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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 14, 2016 7:00pm-12:01am EDT

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so there's one last thing. the country's watching. ohio, we're the geographic center of gravity in every political election. and it's happening now. and it will happen again when i come here so that we can beat hillary clinton this fall. okay? i was going to say, i was going to say that i need you one more time. but i'm going to need you two more times. and maybe practice -- maybe practice will make perfect. but the whole country's watching us. and the whole world is watching us. frankly, holding their breath
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about what we are all about. and i'm asking all of you to send a message around the country and send a message around the world that we have somebody who has a proven record, somebody who's been able to deliver for the people that elected them. that's part of the question in people's minds. who can i trust? there is nobody better that can make that argument than the people that i grew up with, my neighbors in westerville. i'm asking you and i am asking you as sincerely as i can. you got to get out. pull everybody you know and give me a vote so i can continue to run for president of the united states! thank you all very much! god bless!
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>> go there and do that. you know who put him over the top? ohio. >> thank you. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. thank you. thank you. thanks. come on, sweetheart. >> appreciate it. >> thank you. thank you. >> hello, governor. welcome home. >> it's good to be home.
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>> remember that young girl that went to europe years ago? this is her oldest boy. can i get a picture of you? >> picture? >> yes. >> a quick picture? >> okay. >> i'm so sorry. >> thank you. >> hurry up. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. good luck to you. >> thank you so much. >> thanks for coming.
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>> thank you. >> thank you for being here. >> thank you!
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>> bless you, sir.
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>> thank you! thank you! >> can i get a picture with you, please, mr. kasich? >> thank you, governor? >> go get them, mr. governor. >> hey, kasich!
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>> thank you, mr. kasich.
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>> thank you so much, governor romney. >> i got mitt's signature and hand shake. i got two from the senator and one from --
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a couple of things about the road to the white house coverage going on now. donald trump in youngstown, ohio. that's wrapping up and will be later on the schedule and streamed live now at cspan.org. the road to the white house coverage tomorrow. primary night in ohio, florida, northbound nk, illinois and missouri. eastern and for more details, inside information on the ohio primary, we spoke to an ohio reporter earlier today. >> ohio's primary is a battleground for democrats and republicans and joining us from cincinnati is chrissie thompson
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for "the cincinnati enquirer." thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> you say the fight for the gop is the fight for the soul of the party. can you explain? >> going into this weekend, it was shaping up to be a very close battle fighting for a win in the state that can propel him at least into the next few weeks, next few months of his presidential campaign and if donald trump tries to swoop up ohio's winner take all 66 delegates, in addition to the 99 it looks like he picks up in florida and really cement his lead, but on friday after the violence that broke out, some of the scuffles at trump's rally that was canceled in chicago, it really turned into more of as you say a battle for the soul of the republican party. i guess what i mean by that is that there is so many people saying that there are two
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different kinds of campaigns, two different kinds of candidates we are seeing right now. this is really a battle to see who republicans are going to elevate. are they going to elevate someone like john kasich, when's more experienced and attempted to run a relative positive campaign or elevate a candidate who many people feel like is condoning some of the violence and scuffles that we're seeing at these rallies? and ohio is the quintessential swing state. no republican has ever won the white house without winning ohio and so what these voters say on tuesday is very important to what voters say nationally and what the republican party stands for this fall. >> of course, surprise development over night. the appearances by the 2012 republican presidential candidate by mmp. basically telling ohio republicans to vote for governor kasich. is there any significance to these two appearances by governor romney? >> i think the biggest
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significance is that it draws a lot of media attention. this is the first time that governor romney has appeared with another or with a presidential candidate. and although he's not endorsing kasich, it's a strong show of support for the effort to stop donald trump and say, you know, john kasich has the best chance of beating him here in ohio. and interestingly, the appearances are coming as there's several other appearances by bernie sanders and then appearance later by donald trump here in ohio and so there's a finite number of reporters roaming the state right now an this appearance tonight in columbus is going to be a chance for governor romney to kind of draw some attention from reporters who might otherwise be covering donald trump at the same time. and that's been the big issue for john kasich is even just being lost in the media in his own state. he's a popular governor here among republicans and some question as to whether he has a chance of winning the nomination
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and, indeed, he doesn't have a chance of winning it outright so he's got to persuade people who tend to like him that he's a guy who can take their vote and carry it to the white house. >> as your story points out online, cincinnati.com, john kasich never lost an election in ohio and polls essentially showing a dead heat of trump and kasich, why did senator kasich stop by columbus yesterday? >> yeah. super interesting. so what we saw from senator cruz was, well, first of all, an attempt to draw up the base a little bit. he thys he has the chance of being the nominee and if he is the nominee in the fall, really needs to have a lot of ohio republicans on his side. so that was -- that's one factor but more specifically, senator cruz's campaign is really open about the fact that they want this to be a one on one race
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with donald trump come wednesday morning and they've been come paining heavily in florida to get marco rubio out of the race sort to speak, even acknowledging that's going to hand the state and the 99 delegates there to donald trump. and i think what we saw here in columbus was the same sort of strategy. john kasich having a real shot of defeating donald trump kind of makes them nervous and like to have a two-person race instead of a three-person race and asking cruz to take away from john kasich that would potentially cause kasich to suffer defeat and get him out of the race. >> eat les turn attention to democrats. eight years ago hillary clinton winning the ohio primary and lost the nomination to then-s r then-senator barack obama but polls now show that the race is competitive in ohio. what can you tell us? >> yeah. competitive is a good way to describe it. it's as close as 5 percentage
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points and as far apart recently as 15 and so honestly, we're not really sure what happens tomorrow. a thing to remember looking at polls is a way to determine likely voters is looking at whether people voted in the past and lot of bernie sanders supporters never voted in election before. they've too young. and so, we don't really what turnout's going to look like. ohio state university is on spring break. we don't know what turnout looks like because of that. all sorts of different factors there. and, you know, bernie sanders was supposed to be defeated easily by hillary clinton in michigan. and there's some question as to whether he can pull off a similar surprise here in ohio a. blue collar state that's traditionally supported centrist democrats and if bernie sanders were to pull off a victory here,
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that would really say more than just the delegates in all of that. that his message is resounding in a -- in the midwest, in a swing state and really that he could have a chance to be a formidable opponent to clinton and republicans in the fall. >> and how significant was that court ruling last week that would allow those 17 in ohio turning 18 before november 8th to vote in tomorrow's primary? >> i don't think it's very significant, honestly. we had asked our local board of elections about how they've handled these 17-year-olds in the past and this year and they said that they'd only gotten if you look at the thousands of absentee ballots, early voting down there, about 50 people requested a ballot and 10 turns it in. there's not that many people up for grabs. however, this was a suit that was brought by bernie sanders campaign and the reason that they did this is because if the
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state is going to be close, it is going to be very close. and so, even if there's only couple a hundred or thousand of those students who decide to exercise the ability to vote, it certainly could make an impact. >> chrissie thompson is politics reporter for "the cincinnati enquirer." thank you for your time. we appreciate it. >> thank you. when i tune in to it on the weekends, usually authors with new releases. >> watching the nonfiction authors on book tv is the best television for serious readers. >> on c-span, they can have a longer conversation and delve into their subject. >> book tv weekends, they bring you author after author after author. this spotlight the work of fascinating people. >> i love book tv and i'm c h-sn fan. >> now the national press club in washington where the new head
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of metro and the transit authority spoke last week and called the public transportation system in the nation's capital worse off than expected. he also outlined his plans to improve the service. this is an hour.
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>> welcome to the national press club. my name is thomas burr. i'm the washington correspondent for the salt lake tribune and the 109th president of the national press club. our guest today is paul wiedefeld. general manager and ceo of the washington metropolitan area transit authority or metro or in less happy times choice words i will not use from the stage. we'll get to the issues soon. i would like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences and want to remind you to follow the action on twitter npc live. that's npc live. now it's time to introduce our head table guests. stand briefly as your name is announced. please hold your applause until i have fin initialled introducing the entire table. david shepherdson at reuters. martin decaro, wamu. john dohlman.
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freelance. talia schmidt, families usa. bruce johnson, news anchor at wusa. dan stesil. marc marcia wiedefeld, the wife of our speaker. angela king, a past npc president. skipping over our speaker for a moment, pat host, reporter for defense daily and the member of the speaker's committee organized today's luncheon. chuck bean, the executive director of the metro washington council of governments. dan wagen chairman of the greater washington board of trade. paula reed, justice reporter at cbs news. a reporter of the gray sheet and a member of the national -- excuse me, national press club board of governors. thank you.
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a fatality during a smoke related incident, physical attacks on passengers, derail ms, a drop in ridership and other worrisome event might be what keeps our guest, mr. wiedefeld up at night. work with vendors to develop a smart phone app surely make the days more exciting for the new general manager and ceo of the washington metropolitan area transit authority. he was the ceo of baltimore washington airport. he is credited with leading bwi's growth as the busiest passenger airport of the three airports in the metro washington region. now his attention is on the country's second busiest subway system in the united states and a city wide bus system. 40 years after the first metro rail car ferried area residents
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to work and tourists to sites, today's riders experience unpredictable travel times and budget more time to reach the destinati destination. rail on time performance is consistently below target, particularly since the opening of the silver line. ongoing track work, outside of rush hour hobbles the system. maintenance challenges including broken elevators and escalators creates more distress for passengers. mr. wiedefeld rides the metro to work and witnessed the frustration of extra time added whether the kaes lay or the isn't working or the announcement when the announcements are garbled. in addition, mr. wiedefeld will usher metro through a critical period. union contract negotiations are scheduled to begin this summer. please welcome to the national press club stage general manager and ceo paul wiedefeld. [ applause ]
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>> thank you, thomas. >> thank you for joining us today, sir. my first question. you have been in office three months. clearly there are a barrage of issues facing the nation's second busiest transportation system. how are you going to tackle and actually solve the problems facing metro? >> that's all? >> that's it. >> very good. >> easy question. >> if i could before starting there, i did want to introduce my board members that are here. because they are so important. michael goldman, mort downy. malcolm augustine and lav dorvsho and the first person i met at metro which is my station manager, ms. odom. nice to see you. my first day on the job i got to meet her.
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>> she's wearing a uniform, too. >> she is a good worker. all right. rephrase the question. >> i'm wondering your observations and your plan. you have been in office three months. there's a lot of problems that faces metro. from the things i started out talking about, broken escalators and elevators. funding issues and problems with incidents that have led to deaths in the past on metro. how are you going to tackle them and how are you going to solve them? >> right. the first thing i did coming on board november -- november 30th is i spent the whole month of december basically reaching out to stakeholders to understand the issues better. meaning stakeholders everything from my line employees all the way up to leaders of business, elected officials and the riders to give me a feel for that. at the same time, we started in december and in january, in particular, we had a number of outside consultants come in to
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help us sort of get arms around some of these issues. and then my own assessment based on my experiences in different positions. and i really got a good flavor of it during the blizzard when i got a good sense of operationally some of the things we were dealing with. from the start, my priorities have been around safety, social liability and fiscal management in order. just today, we started to roll out some of the specific initiatives we're doing on those three areas. i will get into them further. but it starts with me and getting the entire organization to understand those priorities, to start to organize, to deal with these issues in an efficient way. and to get particularly the line people, the operators, the station managers, the mechanics to understand what we're up against and get their support and to work from that end up with our supervisors and superintendents because that's a lot of where the issues get determined, particularly from a customer's perspective.
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so i'm focusing on that. at the same time i'm focusing on the overall management level, the executive management team, as well. that's how we are starting the process. i can get into specifics as i'm sure you have other questions about specific issues. >> sure. let's address the first one that comes to mind. you had an op-ed in "the washington post" laying some of the stuff out. riders have seen people come before with promises. the promises sometimes take years or never get done. how is this going to happen? how fast is this going to happen? >> right. you know, my approach is, again, starting really nuts and bolts and not so much some of the maybe larger things we have tried to frame in the past. to me when i look at particularly the service liability, for instance, you know, it's fairly simple. it's the cars. it's the vehicles. the line every day. a.m. and p.m. and then obviously midday. it is the track and it's the operations. meaning, operator, station
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managers. so we have basically set up three teams with champions on each one of those. we meet weekly on what they're doing, what the plan is and what we are doing to achieve it. what i found in each one of the categories, to be frank, it's probably -- it's much worse than i expected and maybe even publically we have been talking about. so we got to clearly go right at those issues. we have issues, for instance, in the cars -- a lot of the debate and the discussion over time has been about parts. that's only one part of it. it's everything from how we move the cars in the yard. it's everything from how we're efficiently programming work, using our employees most efficiently. so i have a whole team just working on that issue. on the track issue, same thing. when you look at our track issue and the work that we have been doing, you know, when you start to peel it away, we have 30 very sharp curves in the system. so that's got to be our first priority. that leads to a lot of our issues. it's not only just fixing what we see but it's thinking much more holistically about what we do.
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so, for instance, on the track work, we have a lot of fasteners we have to replace. they are aged and broken and whatever they are doing. what i found -- i went out with my head engineer and ceo on the rail side. when i went out there and looked in the tunnel and met some of the workers that were doing this work, you know, what's the root cause? why are these things breaking down? lots of moisture. obviously it's the wear and tear. there's a drainage system not working. so it's not just go out and fix the fastener. it is like, no. what is -- you know, let's come at this together one time. we have a lot of equipment left over that was left sitting there. we actually sell a lot of our parts, leftover steel and stuff. it's sitting there. to me, it's money just sitting there. we have to get that out of there quickly. when we have a contractor following up behind us. eventually, a contractor does take it. yet we moved it two or three times. it doesn't make sense. the way i'm getting at these
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things is, again, not coming out with a five-year plan. we have those things in place. it's really again the nuts and bolts of where we can start to make changes that will impact the customer, you know, in the immediate term. longer term -- >> i was going to follow up a minute ago. you said something, which is rare to hear somebody in charge saying something like that. you are telling us that the problems are actually worse than we may think they are. >> in terms of the way they have been presented and the way they've been framed, i think maybe it's just the way that i look at them. how i would plan to solve -- how i plan to solve them is probably different than they have been planned before. from that perspective they are not -- from my estimation, they haven't been framed correctly in the public dialogue with the board. so that's what i intend to do. >> the hard truth. the thing you have been faulk talking about. the idea you need to know what they are before you can fix them and try to cover. >> right.
