tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 23, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT
approximately 60,000 individuals that will apply for this in nevada and we're well over a year into our implementation and we've met barely half of that, i would encourage continued outreach with the community groups. if it's requested at this point in time, to provide information to these individuals because again, we can say you know, based on 14 months of experience, we've nod had any negative activity associated to individuals having a driver's authorization card and i can't think of a better group to come out and speak to others to encourage them to also be compliant by obtaining the driver's authorization card, so, again, that's all a matter of resources and time that it takes to do that. but i think that would be something that maybe the community groups should consider. is to go out and start reeducating individuals and get people to have a card to sit on the panel to talk to others and say, you don't have anything to be afraid of. >> we are nearing our time, so i
wanted to give a final call to the room for questions and also, the panelists if you have questions for one another. >> i know that delaware worked with insurance companies as part of this process and i was wondering if california and nevada did similar work and you know, was that important. >> well, for nevada, we did reach out to the insurance industry and they were part of the hearing process during the legislation was being heard. and they didn't have a position on it one way or another. although part of our angel cyst included the fact there was a potential for insurance premiums to be sold to these rids. however, it is not a requirement in nevada to have insurance to have a license. it's only a requirement if you register a vehicle. so, again, depending on what the individual wants to use the driver's authorization card for, it doesn't necessarily equate them directly into the selling of an insurance policy, but they were part of the discussions.
>> specifically, my boss was very interested in helping people get that insurance. we knew that there were some insurance companies that were already providing insurance to come individuals that did not have a driver's license. but usually, it was very costly. we worked very closely with the insurance commissioner, dave jones, in california, whein statute, we have a low income affordable insurance program. that is within the department of insurance the same year we were working to pass the working to pass the driver's license, we worked worked provide this, to clarify people had better access to the program in california, our office did not specifically work with private companies, but during the engagement process
for this program, it gave us an opportunity to educate people about the new law. >> i'd like to ask each panel ist a final question. that's really in our role here as a convener and policy institute, putting this information in front of policymakers as you're considering whether and how to approach these laws in your jurisdictio jurisdictions. michelle, what's your biggest piece of advice and lessons learned, the most important take away from your work in this process. >> from the conversation today and i've learned so much, thank you so much, i think the biggest take away for me was that, as they're craft iing their legislation, sorry if i took away your thunder, not when it's time for implementation because there's so much mutual learning that needs to take place there.
>> during the debate, engage the federal government, understand understand the process, the dmv with immigration enforcement, homeland security. that process is very important. if your state decides to proceed with a marked card, that is a process of trial an error sometimes, where homeland security may approve or reject your card and the and you have to come back to the drawing board, so understand the process between the dmv and federal government, so that as ledge islators, you can better navigate that process. >> early engagement is key. obviously, we are engaged early, but even having been engaged earlier, things on the other
side during implication, we're like, wow, we should have looked into that further. one being we should reach out to the consulates earlier. not really thinking of them as a resource to have their finger on the undocumented community. that would have been helpful in our planning. we really don't know. all the different planning. pulling from as many different resources as possible, but just having that large stakeholder group early on was very beneficial to us in the planning. hopefully, we'll see that pay off here in a couple of months. >> i would say based on lessons learned from nevada, scott's right. you cannot overcommunicate this enough. i think it's very, very important to identify who your stakeholders are up front. again, i think you've got enough states that have implemented this now, to reach out to them based on even michelle's research. all this takes because it truly is a huge undertaking for a state to implement this because
there are so many stakeholders involved from your law enforcement to the foreign officials to your legislators to your staff. i just can't emphasize enough your need to communicate that openly and clearly with everybody who needs to be involved in this process. >> so, i like things in threes, communication, constant engagement and of course relevant to us, more research, so, thank you all for coming and please join me in thanking our panelists. i'd also like to quickly thank everything at pugh is a team effort, communications, team anya mallkov and my own team immigration, the states and kairy na klein, who's really spearheaded this this afternoon. enjoy your afternoon.
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testifying before the house select committee on benghazi. >> there was no credible actionable threat known to our intelligence community against our compound. our hearing coverage will air in its entirety saturday and sunday at noon eastern on cspan. public opinion and transparency as well as the environment. this is about 45 minutes. good afternoon. welcome to our session number four dealing with domestic policy and trade policy. we have very qualified panelists, who i will introduce, still not on?
that's better? >> there you go. >> okay. thanks, i couldn't hear myself back at all. thank you. introducing alphabetically, ted alden, senior fellow at the council on foreign relations, began as a journalist, with the vancouver sun, financial times. most important were the several years he spent early mid '90s inside the u.s. trade where he was the managing editor, this was not at a time when it was a weekly publication and you know, you had to read it on friday when it came out. jim colby is best known for his work in congress, although he's now doing really good work at the german marshall fund. for those not familiar with the u.s. congressal system, you should be aware that jim spent most of his years there as an appropriateuater, so his job was
to allocate money effectively to various government agencies. it can be fun and get a certain amount of influence in congress when you're passing out money, believe me, but what's interesting is he did not serve in a policy committee that was dealing with international trade. he dug into trade policy, i don't know if you'd want to call it a hobby or a passion. zpl sort of a result of bill frenzel being my mentor, when he retired, somebody's got to take this mantle and get work on it. >> he really developed a reputation as an advocate for trade in the congress, was active in getting the nafta approved and in honor of those efforts at the time he was retired from congress in 2007, received the washington international trade association's lifetime achievement award. damien levi is the head of the trade and agory cull section at the eu delegation here in washington.
but before he came here, he had an interesting opportunity to serve as in the eu commission as deputy chief negotiator for the launching of the t tep talks. then they sent him to washington the try to figure out what we were doing so that the current political landscape in this country must be leaving him entirely vexed. before he was with the commission, he was in a an attorney and a law firm in new york and brussels, so he's seen the process from the private and public sector and from both sides of the atlantic. i'm dan pearson. senior fellow here at cato. before that, i was ten years at the u.s. international trade commission. it's my fellow commissioner meredith here? >> she was. >> okay. i spent the 16 years at a major national company. before that, i was on the floor for a few years in the senate.
but of particular relevance to this panel, back in the glorious days of my youth when i farmed for a living in the late '70s and early '80s, i raised broiler chickens. i live in hope. that one day, european consumers will be able to purchase and enjoy nutrition boiler chickens that have been delicately rinsed in a chlorine bath. with that, let's turn to the topic at hand. i had the opportunity last week to hear a presentation by bruce stokes of the research center in which he unveils some recent analysis that they had done on
u.s. and german attitudes to the basic question, will t tep be a good or bad thing for the country. in the united states, 50% of respondents thought t tep would be good, 21 thought it would be bad. in jernlny, the goods were only 41, so some less and the bads were higher, 36%. what's the reason for that? 50% of american respondents were concerned that t tep would lead to job losses and lower wages. only 17% of the germans were concerned about that. however, only 12% of u.s.
respondents were concerned that t tep would lead to a decline in environmental health safety tan dards. automobile standards. americans not allal concerned about that. 61% of germans think they're going to give their safety away completely if t tep goes into effect, so, t a really interesting contrast. with that as background, gentlemen, what's your assessment of the public opinion surrounding trade at this time? >> well, i guess go down and start by going down the row, then call on specific people. but i think those numbers are interesting because they represent a reversal of what it was just a year or two ago where the german and all the european support for t tep was much higher thap it was in the united states. and it was thought that this was going to be the difficult part was going to be over here, it's still going to be, we'll talk
about that political difficult here, but clearly, there are a number of things that have happened in europe that have diminished the support. there is the growing nationalism, the growing division, the fact that the entire all the european parliament, all the countries have to prove it. the nsa in germany. the scandal has diminished a loft support for that. then there are all the groups talking about environmental issues. that dan just mentioned. that i think are making people nervous about this. here in the united states, it's cheerily been loss of jobs, but with the economy coming back, that kind of diminishes a little bit. so, the support i think for here in the united states has been a bit stronger. it's never been strong for a lot of trade agreements in general. but i think it's an interesting way in which the two sides of somewhat reversed themselves here in the last couple of years since the negotiations were p proposed that got underway.
