tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 31, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EDT
information officer at the pentagon on cybersecurity. the senate foreign relations committee earlier this week had a confirmation hearing. tennessee senator bob corker chaired the hearing. it's an hour and a half. >> foreign relations committee will come to order. senate foreign relations committee is meeting this morning for a confirmation hearing on nominations, including state department counselor thomas shannon, to be undersecretary of state for
political affairs. if confirmed by the senate, he would replace wendy sherman who helped to lead the u.s. negotiations for iran. and as i said to him when he came into our office and i'm sure, ben, you said the same thing, all of us are gratified when people who commit their life in this way end up ascending to these positions. you oversee africa, east area and the pacific, europe. the nearest, south and central asia, the western hemisphere and international organizations just to note to staff, we could see the world. it would be easier. thank you. the nomination we are considering today for the most senior and influential undersecretary. this is a key nomination for this committee at this time. the person that the senate confirms for this job will not just serve this administration but will also be an institutional bridge to the next. with that i turn to senator cardin. >> let me first thank you for the speed in which this confirmation hearing has been set. i really appreciate it.
and i know your commitment so that the state department has a full complement in dealing with the urgent international issues, there's not a shortage of that. we couldn't have a better person than ambassador shannon, and we thank you very much for your career of public service. we thank you and your family for what you have done for our country. this position has been vacated by secretary sherman who did an outstanding job representing the interests of our country. as i think senator corker pointed out, ambassador shannon is a career diplomat. he's currently the counsellor at the state department. he was the ambassador to brazil. he was the assistant secretary of state and senior director of the national security council staff of the western hemisphere affairs. he's had posts in venezuela, south africa, and other critically important positions. mr. chairman, we have conversations with key nominees before we actually have the formal hearings.
it gives us a chance to sort of explore and get a sense as to the commitment to the issues that we're concerned about. and i just want to share with my colleagues in my conversation with ambassador shannon, i was very impressed with his understanding of the importance of this committee, our oversight role and the critical importance for transparency, openness between the position of undersecretary of state for political affairs and the senate foreign relations committee. and i think that's going to bode well for the type of relationship that we need in order to speak strongly for our country, the proper oversight role of the united states senate. i do want to mention, there's many issues we could talk about the implementation of the iran agreement. and the increased u.s. engagement in the middle east. we could talk about russia's engagement in the ukraine and whether they will comply and how we will assure that they are
held to the standards of the minsk agreement, and then, of course, russia's engagement in crimea, russia's engagement in moldova, in georgia, and now in syria. i just want to mention one point that i know the chairman and i are going to be very much engaged with you, ambassador shannon, and that is the advancement of good governance, transparency, human rights, and anti-corruption. the focal point was on the tip report. you hold a critically important position to make sure that the tip report, which is the gold standard for judging conduct globally on the commitment to fight modern-day slavery, trafficking, is held to the highest standards. the tier ratings are based solely on the facts on the ground. and i just -- in our conversations, i know you are committed to that.
but we want you to know, this committee is going to do everything we can to support that type of an analysis on the tier ratings of the countries of the world. with that, mr. chairman, i look forward to our exchange. >> thank you for bringing up the tip issue. we talked extensively about that in our meeting too. one of the questions i will ask later will be about that. i really appreciate you emphasizing that in an appropriate way. with that, we will turn to our nominee. our first nominee is ambassador thomas shannon who has been nominated to serve as undersecretary for political affairs. ambassador shannon earned the rank of career ambassador, the highest in the foreign service. currently, he serves as counsellor of the state department, a position he's held since 2013. previously ambassador shannon has served as our ambassador to brazil, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, special assistant to the president and senior director of the national security council and assignments abroad.
apparently having some difficulty keeping a job. [ laughter ] he has received a bachelor of arts from the college of william & mary and a master's and doctorate of philosophy from oxford university. we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you very much. members of the senate foreign relations committee, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today as president obama's nominee to be the next undersecretary for political affairs. i very much appreciate the opening remarks, especially the comments regarding tip and i'm going to be happy to answer those questions as we advance in this hearing. as you can imagine, i'm honored by this nomination. i'm also humbled by the nomination. its pedigree is distinguished from its first occupant, robert murphy to such great diplomats
as larry eagleburger and wendy sherman. the position of undersecretary has been defined by extraordinary quality, ability and the dedication of its occupants. throughout my career, i have sought to serve in challenging and complicated places where the power and influence of our great republic could be brought to bear. as you consider my nomination, i can offer you the following. first, i have dedicated my life to public service. my foreign service career began in 1984 and it has spanned five administrations, two democratic and three republican. i understand american power and purpose. i worked in countries and regions in transition and transformation from latin america to africa. i have seen the important and positive influence the united states can bring in helping countries move from authoritarian to democratic governments, from closed to open economies, from an import substitution to development
based on regional integration. in this process, i have seen and understood the attraction we hold for many and the unique role we play in shaping world events and order. third, i believe that diplomacy is an act of advocacy. our great diplomats from john jay to john kerry have had a deep understanding of power politics and its global dimensions. they have used this understanding to protect and advance american interests. however, the vision of order and purpose they brought to american diplomacy was infused with values that reflect or democratic ideals and our conception of individual liberty. fourth, i know how to get things done in what needs to be done. as noted, my professional experience has been spanned assignments in the white house, the state department, international organizations and embassies. as the chairman noted, i probably do have a problem keeping a job. i'm familiar with the machinery of our foreign policy and diplomacy and have experience at every level. finally, i understand the
importance of consultation with the congress. i entered the foreign service during the central american wars. this was a time of institutional divide on our policy in the region. this divide limited our ability to successfully implement our policy. it was only when broad consensus was formed around an agenda based on democracy, human rights, and economic development that we were able to form a bipartisan approach to central america. this experience shaped how the legislative and executive branchs faced foreign policy challenges in columbia and support enjoyed by them and the implementation led to trade policy, reconstruction and development in haiti and the merit initiative in mexico. these experiences taught me that engagement with congress is an essential part of our foreign policy making process and its only long-term guarantee of success. if confirmed, i will consult with congress, i will cult -- consult with this committee, i
will consult with its staff. as i reflect on my experience in american diplomacy, i'm struck by the changes i have seen in three decades. they will not compare to what awaits us. the factors that are driving change, political, economic, social and technological are accelerating. this will increase change and challenge in the world and challenge our ability to understand and respond to events in the world. during the past two years as counselor of the department, i worked on a variety of issues that have been emblematic of the kinds of changes we face. i have worked with our special envoy to south africa on a long and complicated effort to bring peace to south sudan. i worked in southeast asia on an effort designed to improve coordination and cooperation among the countries of the area
to ensure the viability of the river as a source of food, energy and water. i worked on maritime security counterpiracy and trade issues through the indian ocean rim association. finally, i worked to provide a response to the child migrants in the summer of 2014. the result was, the alliance for prosperity and program designed by guatemala and honduras and el salvador to address the root causes of migration in the communities of origin of the children. if confirmed, it will be my assignment to ensure that the department of state under the direction and guidance of the presidents and secretaries of state can meet the challenges and seize the opportunities in
front of us. it would be my job to ensure that our bureaus and missions and the remarkable individuals who serve there have the policy and guidances to be successful in the high level access assistance and support to shape and implement our foreign policy. this is a responsibility that i take seriously. again, acknowledge the important role of the congress. let me close by thanking the president and secretary kerry for the confidence they placed in me. let me thank you, mr. chairman, senator cardin and the senators present for this opportunity to appear before you. finally, let me thank my family. today i have present with me my mother, barbara shannon, along with my father, who she instilled in me the values that led to my public service. i have with me also my brothers paul and terry, both special agents of the fbi and veterans of afghanistan and iraq conflicts. i would like to recognize my wife and our sons. unfortunately, they're not here today. i would not be here today without them. as my colleagues in the foreign service know well, our service to country is a family affair. the joys and dangers of that service abide in our families.
