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you for coming back from that. sorry about that. we sometimes can't control the whims of the voting process but numbers a committee or murdered the opening statements may be
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submitted for the record. we are pleased to to have a decide to say which witnesses to testify before today on this important topic great hour for ministers from the department home and security include mr. mr. larry mizell and it currently serves as tsa represented for the region which includes cuba. is that correct? mr. paul fujimura assistant administrator for the office of local strategies in the transportation security of mr. nation. mr. john wagner deputy executive assistant commissioner for customs and border protection. that's a big title. mr. seth stodder the assistant secretary of homeland security for borders immigration and trade policy at the department home and security. thank you all for being your today. never nice mr. stodder for joint statement from the department of homeland security. >> good afternoon chairman katko ranking members and establish murders of subcommittee. my name is seth stodder on the
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secretary common security for border immigration and trade policy. on behalf of my colleagues from dhs as it may cite me today thank you very opportunity to appear before you to discuss the departments role in aviation security specifically as it relates to -- pertains to commercial air service between united states and cuba. i'll be providing a brief opening statement have for myself as well as my three e. h. s. colleagues and we look for to answering any questions you might have. let me again when discussing bhs role in aviation security generally and then i will -- since the 9/11 attacks with the help and support of congress dhs is working to develop a robust strategy aimed at securing aviation against threats while facilitating the flow of travel and commerce across their borders and throughout the aviation system. as repeated incidents are reminded us from the 9/11 attacks to the cells to the recent destruction of flight 9268 of both the northern sinai
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in october of 2015 the aviation sector remains a target for attack or exploitation by terrorist criminals and other bad that there's. to meet this challenge the dhs strategy relies upon the following core elements. first under u.s. law dhs acting for tsa is required to assess security at all foreign airports serving as last point departure offering service to the united states. tsa has people on the ground working with foreign partners air carriers airport authorities and others to assess all aspects of security at such airports. only after tsa determines airport meets security standards made that airport offer flight service to united states. one slight service begins tsa continues to inspect and monitor these airports and carriers and has the authority to take action if security standards not being met. tsa can suspend service our issue security directives and emergency amendments were
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mandatory limitations. bottom-line tsa keeps a close eye on the security of foreign airports that offered their assistance united states. second only those with à la travel documents are printed to fly to the united states. most foreign nationals seeking travel must possess a valid visa issued by the consulate unless they are nationals of the country that participates in the visa waiver program in which case they must apply for travel authorization to the electronic authorization. heard both tsa and cbp collects information from passengers and air carriers so we can identify security purposes all air passenger travel to united states. this through the secure flight program tsa that's all air passengers against the terror screening database. including a no-fly list. once travel is booked cbp nationals center gathers information they are curious to conduct pre-departure vetting of all passengers. if tsa are cbp identifies
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security or enforcement issue date just flow coordinate for the carrier liaison groups to revamp a person from boarding the flight. finance rifle all air passengers are subject to further screening by cbp before entering united states. this multilayered security enforces clarity to all international aviation cynicism will apply with equal force to the scheduled to martial aviation to and from cuba when it begins. with regard to to cuba ths has worked closely with their interagency departments within state department sent states to revolve a bilateral relationship. lawful orderly flows of people and commerce between our countries and working together on law enforcement maritime safety and security migration among other issues. most recently dhs and memorandum of understanding with the cuban minister of the interior and customs focused on law enforcement cooperation. this week senior at dhs leaders including the deputies secretary
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are and cuba as part of the ongoing u.s.-cuba dialogue cochaired by the departments of state justice and home and security including representatives from the u.s. coast guard cbp and i.c.e. and with regard to the start of scheduled air travel to u.s. and cuba security and force met requirements in place for international flights to the united states will be applied with equal force to flights. indeed these measures are already in place with regard to the charter flights that have for many years up or service between our two countries. furthermore tsa's work in if i might information with cuba for the deployment of federal air marshals which will be in place before the start of scheduled commercial flights. in short dhs is working closely with interagency partners commercial air carriers and others to ensure the security of scheduled flights to and cuba -- to and from cuba once they began. as we work in general to strengthen efforts to secure international heirs have one
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promote safe and efficient international travel and tourism to and from. thank you for the opportunity to testify today in my dhs collects and i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> i now recognize mr. kurt tong assistant secretary for the bureau of economic and assistant affairs for his testimony. >> thank you chairman katko ranking member rice and distinguished members of the committee that i welcome this opportunity to test by behalf of the department state regarding the process and rationale for negotiating an arrangement recently signed between the united states and cuba on international air transportation between our two countries. consistent with u.s. law and long-standing practice the department of state leads u.s. allegations negotiating with foreign governments on bilateral information arrangements in consultation with the department of transportation and commerce and other departments and agencies as appropriate.
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surely after the presence december 17, 2014 announcement that the united states would be taking a number of steps to work towards normalizing relations with cuba and after coordinating with all relevant agencies the department of state approach the government of cuba to propose technical discussions on restoring scheduled commercial air service. for many years all air travel between the united states and cuba has been via charter service. charter flights have added police served the relatively low levels of travel between the united states and cuba during those decades of strained relations but amid the process of composition the administration aim to expand authorize travel and people-to-people contact between united states and cuba. by expanding people-to-people ties with believe that we can more effectively support the aspirations of the cuban people for a better life.
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the administration therefore concluded that restoring scheduled air service would be necessary to accomplish those objectives. the cuban government accepted our proposal to hold discussions about the modalities for restoring scheduled air service and the department also informed the u.s. industry about our plans and received the ministry's full and enthusiastic support for this effort. the united states and cuban governments held three rounds of technical discussions in march, september and december of 2015 and the u.s. delegation comprised of officials from five federal agencies the departments of state transportation and commerce as well as the transportation security of administration in the department treasuries office of foreign assets control. simultaneously also amended its cuban assets control regulations in january of 2015 to allow by general general elections u.s.
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carriers to offer scheduled service between united states and cuba to authorize travelers. at the third round of consultations in washington in december 2015 the united states and cuba finalized the memorandum of understanding which was signed in havana in february of 2016 by secretary of transportation anthony fox and assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs charles rifkind signing for the united states. this mou is an informal nonbinding arrangement delineating the terms for international air chess notation between the two countries. with respect to schedule service the mou provides for u.s. carriers to operate 20 daily round-trip frequencies from havana and 10 daily round-trip frequencies that each of the nine other cuban cities in the international airport. also provides for charter services to continue to operate without limitation.
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u.s. carriers and reaction from them they are very eager to offer scheduled service to cuba and the universally welcomed the mou and have announced applications that the department of transportation to operate flights on specific routes to havana and other cuban cities. in the case of havana applications for u.s. carriers are exceed the mou's limit of 20 frequencies per day. the department of transportation is currently conducting a frequency allocation preceding to determine which u.s. characters -- carriers will receive frequencies of that procedure based on the public interest. we believe this new mou will support the objectives of promoting authorize travel between the united states and cuba and people-to-people contacts. the mou will generate new business opportunities for u.s. aviation industry and help create american jobs.
