tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN March 5, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EST
1998 and it proposed a six-point effort to clean up the speed up of the contamination and then in january of last year you sent me a letter that proposed that the department was going to update its contaminated lands survey and then addressed the other recommendations coming out of the 1998 letter. so i'm trying to understand where we are in this timeline. i've been led to believe that the updated list would be finalized by this fall. there were more than 650 sites on the oil list. we haven't received that yet. so the question to you this morning is when might we expect an updated, comprehensive list of the contaminated sites and further to that point, what is the proposal or what is the plan within dol to really facilitate and move forward with speeding up and funding the contamination
for the cleanup on these -- on these native lands. >> senator, i'll have to get back to you on the timing. i'm want exactly sure. i had a broad update from the blm that they are assessing the sites, and i know they have been prioritizing those. some are native conveyances and some are not. they're also in the process of identifying potentially responsible parties that could be responsible for the cleanup. if there is a responsible party, that's where we go first as opposed to the federal treasury. so i will need to get back to you as to when the list will be updated and when we will get back to specifics, if that's okay. >> that is appreciated and we do have language within the current spending authorization that requires the department to report by june of this year about the comprehensive inventory and what the plan is
but i think you sense the priority when you were up in alaska in addition to the legacy which we've had plenty of opportunity to discuss what that plan is and how we're going to be able to clean up that mess caused by the federal government. we in addition, have these native lands that have been conveyed pursuant to angsa and again, just a frustration with a decades-long delay in addressing this. so, please know that this is a priority for me. it's a priority for, i believe, the entire delegation and it's clearly a priority for our native people. one final question for you, then, and this is a question that i am posing at every budget hearing this year, and that relates to the administration's
proposal for antarctic strategy. the implementation plan for the administration under the national strategy for the arctic region has the department of interior designated as the lead agency in five different project area. you are also designated as a supporting agency for numerous other projects. so the question is what funding is included in the president's budget for the five projects that doi is the lead agency as well as for any other projects that the department may be involved with for the arctic region. >> mike and i are scrambling for our notes on this. so, as we take over chairmanship for the arctic counsel which is by the department of state we certainly intend to be at the table with that. i don't think this -- let me see
if i've got the numbers here. okay. senator, rather than trying to run through this because this is very broad, let me get back to you specifically on the arctic council work -- oh here we go. i don't know if this addresses your question. arctic funding only pretty large numbers. $145 million in total. that's about a $3 million increase, but that includes everything we're doing out there. the offshore oil and gas activity, the research activity and the usgs, even park service and bureau of indiana fairs and i don't think that's specific to your question. let me get back to you on the arctic council work and those committees. >> i would appreciate a further breakdown. i had my folks scrub it pretty
carefully and to be honest with you, we didn't -- we weren't able to find much that acknowledges that we do have this stepped-up role and it's not just that we assume the chair of the council. it's leading in the arctic going forward and recognizing that doi, again, is the lead agency in several of these different areas. five of these areas. we're trying to figure out are we doing anything or is it just window dressing? so if you would help me identify that that would be greatly appreciated appreciated. >> it's very much on our radar or the usgs' radar and what we're doing is steering existing resources to focus on the arctic so that we can be prepared when the arctic council happens. i would appreciate that. senator hoeven and senator king. thank you, madam chair. i will say in general i'm very impressed by the level of
specificity you are giving to all our answers because we're covering a broad range of subjects. so i'm going to throw three other ones at you. first of all, the columbia river treaty is hugely important to the pacific northwest. again, i don't know whether mr. connor wants to take that or not, but what can we get from the department of interior about clarifying these interests so that we can move forward on a proposal through the administration. obviously, interior has to weigh in with the white house and this state department and we want to make sure that that's happening so that we can elevate the discussions with canada. secondly, we want to get your thoughts on working with the department of energy on the finalization of the manhattan project implementation you mentioned other park projects
and we wanted to make sure they work closely in planning that park. so we want to see if you can commit to finalizing that by the end of the year and then lastly, my colleague brought up this process of blm coal valuation and wanted to get a sense whether you could commit to your process by the end of the year on that, on the royalty issue. >> okay. great. let me turn to mike on the columbia river treaty and i'll address the other two. >> just very quickly on the columbia river treaty, they endorsed it with modernizing the treaty and we've informed the state department. so when that process and notification to canada, when that's going to occur i'm not quite sure but with the -- with respect to the regional group we have a framework for if modernizing the treat they we'd like to proceed with, with dealing with the services they
provide with respect to flood control and the ecosystem services and the fishery issues that we would like to include in those discussions. >> so you've sent that to state? >> yes we have. >> quickly on the hahnemannn on the manhattan project, we are pushing d.o.e. for its support on this and i know that the national park service will be very, very interested in gauging that and i can't answer whether we'll have it finalized by the end of the year because we have to cobble together resources because it's not currently in the budget request because the budget was done before it came up. so we are working with d.o.e. we'll need their financial support to do this. >> is it last week's hearing about this? >> great did he commit? >> yes, he did. so the park service does engage with local communities. i'll make sure this is on their radar and we'll do our best to
get it done by the end of the year and get it in the next budget cycle so we can move forward. it's an important opportunity. on coal valuation, we just released the draft, i think january 6th. we just extended the comment period to may 8th because it's complicated and we'll have a lot of comments and whether we can get it by the end of the year is questionable because it depends to how many comments we get because we have to respond to all of the comments and we certainly are focused on getting it done while i'm in this chair and while the president is in his chair and it's been very important and we've heard about it from the gao and the oig as you point out and we want to make sure american taxpayers are getting a fair return and the proposal that we've put out there actually streamlines and makes the process more efficient and provides more center owe that end while also providing more certainty that we'll get the return that we should be
getting as american people. so it will depend on the comment, but we are certainly focused on getting this done and just conversing with my colleague here. the end of the year may be tight given the timeframe on the comment period. >> okay. thank you. thank you, madam chair. >> senator hoeven? >> thank you madam chairman. i appreciate both you and the ranking member holding this hearing today and i want to thank the secretary and assistant secretary for being here. first, i want to thank secretary connor for the work you are doing to help facilitate the dakota access pipeline and i want to acknowledge right up front, very important and we appreciate it. i'd like to ask secretary julia about blm in regard to a coal leasing and i was just out in the coal fields and they're
actually moving one of these big drag lines and it's a 10 million pound drag line and they'll put it on carts and move it if you can imagine that. it's just unbelievable. >> while i was out there they showed me a track land that they're in the process of leasing and blm does not own the surface acres and it's 350 mineral acres and blm is indicated to the mining company there that it will take seven to ten years to get an approval for heaven's sakes, that's just totally unrealistic and if in fact that's the case the company will mine right around it and blm doesn't even own the surface acres and they'll mine right around it because the leaseholders will have that squared away probably in a year or less, and that's typically what blm has done, too. and i'm flabbergasted as to what
possibly could be going on here. do you have any idea? >> i don't know that circumstance at all. does the surface acre owner supportive of the mining activity? >> yes. and there's mined land all around there and reclaimed land all around there and the reason it's coming into place is because it's moving the drag line and they're reclaiming land around it and thank you very much, we welcome you on any time to see it, but the reclaimed land is beautiful and it's being hayed and grazed and there's salt all over and now they're moving to the new track and here's 350 achers and blm doesn't each own the acres. it's revenue to the federal government and it's seven to ten years and then it's $250,000 to go through the study to determine if they could lease it out. that's never going to happen and all they're going to do is mine around you and it doesn't make sense at all. >> senator, it's not neslie to
do business on federal public land because of the require ims that we have as a federal language management and it triggers an environmental impact assessment. so i don't -- i will talk to the blm about this specific project and talk about the timeframe they're talking about and the seven to ten years that you referenced and see if there's anything they can do to speed that up but i will say the rules are different doing business on federal lands based on the laws we have to abide by. >> we know neil cornsby and you've been doing it. >> on coal? >> i think they just did a track that was 7,000 acres. >> we'll take a look at it. >> so something is going on. >> okay. >> we know neil and have worked with neil, but something needs to be checked on here. oil lease, we're still working to expedite that process. you're still running 180 to 270
days for approval on blm land versus a few weeks on private and jamie conley out there is fantastic. anything you can do out there to help her help us, this, too. let me just say there is money for the 16 budget to automate the blm application and we have a pilot going in carlsbad new mexico, that i took a look at. we have a pilot going in utah and we'd like to take the learnings from that and apply it and that will help our folks expedite their process. i would say that often times in the 180 to 270 days is time that the permit is back with company providing information we need, but if there is a way with getting that dealt with up front so there isn't the toing and froing i think that would help and along with the money the request that we are able to charge fees to industry not only
for apds and but also for inspections because we can't get out to inspect the 180,000 wells we've had. >> that's the kind of thing that jamie has been working with us and anything you would her to do the pilot project she is creative and does try to do things so i hope some of these dollars and/or programs could be moved her way to help us improve the process. >> this budget lets us roll it out everywhere. >> and she would be a great one to help you do it. >> she would. >> we would like to help you with that. >> the last thing if i can beg the indulgence. when are you coming out with your hydraulic fracturing rules? >> soon. specific date i can't give you but we have gone through our extensive process. we've revised rules and we're just waiting for final clearance. so it will be soon.