thank you very much. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. we typically are much nicer on people coming before us when their kids are here. when your mother is here, it will probably be much the same. obviously, just for the record, we talked in our office about the tip report. we were very dissatisfied, many of us are very dissatisfied with the way it was handled this last year. i just for the record wonder if you would share with us how you plan to handle it differently this year. >> thank you very much. i had the opportunity to talk about the tip report with a whole range of members of this committee. and i was struck by the consensus of concern about the tip report. this worries me deeply. as you noted, the tip report is a gold standard report. and it's one in which the credibility that the report holds both in the congress and
publically is an essential part of that gold standard. it would be my intention working with my colleagues in the state department who manage this process both on the functional bureau side in jtip, on the regional bureau side, and our m embassies that we have a transparent process and one that can address the concerns expressed. trafficking in persons is an important issue for me. it's an issue i have dealt with at different times in my career. the information that we collect regarding the actions of states, governments, municipalities regarding trafficking comes from our embassies in many instances. how our embassies respond and how they engage with the office of trafficking of persons is an important part of this process. and i've seen this work and i know it can work. i can assure you, sir, i can assure members of this committee that will do everything in my power to make sure that we restore the credibility in your eyes of this report and we can address the concerns you have
expressed. >> i appreciate that. i will say in some cases i would imagine that ambassadors want to see good things happen in the countries that they are involved in. so i hope that while i know the ambassadors play a role, in some cases it can be an advocating role for their country, i hope that you will figure out a way to ensure that that doesn't cause things to be out of balance. >> we will do that, sir. and i will do that. but i can assure you that the american foreign service, as i noted in my remarks, understands our diplomacy is advocacy. we understand the importance of trafficking in persons to you and this committee broadly to the congress, but also to the president. and so i will do everything in my power to make sure that this advocacy is powerful. >> my last comment, you know, certainly i respect tremendously those people who offer themselves for foreign service. i just understand the dynamics
that can sometimes take place, human nature dynamics that can happen on the ground. you have watched and been a part of and worked with so many people who have been in this position. you gave a litany of those who have come before you, many of which are highly respected, many of whom are highly respected. you have watched this and seen how people have operated. what is it that you think you might uniquely do that is different from those who have come before you? >> thank you for that question. it's a very good one. to begin with, there is a bureaucratic and policy management process to this job that infuses the work of all undersecretaries. as you noted, we sit atop a variety of bureaus. the six geographic bureaus and the bureau that manages international organizations in an effort to manage and focus
policy so that it can be as successful as possible. but i'm one of the first nominees in a long time, since tom pickering, who comes with strong experience in latin america and africa, the larger developing world. really a world of transition and transformation. although my purview will be the globe and i have already over the last two years done a variety of work in the middle east, more deeply in africa, in southeast asia, and the indo-pacific region, i understand the impact and how to manage transformation. i understand how the united states has done it in a variety of environments but especially in africa and latin america. i began my career in central america during a transition from authoritarian government and military government to democratic government. i have worked in a variety of countries that were making a similar transition such as in brazil and in south africa from 1992 to '96 i was part of a u.s.
team that helped manage and promote a transition from an apartheid government to the government of nelson mandela. so i think i bring an understanding of transition and transformation. i think i understand -- i bring an understanding of post-conflict societies. and i think i can inject and add a dimension to our foreign policy that could be very important. >> thank you very much. with that, i will turn to ranking member cardin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. again, mr. ambassador, thank you for your service. we very much appreciate the members of your family that are here. we do recognize this as a family commitment, and we thank them also. you mentioned your experiences with congress in central america conflict, that there was deep division in congress but where we spoke in unity, the united states was stronger in its carrying out its mission. there's been a division in congress over the support for the iran agreement.
but there's been no division in congress about the importance of the congressional review and the ongoing commitment that congress has in the implementation of the iran agreement. the iran review act that was passed in a very bipartisan vote, almost unanimous vote in the united states congress, spells out certain continuing commitments by the administration to keep congress informed. we do that because we had a conversation yesterday about the compliance with iran on the agreement. there's already been a violation of the u.n. resolution dealing with ballistic missiles. how the united states responds to that to many of us is an indication on whether we will demand zero tolerance for violations and strict compliance.
so we need to be kept informed in a very open way as to how the compliance issues are taking place. they may not elevate to the type of violation that would warrant the united states taking actions to reimpose full sanctions, but they may be of interest as to how we can make sure that there's full compliance with the agreement. we also have the concerns of recognizing that iran's not going to change its nefarious activities, particularly as it relates to the support of terrorism and its human rights issues that may engage us in a way to how we counter those activities. so being able to trace the funds that iran will be receiving through sanction relief and how they use those funds, it's going to be of great interest to the members of this committee and to the members of congress. so i just would like to get your assurances that you have given
us about keeping us fully engaged. we know what the law requires. but what i'm asking for is, as you pointed out in your relationships with congress in the past, that we're going to have a very open relationship and full information so that we can carry out our critically responsible -- responsibilities of oversight. >> thank you very much, senator. again, i appreciate the question. i especially appreciate its intent and purpose. the implementation of the jcpoa is going to be what makes it a good agreement or a bad agreement. we are intent on ensuring that that implementation is to the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. in that regard, we intend to consult with the congress along the way and will consult with congress along the way at different steps in the implementation process. i think it's worth noting that secretary kerry and president
obama have selected ambassador steve mull to manage the implementation process, the interest-agency side but our engagement with the iranians. he has a group of experts working with him that have deep experience in this and that he has chosen myself as nominee for undersecretary to manage along with ambassador mull work in the joint commission, which will meet regularly to assess the implementation process. it is worth noting that in choosing us, he has chosen career foreign service officers and he has chosen two people who did not participate in the negotiations of the agreement. and therefore, he is bringing fresh eyes and objective eyes to the implementation process. i think it's smart and important. but as ambassador mull and i carry out this work, we will be consulting with you you the other members of this committee
and your staff. we recognize and understand the importance of having the executive branch and the legislative branch having clear understandings of what needs to be done in the implementation process. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator purdue. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador, it's an honor to have you here today. i appreciate the courtesy of a private meeting with you recently. i want to publicly for the record applaud your career. i know you have raised your kids abroad. you probably saw your mother much less than you would have liked through your career. we're here today -- i just applaud your career and thank you for being here and for being willing to take on this new responsibility. i would like to move to the global security crisis that we talked privately about. i see it on three levels. one, we've got a power vacuum out there that has created a rise again of these power rivalri rivalries, china and russia. we saw another power vacuum in iraq into which isis has stepped and created all sorts of problems in syria and iraq and
several other areas in the region and in subsaharan africa. of course now the iran nuclear deal that as you well said privately and i think just now that it's all in the implementation. i would like to focus on syria. i know we got talks coming up tomorrow. what are the prospects of those talks? are you concerned that in your new role -- are you concerned about iran being a part of the dialogue this early in the conversation and also russia, as far as i can see? bashar al assad has been propped up by putin. without their help, he would have been gone a long time and g -- ago and he would not have had the wherewithal to continually barrel bomb his people and gas his own people.
are you a little concerned about having the arsonist trying to help put the fire out in these talks this weekend? >> thank you very much, senator. again, very grateful for your willingness to see me and talk about these issues. as secretary kerry i think noted in his testimony here -- i know as assistant secretary patterson and general allen noted, you are know, our objectives in syria remain degrading and defeating isil, fostering a political transition and helping syrians lay the foundation for a free feature, but a future without isil and without assad. in this regard, secretary kerry -- >> sooim -- i'm sorry. is it still the administration's position and your understanding that bashar al assad has to go? is that a prerequisite for this? >> correct. >> thank you. second kerry in his effort to fashion a global response to events in syria as he said trying to chart a course out of hell, he has determined that there's a moment in time in which it is important to bring together major players and actors to address events inside of syria. part of this process builds off of earlier processes such as the
meetings in london and geneva. but the insertion of russia and iran in a very aggressive way in syria has also created a different kind of dynamic. the russian and iranian presence or support for assad is nothing new. but the russian military presence and air strikes is something new. the presence of iranian troops and special forces is something new and worrisome. for this reason, the secretary thought it was time to bring everybody together and effectively call their bluff, determine whether or not their commitment to fighting -- their public commitment to fighting isil and terrorism is a meaningful one and the extent to which they are prepared to work broadly with the international community to convince mr. assad that during a political transition process he will have to go. >> you have got, i think you said, great experience in post-conflict societies.
is it possible iran would support a secular government after bashar al assad p perspectively leaves? >> i don't know the answer to that question, sir. i think we're only going to determine whether or not that is possible by engaging. you know, our engagement is not going to affect our intent or purpose. we are hopeful that we can establish an environment in syria where we can address the underlying political problems and allow the syrians to determine their future and to do it in a way in which they're not responding to iran or to russia. >> i'm almost out of time. i want to move on to venezuela. because of your vast experience there, i know you have led conversations there. talk to us a minute about our role in ensuring that they have a true and open and free election in the upcoming election. >> thank you for that question. it's an important one. as we have engaged with venezuela, we focused on a variety of issues that are
important to us. first, when we first began our engagement, it was about insisting that venezuela establish a date for legislative elections. when we first engaged, they had not established such a day and there was concern about whether or not they would establish such a date. secondly, it was -- we focused on political prisoners, not just high-profile prisoners but also a group of students and other political prisoners, between 77 and 80, depending on who is doing the counting, who are being held by the government of venezuela for what we believe to be political purposes. we wanted to make it very clear that we did not agree with that and we thought it important that these people be released and allowed to participate in public life. finally, connected to the broader purpose of elections, trying to convince venezuela it was in their interest to ensure international electoral
observation of the upcoming elections in order to validate the results of the elections and allow all venezuelans to understand that their votes were freely cast and counted in valid fashion. these remain our principal objectives. we do have an electoral date. we were able to accomplish that. the political prisoners, for the most part, are still in prison. some have been released. we continue to advocate for them. and we've helped create a larger environment in latin america where advocating for these political prisoners is now more common and direct. we see it in the oas. we see it in the interamerican human rights commission and in a variety of other forums. we work with our partners around the issue of electoral observation. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator menendez. go ahead.