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>> i interrupted you but you mentioned the five-year plan, $5 billion plan. it seems riders have heard about this but they never see. they don't have that, what has happened? how are you going to show riders that there are improvements coming and make sure they notice those improvements? >> again, i think that's an area where we haven't done a good job in framing that out. to be frank, i have asked for that exact thing. where are we on basically where we have to catch up with work that was -- that we had put off over time? and then, where are we then on what we call state of good repairs. once you get it to a certain stage, how do you maintain it? so i'm going to come out with basically what that is. where we are. here is what we said we were going to do. here is where we are. that's where i'm starting from. we have a backlog of work. what is it? then once we get through that backlog, what's the plan going forward? we have to be very clear to people what that is.
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and then we have to think strategically about how we address it. so i get into thinking about -- we have an effort under way to do that. let's define it for people so they can understand it. but more importantly, let's think strategically how we address it. in my estimation, we have tried to make everyone happy. we have pretty much made, you know, not happy with some of the approaches we have taken. i think when you look at other systems around the country, you have to make hard decisions. but i think there is a discussion that needs to be had is, what can we get? how much quicker can we get it if we have a little bit of pain do we get things quicker? one thing i hear constantly is i won't use the weekend service because it's so inconsistent. maybe it's time to look at how we're doing the weekend service. you know? is there other things we can do? same way with some of the midday. we do midday work. we come upon a problem. it rolls into the peak period. i'm basically doing a total assessment of what we're doing,
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how we're doing that. that will be part of that going forward strategy. so it's not just something that there's a five-year plan out there. but it's specifically talking about this is what i need to do to get us back up to this state and at that point here is what you will see going forward. >> this is going to be trackable for the public? we will be able to see -- in two months this will be done? one year this will be done? we can judge you? >> yes. we started on our website today a customer report accounting system, basically, where i have laid out almost 50 items that we're starting to work on that -- some of these we have been -- since i've been on board, some before i got on board. but a lot of them that we're just start doing now. so that's going to be something that we -- some of the things will be updated weekly, monthly at a minimum. things will come and go. i only want to put things on there that i'm comfortable saying, yes, i know what we're doing and this is the schedule we're going to do it on. then let's judge ourselves against that. there will always be issues with schedules. i get that. but i think it's important for
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us to be both transparent about it and turn up the accountability. >> you mentioned fiscal management. there's only a finite amount of money that you have. when you are trying to fix things, where does that come out? if you are talking about you want to maybe improve the 20 minutes you have to wait on a sunday for a train, that has to come out of somewhere else. how do you find that money? >> in the first foremost is safety. i mean, that's the first priority. so we have to do that. we have to bring -- to get at some of these core issues, we have to bring just the basics up. so that's going to be sort of the next priority. and then we go out from there. anything that we touch, you know, it gets very expensive very quickly, particularly if we're in the -- i'm speaking rail. there's another side of the equation with bus and metro access. on the rail side, just given the physical limitations of a two-track system, any time we touch it, it gets very expensive in terms of just getting out there, the ability to get out there and then the challenges we
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face with a 40-year-old system that in some cases was not -- it was just not kept up. >> interesting. the plan talked about safety. there's a couple issues there. one is obviously the safety when you are on the train from no derailments or things like that. we're also raising concerns about stabbings or shootings or rapes that have happened, sexual harassments that have happened on the metro. what's the plan there? are you going to boost the number of officers on the trains? >> the personal security, personal safety issue. you know, numerically it's a very safe system when you look at, you know, six parts crime per 6 million passengers. if you look in most communities, it's a safe number. that means nothing to the person or to the community when they see one of these tragic events or drastic events that occurs. so what we have done, i worked with the chief of police.
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basically, we have sort of gone back and stepped back. what is it that question do differently than what we have done in the past? one of the first things i noticed with the security is it tends to be almost invisible at times because of the uniforms. they blend into the crowd. we have an event where anything that occurs, it's even hard to see who is in charge. that's one of the things for instance that minor thing we are doing. we are getting more people. we have a class that comes out in april. another comes out in september for more people. we have realigned our resources to basically free up some things that our uniform police officers were doing to put them out into the field. i've made very clear to the chief that i want these officers on the platforms, popping in the cars, popping out. again, it's as much giving people the sense and the reassurance that it's under control. the same way for our bus operators, same issue. we have issues, serious safety issues with some of our bus routes at different times of the day.
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we've created a night watch program in effect where we are having our officers come up to buses, stop, greet the operator, make sure everything is all right. we're also doing that with our central control system where we're touching in with the bus operators because, again, it's not just rail but clearly rail is one of the biggest ones for us. but even when we do all that, it's a much larger issue as we all know. community issue. one of the things that we have reached out to is the schools. where we want to go out and meet particularly with the students. we're going to bring not only the police but bring some of the operators and station managers like ms. odom and people like that so that we can make the connection with these students that it's just not -- it's not a power issue. these are -- this is your mother. this is your grandmother. this is uncle. whatever it is so they can
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relate to try to take that in. so that's one of the things we want to do or we started actually to do that. we have also worked very closely with the district. we have some of their personnel dealing with us on a day to day in our operation center. we have direct communication. we do intel every day with the police and with the school system. if there's anything going on on social media that we can all watch. we have an excellent closed circuit television program now on our rail and the stations. the reality is if you do something in the station or platform or at our bus stops, we are going to see you and basically any of these things we have been catching the people, we have been getting them. we want to prevent it. is the key. >> on that note, we're in a city with a lot of visible security. staying on this theme here. a soft target, with almost no visible security, often times you walk into a metro station and there's one employee, there's one person there. i have riding metro for 11
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years and i can tell count on one hand how many times i have seen officers in the tunnel. what is your plan to change that more than just changing the color of the uniform? >> it's to get more people out there and police differently. have them proactively going down. a lot of times, again, being new, what i would see is police officers around the station kiosk. i want them down on the platforms, popping into trains. that's a different policing strategy. so that's where i think it is. it's getting -- physically getting the police officers into the system, deeper into the system. >> got you. back to fiscal management for a second. you had a memo recently that talked about no more travel and no more purchasing of i believe paper clips were on your target list. i don't guessing that paper clip purchases are not going to solve the budget crisis. what is this an effort to do? >> it's a checkbook effort. it's just like you have with your personal checkbook.
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if you know that you spent -- you allocated $500 for food and travel and you burn it quicker than you thought, you have to ratchet it back. that's all it is. it's a normal budgeting process that we have to manage the operating budget very tightly. we monitor it constantly. at this point, we just want to say, look, with the blizzard particularly, with the expenses that we incurred there, we have to make sure we're ratcheting it back and thinking about all expenditures. >> let's talk about the blizzard for a second. the very bold choice to shut down the system for two, three days there. can you give us more rational of why you shut down the system when underground, for example, it wasn't snowing? >> sure. sure. it gets to the larger issue of if we are serious about safety then we have to start making decisions based on safety. across the entire agency, every employee i have met, they basically said that's the first time we have done this because someone understood the safety concerns that they had as operators and people.
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so that was -- i mean, part of it is just recognition that we cannot ignore the safety implications of a storm like that. if you recall, when we were preparing for that storm, our big concern was not only the snow and trapping vehicles in the snow and in the yards but the winds. they were calling for 40-mile-an-hour winds. we have a very -- very limited backup power. if that power goes out, then we are basically -- we have people marooned in locations if we kept just the underground open. the other part that we wanted to do, which i think was the first time we had done it, which was basically we harbored the vehicles in the tunnels. that let us get back up and service quicker. if you go back and look at some of the history of some of the snowstorms here, we had large mechanical issues after trying to go through snow because of the age of some of the equipment and where the snow gets under
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the cars and would create other issues for us. we didn't have that this time. so we had that figured out. anyway, it was something that i think was the right thing to do from a safety standpoint for our employees and for the customers. the worst thing we could have done is to have people out there "a" to get them to think they could travel in a storm like that as we knew it at the time and, "b," have to go and rescue them. then we're pulling resources away from basically getting the system up and running. that was the decision. i think it was the right decision to make. >> going -- staying with the safety issue, there are a lot of times you can get into metro system and see a very crowded platform. when you are at the games, the gallery place or something like that, but also there are issues when it comes to construction inside of the stations where there's only a few feet between falling off the edge. have you had any plans to try to address that for safety concerns? passengers trying to walk through stations.
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>> right. in the short-term, one of the things we're doing is basically -- we've created a new class of employees that are going to work on platforms particularly at the busier stations just to deal with the crowding issues like that and also using, obviously, police to do that. the reality is in some of our stations, the physical limitations are very tight. it gets compounded when you have either a major event or you have some incident on the rail. so there's clearly that. what we have to do is one of the things that particularly for incidents is we want to get people to understand before they get down into the station or before they go through the -- into the mezzanine that basically there's a issn issue want to do that. one of the things we are lookin at is putting rail information
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out on the pylons at the street level. we have electric there. that's one of the things we're basically trying to figure out right now. where we can tell people what's going on before they get down there. that's part of the issue. you get people down there and they are stuck. the other thing that we're doing is we have proposed doing a tap in tap out. some of the times people come into a station and there's an issue. they already paid and they figure, i'm going to stay because i paid. they wait it out. or they are frustrated because they paid and they have to -- they don't get the service they demand. we're looking at a 15-minute grace period for that, again, to aleve some of the pressure so people don't feel they have to stay. something is going on. let me go get out and do another plan without costing them. >> i have done that myself. i understand that very much. talk to me a little bit about those situations, too. if i walk in and i see there's a 20-minute wait, i walk out and pull up my uber app. lyft, other organizations are causing competition for you.
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is there a way to address that? do you find it complimentary to your system? >> i look at that -- let me talk about it at two levels. one is there are certain things i have no control over. i have no control over the price of fuel. $1.60, $1.70. what can i do about that? that's going to impact this uber, lyft and bike and car sharing, all those things impact us. i want to focus on, let us provide the best service we can within that context. that's where we should be focusing. not worrying about some of the things that i have no control over. that's at the one level. the other level is thinking about those as part of an overall transportation plan for the region. there's nothing wrong with that. you know? it's not an either/or car or any of that. to me it's all part of a system. so we should think of it as a system. gear towards that. then are there opportunities to use that?
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are there other things we could be doing that are more efficient by tapping into those resources? not figuring out ways to try to beat them. it's a little different philosophy. >> in fact, i think i recently read that -- was it giant pea pod will deliver groceries. people can pick up on the way home. you've just hinted that the but does metro's problem and a lot of issues it reflects the larger state of the country's infrastructure, especially transportation infrastructure? are we essentially an example of what's going wrong right now when it comes to transportation funding and structure? >> a lot of the same trends you see across the country, whether it's transit, highway. you name it, you look at any of the industry groups and they have a laundry list of needs that haven't been the met, have been sort of kicked down the road. at some point they come to come back to haunt us. i mean, you look at, you know, manhole covers blowing up in the air.
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there's all kinds of infrastructure things that have been ignored that need to be fixed. that's a national debate and it's regional for us. >> speaking of regional, the idea of a dedicated tax has been pushed for a long time with little interest in virginia and maryland. is there any way you think you will ever see a dedicated tax for the metro system? >> i think that the way that i view the system is we are in a region that's competing globally. i mean, that's where we are. the metro is one of the tools to help this region compete globally. and so, unless we start to think in those terms, it puts us in a very difficult position to compete. so what that means is if we fund on a local level, you will think much more locally. if you fund in a regional level, you tend to think more regional.
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you set the structure around that. you start to have an understanding of what you are trying to do as a region. from that perspective, i think it's important. if you look at the major transit properties around this country, i think we're the only one that does not have some sort of regional mechanism like that. it provides the stability and the certainty and budgeting rather than an annual budgeting thing we go through. we do reach agreement for longer-term agreements. by and large, again, across the country, the reason that you see that is because these are very large, complex, expensive systems to maintain and operate. and unless you have that, it makes it very difficult. >> in terms, relative terms, metro is young compared to a lot of the other systems out there in the united states and europe. are there lessons you can learn, for example, from some of the systems in europe that have been operating for a very long time and don't seem to have as many of the issues that we face in washington? >> i think to compare to europe
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is a little -- we look at transit in this country differently than other places, both in europe and asia. i think that comparison is a little tough. there are lessons to be learned. the smart card is one of those. built off of what they did in london, for instance i think there's lots of thing that is we can do learning from them. i think particularly the funding and the public policy decisions in both europe and in some of the asian countries, they are not quite applicable here. i think, clearly, we can learn from other major systems in the country. my experience has been every one of those systems have their issues. i'm sure that if you look a little bit deeper, they have very similar issues that they have to go through. we all do because, again, the nature of the beast. but i think if we get at some of these core issues, we can start to solve we should be at a minimum the best transit system in the u.s.
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both in terms of its age, in term of its meaning to the economy, what it means to the nation as the nation's transit system. we should definitely be there for sure. as we reach to meet european and/or asian sort of models, that's further down the road. the united states? >> i think some of it is because we had a new system and focused on the newness and not some of the aging of it. we had a capital construction mentality i believe as an agency over the years. we have now moved into obviously with the except for the silver line. we moved into a department of public works environment. you are taking care of the basics. that's a shift for the agency. >> this question is from the audience. the questioner wants to know, there are many examples of wonderful customer service representatives. but it's often operators who abandon trains or their station and there's no one there to help.
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does metro have a customer service program? >> i have seen just some fantastic customer service from people that have no idea who i am or they don't know i was there. so they by and large do very well. do they have issues? yes. have we brought the line employees into the solutions? no. that's exactly what i talked about earlier. what i'm trying to build is at the staff level, particularly at the operation of front line people level, is the pride in the system. i want them -- i have said this -- we have a class of new employees that come in every two weeks. dan, who runs that, is here. the thing i say to all those employees is that what i want you to do is when you go out to watch a game or whatever, if someone asks you where do you
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work, i want you to say metro and they think, that's cool and you are proud. we have a lot of work do that. i think that's something if you ask someone where they work and they say, under armour, you may have a different view and they may say it a different way. i know we can get there. it's something we did at bwi. if you ask anyone if they say bwi, they are proud about it and you think positive about it. that's the same goal i have here. it starts with line employees. that means a lot of work with our managers to understand that, to buy into that. it means working with in the construct of our -- how we're operating in terms of unionization, labor, making sure there's rules that we abide by there. we have to make sure that the goal here is to be proud in the system. >> can you do that without raising salaries? that's usually one thing that instills happiness in a work force. >> of course, that's always going to be an issue. i think if you treat people with respect, it goes an awful long way is my experience. they get it. i mean, the money is not always going to be there.