>> where you can work with the states i strongly encourage it. we've done that with the tribes and it is working well and so i just would ask for your willingness to work with the states. >> we will do that. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. madam chair -- madam secretary, i just want to associate my comments with that of senator port lann portland on the long-eared bat issue. i think this is a real opportunity for the service to really link closely the remedy with the science. the results of an overly broad structure of regulation as a result of any kind of listing would be i believe catastrophic across the broadly because the habitat is so broad impeach i believe in the dangerous species act and we won't have to undermine public support for it and i think this is a good test case.
secondly you may have ♪issed laying with this. i wasn't texting or tweeting, i was sadly trying to find an app to buy a park pass and when you put in national park pass, it my dismay, you get australia national park pass. you don't get usa park pass, so then i went to the website and found that i can buy a park pass, but i didn't go all of the way through it but just below are the most dreaded words on any website. if you need your pass within ten days or less it is rexcommended that you purchase your pass at the first site you visit or request expedited shipping service for your order. come on. you have to mail the pass out in 2014? >> i hope i'm wrong about that, and if i am i would be delighted to be directed, but if you have to go online, buy the park pass
and somebody mails it to you and not print it, make it printable, again, i hope i'm wrong but the point is say until june 1st, let's have a national park app like starbucks has an app. everybody has an app and you wave your phone at the kiosk on the way to the national park and you get the fees and everybody's happy and it's a good customer experience so how about giving me a commitment that you will get us a national park app remembering that eisenhower retook europe in 11 months. >> point well taken senator king. as a person that did a let of business in electronic commerce i can tell you that and actually requires investments to be able to do what you're suggesting. the park service budget for this year requests significant amount of money overall to improve our
technological support. we are in the process as the president announced a few days about about something called every kid in the park and that is automating a pass for fourth graders and their families to use parks for free. we are working with some wizards in the white house that have come from private industry google specifically and other firms to help us pull that together. >> if there is an opportunity to automate and i will also tell you that it's very -- and having worked at rei, it's very expensive to do automated cross-checks and tying into credit cards and all of those thing, and i think that perhaps an appropriate way forward is to work with private industry and facilitate the sale of those park passes so we did lean into that technology that's there. we are behind in the interior in the use of technology from
automating our oil and gas permits to facilitating visits to the national parks. i do have national park apps on my phone. they aren't provided by the national park service. >> individual parks? >> no. actually mpca has an app that i use that's got the information. >> that's the one i just downloaded. >> it's private. it's a non-profit organization. >> well you get the point. >> i do get the point. >> this is basic customer service and if you need more money tell us if what's in the budget isn't sufficient because i just think this is as i said before, there's money left on the table here and this would pay for itself probably in a year in terms of increased revenues to the department based upon easier access to park passes. >> certainly something we'll look into and i appreciate your point. we are not nearly as automated as we would aspire to be. >> thanks. >> thank you, madam chair.
>> thank you. good hearing lots of different questions. i appreciate what you're saying senator king, about making it easier to access the parks and. >> and given that we have this sentenial coming next year and i've had long conversations with john jarvis about the goal of getting more people into the park, and my response back is well we've got to figure out then how we're going to be dealing with the maintenance issues because i don't want families coming to one of their national parks for the very first time and seeing that it looks shoddy. so we've got some work to do here in terms of how we're going to be dealing with this $13 billion backlog that is out there there. i happen to think that we might be able to get more creative with the lwcf fund instead of purchasing more federal land i
think that we might want to look to that as perhaps a funding opportunity. >> madam secretary i will be submitting a host of other questions for the record as i think other members will, but i just want to put you on alert. i have been to a couple of different events in the past several weeks where large gatherings of hunters come together and the most talked about issue was the filming on public lands whether it's our park service lands, our forest service lands and being able to film and it is clear to me that there is an inconsistency that doesn't help and a real frustration with those who want to be able to show our amazing public lands through capturing videos and photographs and
filming and the requirements that are placed on them. i will conclude my remarks here today with a statement that you just used in response to comment from senator hoeven. you stated it's not easy to do development on federal land, and i think this is where you hear the greatest frustration from those of us who have such great percentages of our states that are federally held and i appreciate that there are differences, and it ought not be next to impossible and in many instances that's seemingly what our issue is. so how we make it easier and better and more fair to do
development on federal land is what we need to get to because as senator hoeven says you're just going to go around your federal lands and then we get no revenue to the treasury, and it just doesn't make sense. so we need to work in that regard. with that, i appreciate, you've given the committee a lot of time and senator cantwell, if you want to give the final word. >> i just want to thank you for this hearing and a lot of members showed up and we had a lot of input across the board. i get your point about federal lands and yes, i'm sure there is a higher percentage in alaska than in warshington state, but in washington state we get revenue from those public lands and that's been a big benefit to us and we definitely want to move forward on trying to think about an energy package and what we can do together to bolster our economies and to work together on policies that can move us
forward. we've had a broad range of things broad forward and certainly appreciate the witnesses in this particular budget proposal. >> thank you. the supreme court yesterday heard oral argument in a lawsuit challenging government subsidies for people who buy insurance on the federal health exchange. on friday the court is releasing audio from the oral argument and you can listen to it friday evening on our companion network c-span at 8:00 p.m. eastern.
right now here on c-span3 comments from kathleen sebelius who was secretary of health and human services when the federal health insurance exchange was set up and then we'll hear from the lawyer who argued before the high court against subsidies for people using the federal health exchange. >> in their absence the federal government was directed to set up an exchange. i met with governors starting with day one and we talked about it and i don't think there was ever a hint that if governors chose not to have their own exchange their citizens wouldn't have subsidy. >> so you would argue this is say matter of semantics. >> i think it is a matter of semantics as established by the state seems to be the hinging language in the plaintiff's case, but there is nothing else in the framework that would suggest this was meant to be a
two-country decision. >> what about your arguments? >> well i thought that again, i read the briefs. i saw the ruling and i mean, i thought the solicitor general did a very good job refuting and every step along the way why this could not have been the intent and particularly the notice provision is very strong. over three years there was never a sense. if you don't do this state, this will be the consequencees. >> you've had these conversations with governors about specifically prior to it. >> no, no, no. i said that we had conversations with governors starting day one. >> right. >> from the time the law was passed. i sat through the congressional testimony and i worked with the five committees and no one ever suggested that only if a state established an exchange would their citizens would be -- >> you say the intent is clear and -- i'm sorry. >> do you feel more confident about this than the mandy case? >> i actually felt pretty
confident about that too. i just think that this congress and this congress that passed a bill intended for a national program. nationally insurance companies have to play by different rules and nationally, citizens are entitled to subsidy and nationally, there is an individual responsibility and it doesn't say whether you have to set up the exchange do these things happen. >> the other pieces would stay in place and the rest will fall back. >> i really have to go. i'm sorry. i really have to go. >> on behalf of the plaintiffs in this case very gratified that the court had a full and candid exchange of viewpoints. i obviously believe our case is very compelling so i'm hopeful and confident that the court will recognize the merits of our statutory interpretation and not let the irs re-write the plain language of the statute. thank you. >> were you concerned about justice kennedy's question?