>> first of all, it's still president obaositive in germany. 41-36. and i think all the country where you have very strong opposition, austria, you have opposition in the netherlands, belgium, lux um borg, france, but they're the two in position. i think skepticism is the highest. to be frank, when we started two years ago, it was pushed stro strongly by germany, austria and those other countries, which exported a lot to the united states and stand to gain a lot. and we had expected there would be more opposition from the south. because typically, in trade policy in europe, you have this opposition north versus the south in antidumping cases, for example. here, it's been the reverse. with the german public very skeptical.
the deal wasn't explained for a lopg time to a german public by leaders in government or business. you have to remember, we had a switch in government in october 2013, so, you had elections then, transition to a new government, so, there was the attention went to elsewhere in germany at the time. but if you look at similar calls in italy, portugal, spain, greece, see very strong support for ttep, actually. i think it's a very balanced mixed fuse. mixed things and that -- it has to be done together with leaders and people who are trusted in their own public opinions. there is no european public opinion. you have 28, if not more, public
opinions, so, it's up to trusted leaders to explain why is it they call for these negotiations and why they think it's so important. >> it's great to be here. thanks for the question. you mentioned, i've been watching this for over two decades now and i think we're in a particularly interesting time right now. so, if you go back to the late '80s, early '90s, the conclusion of nafta, but a very ambitious trade agenda. there was a big fight over nafta, but fairly, the opposition at the time from unions, environmental groups, was kind of nascent. they were figuring out their positions, how to run campaigns. post year, the opposition got a lot better. they knocked off the multilateral agreement on investment. you had the protests in seattle and you had perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the lack of an ambitious trade gent, so, we had the long period what
we saw from the u.s. and then i think to a lesser extent from the european and were not terribly ambitious bilateral arrangements that move slowly. suddenly, here we are in a period where you have i think an opposition that is better organized, better informed, more effective. leaders a result of social media than it's been before, but you have a tremendously ambitious trade agenda. the ttp in the united states, the t tip in both the united states and europe. more going on at the kind of plural lateral level. the trade and services agreements and others, so i think we're in really interesting time where you have the proverbial clash of the irresistible force going on here. so, i think how this plays out is going to be really interesting. if you look historically, i would have to say ambitious agreements like this tend to get through, but i don't think they've ever occurred at a time where the public opposition was as strong as it is right now.
>> jim, from your experience in congress, you know at times, that congress does feel compelled to do something a little different than what public opinion would subject. can you give a few thoughts on how congress might find a way to deal with this antitrade pressures and still come out in favor of an agreement. >> what you just said has been the case since at least since the passing of nafta. consideration of inform nafta, where there was strong opposition, but congress has always had more of a protrade agenda or has been favorable to our trade agreements. that's changing a bit now, i think. you've seen this in the last -- the trade promotion authority in 2002, why one vote, the trade and promotion authority, this time, for president obama by a handful of votes, six, seven, eight votes.
so, they've been very, very narrow in close kinds of votes. so, it has become much more difficult to pass these agreements. and what you have of course as historically is a reversal of roles going way back where republicans, where businesses oppose trade agreements because they wanted protection and so, republicans tended to be against any kind of was it trade agreements in those days, but any kinds of lowering of tear i haves, anything that liberalized trades and democrats representing working people were more in favor of these trade liberalization movements. now, the situation is reversed. where companies and businesses generally support the trade. labor units have taken a strong stand against these trade agreements. starting with nafta and before that, but starting strong with nafta. as ed said, they've really gotten their voice on this now
and they've learned what to do and how to do these grass roots efforts against this thing, even though trade unions represent fewer and fewer people, in the working, workers today, they still have an inorder nant amount of influence in the process. because of the money they contribute and the workers that they provide for door to door campaigning and telephoning and all the other kind of ground work that has to be done in political campaigns. so, democrats tend to pay a lot of attention to what is being said by the trade unions. so, you have this rather contentious argument going on between the two sides. on how this will play out i think is, we really don't know yet. it was said for a long time that tpp would be the very, should have been the easy one to negotiate. but a very tough one to pass. and t tip on the other hand
should be easy to negotiate since we have two large civil or integrated economies on both sides of the atlantic. but a tougher one to, and easy one to pass, rather. more difficult one to i'm sorry, more difficult one to negotiate because of the differences on things like patents and intellectual property and the chickens and things like that, but it should the easier one to pass. now, i don't think we're going to see that. we found the tpp was difficult to negotiate and we still see all the details of that yet. and we now see that i think t tip is going to be a very difficult one for us. to pass. when and if we get it. one last thing, we're not looking at anything that's going to be considered by congress in this administration at the very earliest, be 2017 before this agreement, piecemeal or a large
agreement. i think the interesting thing is to consider whether tpp will even get to congress before the next administration. >> damien, how does it look in europe? i read just this morning that angela merkel has come out in favor of t tip. not many weeks ago, the european parliament blessed a different concept, so clearly, there is progress at the political leadership level to move forward. >> right. i think what has been reassuring for leaders here is that the police leadership in europe including european parliament in june and july for a resolution on t tip have continuously supported negotiations including what chancellor merkel has said today and if you listen to the prime minister or the spanish prime minister, british prime minister, they're all in favor and want us to move ahead even when president alamb was here.
i think what we hear from american counterparts is that european leaders need to make a better effort in explaining what's going on. i can tell you from the inside from the commission, we worked very hard to make it more transparent, to explain more. we never communicated about a trade agreement in languages other than english. now, we explained in 22 langu e languag languages. we have more than ten documents explaining what t tip is and in many other languages. the tools are there are for people to communicate about it. business to communicate about it. i think it's true that european companies were not used to have to do any work in favor of trade agreements. it's a slow progress. and that kind of thing.
it's not clear if a project like t tip doesn't have an impact on your bottom line in the next four quarters. you got to put any dime on the table. no, it's the decision that have to do with it and the government and say it's up to the governments to do it. i think if you look at the concerns in -- you'll hear concerns about consumer rights. workers rights, standards and democracy. scratching my head, we've said all along, we'll not negotiate down our rules, standards, labor protection or consumer protection. we've said all along we will not negotiate protection rules as such in ttip and still, ttip is seen as this trojan horse that will bring all these bad things
for the u.s. i'm sure we can do more. commissioner has doing much more. we'll keep on doing more, there will be a limit to what with we can do as long as negotiations haven't progressed out. you can sell a concept. aim to do this and not do this, but for the rest, giver us a bit of time and we need to work on the negotiation, get them done and then sell them. i want you to agree on some things, then i'll know to what exek tent you can support. also important to remember that
ttip was launched in a period where there was stronger trade position than there is today. european commission was a former president of the european commission was very forceful in pursuing a trade agenda. it's part of an agenda. it's not a single project. ind india in the soil countries. you crane. african countries, we're very am birth certificate trade policy agenda across the world and probably launched negotiations with australia and new zealand, with mexico and chile, so, ttp is part of a very big agenda and there was strong support for that agenda.
more political about this project, which is called ttip. >> a couple of things, i would like to reenforce damien's point about what the commission has been doing on the transparency front. so, i think there are lots of things that are spirling around in public opinion, but one of the arguments you hear very often is that all of this is being done in secret. that corporations have outside influence and that ordinary people don't know what's going on and can't effect it. in context of how the u.s. has handled its trade negotiation strategy, that has a lot of legitimacy. united states has done negotiations in secret. you look at the advisory committee structure. it's heavily weighted towards the interests of business and so, there's a lot of that critique that i think has considerable legitimacy and as
these trade agreements move into areas of as they do more and more into areas of consumer and environmental regulations, that becomes a lot more questionable. trade offs on tariffs that are profit loss issues maybe makes more sense to handle negotiat n negotiations that way, but in these new areas, there are much broader interests affected by these. i've been really encouraged by what i've seen the commission doing. it will be interesting to see how that plays out when the negotiations get further along and you're trading offers, but they've been putting its offers out there in a very public way, quite trans parent about everything it's doing. trying to tackle very head on the criticism of secrecy. i'm hoping the united states will follow that lead. it will be a big change in direction. for the united states. it's one to have kind of unrelated xheents on the united states. you drill down, one o f the very interesting things, this gets to
the disconnect between the public and congress. congress right now, you've got a democratic party that is almost united in opposition to continuing on trade and a republican party that's quite supportive. even the tea party elements who i think a lot of us thought well maybe for nationalists or antigovernment grounds are going to be suspicious, but generally, have been fairly supportive. but you drill down into the poll, democrats actually, democratic voters are much more favorable to trade now than republican voters are. i think part of that is the kind of changing demographic of democratic voters. a lot more young voters. multiethnic, hispanic, new immigrants who have become u.s. citizen voters and the parties haven't caught up with where their electorate is at, in the way this is likely to be handled when it comes to the congress. >> i think that is an important point. that really does need to be emphasized. the data shows now the democrats by and large, people identify themselves as democrats. support trade to a greater
degree than those who identify themselves as republicans. quite a reversal and as he says, we really, the parties really haven't caught up with that. it's going to be interesting to see, particularly how the democrats react to this as their younger voters and entrepreneurial voters socially, social media voter, come to the fore, if they're going to change their position on the trade agreements. >> okay. well, let's shift and say a few words about the role of elections themselves. in influencing the whole domestic political environment. damien, this morning, sean donnelly mentioned three elections upcoming in europe that may have some influence. the german election, french presidential election and then the referendum in the e.u. on whether they should stay in the e.u. would you offer some thoughts on that?