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i think that we have -- these are great jobs. there's no doubt about it. the employees have great jobs. more importantly, it's building that relationship with the front line employees that we're in this together. that we're thinking of you. for instance, when i make a decision on blizzards, i'm thinking of them, not just i have to try to do this because that's what other people say i should be doing. it's really thinking about them at the same time. >> speaking of that, you have had some big decisions you have had to make so far. you've been pretty decisive in your three months as the gm. from the snowstorm to the police expansion, others. how do you approach decision making? is it a group effort? do you bring everyone together? is it you saying, we have to do this? >> right now it's heavy handed on my part. i am -- i just came out with a new organizational structure. i am recruiting for a number of those positions. my experience though eventually
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is i get a tight team that basically is thinking strategically about the agency all the time, is what i want. and then i manage more of a matrix style, which is -- i get out and want all of my particularly managers to do that. one of the things that i have found at the agency is quite a bit of silos and a lot of turf issues. so with the new organizational structure, basically tearing that down so the people that work for me directly that are my direct reports and all people under them are at will. and they will understand what that means is that, you know, either they act as a team or they are not on the team. >> one of the questioners wants to know your personal -- what has been your worst metro fiasco as a passenger? >> actually, one of the worst was -- it wasn't -- it was understandable. we had an issue. and it was at union station.
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i had a breakfast meeting there early. then i caught the train down. it was kind of interesting because i had a 9:00 back at headquarters. it was on customer service. in getting -- when i was there, there was a number of issues we were dealing with. but i could not find the people that were managing it. i did not get the sense of urgency of what we were dealing with. and so when i got back to the meeting, you know, when i looked at the pages i was getting, we had train delays and there was things going on. that was it. i sort of lost it a little bit. but i think they started to understand that, you know, a, they had been over the years a little dull to the issues, i think. i have to bring that into focus that this is not acceptable, that we need to be proactive when things occur and not just think, okay, i have the trains and they are moving back. it's the customer experience part of it which i did not see.
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i was lucky enough to be recognized by a number of customers. i was informing them of what was going on. that was probably one that sticks in my mind is one that got to me a little bit. >> you want to tell me your best experience to counterweight that? >> best? i have had so many -- there's one gentleman that's a train operator that's just fantastic in providing information. i asked him to come down to the office. we get to meet him. that's fantastic. i have seen our police do just tremendous work. unfortunately, we had a terrible incident not too long ago on the tracks with an individual. and it was a friday night. and it was a three-hour ordeal. guess what? no one on that line that was dealing with the issue -- most of them were not working. they were off. this wasn't how they were planning to spend their friday night. they handled a very complex and tragic incident with just utmost professionalism. in dealing with the situation
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and also trying to get out to the customers to understand what was going on and rebuild the service. to see that -- i'm very thrilled with the passion i see in the people. it needs to be harnessed, it needs to be directed and brought out. but it's there. >> you referenced crime problems a few minutes ago. you seemed to be talking more about transparency with the metro system. currently, information about the crimes, arrests and prosecution of crimes on metro is not available publically. will you make it publically available going forward? >> we will make public whatever we have. it's a little bit more complex than just what we control of this. particularly with youth crime. there's all kinds of rules that i'm still learning about in the region. from what we do, we will be as open as we can. if it jeopardizes an investigation or a method we're using, we're not going to be open about that.
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>> same question about transparency, will you make public the terms of real estate transactions after they are finalized and approved? other public agencies do this across the country. >> i see no reason not to. >> i'm getting as many promises as i can from you right now. when will you join other transit agencies with procurement awards and the value of the bids on the website? >> i don't see any problem in doing that. >> you are making the crowd very happy. this questioner wants to know, why does it take so long to replace broken escalators. we have seen stories like in dupont circle. and why do they break so often? >> let me touch on the why part first. we have a lab where we have the mockups of the escalators and elevators we have. with escalators, a lot of times -- from a customer perspective, it's broken.
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it's a breakdown. but the reality is, these are very complex systems that are designed from a safety standpoint. i'm not going to tell you what you can do. there are certain things if you do certain things on the escalators, they will stop automatically. it deals with steps and rails and other things. just in normal usage, it can happen. it shuts down automatically as it is supposed to do. we have station managers have some ability to investigate. but the reality is, you have to make sure it's safe. you take a technician out. we try to keep technicians in an emergency response condition so they can do that. a lot of times what you see with a stopped escalator is that issue. there's another set of escalator issues where we have to replace escalators. that gets to be a challenge if you have limited access to a station. because we have to think about, how do we get people out of there if an emergency occurs?
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that's how they have to think about how they stage these things. in terms of rehabilitation of escalators, same issue. we try to maintain them. we replace basics. every few years, we have to do a rehab on them. our breakdown rate is in the 90 -- we're performing in the 90%, 92%, 93%. the reality is if an escalator is broken down and it is yours, they're all broken. if you look at any of our stations, you may be looking at a dozen escalators in that one station that you may as a customer never think about. there are escalators all over. the one you hit is broke. we get it. from the percentage standpoint, they have done a very good job. we're going to continue that. we're going to continue to try to do that better. >> continuing with a little bit of transparency and openness part, to my knowledge, metro has
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not released the number or amount of settlements paid for for injury or death that have occurred in the system. will you release that information? do you know offhand how much has metro paid? >> i don't know that. i don't know that issue enough to commit to that one. i don't know what the legal ramifications are on that one. i have don't want to commit on that. >> changing subjects. we learned an effort with major phone carriers to plug the system with more cell service towers antennas fell through. metro will fund that itself. why was that decision made and why did it take this long? >> sure. i walk in as a ten-year history of this thing. but the reality is, it's not a cell phone issue for us. it's a radio issue. we have a major radio system above ground and below ground that basically is used for emergencies and the 700 megahertz system. we have to replace that because the fcc says we have to get on
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the band we are on. we have a $350 million project to replace the radio system above ground, below ground. new radio, new cabling, new antenna. as part of that as we are in the tunnels hanging our cable for our radio needs, we basically have struck a deal with the carriers to hang their cable. a few years ago, eight years ago, ten years ago it was flipped. there was a business reason for them to do that. that business reason has pretty much dried up. used to pay by the minute. you don't pay by the minute anymore. now the other thing is as they try to do it, what they found is it's a very complex environment to work in. basically, you are competing for space to get track space because you are hanging the cables on the walls -- on tunnel walls. you are moving utilities and/or signage on those things. you have to do this in a very small window of time or the customer pays in terms of what
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we can provide. basically what the arrangement we have now is we have this $350 million project, $125 million or so is in the tunnel portion of it. of that is a subset that deals with the cell phone portion of it. what we have done is struck a deal where they give us cash and they give us some materials in kind. we're going to be doing it as we're doing our radio. it flipped the approach. >> do you see that as a safety issue as well? is it a safety issue for people not to be able to use their phone? >> yes. at a minimum, it's a perceived safety issue because something happens down there, you want to be able to have access. i get it. that's very understandable. yes, we want it from that perspective. the customer would like it to have it for sure. you see it in the stations where we have it. this is not anything unique to metro. this is an issue for any transit system around the country, particularly the major systems. it's very expensive. it has a major impact on the
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system when you put these things in. then you compound it with our system with only a two-track system, you are taking out one of the tracks to do it. >> let's talk about the phone app. the ability for riders to tell how long until a bus is coming, how long until the train is coming or if there's a back load at union station, they know that they should walk to the other side to another train. what efforts are you making there to make that information available to app developers? >> apparently we had for some reason we weren't sharing as much information as we had. we changed that about two or three weeks ago. to be frank, i hadn't gotten down to that level. when i learned about it, i said that's ridiculous. we should be able to share whatever information we have in terms of train movement. the reality is, we don't have excellent information on that. it's based on maybe a ten, 15-year-old technology of how we have been trying to track trains.
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you can see that on the information displays we have. you might see something that says three minutes. it's measuring where it was in the one gap and it's estimating what it will take to get there. it doesn't understand what's happened between here and there. so we have to create a system that does that. we need to do that on our own. we're going to that on our own. at the same time, we want to be able to open up as much of the technology to third party developers to do this. one of the things that i have said repeatedly is for us to try to catch up in some of the areas whether social media, in some of the technology areas, for us as an agency to get there is -- we will always be behind. we just don't have that capability. it's not our core mission. it supports our mission, but it's not our core. why don't we let private sector people, other people, greater creative people do that. let's figure out ways to do that. we reached out to greater washington to help us.
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there's a lot of smart people in this area that know more than we will ever know in that area. >> a lot of these things you talked about today, and your bullet points you started with, safety, fiscal management, reliability, those things cost money. gets to fiscal management. where are you going to find the money for better technology, fixing elevators, adding security and making safety important? how do you do that? >> manage more efficiently. there's a lot of things we can pick up by managing a little differently than we managed before. there's definitely efficiencies there. there's redundancy in what we do and we need to make changes there. we just have some things that are legacy that we just don't need anymore. we have to address all those. that frees up some dollars to work smarter i think in general. we can achieve more. but we need to continue to work
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with our federal partners and our jurisdictions to basically address those issues and make hard decisions. my job is to give them clear understanding of what we're up against and where do you want to chip away at. >> does the fta -- how much does that affect what you are trying to do or does it change what you are trying to do? >> i welcome oversight. i think we have to make sure it's as efficient as possible. we have to make -- one of my concerns is we tend to be very focused on process and not the product. so one of the things we did on line today is we outlined 732 i think it is literally actions that we're taking. that's more important to me is what physically are we doing to get the system safer and not sort of the compliance part of the issue. obviously, we have to meet the compliance.
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we seem to be spending a lot of time and energy on the process versus what are we doing to change the product. so my focus is more on that. i think the -- obviously as the new metro safety commission gets set up, that's great. those are things we should have. the more -- the sooner that is done in a definitive way, the better. >> there's a questioner who wants to know about what can we done about the bad behavior being from noise, food, blocking exit, people put feet up on chairs. is there an effort to maybe be done with a courtesy campaign or is there a culture problem you see with riding trains that needs to be reversed? >> i don't know. i've been to movies. i've been to malls. i experience all kinds of things that a lot of public environments. i think we reflect that no differently than other public environments.
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so, yes, we can make sure that we try to do that, that we project a certain decorum that we would like to have in the system. but it's a big community. >> you talked earlier about the stakeholders you visited with, news outlets, civic groups, politicians in the d.c. area. this questioner wanted to know, you spent ten minutes with the riders advisory counsel. this is a 21-member group representing the riders in the service area. when do you expect to spend more time with the group? how do you see their influence as representatives during your time? >> they are right. i did meet with them early when i came on board. basically, i have to spend time with them. i know that. i basically said that at the time that i need to get back and work with them. i think now where i basically -- remember, at the beginning two
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months or so, i was really in the sort of absorbing stage. trying to take in as much. now i can talk about more what we are doing so i can get more engaged with groups like that. i look forward to doing it. they offer excellent perspective. now, they do provide a perspective to the board. myself but more importantly to the board. it's one of their committees in effect. so that's important for the board to have some direct connection with some of the riders. that's what that does. >> got you. a questioner wants to know the blue line riders have been complaining nonstop since the introduction of the silver line and the rush plus changes that reduce the number of blue line trains. that happened in 2012. four years later, the riders are crammed on six car trains at 12 minute headway while paying peak fares. how do you plan to address this? >> sure. do you want me to talk to martin
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directly? >> nice. >> the reality is, you know, those decisions were made a dozen years ago by the local governments. they understood that you have a tunnel that -- or a portion of the system that can handle roughly 26 trains per hour. decisions were made a decade ago that that's what they would do. we have to again -- where i need to focus on is making sure that what we put out there operates. that we put it out at the right numbers in the morning and peak and once it's out there it's reliable. that starts to solve some of the issues. i can't undo the construct of that deal because of the limitations. that's again something that was settled i think quite a while ago. it's the nature of what we have with a very constrained system at that point. >> you have had declining
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ridership for many years. you have some bullet points. you are talking about what you would like to do to change that. will the improvements mean you can increase the number of people using it? does it have to be wholesale change in how the system operates? >> i think it definitely has to be -- we have to get the basics right. i have reached out to chuck at washcog to look at the trends, what's going on. clearly, you can point to some of the issues that we have. you know, this is a complex region. you hit on some of the things impacting that. i think when we look harder at the numbers, some of the core roots and errors where we have joint development, the numbers are up. longer haul routes are down. there's lots of dynamic going on. i reached out to washcog, help us think this through and think about all the other aspects of it, whether it's land use,
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whether it's different business and whether you can -- all those things have to be followed so we can start to think differently about what we provide. we continue to try to provide a system from a '70s and '80s mentality, that we're wasting dollars and time. >> we're almost out of time. i wanted to end with a few last questions. before i ask the final questions, the national press club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. we fight for free press worldwide. for more information, visit our website at press.org. that's press.org. i would like to remind you about upcoming programs. tomorrow, jay phasen, will outline the organization's conservative approach. one week from today we will host
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ken burns and henry lewis gates junior to discuss race in america. that night, the national press club will welcome home jason rozion, a journalist held hostage. he will be with us that night. i would like to present our guest with the national press club mug. i would like to remind you not to use this on the metro system to drink out of. >> thank you. >> we have talked earlier about a lot of the issues coming with metro and the bus system and your efforts to address those. recently, d.c. started running its streetcar after many years and many failed promises of when it would start running. $200 million i believe is the effort. what are your thoughts on the management of the d.c. streetcar and will you be able to use metro fare passes when they -- so it's all integrated in some form? >> they are doing a fantastic job running that system.
