tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 20, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EST
i can see even seen from the inside the european union seems very complex itself. be it our institutions, the way we take decisions our many cultures and religions and cultures it, we are a complex system. believe me, it is a real challenge and can be a real nightmare and our duty is to make sure that we make the european union work in a more rational, quick and also simple way. but that's also added value. over the years, we have learned to benefit from our different perspectives and we have built consensus around them. our differences don't make it impossible for us to work together. and act united. in the new world we see emerging, i will not say world order. i would say the new world we see emerging. forging consensus and building partnership is essential. it is a world in which the west
still has significant power but the power is no longer exclusive. it can only be exercised in cooperation with others. the transatlantic cooperation can be the bed rock if we lesson our learns and look ahead to the future of the role in the world. our bonds, the transatlantic bonds, cannot rely only on our common pasts. now it's a moment to shape our common future. if we want to shape a world order based on cooperation and respect instead of competition and confrontation. and already the events of the first weeks of this year shows us how urgent our cooperation is to address the challenges we face. from the conflict between russia and ukraine to iraq and syria, from the terrible attacks in paris to the carnage spread boko haram in nigeria. we need this transatlantic partnership more than ever.
we need cooperation in a world that is more infer connected, conflictual and. polycentric than ever. mega trends in human say it all. global tourist is expect to near 2 billion by 2030. migration is accelerating as a result of conflict climate change and economic deprivation. only last year 200,000 people, migrants asylum seekers mostly from syria and the horn of africa, reached europe through the central roots. europe very much like the united states and eventually even china will need to attract high-skilled workers to its aging continents if it wants to sustain current living standards. but interconnection has its dark sides, too. think about terrorist networks and foreign fighters. think of the spread of global pandemics, ebola being the latest manifestation.
technology adds to this for good and for bad. nowhere is this clearer than in the field of communication where social media provided an indispensable vehicle for mass mobilization of arab spring. and for the recruitment and outreach of a plethora of terrorist groups. likewise, our world is becoming more conflictual and we see it every day. the bleeding natural resources coupled with the growing population with large number of young people in most economically deprived areas and an emerging global middle class sets the scene for greater competition in the world. food security and water remain a critical challenge in large parts of africa and the middle east with the food price hike in 2011 being recognized as one of the triggers for the upheavals
across the region. technology coupled with climate change is creating new opportunities in the arctic, which if not managed well risks triggering conflict. security is another element of potential conflict. while new discoveries and the unconventional revolution represents an undeniable opportunity, reaping these opportunities will require upgraded cooperation within europe and between europe and its partners, starting from the united states. as well as new investments in infrastructures and technology and redoubled efforts at addressing climate change. technological advancement has also created the potential for greater conflicts. think about cyberspace, just become the new frontier the real frontier, of our century warfare. finally, but this is not the end of the speech, i'm sorry about that our world is becoming increasingly polycentric. some new and old powers are on
the rise. first and foremost, china. the proliferation of emerging economy acronyms indicates an undeniable global power shift. the u.s. and europe alone no longer set the agenda in global affairs. i guess we understood that by now, and yet i will not argue that power is shifting from the west to the rest. i think this is simplistic. it is inaccurate. it is inaccurate because there are no alternative alliances, notwithstanding all the talks about that. and it is inaccurate because the west is not in decline as it is evident here on this side of the atlantic looking at the u.s. impressive economic performance in the last years. and also by the resilience of the european projects that has been going through difficult times but still is the most successful regional integration experience. and it is inaccurate because power is diffusing beyond state structures. lying in the multiple
interactions between governments, regional and international organizations, companies, civil societies, simple citizens. the new world order we might see emerging cannot be a zero sum game where increased performance for some necessarily means decreased influence for others. it is a world where influence is and can be should be shared. this and the fact that the challenges we face are joint challenges. sometimes global challenges makes cooperation even more crucial. and this brings me to our transatlantic relationship. it is a relationship that some may believe has passed its age. be this because of divergent demographics with an increasing hispanic america and an african middle eastern europe. be it because of partly diverging security concerns with europe focused on our
neighborhoods and the u.s. on asia-pacific. yet the global challenges and opportunities we face are so complex, so difficult that only a renewed transatlantic partnership can face up to them. we have a long history that makes it natural for us, for my generation in particular, but also for the previous ones, to be friends to be partners. we share values and that is the basis of our common cultural identity. that is strong and no one can take that away from us. that's in our dna. now the two pillars of renewed transatlantic bonds that i see are security and economy. supply and demand side forces are delivering transatlantic cooperation and we are slowly but surely expanding u.s./eu cooperation on security and defense. on the supply side the u.s. has made it clear that it expects
its european partners to shoulder more of the security responsibility in our own neighborhoods. and no longer feels ill at ease with the developments of european defense capabilities. on the contrary, i have the feeling. at the same time european union is developing into a security provider with our 30 missions and operations conducted to date focused mainly on institutional reforms and capacity building. on the demand side, while nato reminds responsible for security, european union is taking on the lead in helping its members, neighbors and partners and bad systems and practices of good governance that will reduce corruption and -- and thereby by ability to establish normalization. that requires time but i think it's a good investment. have put a premium on enhanced eu/nato cooperation.
let me say that i was particularly proud and happy that very first date of my mandate, i was meeting with nato secretary-general, we are starting the mandate together. we are starting a close cooperation. we have challenges there. even if the 28 members are not overlapping completely they are overlapping significantly. beyond security is the next frontier of our transatlantic relation. see it as a win-win project aimed at creating more business opportunities, reducing costs for small and medium enterprises enterprises, eliminating administrative, and in so doing stimulating growth and creating jobs. but it is not just this. it's much more than a free trade area. it's going to create the largest free trade area in the world. by doing so i think it will inject momentum into the development of global rules in
yarlz in which multilateral negotiations have stalled. it can become a bench mashmark for future trade in the wto. let me be clear. the european union is committed to an ambitious comprehensive, mutually beneficial ttp to the benefit of business and citizens on both sides of the atlantic. and i think we have to use the opportunity ahead of us. i know i've been already far too long. it's typical european. for sure typical italian. i apologize by that. let me review briefly the priorities are in our view. cooperation begins along the arc of instability surrounding the european union. if you see the world map the most daisht highest difficult places around the world are all around european union. maybe we should ask ourselves some questions.
on the european contents the european and u.s. are on the same line when it comes to the european perspective and reform priorities both in the west markets and in turkey as well as on the eastern partners notably georgia and moldova. of course, ukraine is where cooperation is more urgent and intense. as we struggle to see the full implementation of the agreements. we together pressure russia through our sanctions policy. towards russia we share a approach based on sanctions in view of moscow's illegal annexation of crimea and also in in east ukraine while kooemg keeping the door open for dialogue both on solution of the conflict in ukraine and common global challenges we face. together we actively support ukraine's reform efforts at
eradicating corruption, in the mediterranean, multiple and interconnected crisis from libya to syria and iraq, passing through israel palestine and iran all call for transatlantic cooperation. neither the u.s. or europe can settle this crisis alone. i think we both understand it very well. transatlantic cooperation is imperative as is engagements with all relatives regional and international powers that have an influence in the region. we know that very well. positive or negative. on some issues such as iran, while the final outcomrie mains uncertain, the transatlantic format of the nuclear talks has already proved its strength and we are jointly working toward a robust, long-term solution that will guarantee the exclusively peaceful nature of iran's nuclear program. while nuclear negotiations are entirely separate from other regional issues, i believe joint
transatlantic strategic thinking and action is crucial on iran's regional role. on the middle east peace process, the projected deadlock should trigger a collective and, first of all, transatlantic rethinking of our overall approach to the conflict. increased predominance of regional actors and recent steps at ooun security council on a resolution and the palestinian steps towards the icc all point towards a quite messy, if you allow me multilateralization fortunate conflicts. and i think we can not afford to leave the process or rather, the lack of process, with no framework, with no international framework. in light of this, we should work on a possibly large -- which could act as forum for renewed global consensus on the conflict. a sort of laboratory to test international positions that could ultimately find expression
through the u.n. and make the process not only restart but also bring some results. beyond the european neighborhood, let me focus on three final, i promise, priorities for our cooperation. first, transatlantic cooperation on law enforcement and intelligence is essential. that is crucial to safeguard security on both sides of the atlantic and the attacks in paris, i think, are a tragic reminder of the links between external and internal security. we need to share information more. at the same time, our population on both sides of the atlantic, the man that publicly and privately are not undual affected. organic effect of our own response to terrorist and violence must be that of living up to our values of freedom and respect of our citizens and of all this. second, energy security.
