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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 12, 2015 7:00pm-12:01am EST

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the uniform or presently wear the uniform, thank you very much for your service. as i look out at this room and see all of you, i am filled with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for you and all the work that you're doing to come to the aid of our veterans. i know that many of you have implemented veterans treatment courts, and because you were told and you did it, not because you were told to, but because you saw that it was the right thing to do. you all helped this nation live up to its ideal of leaving no veteran behind. when there is a veterans treatment court within reach of every veteran in need, it will be because of you, the pioneers,
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and the inspired action you took to come to the aid of the veteran in crisis. thank you all for the work that you do day in and day out on behalf of those who have served. a few weeks ago i had the honor of meeting with robert mcdonald, the secretary of the va. secretary mcdonald is a man who has time and again answered the call of duty to his and our nation. he graduated from the united states military academy at west point in the top 2% of his class in 1975. an army veteran. mr. mcdonald served with the 82nd airborne division,
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completed jungle, arctic, desert warfare training, earned the ranger tab, that expert infantry men badge. senior parachutist wing. upon leaving military service, captain mcdonald was awarded the meritorious service medal. but mr. mcdonald's expertise as a soldier is equal by his business beingaccumen. he earned a degree from the university of utah and has a career in the private sector. before joining the va, chairman mcdonald was chairman, president and chief executive officer of procter & gamble, a consider where, by every measurable
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metric, he was an astounding success. but throughout his career mr. mcdonald carried with him the values that he learned from his military service. and when his nation called once again upon him for service, he accepted without hesitation. secretary mcdonald's devotion to country is equal by his devotion to those who defend it. he was confirmed by the united states senate as the eighth secretary of veteran affairs on july 29th, 2014. in the year zipsince, secretary mcdonald has set about restoring the nation's trust in the va establishing the va as the veteran centric institution in both that it should be and that it can be. he has established an
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extraordinary degree of transparency at va so he can bring all state quarters to the table to contribute to help to make the va better. he is putting the needs and expectations of veterans and beneficiaries first. rebranding the va as myva, my va, so that all veterans feel a sense of ownership and empowerment in a system that exists solely for them. and it is working. already this year va has increased veteran access to care and completed 7 million more appointments this year than that of last and doubled the capacity required to meet last year's
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demand. so what does the va look like today under secretary mcdonald? let's take a look. >> the va has agreed to create housing for thousands of southern california homeless veterans. with us to talk about the deal is the u.s. secretary of veterans affairs, robert mcdonald. you've said that you think it is possible to end homelessness for veterans in southern california by the end of the year. >> the big idea here, larry, is the first step to ending homelessness for the community to come together. >> all of you have xlcommitted yourselves to not just counting a number but to each individual story. because while this is a city of so much, it is also a place that alongside the l.a. river, freeway off-ramps and underneath
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our freeways, here on in skid row and throughout the city, there are thousands too many people who are homeless. >> one of the things you learn in the army and you learn in the military service of this country is you never leave a buddy behind. whether the person's alive or they're dead, we never leave somebody behind. well, unfortunately, we've left some people behind. they're our homeless veterans. but i'm here to tell you that we at va are totally committed to helping the city of los angeles, helping the mayor, helping all of you achieve that goal of ending veterans homelessness by the end of this year. ♪
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>> when i met with the secretary, along with the delegation from justice for vets, the buffalo and rochester treatment courts, i was struck by his sincerity and his strong support for veterans treatment cour courts. i can report to all of you that we have a champion at the va who is committed to ensuring the partnership between veterans treatment court and the va remain strong. as we all know, mentors are the foundation of veterans treatment court success. it occurs to me that during our meeting with secretary mcdonald that he is also a mentor for all
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of our veterans. right that we make him an official member of the justice for vets national volunteer veteran mentor court. what do you think? and you know, we're having our veteran mentor boot camp, and at the conclusion of the boot camp, each of the veteran volunteer mentor participant will receive and wear one of these shirts when they're inducted. when secretary mcdonald, before he leaves today, he will receive, also, his shirt. ladies and gentlemen, it is with great honor to welcome to the
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stage our leader of the united states department of veteran affairs. please, let us welcome secretary robert mcdonald. thank you very much. it is thrill for me to be here this morning with you. as the judge said, i many a the biggest believer in veteran treatments courts that there could ever be. i can't think of any better way to keep veterans out of incarceration, stop veterans homelessness, and i'm just so thankful to all of you here today for the work that you do
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to help us care for veterans. one of the things that became very clear to me in los angeles as you may have seen in that film is that we in the va can't do this job by ourselves. we need the help of all layers of government, non-government organizations, businesses and others to be able to care in the right way for veterans. it's important to have collaborati collaboration and partnerships. i love this picture of judge russell and myself and we're shaking hands across the table at va, because that's the kind of partnerships that we need to have. that's the kind of collaboration that we need to have. nationally, we've got a monumental task. so it has to really be a community effort. we have to work community by community, city by city, state
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by state. locally it is a huge undertaking. we know that we can't succeed only from the federal government. we've got to make those collaborative connections. 2016 is fast approaching, and we in the va have made a number of commitments for the end of 2015. obviously our goal is to end veterans homelessness, and we have a huge role to play in doing that. but so do you. we're incredibly thankful for your partnership. there's an inextrickab kabl lin between justice involvement and homelessness. as i looked at all the studies that i looked at when i came into this role, it was very clear that incarceration is like a one-way ticket to homelessness. so if we can work together to end incarceration, we have a great chance of ending homelessness. we need to give veterans an
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off-ramp from that inextricable link. two weeks ago president obama described the united states as a nation of second chances. and i deeply believe that. well, nobody deserves a second chance more than those who have protected our country, the 1% that has protected the 100% of our country. they give us the opportunity to prosper. they preserved our liberty and our freedom. how many of you are veterans here in this room? if you wouldn't mind, please stand up and accept the applause of all of us here. thank you for your service. and how many of you are serving through mentor boot camp? i know we have a crew. anybody here going to mentor boot camp?
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well, good luck to you and thanks for your commitment. to a commitment to make people's lives even better. i think there's nothing more noble than to live a life of purpose. wouldn't it be terrible to simply mean ander through life without direction? but all of you have purpose. and that's representing by you being here. let me tell you a quick story. it is probably a story you're familiar with, but it is about an old man and a young man. and the old man is on a beach. the beach is littered with starfish up and down the beach and the tide has gone out. as a result of that, these starfish were kind of baking in the sun and were vulnerable to lose their lives. the old man would walk the beach, he'd bend over, pick up the starfish and throw it back in the sea. the young man saw this.
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as you know, oftentimes when we're young we become cynical. we become iconoclastic and the young men goes up to the old man and says, old man, what are you doing? the old man says well i'm picking up starfish and throwing them back in the sea. but the young man said, yeah, old man, but look down this beach. you see thousands and thousands and thousands of starfish. there is simply no way you're going to be able to pick up all those starfish and throw them back in the sea. so even why bother? and the old man picked up another starfish and he put it back in the water and he said, it makes a difference to just one. and making a difference to just one is really how to measure our lives. do we make a difference in the life of at least one person every single day? that's certainly the question i ask myself when i leave my office in the evening. have i made a difference in the
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life of at least one veteran that day? well, i'm here to thank you for the difference you're making in it the lives of so many veterans through the work that you're doing. we in the va think that we have the most highest order calling in the world, and that's to care for those who have born the battl battle, their survivors and their families. there's no higher calling. we also think we have the best values in the world, integrity, commitment, aide vid advocacy, and excellence. if we live our lives according to that mission and according to those values, there is no question that we can make a difference for all the veterans who have served our country. serving justice for all veterans is an important part of that. you are embracing that mission. you've got your arms around it.
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and even as you wrap your arps around it, we have many veterans who need us and who need you. look at the marines in this formation. which would you imagine are going to going involved in the criminal justice system? which would you imagine could potentially be homeless? well, too many have, and more will. but thanks to you, thanks to you, there's an off-ramp, an on-ramp to a second chance. and for that, we thank you deeply. now you've heard the testimonials. charles said veterans treatments courts kept me alive, kept me going. eric said veterans treatments courts offered me the chance of a lifetime. nick said -- he told me this story. he said veterans treatments
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courts saved my life. i heard many of these stories. they start with the criminal justice system. they start with a peer counselor. they start with the veteran treatments courts. then the individual goes on. they use their gi bill. they get community college training. maybe they get a four-year degree. maybe they even go on to law school and maybe they end up paying it forward like many of you here of working on behalf of other veterans. these are the mission of the va. this is the "i care" values at work. no other group of people better personify that mission or these values than you do. so i thank you all and i hope and pray that god will continue to bless you all in your work. you're helping one of our
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priorities. you're helping veterans return or reintegrate with communities and families successfully. you showed us this way. veteran treatments courts is a huge innovation, and since judge russell kicked things off, we now have 351 veterans courts nationwide. we're working every day to increase that number and to increase the number of counselors that we have to work with you. while va leads the way in health care, we've done things like the first liver transplant, the first cardiac pacemaker, the first time that a nurse came up with the idea to use a bar code to connect patients with medicine, with medical records. the first electronic medical record. we invented the nicotine patch. we also invented the shingles vaccine. so a lot of innovations have
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many kcome from the va, and as result of that we have have three nobel prizes and seven lack lasker awards. you taught us how to do this. your model of collaboration of a core concept executed federally and locally tailored to meet every specific need. you've taught us this. this is a perfect example at how communities can collaborate in holistic ways. there's the judge, the court staff supervising. there's va and community providers delivering treatment simultaneously. there's volunteer veteran mentors providing moral support, camaraderie and training. this is the best in class kind of collaboration we could possibly have. all of us working together synergistically for the benefit of the veteran. let me remind you that we're
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also working hard in all of this to help families as well. as part of our homelessness effort, of course we have hud vouchers but one of my favorite is a program to provide support for families so that we show we're not only caring for the veteran but we're caring for their family as well. because certainly when a veteran joins the service or when a service member joins the service, the family goes with them. when they deploy, the family goes with them as well. and so we have to care for families. we need more of that kind of innovation. we need more creative solutions that we can use. we in the va are willing to try anything that will work. all we're concerned about is getting the numeric outcome at the end, making sure we get the human outcome of a veteran who is better off. we're also working on many technological solutions, things like telehealth and also
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regional a veterans courts. we're committed to crowaeative approaches to make these crucial partnerships work. you all here in this room are at the nexus of justice involvement and homelessness. we want to share where we are with any veterans homeless. down from 2010 to 2014. down 40% for chronic homeless. this is because of the president's strong support, his focus and the funding that we've received, funding is important for supportive services for permanent and transitional housing, for prevention and treatment, for employment and job training. since 2008, funding programs
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benefiting veterans homelessness have increased 170%. from $2.4 billion in 2008 to $6.5 billion in 2015. but it's about a lot more than just money. we have to know how to spend that money. well, we've learned what works, and importantly -- very importantly, we've learned what doesn't work. we settled on evidence-based strategies. you see them here on this chart. housing first. housing first. what a beautiful strategy. i mean it recognizes the hierarchy of needs. you have to get the lowest level needs out of the way work so we can work on the higher needs. if there's no way we gdon't geta veteran under the roof can we
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deal in yes of tssues that may d homelessness. second, no wrong door. coordinating assessment and entry systems and providing help no matter where the veteran terms. i love it when i go into a city like los angeles i visited recently. they have an access program where every door you go in leads to the same access to the treatment and the housing. outreach and engagement. seeking homeless veterans getting to know them and their needs, caring and sharing lists with partners. while we in the va are doing a good job to try to hire social workers and counselors, there is no substitute for the peer counselor. for veteran who's been there, the veteran who's been through the need. i was recently in tucson. there were a lot of veterans out in the desert living there homeless. and i met one young man, doug was his name, who literally goes into the desert and comes back and brings those veterans in and
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gets them under a roof. and it's the fact that doug has been a veteran and he's been homeless and he's been in the desert that gives him that ability to build trust with veterans to get them out of the desert. that outreach engagement is so critically important. justice outreach. connecting veterans with services. this becomes critically important. grassroots mobilization. how do we get things mobilized at a local level, get the local government involved, local service providers, local landlords. one of the biggest issues we have in homelessness all across the country and in housing veterans is finding the landlords willing to rent at the hud vash vouch every amount. we go into cities, i get with the mayors. we ask all the landlords to get in a room like this room here today and we say we would like you to join the mayor's challenge that you rent to veterans for the hud vash voucher amount. we will provide the care for the
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veterans but we need that roof and many, many of the veterans have stood up. in fact, there's an issue mayor lee in san francisco told me that he was so thrilled because the chinese-american community in san francisco saw it as their patriotic duty to rent their spaces to veterans for the correct amount. i can't stress enough the importance of the grassroots effort. only so much can be done nationally. only so much can be done by federal agency like the va. we provide the strategy and support. we provide the funding. but ending veterans homelessness has to happen community by community. as i said, it's so much more than money. it's people like you who are committed to veterans and evidence-based strategies that work. another community strategy which is working is the mayor's challenge. phoenix, salt lake city, new
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orleans, have all reached major milestones over the past year. in 2014, new orleans of course was the first major city to declare that they had ended veterans homelessness. houston recently announced that they've created a system that will help end and prevent homelessness from now going forward. we expect many more cities to declare their results over the coming months. but let me tell you, nobody's done more to help veterans homelessness than first lady michelle obama and the president. they've been there all along the way. they've provided the support, the leadership and the enthusiasm to get this done. partnership is one of our strategies that really works. we use the same principles in these partnerships that are valuable to your efforts working
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within the justice system involving veterans. so far we serve -- we in the va are only allowed to serve those veterans who have honorable discharges. so those veterans who have less than honorable discharges, the 15% of veterans who have less than honorable discharges re-rely on community partnerships to get that done. i was in boston not too long ago. i visited an organization named home base. historically va had seen home base as competition, competition to provide the care for veterans with post traumatic stress or with traumatic brain injury. i don't think that way. we in the va don't think that way. we embarrass all organizations trying to help veterans. we want to partner with them because home base not only provides great outcomes for veterans with post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury, but they can serve the 15% of veterans that got less
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than honorable discharges that we in the va can't serve by law. so these strategic partnerships are not only critical and they're not only smart to achieving our strategy, but in my mind, they're also about ethics and morals because we need to make sure no veteran is left behind. we also work with public housing authorities to set aside section a vouchers and prioritize these individuals. recently i went on a multi--city tour with secretary of labor tom perez, heck secretary of housing and urban development julian castro, because we wanted to demonstrate that we in the federal government are working collaboratively across our departments and that we would like to work collaboratively with the cities and counts that we visited. all of us are adopting a no wrong door philosophy that ensewe ensure that we can get veterans into care, under roof.
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in order to do that, we in the va have a strategy called strategic partnerships. we're trying to engage the local th philanthropy and landlords, all of us to get this done maximizing our resources. we also want to leverage your political capital. we will give housing authorities permitted to providing units. we want to get local veterans service organizations and military bases to donate and to volunteer their time. we need to continue to work to build paths to these stronger relationships. bring people to the table, set realistic goals, make plans and execute as one team with one dream. we in the va are not only trying to improve our numbers as we go -- for example, we're working to improve access to medical care. as the judge said, we've had 7 million more completed appointments over the last year
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versus the previous year. 20% of those have been same-day appointments. the average wait time now nationally is five days for specialty care, four days for primary care, and three days for mental health care. 22% of our completed appointments have been in the community. 4 1/2 million of the 7 million have been in the community. 2 1/2 million have been within va. we also have worked to get the backlog of claims down. those claims over 125 days were down now to about 1 17,000 from a peek of 611,000 last march of 2014. but we're not going to rest until we get that backlog of claims down to zero. as i've already showed, we're making progress on homelessness. all of those are progress in the right direction. but we're not going to get to where we really need to be until we transform va for the long
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term and we're in the midst of that now. we call it the my va transformation because it is the way we want you to think about va. we want you to think about va as if it were your cell phone -- personalized and customized for you, the veteran. to do that, we've got five strategies. strategy number one is to improve veteran experience. we're working hard to train our organization in what great customer service is. we're working with companies like ritz-carlton, disney, starbucks and others to learn about how the best customer service organizations do it. strategy two is to improve the employee experience. we know we have no hope of improving the veteran experience until we improve the employee experience. because it is the employees who actually care for veterans. so we're working hard to provide the right training, provide the right leadership, and do all of the things that we need to do to empower va employees.
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third, we need to improve our support services. our i.t. systems are often outdated. the scheduling system that got us into trouble if phoenix dates to 1985. when i was in phoenix i sat down and worked on it myself. it is like working on a green scene withv+ñ ms-dos. and our financial management system is 20 years old and it is written in cobalt, a language i last programmed on the main frame computer at west point. we have work to do to improve our support services. we also need to establish a support network of continuous improvement. we've training in lean six sigma. it is the way employees take charge of the systems they work on, they're given the tools to change those systems. as i say to va employees, let's try to be the change we want to see. just like gandhi said.
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number five, strategic partnerships which i've already talked about. we can't do this job alone. we know we need you. we appreciate you. we embrace you at our partners. remember, your work is purposeful. there is no higher calling than the work you do. your work is monumental. you help veterans. you help families. you make a difference in the lives of others. there's no higher calling in this world. and you, more than anyone else, understands the inextrickable link between what we do in the justice system and ending veterans' homelessness. we are committed to ensuring that you have all the services that you need, all the support that you need. we're committed to making sure every veteran has the services they need, including those who are justice involved. justice involved veterans are
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welcome at the va. in fact, they're the ones that we're looking for first. we're seeking them to help them have access to our services and we're trying to make sure that the criminal justice system, the criminal history, probation or pending charge does not affect their eligibility. if there's a va policy or practice that is somehow getting in the way, please let us know. we will find a way to fix it. my e-mail address is if there's something getting in your way, please let me know and we will get it out of the way. don't ever settle for for the status quo or a believe that you can't create the change yourself, because you can. and you will. and you are. well, i just want to close by saying, you all inspire me every single day. we will succeed. i know we can. and i know we will. but we will because of all of
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you. so i'd like to again say, god bless you all. thank you for letting me spend some of your valuable time with you and god bless you and what you're doing. thank you very much. mr. secretary, we cannot thank you enough for your leadership and for your support of veterans treatment courts. good morning, i'm carson fox. i'm the chief operating officer of nadcp and justice for vets. this morning justice for vets has the honor of giving not one but two hank parowski awards. to give the first award, i would like to invite chris deutsche, director of communications to join me and the secretary on stage.
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>> so, some time in mid 2008, i'm watching mtv. there's a tribute for veterans. they show the story about this young marine in tulsa, oklahoma, who was making it his personal mission to start a veterans treatment court. now mind you, at the time there were only two in operation. through the sheer force of his personality and frankly, his inability to take no for an answer, matt steiner did indeed help create that third veterans treatment court. and then he went to work for it, establishing their volunteer veteran mentor program where he cajoled, schmoozed, networked, harassed every agency, department and organization within a hundred miles to show their support p. the result was that the tulsa
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veterans treatment courts would go on to be named a national model. after that matt came to d.c. where he led the newest division of nadcp justice for vets. he was exactly the leader we needed. i worked alongside matt for two years while he traveled the country building the support for veterans treatment courts that would become the foundation of the movement that it is today. matt approached his mission like it was his calling. i'm sure you're familiar with that aspect of his personality. god help you if you got in his way. and i was just grateful to be there to see his boundless energy, to see his tenacity, to experience his extremely unique use of four-letter words on a daily basis. >> i can tell you from justice for vets, we could not be any prouder that on matt's pathway that led him to working with the secretary, he made a stop over at justice for vets and helped
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all of us raise the bar for veterans treatment courts. >> so steiner. where are you, buddy. >> thank you for all you have done for justice for vets, for veterans treatment courts around the country, for the veterans you serve at the va, and for your service to your country. matt. >> thank you very much. this is really -- wasn't expecting this whatsoever. just thank you for all what you're doing out in the field. like the secretary said, you're the ones making all the magic. you're the ones serving veterans, saving them every day in the court system. it is really an honor to receive an award named after a great marine. he helped start this whole movement with judge russell so thank you very much.