>> justice kagan and i had a candid exchange of viewpoints. i'm sure at the end of it i persuaded her, but i would remind you that there are nine justices. >> many of the justices talked about reading the law as a whole as pop poseopposed to reading four words. >> as i said approximately four times i very much want them to read the statute as a whole because it dramatically reenforces our point that the clear purpose of the statute was to encourage states to establish their own exchanges which is dramatically undermined and frustrated by the irs rule which provides subsidies regardless of whether the states do that required task. >> how concerned were you about justice kennedy's question about your rating of the law would be the federal government coercing the states into creating exchanges? >> right but after the conversation it became clear in everyone's mind that this
reading would be far lescoersive than the medicaid statute that they just upheld and it would be a greater intrusion on state sovereignty because this would allow the federal government to unilaterally impose the other employers in this state. >> you made different arguments about a year ago when you were here. [ inaudible question ] >> last year we were arguing that affordable care act is not the law of the land and here we're arguing it should be the law of the land and it shouldn't be dramatically altered by a non-elected bureaucracy. >> do you see a contradiction in that? >> i think it's perfectly consistent in both circumstances. i have to accept the court's decision that it's the law of the land and now that it's the law of the land we need to firly interpret it and that's why we
are here to interpret it. >> could this be a death knell to the affordable care act? >> oh, not at all. as was pointed out, you see the popular press and it seems the leaders in congress are well prepared to deal with any transition issues and i assume the states if they don't will have every incentive to go ahead andy kroo create the exchanges but for the irs' -- how do you argue about the subsidy? >> if you argue that there is a compelling policy reason and i'm sure that the elected officials at the state or federal level will listen to that and the court is not prepared or equipped to argue that they make policy. >> what about the issue of notice that states did not clearly feel that they had this absence as they put it to us? >> literally bizarre. >> they had three years and read the statute and the only reason they were confused about it was because the irs pulled a bait
and switch on them. if it hadn't gotten in the way and if they'd implemented the law then the states would have known what the deal was in the statute. it's a little -- it takes a lot of chutzpah to say since we changed the statute and since we caused two-thirds of the states not to have state exchanges and that's an argument in favor of our regulation which is essentially what the government was saying today. >> were you surpriseded by what the argument went today? >> i'm never surprised by vigorous questioning by very well-informed and very articulate justices because that's certainly the norm. >> are you at all concerned about this causing the insurance system to collapse? >> if the theory is that insurance premiums will skyrocket for everybody, that simply confirms my political point. that would mean that not only people are receiving subsidy but people at all income strata would demand that either congress or the states do this,
but the difference is that it would be done through the legislative process rather than the irs hijacking the legislative process. >> thank you very much. >> you can hear the supreme court oral argument on the case on subsidies for americans buying healthcare coverage on the federal insurance exchange friday on c-span at 8:00 p.m. eastern. secretary of state john kerry testified before the house foreign affairs committee last week touching on the ukraine-russia conflict. nuclear negotiations with iran and the use of military force against isis. california congressman ed royce chaired the three-hour hearing. >> today we hear from secretary of state john kerry. the secretary is just off yet another overseas trip dealing with issues that we'll discuss
here today and mr. secretary your dedication is clear to all. secretary kerry comes to present his department's budget request. needless to say, given washington's chronic budget deficit and wasteful spending is intolerable and even good programs may be unsupportable at levels we would want, but we must also appreciate the many serious challenges we as a nation and the department in particular faces worldwide. these challenges seem to grow by the day. iran and north korea are pursuing nuclear weapons. russia is gobbling up neighboring ukraine. we see beheadings, crews picks and emulation by isis. cartoonists and jewish shoppers are targeted and killed on paris streets. indeed, some days it feels as if the world itself is coming off
of its axis. regarding iran, all of us want to see, mr. secretary all of us want to see you get a meaningful, lasting agreement, but the committee, as you know, has real concerns about the direction of these talks. i'm hearing less about dismantlement and more about the permanence of iran's nuclear program that's particularly disturbing when you consider that international inspectors report that iran has still not revealed its past bomb work. this should be treated as a fundamental test of the i ayatollah's intention to uphold any agreement. iran is failing that test. also, it is still illicitly procuring nuclear technology. recently iran was caught testing a new generation of
supersonic centrifuges. to be frank, as this committee reads about us being on the brink of this historic agreement, we have a challenge in terms of congressional buy-in. meanwhile, iran and its proxies are wreaking havoc throughout the region. and in eastern europe, russia's military aggression is matched only by the size of its propaganda. russia is spending more than one-half billion dollars annually to mislead audiences to sew divisions to push conspiracy theories out over rt television, yet the agency charged with leading our response, the broadcasting board of governors is, as your predecessor testified to us dysfunctional. last congress the house passed legislation authored by ranking member elliott angle and me to
fix the bbg, the broadcasting board of governors. we hope to have the administration's active backing as we again push this reform and in the middle east isis is on the march. the administration was tragically slow to react to isis' rise missing the chance to devastate them with air strikes during the first seven month, eight months of isis moving from syria into iraq town by town, taking these cities. air power was not used to devastate these columns out on the open road as it should have been applied. today the kurds are still severely outgunned. our training of the syrian opposition isn't off the ground and arab allies complained they don't have the weapons needed, and while the administration is focused on the fight against isis in iraq today it's still unclear what its plans are for syria tomorrow as the committee
considers the president's request for a military authorization against isis, members need to hear a better articulation of the administration's strategy and see a strong commitment from the commander in chief, as terrorism from islamist terrorist groups spread, the committee knows that that puts more of our diplomats at risk. in the past year the department has had to evacuate staff from two u.s. embassies, libya and yemen. on this note the committee stands ready to assist the department on embassy security. we passed a state department authorization and embassy security bill last congress and look forward to working with you to get our next bill signeded into law and as the department works to finalize its second quadraennial, know that we are ready to assist the department to be more effective and
efficient to meet the demans of the 21st century diplomacy. we have policy differences but these should never compromise the day to day operation of your department and certainly not the safety of its personnel. mr. secretary our nation faces great challenges. through it all, though we must work together to ensure that america maintains its positive and essential role in the world. that is our challenge, and i will now turn to our ranking member, mr. elliott engle of new york for his opening statement. >> thank you mr. chairman, mr. secretary, welcome back. we are fortunate to have you as our top diplomat as we face so many challenges around the world. whether it's violent extremism or nuclear proliferation and health epidemics or climate change, these are challenges that threaten our security and values and that demands robust investment in international affairs. that's yet president has put forward a strong, international affairs budget and that's why
his proposal deserves the support of congress. the president's budget would end sequestration and something long overdue including a 7.7% increase in international affairs spending. why is this increase so important? the kaiser family foundation reported recently that many americans believe we spend much more on foreign assistance than we actually do. here are the facts. international affairs total 1% of our federal budget and foreign aid accounts for less than 8%. with that narrow sliver of the pie, we're keeping americans safe and strengthening ties around the world and promoting american leadership abroad. we're getting a pretty good bang for our buck. still, we can always be more effective, more efficient and more focused and i would like to mention a few of my questions and concerns. let me start with institutional and bureaucratic challenges at the state department and we needed a department that can adapt to evolving foreign policy
and national security issues and we need diplomats to deal with constantly changing demands. are we recruiting the best talent. do our diplomats have the tools and training they need to do their jobs right and i'm curious about how the department will implement before the recommendations and the quadraennial diplomacy and the review. on the response of the ebola outbreak, mr. secretary, i want to applaud you, the state department, usaid and the thoueds of heroic americans who have played such an important role. this crisis has required tremendous resources and our strategy is working. the situation in west africa continues to improve, but we must remain vigilant until the scourge has been eliminated. this crisis underscores the need for global health funding preventing future epidemics requires investment in research, infrastructure and personnel. so i'm disappointed by proposed cuts to global health programs dealing with tuberculosis neglected tropical diseases and
other dangerous illnesses. i would like to find a way to avoid these cuts and keep giving these programs the resources they need. turning to ukraine, i have serious doubts that the minsk agreement will end this crisis. they have not been enough to get ahead of the crisis or deter further russian aggression. the united states is essential to europe's stability and security. decades of investment is on the line. i know dealing with the kremlin is delicate, but we must not allow ukraine to lose more territory or fail economically. in the middle east more than 11 million people have been driven from their homes in syria and more than 200,000 have been killed and this crisis has spilled across borders and it's been sexual assault and exploitation. it's a humanitarian disaster an much more needs to be done by
both the united states and regional partners. this crisis has been fueled by political instability in iraq and syria. the new iraqi prime minister has taken some steps to make the political system more incluesive and we remain far from the point of which sunni, shia and kurds feel like they have a stake in iraq's future. the way forward in syria is less clear, but we know one thing for certain, that country's future should not include assad. as you said mr. secretary, he is a one-man super magnet for terrorism. so while we are going after isis or the islamic state we should not forget that assad must go. he cannot be part of the syria of the future. on that note, i welcome the president's decision to send congress a request for a new authorization to use military force aumf against isis. the president's proposal was a reasonable starting point and this committee will continue our efforts to review the language and the overall strategy to
defeat isis. i look forward to working with you and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure we get this right. briefly on iran i've said many times that my preference is a negotiated solution to the iranian nuclear crisis. however, we're hearing troubling reports on the scale and duration of the program that iran might be allowed as part of a dole. as you've said many times, mr. secretary, no deal is better than a bad deal and so we must ensure that iran has no pathway to a nuclear weapon and that any deal we sign is a good deal. finally, i want to commend the proposed $1.1 million in funding to address root causes on child migration from central america. we need to make sure that the resources are targeted to the most vulnerable communities that the children are coming from the region. finally, getting back to europe and ukraine and russia. i really believe that nato hangs in the balance. i think if putin continues to
push ukraine around and threaten other countries and nato is not a sufficient deterrent we are sort of sending a word to putin that we're really a paper tiger so i wish you would talk about that a little bit because i do believe the future of nato hangs in the balance, four countries give 2% of their budget to defense as is required and that's very very troubling in terms of nato. so i thank you, mr. chairman and i look forward to the secretary's testimony. >> thank you mr. engle. this morning we are pleased to be joined by mr. john kerry the 68th secretary of state and mr. secretary, welcome again here to the committee. without objection the witness's full prepared statement will be made part of the record and the members here each of you will have five calendar days to submit any statements or questions or extraneous material for the record you may wish to submit.