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if i can anticipate a couple of questions, with regard to the use of an informal arrangement at this time the reason why we had a limited negotiating object if this somewhere from our usual approach was for bilateral negotiations fitting our open skies model. based upon our understanding of 50 well how much the traffic will bear in terms of demand given the ongoing restrictions on travel and trade between the united states and cuba. throughout the negotiations with cuba the u.s. negotiators articulated to cuban counterparts those aspects of u.s. regulations of acting cuba that have changed and those that have not changed. for example the mou does not affect or change current u.s. travel restrictions. does not change person subject to u.s. jurisdiction of travel
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to cuba. it must still be authorized by jamar specific license under one of the 12 categories of authorize travel. when the go shooting mou the u.s. cuban government reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen their already close corporate on aviation safety and aviation security matters. they reaffirmed their commitment to abide by the provisions of international conventions relating to aviation security and to act in conformity with aviation security standards and appropriate recommended practices established by the international civil aviation organization. as noted i represented the transportation security administration participate in the u.s. delegation throughout these negotiations and provided valuable advice on tsa's ongoing cooperation with the cuban government to strengthen aviation security. thank you very much for this opportunity. >> thank you mr. tong.
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i understand you have a -- it reached 30:00. >> no would like to be able to honor that because i don't want to create a diplomatic difference. >> i think we can dismiss you but i want to thank you for your testimony and members of provide you with questions in writing and we would appreciate your responses within a 10 day period and at the time you're dismissed. >> looking forward to responding, thank you. >> i ask unanimous consent the gentleman from pennsylvania mr. perry be allowed to sit on the dais and participate in today's hearings. i think you'd gentlemen for being here this afternoon. i would appreciate brief and concise answers to the severe bill is now start with mr. mizell. what is your title currently? >> my current title is tsa representative. i'm based in nassau bahamas and it covers several different
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countries most particular being cuba haiti and the bahamas. >> in that capacity have you been asked to review the airports in questioning q. but? >> i don't necessarily review them. i'm not inspector. my goal and my job is to work with the foreign government but government of cuba in this case to ensure that they meet all the security requirements that currently exist. i share with them best practices lessons learned and one of the very important aspects of my job is to ensure that once the inspectors have identified a deficiency if any i work closely with the government to ensure that deficiency is corrected. >> have you visited the 10 lpd airports? >> there are only currently seven. >> how many have you visited? >> i have visited all seven rays with respect the ones you visited prior to coming in here today giving us some general findings for most visits do you
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remember telling us about your general observations from those visits? could you tell me and 07 which airports you visited how many had explosive tracing detection equipment? >> last time i spoke with you we were in a closed session and i spoke frankly about but we had them what we did not have within cuba. in this open session number button to get into exactly what it is that they have. >> let me pause for one moment please. just for the record that made be clear i'm saying the information you provided to us in a nonsecure setting is considered valuable information? >> yes sir.
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>> we will probably have to move this to a secure hearing at some point. [inaudible conversations] >> edges once made sure the records claire and her stand i have to make a record as well. with respect to the k-9 discussion we had with respect to the seven lptes is it your understanding or your position that those are also s. s. i? >> yes sir it's a level of security that's out there so again ssi. >> with respect to discussion about body scanners are you
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saying that is ssi as well? >> all equipment. >> with regard to the training the cuban airport personnel is that ssl i? >> there is nothing to discuss really. >> was discussed that. there's nothing to discuss of the sensitive nature. do you know how cuban authorities trainer airport personnel? do you have any idea what type of back rent checks are done with cuban employees entrusted with scanning documents and bags to come into the airports? does anybody nice its this government have any idea what that is? >> mr. amber payne's. >> thank you sir. the assessment program offers the authority of title xlix could. >> do you understand if there's any training in what type of training the airport personnel have? >> the standards required
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airport for snow work are trained and undergo background investigations that are clear to national authorities operating from cuba. our inspectors have gone to cuba and they have ascertained cuba does meet all the standards including access control and background checks. >> thank you very much. now with perspective mr. stodder you mentioned the travel documents and nobody spoke about the document of verification capabilities or lack thereof with perspective the cuban airports. do you consider those answers that you gave us in that meeting to be ssi as well? >> yes sir. >> all right. we mentioned, somebody mentioned the federal air marshal service. mr. stodder? with respect to the federal air marshal services it your testimony there will be no flights from the united states from cuba to the united states
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unless the federal air marshal service has been allowed to be on those flights like you do elsewhere in the world? >> gest. >> and you don't know what that timeframe is? >> that agreement is so minute negotiation. >> there will be no flights until the federal air marshals are involved in the flight and would expect it to begin between the commercial flights between it's easing q. but? >> it's really a question for the department of transportation at this point. >> what do you anticipate? >> we don't know. >> i apologize because i didn't understand that to be matters of importance because you did not delineate that when we spoke. we simply sat down and had a conversation so forgive me for raising those questions but we are going to submit questions you and i want you to designate which one do you believe to be ssi.
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is it fair to say during that meeting that you had some pretty significant concerns about some of the security aspects at those airports? >> the concerns i had that i shared with you was over a five-year period tracert may have concerns at the beginning which i don't have now. >> you don't have any concerns whatsoever right now? >> the government of cuba airports have been assessed and inspected by the inspectors and meet standards. >> that is not my question. i am talking you based on your personal observation do have concerns? >> i share concerns with you from what i saw early on. which was quite different than the situation we have today. >> your testimony here today you have no more concerns about the security aspects of these airports? >> my testimony is that they meet the standards required. as long as they meet the
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standards required by iko if there's anything i can them do to improve the security and will do so. >> you have any concerns about the security aspects of those airports they sent her on her small opinion? >> i same answer applies sir. the concerns i have are very minor compared to what we were looking out i've ears ago. >> but you are still not going to answer the question whether you have concerns or not. >> they meet iko standards. >> we will move on. one question and any gentleman can answer this question if you would like to the question i have is why the rush? why the rush to open 10 airports which is an awfully large number
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of airports from a country have had little relationship over the past five decades? why is it being done so quickly? why not start with a few and see how it goes? >> that's a question directed to the department of transportation and the state department with regard to the u.s. alosi on opening commercial aviation with cuba. >> you don't have an opinion on the matter? anybody else have any input on that? >> i would note as mr. tong pointed out there are operating from six current last point departure airports and they fully meet iko standards and we are comfortable with the standards on those flights. >> you are talking about 100 more flights a day, is that correct? >> i think the number of flights the department of transportation question is not my area.
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>> assuming there are 100 more flights a day which we have been told at least that is it fair to say the infrastructure of those airports will stress the temperature should capabilities quite at that? >> i would want to -- i would not however that flights from europe involving many of the major carriers are flying into cuba every day as well as regional traffic coming in and out of cuba. i would note that and they are currently meeting all iko standards. >> major aircraft carriers are flying in and out of cuba as well. do you observe these airports? >> i've not been to cuba. >> you observe the havana airport in my correct? is it her to say it's going to put stress on that airport with
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an increased, large increase in the passenger travel there are? >> there are? >> another cubans have been working on terminal three where the international flights come into. the number of flights into which terminal has not been determined and that's something that will be worked out between the cubans in the air carriers so whether not there will be a crunch remains to be seen. >> do you have any observations based on what you've learned so far because you have certainly expressed them before it is. >> be only as observations of concerned were the fact that they lacked a couple of us is so one was raining we have delays getting off the aircraft. >> no other concerns? >> no sir. >> thank you for your time. i recognize ms. rice for five minutes of questioning. >> i want to assure all of you that this is not a criminal and corey much to the tone the
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questions have taken so far. this is information gathering hearing that all of you clearly feel it would do good to see how this process is being set up in my the questions i have for you mr. mizell which i think you'll be able to answer it is, has there have been a statement on the half of the cuban government that they are going to be investing in infrastructure to be able to deal with the increase in tourism and flights and cruise ships and everything else in terms of there is this new relationship? >> the investments of the cruise ship industry i am not the money with. >> in terms of what chairman katko was asking about in terms of the infrastructure handle that.