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he's a board member, too. they have done a really -- he's done a very good job. i know his team has to get that up and running. i think they did the same approach. they are not going to put something out there until they know it's safe and reliable. that's basically what i think you just saw play out there. so that's very good. we will discuss later on the fare issue. >> okay. will it be integrated? >> yeah. we will work with them to see what makes the most sense once they decide to start to charge. >> okay. i guess for my last question, i will end a little bit early today, you moved from baltimore now here to washington. we have some sports teams that are competing. i would like to get you on the record. are you now a redskins and nationals fan? >> as i mentioned to one of my board members a while ago when he asked me that same question, you have a great hockey team and great basketball team down here.
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>> i guess i could press you a little more. i also know your wife is sitting right there and she's from baltimore county so i will be very careful. thank you. i appreciate that. i would like to thank the national press club staff including our journalism institute staff and broadcast center for organizing today's luncheon. if you would like a copy of today's program or to learn more about the national press club, go to press.org. thank you. we are adjourned. [ applause ]
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tonight on the communicators, jim halpert and john simpson discuss how and whether the fcc should develop privacy regulations for the internet. they are joined by howard buskirk. >> the ftc can no longer regulate that one aspect, telecommunications service provider aspect of the business of internet access providers. there's now a rule making coming up where the ftc -- fcc will decide what to put in place in lieu of or perhaps replicating the ftc's rules but under the
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new fcc authority. >> most of the rules that exist, existed in the world of telephones. now that they have extended by reclassification the situation to cover isps, they have to come up with rules that are appropriate to the world of the internet, not just telephones. >> watch the communicators tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. on next washington journal, we talk to northbound congresswoman virginia foxx about the republican agenda and the 2016 campaign. then florida congresswoman kathy castor joins us to discuss cuba, including the obamaed aminute straig administration's decision to restore ties with cuba. washington journal live each
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morning at 7:00 eastern. president obama was at the state department earlier today to speak to the global chief of missions conference. he offered words of thanks and encouragement to officials and staff about their ongoing global operations. this is just under half an hour. [ applause ] >> thank you all very, very much. just very quickly, i had the privilege to talk to you earlier this morning. and i laid out to you the vast panorama. everybody here knows how deeply engaged we are. the reason is we have a president who believes in engagement. i'm very proud to be secretary
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but i'm prouder to be secretary of state for be a ram oarak oba. i think he has displayed a huge commitment to the concept that diplomacy makes a difference, engagement makes a difference. he has restored our reputation. he has strengthened america's standing in the world. with iran, with climate change, with cuba, with the tpp and other efforts, he has broken remarkable ground. so please join me in welcoming the 44th president of the united states, our leader for whom we are very grateful for his leadership, barak obama. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you. thank you, everybody.
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thank you. please, everybody, have a seat. thank you. thank you so much. well, good morning, everybody. i was in the neighborhood. so i thought i would stop by. actually, you are in the neighborhood. so i appreciate you stopping by. i see a lot of friends and familiar faces. i have visited a lot of the countries where you are serving. i want to thank you once again for putting up with me when i show up. because it's a lot of work. i know my visits are not easy. and your teams do extraordinary work in making sure that our visits are a success. and i'm deeply grateful for that. and when i depart, i am sure that you guys have big wheels up parties. i'm confident about that. i'm not here to give a big
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speech. i wanted to come by and mainly just say thank you. i want to reiterate what i say at every embassy that i visit, to your entire team, and that is that you are doing extraordinary work on behalf of america. and because of you we are safer and more secure and america's reputation around the world is extraordinarily strong. now that starts with our secretary of state, john kerry. we all know that john is tireless. we don't know exactly what he takes. but 82 foreign trips so far, 80 countries and in one case five countries in two days, more than one million miles. after a long day of negotiations in foreign capitals, he has been known to explore the finer
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restaurants after midnight. one staffer who i think is more than half his age says it's inhuman. but john is relentless because he knows, as i do, that there's no substitute for american leadership. there are those who criticize our commitment to diplomacy. for investing so much effort in trying to resolve conflicts that seem intractable. but here is the truth. conflicts and wars do not end on their own. breakthroughs do not just happen. agreements don't write themselves. it takes diplomacy, being willing to sit down with others, sometimes withe adversaries, sometimes with people whose values are completely contradictory to our own. but as john always says, we have to try.
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this secretary of state from massachusetts follows on the heels of the original jfk from massachusetts who said, let's never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate. and we have seen the results. thanks to john but also most importantly thanks to so many of you. the historic democratic transition in afghanistan, chemical weapons removed from syria. the iran nuclear deal. detained americans coming home. the paris climate agreement. the cessation of hostilities in the syrian civil war. that's strong principled diplomacy at work. so, john, on behalf of myself and the american people, we want to say thank you for your leadership.
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[ applause ] in addition to john, i see tony and gail and heather. we get to hang out all the time in the situation room. sometimes we get to come out for fresh air. and sunlight. but i know that behind them there's an incredible team. all of you, our embassies and posts in every corner of the globe. for so many people around the world, both foreign governments and foreign publics, you are the voice and the face of the united states. so you don't just convey our interests. you represent our values. you represent our diversity. you and your teams represent the very best of america. and i say this before, some of you when havei have gone to vis you will hear me say this, when john and i arrive in a country,
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we make a big fuss. but ultimately what determines people's impressions of the united states is you and your teams who are there in a sustained way. and day in day out are helping people, whether it's a business trying to get a visa or it is a family trying to be reunited, you are solving problems. and that has a ripple affect all across the countries where you are serving. and i know it's not always easy. dedicated personnel have made, in some cases, the ultimate sacrifice because the world can be dangerous. including chris stevens. since then, we have lost others in afghanistan and other places. our embassy guard in ankara. in pakistan, two locally
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employed staff. so we remember and we honor their service. there are real risks involved in being a diplomat. there always have been, and many of those risks are accentuated today. i know that service can mean sacrifice for families as well. some of you serve at unaccompanied posts, which means that you are separated from your loved ones. when families deploy and spouses and children serve in their own way, we know that they don't always hear directly from the president. so i need to you transmit to them how much we appreciate the work that they do. let them know that we know they are part of the ambassadorial team as well. more broadly, i want to thank you for your partnership in what has been a priority for us. and that is renewing american
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leadership. i believe that a broader vision of american strength that harnesses all elements of our national power, including diploma diplomacy, is what is going to make a difference in this complicated age that we live in. that's how we build a global coalition to deal with iran. strong sanctions plus diplomacy. and under the nuclear deal, iran will not get its hands on a nuclear weapon. that's how we forthed t forges transpacific partnership which will help to rewrite trade and rebalance america in the asia-pacific. that's how we stopped ebola. deploying our own personnel, military, doctors, usaid, cdc and helping the west african partners save countless lives. that's how we work with countries like china and india and nearly 200 nations to reach the paris agreement, most ambitious global agreement ever
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to fight climate change. and diplomacy, including having the courage to turn a page on the failed policies of the past is how we have begun a new chapter of engagement with the people of cuba. what a historic day it was when john reopened our embassy in havana. next week, i look forward to being the first u.s. president to visit cuba in nearly 90 years. without a battleship accompanying me. now, we all know how much work we have do. as i said, i plan to do everything that i can with every minute that i have left in this office to keep making progress and make the world safer, more prosperous and to deal with the enormous challenges that so many people are burdened with around the world. we will leave it all on the field. and i'm going to need the help and the partnership of all of you as we focus on key areas
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coming up. first and foremost, we have got to continue to keep our nation safe. especially from the threat of terrorism. and all of you have a role to play in that process. we're going to have to continue to strength our global coalition against isil, whether it's the air campaign, support for local partners, cutting off isil financing, preventing the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, working with partners to counter isil's bankrupt, nihilistic ideology. we're going to have to keep pushing on the diplomatic front, because that's the only way the large earn syrian conflict will end with a political transition and an inclusive syrian government. we're going to have to keep strengthening partnerships from west africa, as we saw again yesterday, to afghanistan. these countries are battling terrorism. they need our help. we're going to have to keep working with allies and partners to stabilize libya and yemen.
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we have to keep living up to our values and move ahead on our plan, including safely transferring detainees to finally close the detention center at guantanamo bay. we are not going to stop -- [ applause ] -- making the effort to do that. so we gotta continue to fight terrorism and do so in a way that's consistent with our values. it's what we have done over the last 7 1/2 years. that's what we're going to continue to do. and all of you have a role to play, and all of you know that in the countries where you are working, it makes a difference. when the perception is that america is abiding by its values. it makes your job easier. it makes it easier for us to obtain the cooperation we need. i'm very proud of the work we've done so far. but we've got many more work that we have to do.
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second, we're going to have to keep mobilizing the world to meet shared challenges. that includes strengthening intere international rules. we will have to ensure that iran fully meets its commitments under the nuclear deal to make sure that we're enforcing effective sanctions on north korea, that at our upcoming summit here in washington we are continuing to increase nuclear security. in europe, with our nato allies, we're continuing to bolster our common defenses. we are continuing to push to make sure that the minsk agreement is upheld and we are supporting ukraine's right to self-determination. on climate change, we have to ensure that nations meet their paris commitments, that the united states does so as well, and we invest in new clean energy solutions and help developing countries deal with climate change and ensuring that
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they do not feel that they have to choose between uplifting their people economically and preserving the planet. we're going to have to continue to work on transnational threats like cyberattacks. making sure that we have put in place an architecture so we have rules governing that space. preventing epidemics through our global health security agenda. making sure that we are not just reacting to something like the ebola crisis but that we are systematically putting in place the kinds of global networks and responses that can help count countries not only help their own people but also make sure that in an era of international
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travel and globalization that our own people are not put in harm's way. third, even as we confront threats, we've got to keep partnering with nations and people to seize the incredible opportunities in this moment in history. we have to keep standing up for citizens who are striving to forge their own future through open government and insisting on the dignity of all people so that we're respecting human rights around the world. in the asia-pacific, we have to move ahead with our rebalance, strengthening our alliances, supporting the transition inn n myanm myanmar. creating opportunity, growing the regional's middle class,
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helping columbia achieve peace and helping central america reduce violence and poverty. in africa, with its enormous economic and human potential, we're going to continue to work with partners to increase trade and investment, lift people into the middle class, etxpand acces to electricity and support strong democratic institutions. across these regions, we've got to keep forging partnerships that encourage young people. entreprene entrepreneurs, students. through programs like 100,000 strong or young leaders or southeast asia, i will tell you and i think some of you have participated in these, when we have these meetings with young people in these regions, they are hungry to learn from the
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united states and to partner with us. and we have to not only focus on challenges and threats, but opportunities and hope. we have to feed what's best in the world and not just try to address what's worst. and finally, with american leadership, we can mobilize more nations as we stand up for human dignity and institutionalize some of the gains we have been making in development. given the urgency of the global refugee crisis, for example, we're going to need to you press governments to step up with resources that are needed as we prepare for a refugee summit at the margins this fall. we're within reach of the first aids-free generation. we're making major new commitments in our fight to reach another goal, which is a world free of malaria. if we sustain our commitment to
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food security through feed the future and our new alliance, we can boost farmers' incomes and help lift tens of millions of people from poverty. with a commitment to our new sustainable development goals, we're going to advance our objective of ending the injustice of extreme poverty, including for women and girls. so we've got a lot of work to do. and we have about ten-plus months to do it. i have to tell you though that i'm confident that we can make significant progress over these next ten months. i think over the last 3 1/2 years, people have been calling me a lame duck. somehow we have gotten a lot done. and what i always tell my team in the white house, what i tell my cabinet secretaries, what i
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want to share with all of you, is we had this unique honor of serving our country at these challenging times. and there's some young people here who will continue to serve our country in various capacities in the future. but for many of us, this is the point at which we will have the most impact, have the capacity to do the most good that we may ever have in our lives. what an incredible honor. and what an incentive for us to make sure that we squeeze every last little bit of good that we can do during these times that we're in these positions.
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and the good news is that when we are focused and true to what made us want do this in the first place and when we're true to america's best traditions, it's remarkable what we can get done. that's part of the reason why i could not be more optimistic about the future and america's place in the world. you know, economically, our businesses have created more than 14 million jobs during the longest consecutive streak of job growth in our history. our leadership in innovation and technology remains unmatched. militarily, we are the most powerful nation on earth by far with the finest fighting forces the world has ever seen. no other military comes close. diplomatically, we continue to set the global agenda. some of you have participated in international forums. you know if the united states isn't right smack dab in the
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middle of it, if we're not helping to set that agenda, it doesn't happen. people look to us for leadership. somebody is calling right now to see if we would be able to answer to some problem. because of the values that you and your teams represent every day, because of our commitment to universal human rights and human development and justice and dignity for every human being, people around the world still look to one nation to lead the way. the united states of america. there's a problem, they are calling us. if there's an opportunity, they want us to help. and the reason they do is not just because of the size of our military or the size of our economy, but it's because of our people, our diplomatic ranks,
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our staff, our bandwidth, our capacity to focus and bring to bear our best thinking, that's the thing that truly sets us apart. and our ideals. i don't know that there's ever been a country -- i know there has not been a country that was the most powerful in the world but also saw itself as meeting its own self-interest by advancing the interests of others. that was willing to restrain itself in certain situations in order to build up international norms. i know that in many countries where you serve, there are real challenges. and history doesn't always move forward. sometimes it moves sideways, and sometimes it moves backwards. we make gains, and then sometimes we feel losses.