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>> for those of us who knew hank, what we remember first is his infectious laughter. hank lit up a room. he helped people. he was my friend. he was the friend of many of us here. and for those of you who didn't known hank, had you known him, he would have been your friend, too, if he hadn't. taken from us too soon. hank was a vietnam vet and he and judge russell helped establish -- together they built the first veterans treatment court. hank created the role of the mentoral coordinator. he actually brought together the first group of veteran mentors. nothing was more important to hank than his family, his friends and helping others especially his fellow veterans and those people who received this award today carry on his memory. i would now like to ask judge raymond reyes, the incoming share of the board of director of justice for vets and nadcp to join me on stage to help present
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the second hank pirowski award. >> the next recipient is known to most people in this room, and i guarantee you to every single person working in treatment courts in the great state of texas. mary covington is a force of nature. >> i jokingly told mary this morning when we first met, i did not need readers. and now i do so i've known her a while. i will tell you a little bit about her. and then become a little bit more personal, because this is a really emotional award and i am proud to be a part of bestowing it upon her. mary covington is a special programs manager for harris
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county. that is houston, texas. you've already heard about houston this morning from the secretary. she manages the harris county adult drug court success through addiction recovery star program. as well as the veterans treatment court programs. as coordinator in veterans treatment courts she has helped turn the program into one of the preeminent veterans treatment courts programs, even being featured on "60 minutes." in addition to her tireless efforts to ensure each participant receive the appropriate treatment, she has been an incredible advocate at the state and the national level. her efforts have helped spread veterans treatment courts throughout not only the lone star state of texas, but she's recently been in washington, d.c. meeting with members of congress to urge their support for veterans treatment court funding. on a personal note, i will tell you, she and i have shared many
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things as specialty courts have grown in the state of texas. we have a lot of stories that would mean something to us and you guys would just say, okay, get on with it. but i will tell you this. one true legacy for mary covington is that she has helped train more in coming presidents of the texas association, including me. mary, thank you for your mentoring. thank you for your training. and it is with great honor that i bestow upon you the 2015 hank pirowski award. >> thank you so much. goc gosh. judge reyes, you have always
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been my mentor and my friend and i'm so thankful to always have you in my corner. i told judge russell last night that when i first met hank in 2003, i had on my job as a harris county program manager for drug courts for all of 24 hours and, quite frankly, hank terrified me. but i remember thinking at the end of the week if i could ever be half as good as hank, i would have accomplished something. so i'm so honored to receive this award today. i couldn't accept this award without thanking judge mark carter for letting me be a small part of his vision to bring veterans treatment courts to texas. to my team -- thank you to you inspiring me and encouraging me every day. i am only as good as you've made me. one team, one fight. thank you.
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>> march 10th of 2002 i entered the united states marine corps. the day i stepped off the plane in afghanistan people were carrying aks down the middle of a main street. it was a radically different world. once i had realized that, not only my purpose for serving but kind of the purpose of my life changed at that point. it was very hard to reintegrate into the society that i had left. i had done things that many people would never dream of ever having to do. i was really angry. the sleeplessness, nightmares, it crippled me. i became addicted to opiates and later heroin. however, they became much more of a problem than i had even
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started out with. >> i decided to practice law because the law could be used to promote good things. i always talk with my clients because i really want them to understand that i know them and i care about them. i had a young man and he came into court. i said, what's going on? you just don't seem yourself today. and he said, going to his ptsd group sessions made him feel worse. and the next week this young man overdosed and died. and so i said, not on my watch. that's when i began to develop this program that was specifically to save veterans' lives. >> there was a point in my drug use where i didn't care if i lived or died. my mother had finally gotten to the point where i came home and she met me half-way down driveway and said that we are
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always going to love you, but don't come back. i lived like that for about two years. until i was arrested and came in front of a judin judge in veter treatment court. >> the court is a stand-alone court. i have 23 ancillary services right out my courtroom door so when someone's standing before me i can say what more can we do for you? >> that day was the last day that i used drugs or committed a crime. >> they're volunteering to work really hard to profoundly change their lives. >> my story is not unique. there's a lot of places in the united states that don't have this opportunity right now. so a veteran that doesn't have this opportunity doesn't have a future. >> we are here to save lives. we are here to restore veterans
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to those human beings that they were before they chose to serve. >> welcome to the stage, nadcp interim ceo, carolyn hardin. >> good morning. during her 19 years on the bench in orange county, california, judge lindley combined the perfect blend of compassion and accountability. her belief that no individual is beyond hope is evident in the way she treated each and every person who appeared before her. in 2008, her and her incredible team launched the second veterans treatment court in the country. immediately after the program started, judge lindley's court
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became a crucial destination for thousands of people interested in better serving veterans. judge lindley understands the unique needs of veterans and has done outstanding work at bridging the large divide in our culture between civilians and veterans in the justice system. she saw opportunities where others saw obstacles. she sought not just to solve problems, she sought to transform individuals, their families and communities. and guess what? that is exactly what she did. while she is no longer presiding over veterans treatments courts, she will long be remembered for helping to pioneer a program that will also help us with saving the lives of 11,000 veterans this year. i can think of no one more deserving to be elected to the veterans treatment court hall of
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fame. it is my pleasure, my honor to introduce to you my friend and one of my mentors, judge wendy lindley. >> so, thank you, justice for vets. carolyn and all the wonderful people that i've worked with over the years. it is a huge, huge honor to receive this and it was an honor to be one of you and work with you on behalf of veterans. i'm going to be brief, but just starting with long, long ago when i started my first collaborative court, we didn't have evidence-based practices available to us. we didn't have research, methamphetamine was a drug of choice at that time. there wasn't much available at
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all. so what did we do? in these isolated pockets where we were creating these collaborative courts we learned by trial and error. we made lots of mistakes. i made lots of of mistakes. i made lots of mistakes. until the national association of drug corps professionals came along and changed everything. today we are so fortunate to have justice revetz, who provides us with veteran-based treatment. they provide us with key components that give us practical advice on creating, implementing and improving veterans courts. they work tirelessly to do this. i have personally had to do several cases for justice for vets, because they take no personal time for themselves. i hope my latest individual on probation attended the
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meditation this morning, because she does nothing but tirelessly work for this organization, which truly does create justice for vets. in closing, i want to say that our work is so important. and each one of you in this room is so important to our work. you come in day after day, week after week, year after year, in spite of challenges, and sometimes disappointments, because you know that the work we do save lives, saves families, as we heard today, saves money, and makes our community a better place for all of us. as i look out to the more than 1,000 of you who are here today, i have such hope knowing that you are now armed with even more information to go back to your community and to continue to do your good work to bring justice to vets. thank you.
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[ applause ] thank you, judge lindley. and i have to admit, i'm the one she put on probation. and thank you, everyone, for being here this week. i don't know about you, but after today's ceremony, i feel pretty energized, do you? ready to go for a great conference? and i know that together we'll have an amazing conference. this morning we heard a beautiful version of our national anthem performed by tony-award winning actress katie huffman. katie's credits and awards are far too numerous to list here. she has starred on stage, film, and television. katie is best known for her
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tony-award-winning turn in the smash hit "the producers," and she remains one of the broadway's shining stars. but she is also a passionate advocate for veterans. when i called katie, and i asked her to come share her talents with us here today, and i told her what you all were up to, katie said, and i quote, if my little voice can help in any way, of course i'll be there. well, after having heard her this morning, we all know she doesn't have a little voice. katie wanted to be here. ladies and gentlemen, accompanied by noona perenton, please welcome back to the stage, my friend, ms. katie huffman. [ applause ]
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♪ ♪ mine eyes have seen the glory ♪ ♪ of the coming of the lord ♪ he is trampling out the vintage ♪ ♪ where the grapes of wrath are stored ♪ ♪ he hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword ♪ ♪ his truth is marching on
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♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ his truth is marching on ♪ he has sounded forth the trumpet ♪ ♪ that shall never call retreat ♪ ♪ he is sifting out the hearts of men ♪ ♪ before his judgment seat ♪ oh, he swept my soul to answer him ♪ ♪ be jubilant my feet
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♪ our god is marching on ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ since god is marching on ♪ in the beauty of the lilies ♪ christ was born across the sea ♪ ♪ with a glory in his bosom ♪ that transfigures you and me ♪ as he died to make men holy ♪ let us die to make men free
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♪ while god is marching on ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ while god is marching on ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ glory glory hallelujah ♪ glory glory hallelujah
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♪ his truth is marching on ♪ marching on, marching on ♪ marching on [ applause ] c-span's road to the white house coverage continues friday, live from orlando, at the republican party of florida's sunshine summit. the two-day event brings together presidential candidates along with florida's state and federal elected officials. friday morning at 10:30 eastern, the lineup includes florida senator marco rubio, ted cruz,
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lindsey graham, mike huckabee, jeb bush, donald trump, and ben carson. and live on saturday morning starting at 10:00 eastern, mohr from the republican sunshine summit with rick santorum, bobby jindal, rand paul, chris christie, john kasich, and carly fiorina. stay with c-span for campaign 2016, taking you on the road to the white house, on tv, on the radio, and coming up here on c-span 3, a conversation on turkey's recent elections and the fight against isis. then a house foreign affairs subcommittee hearing on syrian refugees. after that, the british foreign secretary on his country's approach to combatting climate change. and later, a conversation from the national institute for
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healthcare management on improving medical care and reducing costs. listen live any time on our c-span radio app. get best access from behind the scenes. stay with c-span, c spa-span ra and for your best access to congress. turkey's ruling akp party regained the majority in elections this month. the bipartisan center and the school of international advanced studies hosted a forum this week on the outcome of the turkish election and what it means for the u.s. and the fight against
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isis. this is 90 minutes. my name is mamuka tsereteli. welcome to johns hopkins universities's school of advanced international studies. we are here today to discuss joint project of central asia cau caucasus institute on turkey transformed. bpc, bipartisan policy center, published this report shortly before the november 1st election. and the report is available at
8:02 pm the studies are available online. there are also copies outside. i also need to mention that central asia caucasus institute, we publish occasionally and it's available at w on november 18th we will talk about environmental issues that affect the country of georgia. i'll start a very brief introduction by saying there is no need, probably, to talk too much about strategic importance of turkey, for very person critical region stretched between central asia through middle east and eastern mediterranean. turkey is important from security, military, political,
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economic, energy transit, and other perspectives. it is important, what is happening in turkey is important for turkey itself, obviously, but also for its neighbors, for the united states strategic interests in the area as well. that explains public interest towards important elections in turkey held in early november. we all know the results of the election. turkish presidente erdogan had majority, the results outperformed every poll and surprised even very seasoned analysts. this has begin erdogan and the akp party a mandate to govern. the national will manifested itself on november 1st in favor of stability. our forum today is focused on
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the meaning of this election for turkey short term and long term perspective and what it means also for other actors all around the world. our first speaker is ambassador eric edelman who is ideally suited for tonight's task because he holds positions at the bipartisan center and is a distinguished scholar. alan makovsky was undersecretary of defense for policy between 2005 and 2009. he will be followed by two authors of the study. one is our director for central asia caucasus institute, dr.
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svante cornell, an expert on turkey, and holds his ba degree from the middle east technical university in ankara. the other is blaise misztal, director of foreign policy at bipartisan policy center. we are also fortunate to have two commentators today who were not directly involved in the report but who are members of the bipartisan policy center. these are alan makovsky who founded the washington institute's turkey research program and later served as the top middle eastern adviser on foreign affairs committee. finally, last but not least is john hannah, senior consulate, foundation for middle eastern policy.
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he was the national security adviser to vice president cheney. without further delay, ambassador edelman. >> thank you. let me just say at the outset, unfortunately i have to leave a little bit after 6:00 because i have another commitment. i would feel worse if not for the fact that i'm sitting on a panel with a group of people with whom i've worked on this and other subjects for many, many years. and i know that the audience will be well-served, probably better-served in my absence. let me start actually with a couple of comments about the report and why we decided that the task force would appropriate report and then make a few comments about what it might say about turkey's prospects
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post-election. a couple of years ago, we did a report which looked at the ideological origins of turkish foreign policy. this is within the context of a foreign policy that had begun under then prime minister -- or then foreign minister, now the prime minister, that turkey should have no problems with its neighbors and that should be the motto of turkish foreign policy, zero problems with neighbors. and that policy had over time morphed into a policy in which turkey seemed to have many problems with all of its neighbors, and in particular seemed to have developed a foreign policy that was more marked by sectarian allegiances in the neighboring region than it was by the initial injunction to avoid problems with neighbors. and in the course of preparing
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that report, i think it occurred to several of us that it might also be useful to look into the ideological origins of wha grear trend towards authoritarian behavior in president erdogan and in the government in turkey, because it seemed to us that so much of turkish foreign policy behavior could not really be explained without reference to what was going on domestically in turkish society and the turkish polity. we undertook to write this report, which i commend it to everybody. i think it's quite i will humu illuminating. we were able to have a panel a week or so before the election with some very distinguished
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commentators, professor michael reynolds of princeton, and amarin zaman in turkey, who both agreed that this paper has a lot to tell people, including people who know a lot about turkey, about from whence springs some of what we see in turkey's current political circumstance. the changes we see going on in the media environment, changes we see going on in education policy, et cetera. the paper i think serves as a useful backdrop to the election. and as was mentioned a minute ago, i don't think very many observers saw this election result coming. in effect, between the june election and the november election, the party gained about 5 million votes. it went from about 40% of a
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share of the vote to about 49.4%. turkey has a tradition of free and fair elections. and it's hard to imagine, although there was some vote-stealing in the ankara municipal pal election a year or so ago, that appears to have been more significant than usual, it's hard to imagine that 5 million votes were stolen in this election. but that being said, it would be very hard to characterize this election as a fair election. it's hard to characterize it as a fair election both because of the atmosphere of violence and intimidation under which the election campaign took place. i have in mind the burning and looting of over 200 offices of the hdp, the kurdish party in turkey. i have in mind the
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demonstrations by thug-ish elements supporting the ak party against mainstream outlines. just days before the election, the takeover of the media offices and the use of tear gas and arrests of journalists are hardly the kind of environment in which a fair election can take place. that's not to mention the high level of violence, almost as high as what we used to see back in the 1980s, that make it very difficult to imagine a four election being held in the southeast, where a very large number of the country's kurdish voters reside. so in light of that, what do we find ourselves facing? although this, you know, victory, as i said, was not foreseen by others, between june
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and november 1st, not one predicted this outcome. i think the highest i saw in any poll was something like 47% for akp. that was very much an outlier. what it tells you is even with this very large victory, the prime minister and the president have received 49% of the vote. and that indicates i think that turkey remains a very, very deeply divided society. and what that requires, in my view, to move turkey forward, to be the kind of society that we would like to see it be, the kind of democratic, pluralistic partner for the united states that we needed to be in the middle east, that the government would approach the task of governing in a spirit of both
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reconciliation of political differences, an emphasis on peaceful reconciliation of differences, and a concern for pluralism and tolerance in turkish society, rather than some of the overheated rhetoric we've seen, particularly from the president, over the last couple of years. indeed, i think that's what prime minister davotalo would like to see given some comments he's made since the election. but i'm fearful that's not the result we're likely to see. one of i think the findings of the two papers to which i referred is that the president has an extremely limited view of turkish democracy. he won and his opponents lost and now he gets to govern in whatever way he sees fit. i think that is likely to carry
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turkey further in the direction of greater polarization, increased violence, and perhaps worse, unless that trend is arrested. i hope i'm wrong. i would be delighted to be proven wrong. but i'm afraid that given what we've seen over the last few years, it's hard to imagine him approaching this in any other way. i think that makes it incumbent on the united states to make clear in its interaction, both privately and publicly with the government of turkey, the importance we attach to freedom of expression, to the rule of law, to do a fair regard for other opinions in turkish society, and for a spirit of tolerance to be the guiding force in the turkish
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government's policies, rather than the efforts to eliminate criticism, crack down on the media, paint opponents with a very broad brush as terrorists and supporters of terrorists. and that's what i hope we'll see from the u.s. government, although i'm not very sanguine about that either. why don't i stop there. >> dr. cornell. >> thank you. and thank you, ambassador edelman, for your comments. i take my starting point, if you will, in the rethetetrospective where turkey is today compared to when the akp came on the political scene. of course the akp had broken from the i say lattist movement of which it had been a part,
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embraced membership in the eu, or the idea of membership in the eu, embraced democracy, and it promised to break the authoritarian system in turkey and introduce a true political democracy. especially in the post-9/11 period when there was a quest of moderate muslims throughout the the world, what better could there be? of course what we see today is the turkey that president erdogan and the akp has developed is very far from what they were saying then, what western observers and turkish liberals believed when they quite significant support and endorsement of the akp. ambassador edelman went into some of the details of the events we saw before enduring this election people. when 100 people or more are killed by suicide bombers in the capital of the city, we see the police responding by shooting
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tear gas and water cannons at the dead and injured people and hindering first responders from coming to the scene. this is something very different from what we expected. what we're seeing from the new turkey project of president erdogan and prime minister davutoglu, we go into twin processes, if you will, chronologically. first, the process of deepening authoritarianism, and then the process of accelerated islam icization. my comment will speak more about the authoritarian elements of this system. i will say it's very often noted that while the turkey that existed before the akp wasn't ideal, that was a semiauthoritarian system as well. and i think that's a fair point. on that note, however, i think it's not the level of authoritarianism but the nature of authoritarianism. the old system that existed in turkey was built not an
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individual persons but on institutions. it was rather predictable. there was a structure to the system that existed. and to a considerable degree it was actually built on laws. you can disagree with those laws, and i think most people in the west did disagree with some of the system. but it was enshrined in the constitution with the national security council, the courts, antiterror laws, and everything. what we're seeing now is a very different type of authoritarian system that is centered around one individual. that makes it more volatile and unstable, because even with 317 seats in the parliament, president erdogan is not in a position to achieve the system he has already said is already de facto in existence in turkey and the one that we should change the constitution to reflect. he's actually governing in a way that is completely different from what the constitutional system of turkey is mandating. and i think this deinstitutionalization of power may be the most dangerous facet
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of what's going on in turkey today. in the study we also 32 what for a long time was a dog that didn't bark in turkey, many the policies of islamzation that many were crying wolf about ten or 15 years ago that didn't seem to happen. but especially after the 2011 elections, we a clear change and acceleration of these policies. two issues we particularly discuss, one is the education issue. it's a massive reversal of the secularizing reforms of the educational system of the late 1990s. the great insertion of religious content into the regular school system of turkey, in parallel with that the rebuilding of a directly religious school system run very much under the supervision of a foundation that is run by the erdogan family.
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in this process we see the transformation of regular schools into the religious schools against the wishes of the people who actually have kids in those schools. we see an education system that actually tries to push people into the religious schools from the regular schools in turkey. the second element is the role of the state directorate for religious affairs when existed from the earliey era to control religion. it's now being used to propagate the mainstream sunni form of islam that is the majority form in turkey, probably 60 to 65% of turks belong to this islam, but not the rest of the population. you have a directorate of
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religious affairs that only promotes one form of islam and that has grown tremendously in size but also in its public profile. it issues salal certificate, there's a 1-800 line you can call to find out whether what you're about to do is in conformity with islamic laws. that doesn't carry any legal weight in the turkish system, but it has a strong form of authority, informally, over society. i think that's very noteworthy. there has been a massive expansion of koran courses. whereas they used to be available only for children over the age of 12, any limitations of age, for the trainers of
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teachers of these courses has been more or less dismantled, which has changed very much the situation. finally, it used to have a chairman who was a neutral, nonpolitical person. now we very clearly see how the leadership is overly supportive of the policies of the government. there is also an increasing staffing of the organization by people belonging to the religious orders. with respect to the role of women in public life, there is the increasing role of crony capitalism that is seeking to move ownership of the economy in erdogan's own words to a new islamic elite. as ambassador edelman noted, the sectarian nature of foreign policy, especially with regard to syria but also in places like
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libya. now, in trying to understand why this is happening in turkey, very often we find that blame is being put either on western alienation of turkey, either the eu, germans and french alienated turkey, or the u.s. with the with war in iraq alienated turkey, or if only it was erdogan personally who was running turkey, but people like the prime minister or senior people in the party, if only it was somebody else from the movement rather than erdogan, we wouldn't have this problem. in other words, all of these explanations, if you will, assume that the problem is not that our fundamental analysis of the nature of the akp was wrong, but that something went wrong along the way.
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what our study does is to say that this is fundamentally wrong, that all these underestimate and ignore the ideological baggage of the akp, which is consistent with what you're seeing playing out in turkey presently, and that is turkish islamicism is much more radical than is traditionally thought. this movement has refrained from being violent. it has always had an attitude not to have arms against the state. but what we see is that the ideas propagated by this movement are profoundly radical. very quickly, there are three roots to this movement. and one of these is the order which especially from the early
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19th century onward brought experimentatio interpretations much more orthodox into the turkish mainstream. we shouldn't look at it as a spiritual sufi order. this is extremely political in its nature. this is the first root of the akp today. the other is turkish thinkers, islamist thinkers of the '20s and '30s, if you look at what they believe and who they are, they were highly inspired by ideologies of the 1930s, particularly the fascists, and were passionate opponents of the west and very strong antise se-e
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anti-semit anti-semites. the third element is the groups which were influential from the 1960s onward. to give you an example of how this comes together, the grand old man of turkish islamism who died several years ago died posthumously a book of memoirs which roughly translates to "mein kampf," basically "my struggle," which i think the most important feature is that it's at the core of the belief system in the islamist movement in turkey. there are 30 pages at the front of this book called "those who rule the world," which talks about the freemasons who founded
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the u.n. and nato as well as the european union and the council of foreign relations and so on and so forth. and in principle, you come away with the understanding that not only everything that is jewish is bad, but everything that is bad in the world is jewish. this is the cornerstone of his ideology and has deeply colored the entire islamist movement in turkey. of course the akp was born out of a breach away from this la this islamist movement. but the akp never did leave that movement behind intellectually. the rebranding that took place among islamist intellectuals didn't really occur when the akp created.