so mr. secretary, if you open for five minutes and then we'll go to the members for their questions. >> well, thank you very much, mr. chairman. congressman engel, ranking member and all of the members of this committee. for respect of your time i will try to summarize my comments and mr. chairman, i hope i can do it in five minutes. there is a lot to talk about and your questions will, needless to say, elicit an enormous amount of dialogue which i really welcome welcome. i can't think of a moment where more is happening and more challenges exist and there's more transformation taking place some of it with great turmoil and a lot of it with enormous opportunity that doesn't get daily discussion. but all of it with big choices
for you, for us. you, representing the american people and all of us in positions of major responsibility at this important time. we rose to the occasion obviously, and we would like to extoll it. we all talk about it and i did as senator and i do as secretary of state, and that is the extraordinary contribution of the greatest generation and what they did to help us and our leaders did, republican and democrat alike who put us on a course to win the battle against tyranny, dictatorship and to win the battle for democracy and human rights and freedom for a lot of people, and no country on the face of this planet has expended as much blood, put as many people on the line, lost as much of our human treasure to
offer other people an opportunity to embrace their future and not tell them what it has to be. it's really a remarkable story and now we find ourselves in a moment where we have to make some similar kinds of choices, frankly. i don't want to overblow it. not trying to, but this is a big moment of transformation where there are literally hundreds of millions of people emerging on this planet, young people. count the numbers of countries where the population is 65% under the age of 30. 60%. 30 and under. 50% under the age of 21. i mean, it's all over the place, and if they live in a place where there's bad governance or corruption or tyranny, in this world where everybody knows how to be in touch with everybody
else all the time, you have a clash of aspirations a clash of possibilities and opportunities and to some degree that's what we're seeing today. that certainly was the beginning of the arab spring which is now being infused with a sectarianism and confusions of religious overtones and other things that make it much more complicated than anything that has preceded this. by the way the cold war was simple compared to this bipolar, pretty straightforward conversations and yeah we had to make big commitments and it wasn't half as complicated in the context of dealing country to country and with tribes with culture and a lot of old history and it's a very different set of choices. in addition, that's complicated by the fact that many other countries today are growing in their economic power, growing in their own sense of independence
and not as willing to just take at face value what a larger g-7 or g-20 country materiel reery tells them or what some particular so that's what we're facing. and i heard the chairman say, you know, we shouldn't compromise the day-to-day operations of the department. but let me say to you, the day-to-day operations of the department are not confined to making an embassy secure. we need to do that. but if that's all we do, folks, we're in trouble. we're not going to be able to protect ourselves adequately against these challenges that we're facing that we'll talk about today. the united states, you know, we get 1% of the entire budget of the united states of america. everything we do abroad within the state department and usaid is within that 1%.
everything. all the businesses we try to help to marry to economic opportunities in the country. all the visas, the consulate work, the diplomacy, the coordination of dhs, fbi, atf, i mean all the efforts that we have to engage in to work with other countries, intelligence organizations, so forth, to help do the diplomacy around that is less than 1%. i guarantee you more than 50% of the history of this era is going to be written out of that 1% and the issues we confront in that 1%. and i ask you to think about that as you contemplate the budgets. because we've been robbing peter to pay paul, and we've been stripping away our ability to help a country deal with those kids who may be ripe for becoming part of isil. we've been diminishing our capacity to be able to have the
kind of impact we ought to be having in this more complicated world. now, i'm not going to go in to all of the detail because i promised i'd summarize. but i believe the united states is leading extraordinarily on the basis of that 1%. we have led on isil, putting to the a coalition for the first time in history that has five arab nations engaged in military activity in another arab country in the region, against, you know, sunni against sunni. i don't want to turn this into that sectarian but it's an important part of what is happening. we are -- we help to lead in the effort to transition in iraq a government that we could work with. part of the problem in iraq was the sectarianism that the former prime minister had embraced, which was dividing his nation, and creating a military that was incompetent. and we saw that in the context of mosul.
so we wanted to make sure that we had a government that really represented people and was going to reform and move in a different direction. and we worked at it and we got it. we have it today. is it perfect? no. but is it moving in the right direction? you bet it is. in afghanistan, we rescued a flawed election, brought together the parties, were able to negotiate to get a unified unity government. which has both of the presidential candidates working together to hold afghanistan and define its future and create -- and negotiate a bsa that defines our future going forward and give afghanistan a chance to make good on the sacrifices of 14 years of our troops and our contributions, and so forth. on ebola, we led that fight. president obama made a brave decision to send 4,000 young american troops there in order to set up the structure so we had a capacity to be able to try to deal with it.