>> congressman first in politics, happy to take that one. it's clear that elections in large member states have more influence on what we do overall and the projects we pursue and the pace at which we pursue those projects. i would think the british will ask us to move and not slow down. the president when he was here, he said you know, it's very important for europe and united states to move. let's get it done quickly. fincke you look at it, we will say we want a good deal. and substance will prevail over speed.
>> elections do have an impact on your ability to move. when we had elections, we've seen this during the midterm elections in the run up to if midterm elections, more nervous and that's on the side where you have elections to move on sensitive issues, that's for sure. how it would play out is to say i think i would agree, tt being a popular topic and that is a topic of dinner table conversations in families across france, germany and the uk. yes, it will be a topic in the campaign, but impact that will be, that will be having on the negotiations, it's too early to tell. base clirks we really tried to close with the obama administration. we think it's technically possible, difficult. yes. i agree. but feasible and but we need to step up the work in all areas for sure on both sides.
and still doable and then you would be done bf the election campaign starts in france and then in the other coup tntries. in u.k., it hasn't been decided yet, so we'll see. so, yes, they have an impact. of course. what impact i think is pretty mature. i would say for next year, it should only incentivise us to move ahead and try to conclude, but substance will have to prevail over speed. that's for sure. european commission will not try to rush to a deal with the obama administration if he doesn't feel the deal is good for europe. i'm sure you will hear the same, yes, we'll try to get it done. it has to be a good and ambitious deal and so -- >> ted, ready or not, we have an election coming up in this country and a little more than a year. both congressional and presidential.
last i checked, none of the leading candidates of either party seemed to be much inclined toward trade liberalization. how do you read the implications of the u.s. election for what might happen in t tip? >> the timing is difficult. i'm going to curb a little bit from my lunchtime conversation, but we were talking a bt this, that you do, i mean the problem in the u.s. perspective is that the majority for trade is so narrow as jim mentioned. handful of votes and so, think of when it comes to the ttp vote. i know this congress has got to be able -- and i do think in the u.s. look at these things
historically the geo political importance of an agreement if it's concluded is to enormous that even some of those who are skeptical in congress are inclined to support it because saying now at that stage is such a blow to an important ally. t tip to the european nations that are the closest american allies. i should throw in canada and mexico, so at the end of the day, congress will support this, but the timing is really difficult. obama administration would like to do this in the spring and if we're still in a situation in 2 spring where donald trump has done well in the first couple of primaries, obviously, secretary clinton is now come out against the tpp. rather awkwardly, i think, given her historic position on this. but she has and so, that's going to make it harder for some
democrats. i think there's the possibility of the election year pushing all of this back even farther. that the tpp vote gets knocked back to the lame duck or maybe to a new administration and t tip correspond gets pushed farther back. at the end of f the day, i believe that congress will pass both agreements assuming t tip will be negotiated, but it's a problem in terms of timing. >> you had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the electorate 11 times. you've been through some of these conflicts. call it the mantra on that. the benefits are wide and diffused.
>> the solution looking into this next year is it's cloudy for trade as it is for the presidential elections, but i'll make wup preduction that i think with certainty, if the two nominees for president, the major parties, are bernie sanders and donald trump, you can probably take your trade agenda and put it in the bottom drawer with some moth balls and forget about it for the next four years after that, but that's probably not likely to happen. but i do think it's likely that secretary, secretary clinton continues to lead in the polls and it looks like she's going to be the nominee, i think the democrats will have to feel they can't vote on tpp next year and that pushes the whole trade agenda back. i think it's very unlikely, but i said this before and i think even without that, it's unlikely
t tip can be done and virtually impossible it could be voted on before the next election. i'm beginning to think that it's going to be very difficult for tpp to be voted on before the next election. maybe in a lame duck, but t tip can't be completed before that time. so it's going to be up to the next administration and we just don't know who that's going to be and exactly what point approach they will take. if it is a president clinton, she would undoubtedly want to reconsider. this is not going to be easy on either side. >> can i just add one thing. if this kicks gets over to the next president if you look at what happened under president obama, you realize there's enormous pressure to continue with the agenda on trade at least that your predecessor set
out. president obama ran on a fairly antitrade to becoming the president who's previd siding over the most liberal now. so i think there's a lot of pressure to stick with the program on trade. >> it's been observed that president obama made a quick pivot in the direction of trade agreements. faked out his own team and went in to try to score with the republicans. it's a very interesting situation. >> it took a little while, but i think there's just a lot of pressure on trade to keep moving forward.
one of the issues, in the united states, federal government versus state and local governments, how they handle certain issues and that's also a potential concern in europe. ted, do you have any thoughts that, is the united states doing going to have to knock heads, are we going to have to get various levels of government to coordinate better to make t tip what it should be? >> i mean, the answer is yes. but what i personally would like to see is a complete reformulation of the role of states in u.s. trade policy. i mentioned the advisory committee structure, which is weighted heavily to corporate interest. there is a state government advisory committee, but it's been more for its history and not terribly effective. if you look at the sbless of the states and paratrade policy, mo state rs in the active investment game. a lot of large cities are. they're looking at what their
export opportunities are. if rue look at the work brookings is doing about identifying export opportunities, state and local governments of the united states are waking up to the importance of international trade policy for their economic interests. what we talk about from the federal level, it's about getting the states to open up their procurement markets, which i think can be done, but i think the way you do that is to bring the states more deeply into the formulation of trade policy. the u.s. government says we're going to do these things you want on the export promotion front and in exchange, you've got to do some stuff for us, getting serious about your procurement markets. so, i would like to see a much, much closer ongoing working relationship between state and local governments. canadians have done this well. i think it's something we can do.
>> i agree with ted. i'mlike so thee that happen, but isn't going to happen. states aren't going to open up themselves on procurement. it's interesting as you said states all have these, many have foreign trade offices in london and tokyo and elsewhere. the governor takes mixes with business people. they promote their exports. try to bring investments, on some of theodis things and you have very narrow on some of the tax and procurement issues, where they tend to be locally focused on this protecting by america, not only by america, it's by california or by oakland. you know, and they have these kinds of provisions in there, so i think it's kind of a dual head, dual look at the thing and i don't think it's going to, i just don't think we're going to get there on procurement, though i really wish we could do that and it's a big headache for our european friends to see that we
have these kinds of 50 different approaches to things, but i guess we can now say well, you've got 28 of them now. you have to deal with over there, so, in aens is, it's a little bit the same. >> tell us a little bit about those 28 frictions and the compsies between the national governments and brussels. >> as someone said today in another areas, europeans market is more unified. more harm sizediz than the u.s. than the services sector you look at or the good sector you look at, but from a european perspective, indeed, what states have been doing discrimination they have put in place is an issue that we need to address in the negotiations. that's clearly a request from the side. that we need to address that. state at federal level. part of market access
discussions. what we will get is for the negotiations and what we'll see where those discussions will take us. rules, regulations documented at state level with a reason of concern for companies who wish to do trade across the atlantic and we're trying as much possible to look into this, it's true that with our canadian friends, the provinces were in the room where we were negotiating procurement and so, that was easier of course, the transaction was easier because we have ten provinces or 11 territories with u.s., it's a bit more difficult, so it's not up to me or us to say to the u.s. what they should do, but that's a concern we've expressed. we should look at regulating progressions.