senator kaine? we have a very courteous committee. [ laughter ] >> new jersey civility is always appreciated. thank you, mr. chairman. >> notwithstanding what governor christie said last night. >> thank you, ambassador shannon. a couple of points. your long career has included service in some very dangerous areas. talk about the evolving security conditions under which our folks have to operate around the globe and your sensitivity to those issues in this new role. >> senator, thank you very much. i am a proud member of the commonwealth of virginia. thank you very much for your service as governor and as senator. we're very lucky to have you. you know, today -- i live in crystal city. i take the bus to work. which means i get off on constitution and 22nd. i walk up 22nd street and enter the state department through the c street entrance.
aside from seeing the array of flags of all the countries of which we have diplomatic relations, i also see on both walls on either side of our entrance the names of all the foreign service officers and family members who have given their lives in the service of the united states of america. so every day it is impressed upon me the danger of our job, but also the honor of serving and the importance of being able to make that kind of commitment. this is really a wall of honor for us. it's also a wall of inspiration. but at the same time, we don't want to add any more names. the first name was walter paulfre. he was lost at sea in 1780. we have -- we realize we operate in a dangerous world. as i noted, we're in an especially dangerous spot around
the world. how we manage security and the structures we put in place are going to be key to how well we can protect our people and how well we can manage risk. whether it's through our kind of high threat post review process, whether it's through the determinations on whether or not we keep our embassies open, how we determine -- these are processes that have to be fluid, dynamic, agile and reflect the facts on the ground. aside from that, i believe we need to do more in terms of training our officers to be their own security officers. in other words, allowing them to understand better the environment they're going to be in and allowing them the training and the tools necessary to protect themselves. the reality is, we are an expediti expeditionary diplomatic service. we have 275 diplomatic missions
around the world. we have about 10,000 american diplomats and civil servants around the world. we're responsible for them all. >> this is something that senator purdue and i have worked on a lot. i hope we will reach a point soon where we can give a green light to the state department's long plan to build an enhanced security training facility for embassy personnel. a point on iran to pick up the comments that both the chair and ranking member meant. when we were working on the review act, the administration's attitude really was they didn't think congress should have a role in approving an iran deal, which i thought was given the fact the congressional sanctions were such an integral part of the negotiation. and i would just say i hope the administration will have a different attitude going forward in terms of congress' role. the deal puts congress in the middle of it. in year eight, congress is required under this deal to dismantle the congressional
sanctions statutes or we are in breach of the agreement. just as in year eight the iranian parliament is required to permanently accept the additional protocol requirements or they're in breach of the agreement. there's not going to be a scenario where congress will kind of be kept in the dark and uninvolved and then suddenly in year eight we'll be asked, okay, repeal the sanctions statute. it's hard to get a mother's day resolution passed in two houses of congress. the notion that you would get 60 votes in the senate and a majority in the house to repeal the sanction statutes in year eight if there hasn't been very significant dialogue and trust building and assurances that congress feels comfortable about, we'll be in breach of the agreement if we don't have this really tight kind of communication dialogue and accepted level of congressional oversight over the implementation. i hope that will be your philosophy in the position. >> thank you for that. it will be my philosophy. the challenge we're going to face as both an executive branch and a legislative branch is that eight years a long time. we will pass through at least one other administration and
maybe more. so in trying to find ways to ensure continuity of purpose and continuity of dialogue is going to be a central part of what we will do. >> one last -- congratulations. it's premature but it's congratulations on the effort. the state department's commitment to really aggressive diplomacy, we're aware of the iran deal, we're aware of taking a new tact with cuba but the u.s. has played a really important role in companying the government of colombia in the negotiations with the farc. i know there was an announcement by president santos of we would hope to get to an internationally monitored cease-fire on new year's day. this is the last war that's going on in the americas. there's plenty of problems in the americas, but the notion of two continents without war, i'm not sure there's been a time in recorded history where the americas has been without war. we're close to that.
the u.s. has played an important role in accompanied colombia and being an advocate and ally in those negotiations. i give credit to the state department for this kind of focus on important and multi-lateral diplomacy and appreciate your efforts. >> thank you. i want to thank the congress and this committee in particular for the tremendous work that has been done over the years along with the house and the members of the house who have dedicated themselves to colombia. it's really been a stellar group of people, and they've been a pleasure to work with. and i've had an opportunity to do it in so many incarnations from the deputy assistant secretary and then as assistant secretary. also as counselor, i've been involved in this. you are. if thecolombians are able to
negotiate this deal, it will be the first time not only in living memory, but probably since the formation of most of the south american republics in the early 19th century that this hemisphere has been at peace in terms of state on state wars and internal conflicts. but the challenge we're going to face -- in this we're going to be engaging with you, sir, and senator cardin, with this committee, about how to ensure that having been colombia's best partner in war, we're going to be their best partner in peace. because colombia is going to be -- is a great nation, but it's going to be a greater nation.
with brazil, it will be one of the defining powers of south american. as a caribbean power, as an amazonian power and pacific power and as a country that will, if it's successful in the peace process, have consolidated its society and been able to extend the reach of the state into the plains of colombia, it will be a major producer of oil and gas, of minerals, agricultural power. but it will also has a dynamic and entrepreneurial people who will be very, very important players throughout the hemisphere. how we shape that is going to have a big impact how successful we are in the hemisphere. >> thank you. senator menendez? >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador, congratulations on your nomination. considering your distinguished
career, i think it's having your mom and dad here and two fbi agents is over the top. you know? in terms of guaranteeing your nomination. on a serious note, we had a good conversation. i listened to some of your responses today. i just want to quickly go over some ground, because i think it's incredibly important. would you agree with me that consultation with this committee and the senate is an important factor in us having a united front in u.s. foreign policy? >> yes, it is. >> because what i have experienced both as the former chairman of this committee and as a member is that we get a lot of notification but not a lot of consultation. and there's a difference. we may not agree at the result of consulting, but at least you will understand, you know, some thoughts of those of us who represent the nation. maybe there will be ways to achieve a common goal, but to do it in a different way. and so what i have experienced is a lot of notification but not a lot of consultation. so i'm glad to hear that you are committed to consultation. secondly, do you agree with me that the tip report needs to be the gold standard? >> yes, i do. >> i think i could probably not find anybody on this committee who believes that the last report did not have -- did not meet that standard. in the questions of malaysia and cuba and some other places, the
justifications belie the facts and the reality is is that you can't say that certain things in a reporting period that happen to be good for that country will be included, even though they're beyond the reporting period, and certain things that are bad that are also beyond the recording period don't get included. either we include everything beyond the reporting period, good and bad, or we stick to the reporting period. but you can't go beyond the reporting period for what's good but not beyond the reporting period for what's bad. i'm referring particularly to malaysia and the mass graves that we found. that wasn't considered in what malaysia was doing in that context. some passage of a law that wasn't even yet enforced was considered. we need to make that the gold standard.
i hope that we can -- understanding the pressures within the department from regional bureaus and whatnot, but it just doesn't work the way it worked the last time. it undermines our credibility in trafficking in persons. thirdly, would you agree with me that we must respond to violations by iran of whether it is its nuclear agreement or security council resolutions with significant responses or else we will be down a slippery slope in terms of what they think they can get away with? >> yes, i do. >> so i say that because we -- regardless -- there are members of this committee that voted both ways. i oppose the agreement. i think it's aspirational. i hope it works now that it's the law. by the same token, i don't think any of it can work if iran thinks it can get away with violating, as it largely has done for the past decade and a half in violating international
united nations security council resolutions and international law and still largely developed a nuclear program. if we're going to get anything out of this agreement, it has to be enforced. and with the ballistic missile test that they had, i don't think you're going to end up with a u.n. resolution that's going to sanction them because russia will probably negate it with its veto, so we have to be thinking about how we're going to respond to that. otherwise we're headed down a slippery slope. i know this won't be the main stay of your portfolio. but the reality is, you are going to have as the third highest ranking person at the state department some say in this. i hope you will hold the view that you have publically described here as saying it's important within the deliberations of the department. thirdly, fourthly, venezuela. you and i had a long discussion of this. i have to be honest with you.
i appreciate what you are trying to do when you met with the man who is supposedly by some of our agencies described as someone who is involved in narco trafficking. i realize he has an elected position inside of venezuela. that's a question for the future as a policy, how far do we go with individuals who while they may hold the position are involved in the context of narco trafficking? in venezuela, you have a process in which we don't have yet international observers. you have a sham trial with a prosecutor ultimately fleeing -- one of the prosecutors flees the country and says that he was under pressure to ultimately pursue the case in the manner in which he did. lopez is convicted in a sham trial. i think 13 years in jail. and you have a series of other
human rights activists and political dissidents jailed. and you have the madura regime basically saying publicly in essence, we're going to win the elections. which basically means, we're going to win it one way or the other. the polls don't indicate they will. but we will win it. my concern is -- the thing i think you do bring to this job that others don't have is your combination of latin america and africa experience. my concern is that we are not willing to challenge regimes, whether it be in venezuela or cuba where we have seen nothing, nothing in terms of human rights and democracy issues. talk to me about challenging a regime when the diplomacy has not achieved what we want and we pass this law that came out of this committee on venezuela on sanctions.