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to your knowledge has been there have been a commitment to put money into the infrastructure to be able to handle the increase in flights if it comes to that point? >> as i mention they have a project underway at terminal three from international flights other than u.s. flights whether or not the cuban government plans to divert some the u.s. flights at terminal three remains to be seen. >> mr. fujimura have a question for you. there are seven airports that are lcd airports in cuba although the number 10 has been thrown out. we are talking about seven airports? >> there are currently seven lpd airports but only six are active at this time for public charter flights. >> so we will with the number six. with the inspection of the six airports by tsa a need
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difference in any other airports operating around the world? >> no. our tsa assessment program is standardized. we have cadre cats we have 150 inspectors who work around the world and they follow very clearly articulated systems in conducting this. it's a very good process around the world reeves how regularly is tsa going to be inspecting the six airports in cuba that? >> we will be there annually to look at the airports on a regular basis. if we are talking about any service for changes or tsa inspectors are there before the service starts up while service is starting to assure thing is going smoothly and afterwards after 30-day period to make sure operations are running smoothly and normally.
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>> in your opinion how secure is flying to and from cuban airports compared to other lcd airports in the world? >> i would be comfortable flying from cuba myself. they meet international standards. >> so, we were talking before about the most recent issue of inspire magazine. if you think you can answer this can you talk a little bit about where you think cuba fits into the larger threat picture at tsa and all of us are concerned not just here but the other lcd airports abroad. >> inspire magazine came out on the 15th of may and it's still being a value weighted by the community but they clearly articulated focus on aviation and targeting aviation. recent events including the events he talked about the aircraft in somalia rustles
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these indicate to me a focus for us on africa middle east and perhaps the fortified issue major concern radiation. >> you said cuba could not be a focus in the future but is tsa working towards ensuring that all of the databases available to us here and other countries especially ltd airports are going to be accessible to the cuban government when they do their assessments before that process? >> we will not take our eye off the ball on the ltd airports. the biggest advantages we know who is coming our way through secure flights we have master crew lists and we have crew manifests. we have messenger manifests and we partner with our colleagues from cbp. we have a clear idea of who is coming our way whether they are on any kind of watch lists.
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on top of the physical security undertaken at the last part of departure airport the tsa and cbp have a very good idea that dennedy and the person coming to our country. >> is anyone on this panel been asked of your duties and responsibilities vis-à-vis opening travel between the us in cuba to cut any kind of corners in terms of security or anything like that? have any of you been asked to cut corners to ensure that this gets done in a timely manner? >> not at all. >> no. >> thank you ms. rice but i must take issue with your reference to criminal and grace. there is reason for the nature and tone of my questioning was because when we met with mr. mr. mizell previously not once did he say the information was sensitive by nature and not once in the 10 today did anybody at home in security or tsa make any
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mention of that information was sensitive in nature. why that information is important because the information mr. mizell delay needed of word serious concerns about equipment at those airports throughout cuba. that may finish please. we had a robust discussion and i thought it was a helpful discussion i thought it was a very truthful discussion and i also encountered two weeks at least my staff, at least two weeks of back-and-forth trying to get mr. mizell taccom hit it dave eco-'s it was resisted repeatedly for two weeks at least in my staff spent a good part of a full week just trying to get without a subpoena to get you to produce the witness you want to produce and we when it gets here today for the very first time we hear that the stuff he talked about an open setting was considered to be ssi. if he did that earlier we would not have had that back-and-forth and we would have had to have
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the tone of the inquiry we had today. >> why do you have to take that tone anyway? what you just answer the question? we are all professionals. there is no reason to adopt with all due respect to everyone here and everyone can adopt whatever time they want but if you want to get answers we are not prosecutors anymore. we are not. mr. katko is not in either my. >> we have a solemn duty to our country to make sure that we do proper oversight at tsa. >> and don't play politics or jasper question-and-answer and answer that's it to. >> there is no politics going on here. >> then don't sound like it. sounds to me like we are playing politics here. >> the bottom line is we are trying to get to the bottom boat we consider great concerns we have two opening these airports before the rest of increase done.
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reclaiming my time please. we are expecting but have mr. mizell tell us and since he told us since we had no idea that mr. mizell was going to claim the stuff was ssi so that was a major inquiry. if you take issue with my tongue let me apologize for that they do have an interest in our country. the biggest thing at stake to us in making sure the airlines are safe and people are safe. an article in the "washington post" recently talking about afghanistan individuals trying to use false cuban documents again to cuba and then to the united states. there are concerns. i'm not saying anyone here is using malfeasance. we are simply trying to get the facts out and mr. mizell if you take issue with my tongue let me apologize for that. my juices making sure before you open travel to a former calmness country that been testimony this year saying that there are major concerns about the
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counterespionage activities that we make sure we got our our eyes on the cross are teased out the understand that. >> a bite did interject and i am sure ranking member you would give me get her tendency to do that, no one has a corner on the market in national security precursor democrat or republican in this congress he doesn't have a priority of keeping this country safe and if you want to really get to the bottom of whether or not the proper analysis is going forward for we open up actual travel again this is part of the normalization of relationships didn't do it in a private setting where we can get the real information instead of putting on a show and asking questions that people can answer. that's all i'm asking for. let's just take the politics out of this clearly politicized issue and get to the heart of the matter here. >> we were attempting to do that in mrs. rice. the chair recognizes gentleman from georgia mr. carter. >> thank you mr. chairman and
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thank you all for being here. i will process my remarks by apologizing for my tongue. then he given to cuba that you have been to cuba? well i have and i think this is the most ludicrous thing i've ever heard of that we are going to open a up commercial travel to cuba. when i visited cuba i was excited because we had dinner one night with an 83-year-old and a 23 and i knew what to expect out of the 83-year-old but the 23 old i was interested in knowing what that person would have to say. i was appalled to learn that% actually believe the united states of america had dropped the atomic bomb on japan after they had surrendered. honest engine that's what she told me. at couldn't believe it. i was appalled to hear that preib let me ask him mr. subs six what is the commercial service, how many passengers do
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anticipate having common go to cuba, come from cuba to america and come from cuba to america? >> to catch schedule service would be the department of economic estimate. >> i have three minutes and 41 seconds left. let me tell you about my trip to cuba. they hate capitalism. they hate everything we stand for. i have learned that with my church to cuba. i can tell you that. they hate america. they do not hate us as americans but they hate america and what we represent are they blame us for our economic woes and this was not just the 83 and a 23-year-old. everyone i had the opportunity to speak to thought the same way. i took red offense did not. i love america. i think it's the greatest country ever in the history of the world.