we had last december, a eu/u.s. council that was an excellent opportunity to take stock of how far we've come and where we can move forward together. i think we should strengthen transatlantic energy trade by moving buyers to our trade of natural gas and crude oil. this would open markets for u.s. and help european nation face pressure from other suppliers. on lng export restrictions, while lifting these would not immediately address european dependence on russian gas, it would send the right signals to global markets and encourage further investments, both upstream and downstream. by including this distinct chapter on energy and raw materials, we would reduce barriers to trade investments in the energy sector and agree global rules on transport and transit on renewables and on safety.
third and last point, energy should bring us to climate policy. it is essential that the european union and the u.s. partner in order to deliver an effective deal in paris later this year. transatlantic positions have now aligned as they have never ever done in history. our challenge is of transforming this shared sense of purpose into a joint eu/u.s. leadership to take forward a solution that can fit the challenge. there is also a mutual eu/u.s. responsibility to achieve a successful outcome on the post-2015 agenda this year. achieving -- alongside averting dangerous climate change are the defiant challenges of my generation. u.s. leadership in striking an agreement in the eu general
assembly for an ambitious set of targets for post-2015 framework would also send a very strong sign in support of effective multilateralism. and that would also be a sign that we have learned some of our lessons when it comes to the coherence of our choices and our policies. to conclude. at a time of unprecedented uncertainty, our collective joint responsibility is that of trying to take this as an opportunity to finally lead the endless transition that my generation has been living towards a real new global order. at such complex times, i understand it might seem naive even to say so. yet the alternative is not sustainable for all. and the only way in which we can realistically think to achieve this is by working together. transatlantic partnership has already broke a world record as
the longest lasting and strongest partnership in history. our challenge is that of collectively together breaking a new record ensuring that the shift from the actual global disorder to a new global order based on cooperation and partnership will be not only successful but also a peaceful one. thank you very much. >> thank you. i'll go ahead and get started while this lapel pin is being put on. i'll start by saying what a delight it is to be here with martin and -- on foreign policy. and i say that because martin made clear gmf feels a special
relationship because of the fellowship that fedmogherini did in 2011. my co-chair is sit hearing. at every board meeting he would say, what is the impact of what gmf does? sometimes it's hard to measure impact. other times it's very obvious. and it's wonderful to see -- >> go around. the fellowship. >> i was actually saying to one of your colleagues that if you pull up your cv you have a line fellow of the german marshall fund. so, it is something you are very proud of. you've been a wonderful supporter of gmf ever sense. i since. thank you for that. also your words to the transatlantic partnership are not only true in the words you just spoke, but also in the fact that you're here in washington, because, of course you've traveled extensively since stepping into this job, but it has been within europe and the
immediate region. so, this is the first longer trip that you've made. and i think it also shows your commitment and the commitment of the eu to the transatlantic partnership which certainly we at gmf agree is so important. as you said, the increasingly complex world that we live in. and when i think about transatlantic partnership, you referenced the attacks of 9/11. that was one of those moments when transatlantic solidarity was so clear. and then it frayed because of the war in iraq and because americans and europeans ended up drawing the line between protecting security and safeguarding privacy and civil liberties in a different place. so, as i watch the foreign affairs council yesterday, i was very struck by the forward-leaning decisions taken on stepping up counterterrorism cooperation. whether that's sending security
aattaches, whether it's working together to block terrorist financing or whether it is sharing passenger information within the eu. because it reminded me of how hard that's been in europe. i mean that proposal sharing passenger information, has been there for years on the european side, but it's been blocked by the concern particularly in the european parliament that this would infringe on europeans' privacy. and i would love to get a sense from you, having lived the past two weeks in europe after the tragic attacks in paris which i think all americans share the sorrow that parisians, french and all of europe felt, have those events galvanized the european public in a way that there's a greater commonality of the threat? and do you think that will lead the european parliament to
overcome those earlier inhibitionses about privacy concerns and lead the eu to put into place and implement much more significant counterterrorism legislation? >> i think so. i think, yes. what can come out of the dramatic events in paris is actually an opportunity -- because the first lesson you learn when you touch american soil out of a crisis is something positive or an opportunity that can come. that could lead to two things. on one side, a stronger sense of common identity. sharing the same risks, sharing the same difficulties in our societies, because we're talking about eu citizens attacking other eu citizens. so it's not only external, it's very much internal. and i know that's a debate that
has gone on in the u.s. as well about the way in which you relate to the complexity also of your society. we've discussed now about the complexity of the world but our societies are growing more and more complex. so a sense of being together and having to share together not only the fears not only the concerns but also the possible solutions to the problems. and want only on the passenger information, i hope and i think the european parliament will take their decisions in the coming weeks. i was in strasburg last week, spending time in the european parliament, and i felt a different sense of urgency on that. but also on the needs to share more share informations intelligence. we know that is crucial for national states that have their own networks.
but still as we are living in a common space, we should be also responsible together for the security in our common space. and for sharing more the responsibility and the actions to guarantee security inside the european union. this is obviously a debate that is partially done at the foreign minister level. so we discussed about that yesterday. because, obviously, for ministers are also members of cabinet of their respective governments. so, as political figures and as members of governments have also say in the measures that have to be taken also on the security field. but then there are specific issues we need to debate, be at the cultural level, foreign policy level. you mentioned a couple of issues we have raised yesterday, but i would underline that the first thing that's not from only
symbolic point of view but political point of view because symbols are part of the policy is the fact that yesterday we met with the secretary-general of the arab league. to say that we need to work more together. this has an influence on the practical level of security, share informations, share projects on we how we, for instance, work on radicalization of young people, traveling or nontraveling, because one thing that always strikes me is that obviously we see the problem of foreign fighters when they come back but there's also a problem of foreign fighters when they leave european union to go and fight in -- be it syria, iraq or elsewhere. it might not be a problem directly for us, but it's a main problem for the countries where they go and fight.
we should not only take our own point of view, we should take a point of view, from a regional perspective, we should work to prevent this movement and to check that. also from the point of view of creating the right narrative. one of the risks we have after the attacks in paris and the news about the networks, not only in france but also in belgium and other european countries, is the fact that this feeds in a narrative of not only fear but also division in our societies. islam phobia, the image of islam or muslim communities as dangerous parts of our societies. while actually we forget the victims of the paris attack were some of them of arab other begins muslims, and that's our society is complex. this is our strengths also.
as is a strength for america. we share this. we took a little more time to get there, but we are there as well. so, i think we have to get the narrative right. this is crucial for preventing this phenomenon to grow even more in the future. what worries me even more than the process of sharing information and guaranteeing security is the fact that by our narrative and by our decisions and our steps in these coming weeks, we don't feed a sense of clash of civilizations. we need absolutely to prevent that kind of -- because we see what the reaction in the world is coming up to. and i think we have responsibility to try and prevent moves that in 14 years time could give us, again, a situation like this. it's not easy because then this debate leads to also internal discussions in some of these countries about where does the
limit between the freedom, the liberty and the security lies, and the human rights. but i think we have to engage, because this is a difficult debate, but difficult debates are probably the ones that is more important to have, especially in this time, where our people do understand very well that there is no simple solution. there is no magic response that from one day to another can solve problems. and i think this is the positive thing we can get from what is happening. that we are more aware of the fact that we need to work more closely together within europe and with others and that we need to invest in long-term strategy to prevent this sort of phenomenon in the future. >> thank you for that. i will admit to being an eu wonk, so i read the statement
you gave after the foreign affairs council yesterday which i would have done even if you weren't here today -- >> to many europeans. >> and i was very interested when i got to the part on ukraine and russia. and you made a comment -- >> you're not the only one. >> you made a comment about how there was an eu policy paper that was leaked last week, which we also read with interest. you said you're going to be disappointed because there weren't big riffs and there's a consensus that we in the eu are going to stay the course. >> which was in the document that was leaked but didn't make the title. >> it's not nearly as newsworthy. i wanted to ask you two questions about that. one is you know, spell out for us, what does it mean to stay the course when in a sense the situation is always changing. we had the ukrainian prime minister yesterday talking about the 700 regular members of the russian army that were coming across the border into eastern
ukraine. so, there's a deteriorating situation. in the eastern part of ukraine. we see the impact of not so much sanctions but low prices on the economy. it is a situation that is influx. how do we, i mean we in terms of americans and europeans, because i do think we've coordinated policy in a very compelling way over these past months. so what does stay the course mean, a? and, b, you continued on by saying that we maybe need to add some components to our strategy. the comment you made was, it might be useful to add on our side more diplomatic efforts in any format to contribute to solving a crisis. you spoke about that a bit here today. but if you could draw out a bit more of what your thinking there is, that would be great. >> what we need to continue to do and it's reasonably not changing in the future months, is on one side the support of ukraine.