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it started with the creation of the party in 1988 which preceded the akp and after erdogan was removed from power. where the akp came in was to get rid of the old guard, which was a block in the progress of their political ambitions. it occurred until the party was closed down by the courts in 2001. in the paper we discuss how this process of rebranding was very tactical in nature. and it's important to note that erdogan himself was, after the accupuncture of 1997, embraced the eu and embraced the issue of applying to the courts for redress for closure of the party. magically, in his book published in 2014, there is nothing about this, nothing about the eu, nothing about democracy, as if it had never happened, back to the hard core islamist ideologies of the 1960s and
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'70s. i think in principle what you are left with the conclusion is that the rebranding of the akp never went to the core issue that the islamist movement in turkey and the people who very much today remain the decisionmakers in the akp, have a world view that remains based on an essentially anti-semitic world view of a jewish conspiracy. there is a return to the hard core islamist ideas and values that were part of the islamist movement in turkey in the 1960s and 1970s. looking at the june election, we found that erdogan was everywhere, in rallies, on posters. the defeat of the akp in june was in fact people saying no to the idea of a presidential
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system and an authoritarian system built in one man. what you find in the november election is you don't find erdogan on rallies and posters. the akp tried to show itself as a party, and that's why they were successful in the election. people voidted for the party an the system and not so much the individual erdogan. much more importantly, whether or not he succeeds in having constitutional backing for a system that in practice is already existing, he will have at least four more years to make it an irreversibly more middle eastern country but also a more polarized country than it was when he took power. thank you. >> thank you. blaise?
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>> thank you. alford white had said that the tradition of western philosophy consists of footnotes to plato. that's why i cite philosophy, i figured i would read plato and be done with it. but i think i'll just be a footnote to our previous speakers' presentations. it's hard not to come to the conclusion that there is a departure from democracy, beginning with the protests in the last days of may 2013, that were met with a brutal police response, followed by the december 17th investigations into corruption and the way that the prosecutors who brought those charges dealt with them and the police forces dismissed, it'sed about clear that then prime minister and now president
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erdogan calls the shots in turkey. but the purpose of this paper was to examine the sort of nature of authoritarianism in turkey a little more deeply and ask where it's come from, what is its nature, what is its structure, how is it sort of being implemented, and why it matters. and i think on the first point, as svante presented, an argued we made in the paper is all the trends we're seeing in turkey today are not the result of something that just miraculously happened in 2013 or even at some earlier date. it's not the result of a break that erdogan had, it's not the result of a party-wide objective. as svante laid out, we can trace the akp's ideology to an
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authoritarian ideology. if you look at the parties that erdogan led throughout his tenure, they're all with him being a strong leader and controlling them. it's not surprising that's what we're seeing manifesting in the party that is the inheritor of that, the akp party. the democratic moment that you see in 2002, 2003, that this is a democratic party that's going to solve the democratic deficit that turkey has been facing, is really actually the entree in some ways to the authoritarianism that we see today, that in order for the akp to stay in power, to avoid the fate its predecessors had met,
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the 1997 coup, that still being fresh in people's minds, without being mettled with. the first step towards that was sort of clearing the underbrush, clearing the threats to their rule, which was primarily the military, which is what we see sort of in 2006, '07, with the sledgehammer case, the allegations of coup plotting and terrorism with journalists supporting them. then you see the akp completely swing the pendulum the other way, become the mirror image. first they were sort of the outsiders trying to clear away the institutions of the state that might oppose them, then suddenly they become the institutions of the state trying to clear way the economic
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institutions that might oppose them. you're seeing in turkey authoritarianism on two levels. one is the deinstitutionalization and the concentration of power in erdogan's hands and the attempt to do away with checks and balances, separation of powers, rule of law, that is meant to shield the use of powers that you see, tinkering with the 2010 constitution, and the way judges and prosecutors are appointed. suddenly you start stacking the courts, essentially, allowing erdogan to dictate how decisions are made. you see rule of law and separation of powers eroding in the media regulatory body, which leads to some of the invasion of media freedom that the
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ambassador menditioned. and the elimination of possible sources of opposition, closing the open spirit of society, both in terms of, as we saw dramatically in the lead-up to the election, the imprisonment of journalists, the targeting of journalists, some of this being done through government means, through sort of legal means, but a lot of it being extra-legally with mobs showing up at opposition newspapers, sometimes led by government mps, by ak party mps, but not in any sort of official capacity, and ran sacking those offices, mobs showing up and ransacking the offices of opposing political parties. you see sort of a crony capitalism emerge as a means of
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enriching supporters of the government as well as the party through kick backs enriching itself and also pushing out from the economy and from access to wealth and from access to being able to own media companies and mount opposition to the government or anyone who doesn't agree with it. so you really see a system, not just within government, but also within civil society, media, and the economy. and the question of why this matters has been hinted at, as svante said, it's about polarzation and stability. turkey has -- often we tend to talk about the akp and its opposition as sort of the socially conservative or the pipi pious versus the conservatives.
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all these cleave adjust ages ar right now. what you've seen between june and the election is they've really hardened in a way that appears difficult to reverse at this point. going into the june election, there was a lot of optimistic specifically around the possibility that the hdp, the kurdish party, might cross the 10% threshold for the first time and that this would be a significant step forward for turkish society and a way to moderate the akp's power. there is also a sent of possibility, a sense of change imminent or at least possible, and still a dedication to the democratic process. i think among a lot of members of the opposition, that sense of hope really evaporated by the time the november election came around, because it seemed apparent that president erdogan and the akp party were willing to destabilize the country in order to make the argument that they could bring stability back
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and therefore were the right choice. and the other reason this matters, i feel often in washington erdogan's antics are seen as electoral strategies. turkey now has had four elections in the last two years, and so it's often very easy to say they're just shutting down youtube and twitter because they need to do this before the election, but after the election, don't worry, everything will come back, oh, he's just cracking down on the kurds because he's doing this to gain votes before the election, but after the election, don't worry, everything will change. first of all, we haven't seen that, multiple times we've heard that this will happen, it hasn't. secondly, there's a sort of circular logic, we shouldn't worry about erdogan's authoritarian tendencies, because as soon as he wins the election he won't resort to them. but he runs to create an author
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tan yan system that he's not shy about talking about, or effectively trying to pretend to ourselves that once he has the power to be an authoritarian for real, he won't be one, which seems a little circular. so paying attention to the ideology and objectives that are driving both erdogan and the party, it's important to understand where the country will be going in the future. thanks. >> i guess much of what there is to say about the election and the outcome has already been said. so i'll do my best to make it interesting. >> it hasn't been said by you yet. >> yes. erdogan was on somewhat of a
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losing streak, even though he was always coming in first in the elections, i think akp did worse than expected in the local elections in 2014. in the presidential election he got just under 52%, again, really to essentially nobodyies his opponent was essentially unknown at the time of the presidential election. akp lost its majority in june. and i guess i would to say that to me, this election was -- showed erdogan somewhat recovering the midas touch in politics that he had had
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previously. it took some guts to roll the dice, maybe he didn't have much choice because he was frightened of not having a majority. but nobody expected a success. and he did succeed. i think also, i'm not sure if it was blaise who alluded to this, i guess he showed a little more flexibility than i expected. i mean, surveys showed, after the last election, that both his presence, his very shrill campaigning for akp, and his emphasis on a presidential system which remains not very popular, that those two elements had actually hurt akp in june. so what did he do?
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and, you know, for somebody -- we tend to think of him as such an egotist that he wouldn't be able to to do this, but he kept himself out of the campaign and you couldn't hear much about the presidential system. so to me he showed surprising tactical ability. a lot of negative things have been said, somebody told me i have to share this cartoon with you, it will mean something to those of you who are familiar with turkish politics. it showed the leaders of the three losing parties sitting around and grumbling about how terrible the polls were, how they missed it entirely. and they're all saying, yeah, how can those pollsters stay there, they all ought to resign. an allusion to the fact that
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turkish party leaders virtually never resign. there is one poll that i think, you know, i think something apost positive has to be said about it. i think they primarily do market research. they've done something close to polls that are held right after the elections. their june 8th poll had over 20% of mhp voters saying that if they turn out, that they would have voted for akp. and i think -- listen, i don't know how good the poll is, i can't vouch for it, i'm not here to advertise for it, but either erdogan -- erdogan's polls must
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have been showing something similar, because on day one, after june 7th, the pro-government papers were all saying the solution is a new election, likely new election. that was before any of the politicians said anything. so he obviously believed the kind of results that came out of that poll. i think that already created the base of voters for akp, which he built on, to his victory in november. he knew there was already a significant chunk of voters who were unhappy with a hung parliament and were going to vote for him for the sake of a majority. now, i do see, like i think many commentators have said, this was a vote for stability. and the ipsos policy, by the way, it's only in turkish at this point, but for those of you who have rudimentary knowledge
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of turkish, it's pretty easy to read. even i could read it. it had some very interesting things in it. but look, i think, although the vote was for stability, i think what the turks are going to reap is a great deal of instability. and here i'll just tick off a lot of things that have already been said. it's clear that erdogan sees had to vote as an affirmation of his policy. so i think we can expect that he will continue to push the presidential system. there's already been indications from his advisors that they intend to push along those lines. we know he's 13 votes short in parliament of having enough votes to pass a constitutional
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amendment that could be brought up for a referendum. but given some of the past cooperation between akp and the nationalist mhp, i wouldn't be shocked to see him cull those extra votes from mhp. and even though, should he get to a referendum, right now roughly 70% of turks say -- and this is, again, from this recent poll after the november election, say they favor a parliamentary system. but once a campaign for a referendum were involved i mean, who knows, akp has many levers, and erdogan is very influential. so i think we'll see the presidential system, we're going to see a continuation of the war
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on the pkk. at any rate, the pkk has what i think is a blunder for the kurdish cause, has said that its temporary cease-fire is over. we're likely to see a crackdown on the universities. there's new regulations passed shortly before the election that gives the higher education council the right to take over universities. media, it's the worst era that i can remember, and my memory goes back a long way on turkey. just to highlight, i know they've said already, the police storming a building and just taking the tv stations off the air, and the newspapers, we're
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taking over, and the next day they flipped 180 degrees editorially. >> or 360 degrees, as prime minister davutoglu would say. >> right, 360 degrees. i don't remember anything like this. there have been nearly 300 cases of journalists and others who have been indicted, arrested, fined for insulting the president. there were no such cases before. the law is on the books. i don't remember it ever being invoked quite so often. i do remember senior officials in turkey filing libel suits, including the president many years ago.
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but it's, you know, an almost foolproof way of getting people to shut up. the crackdown on the gulinis will obviously continue. i just as many of you in the audience know, december 27th, 2013, a corruption case was opened against many akp-associated people. it was followed by a series of leaks of recordings which seemed to implicate erdogan himself. much of subsequent turkish political history i think we can say until november 1 i think has been about the president trying to avoid those charges coming to him. some people would argue that's actually why he insisted on becoming president. because it's much harder to get
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to a president. it takes 3/4 vote for. otherwise he is basically beyond the law. some would argue that's why he needed a majority government. because even a coalition government, it might have been difficult for any non-akp party not to vote in favor of pursuing these corruption charges. now he is insulated from those charges. and i think that story is pretty much over. i think there is going to be some very tough times ahead. not to mention that the economy has been struggling. i'll just -- a couple of things about the united states. is there some silver lining? well, i'm trying to be objective. perhaps. from the u.s. point of view the
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fact that we have been using an agreement with the with what was an interim government but was an akp-dominated government since late july, i guess this likely assures we'll be able to continue to use three other bases in the fight against isis. perhaps if chp had been part of the government, i don't think there would have been any interruption. but elements of chp has its own cut about syria and about the united states. maybe there would have been some complications. now there will not. when we fight a war, winning that war tends to dominate all aspects of our policy, and that's understandable. i think that is going to be the dominant element. in our policy, in our turkey policy in the days ahead.
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but i will echo what ambassador edelman said it's extremely important that we continue to focus on the freedom deficits, and particularly on the repression of freedom of expression. in turkey. >> continue because i have to say despite our strategic needs in turkey, has made some important statements. we're going to have to keep that out front. and i think the first test of how we're going to balance that, or important test will come this weekend. president obama will be in turkey for the g-20 summit. at the previous g-20 summit he seemed to try to evade prime minister erdogan with whom he once had a close relationship, but since 2013 has not.
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it's very difficult to evade your host. and it will be very interesting to see how the president balances. appreciation for the fact that we're able to use turkish bases in the fight against isil with the very deep concern about the lack of freedom and the declining freedom in turkey. i'll leave it at that. >> thank you. john? okay. i'll try and be quick. >> because i wasn't. >> maybe people can ask him some questions. i would just you know, underscore what allen said. as much as i don't like it, i think this election really did whatever people thought about june 7th, that was going to be
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the dagger to the heart that began to put an end to the erdogans absolute rain over turkish politics in the aftermath of what happened november 1, i think we have to say it was at most a stumble. and that he remains a giant. his ability to threaten and persuade, to inspire, to demagogue the turkish public to serve his own political ends i think is without peril irparallel in the turkish system. it was an amazing five-month period to have gone from that stinging rebuke in june 7th to as everybody has said to this stunning victory on november 1 that none of the experts and certainly not the pollsters
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predicted, this resounding overwhelming victory by the akp and its return to majority rule. and all of the more of an earthquake because it was so unexpected and unpredicted, except perhaps for president erdogan himself. as allen said, he was the one who said from the start no, we're going to scuttle these coalition talks. we are going to go to new elections. it's he who took advantage of the assassination of the two policemen in july, seized on the provocation to end the peace process, to declare it dead and launch more or less full-scale conflict in turkey southeast against the pkk. an as my colleagues have said, it was he who decided he was going to double down on crushing all forms of dissent inside of turkey, particularly in the
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media. and just, i mean, really astounding cases of repression. of the media as well as of political opponents particularly within the kurdish dominated hdp. so this was a systematic strategy of erdogan by manufactured chaos, of manufactured irnsability, violence and intimidation to basically scare the turkish people into revisiting the results of june 7th. and returning the akp to monopoly power. because if they didn't, basically, it was as much a threat as a promise that things could get much, much worse, and faced with the situation in which stability was the
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question, inside of turkey, i think their only choice was to return the akp to power. at least they felt -- the majority of voters felt that was their only option, was a strong akp government. and it was a miraculous result when you think about what he did. the strategy was clearly he had to whip up some level of national hysteria and win back nationalist voters that got him to the mhp to back the akp. at the same time he needed to depress the hdp's vote, that kurdish vote that had taken so many voters away from him. and he succeeded, spectacularly on both accounts. mhp lost up to 40 seats. and i assume most of them went to akp. and hdp lost more than a million voters i think who are overwhelmingly kurdish voters. so just think about what he did. at one and the same time he won
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over millions of anti-kurdish right wing nationalists and won over close to a million conservative kurdish votes. that's quite an extraordinary feat to be able to thread that needle. but he did it. and, again, i think it underscores his mastery of turkish politics. what does it mean from here? on out, i agree with my colleagues. i think it's bad news. i think erdogan will see this as a vindication, as a mandate to continue doing what he is doing. that this policy worked. that in fact, you know, whatever narrow window of opportunity existed on june 7th to begin dialing back the -- the trajectory toward authoritarianism in turkey, erdogan made sure over the last five months that he was going to slam it shut. and my guess is over the next
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four years until the voters go to the polls again, he is going to make sure it's nailed, nailed shut. and democracy and pluralism and human rights and freedom of the press is my guess are all going to suffer tremendously. i think he will push this notion of an imperial presidency, whether the turkish people want it or not. i think he'll figure out a way to get it. and if it means dominating not just 70% of the media in turkey as he does now, if the tape requires him dominating 90% of it or 100% of it, that's what he'll do. and if he needs 13 other parliamentarians outside of the akp to be able to go to a constitutional referendum on executive presidency, i think with the political winds at his back, with all of the powers of the state in his command,
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including all the coercive powers, but all the incentives that the state can potentially provide to these parliamentarian, i think 13 seats is not a very high hurdle or a big obstacle for him to work on over the course of the next year in order to get that referendum. the peace process with the kurds, again, i'm not sure. but the fact is that pushing the peace process, i think he'll look back and say that cost me votes. that cost me nationalist votes. i think this election underscores for him how important that right wing nationalist constituency is to his ability to consolidate power. i think that is a lesson he'll take, that reaching out to the kurds, looking like i was pursuing a settlement, that hurt me, when in fact over the last five months increased tensions, increased conflict, increased violence with the kurds. that got me november 1st.
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that's the path to go. maybe not full-scale war. costs of that politically, economically in terms of how foreign investors look at turkey, that could be not a place he wants to go. but the thought of low level tensions continued simmering conflict. my guess is that's what we're likely to see, a continuation of. in syria, we'll see. but i think this attitude on the kurdish question, this increased sense of playing, being able to play the nationalist card, of seeing kurdish aspirations as a threat, even a mortal threat to turkey's territorial integrity, i think that could spill over on to the syrian front, and particularly the kurdish question inside of syria. i think the fact that increasingly, it looks like u.s.
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strategy is growingly dependent on the syrian movement, which is closely aligned with the pkk inside of turkey. the u.s. is really holding on to the ypg now as an integral part of its ability to fight this war against isis on the ground, including in being able to put pressure on its capital in raqqah, which is -- must be one of the main lines of our operations there, as secretary carter has recently said in testimony. i think that that clearly, and the turks have said, that is a major, major problem for them. even perhaps a red line, the notion of a budding u.s.-ypg military alliance on their border is something that they said they cannot tolerate. up to now, well, all we've seen is isolated incidents of some artillery, some air strikes by turkey on ypg's positions across the border.
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but i think that's something to watch. and no doubt hopefully this weekend and early next weekend when the president does talk to erdogan, trying to reach some better understandings about where we're headed on syria is going to be very important. including on what we're going to do or not do with the ypg. and if not the ypg as the tip of the spear fighting isis, then what's turkey's answer? who else is going to do it? what is turkey going to do? it's certainly not the answer that turkey has had so far, which is essentially to empower the nonisis radical gee hjihadi across the border. that's not a serious alternative to what we're trying to do on the ground against isis. and now there is this question what skin is turkey willing to put in the game. there has been subtle hints, not
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so serious hints that now they're prepared to get serious. they even put boots on the ground. are they prepared to do that? are they prepared to go in and put boots on the ground and police the safe zone inside of syria? we'll see. that's a question worth pursuing. there are real potential land mines between us and turkey. and i'm not at all sure this election makes it easier to resolve. in some ways it may make it tougher because of where erdogan and the military is on the question of the kurds. and belief me, there are a lot of -- there is no doubt a lot of turks, pkk people that are fighting inside of syria with the ypg. and the turks have said if there are u.s. weapons that go to the ypg that end up then inside of turkey being used against turkish security forces, that will be a real diplomatic crisis
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between the united states and turkey. and there are a lot of things moving now that could point us in that kind of direction. and i think that something will very much want to head off. i'd finally say that, you know, stepping back, the larger picture here for me is that i don't know how narrow the window was, but i do think there was a window opened after june 7th in which turkey may -- had a chance to actually begin to put the brakes on the juggernaut of erdogan hurtling toward a more authoritarian future for turkey. i think we probably will look back in retrospect and see this election on november 1 as a real hinge point for the country where it did face a chance to go in perhaps two different directions. and there may have been an offramp for them away from, off
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of this superhighway of erdogan's towards some form of putinism with the very nasty islamist twist to it. i think they thought about it. they thought about it a second time. may have changed their mind and then didn't take that exit. and now it's in their rear view mirror, and they may have ended up in the express lane to some form of turkish putinism. and getting back to that exit from this very bad trajectory i think is going to be very, very difficult. and erdogan is going to make it very difficult if not impossible. to have that kind of exit ramp in 2019. i think that will be a singular strategic purpose of his to make sure that he doesn't have to go through the kind of experience he went through in june 7th ever, ever again. so on that cheery note, let me
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turn it back. >> thank you. >> thanks to all for a very substantive discussion. i think all refrain from my commentary. i would like to use time that we have left for questions from the audience. we'll start here with them. >> i'm a professor here at. i'd like to hear a little more about countervailing forces. the courts media have been mentioned for very little about the military's countervailing forces business community. the opposition political parties. democracy doesn't just happen because people are nice to each other. it's because there is some sort of force that works against the autocracy. >> if you could please keep
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answers as well short so that we could have more questions coming. who wants to start? >> go. >> the mic is yours. >> okay. i think there are countervailing force, but i don't think they're powerful enough. and you mentioned the military. everyone in turkey, i wonder why, always speculates about what turkey is thinking. i think it's clear that erdogan wants the military on his side. and the military is an opaque institution. but i think as much as we can see into it, they strongly support the idea of going after the pkk. they see the pkk as a greater threat than is isis. and they see ypg and pkk as more or less the same.