1 million deaths were predicted by last christmas at the time that we did that. and not all the answers were there for questions that were real. but the president sent those people in. we have made the difference, and now there's a huge reduction in the cases, in liberia, sierra leone, guinea, and we're getting not finished, but we're getting to a place where you're not seeing it on the nightly news every day and people aren't living in fear here that they're about to be infected. on aids we're facing the first aids-free generation in history. because of the work that we have done. on the ukraine we've held together europe and the united states and unity to put in place sanctions. the ruble is down 50%. there's been $151 billion of capital flight from russia. there's been a very significant impact on day-to-day life, on food, product availability. the economy is predicted in russia to go in to recession this year. and we are poised yet to do
another round potentially depending on what happens with minsk in these next few days. on iran, we've taken the risk of sitting down. of trying to figure out, is there a diplomatic path to solve this problem? i can't sit here today and tell you i know the answer to that. but i can tell you it's worth trying before you go to more extreme measures that may result in asking young americans yet again to put themselves in harm's way. we are pursuing the two most significant trade agreements of recent memory. the tpp, in asia pacific, and the ttip in europe, both of which represent about 40% of gdp of the world. in order to have a race to the top, not a race to the bottom. if we can achieve that we will be achieving a major new structure with respect to trade rules on a global basis. in africa, we held the african leaders summit, an historic summit with more than 40 african
leaders coming to washington out of which has come a series of events that will help, we hope, to meet our obligation to help transform africa. and finally on climate, there are other things, incidentally. i'm just skimming the surface, some of the most important. i know not everybody here is a believer in taking steps to deal with climate. i regret that. but the science keeps coming in stronger and stronger and stronger. on the front page of today's newspapers, the stories about an alaskan village that will have to be given up because of what is happening with climate change. it is -- there's evidence of it everywhere in the world. and we cut a deal with china, improbable as that was a year ago, the biggest opponent of our efforts has now stood up and joined us because they see the problem and they need to respond to it. so they've agreed to target for
lowering their reliance on fossil fuel and a target for alternative renewable energy by a certain period of time. and we've set targets, and that's encouraged other countries to start to come forward and try to take part in this effort. so i will -- i will adamantly put forward the way in which this administration is leading. i know not everybody agrees with every choice. are there places where we need to do more? yes. we'll talk about those, i'm sure, today. but we need to work together. i'll end by saying that historically, historically that 1% has produced more than its monetary value precisely because your predecessors were willing to let foreign policy debate and
fight become bipartisan, let politics stop at the water's edge, and find what is in the common interests of our country. that's what brings me here today. that's why i'm so privileged to serve as secretary of state at this difficult time, because i believe america is helping to define our way through some very difficult choices, and frankly, and last thing, this is counterintuitive but it's true. our citizens, our world today, is actually, despite isil, despite the visible killings that you see, and how horrific they are, we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to americans and to people in the world than normally less deaths, less violent deaths today, than through the last century. and so even a concept of state
war has changed in many people's minds and we're seeing more now asymmetrical kinds of struggles. i would say to you that i see encouragement when i travel the world. i see people wanting to grow their economies. i see vast new numbers of middle class. people who are traveling. i see unbelievable embrace of new technologies. i see more democracy in places where it was nonexistent or troubled. big changes, sri lanka, and other countries. we can run the list. but i hope you will sense that it is not all doom and gloom that we are looking at. tough issues, yes. but enormous opportunities for transformation if we will do our job and continue to be steady, and put on the table the resources necessary to take advantage of this moment of transformation. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. mr. secretary, you're certainly right, it is not all gloom and
doom. but, the reality for us is that even as we discuss these issues, there are still rallies going on in iran in which the refrain is death to america, death to israel. even as we attempt to engage, and we hope that we get a verifiable agreement. but even as we attempt this we still have the ayatollah, and we still have the cadres that come out and say death to the great satan, death to little satan and that's a reality that we have to face, because sometimes when people communicate those types of threats, they mean it. and i mentioned my concern about the direction of iran talks. and of course we understand we're still negotiating on this. and i understand you've cautioned not to judge a deal we haven't yet seen.
but it's important that the administration know the committee's concerns, as you negotiate. and one thing we do know is that iran has continued to stonewall international inspectors. concerning its past bomb work. and as you've acknowledged, this is a critical part of these negotiations. and it's a fundamental test of iran's commitment. and it's been well over a year, i think, and i've talked to the secretary-general of the iaea you know, i saw press this morning. i don't know if this is correct or not and we could go into closed session at some point to discuss it but the concern of a secret facility. but the concern i have at the moment is what the secretary-general says. and he indicates that he's concerned about signs of military related activities including a -- including iran designing a nuclear payload for a missile.
inspectors in iran, the iaea inspectors have amassed over 1,000 pages which show research, development and testing activities on technologies needed to develop a nuclear weapon. and of the 12 sets of questions that the iaea has been seeking since 2011, iran answered part of one of those, and so i'd like to ask you for a response on the concerns of the part of the eiaea and us, on the committee. >> well, they're legitimate. and the questions have to be answered. and they will be unless -- if they want to have an agreement. >> well, we had 350 members write you expressing deep concern about this lack of cooperation, and of course from our standpoint in -- unless we have a full understanding of iran's program, we're not going to be able to judge a year's breakout time with certainty. that's the conundrum we face
here. and they're withholding that information, and without going into detail again, but, as you know, i have concerns about the fact they were caught with that supersonic centrifuge, testing that, and the whole procurement -- >> let me just say on that centrifuge when you say supersonic. they have some advanced centrifuges that do more than the centrifuge they have today. we're well aware of that. we've been tracking all of that, and really there was a misunderstanding of the language in the interim agreement which did allow current testing. there was a question about whether that had been current. we raised it, and immediately, within 24 hours, it ceased, there was no question, and there's been no further effort on that. in fact, the iaea has signed off that iran has complied with every single component of the interim agreement.
>> and let me -- >> we raise these questions regarding the iaea, mr. chairman, and as i said, they're going to have to be answered. so that's part of the discussion right now. >> there's a piece today in "the new york times." inspectors say iran is evading questions as nuclear talks enter a crucial stage. per my conversations with the iaea i know those concerns are there. i want to just turn to broadcasting reform to discuss that with you because i know in an exchange you had yesterday in the senate you expressed your frustration that our effort to confront russian propaganda is simply nowhere near where it ought to be. it's an area where mr. engel and i also share frustration on that. we know that putin is dominating the essential information battle on the ground. that's not -- that's -- but this isn't just about resources.
it is also about what we can do with an initiative that, for the broadcasting board of governors, to overhaul that institution, and make it effective, myself and mr. engel put that bill in to the senate last year. we were not able to get it up and passed. and the question i wanted to ask was, for your assistance on the senate side, in getting our legislation through this year, so that we can get the reform that this troubled agency needs and get up and running with the type of broadcasting that you and i, i think, want to see to offset what president putin is doing right now. >> all i can say is, mr. chairman, i'm with you 100% on this. i look forward to working with you further. i appreciate your leadership on this issue. you've been champion of reform on the bbg and i am absolutely committed to the reform of the bbg and our next meeting is on
april 29th. i've had long conversations with our undersecretary for public diplomacy, rick stengel, who is very seized with some things we need to try to achieve. now there are two issues here. one is sort of the reform of the bbg and the second is what we ought to be doing on a global basis with respect to the propaganda that's coming out of russia. on the bbg, we've just -- we've had a slight difference with you on the issue of whether or not we are -- whether it's improved to have a situation where you have two boards and two ceos. i think you know i raised that. and also, i think state, given our engagement with it, needs to be part of that process. i'm confident we can find a way to drive this more effectively. the bigger issue is, what is congress prepared to do in terms of putting some resources on the line to help us do this?
i have found, when i have traveled to the baltic region, or to poland, or to bulgaria recently and elsewhere, they're just getting flooded with propaganda. and propaganda is exactly that. it's propaganda. it has the ability to affect the minds of those who hear it if they don't hear alternatives. >> well, mr. secretary, we're on the same page with you. i think your request was $1.3 million to confront russian propaganda in this budget. >> correct. >> we're on the same wavelength, mr. engel and i and the committee with you on this. just, if i could just turn to one other issue that's going to be a topic here of this hearing today. and that is the question that is on our mind in terms of aumf to ensure that the commander in chief has the authority needed to decisively defeat the enemy, and that will be part of our dialogue here with you this morning.
i will turn now to mr. engel for his opening questions. >> thank you mr. chairman. again welcome mr. secretary. mr. secretary, i mentioned to you just before the hearing began my concern about a report, it was in yesterday's "new york times," that says negotiators plan to phase out nuclear limits on iran and essentially, it's saying that we could possibly be -- would accept a fudging so to speak, of how many years iran would be prohibited from these various moves to have nuclear weapon, whether it would be ten years, 15 years, so on and so forth. but it essentially would ease limits on iran's production during the later years of an accord in saying that by doing that it would be an attempt to bridge the differences between the two sides over how long an
agreement should last. can you talk about this? because it's very disturbing. obviously i believe and others believe that the and i know you believe that the longest amount of time preventing iran from gearing up to have a nuclear weapon is preferable. and if we're sort of fudging it, those reports are true, at the end, it's very concerning. you know, no one here, certainly not you, needs to be told about the threat of iran, and that iran having a nuclear weapon would be a game changer. we need to support our ally israel. iran is an existential threat to them. and so when i hear that the end portion of this agreement is sort of nebulous or going to be a little cloudy about it, it's
very disturbing. so i'd like you response to the report in "the new york times." >> absolutely. >> couldn't be a more important topic. i absolutely welcome the chance to talk about it. i regrettably can't talk about it as much as i would love to talk about it because we don't have a deal yet. and so i am not going to go into great lengths and detail here for that reason, and i would caution others not to be running around combatting the deal that hasn't been made. secondly, i will say, mr. ranking member, you just said the language you used was we don't want to see a reduction of these measures that might then permit iran to go build a nuclear weapon.