this is part of our response to russia, because the first victory would be for russia, if ukraine becomes -- experience. choosing, for instance, the association agreement with the european union is leading to something negative for the people of ukraine. this is the first duty we have, to make sure that ukraine is a success story from an economic point of view, from a social point of view and that the reforms that people have asked not only in the square one year ago but also with different rounds of elections by now. they elected a president, parliament, a new government. they clearly said we need to change ukrainian way of leading politically our country. this needs to bring positive and tangible results for the people. this is the first effort we have to do. and it's a common effort. european union, u.s. and the
rest of the international community. this is number one. that will not change and -- and i think is not going to change. the european union just decide in 8 billion euros financial assistance to ukraine last week. we hope this can be met by others. obviously, conditional to reforms because we need to see that transferring to benefit for the people. the second thing is the sanctions policy. now, on one side we have always said, and i think we will say that together again and again, our policy of nonrecognition of nonannexation of crimea is there and will stay and we're not forgetting about that. no way. the second element is, we've always decided on sanctions together. that's an added value. not only the european unity, but also the transatlantic unity and i would say the g-7 unity.
on the basis of the situation on the ground, saying sanctions are a flexible instrument that can be scaled up and down if there are improvements or if the situation deteriorates. now after september beginning of september when the minsk agreement was signed we even have a framework over which we can check the progresses. i have to say that out of those points, the only one on which substantial progress has been done, has been made, is the exchange -- all the rest. now, what is our role, i think to keep the fact that our judgment on sanctions, our decision on sanctions, when we will come on the european side to renew the decision when they expire after one year, the different sets of sanction expire from our legal point of view we are more complex rules
also of that. we will have different sets of decisions to take. one is coming up in march. then following the others. will be based only on the evident of the implementation of the minsk agreement and on the of the situation on the ground. this is the principle on which we decided the sanctions. this is going to stay. and the russians know that it will depend on the results. this is not going to change. the only thing we're going to change is our unity. not only internally in europe but also i think across the transatlantic. this is one of our main strengths, i think. because showing divisions or showing the possibility to divide -- i'm from rome. [ speaking foreign language ] is a basic principle for showing weakness. we should not allow that. this means we have to talk a lot. to prepare a lot of our
decisions. to keep our unity, which is difficult. but possible. and has a great value. what i meant when i said we need to -- and i said that on behalf of the 28-member state. again, that's unity. we need to add probably a couple of things. we said already in the last months, both at the foreign minister's level and also at european council, so with the heads of state and government, we said, we have three pillars of our strategy toward the crisis. sanctions support ukraine and the political track, the dialogue. because you put pressure but you need to have a place where you ask something. and that is obviously the solution to the conflict and to crimea. on that level, the european union could do more. engaging in the different format
formats of dialogue. not only with russia but also with ukrainians because the first two actors that have to sit around the table and do sit around the table a lot are obviously poroshenko and president putin, which do speak among themselves. and the minsk agreement was reached thanks to the work that president poroshenko did together with president putin. through the four months that was facilitated also by the european union, by the belarush and the euc. another format normty for mat. two foreministers and the heads of state and government although their respective level. that is another format. that implies also european union in terms of framework. we have discussed that at length yesterday. and there's going to be a new
meeting at foreign minister's level tomorrow night in berlin. this is also another way in which the european union can push for a solution, support the efforts of president poroshenko the efforts to find concrete steps to employment the minsk agreement. the other thing we could work on more, and i know there is a reflection here in washington in these days, is our dialogue with russia on a set of regional or global issues on which cooperation or at least dialogue is needed on the other set of crisis we have being it middle east being it the iranian talks, being it all those things that go through the u.n. security council where russia sits being it big global issues like counterterrorism or climate change. and on that level the communication has never stopped,
being it the communication from washington to monthsscow and also on the european union side. to have more co-herence in that kind of exercise might be an element that could contribute to some sort of diplomatic steps. at the moment, have i to say it's not decisions taken. it's a reflection that is starting at the european union level, as i know it has started here in washington on this. and i think we need that kind of reflection because i've said that publicly and i would repeat it also now. sometimes i'm accused of being naive, but i think i might be. i don't have any kind of expectations about goodwill or a positive behavior but i think
it's -- or it can be equally naive to think russia would just disappear from the scene. russia is going to be our neighbor because you can't change geography. it's going to be ukraineian neighbor georgia's neighbor and some of the european union states' neighbor. so, quet of how do we deal with that neighbor? today when we have a conflict going on and in two year's time five year's time how does that relationship impact on the global relationships that russia has or does not have with other world powers or emergent powers. we have to look at that without being afraid of that because not naming the problem does not solve the problem. we do have a problem and we have to face it. >> i appreciate very much that thoughtful answer. now i want to bring as many people in the room in as possible. what i want to do is let's take three questions at a time just so the high representative can hear from as many of you as
possible. i saw you first. yeah? and then you and then i'll come over here. well, just go ahead and project. >> can you hear me? >> yes. with the ongoing conflict in ukraine, i think this is the best time to ask about the show of separatism, you know, besides ukraine, there are countries like georgia, ukraine as ber zach. my country, 20% of my country is occupied by armenian forces. and as a foreign minister for eu, what would you do to address the specific issue of separatism?
especially given the fact you come from a country that had its own share of separatism? thank you. >> pass the mike to the gentleman behind you. >> washington correspondent for euro politics. >> that's a conflict. >> my question is just a follow-up on a clarification and on your response to karen's question about the passenger name record. did i understand you correctly that you support putting a proposal on passenger name records back on the table because whatever about the parliament's position, the last i understood was the commission withdrew the proposal because there was no support in the parliament, and so the first step would be for the commission to put something back on the table, so i was wondering if you could clarify your position on that. >> and then there was a question here in the middle. then we'll do another round after these three. is there a mike here?