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and i think they feel this way enough that maybe it's not even completely clear who is driving the policy more. but i think that erdogan and the military are probably more or less in lockstep on this. i think there are other issues where they can put the brakes on, and they have put the brakes on, or mainly -- but i don't think it's about domestic politics. it's foreign policy where they're involved. there was a rumor about two months ago that turkey was about to send land forces into syria. this is strongly opposed by the turkish public. every pole has shown that. according to all reports, and that's all we have to go by, the military said we're not going to do it. i think the military never lost total power in turkey. and i'm not sure. i may be somewhat in the
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minority on this. obviously with all the officers that were arrested, they were hurt badly. they certainly lost their ability to affect domestic politics. but they have in certain ways retained their autonomy. and i think when it comes to the use of them, they are decisive. they're not going to -- you know, in our system, the military might say mr. president, this is a difficult operation you're asking. i'm not sure we can do it. but if the president says do it, our guys will salute. i don't think in turkey, the military has ever been like that. even at its lowest moment. by the way, the military has resisted in other ways too. the military educational system is still intact. they control their own educational system. there was an effort, and it was even publicly announced by the government at one point that they wanted graduates of the
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schools, these sort of state sponsored parochial schools that svante mentioned to be eligible for acceptance into military academies. it was a big fight so that they would be eligible for regular universities. they won that. military said no. they won that battle. so it's not 100% to nothing. when it comes to domestic politics, i don't really see. yeah, the business community, the big business community maybe doesn't like erdogan so much. but there is a lot of people, the so-called anatolian tigers are a significant factor, are very much supportive of him. >> blaise had some comments? >> sure. i think -- i would say what countervailing forces there are,
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aren't looking at democratic means to be countervailing forces. if they even want to be, alan discussed the military. it's not clear if they really want to be involved. but if they would, it wouldn't be democratically. you know, the big businesses that alan mentioned, a lot of them, a lot of the lead in turkey are deciding to leave turkey rather than continue living under an erdogan system where they feel they're going to be oppressed or their liberties are going to be foresaken. among the kurds one of the stories not discussed is the radicalization happening in the youth in some of these towns where there is lots of fighting between security forces and kurdish youths. they were not pkk fighters. they were not members of the pkk who had been taken and trained in the mountains. their local youth had been radicalized by what is going on and taken up arms themselves to defend their cities. and again, that's not a very democratic process. i think the one place that we
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might be able to say that there is a countervailing force emerging is the personal lan mentioned, the leader -- the co-leader of the hdp who has emerged as sort of the only other charismatic persona on turkey's political scene who might be able to rival erdogan. but there i would say he's very much limited by the politics of his party, even though he aspires to be national party. and he faces two dangers. on the one hand, that he is a danger. he is perceived as a danger to erdogan. and he is perceived as a danger to the pkk. and i think one of the things i heard a lot when i was in turkey recently is so many people want him dead that if he were to be assassinated i wouldn't even know to w.h.o. to suspect. yes, exactly. >> thank you. >> thank you. the director of the institute of turkish studies, georgetown university.
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first of all, i would commend this panel and the position of the bbc for providing an accurate assessment of what is happening in turkey. thank you all for maintaining that position. it's a true resource in this town. one rumor following the g-20, it's suggested that they might actually seize the newspaper in the immediate aftermath. the 70 to 80% media to erdogan, that's something to watch out for. i guess my question is directed at john hannah, i guess. and i wish the ambassador was still here. from the perspective of decision-makers in the room who are going to be advising the president and, you know, it's nice that we're talking about, you know, erdogan's got the brakes off, and this is a dangerous regime headed, and hurtling, whatever. is anybody going to advise the president saying we shouldn't do business with these guys, or who are we doing business with? erdogan has the united states and europe over a barrel and a
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lot of things. he has managed to pull a lot of levers in domestic politics, and he has managed the unthinkable. is it the case that he is also going to be able to do this at the international level? is anybody really going to say to him this is not acceptable? >> i think it's a good question. by the way, you're sitting next to one of our great diplomats on turkey, ambassador holmes, who knows a lot. he has forgotten a lot more about turkey than i know. i would say no. my guess is not. i think there is a sort of sobering reality that has even hit the obama administration about what they are dealing with in turkey, which actually took a very long time for people in this town i think to realize. i wish they had had this study, or we had had the study back in 2002-2003 to understand what we were dealing with. i think there was an awful lot of wishful thinking about where erdogan and the kpp were likely
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to take turkey. and i think we're ruing that now that we harnt hadn't been able to act earlier to put some back stops in support of turkish democracy and freedom of the press and the rule of law and all the things that we care about. and i think in the end of the day, in the long-term are vital for having a serious, stable partner in a nato country. but i think alan is right at the end of the day. especially now in the context that we're dealing with in the middle east today where there seems to be something of a regional meltdown under way. in which this president has in fact launched a war against this terrorist organization in which we are getting some modicum of support now from this turkish government. and i think he has manipulated that quite successfully. have i absolutely no doubt the decision after a year to grant us access to those bases in
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incirlik was very much tied and at the service of his own domestic agenda with an eye toward what he wanted to do on november 1 and what he wanted to do vis-a-vis the pkk. and to buy some level of u.s. acquiescence and silence in that. in the same way have i almost no doubt that what happened all of the sudden after several years of this conflict, this rush of people out of turkey into europe creating this kind of crisis on europe's doorstep was, as they used to say, no accident, comrade. i do believe there was probably some level of manipulation there that erdogan does have his hands on the tap so to speak with regard to this refugee crisis, and very much understands and is using this as leverage now in his dealings with both europe and the united states in the
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west. that if they want to have any hope of solving this crisis, not to mention the broader crisis in syria, as difficult as partner as turkey has been, the hopes of getting a settlement without turkey somehow involved are slim to none, and this crisis gets much, much worse. if that requires you to lower your voice and look away for the moment regarding basically the dismantlement of the turkish democracy and turkish rule of law, well, so be it. these guys are out of office in another 15 months anyway, and it will be somebody else's problem to deal with. for them, i think they'll say listen, we need to deal with them on these difficult regional issues, this war that we're leading. and we can manage the problematic nature of internal turkish politics. unfortunately. i think it's unfortunate because i think it will come back to bite us at some point.
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>> yeah, could i -- turkish strategic importance has always covered a multitude of sins. and i don't think that's -- that's no different now. we need turkey for the war against isis. as long as we feel that, that is probably not going to change. but i did just want to qualify a little bit the idea, the comments that have been made that the administration isn't saying anything. i think they have actually -- i've been surprised to be honest with some of the strong statements if you go back and look at the state department noon press briefs. they have been very tough on turkey, on freedom of expression. and also following the election. we did not -- we the u.s. government did not congratulate akp.
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it's very unusual in a landslide like this. we said we're waiting for official vote, which always comes out in turkey i believe ten days, eight days, ten days after the election. said we won't speculate on the result. i mean, we're the only ones in the world, you know, who wouldn't speculate on what the results were. that was a clear message that we were very unhappy about the human rights situation, the fact that the campaign had taken place under a situation of great restrictions on the opposition. so, you know, i think we have to be fair to the u.s. government on this. >> bill? >> thank you. this has been an excellent panel. i'm bill veal, a retired foreign service officer. i wanted to ask ambassador edelman a question. but he is gone. so i'll pitch this to the whole panel here, if you can shed some
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light on it. you mentioned that turkey is a society with many cleavages in it. and if you set aside the religion and recall that the akp came to power on kind of a promise of economic betterment and good governance, and the economy has been slowing, what is the long-term or near-term implications of this for erdogan and the akp? >> svante, maybe you'll take it? >> do we have an economist here on the panel? i think the -- for a long time, imf and other institutions classify turkey as the most at risk, together with brazil. you have seen over a long period of time tensions within the turkish government where erdogan was more interested in populist moves, didn't like the independence of the central bank, for example, want toddler interest rate, stuff like that. and there was a resistance from
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the professionals, people in the government like alibaba jan who is back. we'll see. it seems the more erdogan capitalizes on this position of power, that's not good news for the management of the economy. and moreover, right now, with the consolidation of power, i think the crony capitalist type of economy that erdogan is building, from 2010 to today, it's really gone off the rails compared to what it used to be. and i don't see that changing. if anything, that's likely to get worse, which means that the conditions for real economic downturn in turkey are certainly there. there needs to be a trigger of some form, an internal or external trigger. another election loss could have been that kind of trigger, and i think they kind of spread that type of propaganda if you will also helped them with the
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electoral victory. the question is what would happen if there was an economic downturn? many people in turkey say well, the only way we can get rid of erdogan is by economic crisis. i don't think that actually would work that way. i think that would hasten the process to a full authoritarian system and he would push back in a very oppressive way against any form of dissent. >> hi, everybody. i'm a senior research fellow for a nonprofit institute, and i know -- i guess a couple of you had touched upon this. but i just do want to good back and look from the eyes of the voters in turkey. try to understand why they gave the party and erdogan a resounding majority. i know part of it was stability. but was it all because they
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remembered the good times between -- i guess it was between 2003 and 2007 when things were going well. turkish economy was relatively growing. whoa was their reasons? what was the common reason, the anatolian tigers i guess i could say. why would they vote for the party and propel to it majority? thank you. >> i can start. i think the -- there is an assumption that democracy matters to a lot of voters. it may at some point. but i don't think it is necessarily the main concern. a colleague of ours spoke here a few months ago after the terrible mine tragedy in soma in turkey, he noticed that the akp swept the local election in soma. so he actually went there, knocked on 100 doors and asked people who did you vote for and why. and they all said we voted for the akp.
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this was an earlier election, but nevertheless. and he said well, why did you? he said look. i have a mortgage on my house. i have a mortgage on my car. i have a mortgage on my washing machine, and i have credit card debt. it goes back to bill's question as well. the indebtedness level and the credit cards that are u.s. pre-2008 crisis. people really are very fearful of this type of stability. and then if you look at sociological studies like in a recent interview, a renowned turkish social scientist talked about what is the composition of the electorate. and he said well, middle class is maybe 20%. and then he had a lower middle class, which are at least 40% of the vote. to these people, you know, you can do the math of what is their priority. and pocketbook issues will understandably have a much higher level of priority than
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issues of, you know, abstract issues of even presidential system versus freedom of the courts and so on. i think that's where you have to look for the reason. >> we're over time. maybe just one last question. >> hi. my name is stanley gonzalez. i'm a recent graduate of the school of international affairs. my question is how are these syrian refugees affecting turkey socially and economically, and do you believe that european countries specifically germany will send more aid to turkey to help with the refugee crisis to prevent more refugees from going to western europe? thank you. >> blaise? >> let me just say one thing. europe's easiest way to handle the problem is to write a check. >> i think what said earlier, europe is very much angela merkel made the bargain that
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they were going to look the other way on turkey's democratic violations, if you will, in exchange for turkey doing more to keep the refugees in turkey. and that turkey has done so at tremendous cost. i think the most recent estimate is $8 billion over the last four years. and also, with some social costs, you know, you have what are mostly sunni syrians coming into communities in southern syria, or in southern turkey. so there is definitely a cost there. but i think it's one that the europeans are willing to bear and are willing to try to get turkey to keep bearing. >> i think that brings us to the end of this very interesting discussion. i think what happens in turkey is very important for obviously u.s. strategic interests in that region. it's very important for the neighborhood of turkey as well. turkey was kind of the economic gross engine for some of the neighboring countries for years. and what happens in turkey impacts neighboring countries as
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well. particularly our region caucus in central asia. so we'll be watching this issue obviously. hopefully we'll have chance to bring you all back to discuss what happens in turkey next couple of years. and with that, i would like to thank our audience for being here this evening and participating and asking questions. and we'll see you all, at least some of you next week for our next forum on november 18th. thank you. [ applause ] >> the florida republican party on friday kicks off its sunshine summit with gop candidates for
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president. speaking to the gathering, marco rubio, ted cruz, lindsey graham, donald trump, jeb bush, ben carson, and mike huckabee. you can see them live on our companion network c-span starting friday morning at 10:30 eastern. and the summit continues saturday with more candidates. bobby jindal, chris christie, rick santorum, rand paul, john kasich, and carly fiorina. those speeches start at 10:00 a.m. eastern on saturday. american history tv. this weekend -- >> setting out boundary, political bound risks state boundaries, community boundaries for the future and for this territory going forward. >> lectures in history with professor carlton basmajian on the northwest ordinance, an act by congress to organize and govern newly acquired territory
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from ohio to the mississippi river. and our new series "road to the white house rewind." >> who is on what side? >> senior zip, the senior citizens against the kids? no, no, no, i missed. let them have it. oh, i see. >> i don't know if you rate it special or not. >> you all told me to sit facing the coke machine. that's what she said. i just do what i'm told. >> a look back at the 1992 presidential campaign of bill clinton during a visit to franklin high school in new hampshire. on real america, marking the 70th anniversary of the nurenburg trials. the 1945 u.s. army documentary on nazi concentration and prison camps. and continuing on oral histories. >> my outfit went over. it was a couple days after d-day when they had enough beach land to justify it. and my captain who was a new captain on that job came and said you stay here. and, again, it was one of those
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times when somebody reached out. and i was left. and off they went. and it was several days later. it was week or so later before i went across and rejoined my outfit. >> an interview with benjamin firenze, a former chief prosecutor for the united states. born in transylvania to a jewish family, emigrated to america. he reflects on enlisting in the u.s. army after law school and being assigned to set up war crimes branch to investigate nazi atrocities. watch american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. get our complete schedule at the house foreign subcommittee in the middle east recently held a hearing on syrian refugees. witnesses from the state department, the u.s. agency for international development and
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the department of homeland security answered questions about humanitarian assistance, the refugees screening process, and instability in the region. florida congresswoman ileana ros-lehtinen chaired this 90-minute hearing. the subcommittee will come to order. after recognizing myself and [ inaudible ] who will read from mr. deutch's prepared statement, is that okay with you? that is good? oh, your own statement. i did not know. in his own words. sorry about that. for our opening statements, i will then recognize any other members seeking recognition for one minute. we will then hear from our witnesses, thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and without objection, the prepared statements of all of our witnesses will be made a part of the record and members may have five days to insert statements and questions for the record subject to the length and limitation in the rules.
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the chair now recognizes herself for five minutes. we are in the fifth year of the syrian humanitarian crisis. the united states has contributed over $4.5 billion in both direct assistance and through three u.n. crisis appeals with nearly 75% going through the latter, the crisis appeals. yet there seems to be no end in sight in this tunnel. russia's recent intervention is causing serious security concerns for not only the people of syria, but the ngos and aid workers on the ground trying to bring assistance to those in desperate need. the front lines are shifting and the battle lines are fluid, causing uncertainty and making it increasingly dangerous to deliver aid to certain areas and making it increasingly dangerous for syrians who remain in their homeland. the situation has gotten so bad that we are now seeing europe struggle to deal with its greatest migration and refugee
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crisis since world war ii, as many fleeing the syrian conflict are trying to make their way into europe. but while the european crisis may be grabbing the headlines at the moment, let's remember that this crisis was not created yesterday. for years, the people of syria have been impacted and the syrian refugee crisis has also impacted countries like jordan, like lebanon, turkey and egypt. and yet many in the international community ignored these countries' pleas for assistance. these countries are more vulnerable because they have less capacity and less resources to deal with the crisis. let's take jordan, for example. about 630 syrians have been registered by un hcr plus hundreds of thousands of more have already assimilated into jordan, all of which places an incredible burden on the kingdom to provide basic services to over a million new people. but with more and more refugees
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seeking to reach europe from syria and its neighbors, there will of course be those seeking to take advantage. we are now seeing smuggling networks popping up in turkey, lebanon, libya and elsewhere, turning trafficking in syrian refugees into a billion dollar industry, and also creating security concerns as we have no way of knowing who is being smuggled into europe and elsewhere. and with president obama's announcement that the u.s. will take in 10,000 syrians, this also raises concerns for many in the u.s., especially in light of the fbi director's testimony to congress last week that the u.s. may not be able to properly vet all of those seeking to come to our nation. as a legislative body, this is something that we must take seriously. if we cannot guarantee the proper vetting of these refugees it would be irresponsible for us to promote it. we must protect our country first and ensure that all security measures are in place to properly screen these individuals before they come
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into the united states. we cannot compromise the well-being of the american people or our national security. unfortunately, it has taken europe's worst migration crisis to awaken the europeans now that the syrian conflict is knocking on their borders. the united states has been the largest single contributor to the syrian humanitarian crisis response, dwarfing the contributions made by any other nation and by the european nations as a whole. there's no way to tell how things may have turned out differently had other nations stepped up to the call like the united states did. earlier this month, committee staffers traveled to geneva to meet with many of the organizations that receive our assistance for the syrian humanitarian crisis and from their trip, one thing was clear. the response to the crisis has been dreadfully underfunded, with a nearly two-thirds funding gap. of course, the problems we need to address are many and they are difficult.
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and it's true that there can never been a solution to the refugee crisis until the underlying root causes are addressed, and that means finding an end to the fighting, an end to the terror, and the removal of assad from power. but we need to be less reactive and start being more proactive. we need to start thinking of ways not just to address the refugees' most immediate needs, but the needs that they face in the years to come. and we can't do it alone. we need to press our european friends and our partners in the middle east and africa to step up and do more. we need to do a lot more to ensure that the needs of the host communities in syria's neighbors are being met as well, because this has taken a very big toll on their resources and it is leading to increased tension between the communities. there's a pervasive feeling of hopelessness and despair that will have long-term impact on the region and beyond. syrians for the most part want to eventually return home.
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according to some ngo implementing partners on the ground that have conducted surveys on this, some 90% of syrian refugees reportedly state they do have a desire to return home but that desire may fade if the international community does not step up and do more to ensure that there is a safe home for them to return to, and to demonstrate that we are working toward a better future for those who have been impacted so severely by the syrian conflict. with that, i'm pleased to yield to the ranking member of our subcommittee. mr. deutsch. >> thank you, madam chairman. i was anticipating having a conflict with today's hearing. mr. cicillini had agreed to step in. i'm proud to yield my time to mr. cicilline. he's been a leader on the issue of refugees, he organized the first member letter requesting that the refugee cap be lifted in the wake of the migration crisis in europe. i'm proud to yield to him. >> thank you, madam chairman and
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ranking member deutch for calling this hearing today and for your leadership on these issues. an thank you, ranking member deutch for yielding to mow. the crisis inside syria and the region is escalating. it has led to the largest movement of refugees through europe and the middle east since world war ii. as of september, an estimated 12.2 million people inside syria, more than half the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance. of these, more than 7.6 million are displaced inside the country. in addition, more than 4.1 million syrians have registered as refugees abroad with most fleeing to countries in the immediate surrounding region including turkey, lebanon, jordan, iraq, egypt and other parts of north africa. as we have seen in recent months, as those neighboring countries reach maximum capacity, more refugees are risking dangerous journeys across land and sea into europe. the united nations has declared the situation in syria a level 3 emergency in order to help
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facilitate mobilization of resources for the humanitarian response. but the distribution of relief supplies within the country remains dependent on guarantees from all parties to the conflict of safe and unhindered access of humanitarian staff. the international community of the red cross estimates that five million people within syria are located in places that they categorize as difficult to reach by relief workers. i'm extremely concerned about how the new russian bombing campaign is contributing to violence in syria, with reports that tens of thousands of people have been displaced in the past few weeks. syrian human rights organizations have documented cases of russian strikes on hospitals and medical facilities and a human rights watch report said that russian strikes killed 59 civilians on october 15th. with this renewed fighting pressure on syria's neighboring countries and by extension, europe, will only increase. as the weather turns colder, the situation for refugees on the move will only get more perilous. many host communities are overwhelmed. overcrowded schools, inadequate hospital services impacts on resources such as water all
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contribute to the burden of neighboring countries. the united states is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to syria and the region. from fiscal year 2012 through september 21st, 2015, the united states has allocated more than $4.5 billion to meet syrian humanitarian needs. this money includes over $1.5 billion to ngos, the international federation of red cross and red crescent and other international organizations as well as nearly $3 billion to un agencies responding to the needs of conflict affected populations in syria and the region. yet according to un hcr, chronic funding shortages are greatly limiting aid programs for refugees and host communities in the region. since 2011 the un appeals have remained significantly underfunded and recently resulted in cuts to food aid and cash assistance. lack of assistance is reportedly leading to an increase in negative coping strategies such as begging, child labor, survival sex and increased debt. the world can and must do better. it's imperative that when we
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talk to our allies particularly in the gulf countries that we emphasize the necessity of meeting the humanitarian needs of these refugees. moreover, while the united states has been the leader in terms of financial response to this crisis, we have fallen short in absorbing refugees. jordan has absorbed half a million. lebanon, one million. turkey, two million. but since the 2011, the united states has taken in roughly 1500 syrian refugees. most of those in the past year. this is simply not acceptable. last month, as ranking member deutch mentioned, i led a letter signed by 70 of my colleagues asking the administration to raise that number to 100,000 syrian refugees by the end of 2017. there is precedent for this. the united states welcomed approximately 200,000 refugees during the balkan wars, 700,000 refugees from cuba, and more than 700,000 refugees from vietnam. while i was pleased that the administration raised the refugee quota for 2016 to accommodate 10,000 refugees from syria, i fear that isn't nearly enough to make an impact.