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i can't for the life of me understand and i will tell you another story. we had the opportunity to visit with some journalists and i asked him i had the operatives you ask them is there a shame still taking political prisoners bikes i will tell you this was their answer gatto they are still taking that but they are not keeping them as long any more. there you go, that's progress. i want to know your personal opinion as americans what do you think is going to happen whenever we open up travel between these countries. their economy starts doing better. you think that's going to suppress the current regime over there? do it if you think that is going to suppress them? do you and if you think that that's only going to empower them even more than they are now? i'm interested to know, anyone? mr. stodder.
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>> all i can say is we as representatives of the department of homeland security are focused on the security of air transit between cuba and united states. >> i understand that and i was masking as a representative. i was asking you as an american. >> i'm here testifying as assistant secretary of security and as an american citizen. >> that's what i was asking grade. >> i'm testifying as a department of homeland security ensuring the security of commercial aviation between cuba and the states. >> help me out here mr. stodder help me understand the difference between what international requirements are for checking and for going through security and what the american tsa policy czar and requirements are? are they one and the same? >> with regard to international aviation from last point of departure for fisa united states tsa enforces and inspects the airports to ensure they meet international standards of iko
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standards. that's one piece of it as i discussed in my opening testimony. that is one piece which is ensuring security of airports themselves but also cbp and tsa have a rope with regard to betting. >> i thought i asked you if they were the same. are they the same standards mr. fujimura? >> i can take that one. the difference between what tsa standards are and -- or performance-based. what should happen? with tsa does is when we assess we assess how well those performance measures are being carried out. the united states tsa sop is there more prescriptive. >> just let me ask you this. as straightforward as i can be are u.s. comfortable with someone coming out of cuba as you would be for someone coming out of america?
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>> of course i believe that tsa we have a gold standard. >> is that yes or no? >> i'm very out of both traveling internationally. >> someone who has gone through security and cuba and is now coming to america are u.s. confident that they have been vetted as someone who is leaving american going to cuba? >> they meet international standards. >> i see where this is going. let me say again you all need to go to cuba. i've been there and i've seen it and i am not in favor of this at all. i can tell you not only am i not in favor of that i think is the worst thing we could do, the worst thing that we could possibly do. mr. chairman i apologize for my tone and i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. ratcliffe for five minutes for his testimony. >> thank you mr. chairman.
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i will do my best to leave politics out of this but as we all have to acknowledge and hopefully my friend and colleague from across the aisle who i respect greatly ms. rice would agree with me, we have to acknowledge as we often want to do with a stroke of a pen president obama did announce a dramatic shift in u.s. policy here this time towards cuba. we are all left to adjust to that and i appreciate the witnesses being here in the department of homeland security obviously will be tasked with implementing and enforcing the new trade and travel regulations as a result of the policy changes that this administration wants to invoke. i appreciate you all being here today to provide clarity and regardless of tone we have a responsibility on this committee for oversight and that oversight responsibilities to protect the american people as they traveled.
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to that point let me start with you mr. fujimura. i want to make sure i enter -- understand all they faxed to the u.s. embargo on cuba prohibits tsa from lending airport screening technologies to cuba. is that correct? >> that is my understanding that we are not allowed to provide training her crib and to cuba. >> and likewise the u.s. embargo prohibits the cuban government from buying these types of high-quality checkpoint screaming equipment from the united states. >> that's my understanding as well. >> i know from mr. mizell's testimony there some question whether cuba has or in fact lacks the equipment that the united states would deem necessary to conduct some aspects of screening like explosive tracing detection equipment improperly trained bomb-sniffing dogs.
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i think it's been further evidence that the cuban government apparently only has two full-body scanners located in havana. is that correct? >> sir we can't discuss in this open setting the specifics of what capabilities are in cuba right now but focusing on technology is focusing on one element of a security system that involves people and technologies. cf. that's why i'm including all the different questions we have. we know that they can purchase from america what we are not able to provide to them so the obama administration is looking to authorize a nice understated to be 10 ltb's are less points of departure in cuba and there was weather was seven or six but if they are lacking this
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equipment to the tune that we believe that they may how does tsa plans to certify that cuba has the necessary equipment and personnel to detect potential threats to the united states? >> sir we send out teams of inspectors on an annual basis to cuba to look at these airports currently operating as departure -- last departure airports. >> i heard you say that before and they meet international standards and they send them out annually, annually meaning once a year, right? >> right. >> so is tsa going to certify standards the cuban government is employing with respect to airport safety? you sent inspectors down.
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i've they going to provide some sort of certification? >> not a certification per se but it's an assessment that they meet international standards and the service can proceed very it's. >> okay. let me shift to you mr. wagner. according to the state department cubans continue to favor land-based entry at u.s. points of entry particularly through mexico. what is the current policy for cubans that into the united states without proper documentation of points of entry? >> as for the cuban adjustment act if there is any national security derogatory information representing any type of risk we have the opportunity to detain them before a judge. >> would have the cuban immigrant arrives with an airport without improper documentation?
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>> at the same policy. >> i'm from a border state. i'm from texas. do you have an opinion as to what you expect to see in terms of the number of asylum declarations of points of entry race on the shift in policy? >> we are seeing the numbers increase from last year to this year. >> icy my time has expired. i yield that. >> thank you mr. ratcliffe. the chair now recognizes mr. perry for five minutes for questioning. >> thank you mr. chairman for providing this opportunity for me to serve on this panel. mr. mizell i sent the secretary regarding cuba and aviation security i asked about the goals annual business by cuban officials to the u.s. into her airports which have been occurring since 2010. in its response to my letter dhs stated this has involved exchange of technical information and aviation security and best practices.
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exchange of technical information. my concern and curiosity in speaking with you is about what we are giving to them, not what we are getting from them but what we are giving to them. giving cuba's history as a counterintelligence state, this is extremely concerning to me. as you know cuba is ruled by a government hostile to the united states with close relationships to other u.s. at series including china russia and north korea. russia and china both have some of the largest in the world if not the largest on the planet. i think personally it's outrageous to think that dhs is sharing our information with cuba when they know they could likely share it at at this point give it to her ever series so my question is what exactly precisely specifically constitutes texan will in -- technical information we shared with the cubans. was information shared regarding
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security operations for security equipment? was information classified sensitive but unclassified lawn for sensitive for for official use only or sensitive security information what assurance do we have as americans that this information won't or hasn't guarded in leaks to our adversaries? >> that me start by saying the reciprocal visits with the cuban government began in 2011. we do it annually. the reason we do that as we have free access into cuba to conduct the required airport assessments and carrier assessments. without those reciprocal visits i'm not sure we would have this access so it's important to have those visits. as far as that goes a skill we take them to different usair torts, normally in the south or the east. we give them an opportunity to
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observe our check points in how we operate them, the throughput that occurs. they don't share any ssi information with them. it's the sharing of best practices basically or it's. >> so let me ask you this. if i were to ask you, we are sharing and sharing is a two-way street. i give you something and you give me something. that's sharing or exchanging which the terminology is being used -- or if you know please let me know. >> one of the key elements of flights coming to the united states involved secure flight information. all flights including crews coming from cuba so we get that information from cuba for the
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public charters coming to us, so this is information that we are getting for customs protection and is acted upon. ..