the president invoked some of it. there's still a lot more that could be invoked. when is the demarcation in which we say our diplomacy has not worked? how do we back it up with some strength? >> thank you very much. let me thank you for why you commitment to latin america and the state department. it has been an important motivator for us, an important driver of how we shape the diplomats of the future. in regard to the tip report, let me reiterate that i'm committed to addressing the concerns of this committee and members of the committee who have expressed their concerns to me. as i noted previously, it's very worrisome for me that a report that should be a gold standard is seen as not being that. so i will do everything i can to address those concerns and ensure that we are examining countries under the rubric of
the report with all the rigor that is required by law. with regard to iran violations, i can guarantee you we will respond to them. we recognize as important as the jcpoa is, it has a set of sanctions tied to it that are nuclear related. but there are sanctions related the ballistic missiles, to human rights, and to terrorism. we will pursue those when we see them. we understand that our relationship with iran is a complicated one. but, again, our success in the jcpoa and its implementation will only happen if we show a clear willingness to pursue violations elsewhere under other sanctions regimes. with regard to venezuela, we had a good conversation. i appreciated your point of view. i understand it and i appreciate the concerns that others have expressed. as we look at what's next in venezuela, so much of our own
relationship with venezuela will depend on what happens around the legislative elections and what happens around the issue of political prisoners. when i met with them as i noted to you earlier, it was with the purpose first of all of winning from them an electoral date for legislative assembly elections which we thought was essential to create a political process that would allow the venezuelan people to express themselves, but also create a larger environment for dialogue inside of venezuela. its secondary purpose was to save the life of lopez was in the fourth week of a hunger strike and we were looking for an action by the venezuelan government that would convince lopez to come off his strike. we believe lopez along with the other political prisoners being held are an essential part of a broader solution to the kinds of internal challenges that venezuela faces today.
we will continue to advocate for his release after we have done over time. as we have engaged with venezuela, we have never backed off our criticism regarding some of its political behavior and activity. we have suppressed our concern about the politicized judiciary and continued holding of political elections. the ability of elections to be perceived as free elections and the vote count is valid is an important part how we manage the next step in the relationship. in that regard the legislation that you worked on and that other members of this committee and senate worked on will be an important tool for us and we will use it if necessary. >> i hope you use the tool. i look forward to supporting your confirmation before the committee and the senate. >> senator coons? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, ambassador, for your
service. thank you for your family for sustaining and supporting his service and immediate family service over so many years and challenging environments. i will concur with my colleague from new jersey that your long service in latin america and in africa brings in particularly a needed strength. your service as a member of the career foreign service officer brings an important and vital perspective. so let me just broadly reference three questions. then you take as much time as you wish. allocate your time accordingly. service employees of the department what you think are the most important, most needed steps to continue to attract and retain and motivate the best and brightest to serve in these difficult and demanding and important posts around the world. i'm also interested, you succeed wendy sherman, hopefully you will be confirmed, i'll support your confirmation and she placed a real focus on peacekeeping. peacekeeping is difficult business.
it's expensive. it's full of complications. there is an african standby force that is in the early stages of being perhaps ready to actually serve on the continent. they've been doing some recent exercises in south africa and i'd be interested in how you see the future of peacekeeping and how we make it sustainable from a cost perspective. and last i'm concerned about how we support economic growth in africa while also supporting democracy and governance. there's been a hotly contested election in answer the indonesia. the results were announced in the last hour. they were invalidated in zanzibar earlier today. we have a number of critical other elections this year. how do we balance those two -- promoting economic growth and development while still advocating for our values over the values of some of our competitors in africa? >> well, thank you very much, senator. appreciate the questions and let me thank you for the trip you made to the state department to
meet with some of our mid-level officer, it was a great experience for them. but we really appreciate the respect you showed us and we look forward to inviting you back so thank you for that. in regard to your first question, how to attract and keep the best people, that's something we struggle with everyday. luckily, we have a really interesting portfolio and so we tend to attract people who are smart, motivated and expeditionary in mind-set. this to want go places and they want to do things and so that's important to us. but the challenges we face are real. the challenges that dual career families face in the foreign service, the challenges that families with children with special needs face. and then the broader security environment that we spoke about earlier also affect how people understand the foreign service and the degree to which they enter the foreign service or stay as officers. we are really at this point in time going through a
generational change in the foreign service. 60% of the foreign service, nearnear ly 60%, about 57% or something, of the foreign service has served for 10 years or less. this is remarkable. that means we have a cadre of younger officers who are going to be our next generation of leaders. who have served in the foreign service during a period of combat in iraq and afghanistan and a larger global struggle against terrorism and in many instances, some of these classes have gone in large numbers to iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, and other areas first where they're unaccompanied postings but secondly where the challenges they face are quit significant. and how we help these officers understand a larger world, how we mentor them, how we train them, how we enhance their language capability is going to be a big part of our success? the future so one of the
assignments i'm going to take on myself is really a mentoring assignment and it's intent on engaging with our geographic bureaus, with national foreign affairs training center, with the foreign service institute and with the secretary to ensure he can leave behind a legacy of enhanced language training, enhanced regional stud dooz and ability to do for the field to help officers become familiar with the areas they're working on and areas they want to continue to work on. but let me share one quick anecdote with you. as i go around and talk to younger officers, especially in the middle east, one of their biggest concerns is security. but not whether they're going to be okay. their concern is are they going to be able to do their job. and this is where we talked about earlier, they want the tools to be able to do their job and that means the security environment that protects them but also their ability to understand and interpret the environment they're in and in this regard we've got a lot of work to do because there's some
places that are just deadly force us and we just either can't go there or we have to go there under very careful conditions. but, again, this is something i'm really focused on because this is going to have a big impact on some of our best and brightest as to whether they stay. if they think their career is going spent in a container or behind an embassy wall and if they can only go out in force and with interpreters they're not going to stay so we have to find a way to deal with this. and then finally the -- you know, africa is a special interest of mine. i've served in washington on african affairs but also in the field on african affairs and i've been able to travel to africa a lot. the economic growth side is really important for this continent. this is the continent of the 21st century and president obama through his africa leader summit highlighted the importance of commercial engagement and presented a different vision of africa to the american people, one of opportunity and growth. and as we look into the future,
we need to understand that the chinese have figured this out and the chinese are present in africa in a big way and so we have to be present in a big way. and that means looking for ways to push american businesses, american investment and create the connectivity around economic growth that is necessary for africa to continue to grow at the rate that it's growing. i think it's the fastest-growing continent in the world in terms of commerce and investment. but that said, the governance issues are really striking in different parts of africa and the issues we're facing, whether it be in tanzania, weather it be in the drc, burundi, rwanda or beyond, how leaders understand their role as elected leaders, how they understand their ability to perpetuate themselves in power and the degree to which they use state structures to further themselves in power and don't address the transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption issues that will be the basis for long term economic growth and development
is going to be key and it has to be a central part of our engagement in africa and i believe it is and i think with your assistant secretary linda toms in a greenfield we have been dynamic, pushing hard on these issues, not always successfully because of the nature of some of the countries that we've been working in, but we haven't given up. and i can assure you that governance is going to be a big part of how we engage in africa because absent the right kind of governance that economic growth is not going to have the social impact it needs to have. >> thank you, mcr. chairman. >> thank you. as you know, there will be follow up questions and we'll keep the record open for bot nominees but thank you for your willingness to serve, for having your family here, for their service to our country and we look forward to your confirmation. >> thank you very much. i'm very grateful. >> yes, sir. next, we'll consider the nomination of laura hallgate, nominee to be u.s.