please understand there is no reduction at any time that permits iran to build a nuclear weapon. iran is forever forbidden from building a nuclear weapon. that is the nature of membership in the nonproliferation treaty, which they are a member of, and that is the nature of certain responsibilities that you accept in the context of verification and transparency. now i'm not going to go in to all of that here today. except to say to you that obviously that's got to be adequate. unlike north korea, which is not a member of the npt, iran has certain obligations that go forever. so don't get lured in to believing that because something might change or be reduced with respect to, you know, some component they're allowed to do or install there countries that live by the npt are permitted to
have a peaceful nuclear program. that means they can produce power for their nation. with a nuclear plant. japan has very intrusive inspection and they enrich and they're engaged in producing fuel and doing their capacity. now iran hasn't already mastered the fuel cycle, folks. they did that a number of years ago. when president george w. bush was president in 2003, the bush administration policy was no enrichment. and they went -- iran went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000 that are installed, and there's claims of some others being out there. which we're going at. so, you know, they've learned how to enrich. by the way, a different administration had an opportunity to stop them or do something and they didn't. so we are where we are today. they know how to do fuel cycle.
and the question is going to be, what restraints can you put on that now in a way that guarantees you that you know they're not going to build a nuclear weapon? we've said there are four pathways to that nuclear weapon. one is through fordau, another is through iraq, another is through natanz, and a fourth is through covert. covert is hard. that's the hardest. so we're now negotiating the methods by which we can show that the four paths are cut off. and that they're not cut off, folks, for two years, three years, four years, five years, they're cut off forever. for as long as they're living up to the npt. and you have to build some process of a knowledge base, and of a system that gets you there over a period of time. that's what we're trying to do. so mr. chairman, i'm not today, i don't want to jeopardize these talks. i don't want to mischaracterize them in any way. they're tough. they're hard. there's some very big issues yet
to be resolved. we are not there. but, we're not going to wade in on a piecemeal basis and we certainly don't think it's everybody knows what it in fact is, if theres an is. >> mr. secretary i want to ask you a final question about ukraine. i believe that the united states should provide ukraine with defensive weapons. i know that germany and france have resisted it. i really think what's happened with ukraine under the 1994, as you well know, budapest memorandum, ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons with assurances from the u.s., the uk, china and russia that they would be protected. that we haven't, in my opinion, lived up to the 1994 budapest memorandum at all and as i said in my opening remark, i think that the credibility of nato is hanging in the balance with
putin bullying all the countries around ukraine. i'm wondering if you can comment on the defensive weapons to ukraine to help them repel putin's aggression? >> well, we've sent a lot of different items to ukraine, actually. over a period of time, we're one of the more significant donors. we've been sending counterbattery radars. we've been sending night vision. we've been sending communications gear. m-wraps. m raps. i mean there's a long list of items that we have sent. and in addition, we've been, let me just run through, we've got tems that we have sent. and in addition, we've been, let me just run through, we've got about 118 million we've given in training and equipment. 52 million including body armor, helmets, advanced radios, explosive ordnance, disposal robots, fir aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for s aid
kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for t aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for s aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for t aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for s aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for t aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for state border guard service, vehicles, up armored suvs, heavy engineering equipment, thermal imaging, monitoring equipment, patrol boats, uniforms, generators, and we've provided training and lot. i think everybody understands that we're not going to be able to do enough under any circumstance that if russia decides to match it, and surpass it, they're going to be able to do it. everybody knows that, including president poroshenko. the debate is whether or not there is some -- some weapons that could be given to them that give them a greater ability to defend themselves in order to prevent the creeping land grabbing that's been taking place, or at least raise the cost. that's a very legitimate discussion.
president obama has not yet made that decision. partly because even yesterday there was a meeting in paris of the russian foreign minister, the ukrainian foreign minister, and the french and german foreign ministers, to measure the implementation of minsk and to see if they can move further, some weapons have been pulled back, troops, some troops have been pulled back. obviously debaltseve was the site of a continued battle. that's a violation. there have been many violations of the minsk cease-fire since then. in the he shalls there now some other effort that may be taking place which would immediately merit a much more significant response, which is -- would immediately
merit a much more significant response, which is teed up and that could be very serious next level of sanctions coupled with the other choices that president may or may not make. >> we go now to the chair of the middle east. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. welcome, mr. secretary. i will ask about iran, cuba, venezuela and palestinians. you testified in the senate yesterday that, quote, the policy is iran will not get a nuclear weapon, end quote. however, last month your deputy testified that the deal being negotiated is meant only to constrain iran's breakout capabilities. so which one is it? constraining or eliminating? and if the deal is to truly prevent iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon why are we allowing iran to enrich, to keep some of their stockpiles and centrifuges. your agreement is based on the assumption that we can verify if iran cheats, but the science board and former cia director
have stated that our capability to detect iran's undeclared or covert nuclear sites is either inadequate or does not exist. so can we catch when iran cheats and when they do cheat, not if but when, what consequences will iran suffer and reports surfaced yesterday as the chairman said of an undeclared enrichment iranian enrichment site. what information can you share about this new site and will this development impact, how will this development impact the negotiations? on cuba, mr. secretary, yesterday in the senate you said, quote, the change that we are making, we believe, assists the united states to be able to promote the democracy and the rights that we want for the people of cuba, end quote. however, a cuban spy who's leading the castro delegation this week said that havana will not accept a u.s. embassy that will assist cuba's civil society, and said that, quote,
change in cuba isn't negotiable, end quote. now the regime has arrested over 300 opposition members in just the last two weeks. one of them was only three weeks ago sitting in your chair testifying before our committee on the gross human rights abuses going on in cuba today. she returned to cuba on a saturday. she was arrested sunday. yet the u.s.-castro talks are still scheduled to go on on friday here at the state department. but the u.s. didn't even get one cosmetic commitment to democratic reform from the castro regime and the regime keeps demanding more from us. give back get blow. pay us billions of dollars from the losses we suffered from the embargo. utterly ridiculous. and just yesterday, mr. secretary, raul castro bestowed medals on those whom your
administration pardoned, including her rar doe hernandez who was responsible for ilg u.s. citizens on the very anniversary of the killing of our citizens castro gave a medal to his killer, a killer who was pardoned by this administration. of all the bad deals that we have seen bergdahl et cetera isn't this cuba deal the weakest one yet? and on venezuela, mr. secretary, yesterday, just a few days ago a 14-year-old child was killed by police thugs, actually just yesterday, 14 years old. he was shot in the head during a peaceful protest. we in congress passed a sanctions law to punish such acts, but you have not fully implemented our law. states decision to deny some visas to some people is only a small slap on the wrist. people are dying in venezuela and all we're hearing are excuses. enough is enough, why have you not fully implemented every one
of the sanctions laws that we passed against human rights violators in venezuela? how many more peaceful demonstrators must die before you sanction them. and lastly on the palestinians, our courts just a few days ago ordered the palestinian authority and the plo to pay for terror and yet the p.a. has hired a d.c. lobbying firm. we all know that money is fungible, so isn't our money to the palestinians actually paying for their court order terror penalties and their lobbying efforts here in congress? >> well, let me answer the last two very quickly and i'll talk about the others. the answer is no, that money is not paying for it. in fact that money is not flowing right now because of the icc and what is going on. and the p.a. is nearly bankrupt at this moment. it is in nobody's interest,
madame chair, for this to -- for the p.a. to fall apart. >> and on cuba? >> so we don't want that to happen. i'll come to cuba in a minute. on the 14-year-old venezuelaen, that is horrendous. venezuela keeps moving in the wrong direction and making the wrong choices. and the answer is the sanctions are being implemented right now as fast as possible. we're working with the national security council. we're working with the department of treasury and other agencies to implement the provisions of the law as rapidly as we can. so we have no disagreement whatsoever on the egregious behavior, the repression of people, the arrests, the false accusations against us that are emanating out of venezuela. we invite frequently president midoro to realize that there is a complete alternative set of options available to him.