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and it's typically the bad news that gets reported. but i say this to interns that come in every six months and are full of idealism and enthusiasm and are trying to get a sense of how they can channel that and focus that. sometimes they are beating back the cynicism that's being fed to them every day. i tell them, if you had to choose one time in history in which to be born, and you didn't know ahead of time who you were going to be or what nationality, what gender, what race, whether you were wealthy or poor, what moment in history would you choose? you would choose right now. because the world has never been healthier or wealthier. violence has actually ebbed
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relative to so much of human history. it's never been more tolerant. there's never been more opportunity. and a lot of that is because of the united states of america. a lot of that is because of you. that's a pretty big deal. that makes the sacrifices worthwhile. i'm very proud of you. so let's keep it going. let's finish strong. let's run through the tape. tell your families and your teams i appreciate them. thank you very much. [ applause ] ♪
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[ applause ] ♪ [ applause ] ♪
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[ applause ] ♪ campaign 2016 continues on tuesday with primaries taking place in missouri, illinois and swing states ohio, north carolina and florida. live coverage of the election
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results, candidate speeches a e viewer reaction. taking you to the road to the white house. on next washington journal, we talk to north carolina congresswoman virginia foxx about the republican agenda and the 2016 campaign. then florida congresswoman kathy castor joins us to discuss cuba including restoring diplomatic ties with havana. join the conversation by phone or on facebook and twitter. live each morning at 7:00 eastern. on capitol hill tuesday, the house oversight committee holds the second round of hearings on the water crisis in flint, michigan. we will take you there live at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. representatives from google, gm and lyft talk about the future of self-driving cars at a
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hearing. that's live at 2:30 eastern also on c-span3. israeli defense minister moshe ya'alon expressed concerns today about the iran nuclear deal and talked about israel's relationship with the u.s. and palestinians. from the wilson center in washington, this is just over an hour. >> good morning, everyone. thank you all for coming. i am joseph gildenhorn, former ambassador to switzerland and former chairman of the wilson center board of trustees. i really thank everyone for being here today. let me recognize an important group who are central to the success of the wilson center. we thank our outstanding
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president who regrets she cannot be here today but extends her best regards. let me also acknowledge director of our middle east program at theanre barkey, director of our middle east program at the wilson center. the program continues to be a key forum in washington for serious discussion of middle east issues. we are also pleased and honored to be joined by the israel outstanding ambassador to the united states, who is here with us today. thank you, ron. and i would like to welcome and recognize major general aish who is here today accompanying the minister. sandra gerber, our former vice chairman of the wilson center board of trustees and member of our cabinet. never has the middle east region been as unstable and challenging
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as it is today. syria is in chaos. iran continues to assert its power in the region. the israeli-palestinian conflict continues with no end in sight. isis continues to expand beyond its border. and russia is now a new factor in the equation. we asked how does israel, a small yet powerful country that sits in the middle of this region, prioritize these challenges and more importantly, what is israel's current strategy for dealing with them. there are no people better qualified to address these questions than the minister of defense for the state of israel, moshe ya'alon, who is in washington this week to meet with our u.s. secretary of defense, ash carter, who is also a very good friend of the wilson center. we are so pleased to have you, mr. minister. welcome to washington. it is also my pleasure to
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welcome aaron david miller, vice president of the wilson center, and middle east expert who will lead this conversation. please join me in welcoming them both. [ applause ] >> joey, thank you so much. you have done so much for the wilson center. you have no idea how greatly we appreciate your efforts. mr. minister, you were here in 2012. i want to welcome you back to the woodrow wilson international center for scholars, the living memorial to 28th president, the only ph.d. president and the only president buried in washington, d.c. which is perhaps a commentary, however sad, on what our presidents thought of the nation's capital in their time here. the two of us go back a long way. at least since the late '80s and early '90s. we have watched the u.s.'s
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relationship develop, we watched the ups, mostly downs, when it came to the pursuit of arab-israeli peace and even when we disagreed, i always appreciated the clarity and economy of language with respect to your analysis. i continue to believe that if you want to change the world, you have to first understand it and that requires at times sober judgments on the way the world is rather than the way we want it to be. the format today is to have a 20, 25 minute conversation what
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are the key challenges and are you pretty confident that in fact, there will be an agreem t agreement. >> good morning, everybody. thank you, ambassador, for the introduction. thank you, everyone, for hosting me tonight.
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in thinking about our discussion here in 2012, so many issues have been changed, so many developments in our region that we have to discuss. first of all, i'm here to discuss the cooperation between the united states of america and the state of israel regarding defense. we do enjoy a stable relationship when it comes to the pentagon or minister of defense, similarly between the secretary of defense, ash carter, and myself, the armed forces both sides, intelligence agencies, for the benefit of our
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two countries, talking about common values and no doubt common interests shared between our two countries and though we might have a couple of disputes which we have in the last couple of years and even now regarding the challenges ahead of us and the way that we should deal with them. the issue is on the table. we hope to conclude it as soon as possible. i have agreed with the secretary of defense about the capabilities available to the state of israel to keep what we call our collective military edge in the region and hopefully we will be able to sign the mou sooner rather than later. of course, when we talk about
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the u.s. support to our country regarding defense, we are very appreciative. we are thankful to the administration led by president barack obama but we do have -- regarding the future. we believe iran of today is more confident and free to act in the region with more money as a result of the sanctions relief, violating many u.n. resolutions, international resolutions regarding the proliferation of arms and more money now as a result of sanctions relief to finance hezbollah in lebanon, to finance hamas and other rogue
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elements in the region and to go on with the terror infrastructure in five continents, including north america, south america, europe, asia, africa and the middle east. so they haven't changed their nature. they chant death to america, they consider america as the great satan, we are likely to be considered as a minor satan. very provocative regarding the ballistic missile which is a violation of u.n. resolution. just provocative tests last week on one of the missiles and believe israel should be wiped off the map. those reasons are part of the consideration when we talk about mou for the next decade and of course, the arms race in our region as a result of the deal,
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the sunni regime in the region share a lot of common interest with us nowadays are going to procure weapons for about $200 billion. so in this case, issue of the mou has to be concluded and we hope it will be concluded very soon. >> i'm going to push you on the u.s./israel relationship just a bit. we both watched this relationship develop over the years and there have been tensions, differences of opinion between american presidents and israeli prime ministers before. the current prime minister in his first term and bill clinton. bush 43 and ariel sharon. this relationship, though, has been battered and hammered and there seems to me to be a loss
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of -- an absence of trust and confidence. israeli-u.s. relationships can be dysfunctional but productive. we have seen in the ones i mentioned that yes, there's dysfunction but it's also -- they can also produce things. this relationship seems to be kind of defying the laws of political gravity. i guess my question is when the administration says whatever the difference is between the prime minister and the president, that it is committed to security relationship and institutional nature of the u.s.-israel relationship is sound, closer than ever, is that a statement you would agree with or has the relationship between the two at the top begun to affect the nature of the u.s.-israel relationship? >> our relationship, talking about the relationship between united states and state of
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israel, are connected by open channels on a daily basis, intelligence sharing know-how, experience, technologies. when it comes to certain challenges, we might have differences. the big difference, our approach to the deal with iran. we do have differences regarding what should have been done in syria, what should be done in syria. the fact is this regime in tehran has become central party in order to solve the problems in the middle east. why? because they are ready to fight daesh. to allow them to gain hegemony in the region and this is the case so far, because i would say
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the shiite radical axis led by iran, hezbollah in lebanon, the houthis in yemen, shiite elements in bahrain, saudi arabia, this axis is exploiting the deal now to gain hegemony. for sure the hegemony in tehran, in a way hegemony in baghdad with the government, hegemony in beirut regarding hezbollah and now there is going to be hegemony in damascus. so to perceive iran as a central player in solving or settling, bringing about stability to the region, no way. so to leave us, talking about syria, with iran dominating
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syria, we can't believe it. and this is the case so far. looking to the last two years, going back to the last two years regarding terror attacks perpetrated on syrian soil, in golan heights, the ten of them, that were all of them, actually, ten terror attacks, perpetrated, operated by iran revolutionary guard. not even one attack by sunni and they did it from -- governed in the territory. not one attack forms opposition to territory. whether it was rocket launchings, explosive along the border and so forth. revolutionary guard and quds forces. so to allow now iran to be
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situated on our border, we don't share a border with iran. of course, we don't have any dispute with this regime whatsoever. but they still want israel to be wiped off the earth. why? because of their ideology. there is no room for a jewish state in what they call the islamic state. to allow iran to dominate syria is disrespect. we have a dispute about situation in iran. we didn't favor the muslim brotherhood government. of course, we do not intervene even in syria. we have very clear policy regarding our experience. but when 30 million egyptians went to the street to get rid of
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the muslim brotherhood government, we thought that to allow general assisi, my counterpart at that time, to take over the military abilities, to become the president, it should have been western interest, let's put it this way. that was a dispute. and of course, when it comes to [ inaudible ], what is the call of the public? this occupation since '67 -- occupation since '48, which is our existence.
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so let's deal with it first of all by common understanding of the challenge. if you don't understand, if you don't agree about this, how can you agree about the. [ inaudible ] 1500 casualties. it's about so many misconceptions regarding the confli conflict. and not make more mistakes.
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as we did agree in the past we made many mistakes. today we have a situation in which no doubt we are going through geopolitical [ inaudible ]. long story but basically the nation, artificial nation state collapsed. that's now the lesson of history. why did it happen? western leaders were sitting after world war i creating artificial borders, ignoring gadhafi, ignoring the culture, the mentality in the region, seeking to -- the middle east. forgetting that in europe, it took about 200 years for the
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agreement and even in europe, yugoslavia, was a collapse or the failure. again, sectarian differences, sectarian religious differences and so forth. we claim it was a result of western mistakes, whether it was naivete, wishful thinking or patronism. we try to implement what we believe is a realistic strategy in the region. we don't claim they should become [ inaudible ].
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to propose, to offer, you can't for democracy by election. one person, one vote, once, no second chance for the opposition. it might have happened in egypt. they exploited the rules of the game not to bring about democracy. so this kind of difference should be discussed. we believe that living in the region, we have some understanding regarding the challenges. we have many ideas, many thoughts about what should be done in this chaotic situation. by avoiding naivete, by avoiding wishful thinking and by avoiding patronism the way that it was
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done in the past about the middle east. >> mr. minister, if it's true that where you stand in life is driven by where you sit, i'm wondering whether or not there isn't a structural divide which is very difficult to bridge. we miss it with non-predatory neighbors to our north and south and fish to our east and west. one historian called our liquid assets. these oceans are very important. you sit in a different environment and in a different region. regardless of whether there's a republican or democrat in the white house, seems to me that those differences particularly in view of the geopolitical earthquake you're strike and the instability, can only grow. i'm a great believer in the special nature of this relationship.
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i worry about it from time to time as well. before we move off this, because i do want to get to questions from the audience, what is the one thing in your view that you think washington, hard to speak about official washington, but we will keep it generic to avoid the r and d problem, what is the one thing in your view that washington gets wrong about israel? and the national security challenges it faces? >> you will allow me two things? >> i will. >> one is the challenge of iran. as i said earlier, we do argue. i also believe that the deal might bring about a change in the atmosphere in iran and to
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have more moderate regime in tehran. our assessment that we are not going to expect -- in tehran. and this regime in a smart way, in a very smart way, succeeded in keeping the indigenous capabilities to have a nuclear war. they didn't have to destroy anything regarding the nuclear project which is very important for them. and within 10 to 15 years or even earlier, they might acquire the capabilities. i believe that if and when this regime will feel confident regarding the economy, rehabilitation of the economy, they might decide to break off.
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it might be five years, seven years, ten years or waiting until the end of the deal which is 10 to 15 years. so this regime actually was giving up its timetable of the project, they haven't given up neither the vision nor the aspiration to acquire and for me to gain hegemony of the region. this is ideology. how come lebanon, we have a lebanese government but the one who has to make the decision to go to war is hezbollah? the government is irrelevant. bashar al assad is dependent on iran and hezbollah.
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bad news. in yemen, they did the same with hezbollah. they armed the houthis since 2009 and when they felt confident, they went out from the county to take over, almost dominating -- the state controlled by iran, this is the strategy. they are still ambitious, undermining the sunni regimes in the region. they acted ready to sacrifice. they were ready to pay for those elements before taking account of the economic situation inside iran. we don't agree. the second is about the
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israel-palestine conflict. first of all, what is the place of this? we still hear about the instability in the middle east is the result of the palestine conflict. you can't stabilize the middle east. it was ridiculous in the past, it's ridiculous today. what is the linkage between the uprising? the revolution in egypt -- what is the connection between the ongoing civil war? almost half a billion casualties. this is because of israel. the sectarian violence in iraq. there is a conflict between us and the palestinians and there are many misconceptions. does it cause a problem whether
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it is occupation since '67 or the reluctance to recognize our right to exist as a nation state with the jewish people. it has been proved many times, rejected in the last several years, otherwise talking about settlements and borders. why? in this case, just to get, not to give anything. let's talk about everything. when he closed the door in front of both secretary of state february 2014 and president obama march 2014, he wasn't blamed. why? he's too weak to be accountable. the issue of accountability --
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what is the most important value which is missing in the middle east is accountability. our neighbors are used to deny accountability. officially he is governing gaza but he is not accountable. hamas is accountable. he's not accountable for his people. because of incompetence, because of corruption, because of denial of accountability. so when he closed the door in front of president obama, he should have been blamed. he should be accountable. nowadays, we try to make progress. i can tell you that we don't want to govern the palestinians. we are happy that they enjoy
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political independence. they have their own government, they have the parliament, they have political institutions, municipalities. they decided to be divided to two political entities. hamas and the palestinian authority. fine. what about their accountability for the economy? incompetence, corruption. that's why they are dependent on us. even in gaza they are dependent on us. so when it comes to what to do with it if you don't want to govern them, we propose let's make progress step by step on the bottom up. let's improve the economy. let's improve the government, the competence to govern themselves. security. law and order. judicial system. whatever. too weak to be accountable. so a tremendous mistake. that's kind of differences makes it all strategy regarding the
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middle east poor one. >> last question and we will go to the audience. you have had so much experience operationally, strategically but most important for me, analytically because i don't think that wise policy can be made without sound analysis. we get ourselves into all kinds of trouble by seeing the world the way we want it to be rather than the way it is. israel's a relatively young country in its modern form. 68 years after our independence, if you had looked at the united states, you would have seen fundamentally different country. than the one that exists today. i would argue to you that at 68, you could make the same argument that neither the borders of the state of israel nor perhaps even
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the character of the state, there's great disagreement among israelis, arab israelis, religious israelis. my question to you involves the impact of non-resolution of this problem. i don't know who, including in this administration, would continue to make the argument that the key to middle east stability or u.s. credibility was an unresolved or the resolution of the israeli-palestinian problem. i bought it at one point. things were different then. they are no longer that way. it's very important but as an israeli, that's my question to you. no resolution leads to what? >> i wish to solve the israeli-palestinian conflict. it's not going to be settled in
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my lifetime. and it is a matter of -- i'm trying to avoid wishful thinking. it's a matter of alternatives. let's imagine that we will not now -- in sudan, somalia and west bank. i'm sure we would have faced hamas in west bank armed with mortars, rockets, snipers in jerusalem and so forth and so forth. with palestinian-islamic jihad in west bank like the case it is in gaza. daesh in the west bank like it is in gaza.