we had a gentleman up here. no, we're going to come to this gentleman right here in the middle. maybe just stand up and project. >> >>. [ inaudible ] and do you have real evidence of russian in ukraine. >> if you couldn't hear that about restoring relations with russia. >> we discussed also the share of trade relations with russia. that is part of the reflection but let me say that this is not only part of the reflection of the european union but also of the eastern partners. at the moment one of the main problems is obviously, the -- not only the sanctions but the countersanctions. so, i think that would be we would need to commonly work on
the framework that is a little bit larger than only bilateral relations. let me also say that the problem might go even beyond the issue of ukraine as there is a set of number of issues with wto that need to be sold in that framework in any case. on pmr, i thought i was clear enough. sorry if i was not. there was not only by myself but also by president last week in strasburg in front of the parliament latvian prime minister taking the presidency, always in front of the european parliament, a very clear appeal to the parliament to vote on the pnr. the director is there and i think as far as i understand and i hear from different political groups that the opposition to that is getting -- let's say, is
diminishing. i would not predict if the parliaments that is obviously auto ton mouse in their decision, we take the decision or not in the coming weeks but i really hope it will -- obviously, we also have to be clear on the fact there's not -- it's not going to be sold immediately and automatically of all the problems but i think that it is very much needed. actually, this is not even something that's came out only from the commission side or from the council side after the attacks in paris, because in december foreign affairs ministers in the conclusions of our work mentioned the need to make an appeal to the european parliaments to proceed on that. the european council did the same in the presence of the european parliament president, martin schultz, that was december. and the commission did the same. so, i believe that there was an
awarngs on that already before the attack in paris, of the urgency of doing that, on the importance of doing that. and i think that's the mood -- at warns, as you said of the importance of sharing information and the especially on the pnr is growing also in the european parliament. i will not comment on italian -- also because it's very different -- it's a very different situation. i lost you. i cannot see you anymore. here you are. sorry. it's a very different situation. i would not at all compare situations. what i would say is that we have instruments in the european union. obviously, we have inside the european union a way of living together that is the full respect of the international recognized borders and our living together is based on the fact that we are a community and respect each other. we have with our instant partners all of them, instruments to hopefully settle
conflicts and improve relations. not only with the european union, but also themselves. one of the basic principles of our partnerships is and should be one of the added values but the increased capacity and possibility to facilitate not only bilateral relations but also bilateral relations among the regions. this has happened fairly well in the balkans, for example where the big added value of the european path has been also an improvement of the relations among countries that were found it quite difficult for historical and even recent political reasons to live together, and look at the balkans now. it's one of the most quiet places in the region. and we would have never said that. that's very much thanks to the fact that we have developed a strong relation through the european union and from the
european union on the regional cooperation. i really hope and believe that this could be an added value also for other regions around us. >> now i'll go with the gentleman in the very back, please. whose mike we took away before. >> thank you very much. madame high commissioner, i'm john gizzy chief political correspondent for "news max." the elephant in the room, so to speak s greece and its selection is this sunday. how seriously does the eu take the talk that certainly the punditocracy lines to bandy about an exit of the euro of the radical left if it takes power and quite possibly greece being out of the european union. >> and then the woman here in the striped shirt. >> hi, thank you. laura with cnn.
my question is going back to the security issue. in the days since the "charlie hebdo" attack we've heard from a number of european officials and u.s. officials that said there needs to be a broodz review of border security, not just within the european union but also between the european union and the united states looking at reciprocity to travel between u.s. and europe without visas. can you see a time in the near future where we could see kind of a step back from those agreements, whether it's an abolishment of shangin or the need to restrict travel for tourist between those two areas? >> no. >> and right here in the second row. bill, yeah. >> bill de rose mcclarty and brookings. i want you to elaborate on the
need for political conflict with russia. for example, what could the west be doing to push it further in terms of syria, iran and, in particular, on syria is there merit in russia's view that we ought to draw in bashar assad into negotiations? >> i will start and also finish with that because one of my basic rules i'm sorry, i'm not too generous in this case, is that i would not comment internal electoral processes a few days before the elections. at least in sign of respect of the oldest democracy we have in the world. but on political cooperation with russia on regional conflicts, and in particular on syria, this is one of the most difficult issues i think, to be tackled. and -- and it's going to stay difficult. i'm not saying that this is
going to be one of the fields where the cooperation -- political cooperation or political dialogue actually, with russia is going to bring us anything good necessarily and and immediately if ever. one point that we have discussed on the european level with foreign ministers, we spent almost the entire foreign affairs council in december focusing on syria and iraq. is the fact that after now almost four years of work and after one year without basically any sort of engagement or developments after montreal we still have a conflict going on. the number of internal displaced people and refugees in the region is dramatic. they spill over into lebanon and iraq that's obvious, and jordan
and the instability on turkey is increasing. and assad is still there. i'm not saying that the solution is to be found in moscow, but what i'm saying is we need to work, first of all, actually across the atlantic and within the european union to find ways of moving that situation toward some sort of solution. i think that the framework of reference still is and has to be the geneva communique. the point is how to get there. this interlinks with sbircht asdifferent aspects, which the only thing that worked partially, but still even in this disaster something partial is positive, was the destruction of the chemical
weapons partially, still important. also because i've seen some friends in the room that know a lot about weapons of mass destruction and nuclear issues that is in that region an important and symbolic step. because that is the region of where the concentration of weapons of mass destruction is critical and highly dangerous. but apart from that we haven't been moving forward on anything. so i think it's far too early to say that there might be cooperation with russia on that. what i'm saying is -- actually not me, what foreign ministers of the european yuan decided on is that we vk to work with the regional people that can have an influence on the syrian conflict. and there's many of them. one of the other issues there is that everybody is playing a
different kind of game on syria. and at the moment things are actually quite blocked. we're going to have other meetings on that in the coming kay days as well. you know, there are efforts that are made in russia to try and move things again. i would not be particularly confident on the fact that this could be a way forward. what i say is that at the moment what we need to try is to create a situation where what we wrote together on the geneva communique gets real, somehow. which is a political solution where assad has no future in this country but leaves. and have tried to find ways on which all regional or international actors that want
to contribute to that in different ways could play a role to get the results. the result is staying the same. the problem is developing the strategy to get there. i elaborated a little bit. i don't know if i answered your questions. there's a little too many journalists in the room. >> you will not be surprised to know there's an impressive showing of our ambassadorial core here. bring the mike to the front row, please. >> i know at least one. >> thank you very much. i'm ambassador of ukraine. first of all we highly appreciate the strong support of the european union and your personal strong support of ukraine. thank you very much. unfortunately this situation has been deteriorating. russia totally ignores the
agreements and with russia -- which are actually as we consider it in ukraine terror structures. so now we do not see -- we don't concede that there are much differences between those mentioned. donetsk people on one side and isis on the other side. and we consider those two structures terror structures designate -- deserve to be designated as terror organizations. can you speak more on that issue? issue? >> and then there was a woman here in the -- yes, please.
>> hi my name is bash la dello. do efforts toward improved global social economic goal sometimes disregard the cultural traditions and long standing values of the nations of our diverse world and does this ever contribute toward global instability and its resulting heart break? >> i have a lot of you on my list but i must give the last question to my cohost who has been trying to get in. >> you can come up here. >> thank you. since you've only had difficult questions to answer i thought i'd just have one more. you've recently been to israel and the palestinian territories. i couldn't help but notice you came up with what appeared to be a functional adjustment. you suggested in your remarks
that the quartet should be expanded. i wonder if you could put the two things together for us. do you see any positive way forward, given the deteriorating, rapidly deteriorating relationships between israel and the palestinians. and why do you think that in lodging the quartet would help that matter? what do you have in mind there? >> any positive way forward, if i didn't believe that there is one, i would have better change job, i guess, not only on this but on everything. it's difficult for me to answer this question from you because i know that you know much more than me in this. we should have a conversation rather than me answering a question. i think that now we have
difficult months ahead and strange months everything that's into that. and i think that question will need to wait couple of months before things might move again. on the other side what i'm mentioning the quartet and why immentioning the enlargement which is an idea at the moment, nothing more than that to be explored. on one side i mentioned it because i think that the efforts and the steps forward that was done by the american administration and we john kerry personally with his strong commitment to that where -- very much. and that now when we will have -- hopefully we'll have again the conditions for restart from that kind of efforts.
we need to make sure that the international community at large is behind the efforts even more than before in a more structured way to support that efforts and bring them to some results. what i'm afraid of is on one side the fact that the lack of process is in itself something that is the situation. you know that better than me. middle east sometimes leads on the processes. but on the other side, i'm also worried about a process that has gone on for so long, if we just restart the process and that's it it might not be enough. the sense of frustration the sense of lack of hope is so strong on both sides. both sides. that we need not only to restart the process but to start a process and make sure that the process bring concrete immediate results for both sides. i was very much impressed when i
was in gaza, because that was just a couple of -- some weeks, a couple of months after the conference on the reconstruction. and the lack of impossibility to work on the construction, there are different reasons. first of all the difficulties within the palestinian camp means that the people that have been living there and are still living there will for sure develop, let's say not positive feelings towards the rest of the world. and on the other side in israel after what happened end of last year feelings are really a sense of desperation. so we need to build this international frame and structure it more to restart the efforts that john kerry was very
well doing last year. and guarantee that. why i'm thinking that a large portion could be helpful is that you remember the arab initiative of 2002. and i believe that we don't only need to tackle the palestinian israeli conflict. we also need to tackle the israel arab conflict. we have two conflicts there. and maybe the original situation that is so serious and so bad at the moment could give an opportunity to work on common security basis in the region between israel and some of the arab countries. you've seen the positive role that egypt has played in gaza to reach a cease-fire.