we hope he will take them. >> but he can commit these acts because nothing happens. we really aren't implementing the sanctions. >> the law is being implemented. it is being implemented. everybody thinks you slap them on day one. there's a very specific set of requirements in the law for what you have to do to prepare -- >> but the killer of this 14-year-old, we know who did it. why don't we just -- why didn't we sanction them yesterday? we have the video. >> we're going to have to keep moving. i'm just going to suggest -- >> cuba, don't measure it by where it is today. measure it by what begins to happen as this process of normalization takes place and we have an opportunity to be able to press those issues and shed more light on them and create the change we hope will take place. and i can go on at some length about that. but i want to get to the other things you mentioned very quickly. on iran, there's no equivalent
between what secretary blinken was talking about with respect to preventing them from getting a weapon and the question of what happens with respect to their compliance with respect to their nuclear program. if you have a year of breakout time, by the way, everybody, i think it's a publicly known number that has been bandied around in the press that prior to our joint agreement, the breakout time was about two months, maybe three, max. but somewhere around two months. we have already extended that. and our effort is to get a period of time, i'm not going to say how long, but a period of time during which they have to live by a one-year breakout. now one year breakout does not mean time it takes to get a
bomb. one year breakout is time it takes to get enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon which they haven't yet designed or been able to test or put or a warhead or explode or anything. so that's many more years it takes to get there. we don't lose one option that we have today, not one option during that period of time. slap back on the sanctions, make them worse than they are today or, of course if you have to, you always have a military option. . we don't take away any option. we expand the period of time during which we can determine what's going on. israel is safer today with the added time we have given and the stoppage of the advances in the iranian nuclear program than they were before we got that agreement which, by the way the prime minister opposed. he was wrong. and today he's saying, oh, we
should extend that interim agreement. >> will you share the agreement with netanyahu? >> of course. of course. i think even today, our department is on the phone to the national security advisor. we're having calls. >> mr. secretary, i'm going to make a suggestion to the members here. members, if you use the five minutes to ask your questions, we're just going to go on to the next member. and we'll do the response in writing. we're going to go right now to mr. brad sherman of california. >> i have a lot of questions for which i'd just like a response in writing and i'll end with one i'd like an oral response. >> i had hoped to encourage dialogue. >> it had the opposite effect, mr. chairman. >> i'm responding to the chairman's policies. >> i'm happy to listen to an hour worth of questions and not respond. >> i want to commend you for the action regarding ebola and want to be one of the first to commend you for the
administration's approach to iraq and syria. . we kept chemical weapons out of the area. otherwise they would be in isis' hands and we repelled the tax on the haditha dam, mosul dam and baghdad, all without u.s. combat casualties. a lot of people throw out other ideas. maybe they would have made things better and things would have been worse. than any other strategy could have. as to the partnership, you say it shouldn't be a race to the bottom. but vietnam is 30 cents an hour. that is the bottom. and we're told that we're going to get free access to the markets of vietnam, but they don't have freedom and they don't have markets. they were told there's going to
be labor rights for vietnamese workers. they don't dare assert them because the human rights situation is such that they risk their own lives. so i hope that -- i mean 30 cents an hour is the bottom and that's what we're racing to. also as to china and this transpacific agreement with the rules of origin in our other agreements, goods that are 50%, 60 where is 80% made in china can then go to another country, get slapped with a tag and come into the united states duty-free. the chairman raised the broadcasting board of governors issue. i just want to raise one small part of that. that is how important it is that we broadcast in the sin language. this committee has voted to spend $1.5 million a year to do that. there's no population more important to world stability than that of pakistan.
there's no place where there's crazy ideas than pakistan. if you're trying to reach a population, you can't just do it inner erdu. as senator kerry, you championed recognition of the genocide. we now are about to have the 100th anniversary. and i would hope you'd show the courage that you are personally known for and on april 24th use the word genocide to describe what happened 100 years ago. in your earlier testimony you said that iran is not permitted to have a nuclear weapon ever because they are members of the npt, unlike north korea. north korea was a member of the npt. they withdrew in 2003 and i'd hope you'd clarify for the record that north korea is not entitled to have a nuclear weapon and that iran does not become permitted to have a nuclear weapon should they at
some future time decide to withdraw from the npt. i hope that you would furnish for the record a statement that our position is once you're in the npt, you cannot get out. otherwise, every country is just one letter away from being permitted to develop nuclear weapons. you've talked about one year to breakout. but i'm concerned about one year to sneak out. the mek sometimes gives us accurate information. they are the ones that told the world about the iranian nuclear program. they now say that there's a secret facility. at one approach is what i'd like to know is, are you willing to accept an agreement in which they don't have the right to go anywhere on short notice to look at undeclared or potentially undeclared or credibly believed to be undeclared nuclear sites.
have had a sense of both hope and skepticism when negotiations regarding iran's nuclear program was initiated. there have been many stops and starts since that time. my constituency has expressed strong concern about the prospects of an agreement with iran. the current multilateral negotiations are no exception. today we are at the deadline set under the joint plan of action. so my question simply is, and i want to ask three questions and be quiet so i can answer them all. should my constituents that are so concerning, concerned and emotional for them because they are concerned about the threat to israel. and about iran having a nuclear weapon. so should there be hopeful or skeptical at this point in the current negotiations, and what would you consider a comprehensive agreement knowing that we're not there, if we can't do that, or how does the administration's budget support that end?
that's on iran. quickly, i went to asia just last week. i visited singapore, malaysia and japan. clearly there being on the ground was very helpful. we look at tpp, for example, just on an economic side. as i talked to some of those countries, they were looking at how important it was for us to have a presence in the region. from a geopolitical aspect. so how important is tpp with revs reference to geopolitically, on top of the economics. and maybe talking about capacity building in iran. let me keep quiet and give you a few minutes i have. i wanted to know whether we had any other tools. >> can you clarify the second part of the question which is how do we support that end? regardingy your constituents. what was the -- >> the question is i wanted to know whether or not with my constituents who are skeptical.
>> i think it's fair to be skeptical until you see the agreement. and it's important to be hopeful. and that's the way i would put it. i'm not sitting here expressing confidence. i'm expressing hope. i think we are better off with a viable, acceptable, good, diplomatic agreement than with the other choices. but it remains to see whether or not we can get that kind of agreement. i think it's healthy to approach something with certain amount of skepticism until proven otherwise. but i wouldn't be damning it on the skepticism. i would wait and be hopeful and see what we can produce. remember how many people, i can remember sitting here, and i won't go into who said what, but
there were plenty of folks in this committee saying you're giving away the store, this can't work, they won't live up to it, it's a terrible agreement. i sat and listened to all of that. i said the proof is in the pudding. guess what, folks. they have lived up to every single piece of it. the 20% enriched uranium has been taken down to zero. fuel has been shipped out, stockpile is lowered, they have given us access to the storage sites of centrifuges, they have given us access to the milling, of uranium, the mining. we've had -- they've stopped iraq. they didn't do any further work on it. everything they said so in effect, they agreed to roll back their program, and they rolled it back. so we're beginning now with a frankly baseline of a year of measurement. and you can't just dismiss that and throw it out the window. so i think that's cause for hope.
that's all i'd say at this point in time about it. on tpp, of course there's a geopolitical component to this. if the rules of doing business are written by people who don't adhere to our standards of doing business, that's a race to the bottom. and if we're not helping to bring countries together to create an understanding of how we're going to treat each other in business of what kind of access we have of non-tariff barriers of being eliminated, of fair trade in certain products. so forth. if there aren't rules that raise the standards, we're in trouble. i'll tell you right now, labor standards, environment standards, business standards are all going to be written into this agreement in ways that they haven't been previously.