lawyers at state level and if we want to facilitate movement of lawyers or architect, we need to have the states and member states talk to each other or people who represent the member states like we do. with the european commission, in order to find more solutions. for mutual recognition of professional qualifications. that's abyei we still need to look at very much and it's clear that we could not from a european perspective, accept a deal that would impose negotiations on solutions, member states even a sub national member states and nothing of the sub federal level in the united states. that would not be a balanced agreement, even if you look at the center of gravity for example of markets, obviously, there's much more money being procured at member state levels. so we need to keep that into
perspective as well, but still, we'll, that would be part of the balance and how people in europe will look at this. i'm not saying it's easy, but we need to address this. we only have one real good opportunity to improve this relationship. it's t tip, so we've been looking at this for 20 years, trying to do low hanging fruits. sector specific stuff. these haven't had a significant influence on our relationship. now is the time to improve it, so we need to take the time to do it. >> i've been a little bit surprised with the evolution of financial services. as they have discussed in t tip or not discussed in t tip. with europe and the united states being the two largest providers of financial services in the world, some sort of harm anization might make sense and i think that's been the european position. if i understand treasury secretary lui, he's not enthused
about having discussions with the nasty europeans. i'm putting words in his mouth. what's the state of play there? jim, are you following that? >> a bit. i'm not as expert as some others are on this, but certainly, i think you're right that the because we are two such gigantic financial markets, the opportunities are tremendous. the benefits flow from that are probably as large as anything you could think of in the entire t tip agreement that would flow from that. in the united states, the reluctance on this part, i think we should be doing it. i think the reluctance of the united states is the passage of dodd frank, that nobody wants to, it's too new. nobody wants to tamper with that. tinger with that. i think it needs some tinkering. but nobody wants to deal with dodd frank and the secretary of treasury, this is a little bit of the tir f battles, saying
that's our area. you know, trade negotiators don't get into these financial services issues. that's for treasury to negotiate and been reluctant because of the push back they're getting from capitol hill about doing anything on this, even reluck -- reluctant to try to open the door on financial services. >> a lot of that hasn't even been implemented yet. i just don't think treasury wants to touch this at this point. >> is it too late to add it if the negotiation goes -- >> it's still on the table from our perspective. we don't see why if we negotiate an agreement that has a big regulatory dimension, we should take out financial services.
that's such an integral part of our relationship. not only is it the money side ofof any transaction, but it's also, as you said -- banking reinsurance. we are the leading companies in the world, and we're also leading in regulatory progress or evolution. so it only makes sense to have that part of the ttip. we're not looking for lowering dodd-frank. we've been very clear we want a forum where regulators meet regularly to talk about the new rules they will adopt and talk about the rules this we have agreed at a global level to implement. experience has shown us, yes, we have agreed in other unilateral forum, and then in the
implementation there are differences and these differences are costly and not necessary from a prudential perspective or safety of the financial system. so we think financial services, regulatory corporations, still should be part of ttip. >> just one additional point. it's not very different from other areas where pharmaceuticals or cars or medical devices where we have the regulators in the room. it's not that we want to take over the financial discussionsovdiscussions on the regulations. so i think the turf battle we can accommodate and say, no, you are in charge. if you attend any regulatory talk in ttip, you can talk. the people doing the talk are the regulators. it's not the trade negotiators.
that's also one of the reasons why we can confidently say well not lower level protection be it financial services or medical devices because the people who are doing the talks and assessing what is possible are the regulators themselves. we just coach them a bit. >> i do this think everyomphasi the difference in ttip and the role of historical trade negotiations. they didn't get that far, but essentially they were about market access. they were about making sure financial services, security brokers, banks were free to do business in other countries, but this is different as i understand it. you're talking about regulatory structures, ensuring the safety and soundness of the banking system. >> that's right. >> so it makes it harder. >> we would still do what we try to do and more. we also do regulatory issues.
>> it's one of the areas where this is very much breaking new ground, so maybe part of the reason it is difficult. >> not on substance. it is simply setting up a cooperative structure to discuss later. it is not like in cars or medical devices where we're trying to have binding outcomes on substance. it would be a process. >> before we open this up for some audience questions, i have one more issue that i'd like to put out here and it is the sanitary issues. the reason that i raise it, it is an important domestic political issue in the united nations for the agricultural community. if we include a ttip that does not allow some trade of genetically modified organisms and chickens and meat, if there's nothing in there for agriculture, i'm not sure that we could get the votes to pass a
ttip. and so is it possible to get something on those issues? >> sure. before we agree to launch negotiations, we looked at sps issues on both sides and we looked at a number of files that had been there in the drawers on each side, applications that had been pending for years. for example, i can go into the example. i'm not sure it's really necessary, but we've made some fundamental changes, for example, on carcasses of beef. in slaughter houses in europe -- sorry, i have to be a bit detailed here. it used to be the case that c carcasses were only washed with water. the discussion was what's water. what's the temperature? we received a request from the
united states to allow for carcasses to be exported to europe that have been washed with water for 5% of lactic acids. and we allowed that because our scientific authority gave the opinion that it is actually safe, gave some regulations on how to handle it, and we changed the rules. you can either do water or just water plus lactic acid. and that was, i think, an important step symbolic to show, yes, europeans are willing to make changes. we get exports are important. if you look at gdp, that's for sure. we do get that. if you look at agriculture from a european perspective, we have strong rules. we don't find it normal that spanish farmers have to wait 15
years to get exports of avocados appro approved. apples from most european countries are still not approved here. we can have stronger rules for both sides to facilitate trade for farmers. no problem. that will require authorities on both sides to agree to be bound by deadlines or by clear rules. >> let me pile in on your side and say i hope to be able at some point to be able to buy cheeses from europe made from milk that has not been pasteuri pasteurized. there are some interesting cheeses that are made that way. we have our own sps issues here that should be put on the table. enough of that. let's turn to the audience and see if there are any questions. jim? >> thank you. jim burger from washington trade daily.
i was interested in your comments on, i guess, a new -- not new, but the younger democrat voters moving towards free trade or freer trade. does that indicate that hillary clinton is totally out of touch with her party? >> she's not out of touch with those who she'll need in the election, those she'll need in the primary. those tend to be different kinds of voters. no, she's not out of touch in that sense there, but what i think you're seeing is a change in the demographic that will eventually catch up there. tonight at 8:30 eastern on c-span, we're live from council bluffs, iowa, for a town hall meeting with senator ted cruz. on saturday night at 9:00 oo
eastern, it's the jefferson jackson dinner. bernie sanders, martin o'malley, and hillary clinton will be there. sunday evening at 6:30, republican presidential candidate carly fiorina will hold a town hall in buford, south carolina. the wisconsin book festival from madison featuring interviews with nonfiction authors, including mary norris and her book on the english language and evan thomas' book "being nixon" and john danforth on how he thinks a sense of religion can lead the state out of bitter politics. clayt clayt sunday morning at 10:00 on oral
histories, civil rights lead ee julian bond who passed away in august in his work with the student nonviolent coordinating committee. get our complete weekend schedule at c-span.org. the senate is considering a proposal to change federal sentencing requirements. up next, the senate judiciary committee hearing examining the bill. then a hearing with energy secretary ernest on the strategic petroleum reserve. the three remaining democratic presidential candidates who will speak at the jefferson jackson dinner, senator bernie sanders, martin o'malley, and hillary clinton will be live on c-span at 9:00 p.m. eastern as our road to the white house coverage continues. c-span provides the best
access for coverage of former secretary of state hillary clinton testifying before the house select committee on benghazi. >> there was no credible, actionable threat known to our intelligence community against our compound. >> our hearing coverage without commercials or commentary will air in its entirety saturday and sunday on c-span. the senate is considering a proposal to change federal sentencing requirements, including reducing the so-called three strike penalty to 25 years from life imprisonment. some of the new rules could be applied retroactively. t"the new york times" reports that 65 million people in prison should be able to petition for new sentences should the legislation become law. it's three hours. the judiciary committee will
hold a hearing on an important bill, sentencing >> we will hold a hearing on an important bill. sentencing reform correction act. i'm pleased to introduce this bill along with a broad bipartisan group of colleagues. durbin, cornyn, lee, graham, schumer, whitehouse, booker, senator scott. we have recent been joined by tillis and coombs. it is a trial -- truly landmark piece of legislation. it's a result of months of hard work, very thoughtful deliberation. it's been called the most
significant criminal justice reform bill in a generation. i'm pleased to say that this bill has formed the basis for a bill in the house by chairman goodlat and ranking member conyers. further, president obama has stated that congress -- has asked that congress send him a bill this year. and if he did so, he would sign it. i am not -- i'm kind of glad that we have that bipartisan approach. i'm also pleased that such a large set of organizations from across the political spectrum have endorsed this bill. at this time, i would like to introduce into the record letters of support from major chiefs association, a group of 41 interfaith community organizations, the drug policy alliance, american bar association, the association of
prosecuting attorneys, the american federation of government employees, and faith and freedom coalition. i will also include letters for the record raising concerns about the bill from the national district attorneys association and the fbi agents association. a reason why this bill has been successfully negotiated is that it represents a broad agreement among members. we all agree that stiff sentences can serve an important role in protecting public safety and bringing justice to crime victims. so this bill will serve the primary mandatory minimums -- will preserve the primary mandatory minimums to keep some certainty and uniformity in federal sentencing and to encourage criminals to cooperate with law enforcement. the bill expands some of those
enhanced mandatory minimums to criminals with prior violent felonies and state crimes involving unlawful use of guns. we even add two new mandatory minimums for crimes involving interstate domestic violence and supplying weapons or other defense material to prohibited countries or terrorists. but our current system has produced some specific instances of severe and excessive sentences. and there are elements of the criminal justice system that all the sponsors agree can and should be improved. and so we all agree that we need to lower some of the harshest enhanced mandatories. this bill does not eliminate a single mandatory minimum. but it cuts back on a number of the most severe ones. and we all agree that we can do
a better job of targeting those enhanced mandatory minimums to the most serious violent and repeat offenders. and so this bill does just that. we also agree that our current system could benefit from giving judges a bit more discretion in sentencing in certain areas. that's why we are expanding the current safety valve. we also create a second safety valve so that non-violent offenders who have minor criminal histories or play low-level roles in drug organizations are not improperly swept up by harsher mandatory minimums. finally, we agree that we must improve our prisons and stop revolving door. so we have agreed to give lower risk inmates a chance to return to society earlier and with better prospects to become
productive law-abiding citizens. as i said, this is the biggest criminal justice reform in a generation. but we understand that this bill needs to be considered in context. the sentencing commission has already acted to relieve tens of thousands of inmates, many in a few weeks. there is a heroin epidemic raging across the country. crime rates that had been falling seem to be rising again. here in washington, the police chief has attributed at least some of the rising murder rates to the release of violent inmates from prison after not serving long enough sentences. we need to be very careful when considering legislation that would reduce such criminal penalties. and i believe that we have been very careful to limit the people who gain relief under this bill while imposing tougher sentences on others.