the positive role that other arab countries are playing in the fight. i refuse to call it -- i refuse to associate the same islam with a terrorist organization. think we also have to use our narrative right. so i believe that it could be an added value to enlarge the scope of the process. and that could also be of some support for the palestinian side. so -- but this is just a thinking process at the moment. it's not this coming weeks the time when i think we could move forward. but maybe start preparing the framework for what could be done in a couple of months time hopefully. i know that john kerry personally is very much committed to restarting the
process when it will be the appropriate time. and we will for sure discuss that also. when it comes to your question first of all thank you for your presence and also for the excellent work that we do together. i was, i was always very pleased not only in any capacity today but also in my previous capacities to work together with you. and i visited kiev three times in the last year, once as a member of parliament once as minister and once as high representative. it was impressive to see the changes, the developments the energy that is there from the people and from the government and from the president. and our support will always be there. not only our i'm sure hear i'm speaking not only in the name of the european rural but the international community.
when it comes that, we've discussed that in the council several times. and we've always come to the conclusion that it is not up to us to make such definitions. what is our role and what i've tried to explain before is to try and support your efforts for reaching a solution to the conflict. i know how much the government and the president is personally committed to find a solution to the conflict. that is first of all in the interest of the people of ukraine which is people in eastern ukraine. and how much of an effort we have to do on the political side but also on the humanitarian side. to make sure that humanitarian aid from kiev gets inside the territories which at the moment is not allowed which i is a shame, i think. so our role from the european union side i think and we think, is not that of defining
the separatists. it's of supporting you in kiev to find a solution to the conflict in whatever way this can be more helpful and effective. thank you. >> i know i speak on behalf of everybody on this room and those who are watching on video in thanking you for spending the afternoon with us. it was really a treat to hear your view on how we can deepen the transatlantic cooperation on the whole range of challenges from climate to the ukraine. i invite all of you to join any the thanking the high representative. [ applause ]
going into the speech. after democrats suffer defeats during the midterm election acting anything but conciliatory and raising doubts about whether the president can or wants to break through partisan gridlock before voters choose his successor. he'll enter the chamber tonight for his sixth state of union more confident as the economy has approved. that again from the washington post. a reminder our coverage of the state of the union begins tonight at l:00 eastern time with reaction from viewers and from members of congress. and the president's state of the union speech itself starts at 9 o'clock. you can share your thoughts on the speech with c-span via facebook and also twitter. and earlier today senate leaders ended their weekly party lunches with remarks in the capitol prior to starting the afternoon session on capitol hill. here are their comments. >> obviously this is a big day here in congress with the president coming up.
it's important to remember it's not unusual to have a divided government. we've had it a lot. most of the time since world war ii. what i hope to hear from the president tonight is an emphasis on things we can agree on things that give us a chance to actually advance the agenda of the american people. i think any president in this situation has a choice. he can sort of act like he's still running for office or he can focus on the things that we have a chance to reach an agreement on. obviously that's what i hope we'll hear tonight is a speech that brings us together and doesn't push us apart. the american people have spoken. they've decided they want both parties to have some lever of power here in congress and i think they expect us to sort out the things we can agree on and start to make some bipartisan
congress. with that, i'll turn to senator portman >> a lot of the runup has been about what divides us either between parties or capitol hill and the administration. so i hope the president is going the talk about what can unite us. i hope he's listening to the results of the 2014 election. it wasn't just about electing a republican majority. it was about the american people saying we want you guys to get together and get some things done. one great opportunity is expanding exports. american workers and farmers are now at a disadvantage because other countries are opening up the markets for their workers and farmers. we're not doing it. the president concluded no trade negotiations in his administration. he's talked about wanting the authority. many of us on the republican side would like to help to give him that authority and give the american people and farmer aebs service providers that authority because that will open up the markets so they can compete on a level playing field with 95% of the consumers who are outside of
our border. let's hope that the president talks about that tonight, this time goes to his caucus, the democrats when and talks about the importance of this to get this economy truly moving where people aren't left behind. it's a great example of what we could do together to help keep the american economy moving forward and ensuring that people aren't left behind. >> hello, everyone. you know, i am really looking forward to hearing the president speak tonight because i believe every elected official got the message loud and clear from your constituents. i know i did from that bras cans and i believe that the american people send a very clear message, and that is that we better work together and we need to get things done. we're trying to do nenow on an energy bill that's up on the floor of the united states senate. but what i think the american
people want, what i want nebraskans want is security. we want national security. we want to make sure that our country is defended and our military has the resources that they need to provide a defense. we want economic security. we want to make sure that our families are taken care of. we want to know that middle class people ask k have a good job. they can provide for their families. they can take care of them. they can save for their kids' college education. they can put a nest egg away for their retirement. they can buy a home. we can do those things. we're ready to move forward and accomplish the tasks that are before us. i've been working with senator on the other side of the aisle on a number of bills. one of those is paid family
leave act that senator angus king and i are working on. it's one of those bills that should be coming up where we can amend it and vote on it. i know we have a pledge from the majority leaders, and you'll see that pledge from the republican conference that we're going to be debating, we're going to be amending, we're going to be voting. in other words we're going to do our job. so i hope that the president will put that message out there too, that he's red do do his job in working with us. >> good afternoon, i'm shelly cap to, the new senator from the state of west virginia. i was talking with my constituents, we were waiting on the plane and we were talking about the excitement of a state of the union address. it's a time for all of us to join together. americans are listening. weave just come off of an election that was a dramatic change. when i explained what the
president, you know, what we're thinking is going to be coming forth, some of the early proposals by the president the guy looks at me and sort of rolls his eyes and goes more gridlock? that's what we're saying and i am saying here no more gridlock. we want to work in a bipartisan way. we've got keystone on the floor of the senate right now with great bipartisan support. i think a way to get west virginia wf back to work is a good transportation bill. that's always been a bipartisan effort and that's a place where a state like west virginia it's transportation day in west virginia. they're looking for us to work together. i hope that the tone that the president strikes today is one of finding common ground, common sense, doable items where we can show that gentleman i saw at the airport and a lot of others across the country that it's not business as usual and that we're ready to create a new day. we want him to join us in
creating that new day of working together and finding common ground. so thank you. >> after a couple of weeks, what reforms do you think might be possible for obamacare that some democrats might be able to get on board with? >> we've made a couple of changes to don frank. we're looking for way to revisit both of those in ways that would make them substantially different from what the majority that they had in mind. we seal have to see as we go forward. i don't expect a lot of bipartisan on the revisitation of obamacare but we're going to do that. people have an opportunity to see how the new majority and the senate feels about that unfortunate piece of legislation. >> on the issue of tone,
president obama has -- some of the warmedover bills that have been sent to him and he's vetoed them and the republicans don't like the five vetoes he's already expressed. is it possible to put tone issues and rhetoric issues aside and still be able to focus on the areas where there's possible agreement? >> that's a question you ought to ask the president. i think ever since the election he's done at least almost without exception, indicated he's not for much of anything the american people voted for last november. but, look, i just say this with all due respect to him. he doesn't set this agenda in the senate. we we're going to do the things that we think will make america a better place. hopefully some of the things we enact he will agree to. we all know we need to do a cyber security bill. two areas where surely we ought to be able to reach an agreement
with the president. looking at the rollout of what he's likely to talk about tonight, speaking of warmed jofr proposals, it all looks like the same old tax and spend that the president has been advocating for the last six years. hopefully that's just rhetoric. he knows we're not likely to pass these kinds of measures. and we'll still look for things that we can actually agree on to try to make some progress here. >> with regard to the proposals that mr. obama rolled out including big tax plans -- the tone of that makes it more difficult to do things -- >> i hope what he would emphasize tonight, rather than another tax increase was tax reform, something i thought we had the potential for some kind of agreement on. we've had a number of discussions privately and actually back and forth publicly about the need to address
comprehensive tax reform. that's not what i gather that he's going to talk about tonight or at least what they've chosen to highlight in advance of tonight. comprehensive tax reform is an area we might be able to make some progress on. but another income redistribution effort and tax increase is not what we had in mind. thanks a lot. tonight president obama's state of the union address starting live with a preview at 8:00 eastern and the speech at 9 o'clock across the c-span network pps joni ernst. congresswoman sheila jackson lee
of texas tweeting tonight's state of the union will lay out a plan for more jobs. and illinois congressman randy says tonight i truly hope to hear a state of the union that reflects a desire to work with congress, not against it. you can leave your remarks as well, twitter.com slash c-span. >> with live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span and the senate on c-span two, here on c-span3 we compliment that coverage by showing you the relevant public hearings. and on weekends it's the home to american history tv with programs that tell our nation's story, the civil war's 150th anniversary, visiting battlefields american argument fact to discover what art facts reveal about american's past, history book shelf the prez kency looking at the policies and legacies of our nations
commanders in chief lectures in history, what top college profes ares so delving into american's past and the new series, real america featuring educational films from the 1930s through the '70s. c-span 3 created by the cable tv industry. watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. orrin hatch announced the committee's agenda today including taxings entitlement reform trade and the national debt. with biels to repeal the employee mandate and tax. from the u.s. chamber of commerce, this is about 45 minutes.