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i understand the shared goal. i'm looking at, it says best practices and it said we talked about technical information on security in aviation security and best practices. i want to know some examples. i want to know what were getting that we wouldn't get otherwise. we are giving them access to our airports. jfk and miami, fort lauderdale atlanta, it's all listed here. they are interested in collecting information. i'm not dominant neither are they. they know were interested in collecting information and we get this, but were american, there the communist country pi want to i want to make sure were not giving them something and that certainly were not getting anything in return, and quite honestly, neither of you have laid my fears or concerns of that happening. quite obviously sir, mr. fidel, i asked about classified confidential, sensitive but unclassified official use only
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or security information. because this need another setting to discuss that because you didn't enumerate any of those. you didn't just say no no no those are included which would be an answer that would be great to hear but i'm concerned it's not. >> none of those have been included on the visits to the united states. >> none of those were included on their visits to the united states back yes or they have none of that information. >> okay, think thank you mr. chairman, i yelled. >> thank you mr. perry. a quick follow-up question, you mentioned the i ko's standards standards. is that something that gives you some sort of comfort i guess in the airport quality of their security, is that correct? >> sir under 44907 under the seven under the statute it said this is the basis that we be in our air force program from. it's in the statute. >> correct and i understand but
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just so i understand do you know what mogadishu airports have met the minimum standards? >> they are not last.perjure airport so i do not know. a couple quick questions, i understand what you said in the security setting was sensitive and i take issue with that, but let me ask you something a different way and see if i can't catch it a different way. how many of those last point of departure airports have you visited? >> there are seven last point of departure airport situate of six of which are operational and i visited all of them. >> the seventh one that is not an operational, did you visit that as well but mark. >> yes. >> i want to ask about what you observed at these airports, if i may. the first thing is, is, in any of those seven airports, did you observe any explosive trace
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detective equipment anywhere? >> you've asked this question before. it's not something we want to discuss in the setting. >> i understand but i'm asking your personal observation. the question was based on your personal observation did you observe any of the equipment at the airport. >> again sir, i'm not going to discuss that in an open meeting like the. >> are you saying your personal observations are sensitive and secure. >> i am saying that the question you are asking about is sensitive with regard to equipment. >> from a classified setting or i just want to understand what security setting you are saying the security clearance you need to have before i discuss this. i'm not asking you about the secure setting and masking basing on personal observation. >> syrup i may, on, on those travels he would've been traveling on an official passport as a tsa representative so his observations would be part of a government effort as
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it were. again, i would again asked that we if we could take this to a different setting to articulate more details for you. >> are not going to answer the question in this setting correct. >> is that to me? >> yes. >> yes sir. >> is not the same regarding body scanners and any other seven airports you visited? would you give the same answer that you're not going to answer that in this setting mark. >> that's correct. >> without be the same answer regarding document verification equipment at any location. >> that's correct. >> and just lime clear and i want to understand, what security level are you saying applies here? >> either of you can answer that? >> sir, the presence of the equipment in the procedures is
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ssi. >> you're saying this is all ssi? >> i would want to go back and review with my subject matter experts on security back at headquarters, but that's my understanding. i stand open to be corrected. >> let's put at this point since were not going to get to the bottom of this, why don't you, if you could within ten days, consult with them and then give us an answer on whether or not you believe each of those questions warrant ssi labels on them. if they do not been i asked that you respond to those questions in writing. thank you very much alright ms. rice you have any further questions quick mark. >> no. >> okay. mr. perry do you have any further questions?
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>> i do just to finish up, if you will allow mr. chairman? >> yes sir. >> my first question was what exactly constitutes technical information that was shared with the cubans? was any information shared regarding security information or security equipment, technical information? >> nothing was shared with regard to technical equipment. >> and in the memorandum of understanding under j, it says to coordinate in the area of transportation and security the screening of cargo security passengers and baggage and the design of the airports, anything regarding design rather than the layout? when you say design, i want to make sure what were
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contemplating. >> no sir, the design the design is what you would see walking through the airport at the security checkpoint. >> thank you. i yelled. >> thank you mr. perry. miss riced no further questions? >> no. >> thank you i would like to thank you for your testimony today. members of may have additional questions. the hearing record will be held open for ten days. i would ask that you get back to those specific questions. we will delineate them in writing to you have them and you can tell us which ones you feel are ssi nature and without objectives objection the subcommittee stands adjourned. >> thank you coming up on c-span
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two, the senate passes a bill allowing 911 families to sue the saudi at arabian government government. senate debate on $1.1 billion in emergency spending on zika virus research. the national urban league releases their annual state of black america report. wednesday we bring you live coverage of the state opening of the british parliament including queen elizabeth speech outlining the government priorities for the coming year. watch our simulcasts at 530 eastern here on c-span2.
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the sunday night on q&a, vanity fair columnist and slate magazine founder michael kinsley talks about his book, old-age a beginners guide guide on living with parkinson's disease. >> parkinson disease is a brain disease. what i really meant, obviously is thinking, is it going to affect my thinking? thinking is how i earn a living so that became pretty important. i asked the neurologist what's going to happen and he said it wasn't such a big deal. he said you may use lose your edge and i thought g, my edge is
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how i are in a living. it's why i have my friends. it may be why i have my wife. >> sunday night at eight eastern and pacific on q&a. >> today the senate in a unanimous vote passed a bill that would allow the family of 9/11 victims to suit saudi arabian officials found to support terrace. here's the debate before the vote. we will hear from the co- sponsors from texas in new york. >> all of us remember the horrible events of september theeople 11th and the grief and pain that so many people went through in new york, 3000 people lost their lives and obviously the family members have not forgotten that in the nation hasn't forgotten their lossr schumer either. the senator schumer from new york and i have introduced legislation.
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this is bipartisan legislation that would enable americans and their family members who have lost loved ones on that horrible day to pursue their claims for justice against those who sponsored these acts of terrorism on u.s. homeland. this bill was reported out of the senate judiciary committee without objection and similar legislation has passed the senate unanimously last congress. that kind of unanimous support i believe, sends a clear message that we will combat terrorism with every tool we have available and that the victims of terrorist attacks in our sc country should have every meansor at their disposal to seek justice. i'm grateful for the work of the senator from new york, senator schumer in in introducing this bill along with me, chairman grassley for shepherding it through the judicial committee and i appreciate the support of a large bipartisan group of
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like-minded senators in this chamber who work with a number of senators including the senator from alabama and south carolina who expressed concerns about earlier versions and i appreciate the willingness to work with us and deal with their concerns in a way that has now gain their support. i would say that this legislation amends the foreign sovereignty act that was passedist in 1976. we already have a piece of legislation on the books that waives sovereign immunity under some circumstances but the problem is it does not extend to terrorist attack on our homeland by countries and organizations that have not already been designated as state sponsors of terrorism. so, what this does is make some small changes in that legislation that first passed in
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1976 to expand the scope of
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obtain redress when they're victims of terrible wrongdoing. we will submit a colloquy for
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the record that goes into more detail on some of the legal nitty-gritty here. but we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture. what this legislation means to the victims of 9/11 transcends day-to-day politics. one of the most impassioned advocates of this bill is mistery strada seeking justice for her husband tom. tom lost his life in the north tower on september 11. itery didn't just lose a husband. she lost a father to a young son of 7 a daughter of 4, and a tiny baby boy who was born shortly after the towers fell. she lost a loving father and her best friend. terry strada and many others are seeking what we would all be compelled to seek if we suffered such a loss at the hands of hate and evil which is simply justice. the fact that some foreign
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governments may have aided and abetted terrorism is infuriating to the families if justice is not done. that's what they seek, justice justice, justice. terry and her three children have championed this bill for over a decade. they are not cursing the darkness as would be human nature to do at their terrible injust and almost inexplicable loss but instead her family and many other families have chosen to light candles to do whatever they can to make sure this never happens again so that any foreign entity that would seek to choose to help and aid and abit -- abet and do terrorism here on our shores will pay a price if it is proven that they have done so. so terry and the other families are lighting a candle, a saintly
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act. i thank them, all the other families as well. monica gabe grel, mingdzy clineberg, laurie vanawkin, patty kasoza for their tirelessly advocacy and patience. in conclusion, mr. president justice is long overdue. a responsible balanced fix to a law that has extended too large a shield to foreign actors who finance and enable terrorism on a massive scale. the victims of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks have suffered such pain and heartache but they certainly should not be denied justice. now i yield back to my colleague from texas for the unanimous consent request. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president i thank my colleague from new york for his comments and for his partnership working on this
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important legislation. i now ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 362 and s. 2040. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 362 s. 2040, a bill to deter terrorism, provide justice for victims and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask consent that the committee reported substitute be withdrawn and the cornyn substitute amendment be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i know of no further debate on the measure. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: is there further debate? hearing none all those in favor say aye. all those opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it.