now this bill has nearly -- now, the bill has been nearly unanimously praised. but there is some opposition. the bill is unpopular with some federal prosecutors. and i might even agree with some of their criticism. but if we're actually going to pass reform legislation, none of us is going to be completely happy and we're not going to do better than i think what we have in front of us. i also understand some organizations are calling for more hearings and a delay in markup. this is, i think, a thinly veiled attempt to kill the bill. they know we don't have a lot of time if we're going to get this done. and we have had hearings on this subject over many years. and none of these groups were active when i was out there almost alone fighting other bills that would have gone too far in reducing mandatory minimums. but thanks to many people
working together, we have produced this historic bill. and i want to end with the idea that this bill is about the united states senators working together. senators from both sides of the aisle and senators with very different perspectives have come together to solve an important problem facing the united states. and i'm honored to be part of that as chairman of this committee. senator leahy? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think, as you suggested, the problems facing our criminal justice system cannot continue to go on unaddressed. we lock up too many people far longer and far longer than is necessary to keep our communities safe. it comes at an extraordinary price. we have fewer resources to
support public safety efforts that actually work. we're just left with a criminal justice system that is anything but just, particularly for many communities of color. to solve complex problems in our communities like addiction, congress has too often resorted to simple but deeply flawed mandatory minimum sentences. it's time we fix our mistakes. it's essential we apply the fix retro actively so those paying the price for our mistakes are given a second chance. it's an historic opportunity. we shouldn't squander it. this is a bipartisan bill. it's not perfect. i would like it to go further. there are many mandatory minimums the bill does not impact. but while it doesn't contain everything i might like, it doesn't contain everything senator grassley would like. that's the nature of a compromise.
it might be an example to those in the congress who want to have all or nothing. it's the only way you actually take a step toward passing historic legislation, is that both sides have to work together. today we're going to hear testimony about necessary reforms that have gathered broad agreement. because of senator grassley's leadership and building on the work we did in the last congress, half of the members serving on the senate judiciary committee, ropps and democrats across the political spectrum, those numbers will grow. the sentencing reform corrections act is a good start. i view this bill not just as a senator but through the eyes of a former prosecutor.
i still treasure the only thing in my personal office with my name on it, a shield i carried as state's attorney. these individuals deserve to have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. i also think about the families affected by a criminal justice, system, families of inmates like our witness debbie campbell whose children grew up in foster care because she received a 19-year sentence for selling methamphetamine. she will be the first to admit she should have served time, but 19 years? we have serial killers who serve less than that. she had no criminal history. no violence involved. but she was sent away for almost two decades at enormous taxpayer expense. that simply does not make any sense. we can do better. a deputy attorney general knows
the reforms we have proposed are desperately needed. the justice department, which she helps lead, has to dedicate a quarter of its budget to the bureau of prisons every year. that means less money for victim services, for law enforcement programs, for going after terrorists for you name the area. i think the deputy attorney sally yates is an experienced prosecutor.
i thank her for her leadership and for being here today. i have learned over the past four decades it takes a few congresses to make meaningful progress. we start -- we started this effort years ago. we steadily increased bipartisan support for it. we continue to remember that we're here to serve the american people with historic reforms within our grasp. i thank all of those who have responded to reform our criminal sentencing laws and thank you, mr. chairman. >> our first witness is deputy attorney general sally yates. ms.uate -- ms. yates was sworn in to her current position earlier this year. she previously served as u.s. attorney northern district georgia since 2010. before that, she was a prosecutor and supervisor with the u.s. attorney's office there where she led a number of investigations and prosecution, including that of olympic bomber eric rudolph. ms. yates is from georgia. and you may proceed, ms. yates. >> thank you. members of the committee, it's my privilege to appear before you today to talk about this critically important of sentencing reform, an issue
that's important for both our country and our criminal justice system. my perspective on sentencing policy is informed by my 26 years with the justice department. as a line ausa in the trenches, a u.s. attorney in atlanta and now deputy attorney general. it's because of my commitment to public safety in the fair administration of justice that i believe that it's critical that we enact meaningful sentencing reform. i've seen firsthand the impact that our system and particularly our drug sentencing laws have on our ability to carry out the department's mission and i believe that we can and we must do better. we all know the facts that bring us here today. while the population has grown by about a third since 1980, the federal prison population has increased by over 800%. half of all federal prisoners are now drug defendants. our current mandatory minimum
sentencing laws don't calibrate a defendant's sentence to match the threat that they pose to our public safety. at its core, that's because our mandatory minimum sentencing laws are based on one factor, and that is drug quantity. because our laws cast such a broad net, we have a hard time distinguishing between the cartel leader who needs to go to prison for a long time and the low-level mope who doesn't. this comes with great cost. cost to operate our prison system. cost to our communities and families. and cost to the public's confidence in our system of justice. from a dollars and cents perspective, the exploding bop population means that it now accounts for roughly 25% to 1/3 of the department budget. these prison costs are crowding out all of the other important work that the department does. every dollar that we spend imprisoning on a low-level non-violent drug offender for longer than he or she needs to be there is a dollar that cannot
be spent on prosecutors, agency, and on cops on the street on prevention and re-enter through crucial programs that are real necessary to keep our communities safe. recalibrating these for low-level non-violent drug offenders will enhance public safety in a manner that keeps our communities safe. in addition to the fiscal cost, there are human costs as well. unquestionably, those who violate the law should be held accountable. and there are some very dangerous people who need to go to prison for a very long time. but we need to ensure a sense of proportionality in our sentencing laws. the punishment needs to fit the crime. take, for example, the case of a defendant whose record i reviewed who was an individual who only had a sixth grade education but had served honorably in the army. after he was discharged, he was convicted of a street-level crack deal.