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of course, the ultimate accountability for the violence and chaos on syria and iraq falls upon the syrian regime of bashar al assad whose unspeakable cruelty towards his own people including the use of chemical weapons is at the heart of this civil war as well as upon isis. the only way to fully ease the suffering of the syrian and iraqi people is to defeat isis and bring an end to the civil war in syria. there is certainly no easy fix for this problem. but i hope that our witnesses today can tell us what steps the administration is taking to bring about a solution to this terrible tragedy and what more we can do. i thank the witnesses again for being here. thank you for the testimony you are about to provide. i yield back. >> thank you very much. mr. cicilline. would you like to add anything, mr. deutch? you will wait. thank you. mr. trott is recognized. >> i would like to start by thanking chairwoman roos let -- ros-lehtinen and ranking member for holding this important hearing.
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as the situation in syria becomes progressively worse, the need to deliver aid to affected people in a timely and efficient manner becomes even more important. we have learned throughout history that unfortunately, religious minorities are disproportionately affected during dire humanitarian crises. i'm proud to represent a vibrant district with various religious minorities from the middle east and one of the most common complaints i hear is aid is not getting to them quickly enough. in april i wrote a bipartisan letter to usaid with my colleagues in the michigan delegation asking usaid to consider removing bureaucratic red tape to help these battered communities. six months later my letter remains unanswered. while i understand that usaid is under pressure to ensure that every vulnerable citizen is taken care of, if our aid is not getting to these communities at the right time, our efforts are futile and the crisis only becomes worse. to better coordinate the various humanitarian relief efforts ongoing in the region i introduced legislation that would require interested parties to better coordinate with one another to assure timely relief to these endangered citizens. after spending 30 years in
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business, i know that the key to success of any project is cooperation and communication, not more red tape, obstacles, and excuses. i yield back my time. >> thank you very much, mr. troth trott. mr. boyle is recognized. >> thank you. i would just briefly say we face a real turning point in late august, ever since the shocking and horrific sight of a small boy's body being washed ashore on a beach in turkey. that really i think awoke the consciousness and consciences of many people. i was in europe at that time, as part of an international conference, and it clearly changed the dynamic in many western european countries that had not been stepping up to the plate to do their part. i would say that the size of the humanitarian assistance and i pre-read some of the testimony and i know we have had a three-pronged approach, clearly our humanitarian assistance has led the world.
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we are number one in that regard and should be quite proud of it. i think the question that i'm searching for an answer, that i really want answered and cannot at this point is are we going to continue to do a series of one-offs or will there actually be a worldwide collaborative effort to solve this problem. so in the hearing today, and many of the questions that are asked and answered, i hope we can spend a moment, take a look at the united states not in isolation but ourselves as part of a larger global solution. thank you. >> very good, sir. do any other members wish to be recognized? if not, i would like to introduce our witnesses who are three very good friends of our subcommittee. first, we are pleased to welcome back the honorable ann c. richard, who serves as assistant secretary of the bureau of population refugees and migration for the department of state. she has served as the vice president of government relations and advocacy of the international rescue committee
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and was a non-resident fellow for the center for trans-atlantic relations at johns hopkins university's school of advanced international studies. welcome back, ma'am. second, we are pleased to say hello to the honorable leon rodriguez, the director of the united states citizenship and immigration service. previously, mr. rodriguez served as the director of the office for civil rights at the department of health and human services and before that, served in the united states attorney's office for the western district of pennsylvania and was a trial attorney in the civil division of the department of justice. welcome, mr. rodriguez. and now we also welcome back a good friend, senior deputy assistant administrator thomas staal of the bureau of democracy conflict and humanitarian assistance at usaid. he has served in usaid since the late '80s and served as the director of the iraqi reconstruction office.
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mr. stahl also served as the admission director in lebanon, ethiopia and iraq. you don't have to be a good friend of the subcommittee to be a witness but we just have good witnesses. we welcome you back. thank you. ms. richard, we'll start with you. >> thank you, madam chairman. >> closer to your mouth. >> oh, i can bring this to me. thank you, madam chairman, ranking member deutch, distinguished members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before the house committee on foreign affairs to discuss the syrian humanitarian crisis. i returned recently from a series of meetings overseas, including my fifth visit to assistant secretary. i greatly appreciate the interest of this committee on this very challenging situation. i would like to briefly outline the steps taken by the population refugees and migration bureau and others at the state department, usaid and in the obama administration to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians and to assist the governments of other countries to deal with the crisis in syria.
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as you know, in early september, and as congressman boyle just mentioned, the tragic photo of a little boy's body on a beach in turkey awakened people to the plight of syrian refugees in ways that years of grim statistics, bleak images and climbing casualty figures could not. what started as unrest in syria in 2011 has developed into a multi-front war and spilled over to become a regional crisis. recently, the crisis reached europe as hundreds of thousands of young men and women and sometimes entire families sought to reach that continent by boat, bus, train and foot. they were joined by migrants and refugees from other countries, chiefly afghanistan, airy yeah, and iraq. while the outflow of refugees to europe has garnered a lot of attention, it is important for us to remember and acknowledge that the vast majority of syrian families remain in the middle east.
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we just heard the figures in the opening statements of the chair ranking member that there are more than four million refugees in the surrounding countries and roughly seven million syrians are displaced within their own country. for more than four years, the obama administration has helped these countries neighboring syria and the innocent people caught up in the syria crisis even as we continue to play a leading role in providing humanitarian aid to people affected by conflicts in many other places. we have a three-pronged approach to the humanitarian aspects of the crisis in syria and the region. strong levels of humanitarian assistance, active diplomacy, and expanded refugee settlement. first, the u.s. government is the leading donor of humanitarian assistance to people in need inside syria, in the surrounding countries and to others caught up in crises around the world. through contributions to international organizations such as the u.n. high commission for refugees, the international committee of the red cross, the international organization for migration, the world food program, unicef, and leading nongovernmental organizations,
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u.s. funds are being used to save millions of lives. u.s. humanitarian assistance in response to the syrian conflict as you've said. totals more than $4.5 billion since the start of the crisis. it is made possible thanks to strong bipartisan support from congress. without u.s. support, more people would be making the dangerous voyage further north. even with our sizeable contributions, however, u.n. appeals for humanitarian aid to address the crisis in syria remain underfunded with only 45% of the needs covered as of october 2015. these shortfalls have had real consequences. cuts to food and other assistance was one of the triggers of the current migration of people to europe. syrian refugees in jordan, turkey and lebanon are losing hope of ever returning to their homes. they are unable to work regularly to sustain their families, rents are high and their children are missing out on school. roughly 85% of refugees now live outside of camps and that's something that's not well understood or known.
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we need to help refugees become self-sufficient while we also support the communities that host them. we are looking at ways to better link our relief and development assistance, and importantly, we are working to get more refugee children in school throughout the region. the second prong of our response is diplomacy on humanitarian issues. for several years we have engaged government officials in the region to encourage them to keep borders open and allow refugees to enter their countries, authorize the work of leading humanitarian organizations and allow refugees to pursue normal lives or as normal a life as possible. diplomacy on humanitarian issues means working constructively with other nations to find solutions. the issue of the refugee and migration crisis was taken up again and again in recent international fora, and in my testimony i talk about the places that i've traveled recently and the meetings i've had pursuing our so-called humanitarian diplomacy. diplomacy also includes pushing
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when needed those who can and should be doing more. we are engaged on encouraging countries that provide assistance outside the u.n. system to contribute to the u.n. appeals for syria. contributions to and appeals can help prevent duplication and ensure that assistance is provided to those who need it the most. we are also encouraging countries to promote refugees to pursue jobs and livelihoods. the third prong of our response is resettling refugees in the united states. as you know, for the past three years we've brought 70,000 refugees from all around the world to the united states. and for this year, the president has determined we should bring 85,000, including at least 10,000 syrians. we recognize that admitting more syrian refugees to the united states is only part of the solution but it is in keeping with our american tradition. it shows the world that we seek to provide refuge for those most in need, it sets an example for others to follow, and it adds to the diversity and strength of american society.
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i have been up on the hill a couple times recently and have gotten a lot of questions about the process that we use to bring refugees here. they are referred by the u.n. hcr. we work very carefully to have them tell their stories. no one comes who hasn't been approved by the department of homeland security. and leon rodriguez and i are here to answer any questions you have about the resettlement process, but it generally lasts 18 to 24 months and we take very seriously the need to secure our borders as part of that program. in conclusion, the vast majority of refugees of the 3 million who have been admitted to the united states, including from some of the most troubled regions of the world, have regions in the world, have proven to be hard-working and productive residents. they pay taxes, send their children to school and after five years, may take the test to become citizens.
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i'm happy to answer any questions you may have about this three-pronged approach and to provide details about our program. >> thank you very much, secretary richard. mr. rodriguez. >> madam chairwoman, ranking member deutch, distinguished members of the committee, thank you all for convening this very important hearing. when i first became director, in fact during the confirmation process, i knew that the work of operating the refugee admission process, particularly with respect to refugees from various parts of the middle east, but chief among them, syria, was going to be one of my priorities and one of the most important parts of the work that we did at u.s. cis. the statistics recited by the congressman tell a very grim story of what's going on in syria today. more than half of the population
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of syria is displaced. 4 million people are now essentially in exile somewhere in the middle east, be it jordan, be it turkey, be it lebanon, be it egypt. but the individual stories that we hear are probably the most compelling of all. recently one of my refugee officers shared with me a story of an individual who was screened and during the screening process, we learned that he was with his elderly mother during a time when his town was being bombed by the syrian air force. his mother, because of the stress of the bombing, had a heart attack. she ultimately died in his arms but not after hours, actually, of this young man attempting to resuscitate his mother through cpr, and having no access to medical care because of the horrendous conditions in that town. and this is one of legions of
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stories that we have heard at u.s. cis from the individuals that we have screened. i took the opportunity this past june to travel to turkey, where in istanbul, we have a resettlement support center where my officers work with a state department contractor to screen refugees and i observed both the screenings and i observed them incidentally with the particular eye that i bring as a former criminal prosecutor who has myself conducted thousands of interviews, many of them confrontational interviews, many of them interviews with individuals who i knew were lying to me. so i observed those screenings as they took place but i also had the opportunity to sit down with the families that were in that resettlement support center. what was amazing to me is how recognizable those individuals were to me, how familiar they were to me. they were individuals from all walks of life but they were individuals who really want the same thing that any of us here want.
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is to get out of harm's way and to find a better life for their family. i had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with the children at the resettlement center, to witness their excitement about their potential new life in america, to hear what they had already learned about our country and their excitement about coming here. so amidst that challenge, the men and women who work in a refugee admissions program do their job and that essentially involves their doing two things. one, making sure that the individuals who ask for refuge in the united states satisfy the legal requirements in order to obtain that refuge, but two, and importantly as the chairwoman noted, ensuring that none of those individuals who are seeking refuge in the united states are people who mean us harm. now how do we do that? part of that is done through a
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suite of biographic and biometric checks and i'm hoping during the course of the hearing to be able to explain in some detail as to how those work, but the key is we actually have screened out individuals who we identified through that process as being potential threats. so the process has actually worked. but two, as importantly, the refugee officers in our agency are among the most highly trained professionals in the federal government and they are specifically trained in country conditions to conduct interviews to screen out individuals who may do us harm. that process has also resulted in a number of people being placed quote, on hold, not permitted to travel to the united states until security concerns can be resolved. i'd hike to conclude by dedicating my testimony here today to my maternal grandfather, who i actually never had the opportunity to meet. my grandfather was one of the
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leaders of the jewish community in cuba in the late 1930s and 1940s and among his activities as a leader of that community was to attempt to assist refugees from nazi europe, some of whom had sought refuge here in the united states and were denied that refuge. many of us have heard the story of "the st. louis." and who then traveled to cuba. some of whom were able to find refuge there, but some of whom were not. i intend as director of u.s. cis to honor his legacy first and foremost by making sure that we don't admit people who do us harm to the united states, but secondly, by making sure that we honor our tradition of offering refuge to those who so desperately need it. thank you. i look forward to answering the committee's questions. >> thank you very much, mr. rodriguez. excellent testimony. mr. staal? >> madam chairman, ranking member deutsche and members of the subcommittee, thank you for
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your support and the attention today to the syrian crisis which grows, as we've heard, more complex every day. for almost five years, the assad regime has waged an unrelenting campaign of bloodshed that has decimated communities and allowed extremists to thrive. while the world's attention is centered appropriately on the perilous journey of syrians forced to flee their homeland, the refugees as we have heard are part of a much larger community that suffers under the weight of this crisis. over 17 million syrians, 70% of the country's pre-war population, are affected by this conflict with the majority facing daily attacks inside syria. indeed, half of all syrians are either dead or displaced from their homes. while more than 4 million them gone to neighboring countries another 6.5 to 7 million are displaced inside syria. behind these massive numbers, the children, just like our own,
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and parents like any parent would do anything and risk everything to keep their families safe. families inside syria face the painful ultimatum, if you stay, your child could be killed on the way to get bread. if you leave, you risk their safety on a dangerous journey across borders. we're doing everything possible in usaid to alleviate the suffering for families inside syria as well as those fleeing to neighboring countries. the u.s. government has been as we've heard the single largest donor to the syrian crisis and our partners fearlessly cross conflict lines amidst daily barrel bombs and shifting conflict lines to reach people in the regime in opposition and even in isil-held areas. today, they face an added layer of threat. russian aggression on syrian soil. several partners report that russian air strikes are driving new displacement and complicating access. one heroic partner told us he feels like every time he goes to
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the hospital that he manages, it's only a matter of time until it will explode. his hospital has been bombed by the way over 18 times by the syrian regime and recently by the russians. despite ongoing access and security challenges, we are reaching approximately 5 million people inside syria and another 1.5 million in the region every month with our humanitarian assistance. and this aid is saving lives and reducing suffering every day. usaid supports inside syria 140 health facilities and in fy15 alone we reached over 2.4 million people with health assistance. and we've provided access to clean water for 1.3 million people. we are the largest donor of food assistance providing 1.5 billion to date. we provide flour even to bakeries inside syria and support food vouchers for syrian refugees that have injected over
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$1.2 billion into the economies of the syrian neighbors. and separate from our humanitarian efforts, we helped to moderate -- we help moderate civilian organizations in syria to provide essential services, providing a lifeline to communities under siege. then also, our development assistance helps syria's neighbors, who are strained more than ever, to build more resilient public services to cope with the influx of refugees. with 2 million syrian children out of school, we are working to ensure that this entire generation is not lost to this this crisis. in jordan and lebanon, we are expanding public schools, supporting remedial programs, training teachers so that syrian refugees can thrive alongside their host community peers. we've upgraded water systems and hospitals to help the communities in jordan and lebanon cope with the increased demand. in lebanon, we are working with young people to decrease tension
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between host communities and refugees and help them find constructive solutions to common ends. these efforts, by the way, are possible thanks to the generous support from congress. nevertheless, we struggle to meet the escalating needs with stretched dollars. we're working closely with other donors to mobilize resources because we cannot meet the needs alone. certainly no amount of humanitarian assistance will stop the suffering. or stem the tide of refugees which is why a negotiated political solution is urgently needed. in the meantime, we are committed to saving lives, alleviating suffering and helping syria's neighbors to cope with the largest humanitarian crisis we have ever faced. thank you for your support and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much to our government agencies for the great work that you are doing under difficult circumstances. i'd like to yield my time to mr. shabbott of ohio.
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>> i thank the chairlady for yielding. i'll begin with you, mr. rodriguez. during a recent hearing before the house committee on homeland security, fbi director james comey stated that government background checks on refugees is limited to only that information which has been previously collected and stored in its database. given that isis has threatened to exploit the current syrian humanitarian crisis, what's being done to increase scrutiny and the thoroughness of security checks on those seeking refugee status in the united states? >> thank you, congressman, for that very critical question. we working together with the state department conduct a suite of biographic and biometric checks of individuals who are applying for admission. the biographic checks in fact occur before my officers interview the individuals seeking admission.
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one among the sources of the biographic checks are something called the inter-agency check which is hosted by the national counter-terrorism center. that database is populated from information from all kinds of law enforcement and intelligence sources and there is a constant and ongoing effort to feed that database. it is true as it has often been true in other places, that we do not currently have any meaningful united states presence inside syria. nevertheless, we do have as we always have had, the ability to gather intelligence information, gather law enforcement information, using a number of techniques and doing so in a number of places. as a result of that process, our officers in 30 cases were able to identify individuals who in fact, based on their showing up in the databases that i just described, denied those individuals admission. once we interview individuals,
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we also take fingerprints, we run those fingerprints against department of defense data bases, united states law enforcement databases, including both the fbi and also our own customs and border patrol. in those events where some individuals have encountered really the united states either military or law enforcement authorities at some point along the way, but very critically, congressman, is the interview process. i started my career as a street prosecutor in new york city. we had all the technology in the world, we could run fingerprints, we could conduct chemical analysis, but at the end of the day, criminal cases were made by new york city police detectives. the work that we do, congressman, i would suggest is similar. at the end of the day, the judgments that we make are the judgments of the men and women, the highly trained and highly prepared men and women that work in our refugee admission process.
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they are trained and briefed on -- at a great level of depth in country conditions within syria. in fact, the interviews that we conduct further populate our understanding about those country conditions and they use that knowledge, that information, to then test the information that's being given to them by the individuals applying for admission. as a result of that training, hundreds of individuals have either been placed on hold or denied admission altogether because that process of interviewing has identified problems with the account being given by those individuals. so we're going to continue to polish that process. we are going to be continuing to work to further access different sources of intelligence so that we can test individual stories against that information. >> thank you. i would like to get one more question. i just have a minute left. either miss richard or mr. staal.
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whichever one of you wants to handle it. why has the administration opted to channel aid for the humanitarian crisis through the united nations rather than through direct aid or ngos? would it not be more efficient and cost-effective to work directly with partners on the ground? either one of you that would like to take that. >> i can start. we do both. we channel aid through the best u.n. operational agencies, humanitarian agencies, and we also work with the top non-governmental organizations. we try to use all channels to get aid inside syria which tom is the expert on. our sense is that because the u.n. plays a coordinating role and reviews the requests from a whole span of agencies and puts together these appeals, it actually reduces duplication and makes sure that professionals who know what they're doing are responding with the aid.
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now, of course, at the same time, most aid workers are from the countries in which they are working. so inside syria, it's mostly syrians. in jordan, it's jordanians, et cetera. but at the top there are people who are quite seasoned who are involved in this. tom, do you want to add anything? >> yes, thank you. it's an excellent question. what we try to do is make sure we are using the most effective means and the organizations that can do the job the best in a given area. sometimes it can vary between different parts of the country. frankly, in the regime-held areas within syria the u.n. agencies are able to operate most effectively and most broadly into, you know, the far reaches of the areas. in the non-regime areas, we do work also somewhat with the u.n., but there we work more with international ngos. now, they in turn work through local organizations. that's a critical aspect you mentioned. it's difficult for us to work
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directly with local organizations just through the financial systems and oversight, but through our international ngo partners, they are able to work with local organizations. indeed, that's how they get there. including with like local councils and civil society organizations that really know the situation on the ground, have the best access. we actually have better reporting and oversight of our programs and our assistance than in many other countries. so even the gao and r.i.g. shows that our aid is getting to the right people. the nice thing about working with local councils is you are building some local capacity so that hopefully when the regime -- excuse me, when the crisis is over, you've got some local capacity to build up again. >> thank you very much. my time has expired. thank you very much, madam chair. >> thank you very much, mr.