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the bill as amended is passed. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask consent that the motions to reconsider be considered and be laid on the table.
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lost the most on 911 is steadfast. our commitment to those principles will not change. but we have to acknowledge the
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unintended consequences of moving forward their republicans in congress who also expressed concerns in the past. this is a sensitive issue. i acknowledge the politics are tough. focusing on the substance, we need to make sure that we don't overlook the potential unintended consequences of a bill that could put the u.s. at risk around the world. that is a dangerous proposition. it's one that the commander-in-chief is concerned about. >> there is appearance that they are sending a message to the white house that it's not
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important. what's your response to that? >> i will let them explain their position and why they did not object the proposal with unintended consequences. the accusation here is not that somebody in congress is looking to intentionally inflict harm against the united states. our concern is that this is an unintended consequence of this legislation. it's the responsibility of the president of the united states and the commander-in-chief to look out for the best interests of the united states. around the world our concern is that other countries could use this bill as an excuse to initiate their own proceedings in their own court that puts the united states at risk.
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>> are you concerned that those who oppose the bill. >> look, we oppose the bill so obviously we don't want to see a move forward in the senate, but we are going to see if we can ensure that we can move legislation forward. >> do you encourage them not to proceed because it has ramifications? the fact that it's now pass the senate, are there ramifications to bow alone? >> i think as we discussed when he traveled to saudi arabia, he had a long bilateral bilateral meeting with the king of saudi arabia on this issue and the issue of this legislation was not raised. i think it is an indication of
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the fact that right now this legislation is not interfering with our ability to coordinate with the saudi arabia government on a range of issues of mutual concern, but our broader concern is about the potential unintended consequences at the passage of this legislation would bring about and that is basically giving other countries an excuse to subject the united states of america to what could just be kangaroo courts in other countries. it puts us in situations where we spend a lot of time and resources going in and defending the united states in foreign courts. >> that's not a good use of our time or a good use of our diplomatic capital. these kinds of cases just serve as an additional irritant with countries around the world. again, we believe that these
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kinds of concerns are the concerns that should be taken into account by members of congress as they consider their position on the bill. >> there was another statement saying the big difference here this is the u.s. not supporting terrorist organizations that target civilians. if this bill is so narrowly tailored to just include attacks on u.s. soil, and you look at the arguments the families are making, is that really such a huge risk that somebody would do something similar? if you're just looking at that specific incident, targeting civilian on our soil, in this case, and obviously and obviously democrats in the senate don't agree that that risk.
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>> look, i understand, there are a number of countries around the world that do falsely accuse the united states of engaging acts of terrorism. there are other countries that make that accusation on a regular basis. if they now have a precedent of establishing their own method of bringing the united states into court, putting it at risk, even as they prosecute those false claims that is not a path we want to go down. the other concern is how that system could work. you can imagine a scenario where somebody who is injured or wounded overseas is brought back to the united states for medical treatment and then they die in
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an american court because that individual died on american soil. this is the thing, our court system is such that you don't have to be an american citizen to file suit in american court. >> recognize these are hypotheticals but they are potential unintended consequences that are quite serious. that's the basis of our concern of the bill. that having could have a very negative effect on u.s. national security, to put at risk united states and our assets in our personnel in countries all around the world. >> is this just a closed matter again, the whole issue of 911 because obviously the families are concerned about trying to figure out exactly what happened
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and we've said the investigation , others have said that there is an information, do you say to the families, you seem to say there are changes to legislation that they should consider that might be more palatable to the administration. if there's some way to reconcile this sovereign immunity and the families concern or is this really just the end of it as far as the ministration is concerned? >> it's certainly not the end of it. there's a lot to unpack there. let's start by, there is a commission and outside government commission of experts established outside the government to examine the tax of
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911 and take a look at what conditions let up to the attack, what exactly transpired on that fateful day and what sort of reforms could be implemented to ensure something that never happens again. if that outside group, the 9/11 commission, that carefully that carefully examined all of the available evidence and concluded that there's no evidence to indicate that the saudi government, as an institution, supported the 911 plotters. that's not some sort of government conspiracy. this is an outside organization that took a close look at this. those leaders then reviewed the 28 pages. they have acknowledged that included preliminary materials that they had an opportunity to pursue. as a result they conducted interviews around the world to follow up on the potential lead. despite having read those pages
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and acting on them by pursuing investigations, they still can concluded that the saudi government did not support the 911 plotters. i think there's no doubt that part has been exhaustively investigated. i'm not saying this to suggest that somehow that's going to ease the pain of someone who lost a loved one or several love ones on 911. our heart breaks for those people. these are thousands of americans who walk around every day with a hole in their heart because they lost a loved one on that tragic day. trying to make sense of that and trying to move on with one's life is something that many of us have been challenge to do and they've demonstrated heroism as they've moved on with their
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life, and in some cases were talking about parents who had to raise kids on their own and in some cases are talking about first responders who have continued to fight fires and respond to emergencies, even with the memory of their partner in the back of their mind. there is no denying the heroism of the 911 families and the courage they have shown every single day since 9/11. but what we are focused on and i think what the families are generally focused on as well is the security of the united states. making sure the united states of america continues to preserve our ability to protect around the globe. they understand our capacity to doing that is essential to preventing terrorist attacks on u.s. soil. that priority is not different than the priority that has been
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identified by the 9/11 families when it comes to protecting the united states of america and protecting our men and women in uniform throughout the world. >> are changes that could lead to reconcile this in terms of the way the bill was written or is this just not a reconcilable administration. >> think the reason going to talk to them in congress is to figure out if there is a way to address the serious concerns that are raised by these unintended consequent is. i don't know if that's possible at this point, but we certainly are willing to engage in bipartisan conversation to make that happen if it's possible. >> our campaign 2016 bus continues to travel throughout the country to recognize winners from this years student can competition. recently the bus stopped in massachusetts to visit several winning students from that state. they went to the state school in foxboro where all the students in first through eight grade attended a ceremony to honor
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students for their honorable mention video called gunning for safety. the bus also made a stop in ludlow to recognize eighth graders honorable mention in her video called veteran services. another one for a video called lgbt rights, stop the administer discrimination. they were honored of her other classmates, family and local officials and receive $250 for their winning video. thanks to. thanks to our video partners comcast and charter video for helping. you can view all the documentaries that student can.org. >> the senate today passed a bill on funding zika virus research and funding efforts. three months ago president obama requested $1.8 billion in emergency funding. the house is considering a bill considering a bill that spends $622 million. it spends $1.1 million on the public health effort.