in a case that probably wouldn't even be prosecuted in federal court today. although he didn't have a history of violence -- in fact, he didn't even have a gun with him. he was sentenced to mandatory life in prison because he had two prior small time state convictions for selling cocaine, one of which involved less than an ounce. now, should he have been held accountable for violating our drug laws? yes. should he have to spend the rest of his life in prison for it? no. importantly, the costs aren't just borne by the defendants. too many children have parents in prison. one in 27 children, one in nine african-american children has a
parent behind bars. and this cuts deeply into our society. similarly, when we send people to prison for longer than is necessary to protect public safety, we risk losing the public's faith in fairness of their own criminal justice system. and this may prove the most costly price of all. our experience with the department's smart on crime demonstrates that mandatory sentences works. after smart on crime, prosecutors were directed not to seek mandatory minimum sentences for lower level non-violent drug defendants. some feared that without having a hammer we wouldn't be able to encourage cooperation and work our way up the chain in drug organizations. but the facts have not born that out. in fact since the institution of smart on crime, drug defendants are pleading guilty at precisely the same rate as they were before. and importantly, defendants are cooperating at the same rate they were before. but to make lasting change, congress must act. in section 3553 of title 18, congress set out the factors
that a court should consider in fashioning the appropriate seasons and that section opens with overarching principle that the court should impose ag'u not greater.e than necessary to achieve the purposes of sentencing. sufficient but not greater than necessary.x5 ansájj(qvju$at is inconsistent with our principles of justice and with our system of laws. there is a balance that we must strike. and i believe that the proposed sentencing reform and correction act is a good step towards striking that balance. thank you again for inviting me here today to speak. with that, i'm happy to take your questions. >> we'll have five-minute rounds. i only have two questions of you, general yates. mandatory minimums help to
provide certainty and uniformity in sentencing. as you yourself testified before the sentencing commission in 2010, "mandatory sentencing laws increase the terms and cooperation by those involved in the crime." that's why it was important to me that this compromise does not eliminate any mandatory minimums and preserves the existing five year and ten-year mandatory minimum for drug crimes. the bill also creates two new mandatory minimums for certain crimes, domestic violence and violation. as you testified back before the sentencing commission in 2010, "there are real and significant excesses in terms of
imprisonment being mete out for some offenders under the existing mandatory sentencing 4& nonviolent offenders." that's what we have -- what you said and what i quoted is what we have tried to tackle in this compromise. so then the question, does the department believe we have done a reasonable and responsible job in cutting back and targeting some of the mandatory minimums and also have we even given the department some new tools to go after violent and repeat offenders? >> yes, senator, i believe that you have. as i testified in 2010, mandatory minimums can be an important tool for prosecutors. but as i also said in 2010, the mandatory minimums are most effective when they were targeted at the most serious crimes and at the most serious offenders. and i believe that's what this proposal does. it targets mandatory minimums where we need them the most.
additionally this proposal gives us other tools that we didn't have before. with respect to 924c, this proposal adds as a predicate state offenses where a defendant is convicted of a state offense where he or she is carrying a gun. it can be used as a predicate for 924c and 851. it also provides that not just drug cases, not just drug convictions in cases that work toward the 851 statute, but also crimes of violence, which are even more important than the drug cases. so i believe that you have struck the right balance and you have given us other additional tools that will be helpful to us in keeping our community safe. >> my last question, as part of this compromise, we agreed to lower some of the harshest mandatory minimums and apply those changes not just going forward, but also to people who
were convicted and sentenced under old laws. inmate sentences under the old mandatory minimums can ask a judge to sentence them in accordance with the new mandatory minimums. but a prosecutor gets to weigh in also. and the inmate will only get a lower sentence if the judge agrees it is appropriate after the judge has considered factors like the inmate's danger to the community. but others have raised concerns about the department of justice going to stand idly by and let dangerous criminals walk. so this is my question, kind of a statement. i hope that i have your commitment that the department of justice will review each of these resentencing on a case-by-case basis and that the determination on these resentencings will be made by
local u.s. attorney offices. >> senator, we are anything but idle at the department of justice. you have our commitment that we will carry out the retroactive application of the provisions of this proposal in a thoughtful manner, on an individualized basis at the u. s. attorneys' office considering the specific facts and circumstances of each case. and then this matter will go before a sentencing judge who sentenced the defendant originally. so we are committed to ensuring that we carry this out in a way that keeps public safety foremost in our minds. >> thank you very much. senator leahy? >> thank you. you answered a question i was going to ask about retroactivity. i would note on the mandatory minimums my experience from both judges and prosecutors has proven many, many times a problem, not an aid. when you have two cases that is the same but both the prosecutor
and the judge know the level of culpability is dramatically different between them and yet they are going to be treated exactly the same, a lot of prosecutors tell me that ruins their ability to have any kind of discretion. >> and i think that's right, senator. when you look at our drug mandatory minimum that is based on drug quantity, which doesn't take into account the other factors that are important factors we should be considered in determining how dangerous this particular offender is. >> we have a question in the state of vermont in opioids and heroin. we're trying to find ways through that, but the hearings i have held there, we've had police officers and faith community and medical people, parents, educators, they all agree on one thing.
you simply can't arrest your way out of it. you need more drug courts, more treatment programs, more officers on the street. that, of course, costs money. and in our state a lot of money is going to jails. and in the federal system, a huge percentage of the department of justice's budget goes to the prison system. if we pass this, do you think it will free up money and save you money so you can put it on the things that really count? >> well, it certainly will free up money. one of the things we think is going to be important is that this money is reinvented. and other ways to ensure we are keeping our communities safe. that includes prosecutors and agents. but importantly, it includes more than that. we need to be focusing more on prevention. we need to be doing more about prisoner re-entry. that is one of the things i like so much about this.
recidivism reduction on the back end here will put people in a position to be able to stay on the straight and narrow when they come out. every time somebody reoffends there is a new victim. freeing up the money to use it in a thoughtful way to keep our community safe is very important. >> you know, for years we've heard from several some justice department and elsewhere that mandatory minimums were absolutely necessary to get defendants to flip. it became almost a mantra. you and your own experience as a prosecutor said what many other prosecutors have told me in my experience that mandatory sentences are not necessary to get defendants to cooperate. is that the department's position now? >> yes, it is. as i mentioned, that's exactly
what we heard before smart on crime. look, i understand it. if this is the manner in which you have been prosecuting and you had mandatory minimums, one might have assumed that's why the defendants were cooperating. but what we have seen from a data standpoint is that simply is not the case. since smart on crime, defendants are cooperating at precisely the same rates and they are pleading guilty at the same rates. likewise, you can look at other statutes that don't have mandatory minimums. and you can see some of those statutes have even higher rates of guilty pleas and cooperation. so my personal experience of all of these years of being a prosecutor doesn't bear out the concern that we need mandatory minimums, nor does the data that we have collected since smart on crime. >> i have talked to a lot of current and former federal prosecutors who think that the changes are reasonable and appropriate. we have heard from a small
fraction of the federal prosecutors raising concern. what do you say to those people in the field? >> well, i would say i think reasonable people can disagree. and people can have a different philosophical approach, but just as we had ausa that were worried about what would happen with smart on crime when the attorney general directed having more judicious use of mandatory minimu minimums, thing they will see the same thing here after hopefully this legislation is enacted as well. >> thank you.
>> i believe everybody that's at the table here was when the gavel called. i will call based on seniority. >> thank you. i appreciate your leadership on crime issues over a number of years. i believe the senate with senator leahy and you and senator biden and kennedy and thurmond created mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines, ended parole. and did a number of other things that ended the revolving door in criminal justice and created the framework that states followed through increased prosecutions and ending the revolving door. and murder rates are half what they were in 1980. half what they were. thousands of people since 1980 are alive today living productive lives because they weren't murdered on the path we were on. we know recidivism is a big issue. we know that according to the department of justice 75% of
those released after five years have been rearrested. we don't know what other crimes they might have committed that they weren't arrested for and got away with. certainly that's true with the problem of drug dealers. so we have a lot of people that are concerned about it. the legislation has been produced. the national district attorney's association, national sheriffs association, the federal bureau of investigations agent associations, they say, quote, this bill should not be advanced by the senate committee at this time. the national narcotics association, our membership remains opposed to the changes in the federal questioning laws that are proposed. the national immigration and customs enforcement council who think it will also have unintended consequences of further hampering immigration enforcement in the united
states, and the federal law enforcement officers association. well, deputy attorney general yates i want to get this right. surely you would agree, would you not, that when mandatory minimums are either eliminated or reduced substantially it reduces the ability of law officers to negotiate and protect the public? >> senator, i actually don't agree with that. >> i won't argue with you. i will just take that as it is. >> i was up for arguing, if you wanted to. >> i've been there. i've prosecuted cases. when they are not going to go before the judge and talk their way out of it, it makes a difference. to suggest otherwise i think is incorrect. >> may i follow up on one thing, senator? i do agree with you.
the prospect of a lengthy sentence certainly provides a powerful incentive for a defendant to cooperate, but i don't think it has to be a mandatory minimum sentence and that's what we have seen since smart on crime. there is always an incentive to want to cooperate. it doesn't require the mandatory minimum to give them that incentive. >> all right. i don't agree. the national association of the united states attorneys said if this bill is passed it will add further fuel to a raging fire on increasing crime rates that correspond to criminal justice reform efforts at the state and federal level. these are reforms are reversing 20 years of crime reductions and endangering the american public. so i would offer those for the record.