good morning earn. thank you for joining us today for our policy insiders event. the senator is short on time. he's got to hard stop and get out of here at 9:30 to get back into the hill. i'm going to get right into the introduction. we're going to skip q and a because i think the real reason we're here to is hear the senate of the finance committee. senator hatch is in his seventh term as utah senator. he is the most senior republican in the u.s. senate today and he is and remains a long time friend of the american business community. as chairman of the senate finance committee, senator hatch has been ad an advocate of fiscal responsibility through our nation's tax code advocate for expanding trade and expanding american exports and an adds vo kate for reforming and improving our nation's health care system.
this morning the chairman will unveil his agenda. we hope to hear a little more about his plans for comprehensive tax reform, his thoughts on how the committee may address the excitement and health care challenges that continue to confront the nation and what the future made hold on trade agreements. i would and ask and appreciate your leadership recognizing tpa is always a heavy lift. any suggestions you have for what we, the business community might to do help you would be appreciated. i think 2015 is going to prove to be a busier for us. while the senator has many accomplishment, i'll mention one he's certainly pra proud of. he's married to elaine hatch proud parents of six children, 23 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
please join me in offering a warm welcome to senator hatch. [ applause ] >> actually's 15 great grandchildren, and they seem to be popping up all the time. thank you, bruce for that great remark. you do a great job here at the chamber as do all of the people working down here. they work hand' glove with us and help us to understand when we're wrong and help us to understand how to make things right. i'm always honored when i get a chance or opportunity to speak at the u.s. chamber of commerce. everybody here does good work to advance the interest of job creators and to keep everyone informed of the most important issues facing our country. i very much appreciate the advice that everyone here at the chamber have offered to members of congress over the years. it's an exciting time, really,
to be in washington, at least if you're a republican. with the results of the last election voters gave us an opportunity to do some great things for hardworking americans and believe me, we're not going to waste that opportunity. i'm here today speaking at the chairman of the finance committee. legislating on issues that impact the lives and livelihoods of each and every american. we have jurisdiction over the tax code, much of our nation's health care policy. we have jurisdiction over our trade policy and entitlement programs and there's much more. we have some great senators on this committee, on both sides of the aisle. i'm very grateful for the senator majority leader and my colleagues for entrusting me with this opportunity and leadership of this important group of senators. pardon my voice. our country faces a number of significant challenges. for example, excuse me despite some recent upticks, economic growth over the last several
years has lagged behind historic levels. and even though we've seen a decline in the unemployment rate labor force participation is dangerously low. and we know that the -- one of the big reasons for the decline is that people aren't looking for jobs anymore. more and more americans are forced to work in low paying often part-time jobs or leave the workforce all together. we've seen some deficit reduction over the past few yeeshs wur our national debt is currently over $18 trillion. that's trillion with a t, expected only to expand in the coming years. and we have a coming entitlement crisis that threatens to swallow up our government and take the economy down with it. if we're going to right the ship we're going to need a new agenda. an agenda that puts healthy economy and job creation first. an agenda that gives hardworking
taxpayers greater security and independence. an agenda that will put our government on a better and better and more responsible fiscal footing. that's what i'm here to talk about today. as the chairman of the finance committee, i want to do all i can to put our country on a better path and to ensure that all americans have an opportunity to prosper. to get there, i've put together what really is a very ambitious agenda for our committee. and i would like to lay out some of that for you here today. i'm fully aware that for some people, particularly the cynics among us, the word ambitious is just another synonym for unrealistic. to them ki only offer my commitment to work tirelessly and e lenlessly to make every part of this agenda a reality. this isn't the first time i've chaired a committee. and while there are surely some unique challenges to every committee, those who know me can
attest that i can work to get things down. to see what i intend to do, let's talk specifics about what the senate finance committee will be tackleingtackling. tax reform, renew the broken tax code. tax reform is long overdue and i don't think there's a nern this audience who would disagree with that sentiment. comprehensive tax reform is essential if we're going to get our economy moving again. our current tax system is a road block that stands between us and sustained prosperity. i don't believe that reform should be considered optional. it is essential if we're serious about building and maintaining a healthy economy. over the past few years i've laid out seven principles that i believe should guide our tax reform efforts. the first is growth in the economy. growing our economy should be our highest priority as we
undertake tax reform. absent sustained and robust growth our children and grandchildren face a dimmer future. another central principle is fairness. the tax code should treat similarly situated taxpayers similarly. it should not pick winners and losers. a broader tax base with lower tax rates should be the basis of a fairer tax code. simplicity is also a very important principle. every year americans spend more and more on gross domestic product -- really we spend more than the gross domestic product of new zealand, just to comply with the tax code alone. these billions of dollars could be put to better use elsewhere creating more jobs and providing greater financial security for family and individuals. permanence is another principle.
businesses and hardworking taxpayers should be able to plan for the future without wondering whether the tax code is going to change from year to year. our tax code should also promote american competitiveness. that's another one of my principles principles. under the current system, american employees face numerous disadvantages relative to their foreign counter parts. we need to eliminate these impediments a enput our companies on a level playing field in the marketplace. we need to promote savings and investment. right now our tax code discourages people from savings and investing, which hinders financial independence and reduces the quality of life for future generations. that needs to be changed in tax reform. finally, there's the pins. of revenue neutrality. if we're scouring our tax code looking for additional revenue to pay for government spending
with we're not engage in a tax reform. we're just, plain and simple, raising taxes. any attempt to use tax reform is an excuse to raise taxes on businesses or hardworking taxpayers. it's a needless distraction in my opinion. i don't know any reasonable person who would publicly argue that the american people are undertaxed or american businesses are undertaxed. we need to remember that as we work toward reform. as you know because of the taxation of the american businesses, some of them are inverting because of better tax rates in other countries. we have a very mobile moving economy at this point in this country. sadly it doesn't appear that president obama gets it. we've seen reports that in tonight's state of the union address the president plans to call for tax hikes in the name of simplifying the tax code and helping the middle class. and the tax hikes he's proposing would be particularly damaging, undoing tax policies that have
been successful in helping to expand the economy promote savings and create jobs. his proposal would send a bad signal to american businesses and their workers who want us to actually help promote the health of the economy. clearly while president obama may be using language typically associated with tax reform his goals depart in many ways from the principles that i've just set forward. revenue tralty is essential if we're going to react real reforms. i know we can get the president to reverse coarse on this. it would take creative advertising to argue that what the president will lay out tonight will simpfully the tax plan. this appears to be about redis redistribution than about tax reform, which sun fortunate to me. we're going to need real leadership from the white house
not just liberal talking points. if tax reform is ever going to be successful we've got to have that leadership. so with my seven principles in mind, the question becomes, how do we get to reform. i'm sure all of you are aware of the recent steps we've taken on reform in the finance committee. last week we appointed leaders to five tax reform working groups and taxed them with studying various areas of the code to find solutions and offer proposal for reform. this process, i believe, puts us on a pat path where bipartisan tax e reform will be achievable. the five working groups are one, individual income two, business income tax, three, savings and investment four international tax, and five community development and infrastructure. my hope is that the committee members in these five bipartisan working groups will use this opportunity to uncover real tax reform solutions and give us real ideas that will aid us in
true tax reform. and i believe that's just what they'll do. they're all committed to this process and i believe it's going to work. i'll speak once again to the cynics who may be out there doubting the intent of this process. this is not an exercise. this is not theater nor is it just for show. this is a very real undertaking. i don't want to just release the framework or a proposal that doesn't go anywhere. my only goal when it comes to tax reform is to make new law. the purpose of this endeavor with the working groups, is to produce bipartisan tax reform legislation that will be introduced and marked up by the finance committee later this year. i'm sure all of you have your own thoughts on what the final product should look like and i look forward to hearing from you as this process moves forward. in the tax phase we also have to work to fund the highway bill. as you all know the latest iteration of highway funding expires in may.