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can they survive it? as we try really hard, we were ready to make compromise but they reject it. very consistent, '37, '47, 2000, december, president clinton proposal, rejected and so forth so it's a matter of alternative. we can manage. none are happy for this
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instability. it is a matter of alternative. as long as this is situation, of course, we should enjoy the freedom in sudan, somalia and west bank. i was in uniform when we were to be deployed. there were bombing attacks every week. then we were informed -- and we succeeded in eliminating the infrastructure. without our field of operation, we wouldn't have survived for sure. we make 80% to 90% of the -- in counterterrorism in the west bank. the palestinians are doing at
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the most 10% to 20%. so it's a matter of alternatives. yes, we are ready to make progress. we are ready to as i said, to go from the bottom up step by step to improve the situation and even today, talking about the ordinary palestinian. we want him to live in dignity, to enjoy wellbeing. this is the case with most of them. if they complain, first of all they complain to the palestinian authority because of incompetence. most of the demonstration until this recent wave of terror was the manipulations -- where again the palestinian authority. nothing against israel. so it's a matter of alternative. we can manage and i believe that
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trying to push a solution, well known solution, again and again, well known solution. why did it fail? with all our effort, why did it fail? it might be that we had the wrong diagnosis. it might be. so let's allow us to deal with it and especially all the ideas of external intervention today are negative incentive to come to the table, to make progress, as long as they hear about the french initiative or might be u.s. initiative or u.s. speech or bringing the issue to the national security council or icc. this is the way to escape the reality on the ground. if it is the case in which we seek together, we do cooperate,
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yes, but we can do even more. don't interrupt us. >> thank you. all right. questions? sandra gruber. >> thank you, minister, for joining us. last week, vice president biden made a very strong statement condemning the p.a. for not condemning the terrorism. at the same time as you know, the p.a. pays the terrorists pursuant to law passed in 2010. so my question is, do you think biden knows that the p.a. pays the terrorists and if he does, what is the point of asking the p.a. to condemn the terrorism when at the same time they are paying the terrorists pursuant to law? >> it is not just about condemning the terrorism which is very important. and yes, he succeeded in escaping any condemnation even in front of the vice president
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after the murder of -- but avoiding the condemnation encourages the terrorists to go on with their activities. it's a signal. but it starts with education. i served as the head of intelligence in 1995, august '95 i came to the prime minister saying i have to warn you, this is strategic early warning, i don't see any sign for reconciliation on the palestinian side. there is no plan for co-exi co-existence with the jewish state. i can testify about the way i
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educated my kids. official education, co-equal. living together side by side. when i said it to prime minister rabin i just had to open the palestinian textbooks. not the hamas textbook. the palestinian authority textbook. this is the case now. if you educate kids from kindergarten to hate the jews, to hate the israelis, to admire the homicide bombers, we shouldn't be surprised at 15 years old youngster has a problem with his father on a specific morning and late afternoon, he murdered a jewish mother. so easy. so is the palestinian authority.
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in 1995, and when he asked what should be done, any dollar, any penny given to this palestinian authority should be conditioned by educational reform. this is a basic. payment for the prisoners and all the other issues, the reluctance to condemn the terrorists, but is too weak to be accountable, as i mentioned. tremendous mistake. he should be having responsibility. >> thanks. yes, over here. please identify yourself. >> thank you very much. raheem hashidi from kurdistani tv. first, what is your opinion of kurdish forces in fight against isis? do you think the peshmerga should be -- and second question, if kurdistan will be a
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state, how important is it for stability in the region? thank you very much. >> thank you for your question. if i have to think about any kind of psychological situation in syria as well as in iraq, we have the two kurdish sectors in iraq and syria. the only way that we can live is any kind of federation. there's no way to unify syria. also i'm talking about strategy to unify syria through bashar al assad or someone else, leaving syria no chance. wishful thinking. and to talk about a kind of federation, bashar al assad
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controls today 30% of his former territory. that's it. we know the turks are not happy with it but in the end, there is a kurdish authority in syria. there is a kurdish authority in iraq. they might cooperate with the regime as they do now. the problem is when it comes to the sunnis, we have daesh, al qaeda followers, muslim brotherhood elements. so first of all, let's find a way to have a kind of federation or whatever, let's also agree to have this kind of federation and then fighting the other or whatever.
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the problem is that there are so many contradictory interests regarding the situation in syria as an example. there are those who support bashar al assad regime like iran, hezbollah, russia today with its intervention in syria. and even western policies first of all believing iran should be a central part of the settlement or the solution as i mentioned earlier. so -- demonstrated their capabilities to fight daesh. why not support other moderates in syria, like sunni moderates, to fight? western party decided to sit on
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the fence and the kurds in syria will defeat daesh, to the point that it started to get support. and then you have to settle this contradictory interest with turkey, saudi arabia has a strong interest. there is a need for different strategy regarding syria. but the idea to unify syria back to become as it was in the past [ inaudible ]. >> way in the back next to the camera. last row. >> from voice of america persian tv. sir, last week, general austin told senate foreign relation committee that iran's missile test is with the intention to
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achieve the ability to carry the atomic warhead and also prime minister netanyahu yesterday asked the international community to enforce more punitive measures against iran ballistic missile test. you are going to meet with ashton carter, defense secretary, while staying here. what is it that you are going to ask him regarding this? >> i am not going to tell you what i am going to ask him but generally speaking, generally speaking, no doubt one is the proliferation of arms. we have hard evidence they deliver weapons to organizations in the region, to hezbollah
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which is here now even in -- deliver money, deliver weapons, advanced weapons and so forth, delivering weapons to the houthis in yemen. hard evidence on a daily basis. it's a violation of u.n. security council resolution. so it's one reason to sanction this regime. the second is the missile, the ballistic missile test. very provocative. believing they are not going to be harmed. the third reason is human rights
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issues. yes, we hear that most of the iranians are not happy with this regime but it succeeded to strengthen its grip in governing in the last 30 years or so, going back to the revolution of 1979. hanging dissidents in the marketplaces today. oppression, suppression. so if you are looking for reasons to sanction this regime, there are just three of them. >> over here on the left. >> just another question shimilr to what my colleague asked about the kurds. in 2014 when prime minister netanyahu became the first head of state to openly endorse an independent kurdistan, he said
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such a state would serve as some sort of bulwark against the rise of islamic extremism. just can you elaborate more on that from a military perspective, how would israel benefit from an independent kurdistan. the second question is, this u.s.-led coalition against isis includes at least 60 nations. there doesn't seem to be any role for israel to play in this coalition. why is that? >> mr. minister, why don't you take one of the two questions? >> one of them? >> yeah. i want to see if we can get to some others as well. >> okay. i take one of the questions. the first one. as i mentioned, the problem in the middle east regarding the occupation of nation states, it's a matter of democracy.
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illustrating the boundaries of the new created states in the region, straight lines, looking to draw them as an example, very nice explanation for straight lines to the east. the ipcs, iraqi petroleum company pipeline, to be defended both sides, that was recommendation of the british officers and that's what it did. on each sightline you can see -- so we believe looking to the future, that to keep autonomous states, whatever, based on our general -- like it might be in syria, might be in iraq, in
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other countries, this might be an option. to allow the kind of stability, they enjoy autonomy in iraq and syria, they believe they should enjoy autonomy. whether it should be considered in other considerations in the region, internal consideration, external consideration, but this is a way to bring about stability for the region. that's why you need full support. >> back here on my left. >> eric rosenman from the committee for accuracy in middle east reporting in america. general ya'alon, given the lack of reconciliation on the palestinian side that you mentioned from years back and the current manipulation of the
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incitement, why doesn't irls close down the mechanisms by which that's conveyed, palestinian tv, disrupt social networks and so on? >> first of all, we do close but you know, in the time of information, they can escape, they can overcome it. just last weekend we closed certain media assets. they found a way to use another satellite channel, the french channel had been closed so they used other satellite channels. now we deal with this country, the way to close it, but without even satellite channels, the internet is used, the facebook, whatever. so it's quite difficult to close it. we do deal with it. it's another area of war.
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we do not underestimate it. but it's quite challenging. >> yes. straight in the back. thank you. >> thank you. i'm with the american halenic institute. we know and heard a lot lately about the good existing relationship between greece, cyprus and israel and was hoping you could speak to what it means for u.s. interests and security in the region. thank you. >> israel has strategic relations with many countries in the region, including jordan and egypt. and to the west, greece and cyprus, we believe we are on the same platform regarding the challenges ahead of us and of
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course, bearing in mind the potential exploitation, we do share a lot of economic interests as well. that's why the relationships are so strong. i have been to greece recently and to cyprus recently, and my counterparts have been to israel, prime minister netanyahu met the prime minister in cyprus recently. yes, there's a lot to be done regarding common interests between greece, cyprus and israel. >> yes. way in the back. >> good morning. don bergen with senator portman in the senate homeland security committee. during your remarks, you talked about the mou and congress is
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currently negotiating the ndaa as well this year. in light of the challenges in the middle east, what is the -- which -- what recommendations do you have for congress in helping secure the middle east and particularly our relationship with israel? >> my recommendation is not just for the congress, for the administration as well as to our european allies and other allies in the region. israel is an island of stability in the region. let's imagine that israel doesn't exist. you can imagine how many refugees might come from many countries in the region, not just from syria and iraq and north african countries and other to you. and you know that to keep this
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island of stability, israel should be supported. it should be supported politically. it should be supported security-wise. not with a lot of money, not to compare to the expenses of the world around us. as we do share information, as we do share experience, know-how, technologies, as i mentioned, so this island of stability should be supported and we do enjoy the congress support. so i don't have to recommend the congress. i have to recommend to other elements in the region and beyond. >> maybe we can take one final question. yes. in the back. second row. actually, last row, i guess.
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>> thank you. i'm from russian news agency. mr. minister, do you have any information or evidence of transferring russian weapons from syria to hezbollah? there was some concerns about it. do you share these concerns and also, what can you say about the conflict in syria with the russians, because there was some incidents as reported. thank you. >> israel has diplomatic relationship with russia since 1991. those who try to compare the situation of the old cold war is irrelevant. we do have common interests. we do argue about certain interests in the region. first of all, regarding the
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coordination system, russian forces deployed in syria and israel, we do have hotline between tel aviv and the russian facility in which we -- it is used in order to avoid any accident, what we call taking safety precautions. so we don't have to coordinate our activities when we need to act. russians don't have to coordinate their activities. but we do have this kind of coordination to avoid misunderstandings and accidents. very useful. actually, on both sides. on the russian side and israeli side, we have russian speakers. we have officers who speak
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russian. nevertheless, we had at least one incident in which russian aircraft incidentally crossed the border and was intercepted. we had the foresight to tell the russian headquarters it was done and immediately, this aircraft crossed back the border from israel to syria. we are not happy from the fact that russian-made weaponry systems are delivered to our hostile enemies like hezbollah, hamas. the problem is that these weapon systems are procured by syria or iran and then delivered to these
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kind of end users. of course, when it happens, we provide hard evidence like in the second lebanon war, russian made anti-tank guided weapons used by hezbollah against us and we asked for clarification whether russia sold this assistance to hezbollah or not. russian answer was we didn't sell, we sold it to syria. so their responsibility to inspect it. it was a case where russian-made weapon systems used by hamas. hard evidence. we provide hard evidence for it. so we have a way to clarify with russia and we hope that it would be settled. the fact that russian-made weapon systems which are sold to
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certain countries in the region but then are used by an organization, we are not happy with it and it should be settled. but we do have open channels to clarify. >> i think if i have to conclude -- >> yes. yes. >> i want to emphasize that israel is going to celebrate 68 years of independence in coming may and looking back not just on 68 years of independence but even before, israel is a
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successful enterprise against all odds. there are two elements in the region who are not ready to recognize our right to exist as a nation state this is the second islamic land swap known for jewish state. and against all odds, we are a prosperous country, by all means. first of all, the economy. we hope to exploit the gas found in the mediterranean as soon as possible. a strong prosperous economy. how come? open our minds and our hearts. this we have succeeded in using one of our abilities of
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disadvantages to become advantages. we are short of water in the '60s we voted for water with the syrians. they tied it to the jordan river. today we supply water to our neighbors. to jordan, gaza. why? because we used our sophisticated technology to develop the salination facilities, to recycle water, making disadvantages into advantages. this is a case in the military. when it comes to quantity. the size of the countries, the number of cities and population.
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we are developing and embracing technologies. we have f-16 israel. with certain israeli capabilities developed in the israeli defense industries. israeli minds and hearts. knowledge and spirit. the helmet or whatever. we have an israeli pilot in the cockpit, highly motivated, highly educated. we believe that sharing our advantages with our neighbors.
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i do it every couple of months, looking to the east unfortunately the color, which is dominating is black and gray. smoke, fire. we are ready to share it. we support the villages across the border, providing them support. as jews we can't avoid it, we can't ignore it. medical treatment, food, blankets in the winter.
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we are ready to share. but we should get rid of this reluctant lance. this is the right of the nation state of the jewish people. western and like-minded people shouldn't be manipulated and deceived by slogans like occupation, apartheid. only christian community, which is growing in the middle east today is the israeli community and we're proud of it. it's not a case in lebanon or syria or iraq, in the palestinian authority and other countries. so this kind of understanding of our unique situation in which western like-mind reasonable doubt manipulated by false propaganda. we should overcome it.
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conventional type weapons, nonconventional type weapons. it's new weapons that are a result of our success to deal. conventional type of warfare. so we need this type of understanding. we do need this kind of at least moral support. and that's what i'm asking here in washington. temperature. >> i was going to ask you to help me in thanking me for an insight f insightful discussion.
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>> thank you. on capitol hill, the second-round of hearings on the water crisis in flint, michigan. we'll take you there live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. later, represent is from google talk about the future of self-driving cars at a senate commerce science and transportation hearing. also on c-span 3.