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chabot. mr. deutsche is recognized. >> thank you. i will yield. >> thank you to the gentleman for yielding. undersecretary richard, if i could begin with you, can you explain, i recognize this is a complicated process but could you explain to us from sort of beginning to end how a refugee from syria might navigate the process, be admitted to the united states, how long that typically takes, where is the first contact, how many agencies are involved and have jurisdiction over this determination, and kind of just explain sort of the process, because people have sort of a mistaken impression they just show up and are admitted. sort of a better understanding of what that process is. >> thank you, congressman. the process lasts 18 to 24 months. the refugees are identified as people who are particularly vulnerable in the places where they have fled, so i guess the process starts when they decide
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to leave their country, which is a very challenging thing. they cross the borders, they try to live as well as they can for a time. but they may come to the attention of the u.n. hcr or other aid workers who will then look at their case and see if there are certain characteristics about them that would make them watch what we're looking for. what we're looking for is that they have to fit the definition of a refugee, which is someone fleeing persecution for one of -- they have a well-founded fear of persecution for one of five reasons which is race, religion, nationality, political belief or membership in a social group. and we also, though, seek to bring those who are the most vulnerable people. so that might be someone who has been tortured or has a specific medical condition that makes it very hard to survive where they are. or people for whom there is never going to be a chance to go home again. the first contact then is really
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with the u.n. high commissioner for refugees. they refer them to us. they do not choose who become -- who gets admission to the united states. but they refer the cases they think are likely to fit what we're looking for. and then the process continues where we have a relationship with several resettlement support centers, rscs, in different places around the world where they will work with the refugee, the individual or the family and put the case together of how they became a refugee and make the case that they do actually qualify for refugee status. as part of that, they have a series of background checks and this picks up where leon rodriguez was describing the types of checks, the fingerprints, the medical background, the biographic history. until they get interviewed by the dhs officer who has traveled out to the field, usually in a
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circuit ride, and is interviewing people during the course of a day. for syrians it's three per day. and really double-checking several things. and they're trying to screen out people who are lying to us, people with a criminal past or people who are, of course, would be terrorists. so once that all has happened, and the final checks work out, they are scheduled, then to be brought to the united states. they are brought to the u.s., escorted by the international organization for migration. so that's two u.n. agencies involved. u.n. nkchcr -- >> if i could interrupt you. after they get to the united states, i understand the process, but that process you just described, is that any different than the process that was in place when the united states accepted 200,000 refugees from the balkans or 700,000 refugees from cuba or 700,000 refugees from vietnam?
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is it improved? is it the same? >> after 9/11, the security aspects of that program were tightened quite a bit. then again in the last couple of years. they spent a lot of effort to scrub the program, to make it as efficient as possible without cutting corners on security. and right now we're under direction from the white house to keep doing that, and keep seeing if we can speed up the length of the process without doing anything to undermine security. >> and this has been described by some as the most intensive vetting process in the federal government, interagency -- >> well, for any traveler to the united states. i mean, no traveler to the united states gets this kind of intense vetting. >> and are there any limitations, assuming you've had additional resources, director rodriguez or undersecretary richard, any limitations on your ability to do this for more refugees if you were provided the additional resources to do it, to go through this process?
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are there any other obstacles? >> i think this is -- it's always a resource question. and so right now, we have about 100 refugee officers. we have an asylum corps of 400 plus that we can draw from to supplement, they're trained very similarly or just about identically to the refugee officers. but these situations always require us to adapt to build to whatever the task is that's in front of us. and we've actually -- my agency's become very good, and i know prm has become very good at adapting when these challenges are presented to us. but does it put further stress on our resources? no question. >> just in talking about it, we knew that we can't change the numbers like a dial on a -- i
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don't know, do people make things with dials anymore? a dial on an old-fashioned stereo, because even if you were to get more funding to get more interviewers, they have to be recruited and trained before they're sent out. and then the conditions overseas kick in, which is some places where we had wanted to carry out interviews in the past are -- there are security concerns, and so we have to make sure we're not sending the officer somewhere where they themselves would get into trouble. but then also sometimes there's acts of god. we had to slow down bringing people from nepal last year after the earthquake happened this past year. so they have to be able to travel out to the places where the refugees are ready to be interviewed. and in the middle east, there have been security issues, same with a camp in kenya. and also there are parts of africa that are just hard to get to. you can't just fly in and flight out without careful planning. >> thank you. i see my time's out, i yield back.
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>> thank you mr. cicilline. mr. boyle? ms. frankle? >> thank you very much. thank you to the witnesses. and i agree with my colleagues here who have said that they consider this one of the great humanitarian -- probably the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time right now. so i just want to -- i want to get a couple things clarified. i got a little confused. on the refugees, it sounds to me, you say there are millions displaced within syria and 4 million displaced out of syria. what -- what would you -- how would you quantify the number of refugees that would like to come to the united states? what figure would that be? >> well, they don't get to come if they'd like to come to the united states.
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i think it's probably a very large number, but not 100%. because most refugees usually want to go home. >> no, i'm not saying that. i just want to know what do you think is the number. >> what the u.n. acr does is they believe that of 15 million refugees that they're concerned about, that about 1 million are people who are suitable for resettlement in other countries. >> so how does this come about? does someone leave syria in order to be considered by us? they have to -- and is there any type of prioritization, if you're a family member or first in line or first to sign up? >> it's who is -- first you have to qualify to be a refugee, and then the second -- >> what is the -- >> based on the legal definition which were those five factors. well-founded fear of persecution.
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and then we seek to resettle the people who are the most vulnerable, who -- >> which would be who? >> so it's widows with children or orphaned children or people who have medical conditions that make it very difficult for them to get the treatment they need in a refugee camp. people who are burn victims and can, you know, benefit from maybe, you know, the type of medical services we can provide here. you know, torture victims, people who, you know, feel that they'll never be able to go home again. they've seen terrible things happen. >> so if you're able to process someone, do most of these folks have somebody in the united states that they're coming to settle with? or they're just coming here on their own? >> if they have a family, if they have a relative in the united states, we seek to reunite the families. >> and if they don't, what, if there are services that -- >> what happens is when they arrive in the u.s., they're met at the airport by a
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representative, one of nine national networks we have. six are faith-based. three are not. but they work in 170 cities across the united states. and they use a lot of volunteers. they'll take the refugee from the airport to their new home, probably an apartment that's been set up for them, and it may have been furnished with donated furniture. and then they will make sure that there's a meal in the refrigerator. and show them how to turn on and off the lights. depending on where they're from some of the modern conveniences are new. and then the next day they take them to help get their new life started. and that could be using the bus, going to the grocery store, getting a social security number, getting the kids enrolled in school. >> and as to the usaid, your workers are not in syria, i think that's what you said?
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how many aid workers are dedicated now to syrian relief and where are they? >> that's correct. our aid workers are not inside syria. we have a team in jordan and another team in southern turkey. it's a disaster assistance response team. and then work with our implementing partners, ngos, u.n., who in turn have local partners who work inside. so there are no americans or international staff inside syria. >> and are the workers inside, is it basically food and medicine? >> it's actually quite a bit more. food and medicine are a big part of it. but it's also helping to repair water systems. even schools. we train teachers and help rebuild things. sometimes it's an underground school, you know, that's safe. working, building capacity of local councils.
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we work with -- we've trained hundreds and hundreds of first responders who are like the fire department in a number of cities. inside syria, they've been a huge thing. they're independent. they're volunteers. but we provide them training and even equipment. we've given, you know, like fire trucks and things like that. >> terrific. >> so we do a variety of things inside syria. >> madame chair, may i ask another question or wait for another round? >> please, go ahead. thank you, ms. frankl. >> i'd like to just -- if you all have an opinion, i'd like to hear what your opinion is of -- what would happen if we were not doing this aid? and what does that mean not just to the humanitarian part of this which i think we all understand,
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but i think a lot of people what they don't understand is that a lot of this effort really goes towards our national security. because what happens, we're about to lose a generation of children, it looks like. and hopelessness breeds a lot of bad things. when the are but i'd like to hear it from your own words as to why your missions are so important. >> congresswoman, i'm convinced that, as i mentioned in my testimony, we're saving millions of lives with this aid. some of from it usaid is backing up the world food program that is feeding so many people, vaccinations that go to children that if they're not vaccinated makes them susceptible to really dangerous diseases. so there's a life-saving piece of this. but then there's the life-enriching part of it, too. and that's what i think you were getting at with our concerns about losing a generation of
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syrian children. many are out of school, have been out of school for years. to the extent that there are places in school, it's pretty tough for them, you know. if they go to turkey, they're living surrounded by a different language, turkish. but even in lebanon and jordan, they sometimes go to a second shift of school. where they're trying to catch up to where they would have been had they stayed in school throughout. too many girls are getting married young. boys and girls are sent to work early. so they're really missing out on childhoods, missing out on education. for those who are just left idle, they're really susceptible, i think, to bad influences. we see what happened when the rest of the world did not provide the funding to these
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u.n. appeals. i think, thanks to congress, we have done our share of funding. the u.n. appeals for the syrian crisis and many other crises around the world. but we weren't matched at the same levels by the rest of the world. part of it is because the number of crises have grown and the needs have grown. but you see what happened is when the world food program started to cut back on food assistance and vouchers, that may have played a role in triggering the numbers of people streaming out of the middle east and walking and taking dangerous journeys to europe. it is very destabilizing. it's destabilizing for the neighboring countries. it's destabilizing now for various parts of europe. and i think that that shows you that had we not been there, things would have been much worse. >> congresswoman, this is who we are as americans. but simply. my parents were refugees.
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from cuba. who were offered refuge, as was the chair. i would not be surprised if there are other stories of either being refugees or being children of refugees certainly in this chamber today. that has been our tradition as a country as far back as anybody can remember. when we talk about the importance of this work, it is certainly a humanitarian task we are engaged in. i think you've certainly painted very clearly sort of the scope of this problem. but it also promotes the stability of that region. for us to take responsibility for refugees and for us to lead by example, as far as other countries. it has been our history that we have always taken a disproportionate share of
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refugees. that has inspired other resettlement countries to do the same. and i would hope -- and i think it is certainly the president's intention -- that we continue to honor that tradition. >> if i might add as well, my colleagues have stated very eloquently, but i think it's important even to realize notwithstanding the scale and scope of this crisis, there has not been large famine or major disease outbreaks, things like that, which would have been very likely without our assistance. and so it's been amazingly successful, actually, given the constraints that they actually have to work with, both inside syria and in the neighboring countries, and that's something to remember. thank you. >> thank you very much. i yield back, madame chair. >> thank you very much, miss frankl. miss ming is recognized.
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>> thank you, madame chairwoman and reigning member deutsche and to all our witnesses for being here today. as the weather gets colder, as winter approaches, how are our partners, implementing partners on the ground, helping to prepare winter for the refugees and displaced persons? >> i could begin the response especially within syria, that's been the major focus of our efforts in addition to basic food and health supplies. we've been focusing over the last month or so on providing things like blankets and coats and, you know, additional supplies for the winter, wherever we can get it in. that's why it's important for us to work throughout the country, wherever we can. either in regime-held areas or opposition-held areas, as long as we can be sure that it gets
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to the right people. that's been a major issue for us inside syria and the refugees as well. >> thank you. >> and how are we supporting our european allies and what more can we do as they absorb the large influx of refugees and how can we urge companies that have made pledges of humanitarian aid to fulfill those commitments? >> well, we are responding to the appeals put out by u.n. hcr and the international organization for migration, for their activities in europe. they're really focused on the periphery of europe, so to speak. so, serbia, macedonia, greece. part of what they're doing is trying to make sure that as people approach borders and cross borders that they're treated humanely, and not as
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criminals but at people who deserve a hearing to determine whether they deserve asylum or not. and people who need help along the way. so that's a piece what was we're doing, but it's nowhere near the size and scope of what we're doing close tore syria in the region. the other thing we're doing is we're participating in international conversations with the european leaders. we did that in new york at the u.n. general assembly. i've met with everyone from the german foreign minister to the swedish foreign minister to the lebanese foreign minister. we're talking to them, asking what do you need? what can we do to help you? one of the proposals is that we try to do a better job internationally, pulling people together to do more.
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not just in terms of money, which is part of it, but certainly in terms of resettlement, work visas, family unification, humanitarian visas, trying to get permission for refugees to work in the places to which they fled. trying to get kids in school, trying to get development assistance also tapped to help governments like lebanon and jordan whose societies are really strained for trying to do the right thing. so that gives you a little flavor for the kind of international diplomatic exchanges we're having right now. >> thank you so much, miss ming. mr. deutsch? >> thank you, madame chairman. i appreciate it. thanks assistant secretary richard for being with us again today. we appreciate your willingness to keep a dialogue with the sub committee. i've been clear where i stand on the need for increased humanitarian aid, the support by our allies around the world.
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attention, the need for action in syria. and the need for real and serious discussion on the practicality of a safe zone. i hope that we'll have that conversation. today i want to take advantage of director rodriguez's presence to explore the refugee process. i appreciate what you've shared already. i'll tell you, i've written to the chairman of the judiciary committee, asking for a hearing on this topic as well. perhaps we'll have the opportunity to delve into these issues further there also. so i'd just like to walk through a few questions. you talked about uscis' role in the u.s. refugee admissions program. you talked about the interviews to determine who's eligible for refugee status. you said that refugees, applicants for refugee status are interviewed in person. who's responsible for conducting those interviews? >> sorry. those interviews are conducted by refugee officers who are part of our refugee admissions
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program. >> and what -- i know you talked about the way cases are solved. can you talk about the role of these refugee officers in adjudicating the application for refugee status? >> so i think the way to describe that role is first to talk about both their -- the training and briefing process that they take into the -- so they all participate in a five-week training course as officers followed by a specialized training course as refugee officers. once we know that they're going to be deployed to a particular environment -- let's use the case of screening syrian refugees -- they receive a specific eight-day briefing prior to their deployment. the purpose of that briefing is to steep them in the country conditions that are applicable
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to the country from which these individuals are coming. and those country conditions consist of all the things that you would think. in what part of the country is isis dominant, what are the country is isis dominant, what are the specifics of what's going on in a char province, and much more that would really be difficult to talk about in a public hearing. but i think you get the sense of the kind of content with which they are briefed. >> and how many of them are there? how many of them have been trained to deal with syrian refugees? >> in total there are 100. i don't know specifically how many are trained. what i will tell you is that, for example, in istanbul at any time we'll have deployed a team of either five or ten, depending how many cases are actually ready for their interview. >> and are there specific security checks that have been instituted specifically for syrian applicants?
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>> it is the -- the syrian vetting is the most intense vetting that we conduct. i talked about the interagency checks. >> which agencies are consulted? >> a number of intelligence agencies, a number of law enforcement agencies are populating the database that we use for the information check. including specific databases that identify individuals who may be terrorists. >> and while their application is pending, where do they reside? >> they may reside in desk -- depending on where they are. a lot of that depends on where they are. they could be in refugee camps. a large number of them are. in certain cases -- >> they're abroad? >> they're certainly not in their country and they're certainly not here in the united states. >> the refugee ceiling over the last three fiscal years has been 70,000. would they be able to conduct these extensive security if the cap were raised to 85,000? >> absolutely, congressman. we do our job no matter what.
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>> if it were raised to 100,000? >> as i said, congress man, we will do our job. we understand how critically important it that is we absolutely do our job and leave no stone unturned when it comes to conducting these security checks. when we will not cut corners. >> you say hundreds have been placed on hold or denied altogether. do you know what those specific numbers are? >> i apologize. i don't remember them right now. i usually have them at my fingertips. but i certainly can provide them to the members. >> if you would. finally, i want to thank you for the work that's being done and thank you for the testimony here today to help provide some much-needed context and to push back against some of the statements that have been made wholly without any factual basis about the review that's done, the extent of the review. i think without a full or in many cases without any appreciation for the efforts
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that are undertaken every day to go through this refugee process and to contribute to our nation's safety. you said in your opening testimony that it's important to you to honor our tradition of offering refuge to those who desperately need it. i agree. and i thank you sincerely for the work that you do. >> thank you, congressman. >> amen. how touching to dedicate this program, in your mind, to the legacy of your grandfather. very touching. >> thank you, chairwoman. >> mr. connelly of virginia is recognized. >> thank you, madame chairman. and welcome to the panel. miss richard, with 12.2 million syrians within syria who are in need of humanitarian assistance, we've got, in a country with 4.5 million people in lebanon, 1.1 million syrian refugees.
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in jordan, 10% of the country's population are syrian refugees. equivalent. to what extent are we concerned about the destabilizing effect of long-term refugee presence in small, delicate countries in the middle east region? >> thank you for your question. we're very concerned about it. it's one reason that we are very often in discussion with these government officials in those countries. we have a very strong aid program in jordan that is stretching now to do more to help the communities that are -- have taken in all these refugees. i've been very influenced by the high commissioner for refugees who's visiting washington just now and tony gutierrez who
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really believes that this required more than just relief to the refugees but also requires help to the communities whose hospital beds are filled, whose schools have gone to second shifts to accommodate syrian children, whose water systems are straining, water and sanitation systems. on a municipal level, there's a lot more people there in both jordan and lebanon. i mentioned that i recently came back from jordan. that was my eighth visit in the three and a half years i've been assistant secretary. so we have a very close working relationship with them. in lebanon i had met with the prime minister when he was in new york in september. he'd met me several times before so we have a good conversation there. we're particularly interested in doing two things. one is making sure that these development resources come into these countries, whether it's from usaid or the world bank and
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multi-lateral mechanisms. and then the other is to make sure that children get into school. because we think that's one of the most worrisome things right now. is that there's a whole generation of syrian children who are out of school and, you know, in danger of being unskilled and at loose ends. >> do we have an estimate of the total population of syrian refugees that will need to be permanently resettled? that are not going to be going back to syria? >> i don't think we have an estimate of that. it's very much done on a case by case basis, and we work with the unacr to identify the most vulnerable cases. they sought to -- starting in september 2013, they started to look at targeting a certain number of syrians. it's now up to 130,000 syrians
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as a goal. and they had referred 20,000 of that number to us. and in recent months it's climbed to 22,000. the u.s. will probably end up taking most of the syrian refugees who are referred for resettlement. but we are also trying to convince other countries to also do their share. >> right. and i want to get to that. the number we decided, the president announced, is 10,000. is that not correct? >> that's correct for this fiscal year. >> how do we arrive at that number, based on what? >> we had been planning to bring between 5,000 to 8,000 and the president pushed us to stretch and really gear up to take more. and that's drk you know, makes sense as we're adding 15,000 refugees to our overall ceiling. and the number the following year we haven't determined because, in part we want to see
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how we do this year or in the first half of the year in getting more syrians to the united states. >> what progress are we making impressing gulf partners boat to accept refugees and to help finance the humanitarian services that are so desperately needed in jordan, lebanon, turkey, and elsewhere? >> i would say our scorecard on that is very uneven. it's very uneven. we've seen how kuwait has held three major pledging conferences for the syria crisis, and they themselves provided hundreds of millions of dollars several years running. and followed through on their pledges. but not all of the gulf states do that. some give very little. some give a little bit and -- pledge some and then don't follow through. the uae, in addition to kuwait, has done several hundred millions of dollars. in general, none of these states resettle refugees.