representative to the vienna office of the united nations and u.s. representative to the international atomic energy agency, commonly called the iaea. this role requires an and jiel ambassador capable of representing u.s. position with a diverse array of u.n. organizations from the u.n. office on drugs and crime to the u.n. division of management, is the comprehensive test ban treaty organization of which we're not a party, the wasserman arrangement and the u.n. commission on international trade law among others. perhaps the most visible toll this committee given the ongoing engagement on the jcpoa with iran will be the nominee's representation of the united states at the international atomic energy agency. i recognize that you ms. holgate have dedicated your career, as we have discussed privately, to promoting nuclear security and establishing an environment that staunchs the spread of nuclear
materials. but the challenges of the position may be daunting. you will be called upon to hold a strong line in the face of pressure from our partners who, in order to open economic relations with iran may seek to close the door on old allegations and turn a blind eye to previous military dimensions of the program that may provide indicators necessary for the iaea to monitor the program going forward. you may be called upon to defend u.s. -- key u.s. positions in the face of opposition from non-aligned movement -- from the non-aligned movement. you may have to stand alone to adequately defend u.s. national security interests. i hope you will explain how you intend to fulfill these obligations in this role and the expectations you have for your ability to successfully represent the u.s. while we have the opportunity, i'd also like for you to discuss your government -- our government's current efforts to counter nuclear smuggling and how you may use this position if
confirmed to further ensure the security of nuclear material globally. appreciate your attendance before the committee today and look forward to growing our relationship should you be confi confirmed. with that, i would like to recognize our distinguished ranking member senator cardin. >> well, let me also welcome laura holgate. thank you very much for your long-standing public service and as was pointed out by the previous witness, this is a family commitment, we thank you and your family for your willingness to serve our country in this critically important position. you bring a host of qualifications to this nomination. senior position at department of energy and department of defense, a career that prevents terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction. you're currently the senior director of the weapons of mass
destruction terrorism and threat reduction at the national security council. you come well prepared for the challenges in vienna and i say that because, yes, there are the direct responsibilities that you have on the organizations in vienna under the united nations and the iaea and others. but it's also working with two other very important missions that we have, the host mission for austria as well as the osce mission that you and i had a chance to talk about all are housed in vienna. so you're part of a diplomatic team that we have in a critically important place where major decisions are being made. obviously the focus today is very much on the responsibilities and the implementation of the iran agreement by the iaea and as we talked privately and i'll repeat now and as i pointed out to ambassador shannon, your openness with us is critically
important and appreciate the commitments that you've made in that regard. mr. chairman, i'm also pleased to note that a former member of this body who worked closely with laura holgate during the eight years she worked at the nuclear threat initiative has written a letter on her behalf touting mrs. holgate "superb only in and skills and passion for reducing global dangers." i would request that be part of our record. >> without objection. thank you, senator cardin. i will turn to our second nominee. that's laura holgate who is nominated to serve as ambassador and u.s. representative to the united nations and international atomic energy sergeant agentsy. she's advised the president for over six years in special assistant to the president and senior director for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and threat reduction in the national security council. she received her bachelor of arts from princeton university
and a master's in science from the massachusetts institute of technology. we welcome you. if you could summarize your thoughts in about five minutes, we will look forward to questions and, again, congratulations on your nomination. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, ranking member cardin, members of the committee. i'm honored to appear before you today as the president's nominee to serve as the u.s. permanent representative to the vienna offices of the united nations, the international atomic energy agency and other international organizations in vienna. i'm grateful to president obama and to secretary kerry for the kfsz they have placed in me. this is a critical moment for the united states' interests in the iaea and the other u.n. offices in vienna. full implementation of the joint comprehensive plan of action with iran, successful transition of the nuclear security summits' work to secure and reduce global stockpiles of nuclear material to the relevant enduring international institutions, safe
and secure expansion of nuclear energy and other peaceful nuclear technologies and innovative peaceful applications of space science depend on active, focused leadership and engagement by the united states to promote our national interests and to advance our contributions toward shared global priorities. my experience inside and outside the u.s. government has prepared me to play this vital role in vienna. i've worked on reducing nuclear, biological and chemical threats since 1989. i have served a combined 14 years in the department of defense, the department of energy, and at the national security council where i led programs and developed policies to keep materials out of terrorist hands, to destroy chemical weapons in russia, libya, and syria and to prevent bioterrorism. for eight years i headed the non-government nuclear threat initiatives programs in the former soviet union and pioneered projects such as the iaea's low enriched uranium fuel bank. most relevant to the position
for which i am being considered, i have led the preparation of four nuclear security summit, working closely with counterparts from 52 diverse countries and four international organizations, including the united nations and the iaea. each of these positions has contributed to my ability to represent the united states and the president with authority and respect. if i may, mr. chairman, i would like to introduce to you and the committee three very special people who have joined me hear today -- my husband rick holgate has for 27 years steadfastly supported my career even as he has built his own impressive accomplishments in government service and in the private sector. i am proud and grateful for his encouragement and partnership as we consider this new opportunity to serve. my parents, susan and burt hayes are here from richmond as well. my father as a twa pilot opened my eyes, ears, and mind to the wide world beyond overland park, kansas. and my mother set the example of
opening our doors and our hearts to people who are different from us. these early influences launched me on the path to today's hearing and i hope to honor their faith in me by my service. and i deeply appreciate the support of friends and colleagues who are watching these proceedings today. mr. chairman, if i am confirmed in this position, i pledge to strengthen and broaden the partnerships with other member states and with the u.n. agencies in vienna and further develop the coalitions that we need to achieve u.s. priorities. the key among these goals is that the iaea has the tools it needs to monitor implementation of the p5+1 iran joint comprehensive plan of action. going forward, the iaea with its proven record of technical expertise offers us an agency well placed to ensure robust implementation. i pledge to play my role in keeping congress informed and engaged as this implementation process proceeds. another opportunity i see is to leverage the u.n. office of
drugs and crimes technical assistance to counter and prevent terrorism and trafficking through training and other support for judges and prosecutors, especially those in high-threat regions and countries. u.n. o.d.c.'s efforts complement our own counterterrorism efforts and reach countries we may not be able to engage directly. finally, if confirmed i will press organizations in vienna to continue to make progress on management reforms, transparency and fairness. i will encourage intensified efforts towards achieving greater diversity, including at the senior and policy-making levels. i will continue the efforts of my predecessors to strongly support the hiring of qualified american citizens to these organizations. mr. chairman, the specialized and technical agencies in vienna foster activities and technologies that affect the lives of every citizen everyday, from combatting the spread of nuclear weapons in human and
arms trafficking to harnessing the power of the atom to promote human health and reduce and eliminate hunger to utilizing space for communication, disaster early warning and exploration and research. if confirmed, i would work in close consultation with this committee and the congress to ensure that u.s. values and priorities are fully reflected in our positions and that u.s. contributions and resources are expended with care. we owe the american people and the people all over the world no less. i thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and i look forward to your questions. >> well, thank you very much. if you would, explain -- i know we have a gentleman, former ambassador steven maul who will be overseeing the implementation. how are your role and his role interact? >> thank you, sir. if confirmed, i would be continuing as -- i would be part of ambassador moll's team of interagency partners.
the current charge in the position participatie ins in th meetings remotely and is in regular contact with ambassador moll. i would expect to continue and intensify that level of engagement in the inner agency policy process and the role in the -- in vienna is to be the eyes and ears on the ground of what's going on, not just the formal presentation of information from the secretariat but understanding the trends, the issues, the mood, how the conversations are going and being sure that those are reported back into the u.s. policy process. also, being alert to opportunities to improve activities or steps that may need to be taken and to be sure that those are incorporated into our government-wide implementation efforts. >> who do you actually, if confirmed, who will you actually receive direction if here in washington relative to positions that you take? >> the letter of commission for
ambassadors typically says the directions come from the president and from the secretary of state, sir. my chain, my reporting chain goes through assistant secretary crocker and then up through the position that we just had the nominee for. but these issues are addressed in an interagency process and a whole-of-government effort and i will, if confirmed, play the role that i'm assigned in that context. >> i know you're going to get some questions from someone, whether qfr and personal, in a personal way relative to whether you're involved in the negotiation of the jcpoa and so i'd like to give you the opportunity publicly to state what your involvement was. >> appreciate that question, senator, as we discussed in our conversation which appreciated i was not part of the negotiating team, nor was i privy to the judgments made in the process of that negotiation. i am, however, familiar with its
contents and i am fully prepared to vigorously support its implementation in the iaea. and will you have the opportunity in this position if confirmed to be able to read the side agreements that were negotiated? >> mr. senator, the side agreements that are referred to are actually safeguards agreements that are bilateral agreements between the iaea and the member state. those are safeguards confidential and those are not shared with any member states. >> i hadn't planned to go down this route but i'm just curious, then, what kind of oversight role do you have in this position? >> well, the international -- >> in other words, so you have to director -- so the director is just able to negotiate whatever the director wishes and the folks who do what you do have no oversight role?
no board of directors type role relative to the entity? >> senator, it's my understanding that safeguards agreements are bilateral agreements between the secretariat and the member state. that's true for every country that's a member of the iaea. the u.s. has a similar safeguards agreement that is not public, is not available to other member states. this is part of how the iaea maintains the confidentiality of information that is supplied in connection with that. the iaea is, however, required to report on its findings on confirmation and verification of the commitments made in these safeguards agreements and those are the reports that are provided by to member states and that we will be providing to the congress as they come from the secretariat. >> and, again, i know you have nothing do with how this has been set up, this is not directed at you, i'm just, again, had not planned to go down this route. so that's odd, i would seem to me, that the safeguards agreement is the agreement as to
how the work is going to be carried out. so you're not really conveying any confidential information, you're just talking about how you're going to deal with that entity to find out or that country to find out how they're progressing in the agreements that are made. why would that be kept away from the folks, if you will, that are overseeing this particular organization? i'm just curious as to why you think that would be the case? >> mr. senator, the safeguards agreements include a range of technical details, including design of nuclear facilities, including proprietary information about how those facilities operate, an extreme amount of technical detail that helps the agency understand where it needs to apply safeguards, how it has to do with the process that is executed in that facility. those are -- that is not information that countries are eager to share with other countries and, frankly, from a non-proliferation point of view, that's not information you're eager to have made public.