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it passed in a 68 - 29 vote. here's some of the debate getting with patty murray. this is 20 minutes. >> thank you mr. pres. mr. president as a mother andd grandmother, i know that one of the most frightening questions and expecting parent has to ask their doctor is, is my baby safe too many parents are asking that western right now because of the zika virus. there are now more than 1200 reported cases of the cut in the united states in this territory. more than 100 of these are pregnant women. on friday puerto rico announced their first case of zika related microcephaly. unfortunately those numbers are only expected to grow in the coming months. this really is an emergency. public health experts have repeatedly made it clear that as
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we get closer to the summer andmo mosquito season, we cannot afford to delay. we need need to better control mosquitoes that carry the zikaies virus, we need to raise awareness to make sure families are informed about this disease, and we need to expand access to family planning services and accelerate the development of a vaccine. the president laid out a strong emergency funding proposal to accomplish each of those goals in february.possib i support that plan. i was very disappointed that instead of acting on it as quickly as possible, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle refused to even consider it. instead they found reason after reason to delay. first they said the administration should just take funds from the ongoing a bola response to combat zika. then they said they needed more information about the president's proposal even though
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it has been discussed in 55 congressional hearings. even after briefing by senior administration officials and even though the administration 25 page proposal had been available for months for anyone to see. now house republicans have released a proposal that will provide a meager $622 million, less than one third of what is needed for this emergency, without needed for this emergency, without any funding for preventive healthcare or outreach to those who are at risk of zika. funding for this public health emergency must be fully offset. in addition they have made it clear every day how much we need to ask before mosquito season is in full effect, i was encouraged that others on the appropriations committee were willing to work with democrats on a first step to respond to
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this emergency. the agreement we have reached would put a down payment on the president's proposal into the hands of our first respondersre and researchers right away. it would provide much-needed relief for puerto rico where nearly 100 million in in public health funding had been forced to reprogram and invest in prevention and support services for pregnant women and family at home and abroad and could research dollars into researching a vaccine. i believe mr. public president the republicans should do what we urge them to do and joined the democrats in the full funding request. if they continue to refuse, thenil at the very least we should be willing to support a bipartisan bipartisan first step toward protecting families from this virus. democrats will continue pushing for every necessary resource going forward. families across the country are
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looking to congress for action on zika. they do not have time for lengthy debates about offsets or more time to waste.s i hope we can move very quickly to get this emergency funding package through the senate and the house and onto the president's desk. if we act now, we can help protect their families across the country from the truly tragic consequences of this disease and there is no reason to delay. thank you very much and i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> senator from massachusetts. >> mr. pres., for for months democrats have asked theon republicans who control the senate to let us at. while the zika virus has spread across several territories. we've ask republicans to let us act while more and more american travelers are back in the u.s.
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after contracting the zika virus. for months, we have asked the republicans who control the senate to let us act while health experts and world health organization's national institute of health and center for disease control have requested resources to fight this disease. for months we've asked them to let us act. more people, they have developed debilitating and sometimes fatal condition that damages the nervous system. for months we have asked the republicans who control the senate to let us act while more mothers infected by zika have given birth to babies with severe brain defects. for months, we have asked the republicans who control the senate to let us act while the president has been forced to divert emergency funds from other critical areas including the emergency ebola response.d
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today after he first requested nearly $2 billion to fight the zika virus in the united states, the republicans who control the senate will finally, finally let us vote on options for funding the zika response.vote f today the senate will consider three proposals. the first proposal would completely fund the president's response plan. it offers offers our best hope to fully protect americans and i revoke that proposal and plea with every senator do the same because that is what our nations experts said it will cost to limit the sickness death and deformity caused by the zika virus. i know that some republicans understand this point. senator rubio who state of florida is at great risk for local said this. i believe in limited government,
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but i do believe one of thendreds a functions is to protect people from danger. whether they be foreign enemy or the risk of disease outbreak. i don't think we want to be halfway through the summer and wake up to the news the hundreds and hundreds of america'sly americans have been infected and we did nothing. senator rubio supports fullyop funding the president's response plan. i hope it passes the senate. if it doesn't, it will be because the majority of senate republicans vote against it. if that happens we will be forced to consider another proposal. the second proposal would give the president half of what is needed to fight the outbreak. i would support the proposal if it's the last resort as will many democrats because this is a health emergency.. if your ship is sinking and you need 12 lifeboats but you can only get six, you take the six.
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we will take whatever the republicans who control the senate are willing to give to protect the american people. cutting the zika funding request in half might give republicans a chance to tell people how tough they are on spending and that may be how republican politics work, but boy, it's not how d science works. it is not possible to delay a response to a health emergency for months after month without consequences. it is not possible to nickel and dime our response to a health emergency without consequences. sure, the republicans half measure is better than nothing but an estimated 4 million people are facing the prospect of zika infection by the end of this year. a half response is not good enough. now the final republican proposal is even dumber.
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it would not only give the president about half of what is needed but it would come at a cost by gutting the prevention and public health fund which provides significant support to local public health departments all across the country. you heard that right. some senate republicans think the best way to fund america's remerge and see response to the zika virus is to rob from america's frontline responders who helped identify and track infectious diseases like the zika virus. kic on the other side of congress doing republicans are kicking around an even more bizarre idea, funding only about a third of the plan to fight zika and doing it by cutting hundreds of millions of dollars out of our a bowl a response. was the ebola epidemic just
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passed and no treatment, what could possibly go wrong with that plan? i simply do not understand the republicans. the responsible thing to do, the rational thing to do is to invest the resources needed to stop the zika threat in its track and to invest in more science in public infrastructure so we are ready when the next crisis comes. ideology, this country countryea is put in greater and greater danger.esponse instead of investing in research that we can develop effective treatments, instead of supporting careful planning so we are ready for the next health challenge, and instead of fully funding emergency response infrastructure so we are prepared to respond to new
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threats, these republicans governed by searching for crisis to crisis. we are in this mess with zika. it's a mess that will get a lot worse because of stupidd decisions make right here in congress. keep in mind, zika like ebola is a disease we have known about four years. our ability to do the necessary research to eradicate these threats has been undercut bynd republicans desire to make more and more budget cuts. even when they put the health of americans in danger. this country scientific research capacity has been deaf decimated we have lost about 20% of ourth purchasing power the prevention and public health fund that help
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build the infrastructure needed to prevent people from getting sick and shut down outbreaks like the guy has been on the republican chopping block year after year after year.ing our doctors scientists and health officials need ours complete support in fighting this virus. they've told us how much money they need to do that. the less money congress gives them, the the more people will be hurt by the zika virus.fo more babies with heartbreaking deformities, more adults with. devastating illnesses. the zika virus does not care what politicians in washington decide is politically expedient. the virus is coming and if republicans don't protect people of this country then republicans must accept responsibility for the devastating consequences.