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they are permitting syrians to come and work in their countries. so that's one way that they are sheltering syrians and their families but that's normally a temporary situation. >> and a drop in the bucket. in terms of numbers. >> we need more. >> madame chairman, my time is up. thank you. >> thank you so much, mr. connelly. mr. roar rorbach of california. >> so when we're talking about this great challenge that we face you're saying that these oil-rich gulf states aren't bringing people in as guest workers. do we know what magnitude that is? how many people we're talking about? >> i don't have those figures. >> 5,000, 20,000, 50? >> we'll get you that information. what happened was in the last month in september with the europe migration there's been a lot more criticism of the gulf states and then some of them pushed back and provided more
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information than we had previously had. >> how many migrants do we know of that have gone into europe in the last 18 months? >> it's hundreds of thousands, upwards of 600,000. >> upwards of 600,000. >> with more expected. >> and we don't know if the gulf states have even brought in 10,000 people. >> i probably should know but i don't know today. sorry. >> i appreciate that. we're talking about bringing in 70,000, is it, or 75,000 here to the united states? >> the past three years we've brought 70,000 refugees from all around the world to the united states. last year, we brought 1,700 syrians as part of that 70,000. >> 1,700 out of 70,000? >> that's right. and then for this year we intend to bring 85,000 refugees to the united states and 10,000 syrians. >> where are the rest of the refugees from, by the way, the
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other countries? >> the top countries they're coming from are iraq, burma and somalia. >> okay, iraq -- >> they come from 67 different countries. >> how many are coming from iraq? >> i have that. i can tell you that. so 12,676 came from iraq at the fiscal year that just ended september 30th. >> 12,000. now of these people -- one thing we've noticed that the migrants coming into europe, we have just seemed to notice that they seem to be very strong young men. >> that's right. >> who are virile and muslims. leaving this muslim part of the world to go into this other part of the world that's not a muslim part of the world. and they're getting away from
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conflict and they're going there. is there any -- let me ask you this. of the people that we are bringing in, are they going to be muslim men, like are going to europe or is there some way that we are trying to see that we have a better definition of refugee, helpless people who are in need rather than bringing more muslim men into the united states and into western europe? >> well, of the 1,700 that we've brought, only 2% were young men, you know, young adult single men. of course, we bring men. we bring families. we bring families that have had terrible things happen to them. i would question, i guess, some of the thinking behind your statement about the young able-bodied muslim men walking to europe.
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i think the reason they're able to walk to europe is because they're able bodied, and i think the reason they're going is because they've lost hope in the places they're living now, in being able to finish their educations, have an education or have a job and earn some money and support their families. >> when we see pictures of thousands and thousands of young muslim men, in western europe, one thing has to be a priority. we want to help refugees whose lives are in danger. that's our moral stand here. this is what makes us america. we care about people who are in danger like that. when you're talking about the people that i've seen are military-age people. if they are against radical islam, they should be there fighting radical islam. and i hope that -- let me ask you in terms of religion. of the people who are here, of
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the people who are coming, we know that the christian community in syria, in iraq, in that part of the world has been targeted for what most of us would consider genocide. they take the christians out and just massacre them. sunnis and shiites kill each that's pretty clear. it's hard to -- christian community has been targeted for extinction. should we not then try to prioritize so that we take care of those people who are targeted for extinction rather than just people who are caught up in a horrible situation? >> all right. three very quick points. one is that the muslim men going to europe, some of them are trying to avoid being drafted into assad's regime, into his army. and so i'm very sympathetic to them for that. second, europe is, in history,
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primarily christian. but today there are already muslims already thriving throughout europe. i assure you, congressman. and, third, we do agree with you that the christian community is being targeted, particularly by isil. as the high commissioner reminded me today, the one most targeted, most vulnerable are the azid difficuy and are not c and are considered not of the book and are more miserably treated and murdered and raped. so we agree with you that this qualifies then refugees who have fled because they are christian or other ethnic religious minorities as particularly vulnerable. and it does help them put their case together that they should be particularly helped. and also -- >> i would hope that we give priority to christians and other
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people who have been actually targeted for their faith. and also whatever we have to say about assad trying to murder those people, who would create a more democratic syria, he did offer safe haven to christians for a long time. that's at least one thing we need to recognize. if christians community in the middle east is, indeed, being targeted for genocide, we need to understand that. we need to target that and we need to act with that part of the assumption of what -- how we're going to handle this great humanitarian crisis that we now face in the middle east. thank you for doing your part. god bless you. ready to work with you. >> thank you very much. mr. rodriguez, i wanted you to have another opportunity to walk us through the vetting process. this hearing is being broadcast through c-span3 and then they will view it.
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they will run it a few more times. so maybe some in the television audience have not had a chance because they just plugged in now, to talk about -- to hear you talk about how the vetting process that you have in place, how secure you feel that is, how comfortable you feel that there is the existing security screening process that we have, is able to identify potential extremists and threats to the united states. if you could, walk us through that process about what your department is doing. >> thank you, chairwoman, for that opportunity. and undersecretary richard actually did a very nice job of walking through the broader process which, of course, starts with the first encounter with the united nations high commissioner on refugees, then they go to resettlement contractor that works with the department of state.
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that begins the first part, two of the first critical parts of the vetting process, which is unhcr itself conducts an interview of the individual in order to determine whether they're stating a refugee claim. that's information that we receive. and then later on becomes part of our interview process. the bio graphic checks, basically based on the pedigree information, if you will, that's given to us by the applicant's refugee status are tested against three important databases. first is the counselor lookout database, which is maintained beity state department and essentially describes people who have been encountered during the counselor process. in some cases, we look to the fbi to give us something called the security advisory opinion, which again looks to a series of sources that are both law enforcement and intelligent
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sources, but most critically for this particular population is the third of the databases that i mentioned, which is the interagency check. that interagency check queries against the number of law enforcement and intelligent sources in the community that's working in partnership, national security council, national counterterrorism center, the state department, us. we are in a constant process of thinking about how we further strengthen those sources. not just to vet syrians, but to vet anybody else, be it iraqis, afghans, somalis, as the case might be. so as i indicated before, that process just in the syrian case has identified 30 individuals who just, as part that have process, were identified as having derogatory history, were denied admission at that point. we then get to the point where
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our officers conduct the interviews. so by the time they're doing that, they have the benefit of the interview that's already been conducted by the high commissioner. they have the results of these checks. but very critically, they have not only their own deep understanding of the country conditions about which they have been briefed prior to deployment, but they also have their experience in interviewing individuals. so through that, they also gain a lot of depth of understanding of what makes sense, of what adds up, what's credible. and so through that process, they're making decisions about whether people will, in fact, move to the next stage or whether, in fact, there is a problem with the account they're given.dmeah sometimes that problem could be a contradiction between what they're saying during the screening interview and what they told the high commission. sometimes it can be completely
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inconsistent with the country conditions that we know. we often nominate that information to be part of intelligent databases because we get information that is then used to deepen our understanding of what is going on, whether it's in syria or somewhere else. of course, that then fortifies the work that we're doing in the future. is the process risk free? there is no risk-free process. are we doing the absolute best that we can, practically with the resources? are we giving our folks the best training we can give them? are we using the best intelligence resources we can get our hands on? the answer to that is absolutely yes. >> thank you very much. ms. richard and mr. stall, i wanted to give you an opportunity in case you had any concluding statement that you would like to make. >> you know, you'll notice we all said we're able to do this with the bipartisan support of congress.
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we actually say that to people in other countries, too, and explain to them that no matter what they hear in washington, this program has actually benefited year in and year out from bikamcabicameral, bipartis support. it's my desire to keep it that way i appreciate both of you sticking this out to the end here. and your help to help us to keep it that way. because i think there is a risk that as we bring more people and as there's more press attention to the program and attention during a presidential campaign season that people could start misinterpreting the goals of this. this is an american program. it's a fine american tradition. i think most americans should take pride in both our overseas humanitarian endeavors and our domestic ones. thank you, in advance, for the help you're giving us with your colleagues to continue the strong support we get. thank you very much.
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>> thank you to all of you for the great work that you're doing. mr. stall? >> yes, thank you very much for holding this hears and also for identifying that it's not only the syrians themselves who are suffering but the countries and the region and the importance of maintaining their stability but also their ability to absorb these additional refugees and people. and that's a critical part of the resources that you provide us. not only the humanitarian side but even the development dollars are providing assistance to this crisis. and, of course, at the end of the day, though, no matter how much we do on the humanitarian side, that's not going to resolve the problem. that's not even going to stop people from going to europe. it's resolving the political issues and getting a solution there. that's what we all hope for. thank you very much. >> amen. thank you very much. we look forward to having you back with us in a few months time so you can update us on the
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progress you have made. thank you very much. with that, our subcommittee is adjourned. thank you.
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the florida republican party on friday kicks off the sunshine summit with gop candidates for president. speaking to the gathering, marco rubio, ted cruz, lindsey graham, donald trump, jeb bush, ben carson, and mike huckabee. you can see them live on our companion network c-span starting friday morning at 10:30 eastern. and the summit continues saturday with more candidates. bobby jindal, chris christie, rick santorum, rand paul, john kasich, and carly fiorina. those speeches start at 10:00 o a.m. eastern on saturday. baker says to him, well, i want to be a congressman. i think you're just using this as a stepping stone to the senate. and georgia h.b. push says, no, no, i'm not using this as stepping stone to the senate. i want to be president. this is 1965. he is 41 years old. he has yet to win a race except to be the harris county
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chairman. but he had a sense of destiny. >> saturday night at 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's "book tv," a conversation between pulitzer prize winning biographer jon meacham and george w. bush about his father george herbert walker bush. also on friday, the louisiana book festival in baton rouge with nonfiction author presentations including adele levine and keith wheldon medley and adam rothman and his book. and sunday night at 9:00 on "afterwards," former congressman patrick kennedy shares his personal journey with mental illness and substance abuse. >> i really was convinced that no one could pick up on the fact that, you know, sweaty, you know, palms, i was prespiring, i was, you know, moving around in
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an agitated way. i totally thought no one knew. >> he's interviewed by democratic representative jim mcdermott from washington state. "book tv," television for serious readers. british foreign secretary philip hammond talked about energy and climate change policy at the american enterprise institute. he also highlighted the efforts of the u.s. and the uk. this is 35 minutes.
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thank you for joining us. few quick words about our guest. mr. hammond is a secretary of state for foreign and common wealth affairs. he was elected a conservative member of parliament in 1997 and has previously served of secretary of state for transport of security and state and defense. he's had a business career in small and medium-size companies. from all over the uk economy. we're delighted to hear his remarks about conservative approaches to how we can understand the climate and energy situation. we're also delighted and honored to have with us sir peter west no cot, the british ambassador to the united states. with this we welcome our friend from the uk, the right honorable fiphilip hammond. >> thank you very much. i'm delighted to be here at the
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american enterprise institute. you can rightly regarded as one of the most influential think tanks. the work that you do here has a real world impact. papers become policy in republican and democrat administrations. i also welcome the aei board members who are here today. the fact that so many influential and busy individuals regularly take time to come in here not only from external speakers but lrs from a we i scholars is testament to your reputation for high-quality and relevant work. i haven't come here by chance. i've come here by choice because i want to make an argument to a conservative audience. first, that it is wholly consistent with conservative values to tackle the challenge of climate change and, second, that those conservative values can show us how best to deal with that challenge. as i said in my speech in boston last year for too long we've
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allowed the debate about climate change to be dominated by purists and idealists, many of whom operate on the left of the political spectrum who actively promote the notion that they and only they have the answers to the climate challenge and that we have to sacrifice economic growth and prosperity in order to meet it. i reject those arguments. i reject them, first of all, because wanting to protect the world we inherit, to pass it on intact to the next generation, is a fundamentally conservative instinct. as long ago as 1988 former conservative prime minister margaret thatcher said, and i quote, the last thing we want is to leave environmental debts for our children to clear up. no generation has a free hold on this earth. all we have is a life tenancy.
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i do to the accept that we have to choose between our future prosperity and safeguarding the future of our planet. this is not a zero sum game. as conservatives, we choose both. the starting point for any discussion on climate change must be the threat it poses. now of course no one is 100% certain of every aspect of the science. no one is 100% certain of the precise effects of man's activity on our climate. but the evidence in favor of taking action to curb carbon emissions has been steadily mounting for decades. uncertainty about the exact effects of climate change or the role of man's activity in delivering it is not an excuse for inaction. in every other facet of life we assess the risks and where the risk of occurrence is high and the impacts are potentially
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catastrophic we act to mitigate and to prevent our approach to climate change should be no different. that is exactly the precautionary approach that president reagan took decades ago when the world faced a similar challenge. in the 1980 tz majority of the world scientists were deeply concerned about the environment. in that case about the depletion of the ozone layer. there were some daughters but president reagan concluded the risks of doing nothing were too great. it was a core part of his conservative principles to take bold action when necessary. he displayed leadership, galvanizing business and the international community to agree what became the protocol, to phase out the use of damaging cfcs. president reagan described it as a magnificent achievement and he was right to do so. we now know the worried scientists were right and as a result of the protocol the ozone layer is now recovering.
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i recognize the concerns of those who worry, that the cost of tackling climate change will prove too great, that the attempts to do so might ruin our economy. this is a reasonable concern. if it really was a choice between economic growth on the one hand or lower greenhouse gas emissions on the other, then i, too, would be cautious. but i shall argue that it is not. in doing so the first thing i need to stress is that the cost of doing nothing is not nothing. nearly a decade ago the then uk government commissioned a review by one of our leading economist, nicholas stern, to ask what the cost of doing nothing might be. that recrew estimated that it could be a equivalent to losing 20% of global consumption. since then, as our knowledge has developed, we've come to see this as not only an
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underestimate but also a narrow way of looking at the problem. many of the losses caused by climate change could be irreversible regardless of our resources. unchecked climate change, enunthor the most likely scenario, could have catastrophic consequences ari arising global temperatures similar to the difference of the last ice age and today, leaving in turn to rising sea levels, huge movements of people fueling conflict and instability, pressure on resources, and a multitude of new risks to global public health. the worse case is even more severe, a drastic change in our environment that could see heat stress in some areas surpass the limits of human tolerance leaving the leg again si of our generation a more dangerous world for our children and our grandchildren. so the costs of doing nothing are potentially catastrophic, beyond anything that can easily
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be quantified in economic terms. but even that argument would be vulnerable if the immediate cost of taking the necessary actions was economically ruinous. so the second thing we need to consider is what really are the costs of the necessary action. and we should be honest. we should not pretend that acting on climate change does not involve hard choices. even as the economy as a whole has more to gain than to lose from embracing the low carbon agenda there will be losers. some sectors, particularly coal, are in for a difficult time. we will need to think carefully about how we manage the impact on communities that are dependent on these industries for generations. their contribution to our economies has been a great one and we should not abandon them now. however, the more we learn the more the evidence is shifting in
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favor of action because that evidence is showing that many of the measures to reduce climate risks will, in fact, stimulate economic growth. our experience in the uk bears this out. we've already reduced our emissions by more than a quarter since 1990. and over the same period of time our economy has grown by more than 60%. just last year we registered a reduction in the carbon intensity of our economy of more than 10%, the steepest drop achieved by any country in the last six years. at the same time, we have the fastest economic growth rate in the g-7. not only that, but the growth in the low carbon sector of the u.k. economy is now outpacing the growth rate of the economy as a whole. in the uk firms engaged in low carbon goods and services employed over 460,000 people and
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contributed 45 billion pounds to the uk economy in 2013. this is an increase of almost 30% in just three years. on the global trends are in the same direction. the global low carbon economy is already worth 6 trillion u.s. dollars and is growing at between 4% and 5% a year. in 2013 auditions to the world's renewable energy generating capacity exceeded those to the fossil fuel capacity for the first time ever. and the price of renewable generation is falling fast. the price of solar panels has fallen by 80% since 2008 and the price of wind turbines has fallen by more than a quarter since 2009. this is increasingly allowing these energy sources to compete on cost with fossil fuel power generation without the need for subsidy. our businesses in the uk are looking at these trends and they
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are telling us that we should be a leader, not a back marker. that we should be at the forefront of these developments, taking advantage of the opportunities. the final argument tackling climate change that i want to address today is the argument that if we take action it will put us at a disadvantage to competitors who don't. again, this is a perfectly reasonable concern. but with countries representing 85% of the world's emissions signed up to national contribution targets ahead of cop-21 in paris the reality is all significant potential competitors are now headed in the same direction. but in any case the uk's experience so far is that a robust climate policy, even during a period when others have been uncommitted, has had no noticeable impact on our overall competitiveness. businesses remain attracted to
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the uk's openness to investment, flexible labor markets, and highly skilled workforce. in fact, it is increasingly clear that the economy of the future will be a low carbon economy. studies suggest that by stimulating greater innovation and efficiency, climate policies will increase our economic competitiveness. two weeks ago i was in the united arab emirates giving a speech on climate change, as it happens. they have the world's seventh largest reserves of gas and oil. despite this, they are already planning for a future without hydro carbons. they're investing in some of the world's largest solar power plants and are at the forefront of innovation in technologies such as high efficiency solar powered deceleration. and this is not only happening in the middle east. china is now the world's leading investor in renewable energy. in the next five years alone, it
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will add more wind power than the entire generating capacity from all sources of the uk. china has efficiency standards for its vehicles similar to those of europe and america, and woe the chinese official who makes the test and increasingly planning in cities y s ties to carbon and resource efficient. seven regions of china are already putting a price on carbon and in another two years this will have spread to cover the whole of the country. so in summary, the world is moving towards a low carbon economy. i would suggest that there may now be more risk in being left behind than there is in taking the lead. the threat is great and the costs of dealing with it are now manageable. but the question remains, how best to respond to the
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challenge. what are the appropriate mechanisms, what are the conservative solutions, how best can we tackle the principle cause of climate change, carbon emissions? of course, there are those on the left who have seen the need for action on climate change as a justification for large-scale mobilization, for a regular tree bonanza in the bigger state. and if a purery regulatory approach was the answer, i have no doubt that economic growth would suffer. but it isn't. the answer, as even the chinese have realized, is to harness the power of the marketplace, to let the hidden hand of market forces loose on the challenge we are facing and watch it deliver solutions as it is delivered solutions to every other problem we have faced and resolved in our history. we should be well placed in this regard. free markets have shaped both our countries.
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new york and london host the world's two most important stock exchanges. lon do, new york, chicago, the world's most commodity exchanges. it's my confidence in markets that drives my approach to the economics of climate change. in the uk we've placed a price on carbon. this is completely in line with conservative economic values. a carbon price corrects a market failure but we've allowed co-2 emissions to be a free good to the polluter even though they impose costs on society. with any other waste, we pay for it to be taken away. we do not let people just dump it on the street. moreover, a market solution is simple and gives business the certainty that they're asking for. alongside 70 governments, over 1,000 businesses signed a deck
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clar race ca clar rags calling for carbon prices. rather than wait for government many businesses are taking matters into their own hands by bringing in an internal carbon price to guide their investment decisions. the number of multi-national businesses taking this approach has tripled over the past 12 months, tripled. even oil companies including bp, shell have come out in favor of carbon pricing. major u.s. companies that either already use internal carbon pricing or intend to introduce it within the next two years include google, microsoft, american express, coca-cola, monsanto, walmart, and yahoo!. fundamental to a market-placed approach is letting our entrepreneurs and our innovators show the way. your organization is dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of a free society, including competitive private enterprise.
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i agree whole heartedly with that aim. far too often business is cast in the role of villain when it comes to climate change. but as margaret thatcher -- you know i'm a british tourry because i keep quoting her. as she said in a speech to the general assembly back in 1989, we must resist the simplistic tendency to blame modern multinational industry to the damage which is being done to the environment. far from being the villains, it is them on whom we rely to do the research and find the solutions. and she could have added, make the investments. and again, the uk and the u.s. are well placed to lead. we have some of the most innovative businesses and our entrepreneurs are already leading the way. for example, uk firms build more formula 1 racing cars than any other country. they're pushing the found
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boundaries of technology to harness the energy from braking and release it back into acceleration through electric motors. the u.s. firm tesla is leading the world in developing battery technology for road cars and increasingly for homes, too, giving them independence from the grid and moving us closer to the time when renewable generation is matched by effective storage to give around the clock access to renewable power. we have the best research institutions in the world. if you look at a list of the top universities in the world you will find that last year all of the top ten were either british or american. by the way, we think that the 4-6 split, uk-u.s. is reasonable given your population is five times ours. the u.k. leads the world in offshore wind energy. we've stored more capacity than any other country in the world and this is increasingly creating jobs as firms export their products and services.
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meanwhile, companies such as google are leading in developing the big data capabilities which will allow the supply and demand for energy to be matched more intelligently, reducing wastes and costs. i believe that our countries need to accelerate the pace of innovation in all of these technologies. in particular, we should focus on crossing the critical frontier of large-scale, high efficiency energy storage, giving the prospect of cost ftive renewable storage not just round the clock but through the seasons. if our innovators and entrepreneurs can solve this challenge and bring the cost of clean energy be storage below the cost of fossil fuel power generation, then the need for innovation -- sorry, the need for intervention will have passed and we can step back and leave the market to do the rest. renewables will become the energy of choice, clean, competitive, and secure.
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if we take all of this action we will reduce the cost of ernlg in and the risks of climate change. we will create jobs and enhance our energy security. so if britain and the u.s. move ahead, we can reap the rewards. but of course we cannot solve climate change alone. only effective global action will achieve that. that's why the international community is negotiating right now what i hope will be a strong effective and binding deal at the paris meeting next month. the paris deal is important because it will give all countries confidence in the direction of travel. it will level the playing field. confirm once and for all that climate action does not create competitive disadvantage. capitalize investment and spur innovation. over 150 countries have already made commitments to reduce their
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emissions over time ahead of the paris meeting. it is likely that every significant country in the world will have done so by the end of this year. these are not just rhetorical commitments. many include strong, subsubstantive i'ment such as china to clean energy sources to make up a fifth of the consumption by 2030. independent analysis estimates that this commitment could give china a renewable energy capacity of a thousand gigawatts by 2030, roughly equivalent to the united states total electricity generating capacity today. this huge increase will fundamentally change world energy markets by expanding economies of scale and accelerating technological innovation. our history shows us that when the u.s. and the uk take a lead, we can persuade the world to follow. and we must take that lead.