>> one of the things that concerned people no matter how they ended up voting relative to the agreement, i think there was a concern, universal concern, about the issue of possible military dimensions and the fact that the -- all iran had to do was go through the process and whether the iaea came up with a report that was an a-plus report or a d-minus report it didn't matter as long as the process was gone through, if you will. that was very concerning, i think, to a lot of people and somewhat shocking and i guess i would ask you, let's say you're confirmed and, you know, the report comes back as a d-minus. in other words, we really didn't learn much because they didn't provide much information which, again, concerned a lot of people. what is in the this particular role that you would be able to do about that, if anything?
>> senator, as i understand it, the iaea will be delivering its report in mid-december. if i am fortunate enough to achieve your confidence by then in order to be there at that time that report will be provided to the board of governors of the iaea and the board will have a chance to act and engage on the basis of that information. the jcpoa is focused on the future rather than the past so its mission is to make sure that those activities do not occur again, that if, in fact, there are steps taken towards possible military activities of iran that those are alerted to, that those are identified by the iaea, alerted to member states and in a timely fashion that allows us to take steps to prevent them from happening again. >> but you do agree with all the technical background that you
have that having knowledge as to how far they've gone in the past towards weaponization is an important element in discerning how quickly in the future they will be able to move towards that same goal, is it not? >> yes, sir. knowledge is absolutely an important component of approaches to a military program but all the knowledge in the world is -- does not get you to a weapon if they don't have material, if they don't have the with all to make material that could be used as a weapon and that's the mission of the iaea, to monitor in an unprecedentedly intrusive way from the mines all the way throw the reactor and after. every piece of nuclear material that is used in iran. and that is where we gain the confidence that that knowledge will not be misapplied. >> i'll move on to senator cardin, my time is up. i probably will have more questions. >> i'm going to follow up on your question first. the director general of the iaea
reports that the board of governors, you're our representative on the board of governors, we expect that you will have access to all information you need to properly manage the director general, the iaea and represent the united states. and i don't disagree with your analysis that the agreements we're referring to are confidential agreements between the -- negotiated by the iaea and the member states and confidentiality is maintained. iran's somewhat different. during the negotiations of the jcpoa a representative of the united states was allowed to review those documents and i don't know whether that was done directly by the iaea or by iran but it was done and i mention that because i think as senator corker pointed out, we're going to need a clear understanding as to how iran is proceeding,
particularly as it relates to its military dimensions. but there's more to it than that. and a working understanding of the arrangements between the iaea and the -- iran is going to be essential for you to be fully read into that. and i think you will and then we need your candid assessments as to how much information we receive and whether it's in compliance with the jcpoa. so i just really wanted to underscore that point. i understand confidentiality but i also understand responsibilities of the board of governs and you're the key player in that regard so you have responsibility here. let me just ask you an open question on this which is where do you see the greatest challenges within the iaea in assuring compliance by iran of its commitments under jcpoa, which -- that part that comes under the responsibilities of the iaea. >> senator, thank you for that
question. the -- i think the most challenging components of this agreement are going to be these novel aspects of the safeguards activities that the iaea is being asked to undertake under the jcpoa. the work that they're doing at the mine, in the milling, in the conversion process of how uranium is handled within the country is unprecedented. now, the u.s. has continued its long tradition of providing training, information, technical support, equipment to the iaea safeguards community and that will -- that continues to be the case and it will be even more important as these safeguards inspectors are trained for these new roles so the u.s. stands fully ready to play its traditional role of strong support to make sure the agency has the people, the resources, and the technology it needs to carry out these new roles. >> and even though they will not
be inspectors carrying u.s. passports, the united states plays a critical role here as far as training and information, et cetera. i'm assuming that's what you're referring to? >> that's precisely what i'm referring to, senator, thank you. >> now, outside of iran there will be other issues that you're engaged with. the safe handling of materials particularly by those states in the handling of the use of those materials and the npt commitments. with such a focus on iran and the resources being used there, where do you see the challenges in a strong commitment towards the npt safeguards? >> the safeguards requirements of the iaea will be critical to be applied globally under their role under the treaty. the u.s. and other member states have committed to make sure this is not a zero-sum game from a resource point of view with the
resources that are going to be required in support of jcpoa implementation and there is a formula being worked out in -- as we speak on the balance between regular assessments and voluntary contributions to be sure the agencies work in the jcpoa implementation does not interfere with or take away from the work it needs to do all over the world to assure the material is not diverted to weapons programs. >> and then lastly, if i might, how do you see your role working with other representatives from other countries. some who were directly involved in the jcpoa but others that were not in getting a firm international support for u.s. policies? >> senator, that's the essential role of the diplomat and it's one that i am eager to have the opportunity to play if confirmed. many of these permanent
representatives and ambassadors in vienna are individuals i have that worked with beca t represent their countries in the nuclear securitysummit process. so i begin with some familiarity with some of the key members of the vienna diplomatic community. certainly the work to do to assemble coalitions around supporting particular decision-making processes to represent a common face in discussions in the board of borns aborn s governs in the general conference is something i commit to doing as effectively as i am able. >> we appreciate your willingness to continue to serve. >> thank you, sir. >> senator cain? >> thank you. as someone who grew up in overland park, i'm particularly happy to see you and your family here. the iaea has an interesting track record. i think it's an organization that generally has a positive track record, not unmarred by
challenges certainly. after iraq and north korea developed nuclear weapons programs in the covert means, that was, i think, an admitted weakness of the iaea and others that allowed to that to happen but then the iaea said we need a fix and so they went back to the table to develop the additional protocol that nations now must follow to try to route out that possibility. so that was a bad incident in the iaea's history but they reacted to fix in the a good way. the iaea was -- to our remaining sadness, right in march 2003 when they said iraq didn't have a program of weapons of mass destruction or at least they could find no credible evidence that it did and that conclusion of the iaea was heavily trashed by a lot of people here and it turned out the iaea was right and the we were wrong. that was a momentous moment. but i'm impressed with the
organization but, boy, the tasks on the shoulders of this organization are pretty monumental. first, does the iaea have the budgetary resources that it needs to do the work that is on its shoulders? especially in the jcpoa, the commitment that there should be 130 plus iaea inspectors in iran to monitor the jcpoa? talk to us about the resources the organization has. >> well, sir, appreciate the question and may i say go royals. >> indeed. 2-0, we're thrilled. the agency's resources to support president jcpoa have been estimated at around 10 million euro. they believe that about half of that can be accommodated within the existing safeguards budget without detriment to the other missions that it has inside that budget. and that about five million euro will be needed to be raised from voluntary contributions to other
countries. the u.s. is the largest contributor of voluntary contributions for a range of projects and activities within the iaea. i fully expect we will play our appropriate role but that's clearly an area where other countries can contribute to the success of the jcpoa, including many of those who may have been on the sidelines but supporting the diplomatic solution that we pursued. and so we do not expect that this will be a large challenge for the agency to identify the resources. >> well, next to iranian intent, the single-most important element that will determine whether this jcpoa works or not is the verification so iranian intent, you know, we'll keep our focus on their actions, their intent is still the most important factor. but the verification mechanisms are what give us the ability to determine that intent and so the iaea doing a good job and having the resources to do a good job is absolutely critical and i know you share that view. one of my hopes is this.
the deal certainly talks about traditional iaea protocol, the additional protocol which iran exceeds to for the first eight years and then i guess legislatively has to decide whether they permanently accept. but in addition, this extra inspection of the supply chain, as you point out kind frof miof mine to mill to reactor, the whole supply chain of fissile material is incredibly important and what i would love to see, i would hope at the end of that 25-year agreement that this might have been incorporated as a best practice into the additional protocol so that it wouldn't just be a 25-year commitment iran would make but if iran agrees to the additional protocol over time this supply chain monitoring could be added to the additional protocol for iran and all nations. i think the -- this is a new best practice in the agreement in terms of verification. right now it is only applicable to iran and only for the 25-year
period. but i would hope -- and i would like to ask, since i don't know about this, kindover has the additional protocol been modified over time? does it get modified to include new best practice elements and that would be a realistic hope that i would have that by the end of 25 years that this would become the norm? >> well, thank you, sir. it's always important that the safeguards processes of the iaea improve over time and, in fact, they have done so. the jcpoa is explicit, however, that these specific innovations are unique to this agreement and do not form a precedent. that was important to gain agreement to this document and that is the intent of those who associated with it. that having been said, as you said, there are best practices that are developed in the implementation of these activities, there are lessons learned, there are new technologies that are identified. there are ways to accomplish the
same goal with fewer people or fewer resources and so the iaea and, indeed, the whole international community will be learning a loath during this 25-year period and and in our constant effort to improve and enhance iaea safeguards, we may find those techniques can be applicable to the broader safeguards activities of the agency. >> great. great. thank you so much for your testimony. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you for your willingness to serve. as you heard what the last witness, there will be questions that will be coming in until the close of business monday. obviously we understand the importance of responding to those fairly quickly. we thank your family for being here and their willingness to participate in this and with that, the meeting is adjourned. thank you.