and whether we address that as a stand alone or as part of tax reform, we're going to work to find a long term funding solution to pay for our highways. i agree with chairman ryan that a gas tax increase is very unlikely. even though the contractors on the highways would readily agree with that. but i believe we can find other solutions. infrastructure, properly defined should not be partisan. it should be something that unites us. and i'm committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a solution on this very important issue. trade. another high priority item on my committee is the advancement of the nation's interest in international trade. this is another area that impacts basically every american. more than 95% of the world's population and 60% of its purchasing power resides outside of the united states. if we want our businesses large
and small to be able to compete on the world stage they need to have access to these foreign markets. there's just no way around it. trade is essential for a vibrant growing economy one that will create more jobs at home and provide greater prosperity and opportunity for businesses and individuals. the u.s. is currently engaged in two of the most ambitious trade negotiations in our nation's history. first is with like minded countries in the asia pacific region, the transpacific partnership or tpp. the other is with our alleys in the european yuan won, the transatlantic trade and investment partnership. my goal is to help ensure that these trade agreements meet high standards and provide the very best opportunities for american workers and businesses who hire them. to do that we need to renew tpa or trade promotion authority. every president since fdr has
sought tpa in their efforts to negotiate and conclude high standard trade agreements and you're not going to get them from these countries unless we pass tpa. i'm amazed that the president hasn't pushed really hard on that after saying he would but never did. there's no question it's -- a lot of questions are raised. in the last century no major trade agreement has been concluded by an amendment and enacted by congress without trade promotion authority. put simply, tpa is essential if these ambitious trade agreements are going to succeed, and they must succeed. some argue that tpa seeds too much authority to the president. i would argue that the opposite is true. the tpa lejs that i introduced last year with the two former chairman dave camp and max baucus actually enhances the
negotiation by giving specific direction to the administration as to what need to deliver to get an agreement through congress. absent the passage of tpa legislation, there is no other way for congress to effectively assert itself and its priorities into the ongoing trade negotiations. and my plan therefore is to move carefully but quickly to mark up a tpa bill. apparently working with ranking member widen and chairman ryan to see if there are improvements that might be made to tpa so we can introduce a bipartisan by cam rale bill in this congress that we can move in short order. i want to thank both of them for working as well as they do together and with me. if president obama can be more forward leaning with members of his party, starting with tonight's state of the union address, i believe we can get this done quickly. that is what i am committed to do. while tpa remains the top trade
priority, there are other important elements of our trade agenda that also deserve to be mentioned. this congress has to move to renew the generalized system of preferences, reauthorize the customance border restriction. and reauthorize the african growth and opportunity act. all of which are important. my plan is to move sooner rather than later on all of these priorities this year as well. health care. i'd like to take a few minutes to talk about health care policy. there's a lot to discuss when it comes to our nation's health care system. of course hanging over every discussion we have is a so-called quote affordable care act, unquote. no one in this room should be surprised to learn that i oppose the affordable care act and think it should be repealed. but i'm also realistic. with president obama in the
white house, we'll never get a full repeal enacted into law while he's president. but that doesn't mean we should do nothing. we may not yet be able to repeal obamacare, we're going to continue to strike away at it piece by piece if we have to. just last week i reintroduced bipartisan legislation. i plan to introduce a bill to repeal the employer mandate, one of obamacare's anti-job provisions. the house of representatives overwhelmingly passed the hire more heroes act, a bipartisan measure that will help veterans find work by exempting them from the employer mandate on small businesses. that passed 100% of those voting on it in the house. we'll definitely take that up in the senate. in fact my plan is that this will be the first bill we mark up in the finance committee. that's the plan of the leadership too. there are other bills in the
pipeline. many of which expose different parts of the affordable care act's negative impact on jobs and the economy including legislation to restore the 40-hour workweek. now i plan on having the finance committee work through these bills so we can send them all to the president's desk and have him trying to explain to the american people why he's right and they're all wrong. but let's be clear. it's not enough for the committee or the entire congress to simply send messages on obamacare. we need to work toward positive solutions of our own. in the last congress i worked with senators burr and coburn to develop a legitimate al tern toif to obamacare. our plan addresses the shortcomings of obamacare head on expanding patient choice, cushingize rising health care costs and market forces into the health care system. in this congress i'm going to work to bring others on board
with our solution. i've reached out to experts and stakeholders for their thoughts and critiques on our plan. and i hope they will continue to offer their guidance as we move forward. it is important that republicans begin to unite behind an alternative to obamacare because as we all know, the supreme court is going to rule on the legitimacy of the obamacare subsidies by the end of june. can they give subsidies to federal established exchanges? and of course the language is unambiguous. i personally believe the court is going to say they can't do that. okay. the supreme court is going to rule on the legitimacy of the obamacare subsidies by the end of june. i expressed my own opinion on that how the court should rule. but i won't speculate on how the decision will turn out on it except express my own personal
opinion. we need to be prepared, because should the court invalidate subsidies, we'd need to mitigate the dshl naj that obamacare will up flick on the health care system. finally, in terms of health care, there are a few must pass item ons the finance committee's agenda. one of these is the children's health insurance program, c.h.i.p. which is set to expire in suspect. we've heard from a number of governors from red states and blue states alike that they want to see this program extended. it's been a marvelous program, worked very well. i'm optimistic that we with work on a bipartisan basis to extend c.h.i.p. in a responsible way. in addition there is medicare sustainable growth rate or sgr. that expires on march 1st. last year i joined five of my colleagues in introducing a bipartisan bill to repeal the
broken formula with an improved payment system. that system rewards quality efficiency and invasion. these efforts are continue. and my goal in the finance committee is to address the sgr challenge once and for all. entitlement reform. while we're on the subject of medicare, i want to talk about the enforcement programs overall. we're facing and unprecedented fiscal crisis in the coming years. if we continue act to shore up our unsustainable entitlement programs. medicare, medicaid and social security. these are out of whack. the stakes here are enormous. these w these programs we're talking about tens of trillions of dollars. now you heard that right. tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities. our nation's permanent fiscal
health, not the mention the economy and the future of the safety net stands in the balance. everyone talks about entitlement reform, but few are willing to do anything about it. and every election our friends on the other side raise that we're trying to destroy social security. nothing could be further from the truth. they just keep keeping the proverbial can oun the road on this issue. we need to act sooner rather than later. in the last congress i proposed five separate bipartisan reforms to our health care reform entitlements and shared them with anyone who would listen. and even some, including the president, would not listen. four of those reforms focused on medicare and included raising the eligibility age, reforming the supplemental insurance system simplifying cost sharing and introducing competitive bidding into the system. the fifth reform dealt with
medicaid by set per capita limits on federal medicaid spending. each of these ideas has, at some time in the kre cent past, enjoyed the support of members of both parties. this is not a republican wish list of terrible things we'd like to do to medicare and medicaid. these are reasonable ideas that i put forward to begin the discussion on entitlement reform. of course we also need to talk about social security a program with $25 trillion, again with a t, in unfunded obligations. the kis ability insurance trust fund in social security is projected to be exhausted sometime around 2016. so there really is an urgency to act. that's not anyone creating a false crisis. it is a fact. and even social security's trustees who include officials from president obama's administration urge action and agree. in fact, in their words, not mine, quote, legislative action
is needed as soon as possible, unquote. ly working to bring forward bipartisan legislation to motivate dialogue and begin to confront social security's financial changes in this congress. and that will require that my friends on the other side, at the very least take up my offer to engage in dialogue. something that thus far they have been willing to do. if we do not face the fact that our entitlement promises are unsustainable and do nothing to place them on a sustainable path then simple budget arithmetic means that our taxes will have to rise. and not just rise but rise significantly over time. of course our income tax system is ill-suited to having ever greater shares of the economy from private hands so inevitable result of failing to confront our unsustainability