and in a place like vietnam, i know vietnam pretty well because i was involved in the effort to open up -- to end the embargo with george h.w. bush, and then ultimately the normalization. i have seen the transformation that's taken place. people are living a higher standard of living. people have the right to strike. they do strike. there are labor rights. it's not as uniform as in the united states, but a huge transformation is taking place. and there's no question in my mind that being able to implement this will be a game changer for people's attitudes and possibilities as we go forward in the future. and china has actually said to us could we join this ultimately? and we have said, of course, you can, if you're prepared to adopt the standards. so this is geo strategic. it is vital to america's presence in the region and i
urge everybody to think of it in that context. that's part of the reason why tpa is so important. >> we're going now to the chairman of the subcommittee on europe and emerging threats. senator day no rohrabacher from california. >> thank you, mr. secretary, and although we asked pointed questions, we wish you the best of luck and are very proud of the hard work that you're doing, even though we may have some disagreements with specific policy. it seems to me about the opening statement when you talked about how complicated the world is right now compared to the greatest generation. i believe the difference was was not that the world wasn't so complicated. but the greatest generation knew how to set priorities. reagan exemplified that in the cold war when he said what's your goal with the soviet union who is our primary enemy at that time. he said, we win, they lose.
and he knew that that was his number one goal. and by the end of his administration, we had eliminated the cold war without a direct confrontation -- military confrontation with what we had been at war with in the cold war. i think that today we should set the priority, which is who is our primary enemy. who is the primary threat to the well being and security of our people. i think that we have to come to the realization that it is radical islam is the primary threat to our safety. i know our president has a little bit of difficulty saying those words together. radical islamic terrorism, but i have no problem saying it. and that is the primary enemy for the security of our people. and that includes, by the way, the regime in iran. just right off the bat, when you mentioned that the mullahs had actually went ahead and they have actually moved forward and
accomplished the agreements that they had pledged to do about nuclear weapons, did the mullah regime tell us about the existence of this new tell us about the existence of this new nuclear facility that our friends in the mek who we're permitted to sit out in the middle of the desert did we know about that nuclear facility? >> what you're saying it's a nuclear facility. that is yet to be determined, but we know about the facility, yes. >> so had they disclosed that facility to us? >> it has not been revealed yet as a nuclear facility. it is a facility that we are aware of, which is on a list of facilities we have. i'm not going to go into greater detail, but these things are going to have to be resolved as we go forward. >> let me note that most of us
who have been somewhat upset because, again, the administration seems unable to prioritize the helping of our major friends. to me, a major friend is who is the greatest enemy of our enemy who can help bring down our enemy the most. for example, we have left, and again this leads to a question, we have left the most heroic person in this effort, the heroic individual who helped us bring to justice osama bin laden and osama bin laden, the man who helped plan the murder, the slaughter of 3,000 americans on 9/11, yet the man who helped us bring him to justice has been sitting in a dungeon in pakistan and what do we get? i mentioned this to you last year. he's been sitting there the whole year. and yet the administration is still planning to give more than. $500 million in aid to the government that is basically u
committed the ultimate hostile act by putting him in jail. are we going to hold back any of that $500 million until they let the doctor go? >> are we going to withhold of that until they let the doctor go? what message does that give to our friends if we let him sit in that prison -- this is a message to the kurds and everybody else. we're not going to help you. you may put yourselves on the line for us, but we're going to let you die a lingering death rather than make some tough choices. >> we're not doing that, congressman. we're actually -- and i respect and appreciate your passion and concern for the doctor, which i share. i have raised this formally with their president and now with prime minister sharif. we have raised it at the highest levels. we believe his incarceration is
both unjust, unwarranted, unfair, counterproductive to our efforts. and we have made that case. we believe the best way to try to solve this problem is to do this through the diplomatic channels, through regular communication, direct and high level engagement, which has a chance of being successful. >> that's where we disagree, mr. secretary. i don't think you have been successful. the kurds, we have -- placate the people who are not in iraq at the expense of the kurds. we want to put them secondary and make sure they are put down in a subservient role to baghdad. this whole idea we can't prioritize and stand behind our friends is a problem.
this is a strategic error on the part of the administration. >> nobody is condoning or allowing anybody to be put down. we fought very hard for the arming, which is taking place, of the peshmerga and the kurds. we're elevating the capacity -- >> when you were here last year, we asked you about could we give weapons directly to the kurds? are we doing that now? are we still saying it has to be through baghdad? >> some things have gone directly, some have gone through baghdad. that's appropriate and it's working. baghdad has seen to it that they are getting what they need and have worked effectively in coordination with them. that's one of the virtues of what the prime minister is bringing to the table right now. i want to go back to your original comment, which i think merits a moment, mr. chairman. when you say you disagree that there wasn't a greater simplicity o to the choices of
world war ii, i'm not diminishing it. i'm one of the greatest admirers of the world, i'm in awe of what they did. i've been to the beaches of normandy, i don't know, 15, o 20 times. to me it's religious ground. it's an amazing place. and everything that went on in that war is stunning in terms of the coordination of global effort to defeat tyranny and dictatorship. but i'm telling you, in terms of a choice, it was communism, fascism and tyranny versus democracy, freedom and liberty. >> but it wasn't. we sided with the soviet union because we knew they were less priority. the nazis and the -- >> because they were going to help us defeat that particular -- >> we understand both points. >> what you have today, what's
been released as a result of the fall of the berlin wall and all of the things that have happened with the arab spring, you have complications of tribes all over the place with different agenda. you have sunni versus shia, arab versus persian, you have culture and middle east and religion, a host of things and different agenda by different countries that are part of different efforts. for instance, the deal with isil is split on whether or not there ought to be a focus on assad. that's a complication. you begin to do one thing, you lose some. you do the other, you lose others. how do you hold them together? that was not the problem with respect to the challenge of whether or not you had to beat the folks in the pacific and win in europe at the same time in world war ii. so there is a a huge difference in how states are behaving today and in what their economic power
is and what choices they have. >> we go now to the ranking member of the subcommittee on western hemisphere. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, one of the things that i read was that the largest democracy in the western hemisphere encouraged us to get rid of our embargo with cuba, that it would help the relationship. i'm just wondering why some of these countries are not speaking up against the abuses that go on in cuba and in venezuela. somebody pointed o out before that a 14-year-old boy was shot yesterday. places like brazil, how come they don't say anything about the human right abuses? if they encouraged us, it seems like we were left alone. and i just think they are fearful of cuba stirring up the university students in some of these countries. >> i don't know if that's the
reason they don't do it, but. i don't disagree with you. not only in this hemisphere i think there are a lot of countries in europe and elsewhere that have been willing to do business without any kind of voice of accountability for those kinds of abuses. i think one of the things that will happen with our diplomatic presence, frankly, is an ability to help mobilize that. and we ought to. we're not going to turn our backs. one notion of what is important with respect to human rights, democracy, change, so forth and we have made that clear. >> we could go on, but i have a couple other questions. >> i'm sure you could. >> that's what i'm here for. colombia, i have a great deal of their population in my district. some are concerned about our decision of sending to participate in this treaty.
they feel that if things don't turn out well, they have somebody to blame, which has always been the ugly american, which is us. i know that he asked, but i was just wondering what do we really get out of this other than if it doesn't go well and the people turn down this pact, we're going to end up being the bad guys. >> let me tell you why i don't think we will, but it's a good point and it's an appropriate question to ask because under the wrong circumstances, it's possible that could happen. we are not at the table. we are not a negotiating partner in this. >> but the impression out there seems we send this over -- >> we are doing this in order to help facilitate if it is
possible because they believe that the united states could be very helpful as a friend and a partner because we have existing assistance programs to colombia that are helping to lay the groundwork for the implementation of a possible peace agreement and we have been so committed through the years. you all, certainly those of you in the top here, were deeply involved in helping to do this in the 1990s. we put a billion bucks on the line. we became deeply engaged and together with the leadership of colombians, a country that was near failed certainly failing turned itself around to become one of our most important trade partners and allies in. the region. >> they were pretty much outcast because they were dealing so much with us. and that's