texas congressman gavin brady wants to to be chair of the house ways and means committee now that the former chair, paul ryan, has been elected speaker of the house. congressman brady joins us on this weekend's news maker to talk about the debt ceiling, tax reform and the congressional agenda under new republican leadership. news makers is on sunday c-span at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern. the two-year budget deal passed by congress this week increases spending by $80 billion. equally divided between domestic and military programs and it extends the debt ceiling until march, 2017, two months after president obama leaves office. you can raid the 144 page bill on our web site, cspan.org. here are viewer comments via tweets about thursday's house
speaker election. jonathan allen tweeted "excellent vote graphic makes c-span look like espn." and from mitt romney "i got the first speaker selfie." aim ji my joe tweeted yes i am watching c-span. does this surprise anyone who knows me. "watching from australia, very inspiring speech. politics in our country broken and combative lately, we could use a ryan." "how could a member of the minority party run for house speaker?" "got my #c-span on keeping an eye out for those colorado representatives. what morning would it be without a predictable house vote." "my view of the speaker vote, i'm watching c-span on a plane, this really is the future." the best access to congress is c-span, c-span radio and cspan.org and go behind the scenes on capitol hill by following our capitol hill
producer @craigcaplan a and @c-span. state department special envoy for climate change todd stern testified at a senate foreign relations subcommittee hearing recently. he was asked about the upcoming climate change conference in paris. the epa's clean reduced carbon pollution to reduce greenhouse gas emission. good afternoon, i'd like to call this hearing to order the senate foreign relations subcommittee on multilateral international development, multilateral institutions and international economic energy and environmental policy. maybe the longest-named subcommittee in the history of the senate. i'd like to welcome senator
udall and our guests today. we're examining the objectives and intentions of the administration's international climate negotiations in paris as well as the potential ramifications for the united states. the conference will take place from november 30 to december 11 in paris this year. i'm so pleased to welcome our witness from the state department mr. todd stern, the united states special envoy for climate change and will be the lead negotiator for the paris climate change conference. he has a unique perspective as to what it is that this administration is negotiating for in any climate change deal thank you for being with us today. i do have serious concerns about the impact any deal reached in paris will have on the american
economy on our international priorities and environmental goals. i'm hearing from my constituents about their concerns. their concerns that the president is committing to united states to will strengthen foreign economies at the expense of american workers and line the pockets of developing nations with millions of taxpayer dollars. this is proposed at a time of scarce resource which is is needed to address humanitarian crises abroad. whatever deal is reached in the back rooms of the paris climate change conference it has been telegraphed by this administration that the deal will be a calculated end run around congress just like the kyoto protocol and the united nations framework convention on climate change, economy commitment to target or timetable must go through the
process established by the founders in our constitution, must be submitted to the united states senate for advice and consent. the president has made clear that he doesn't see it that way as was the case with the iranian nuclear deal. for that reason, we need to send a message to the nations that are partners with the president in any final deal that beyond a shadow of a doubt the senate will not stand by any agreement that binds the american people to targets or timetables on emissions without our advice and consent. . the president's joint announcement with china has sent a loud and clear signal that a paris deal could be an economic and environmental 'luudser for the american people. in november, 2014, president obama and the president of china made a joint announcement on targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. president obama pledged to reduce u.s. greenhouse gases by 26% to 28% by 2025. china agreed to peak its carbon
dioxide emissions in 2030. this agreement forces americans to drastically recrease odecrea missions immediately while china lets their emissions rise for the next 15 years. according to the congressional research service, china has been the highest emitter of greenhouse gases across the globe since around 2007. currently china emits 23% of net greenhouse gases worldwide while our nation share has declined to only 13%. this is a terrible deal for americans but a great deal for the chinese government and the chinese economy. i also want to address my concerns about the administration's $3 billion pledge to the green climate fund. the american public does not support paying their hard earned taxpayer dollars into a slush fund that spends billions of international climate change programs in developing nations to address the impacts of extreme weather. the need for spending our
natural disasters is down historically while other international priorities have increased. according to the 2014 annual global climate and catastrophe report "global natural disasters in 2014 combined to cause economic losses of $132 billion. 37% below the ten-year average of $211 billion." with immediate global priorities such as the upheaval in the middle east and syria and iraq to a resurgent tlaush shah in eastern europe and abroad we should be focusing our resources on countering global terrorist threat, humanitarian assistance, democracy promotion and embassy security measures. the only reason i can see the administration wants to provide this funding is that there would be no deal without this wealth transfer to developing nations
despite talk of american leadership to bring everyone to the table to save the planet, it's apparently american taxpayer -- that will pay off developing nations to act. american taxpayer cash is the only green the international bureaucrats in paris seem to care about and the only green that will result from any climate change agreement because after all is said and done this deal won't achieve in environmental gains that have been promised or will be promised. in fact the environment will be in worse shape. nations like china that are the main emitters internationally are getting a pass on having to take any shared economic pain. if china doesn't play a major role and contribute significantly, all that will result environmentally from paris is hot air from bureaucrats and politicians, overpromising and underdelivering in front of the cameras. there will be no temperature reductions, meanwhile international priorities will go underfunded. i have serious concerns what about will occur in paris and ask the members of this committee consider these
concerns as we approach the climate change conversation. i'd like to turn to ranking member senator udall to offer his opening remarks. >> thank you very much today and i think you're right, it's very appropriate for us to have this hearing at this point and thank you mr. stern for appearing before our subcommittee today. we face an urgent task in paris -- to bring the international community together, to chart a more sustainable future for our children and our grandchildren. nasa estimates that 2015 is 93% likely to be the warmest year on record and the current record holder last year, 2014. gloeshl warming is one of our greatest challenge that requires a global effort through a comprehensive international agreement. that's the only way we can truly tackle this problem. it's an environmental challenge, it's an energy challenge, it's a public health challenge, and it's a national security
challenge. it is a challenge to preserve our planet. and no one, no country is immune from that challenge or can meet that challenge alone. for years, the global community has looked for answers to the problem. we have gone through various international agreements and protocols, sadly the u.s. has often failed to lead on this in the past. but today i'm more optimistic. i'm optimistic even with the tremendous political challenges here in congress. i have led the charge in our proepirations committee to fight against dangerous environmental riders, those riders would do great damage to our efforts in paris. i'll continue to fight them and i'm sure they will fail and with increased u.s. leadership over the last five years we've meat great international progress. we've been working on an agreement that will be applicable to all. that is what we need. an agreement that is
comprehensive, fair, and ensures every country does its fair share on climate change. the paris agreement takes us in the right direction, signing up count rise developed and developing to halt the climate crisis. the united states must lead and set an example for other countries. this is the right thing to do to protect our economy in the long term. more importantly it's the essential thing to do for future generations. over 150 countries will be part of the paris agreement. each country is setting out how they will tackle the problem on their own terms. this is encouraging and it is an important change from the past. the largest emitters in the developing world -- china and india -- are making serious commitments. opponents of u.s. climate action have argued other nations, especially china would never act to limit their i missions.
now they are. this is critical to ensure we act globally and fight climate pollution that leads to catastrophic climate change. another sign of progress, the world's largest oil and gas companies are supporting a climate agreement. b.p., shell, and the massive state oil companies of saudi arabia and mexico are among the ten major oil companies making commitme commitments. the united states can help lead this effort not only at the negotiating table in paris but the front lines in new mexico and florida and alaska and every state. we can create clean energy jobs, put clean energy independence and climate stability at the forefront. many state of new mexico will benefit greatly from this agreement. new mexico is at the bull's-eye for climate change with historic drought and other harsh impacts. but we were also leading in new and innovative ways for
renewable energy and break through technologies. there are currently more than 98 solar companies in new mexico employing 1600 people. there are now more solar jobs in the united states than coal jobs. renewable energy jobs and electrocutions are in abundance in new mexico and this is true for many other states. support for renewable energy is strong nearly half of the u.s. senate supported my amendment in january for a renewable electricity standard that would have mandated 25% of our energy come from renewable resources by 2025. so while each state faces unique climate impacts and challenges each state has unique strengths and solutions to contribute. together we can tackle this challenge as a unified country so we can lead the global community as we confront this challenge as a unified planet. together we can find a path forward that works.