entitlements would be a future with more way os the government grabbing resources, such as value added taxes. i believe that a future with all of the above strategy with taxes american is something we must avoid if we strewly value the strength of the american economy. okay. pensions. another priority for me this year will be pension reform. the purpose of pension reform is to help hardworking americans achieve financial independence in retirement. in legislation i introduced in the last congress the employee requirement act called the safe retirement act is designed to do just that. the safe retirement act, which the finance committee will take up in this congress will increase opportunities for americans to save for their retirement and help make sure that their money lasts a lifetime. no small feat in a world with
where people are living longer and longer lives. my bill would do a number of things. for example, it would create a starter 401(k) plan designed for small or startup businesses that are not in a position to contribute to a plan, but still want to help their employees save. it also allows unrelated small employers to pool their assets in a simple 401(k) plan to achieve better investment outcomes lower costs and have easier administration. in addition, the safe retirement act encourages the purchase of fixed annuity contracts for retirement. my legislation also tackles one of the most pressing retirement problems facing the country. the problem of poorly funded state and local defined benefit pension plans which are bankrupting state and local governments. look at illinois. it's the biggest problem they have right now, california. you can name almost all blue states and they're in trouble. some of you may know the urban
institute has established a comprehensive system for evaluating pension plans across the country. it grades various plans using seven separate criteria. i'm glad to say that the safe retirement plan is the only plan in the country to receive a grades under all seven criteria. in other words they gave my plan the highest grade given in the country. i remain convinced that my plan represents the best solution to the growing pension crisis in america. finally, the safe retirement act ensures that hardworking americans will continue to have affordable access to professional investment advice by restoring jud over the ira fiduciary duty rule to the treasury department and requiring treasury to consult with the securities and exchange commission when practicing rules relating to the professional standard of care owed by brokerance investment adviser to ira owners. and it only makes sense to give
treasury the lead. after all the fiduciary duty rule for iras is in the code. i look forward to seeing it enacted into law. i would like to talk about the debt limit. it is another major item that falls under the finance committee's jurisdiction. makes you wonder why i went on this committee to begin with. it is at this point uncertain how the near extension of the debt limit will be processed and what that will entail. but rest assured the finance committee will play a role in whatever outcome is reached. human resources. another area that falls under the finance committee's jurisdiction is that of human resources and welfare. i have a full agenda there as well. the federal government needs to be a better steward of taxpayer
dollars and ensure that it produces outcomes for vulnerable children and families. we should fund what we know works relative to the child and relative to the child welfare system and stop spending scarce taxpayer dollars on what actually hurts children. there are a number of funding streams in the jurisdiction for the senate finance committee that have languished for years without appropriate over sight and evaluate. i'll review programs like the temporary assistance for needy families program and the social services block grant to determine if they are producing positive results. and if not, what we can do about it. during the last congress i worked with senate bennett of the cd to promote effective cost saving interventions. sometimes this is referred to as social impact bonds.
this social delivery offers state and federal governments a viable pathway to innovate promising strategies to achieve results and save taxpayer dollars at the same time. i plan to continue our work in area during the 114th congress. last but certainly not least, you can see. the committee has a tremendous jurisdiction and we have tremendous problems and they are all shaking problems. last, certainly not least i want to talk about over sight. the finance committee has a long tradition of vigorous and effective over sight whether it's dealing with the our administrative agencies in our jurisdiction or in some cases entities in the private sector. i plan to make sure that tradition continues. my goal as chairman will be to be very aggressive but fair in our over sight efforts. for too long agencies under the
committee's jurisdiction have evaded over sight by simply ignoring congressional requests for information. as the saying goes, that is a dog that just won't hunt. the stone walling will come to an end one way or another. for example we need to look very close lit a implementation of the obamacare. from hhs to the irs and cms, we need to see exactly how they are spending tax pay er money and what burdens their actions are places on taxpayers. the administration spent nearly billion dollars on state exchanges that were never implemented. and now the statedss if fail exchanges want the government to spend more to help get thinker federal exchange in working order. we need to know what happened and whether that money will ever be paid back. weapon need to expose management choices that have led to the loss of billions of taxpayer
funds. we'll also need to ensure accountability from the administration on the often opaque programs and actions undertaken at the treasury. the social security administration. and other agencies. these agencies are responsible for tending tens of billions of dollars on administrative costs alone. and for literally trillions of dollars of payments too and tax receipts from hard working american workers and businesses. those responsibilities have for too long been executed in the shadow bureaucracies that exist at treasury and social security. we have a responsibility to all americans to ensure they know how their resources are being utilized and to take decision making out of shadows and into the light of the day. over sight of the administration is one of the most important jobs of my committee and i'm going to make sure our over sight efforts yield results and will improve the way our government functions.
hanging over many of these agenda items is the question of whether congress will use budget reconciliation as a means of getting more high profile items palgsz through both chambers. that's a question that's been raised and particularly with regard toboh6÷ healthcare and tax reform. i know many of you have questions act this. so when it comes to items that full into the jurisdiction of the finance committee my preference is working towards bipartisan solutions. however we should not and cannot take any tool off the table. is stakes are too high. so i'll work with with my colleagues to make sure whatever we do under the finance committee's jurisdiction is effective. as you can see we have a lot on our plate in the first base committee. given the challenges we face and the size of our jurisdiction, that is the way it has to be. but i think it is a good thing. the senate finance committee has
a long road of the effectiveness and the bipartisanship. i've been proud to serve on this committee for that reason. i look forward to working with both republicans and democrats to make this agenda a reality. and i look forward to working with all of you and taking your suggestions and i know you are knot loathe to give them. and a back to what i say about ambition. sam call the ambitious fool hardty or unrealistic. i believe we must be ambitious to solve the problems and help our country prosper. and we must be ambitious if we are going to do good things for the american people. i want to say how much i appreciate work of the u.s. chamber of commerce. i've appreciated their support in my reelections and appreciated their support on so many issues on capitol hill to
i would like to offer a very warm welcome to one and all. we're delighted to have you with us. i very much appreciate you being here with us for this commander's series event where we will hear from admiral cecil d.haney, commander of the u.s. strategic command. he joins a roster that includes martin dempsey, chairman of the chiefs of staff, and the
commander of allied europe. we're delighted to have you with us. we're fortunate that the esteemed assistant washington editor and long-time pentagon correspondent for "the new york times" is with us today, tom, we too are honored to have you with us. the commander series is our longstanding flagship speaker series for senior u.s. and allied military leaders. and i want to thank saab north america for their strong and consistent support of the series. we have more great speakers lined up later in the year, including admiral jonathan greenert, chief of naval operations and general kelly, commander of southern command among others. we hope you can join us for those events, as well. but today we could not be more excited to host admiral haney who is of course the commander of the u.s. strategic command,
where he is the leader, steward, advocate of our nation's strategic capabilities. u.s. strat com encompasses the u.s. control commission, and has responsibility for global strike, global missile defense space operations along with global command control communications, computers, surveillance, and reconnaissance. or as my two sons in the navy would say, c 4 isr. including u.s. cyber com and combatting weapons of mass destruction. since taking command of u.s. strat com in november 2013, the admiral's top priority is maintaining inging deterring and maintaining safety with the allies with the safe, secure effective nuclear force. in a