>> they will be put in the record. >> all right. now the director of the fbi just this month, october 1st recently said he was, "very concerned about the increase in violent crimes and murder in cities across the country and it will prompt him to be thoughtful about move to reform the nation's criminal justice system. on october 14th, the director said, quote, we have hit historic lows in violent crimes recently and if we let it slide back, we need to explain to those who come after us what we did or didn't do to let that happen. that is exactly the way i feel about it. i was appointed to being a united states attorney in 1981. i saw it was increasing at 15% a year in some years. the american people were really upset about it. and these efforts have worked.
in recent years we have taken a number of steps to undermine the guidelines already. the supreme court, the department of justice, federal judges now don't have to follow the guidelines. the only real teeth out there are the mandatory minimums. they haven't gotten around that. mr. chairman, i see you're getting nervous. my time is up. i'll wrap up with that. thank you for working at this. i think you've avoided some of the most dangerous things that have been proposed, but i do believe we need to be very careful about this, do the right thing, and we have to know that certainty in sentencing is important. the reduction of crime, the good reduction of crime we've seen can be -- can get away from us if we make errors today as the director said. >> senator feinstein? >> thanks very much, mr.
chairman. my exposure to mandatory minimums was a very long time ago in california when i set sentences and granted paroles as part of a paroling authority under the indeterminate sentence for women convicted of felonies. what i discovered at that time is they were very unequal. i suspect it is the same problem today with federal minimums. i have never had a deep regard for mandatory minimum sentences. my concern has been that when the minimum is changed and the six-month period, as i understand it, ms. yates, is triggered that there be some ability for a united states attorney to sign a document or otherwise indicate that they are in agreement with this. and if they have particular
concerns, that they have an opportunity to indicate those concerns. i have submitted language to you. it's my understanding as a saturday that your chief of staff signed off on it. and i've submitted language to senators durbin and whitehouse who were good enough to sit down with me one afternoon and we had an opportunity to go over the bill. so i am hopeful that we will be able to have some sign-off of a prosecutor on the sentence. it's my understanding that you are in agreement with this. you sent me a letter dated october 16th. is that correct? >> yes. the proposal that you sent over certainly reflects the kind of process that we would go through at the department of justice before agreeing to any sentencing reduction. we recognize how important it is that we be thoughtful with respect to every single defendant and to carefully
review their case before agreeing to any such sentencing reduction. so this process that we would be following in the department of justice anyway. whether you all include this in the actual legislation, i will leave that to you all as to whether it's part of the legislation. this is a reflection of the type of process we would be following. >> thank you very much. thanks, mr. chairman. >> senator cornyn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks, ms. yates, for being here. i'm proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation. i would point out to my friend from alabama three things. this legislation does not eliminate a single mandatory minimum. it does not reduce sentences for any violent offender, and it actually creates new mandatory minimums and extends the scope of several existing ones related to violence. i know the senator speaks from experience in the criminal justice system. he is urging us to be very, very careful. and i agree.
we should be very, very careful. because the public safety is at stake. but mr. chairman, i appreciate your willingness to include the cornyn-whitehouse corrections act as a key element of the effort. ms. yates, thank you for your efforts about the so-called back end of the criminal justice system. of course in my case, the motivation for this legislation came from my experience in texas. we are proud to be tough on crime. we finally decided to be smart about crime too and realized people who go to prison typically get out of prison. many of them are woefully unprepared to deal with the real world, and so they end up back in prison and you've alluded to that earlier. but thankfully our experiment in texas and other states, senior whitehouse state had the similar experience. we have been able to reduce our crime rates by dealing with the
causes or at least the issues that inmates are dealing with. whether it's mental illness, whether it's drug or alcohol, whether it's lack of basic skills or even basic education, we've been able to reduce both our crime rate and our incarceration rate. the recipe for success, i believe, in my state has been three elements. it's been rehabilitation. something we all learned about in law school in our criminal justice courses but we seemed to have forgotten over the years the importance of actually getting people who will avail themselves of the opportunity to actually turn their life around. not everybody will. but some will. and we ought to be giving them the tools they need to do that. secondly, flexible sentencing and alternatives to prison for low-risk, nonviolent offenders. and at the same time targeting our efforts on high-risk career criminals. we learned that from
criminologists who found long-term prison sentences for low-risk nonviolent offenders often make them more dangerous and more likely to commit crimes in the future. call it higher ed for criminals, which is what our prisons sometimes end up being. so we implemented flexible sentencing options and alternatives to incarceration for low risk ande offenders. and then we were able to actually shutter three different prisons and save $3 billion since 2007. something that's pretty popular in my state, as you can imagine. but i would say we need to be extraordinarily careful that we don't just take that money and not plow it back in to providing people with the opportunity to turn their lives around. i'm glad we have all the witnesses here with us today, but particularly glad that mr.
deroach who is here who will talk a little bit about their work at the prison fellowship ministries. a faith-based volunteer program going into the prisoners -- and it's volunteer participation by the inmates -- gives people additional incentive and motivation not to just rehabilitate themselves but transform their lives. while this negotiation process wasn't easy to bring such to people of different political folks, and i agree with senator leahy. it is not a panacea. this bill hopefully will be voted out of committee this week. it is a good start. we have a long and arduous process ahead of us. and i hope the senator from alabama and others who are skeptical of this work help us make it better and that's what this process is designed to do.
actually, i am delighted to be a part of a process of finding solutions to our problems. it's unfortunate in our polarized politics these days people tend to be on the end of the political spectrum and not try to find common ground, and that's what we tried to do to improve public safety, reduce costs, and give a second chance to prisoners who are willing to take the opportunity to turn their lives around. i want to conclude by telling the chairman and the ranking member and the other senators and our cosponsors thank you for their good work and we look forward to continuing to work on this legislation. thank you. >> senator durbin? >> senator, thank you very much for chairing this hearing. a little over two years ago when senator leahy and i introduced the first version of this bill, trying to call for sentencing reform when it came to mandatory minimums. i thought we made a good faith effort. we drew a lot of cosponsors. we wouldn't be sitting here
today with the very real prospect of enacting this bill into the law of the land had not a number of people joined us in this effort. first and foremost among them is chairman of this committee. it was a lot of hard work involved in it. most done by our staff. that's the case around the united states senate in most cases. but i think we have meaningful historic reform. and i want to thank ms. yates from the department of justice for encouraging us and grading us as we made progress on this effort. i'd like to address a couple things that we wanted to make clear. first, we believe that there are many nonviolent drug offenders currently serving lengthy
mandatory minimum sentences. and that is the category we were looking at. in 2011, the sentencing commission did a comprehensive study on mandatory money mums. they found 55,000 people were were in prison for a drug crime. 55,000 is more than 50% of all federal drug offenders and more than one quarter of all federal prisoners. many of those serving are low-level offenders. and it's true some low-level offenders don't often receive mandatory minimums. but others are frequently sentenced. so what is your response to the claim that this is much ado about nothing, that we are really not going to address or potentially address a large sector of the federal prison population? >> i think that we absolutely
will. if you look statistically at the profile of drug defendants that are currently in the prisons right now, you'll see that there are a number of what we call low-level nonviolent drug defendants. for example, less than 1% of the defendants in federal prison actually had violence or threats of violence in connection with their drug offense. half of them had little or no criminal history at all. and only 7% of them are leaders. so just those statistics alone should tell you there is a fairly sizable group of folks out there that don't need to be serving a prison sentence for as long as they are and that's what i believe this reform is designed to address. >> so my colleague, senior sessions, rightly addresses the incidence of murder and violent crimes. what we have tried to do in crafting this safety valve prosituation -- provision is to make certain if you are engaged in violent crimes, you will be
ineligible for the safety valves of this bill. i applaud him. i think he's right. i can point to the city i represent, chicago or other cities where gun crime is up dramatically. i don't want to make it any easier for those who are sentenced under those circumstances. do you see what we are trying to achieve with these drug offenders? >> absolutely. that's why the individualized assessment is going to be so important in each case. we will look at not only what the offensive conviction was but the defendant's history. we will be addressing the concerns that you've had there so we're cutting sentences only for those low-level nonviolent offenders. >> the bill does not repeal any mandatory minimum. it establishes two new ones. it does not lower any maximum sentences. when you're dealing with the bad actor, that judge still has an opportunity to sentence at the highest level, the maximum level, in this case.