the paris agreement represents a historic opportunity to build a global effort to add dresds climate change. it's an opportunity and an obligation and one history will show was the right thing to do. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you so much, senator udall. i would like to submit for the record a statement from senator inhofe who is not a member of this commit subcommittee. once again i would like to thanked to stern fthank ed todd stern for joining us. your statement will be entered into the record and i'd ask you to summarize in the five minutes in order for members to have an opportunity to ask questions. with w that, we turn to you, mr. stern. thank you. >> that works better. okay, thank you very much, mr. chairman. i am pleased to be here and appreciate the opportunity to testify before your subcommittee today i want to explain the
approach we have taken to the international climate change negotiations over the last number of years and what we hope to accomplish in paris. the obama administration came into office convinced that we had to take bold action to tackle climate change but we also knew a fundamental reframing of our approach to international climate negotiations would be needed. we absorbed the hard lessons of kyoto and heeded concerns. we concluded the target should be set by countries themselves not imposed on them. that all countries should be expected to act, recognizing that developing countries face unique challenges and that we should expect strong transparency and accountability from all countries. that is the deal we've been fighting for. the president and secretary kerry have worked hard on building international support for this approach, working with leaders from china to brazil to india, african countries and small island states facing clear and present threats from a
change in climate. in particular the historic joint announcement between president obama and president xi supplemented by their recent joint statement marked a new era of climate diplomacy. we now live in a in new reality where china has pledged to peak its emissions, to bring online an average of a gig watt of clean energy from now to 2030, to implement a national cap-and-trade plan and provide $3.1 billion in climate finance. and where more than 150 countries have announced their own targets and plans to address climate change. u.s. leadership has been at the heart of this progress. most fundamentally we have leveled the playing field by leading on a structure and process that has lead to those 150 plus submissions including some 110 from developing countries. this by itself is a testament to the buy in of countries around the world and a demonstration that the old rigid bifurcation
of developed and developing countries is changing. in particular we propose the structure of nationally determined mitigation contributions to ensure maximum participation we needed to reassure countries that they could join the agreement without disrespecting the priorities. we propose parties submit their targets early rather than the end of paris because such exposure would push all to do their best and the result has been a drum beat of submissions. we have pushed for the idea of successive rounds of targets coupled with longer term goals for greater ambition. we have pressed for an approach that continues to recognize that developing countries have unique challenges but asks all count rise to take action to address this global challenge. we are leading proponents of a robust transparency system of reporting and review with flexibility for those who need it based on their capacity. and we have backed non-legally
binding targets as the best way to ensure broad participation since many countries would be unwilling to accept binding targets and we are unwilling to have a structure based on kyoto and we are convinced as well that this approach will bolster rather than undermine ambition. an agreement like this, if i may say, is exactly what voices from both sides of the the isaisle he been calling for for a long period of time. a strong paris agreement is in the interest of the united states, it's in our economic interests because the costs of inaction properly accounted for willors costs of acting and because no one is better positioned in the united states to win big in the multitrillion dollar 21st century market for low carbon energy inme separation. it's in our diplomat low mat i can interest because climate change is a high and rising priority for countries all over the world and it's untenable for the united states to stand apart. it's in our national security
interest because unchecked climate change threatens global disruptions. admiral samuel locklear, then commander of pacific command in 2013 said upheaval related to climate change "is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen." the thing that will cripple the security environment probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about. mr. chairman, the climate deal is far from done but we will strive to produce a strong, solid outcome. i'll be happy to take your questions. >> well, thank you so much for joining us today. thank you so much for your succinct summary, statement, and i'd like to start with questioning and go with seven-minute rounds that gives plenty of time for everyone to ask questions. on august 26 of this past year, the "new york times" had a story entitled "obama pursuing climate accord in lieu of treaty." the article states "the obama administration is working to
forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions but without ratification from congress." it also talks about the administration working on a "politically binding deal to cut emissions rather than a legally binding treaty that would require a approval by two-thirds of the senate." in addition, the french foreign minister fabius indicated that to be successful in paris, as he said, we must find a formula which is valuable for everybody and valuable for the u.s. without going to congress. will any paris agreement be legally binding on the united states?
>> mr. chairman, the negotiations obviously are still under way and what elements of the paris agreement will or won't be binding is not something that is worked out yet. there are i would say different views. there are different views from many different parties. if you were to look at the draft text which is being discussed now you would see in provision after provision brackets that indicate the language which signifies legally binding and also language which signifies not legally binding so the short answer is we don't know. although i will say as i said in my testimony that a core part of our own approach is that the targets countries are undertaking should not be legally binding. >> but some parts would be legally binding? i wonder if you think it serves the interest of this country to establish a precedent that international commitments are made in a manner designed to thwart the constitutionally derived oversight role of congress, of the the united states senate. >> well, i would not think that would serve the interest of the country, mr. chairman. we are going to look at the
agreement once we have an agreement and we will evaluate at that time, but -- and we will act fully in accordance with laws. you know there are different procedures by which the united states has historically and continues to join international agreement, so we will act fully in accordance with law. we don't know yet what the agreement is going to say. >> does the administration plan to submit any climate change agreement produced in paris to the senate for its advice and consent? >> mr. chairman, we don't know yet what the elements of the agreement are going to be so it would -- it's hard to speculate at this time. as i said, we're trying to -- we're pushing hard for an agreement that does not include binding targets, which are kind of the heart of the agreement, so we're looking for something
that is not binding in that regard. >> so something that is not legally binding. if there are parts that are legally binding would you submit that part? >> senator, it depends entirely on -- it depends actually on a lot of factors. the content and what provisions are and are not binding is one of those issues. existing u.s. law is another issue. other authorities and relevant past practice are other issues. so we will evaluate this in such time as we have an agreement and then we will act, as i say, according to law. >> because that gets into the issue of future administrations or congress would be bound by such a commitment. so i wonder if the president signs a unilateral political commitment or agreement in paris at the end of the year without consulting congress, what effect the agreement would have domestically and whether it holds up long term. >> i would say two things, mr. chairman, certainly there's no question that congress should be
consulted. we have been up here briefing different members and staff all during this year and will certainly continue that before and after the paris negotiations, so that goes without saying. with respect to whether an agreement that is not legally blinding is -- has meaning, look, there is a long standing practice in the united states to do all manner of agreements sometimes quite sensitive sometimes quite high profile via executive agreements or non-legally binding arrangements. and it is the practice of both sides of the aisle to respect what has happened and to abide by the political commitments that are made by previous administrations. that's true whether the previous administration was a republican, one being succeeded by a democratic one, or vice versa. so i think that that practice
certainly should continue, but whether you're talking about the atlantic charter or the helsinki accords or any number of nuclear arrangements, the notion of agreements being entered into in some form other than advice and consent is quite common. >> just -- when you talk about congress being briefed, there's a difference between that and being consulted. i think both of us on both sides of the aisle would agree that over the years with different administrations huge difference between being brief and consulted. if the president signs on to this paris agreement at the end of this year and the courts rule that the clean power plant is illegal, would the united states be able to reach the goal of its intended nationally determined contribution or its indc? i'm trying to figure out how to resolve a commitment dependent upon the implementation of an unauthorized regulatory action like the clean power plan which
the court may rule to be illegal. >> well, mr. chairman, we have a good deal of confidence that the clean power plan is very solidly grounded in law and grounded in first instance grounded in supreme court law. we now that there will be legal challenges. there's never -- there's never a significant epa regulation where there are not significant challenges and we -- i won't speculate about what would happen in a situation that we don't contemplate. >> my final question and i'll turn to my colleagues. in november of 2014 president obama pledged $3 billion for a brand-new green climate fund. it was a unilateral decision by the president without the buy-in or support from congress. international climate change funding may be the top priority for the president, but i will tell you it isn't the top priority for the american
public. our nation is facing a tight budget environment. we need to focus on humanitarian assistance, democracy promotion, embassy security measures, countering global terrorist threats. will other countries back out of the negotiations without the administration paying these u.s. taxpayer dollars in the form of climate reparations? >> well, let me make a few comments about that and on the subject of climate reparations i might just call your attention to -- i could call your attention to the opening press conference in kyoto -- i mean copenhagen in 2009 where i was asked whether the united states -- i was asked whether the united states would be supportive of that in particular and i answered very emphatically that we didn't -- that we rejected the idea. so -- but let me get back to the broader question of the green climate fund.
first of all i think that this honestly should not be a partisan issue. the green climate funtd -- fund is in essence a successor of the clean investment funds that president bush started in 2008. president bush committed to $2 billion over three years. we have put forward a pledge of $3 billion over four years. seven years later that's very, very consistent in quality and in quantity. i think that president bush saw this kind of assistance to developing countries to do real stuff. this is not -- what the climate investment funds have done has been to build clean energy infrastructure in developing countries and i think that they concluded that it would be good politics, good diplomacy and good economics and we agree. the green climate fund is a kind of successor to that so i don't think we're off on some old toot doing this.
i think this is a solid and responsible thing to do and i would also say that we don't see assistance to developing countries with respect to climate change as being any kind of an either/or as between the investments that should be made in the united states and what should be done abroad. it is part of a long bipartisan tradition that foreign assistance is provided by to help prevent instability and protect national security and expand market access. on the climate front it does all of those things as well as also shoring up food security and health and poverty reduction and the like, so i think all of these things are in the u.s. interest diplomatically and economically as well. and the last thing i would say is that the amount the united
states has put forward -- you hear $100 billion and you think a huge number. the amount that the united states has put forward both from appropriated funds and from funds that opec has provided has been in the range of about $2.5 billion, and the overall $100 billion comes from a lot of different sources, the world bank, multilateral bank, development finance institutions around the world, public, private, and so forth. a recent report was issued by the oecd which indicated that we are so far at about $62 billion based on 2014 numbers. and with additional pledges that where made my france, germany, u.k., and some of the