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through our world beating innovation, our trust in markets, and our leadership on the world stage, we can show the world how to counter the threat of climate change at the same time as growing our economies. as conservatives, we know the responsible thing to do is tackle threats when we see them and to do so in ways which preserve our future security and prosperity. and we know the smart thing to do is harness the power of the market to tack the challenges of climate change because if we do not lead others will decide the way forward. and their solutions may not be conservative ones. but if we do take the lead we can ensure the global response is founded on the force of markets, the power of technology, and the institutions of capitalism. to get there, leadership is
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required, not just that of government. think tanks, academia, businesses, all have a crucial role to play. the papers you write here at aei, the policies you promote, the investments businesses make. all of these things together will determine whether and how we choose to address the challenge of climate change. taking action to combat climate change is the right thing to do, the conservative thing to do. we have the power to ensure that as the world embraces the challenge it does so by harnessing the power of markets and the institutions of capitalism, the very things that have dlif edelivered for us tim time again throughout our history. i look forward to working with you to seize this opportunity. thank you. thank you. [ applause ] at their case and see if there are certain characteristics about them that would make them match what we're looking for. for. what we're looking for is
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they have to fit the definition of a refugee, which is someone fleeing persecution for one of, they have a well-founded fear of persecution, for one of five reasons, which is race, religion, nationality, political [inaudible] >> thank you so much. >> thank you s >> thank >>. >> reportep >> reporter: is? whr what p what an hwh here. and yor and yop and yan the audience. ir i'm not going to take the prerogative very much myself except for one question. i'd like you to get your questions in mind and then i will call on you for the foreign minister. i'd like to start by asking a question that's of a particular concern to a lot of people in this audience about this. since we were children of the united states we've seen a
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tremendous improvement in the environment in the united states. i grew up on the west coast. i spent a lot of time in los angeles. and it's remarkably better than it was. and there is a cost to that, to be sure, but the americans have -- people from all around the world have decided to have a cleaner environment and have paid for that. and we see what a better world it is. but when we look at the rest of the world it's not always the same case. i want a cleaner environment personally but the number one issue for me personally is world poverty. i spent a lot of time outside the united states in communities that are really very, very poor. i came back over the weekend from india where i was shooting a film for aei in a slum in mumbai. and when i was there i was working with and i was talking to people who recycle plastic. they take the plastic water bottles and they turn them into other products by melting them down. and one of the people i was with told me an interesting story. he showed me bags of old water
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bottles and pieces of plastic. he said what's that, i said, it's trash. he said, no, no, that's wrong. that's opportunity. he said that something in your house that you threw away because you thought it was trash, it came here. we recycle it. turn it into another product and it goes back to your house and every link of that chain is somebody's dream. that's fantastic. that's the most conservative thing ever. you and i love this i suspect. i said, what's the problem? he said the problem is your country wants to shut us down. and i said, what do you mean? he said, there's smoke thats out of here and there's pressure from the american and european governments on the indian government to shut down this entire industry and thus to shut down the dreams of these people who are dirt poor. they were -- they were dying of starvation under socialism and under gandhi and first time they're being set free. what do i tell the poor man in duravi who is simply trying to
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make a living and feed his family for the very first time? is there a solution compatible with this when the largest part of carbon emissions of the world are not coming from great britain or the united states but from china and india where people are simply not trying to be poor? >> first of all, we have to recognize that some of the -- there is a challenge here. there is a conundrum but we have to recognize that some of the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, that will actually suffer the most if there is catastrophic climate change are the poorest countries in the world. if we have catastrophic climate change, heat stress making large parts of the world unhabitable, rising sea levels, it will not be the rich countries that suffer. we will be able, belatedly, to invest in the protections we need to survive those things. it will be the poorest, least capable countries, the poorest, least capable populations that will suffer the most. but, look, i'm not an expert on recycling of plastics.
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but i'm pretty sure that the answer to your question is that there are ways of recycling plastic bottles. we do it all the time in our own economies. which are consistent with addressing the climate change goals as well. and it's about creating an industry and a structure of industry that can respond to that. that probably means that your guys in mumbai are going to become collectors and merchants selling on their -- their -- their mashed up plastic bottles to a processor, who is then going to process them in a higher technology plant than they would ever be able to afford. it doesn't mean they're out of business, it just means their business is changing. there's a real danger, whether we're talking about a developed economy or a developing economy inning looking at a single industry or a single sector. of course there's a temptation, let's take a u.s., to focus on the coal industry and the significant importance of the
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coal industry and the impact on the coal industry of delivering carbon reduction targets. that is with respect the wrong starting point. we have to look at the costs and benefits to the whole economy. what i've tried to get across this morning is that looked at on a whole economy basis the opportunities to drive economic growth through embracing these new technologies allow us to mitigate the impacts on those who suffer loss, a negative effect as older industries, polluting industries are negatively impacted by this change. the question for me is looked at across the economy as a whole is the impact positive or negative overall? how you then manage the allocation of those impacts between different sectors, different groups, different individuals is a challenge for governments and markets of getting the structures right. i think we can do that provided the overall impact is positive.
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>> recently i was speaking to a supporter of aei who works in the fossil fuel industry. and i asked about the very questions that you raised. i said, what's the answer? because he was as concerned as anybody in this room about having a clean environment that's sustainable and looks to the future in a way that's best for all people. and particularly future generations. and i said, what's the answer? and there are lots of -- he gave me an example of the wrong way of going about it, which is to say, to create winners and losers where we don't have perfect information and perfect sigh ebbs ens. he gave me the example of ethanol where we grow food and then burn it. and -- but we have to subsidize it a lot. turns out they have a higher carbon footprint and burns food and drives up food prices which in turn hurts the point. i said, what's your point? he said the point is if we
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simply took off all the taxes and all the subsidies and regulatory environment that distorts the prices for fuels, then the highest ben fet/lowest cost methods would come forward and within 20 years we would have a lower carbon environment. is this correct or is this simply pie in the sky thinking? >> well, i think there are a number of different arguments mixed up together there. i think we have to -- i mentioned the issue of market failure around the ability to dump pollution without charge, if there is no cost imposed on the level of the firm, the individual, than his behaviors don't reflect the social costs of what he's doing. and where we have a market failure that allows people to do things like that just as going back to your opening point, 30 years ago, 40 years ago we were regarded as normal to dump into rivers. the affluent from industrial production. we would not regard that as
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acceptable or normal now. it's allowing somebody to make a cost/benefit analysis that is distorted by viewing only their private costs and benefits and not the broader costs and benefits they impose on the society. having a pricing mechanism that embraces all aspects of the activity is vitally important. i think what i'm arguing here and what i said earlier on is that if we can get a little bit further down the road of technological development that we're currently embarked upon and we are getting to a point where many of these technologies will not need special regimes, protections, subsidies. the technology itself will have developed to the point where unit costs are competitive with fossil fuels. solar power is already competitive with fossil fuels in most parts of the world. not just in the sahara desert
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but in most parts of the world. the next challenge is being able to store it because clearly solar power is only available at certain parts of the day. if we can crack the challenge, and this is a technological challenge, it's, you know, is it as difficult as putting a man on the moon? i don't think so. but cracking the challenge of being able to store energy around the clock will give us solar power as a market competitive form of ernnergy in vast parts of the world. it will allow countries in the ecuadorial countries in the way that other countries now export oil and gas. it will give them a source of economic activity, a source of income that could be very significant for their development. so the question is how we foster
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and encourage that next step of innovation. it should be market led, but there will be a need in some cases for short-term interventions to stimulate the market in the right direction. >> i'm going to turn it over to the audience now. i would like to hear what's on your mind. let's -- house rules. wait for the microphone, say your name, and put your protest statement in the form of a question. john, do you have one back here? we're running slightly short. okay. we will have shorter answers. start right up here. take the mike over here? >> good morning, sir. welcome. thank you for being here. as conservatives we tend to value the proven and the trusted. i heard no discussion of nuclear energy in your talk and it looks as though europe is largely walking away from it. is that true? >> well, the uk certainly isn't. we're embarked on a program of
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reinvestment in nuclear power as our last generation of nuclear power stations come to the end of their lives. we are replacing them. we are very clear that nuclear has to be part of the future, clean energy mix. we will never get to the targets with we have set ourselves without nuclear providing a significant element of -- of the electricity generation base load. other countries in europe have different positions on this. and there is a, frankly, a political challenge. germany, most notoriously, i suppose is the right word, has committed to ending its dependence on nuclear energy. we think that is misjudged, but we are -- the british government's position is that while european countries, through the european union, must make commitments collectively to reducing our carbon footprint,
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individual nations should choose how to do that. if the germans want to cripple themselves by doing it in a less efficient way, that has to be their right to choose that. they're not the only up withes but they're the biggest economy that's focusing on a non-nuclear future. we are clear that we will have a significant element of nuclear in our mix. >> right in the back here. yes, sir? >> hello. i'm thomas, former economist at the world bank. the bank just put out a new report that there's going to be a new climate social network as well. my question is how are we going to pay for all of this? is it through the paris, you know, climate change and you're looking at exxon and others getting taxed now and having climate problems coming out of new york? >> by the way, point you just reminded me. a point i meant to make in response to yours. talking about fossil fuel
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companies is kind of misleading because most of these companies are also players in the renewable energy sector now. >> that's true. >> they see themselves as integrated providers of energy, solutions looking into the future. let me interpret your question as i'm not -- i haven't seen this world bank report that you referred to. but there is a requirement as part of the cop-21 negotiation to mobilize eye-wateringly large amounts of finance for global climate initiative, $100 billion a year by the end of the decade. and it's clear that to bring the developing world with us we have to be able to demonstrate how we are going to mobilize the kind of resource that is necessary to deliver this agenda. but again, very important to emphasize, this is not $100 billion of donated money or $100
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billion of public funding. it's $100 billion of capital mobilized behind the investment programs that are needed to tackle these challenges. and much of this money will be invested by businesses as a business proposition in response to the clear commitments that governments have made to decarbonize their economies. we see it in our own economy. we set the parameters. we've done it in simplest way. we just told the electricity distribution companies that x percentage of the power they distribute has to dprom renewable sources. how they deliver that is up to them. of course, that has placed a premium on the value of renewable energy generated, sold into the grid. at the beginning, because there was a deficit of renewable
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energy. as the quantity of renewable energy increased, that premium has declined because there is now something closer to a balance between the demand from the energy distributors to meet their statutory obligations and the supply of renewable energy into the grid. >> ladies and gentlemen, we come to the end of this period. and the foreign minister has to go on to his next appointment. i'm delighted to have him here. i'm thankful to all of you for coming to this session. and i would like to ask you, invite you to join me in thanking foreign minister philip hammond. [ applause ]
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the florida republican party on friday kicks off sunshine summit with gop candidates for president. speaking at the gathering, marco rubio, ted cruz, lindsey graham, donald trump, jeb bush, ben carson, and mike huckabee. you can see them live starting friday morning at 10:30 eastern. and the summit continues saturday with more candidates, bobby jindal, chris christie, rand paul, john kasich and carly fiorina. starting at 10:00 p.a.m. easter on saturday. all persons having business before the honorable supreme court of the united states admonish to draw near and give their attention. >> my fellow americans. tonight our country faces a grave danger. we are faced by the possibility that at midnight tonight the
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steel industry will be shut down. there are i'm taking two actions tonight. first, i'm directing the secretary of commerce to take possession of the steel mills and to keep them operating. >> in 1952 the united states was involved in a military conflict with north korea and at home a dispute between the steel industry and its union had come to a head. >> the korean war was a hot war and they needed steel for munitions, tanks, for jeeps, for all of those things that you need it in the second war, as well. so if the steel industry went on an industry-wide strike that was going to be a real problem because it's basic to the things that an army and navy need and air force need to fight a war. >> to avoid a disruption of steel production crucial to the military, president harry truman seized control of the mills. and as a result, a pending strike was called off and steel
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production continued. however, the steel companies led by the youngstown sheet and tube company in ohio disagreed with the action and took the lawsuit all of the way to the supreme court. we'll examine how the court ruled in the case of youngstown sheet and tube company versus sawyer and the impact on presidential powers. joining our discussion michael gerha gerha gerhardt, professor at the university of knnorth carolina w school and william how well, political science professor at the university of chicago and the author of the "wartime president, power without persuasion" and co-author of "while dangers gather." that's coming up on the next "landmark cases" live monday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span3, and c-span radio. for background on each case while you watch, order your copy of the "landmark cases" companion book available for
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$8.95 plus shipping at the national institute for health cakacare management foundation hosted a forum last week on how to improve medical care while reducing costs. this is just over two hours. good afternoon. i'm nancy, president and ceo of nick democrats em foundation and i'm delighted to welcome you here today on briefing on transforming health care to drive value. we have an exceptional panel of speaker representing different perspectives. what unifies them is that they're all on the forefront of driving value through innovation in the way we deliver care, we pay for care, and how we consume care. copies of the speakers' frent tagss will be posted on our
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website after the program. we have an impressive audience and we want to i vnvite you alln to the presentation at well. at the conclusion of all the speakers' presentations if you want to fill out the card and hand them all, bring tell up here and you can address the speakers. our first speaker today is well-known to all of you, dr. patrick conway. he is someone who has a lot of titles. he is the deputy principal administrator, the deputy administrator of innovation and quality, and the chief medical officer of cms. dr. conway is responsible for overseeing and improving the programs that serve the millions of americans who access health care through medicare, medicaid, chip, and the marketplace, also known as the exchanges. he personifies excellence in
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public service. he brings unique background as a physician, a strategy consultant, and a researcher to his positions. he brings a talent, a real talent for problem solving and a tremendous passion for finding and increasing the quality and value of the health care system. he has received the secretary's highest award for distinguished service. táátpá conway. >> thank you, nancy. i'll apologize for two things in advance. i am sick, so my voice a little odd. and i have to leave after i talk. i try not to do that. but was told i need to be back in baltimore for some things. so, as was said, i've been chief medical office for five years. cms is like dog years so it feels like about 35. and true story. one of our communications folks the other day said patrick, you
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need a day said patrick, you why do i need a new picture? you look a lot older than when you started. i went home and asked my wife, do i need a new picture? yeah, you need a new picture. so i will move the slides relatively quickly, if i can. maybe i'll say next slide and you can move them? perfect. i'll adhere to the time limit. so if you think about the affordable care act, three major changes. one, insurance coverage, we're at the lowest insurance rate in recorded history for the united states. another set of data came out yesterday. i won't talk much about that today. i will talk about health system transformation, delivery system forum, really focusing on the cost and quality of care. if we go to the next slide. this just shows a cbo estimate from 2010 and then looking again at 2015, predicted over $20
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billion in cost savings from reduced medical trend. as you all know both our own act chew rare and independent analyses now saying a portion of this change is due to structural changes in the system and delivery system reform. if you go to the next slide, this is from harlan crumbholtz who is a hart core health services researcher. you don't have people often say jaw dropping results in the "new york times." just to call out a few results from a jama study, reductions in all cause mortality from 1989 to 2013. this is also testing the -- i don't have my dplglasses on. this is going to test to see if i have my slides memorized. reduction mortality, reductions in hospitalizations, at a population level. so less medicare beneficiaries being hospitalized even as the population ages and becomes more frail.
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hospital costs and reductions of hospitalizations in the last six months of life. not on this slide, our own quality measures for cms over 95% of the measures have improved significantly over the last three years. so significant improvements in quality across the u.s. go to the next slide. thanks, i'll take it. this just -- we'll test to see if i can to look at it or not. this is our frame for delivery system reform. we talk about incentives. these are both provider and consumer incentive, value based purchasing, alternative payment models. we also talked about care, integration of mental and behavioral health, population health management and engagement of patients in their care through shared decision making and other means. and then we taught about information, transparency about quality and cost of care and the right information at the point of care. i am still a practicing physician, mainly taking care of children with multiple chronic
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on weekends. that is critically important. if you go to the next slide. this is a payment framework. you do not need to memorize. but we published in jama about 18 months or so now. four categories of payment aligns with a lot of private sector folks you're going to hear from today and payment framework just released from our learning in action network. category one, fee for service, no link to quality or cost. category two, fee for service with a link to quality or cost. value based purchasing. category we three, call tern tive payment model built on the fee for service. category four, true population based payment to a provider. these all provider oriented payments. you will hear from private payers and others about how they're also moving to value based payment. if you move to the next slide. the president and secretary announced in january of 2015 specific goals for alternative
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payment models. this is category three and four from the last slide. provider is accountable for quality and total cost of care. to hit 30% by 2016. 50% by 2018. we're settling this goal for the federal government but importantly we said we want private sector actors to move in the same direction. private payers, providers, consumers, employer, et cetera. second goal was value based payment. we said 85% linked to value by the end of 2016 and 90% by the end of 2018. we are on track to meet those 2016 goals. we also launched the health care payment learning in action network to really partner with the private sector to achieve these goals. we got eight of the ten largest private payers in the country. cms and the private payers over 80% of the u.s. population. over 25 states engage. you got large employers, you've got over 1,000 provider groups.
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we just had a summit that had, you know, people representing a huge portion of the u.s. population really driving to achieve these goals. if you look at the next slide. this just graphically shows the goals. dark blue, key point on this slide, in 2011 we had 0% in medicare and alternative payment mod ders. at 20% in 2014 and continue to grow. so just graphically shows you the shift you're seeing in payment in the u.s. the last thing i'll say here in my 7-year-old son has this stat memorized. cms spends a trillion dollars a year across all programs. that is more than $2.5 billion a day. that is more than $100 million an hour. in the course of this two-hour discussion, $200 million plus. our goal is how do you spend those dollars as wisely as possible, how do you partner and cattize change that improves quality of care for people, develops, and generates healthier people for our country
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and is smarter spending. next slide. this just shows our value based payment programs. key point here in the middle box you can see hospitals right now have 8% of payment via readmissions and other value-based purchasing programs, tied to quality and value, physicians, clinicians, 9% for large group, 7% for smaller groups. showing a significant amount of payment tied to the quality of care delivered to beneficiaries. on the next slide. i'm now going to shift to the innovation center, so started leading the innovation center about 2 1/2 years ago. as you know $10 billion over 10 years to cattize new payment and service delivery models to improve quality and lower costs. this lists all of our major models. i'm not going to talk about all of them but i will talk about a few. on the next slide, on their accountable care organizations we've got more than 400 acos in the medicare shared savings
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program. almost 8 million beneficiaries in 49 states plus puerto rico. and for our medicare shared savings rules and working on another set of rules right now and benchmarking issues which we've had publicly looking to improve this program over time. i'm going to talk a little bit about some of the resultses. the other important note here. think about met care. 32% and growing in medicare advantage. you've got 20% plus in alternative payment models. you already have a minority of medicare and what was traditional fee for service and within traditional fee for service the vast majority of services was link to quality and cost. the next slide. this is our pioneer aco results. first model to be certified by the actuary. improves quality and lowers costs. and then we built in into medicare shared savings, track three, the learnings from pioneer. the other learnings from pioneer, all our models generally people can go in or out of. pioneer, which, you know, first
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model out of cmi, so, you know, i think at that point we were at a different stage. people could only exit, so by definition, the numbers are going to go down over time. every time one exits, it gets a lot of press. we've tried to explain this. i've given up trying to explain it well. i'm going to talk about next generation aco model which we think a number of organizations now are deciding to go to track three or stay in pine more or move to next generation aco. key point is we want an array of payment models that meet provider where's they are and we have a fundamental principle that they should have a choice, improved quality, lower costs. dramatic improvements in quality and patient experience. and over $400 million in cost savings. so successful model that met the bar of improving quality and lowering costs. on the next side. next generation aco, we think there's some key attributes here
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and got a robust interest. we hope to announce the select entities soon. prospective attributions. know your population. populations, you can choose a lower amount than full population-based payment. patients can select their aco. what we call voluntary at trib bus but the beneficiary says this is it and things can happen like rebates to the beneficiary to stay within network and enhance care coordination services because the provider knows they're part of the knows they're part of the network. captioning performed by vitac captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 looking at regional benchmarking approaches. so, on the next slide, this just shows primary carry initiative. i grew up in a small town in texas but i learned how to talk fast. i don't want too take any ofth
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need a new picture.


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