>> absolutely. that's one of the things. a mandatory minimum is just that. it's a floor for the sentence, not the ceiling. >> there are few federal judges engaged in criminal sentencing who have not had the disheartening of experience of seeing major players in crime before them, immunize themselves from the mandatory minimum sentences by blowing the whistle on their minions while lower levels find themselves ski skillfully avoided by the kingpins. what we have tried to do is make it clear. kingpins will not get a break at all in the changes we make. is that description clear to you? >> it is clear. nor should kingpins get a break. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you, general yates, for being here and for all the
assistance you've given us whenever we've had questions. we appreciate the department's willingness to not only reach out but also respond quickly to our questions. since my time as a federal prosecutor, i've been concerned prosecutor, i've been concerned about the excesses of our federal criminal justice system. in many cases the long sentences required by our federal minimum mandatory laws result in sentences that simply don't fit the crime. that's to say, they are too long, and in many cases they are objectively unjust. that's why more than two years ago senator durbin and i teamed up on this issue. and we first introduced the smarter sentencing act. now, i believe we can make federal sentencing more fair and more efficient without doing anything to undermine public safety. in fact, i believe we can do this in way that will actually enhance public safety, by increasing the efficiencies, and
therefore, the effectiveness of our federal criminal justice system. the sentencing reform and corrections act achieves that goal by doing some thing to reform the most severe penalties that often lead to disproportionate sentences by expanding the availability of the safety valve, and by increasing opportunities and incentives for rehabilitative programming within the prison system for those that are already there. now, general yates, you testified a minute ago -- and i just want to reiterate -- that this bill does nothing to eliminate any minimum mandatory sentence available under existing law, does nothing of the sort, correct? >> no, they are all still in place. >> nor does it do anything to reduce the statutory maximum for any crime currently on the books within the federal penal system? >> no, it does not. >> doesn't do anything. in fact in some cases it raises
the maximum and other cases we create new minimum penalties that don't already exist. some own entz of the type of reform effort we are trying to take here believe reducing mandatory minimums will necessarily unavoidable undermine ourable to keep the american people safe. you've been an outspoken opinion leader on this issue and you have testified that you believe sentencing reform will actually enhance our ability to keep the american people safe. tell us a little bit why you think this is the case. elaborate on this belief that you've got. >> well, i believe that we need to act now really to be able to ensure the safety of our communities by being able to take some of the money that we're unnecessarily spending on the bureau of prisons and to be able to use it more thoughtfully to be able to keep our communities safe. the senator was speaking a moment ago about some of the innovative programs in texas. we are not doing enough of that in the federal system.
we are trying to do some, but frankly we are not doing enough. we need to be spending more time on prevent, we need to be spending more time and more money on reentry. those are the things that are going to be having an impact on keeping our communities safe. the senator mentioned our recidivism rate. it has stayed the same over the last 30 years despite our high incarceration rates. that tells you we need to be investing mompl that's one of the reasons i believe it's going to keep our communities safer. we can also look at the experience of the states and see the 29 states across the country that have enacted meaningful sentencing reform. nearly all of those koois states have experienced a decrease in violent crime. violent crimes decreased entirely across the country but more in states that have enacted meaningful criminal justice reform than any place else. >> some critics of this legislation will point to that aspect of our bill and will criticize it saying that federal
offenders are by nature just very different than their state counterparts, that they are a different type of offender such that the type of reform mechanism in place already in many of the states, these reform programs that are so successful in so many of our states just have no place within the federal system. now, perhaps that may have been true 100 years ago or even 50 or 60 years ago. but in my experience as an assistant u.s. attorney, i don't think it's always the case anymore. >> right. >> there are certainly areas where that's true. but there are plenty of others where those who are being prosecuted in the federal system are not necessarily inherently different than those that are being prosecuted in the state system. so in light of that, in light of the fact that not everybody we are going after in the nonviolent drug offender arena is necessarily a kingpin, don't you think some of those lower level offenders could benefit from these programs in the same way that many offenders have
benefitted within the state system. >> absolutely. there is certainly a category of defendants be that qualitatively different in the federal system than the state system. but importantly, this reform is not aimed at those defendants. this reform is aimed at the defendants very much like those that are being prosecuted in the state, again, the lower level drug defendants. >> and there may have been a time, many decades ago when we weren't going after he very many of those peoplethrough our federal system. we are now. there are a variety of reasons for that. we don't have to get into that night but that's one of the reasons why we need these provisions in federal law today, am i right. >> that's correct. >> my time has essex pird. >> senator white house? >> thank you senator grassley. before i ask questions, let me join the colleagues on the panel who have thanked you for your chairmanship of this process. you have brought very distinct views of your own, but as chairman you have facilitated
all of us coming together and making this happen. i appreciate that very much. i also want to mention, although he is not here that senator graham played a very significant role working behind the scenes of bringing all of us together based on his experience as a military prosecutor. so thanks to both of them. and thank you, ms. yates, for the support that you and the department of justice has given to us as we have worked through some very complicated issues. senator feinstein asked a question about making sure that when a referral was made for the return to society part of the bill that the assistant united states attorneys and the united states attorneys would not let the ball fall between the cracks and ignore their responsibilities. and i just wanted to reassure her we are very keenly determined to make sure that that takes place. i'm i think more confident than
she is that that would happen in the ordinary course and that something would be developed under the u.s. attorney's manual to put that into place. but i'm delighted to work with her and with you to make sure that there is something that cot phis that as long as it's not creating unnecessary bureaucracy and delay, becomes a part of this bill. looking forward to working with you to nail that last piece down. charging decisions are traditionally the preserve of prosecutors. prosecutors, because of mandatory minimums, have the ability to actually affect sentencing. traditionally, the preserve of judges. that has given prosecutors power to coerce cooperation from people who are in their targets, in their gun sights. and that has had a, i think, good effect on assuring
cooperation. but defendants were cooperating long before these mandatory minimums emerged. and i just want to hear your views on what effect you think there will be of this power that moved from judges to prosecutors now beginning to move back more towards judges. >> you are correct, senator, that defendants were cooperating before we had these mandatory minimums. in fact, defendants cooperate in cases where we are using statutes that don't have mandatory minimum sentences at all. again our experience in smart on crime reflects that a mandatory sentence not necessary and we are confident we will be able to work our way up the chain of operations for this narrow class of defendants who would not be covered then. >> on the cornyn white house section regarding return of inmates to society, there are a
variety of timing requirements by which various acts have to be undertaken by the deputy and by the bureau of prisons. are you confident that those can all be met? >> we are absolutely committed to making -- to meeting those deadlines. >> very well, and this is going to require some effort and some initiative -- >> it is. >> -- oeptd particularly of the bureau of prisons to do the legwork to identify the programs that are most likely to be effective, to put them into place and make sure that the system gets up and running. what is your perception of the degree of excitement over at the bureau of prisons about accomplishing this? do you think they intend to truly lean into this task? if not, will you make sure that sufficient excitement is induced? >> well, i don't have an excitement meter at dop right
now to tell you what their reaction is. what i can tell you is how committed they are as we all are at the department of justice to ensure we are doing everything we can, in fact, we are doing more to reduce recidivism more effectively than we've been able to do thus far. >> thank you chairman. thank you ms. yates. >> senator cloeb czar. >> thank you to you. and welcome, i was just in georgia. everyone misses you there. >> i miss them, too. >> yes, well thank you for your good work. i'm really proud of the work that the senators did on this bill. as a former prosecutor from a state that actually values treatment, values sort of a -- i'd say a carrot and stick approach, does a lot of work with drug courts in the state of minnesota. and compared to other states while we still have our challenges with crime especially in the last few weeks in the cities of