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now the housing human and health along with the national congress of indians testified before the indians affair committee on the indian country budget. they focus on bunding needs for affordable housing, law enforcement, tribal governance and health services. this is an hour and 40 minutes.
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>> good afternoon. i call this hearing to order. today the committee will examine the president's fisal year 2017 indian country budget. the united states continues to face a federal deficit and tight budgets. the funding provided to indian people and native communities is an important federal responsibility. the president's fiscal year 2017 budget request talls for increases for tribal-related programs including the bure owe of indian affairs and indian health service. whatever funding is provided for the tribal-related programs it must be used effectively, efficiently and must fulfill federal responsibiliti responsibilities. let me be clear, funding must reflect performance metrics. it's imperative we provide these
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funding requests. before we hear from the witnesses present today, i want to recognize the vice chairman for an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the panelist here today. special thanks to mary smith. appreciate your endurance, your committ committee committee earlier today. thank you for being here. i want to commend the administration for detailing how the federal government will attempt to support indian country's priorities. i'm looking forward to hearing from our witnesses today in discussing how we can work together to meet our commitments to tribes. if there's one thing we should all agree on the challenges facing indian country cannot progress progress when the programs are underfunded. i strongly believe we cannot balance the budget on
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underfunded country. we're requesting modest increases. overall, these funds have impacts on initiatives that invest in the overall well being of tribal communities. so while i encourage funding, i believe it's a step in the right direction. the department of interior requested an increase over 2016 enacted levels. the interior has again focused its attention on native youth, among other things, $138 million for school construction. it's good the administration has continued to focus on this issue but the department needs to provide more details on its plans for using those requested funds. adequately funding only helps in the agency has a well thoughtout plan to use the money. sounds familiar. last month, i introduced the safety act which would require the bia to develop a ten h-year
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plan for school construction. i would love to hear your thoughts on that or any similar plans the department may have. in health care, the ihs has seen an increase, and it's still underfunded by 50% in my opinion. ihs will never be successful unless we provide are the funds needed to treat the people and the administration's request to continue prioritizing ihs funding is a step forward. the budget also proposes an increase of over $100 million for native american programs at the department of justice. we recently heard from tribes about public safety issues affecting their communities. i look forward to hearing more about how the initiatives funded by this increase would assist tribes in dealing with reservation crime. how does the request of a $50 million increase for the native american housing block grant. the program has been relatively level for the last 20 years. i do agree with my colleagues that hud must release its updating housing needs assessment. one just has to drive through a tribal community to know more funds are needed to help reduce the severe backlog that faces many tribal housing authorities. overcrowded has devastating ripple effects so we need to get
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serious about housing conditions in indian country. i recognize not everybody in this room has the same funding priorities or the same approach to tackling challenges affecting the indian country but i still hope today's hearing will open a discussion on how we can come together and find solutions to fulfill this country's trust in treaty obligations. with that, once again thank the witnesses and i want to thank the chairman for holding this hearing. >> would any other members like to make an opening statement? seeing none today, we will be hearing from the honorable carol mason, assistant attorney general opposite justice programs in the u.s. department of justice. mr. lawrence roberts, acting assistant secretary for indian affairs at the office of
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assistant secretary the department of interior. miss lordes ramirez who is the principal deputy assistant secretary, office of public and indian housing, u.s. department of hoursing and urban development. i would like to remind the witnesses that your full written testimony will be made part of the official hearing record today so please try to keep your statements to five minutes so we have time for questions. i look forward to hearing testimony of each of you beginning with assistant attorney general mason. >> thank you. chairman and distinguished members of the committee, i am very pleased to represent the department of of justice and to have this opportunity to discuss the president's fiscal year 2017 budget request for public safety initiatives in indian country. from the earliest days of this administration, i have been
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privileged to work with dedicated employees from the department to help our tribal partners ensure the safety and health of their communities. one of my proudest accomplishments as deputy associate attorney general was leading the team that created our coordinated tribal assistance solicitation which has opened up unprecedented funding opportunities for tribes. now as assistant attorney general i am fully responsible for a full array of programs. i'm pleased to say without hesitation the justice department's commitment to tribes has never been stronger. across the public safety landscape from law enforcement and litigation, to funding and the protection of native resources, our engagement with tribes is dynamic and robust. that commitment is embodied in the program covering areas like community policing, substance abuse, correction alternatives, and violence against women, just to name a few.
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since 2010, the department has awarded more than 1,400 grants totaling over $620 million to hundreds of tribal communities. i refer you to my written statement for more specific examples of our successes in indian country. many tribal communities have made great progress, very often by adapting traditional methods to challenges. but as this committee is well aware the challenges remain considerable. american indians and alaska natives continue to be victimized at high and sometimes alarming rates. pattern still too often hamper investigations and impede justice and resources remain scarce. report by the tribal law and order commission noted the need for almost 3,000 tribal law enforcement officers, a 50% staffing shortfall. that's why the resources requested in the president's budget are vital. the budget allocates almost $300 million for public safety activities in indian country. this level of funding would be historic and it would allow us to build on our progress and make in roads into solving the
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enduring and intractable problems faced by our tribal partners. for one thing the budget would take a page to dedicate specific funding to tribal specific initiatives. a flexible tribal grant 7% set aside for programs for my office would give tribes reliable access to $111 million in grant resources. this would remove some of the unpredictability and anxiety around competition for federal funding for which underresourced tribes are often at a distinct disadvantage. the president's budget proposes to make targeted investments as well. $25 million from the crime victims fund would be devoted to meeting the needs of native american victims who remain chronically underserved. funds from the department's office of commune oriented policing services would help hire law enforcement officers and train and equip them to protect their communities. and $56 million for the office of violence against women would support a variety of efforts aimed at reducing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assaults, sex trafficking, and stalking in
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indian country. a portion of those funds would expand on a groundbreaking program that's reversed decades of injustice by giving tribes the authority to adjudicate domestic violence, dating violence and protection against violence cases against indian -- non-indian defendants on tribal lands. the justice department's work extends well beyond funding. our u.s. attorney's offices have established close working relationships with twoo tribes and an active subcommittee on native american issues composed of u.s. attorneys provides advice and counsel to the attorney general. we are training tribal prosecutors and are bringing them hon to support prosecutors in federal court. in all these efforts we coordinate our efforts closely with our federal partners to
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make sure we're maximizing resources and meeting every public safety need in the indian country. the department of justice is working hard across its components and across other agencies to give our tribal partners the resources they need to achieve justice in their communities, but there is no substitute for federal dollars. public safety in indian country is an investment we cannot afford to forgo. the president's budget request represents a thoughtful and comprehensive strategy for supporting tribal justice, juvenile justice and victim services. the department of justice looks forward to working with the committee to fulfill our shared responsibilities to our tribal partners and to meet our collective goal of safer tribal communities. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much for your testimony. now mr. roberts. >> good afternoon, chairman. members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
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it is an honor for me to be here before you all as acting assistant secretary for indian affairs. i want to begin by thanking each and everyone of you on the committee for your dedication to indian country. i know that you work every day to educate your colleagues on the challenges faced by tribes and the importance of a holding trust in treaty obligations. i want to begin by reflecting on our collective work and how it has particularly with tribal leadership made a difference in indian country. in fiscal year 2008, appropriations for indian affairs was $2.29 billion. a $17 million decrease from fy 2007. budgets were shrinking for indian affairs and tribes and career employees were asked to do more with less. there's no doubt that today's budget climate remains difficult. the washington reported that the president's budget increased discretionary spending overall by less than 1%. unlike the rest of the discretionary budget, the president's budget request for
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indian affairs reflects a 4.9% increase. when compared with 2008 to today, indian affairs proposed budget of $2.9 billion, nearly $138 million increase over fy 16, i think we can collectively agree that strong bipartisan support for budgets is there to foster self-determination in strong tribal communities. the increase in appropriations and successes in indian country is due in large part to the work of tribal leaders. since 2008 our career staff has decreased by approximately 1,600 employees. that's nearly 17% of indian affairs workforce. but we've seen that whether it is a direct service tribe or whether it is a self-governance tribe, tribal leadership has proven that with increased funding they can deliver results. we've seen it in the reduction of violent crime through focused resources in certain communities. we've seen it in the reduction of recidivism and we're seeing progress in the hawaii program. the president's proposed budget
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bills on indian country's work in careful coordination with the tribes. the president's budget again includes full funding for contract support costs and proposes that it be mandatory funding beginning in fy 18. the '17 budget proposed $21 million increase to support objectives, including $12.3 million for social services, $3.4 million increase for indian child welfare act programs and an addition $1.7 million to improve access to suitable housing. also to promote safe communities at the outset to remove the environment that builds barriers for our native youth and adults. it includes investments in education through scholarships through united states technical colleges and technical universities. it proposes a $1.1 billion budget for bie. the bie is focused on serving as a capacity builder and service provider to support tribes and schools and educating their youth and delivering a world class and culturally appropriate
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education across indian country. budget proposes full funding of tribal grants support costs for tribes that choose to operate bie funded schools to serve their students. finally, budget provides $138 million for education construction programs to replace and repair schools and facilities in poor condition. and to address deferred maintenance needs at the 183 campuses in the bie school system. the 17 request for bie school construction continues with the fy 16 appropriation and provides funding stability necessary to develop an orderly construction pipeline. the president's budget continues the funding in fy 16 for the indian energy service center. center will expedite leasing, permitting and reporting for conventional and renewable energy projects on indian lands and provide resources to ensure development occurs safely and manages risks appropriately. the department is working with tribes to promote cooperative management. the president's budget requests $2 million increase to address subsistence management in alaska.
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funding will target areas across the state that promote tribal management for wildfire life and assistance on federal lands and waters. i guess i will close by saying in this difficult fiscal climate, the fy '17 budget proposes increases for indian affairs at nearly $138 million above the '16 enacted levels. indian affairs is the second-largest total requested budget increase of any bureau within the department of interior. i know with your bipartisan support and leadership, the federal budget for indian country will continue to foster self-determination. i'm happy to appear before you today and i'm happy to answer any questions that you may have. >> thank you very much. miss ramirez. thank you very much for your partnership over the years and for this opportunity to discuss the 2017 budget request. specifically its proposed investments in native american,
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alaska native and native hawaiian communities. native american people hold a special place in our country's history. they've made lasting contributions to every aspect of our nation's life. our commerce, our culture, our character, and more. the sad truth is that far too many members of this community face significant barriers to decent and affordable housing. studies show that native people are more than three times as likely to live in overcrowded conditions. i witnessed these challenges firsthand when i traveled to the pine ridge reservation in south dakota. i met families who were struggling to get by. when i asked them what one thing would make their lives better, a young girl from the community said -- a house. she wanted to know why her family couldn't find a decent place to rent, a place that she could call home. she explained that she has lived her entire life with her extended family in the small overcrowded house and that her mother has been on a housing waiting list for nearly a decade. in her tribal community and in
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many others, it is all too common to see three or four families living together in a single overcrowded home. she clearly recognized what we all do -- that safe, affordable housing provides the foundation that every american needs to achieve their dreams. we've requested $700 million for the indian housing block grant program. the largest single source of funding for affordable housing under the native american housing assistance and self-determination act. we expect this 8% funding h increase to support block grants to 567 tribes in 34 states. hud also requests $5.5 million for the indian housing loan guarantee program to assist native americans across the income spectrum in buying a home and building wealth. we want to help local leaders surround this housing with the assets that every community needs to thrive, such as jobs, roads, and infrastructure. so we're seeking $80 million for the indian community development
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block grant program, an increase of $20 million, to spark economic development in tribal lands. i saw the impact of this funding during a recent visit with a tribe in arizona. the tribe leveraged ihbg and icdbg funds to finance and build 122 new affordable housing units, including elderly housing and a community park in the town of guadalupe. we want opportunity to reach every segment of society, whether they are young or elderly, a family, or a veteran returning from service overseas. that's why our request honors the president's commitment to native american youth by dedicating $20 million to further generation indigenous, a government-wide initiative to improve the lives and
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opportunities for native youth. it is also why we're working to ensure that every veteran has a home. i thank members for this committee for helping create the tribal hud administration to help brave native-americans who served our country and are now experiencing homelessness. hud and the va awarding $5.9 million in rental assistance to 26 tribes to assist 500 veterans. hud is working closely with the va and tribal partners to ensure that this demonstration succeeds in indian country. and in fy 2017, hud requests $7 million to renew tribal hud. we recognize the right of indian self-determination and tribal self-governance and we have fostered relationships that provide tribes the flexibility to design and implement housing programs according to their local needs and customs. we strongly support the reauthorization. the tribes have made great tribes even in their challenging environments. hud looks forward to working with this committee and this congress on this vital piece of legislation.
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finally, hud's fy 2017's budget represents the administration's strong commitment to indian country and recognizes the positive results that have been achieved through our native american programs. we are proud of the strong and growing capacity that our tribal partners have demonstrated, including our limited resources to work and in increasing their ability to leverage federal dollars. thank you again for the invitation to discuss our budget proposal. i look forward to the conversation today. >> thank you, miss ramirez. miss smith. >> good afternoon, chairman. thanks so much for this opportunity today. i'm mary smith, principal deputy director of the indian health service. i have only been in my job as principal deputy director for a little over a week, although i have been at the agency for slightly longer, i served
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approximately five months in the role of deputy director. it has become quite clear to me that while the ihs is firmly committed to the mission of providing quality health care for american indians and alaska natives, we face steep operational and quality of care challenges. this situation is unacceptable. i to want to thank this committee. i know it was little over a month ago this committee held an oversight committee on the indian health service, and we appreciate the opportunity and leadership that you've shown to shine a light on these issues. i firmly believe that if we are not talking about them, then we are not addressing them. i appear before you today to underscore my commitment to fixing these challenges, including those in the great plains and the more systemic issues we face as an agency such
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as staffing and housing. we are committed to fixing these issues not simply in the short term but so that the changes are sustainable over time. i and the rest of the team at ihs am committed to creating a culture of quality, leadership and accountability. it is far from business as usual at the indian health service. with that preamble, i'm pleased to provide testimony on the president's proposed fy 2017 budget for ihs which will allow us to continue to make a difference in addressing our agency mission to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of american indians and alaska natives. i am committed to working with our partners and including this committee to provide access to quality health care to native americans. the fy 2017 president's budget proposed to increase the total ihs program budget to $6.6 billion, which will add $402 million to the nq 2016 enacted level, and if appropriated, this funding level would represent a
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53% increase in funding for the indian health service since fy 2008. the overall funding increases proposed in the president's budget are consistent with tribal pry orties and will continue to address long-standing health disparities among alaska natives and americans indians. specific investments include expanding behavioral and mental health services, improving health care quality, capacity, and workforce, supporting self-determination by fully funding contract support costs, and ensuring health care access through addressing critical health care facility infrastructure needs. the president's budget proposal includes funding for pay cost, inflation and population growth increases that are critical to maintaining the budgets of our ihs and tribal hospitals.