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>> thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. act >> senator from florida. >> thank you mr. pres. first of all let me begin byn saying how it courage diamine that we are finally seeing some action toward the zika virus. today we have three separate proposals that are going to come up with a bow. i suggest fully funding the president's request. fine it came from the white house but it's really the scientist request. the fundamental point that i make is twofold. number one, we can pay for it. we can find it. by the way we can find that too and i know that's hard to see happening here in washington but this is a public health emergency that cannot worryot the weight for the extended debate on this issue especially when you talk about an $18 trillion debt. this is not not the reason we
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have an 18 trillion-dollar debt.cial sec that's why dealing with long-term security and medicare and social security is so critical. we can pay for $1.9 trillion we should. but it is public health experts that have said the amount we need is $1.9 billion. i continue to urge my colleagues to take this with a sense of urgency that the public health experts have. the people i've met with and interacted with and i've been talking to are not political people. i've been talking to people in the white house political office. i've been meeting with people that work at the centers for disease control. i've been meeting with people who work at the florida department of health. up and talking to the department
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of health officials importer rico. i been talking about doctors on the front line of dealing with microcephaly and what it means long term for the children that have been impacted by this. that's who i've been talking to. they've outlined the kind of thing we need to be doing but more importantly they talk about how much we don't know about zika. for example we don't know what the long-term consequences of a mother infected with zika while pregnant.nteonntine if a child is born without microcephaly, we don't know what happens in six or nine months or five years down the road, but i do know many experts believe there will be further manifestation and impact on the central nervous system and manyye of these children, years after this debate in congress is finished.er i do know puerto rico is being ravaged by this. puerto rico is a territory of the united states. these are american citizens that have been infected with zika. they don't have a senator from puerto rico, although i'm more than honored and grateful to the opportunity to speak on their behalf, but will people have to understand, and this is not the right way to approach it, but even if your approach as well,e it's not the mainland of the united states, then i invite you to go to the airport to see the
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daily flights and constant flow of people back and forth. we also look at the fact that the summer months are coming. this is a mosquito borne infection and we know that mosquito season is here and coming fast.e we know the zika virus becomes more potent as temperatures get warmer. guess what. it's about to get really warm, not just in florida buttug throughout the health ghost in the country. we know that pires is likens brazil have been deeply impacted by the virus. guess what tens of thousands of people are about to travel through the united states to them from brazil for the summer olympics. we know that major league baseball cancel the game in puerto rico because they believed it was serious enough risk not to want to put their players at risk or the crowd. we see something that is percolating that we don't know much about other than it's a serious problem. we do not know how far this is going to go. as a result we see the people of this country facing a public health threat in our response should be let's deal with it the way medical experts say we need to deal with it.
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certain language in the proposal that says if you don't end up spending the full 1.9 billion, all that money automatically goes back to treasury within a year or two if you haven't spent it. but why take the chance? why chance? why take the chance that at some point this summer we have a significant and serious outbreak ind in the united states of america a and everybody here is gonna be back in their home state doing their campaign stuff or whatever you're doing and you have to come back here and either deal with that and explain to peoplen why, when doctors and medical experts were warning us that this was a significant risk we decided to lowball it. we decided to spend less than what's been called for.f i do not mean this as ahat criticism to them. eff i commend them for their work. they tried to come up with a bipartisan solution.ount we hope that the $1.9 million
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passes and i thickets better than nothing and all support it, but why are we taking this chance? t it makes no sense.rectio i would also say, while i'm happy that today, hopefully the senate will take action on the issue, i'm concerned about what i hear coming from the house. i'm glad that there is finally some movement and something is happening, but i'm really concerned about the direction of the funding measure. their funding measure is $622 million. quite frankly that's not going i to cut it. if we don't spend more than that on the front end, i think we'll spend a lot more later on. the problem is not going to go away and it's certainly not going to go away with 622 million to combat it. this is concerning to me because even if we do manage to pass the $1.9 billion request, i'm afraid long-term, even that may not be afraid long-term, even that may not be enough.e
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the issue here seems to be desire to offset spending. i support that 100%. i believe we can find one $.9 billion and transfer it to another part of our budget to make sure we are not deficit spending. i'm in favor of doing that, but that's not going to keep me from trying to do something about it. in times of public health emergency, just like times of natural disaster, i don't think we should be delaying action while we try to figure out these budgetary moves and trying to agree on what were going to cut from other parts of the budget. i still believe we should do it, but we cannot hold back for another few weeks will we get to that point. now if the administration has already diverted half a billion dollars that was intended for the fight against ebola. the housestik would've put more of the funds to the zika response. now they say a bowl is not the headlines were not reading about it that much. ebola still exists.d. we haven't eradicated it fromer the united states or from the world, it's just not a percolating crisis right now.
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but nothing goes to say that this couldn't pop up again. and this pandemic will be come more and common as people are able to travel all over the world. we are at the crossroads of a lot about travel. i don't think i'm prepared to d walk away. maybe they don't need the full half million dollars but i think a be shortsighted to say evil is finished and we don't have to worry about it. there's gotta be some money available in case that comes up again because it could. >> i believe the house can and should do better than what it's propose. provide offsets to the spending. provide the $1.9 billion offsets. i guarantee you'll be able to find it fairly easily. fir stipulate that if her wrong, if we don't end up spending or needing anything close to 1.9 billion or 1.1 billion that the taxpayer money is going to be returned to the treasury.12
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let's not play with fire here.l there are 112 people in the state of florida who have been infected. we have many more american citizens who have been infected in puerto rico. many unborn children who arere t risk and many more who will be d impacted once mosquito season sets in. at the end of the day these other people we should be fighting for. we can quite frankly, do much better than what the house is proposing. this is a devastating disease. it has taken lives throughout our hemisphere and the way it affects unborn children alone should call us to action. you see the images coming from a brazil from these children being born with microcephaly. this is a devastating condition. the cost of caring for those children throughout their lives is expensive and were going to do it. we need to do it. we will do it., there let's try to prevent the spread of those try to get ahead of it. let's try to be just reactive,ke but proactive. just today in the press there are reports that science has been able to make a significant step toward significantly creating a vaccine.
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once there is a vaccine for zika this problem will be under control.e let's not play with fire here, as i said earlier. i hope my colleagues will jump on board and fully fund the $1.9 billion and if you want, let'swh put language in there that says if the money isn't fully spent it will be refunded to theha treasury, but why take the chance? why take the chance on an issue that is not yet well defined? why take the chance on an issue that we still don't know everything about this disease? why take the chance that we could have an outbreak mucher worse than anything anyone anticipated and we were caughthe off guard. l why take the chance that you can go home in august and september and explained to millions of people across the country, why are so americans being affected by this and you were lowballing our approach to it a few months ago. a why take the chance? let's do this and get it right. let's ensure we are protecting our people. let's deal with this now. let's deal with this fully.e is w this is our obligation and i
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hope we embrace it today. there is no reason why we should not fully fund this proposal and listen to the doctors and healthcare professionals who are asking for it and go from there. that's what i hope our colleagues

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