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the budget includes program increases of $49 million, of which $46 million will be focused on critical behavioral health services, including generation indigenous substance abuse and suicide prevention projects to increase the number of child and adolescent behavioral professionals. continued integration between medical behavioral health and tribal community organizations. and domestic violence prevention programming. i'm pleased to report that the budget includes a new proposal. it is a two-year mandatory proposal to address mental and behavioral health. this proposal includes a new $15 million tribal crisis response fund which would allow ihs to expeditiously assist tribes experiencing behavioral health crises, and an additional $10 million to increase the number of behavioral health professionals through the american indians and to psychology program and i. s scholarships and loan repayment program. the budget also includes funds for infrastructure that is critical to health care delivery and to fund newly constructed
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facilities. i do want to acknowledge that we are working aggressively to address quality of care issues at all three of our facilities in the great plains area. omaha, winnebago, rosebud and pine ridge. challenges there are long standing, especially around recruitment and retention of providers, but the deficiencies cited by cms are unacceptable. we have an intense effort under way right now and we have deployed commission officers from throughout hhs and the acting deputy secretary is convening an executive council on quality that will bring to bear all the resources of the department to assist ihs. we have also established a new deputy position to focus on quality of care. we look forward to working in partnership with you to enact the president's budget, and i just want to emphasize that we take these challenges to
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delivering high quality care very seriously and you have my commitment that we will work tirelessly to make meaningful, measurable progress. >> thank you, miss smith. >> chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the national congress of american indians i'd like to thank you for holding this important hearing. federal budget for indian programs is one of the key measures of how and whether the federal government is fulfilling its travel responsibility to travel governments. respect for travel self-determination is essential to meet the basic public needs of our citizens due to historical under funding, inconsistent federal budgets and recent fluctuations in federal funding tribes have faced great needs for their citizens. many more recommendations have been developed in the fy 2017 indian budget request and we ask the document be entered into the record. overall we appreciate the cross agency coordination on this budget request and encourage congress to recognize that the budgetary needs of indian country must be addressed across federal agencies to be
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successful. it is not enough to boost funding for education and public safety without also addressing the need for housing for teachers and law enforcement personnel. a great example of collaboration is the tawahi initiative which is a pilot program that addresses family and community well-being. we have to tackle the interrelated problems of poverty, violence, substance abuse and unemployment in indian country in a holistic manner. we have seen tremendous progress in the last few years and the congress' support for indian country and self-determination in the federal budget. fy 2016 omnibus included
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substance amitriptyline increases for via, ibe and other core travel government programs that we are hopeful that the fy 2017 budget will build upon and those investments made in indian country. though tribes have made some progress, there are key examples of egregiously underfunded services. i am appalled by what happened in flint. over 200 of my members in my tribe were affected by this. i'm glad that congress and the rest of the nation is paying closer attention to what can happen when community infrastructure breaks down. i'm equally appalled that no one is paying enough attention to the infrastructural needs in indian country which lag far behind the rest of the country. our citizens have been living under comparable conditions for decades with no plan for addressing the infrastructural problems in indian country. i ask you to consider this when the u.s. commission on civil rights issues its updated report
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on the quiet crisis later this year. this independent bipartisan commission is undertaking a congressionally requested review of the federal funding that of unmet needs and obligations in indian country. we call on congress to consider that long-term prioritization of core travel programs is necessary to reverse the trends and underfunding that have long standing detrimental impacts on the nation's first people. dia provides the core travel for services such as law enforcement and travel courts, indian child welfare, social services, education, roads and energy development. ncia urges congress to adopt at least the 5% increase for the budget to counteract the historical underfunding of this agency. fy 2013 funding has increased by about 24%. we are grateful for that. but when adjusted for inflation, the fy 2016 enacted level is below the fy 2003 level by 5%. ihs faces major funding disparities as well compared to other federal health care programs. the administration's budget proposes an 8% increase for ihs overall for a total of $5.2 billion. we're grateful for that. yet ihs travel budget suggested $2 billion to maintain current services and provide for areas in preventative and behavioral medicine.
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this would be a great step towards meeting the $30 billion overall need in ihs. lastly, i want to address a few of the legislative proposals in the fy '17 budget request that we want the agency to consider to support. reclassification of contract support costs as mandatory which we've worked on. permanently authorizing the special diabetes program for indians. including language in appropriations bills or passing legislation in these areas would provide great benefits for indian country. congress must answer the moral and legal call to action so native peoples can look forward to forward prosperity and progress for future generations. tribes exercise self-determination, success stories abound. we need partnership to pass a federal budget in the indian country that reflects and hon norps the trust responsibility of the united states. thank you and i'm happy to
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answer any questions that you may have. >> thank you very much. appreciate your comments. miss smith, i'd like to start with you. i agree with your comments about the challenges, the situation being unacceptable, saying if we aren't talking about the problems, we aren't addressing them. aggressively working in the great plains area. members of the senate a couple weeks ago who weren't on the committee such as senator thune were here because of the concern that we have with regard to the conditions of the indian health service in the great plains areas specifically. in fiscal year 2016 -- i know you've only been on the job for a short period ever time -- congress appropriated $2 million specifically to help address some of these emergent issues. despite the dire conditions in the great plains area, it took the administration several months to even figure out what to do with the $2 million in appropriated funds. i know you weren't there at the time. meanwhile, the facilities in the
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area have lost their medicare provider status, on the verge of losing it. patients at the facilities are ultimately paying the price. i note funds wouldn't have solved all problems in the area with be but they were appropriated for the specific purpose and i think they could have made a difference. do you know what it is that takes the administration so long to figure out what to do with the funds? >> thank you, senator. first of all, i do want to thank the senators for this funding. i think the funding you are referring to is -- it was funding allocated to any facility that had received a notice of deficiency from the centers of medicare and medicaid, and that was $2 million. and we are greatly appreciative. i will let you know that we had decided to use that funding to
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replace equipment needs. some of the needs that were cited by cms. we started replacing that commitment and in getting the procurements in process before we were able to apportion the money. but i will tell you, it was a process and it was a thoughtful process because we wanted to make sure that the funds were distributed equitably. so we had three facilities that were eligible for this funding and what we agreed to do was for the first million we would divide them up equally. it was a process, and it was a thoughtful process because we wanted to make sure the funds were distributed equitably. what we agreed to do was for the first million was divide them up equally. we wanted to make sure the tribal communities had access to the funds, and then the second million, we wanted to make sure
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that we went with the senate's intent on that money to replace a possible lost billing. and then went to collections. and then we went through what equipment is needed, but i will make clear that for the equipment at rose bud that was cited by cms, we had already either replaced that equipment or put it in procurement. that's money on top of the $2 million and what we decided to do with the $2 million is we will replace at each facility the central monitoring unit, which is a unit that pretty much holds the whole hospital together. and i understand that those funds will be available to the area this week. thank you, again. >> attorney, if you're looking at the whole funding issue, the health and human services acting deputy secretary mary wakefield testified in this committee that funding for the indian health services increased about 42 -- i'm sorry, 43% over the past number of years and continue to hear they're underfunded in the service. aye big part of the problem seems to be related to transparency, accountability. you used some of those own words in your testimony. people don't know where the money is going and i'm hoping you can help us get a better
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understanding. you may have to get this back to us for the last fiscal year and prior years under this administration. what percentage of the appropriated funds was used for patient care, because that's what we heard a lot of in the discussion. less for patient care is being used, whereas a larger percentage is using for administrative and other purposes. so if you could get that to us in terms of the percentages and actually dollar figures, as we're all looking for this accountability in getting this understanding. >> certainly, we'll get that to you, senator. >> you raised the issue of the great plains. the committee got a letter from the tribal association about the situation, the great plains, you're familiar with the situation, obviously.
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it asks that we take swift action to ensure that the indian health services is working to address the immediate needs of indian people in the great plains. it goes on to say that the crisis in the great plains continues to escalate, even after the hearing last month. an example is the impact of diverting patients from rose bud. indian health service emergency room. people dying in transit to non-indian hospitals and surrounding communities. the other hospitals are getting overwhelmed. about a 67% spike in patients. they report to us that the indian health services have been communicating with the hospitals where the patients are going to to ensure patient safety. the tribes really continue to be outraged and i think they have a right to be. this is a bipartisan issue, trying to help here. you need to know, we need real swift action. no band-aids, no more recycled plans to make plans. could you help us talk about specifically what the indian health services will do to make things right in the greater plains area? >> thank you, senator, and we
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have seen the letter as well. i agree with you. i perfectly understand the frustration of the tribe, and the situation is unacceptable. there is an urgency at the indian health service. and we are working on it. like i said, i've only been in this position for a week, but there is no more important thing than we need to work on than getting the three hospitals on track. we -- one of the major challenges with the hospital is the staffing levels. so we have a three-pronged approach that we're working on to address the staffing issues. in the short-term, we are doing the deployment of commission corps officers to get the emergency department at rose bud specifically back up and running. we are also working on a contract to contract for providers and long-term strategies for permanent hires. in fact, i have one little bit of good news.
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one of the challenges we face is the pay that we're able to pay, certainly versus the private sector, but even other government agencies, even the v.a. just this week, we got approval for a pay package, so that we are able to provide line doctors, our emergency room doctors, $300,000 and able to pay supervisors $325,000. that will help in our permanent hire. we are attacking it on many levels. >> thank you, miss smith. senator cantwell? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the vice chairman for allowing me to proceed. and i want to ask miss ramirez about the low income housing tax credit, as it is used in indian country. i know you described the president's budget and $50 million in indian housing after years of stagnant funding, but as a member of the finance committee, i have actualline been to montana where we saw low-income housing projects
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being used. so i'm wondering how you think that that tax credit could be used to leverage housing development in indian country. >> thank you, senator, for the question. you're absolutely correct. it is, as we all know, a financing resource that enables tribes to be able to build affordable housing or mixed income housing. in fact, during my testimony, i referenced that i had an opportunity to visit the yakey nation and they were successful with securing five low-income housing tax credits designations. we are very focused on increasing the public and private partnerships. and just to that point, we are working closely with tribal leaders and also with senator highcamp on pulling together a housing forum that will enable tribes to understand other private sector funding resources that are better able to address
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the need. >> you'd say it's a valuable tool? >> it is a very valuable tool, yes. >> good, thank you. mr. roberts, senator tester and i also introduced the safety act, which is about facilitating the tribal school construction improvements. i'm pleased to see the $138 million, the bump-up, was i)f"y maintained but clearly not enough to deal with the short fall. one of the issues seems to be the facility conditions index. for example, the tribal school that is at capacity and has two modular units but when you applied for the grant, they said it was operated for 37 years but the building was only 50 years old. i feel like there's always a lot of mystery here in what gets funded. i am getting nods. it shouldn't be a mystery. how are they fixing the index? >> thank you, senator, for that
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question. i will say in terms of the process that we're going to address new school construction for campus-wide facilities, the rules are very clearly laid out through the negotiated rule-making that tribes were a part of in that process. i will say that having observed that process, come into that process a little late in the game, i think there are ways that we can work with tribes in terms of future funding in terms of better addressing and making common sense choices. facility condition and index is key, right? and as part of this process for those ten schools that were invited by the committee to present, we reached out to all the tribes to say, hey, we need to make sure that all the tribal schools make sure that the facility condition indexes were up to date. so we did a lot of outreach over the course of the last year, to reach out with each of those schools to offer technical assistance and, also, we
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visit -- we have contractors visit those schools every three years to do a facility condition index. having said all of that, moving forward for schools, quite frankly, i think some of the schools, we need to take a look at how many students they are serving. i don't think that was a metric within the proposed rule making, or the negotiated rule making that was resolved. i do know that the facility condition index was 85% of the total scoring and a 15% scoring for those top ten schools that i worked in construction moved forward. i hope that answers your question. i think the facility condition index is vitally important. >> i'm not sure it does. i think -- here would be my goal.
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it reminds me of transportation funding, at least in our state that you have projects. and you have a certain degree where you are on the list. and where funding meets a certain level, you might actually get funded. and i think here, there are people they feel like they are on the list for decades and never know when they're going to get funding. it seems to be a mystery. i get that you want to have an index, and i think the index is great, but i think we need to have predictability for indian country when their project is likely to be funded, if ever, or if it's a constant thing where other projects because of population. that gives policy makers the
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ability to look at policies as well and maybe make suggestions or changes if people are falling through the cracks. so. >> thank you, senator. that gets to one of the statements senator tester made in his opening statement, and that is that while we are completing the school construction for the schools that were on the 2004 lives and we are selecting the five schools for the 2016 list, the department is going to be internally working at a long-term program to lay out for this committee and for tribes generally sort of, okay, here's where we are. here's the funding that's needed. and here's how we propose to move forward. >> my time is expired, thank you. >> thank you senator cantwell. senator danes. >> thank you. they get hit with massive fines because of the obamacare employer mandate. for example, the black feet tribe is going to face $1.1 million in penalties. the crow tribe will be hit with a $1.6 million penalty unless something changes. i've introduced the tribal employment and job protection act which will exempt tribes and
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tribal employers from the obamacare mandate and prevent these unreasonable, i would argue outrageous fines. the national congress of american indians and the national indian health board have endorsed this bill. and while the president recognizes the impact of obamacare on many and requested changes to other provisions like the cadillac tax, fails to be concerned with the employer mandate on indian country. for secretary payment on question, could you speak to the burden that the employer mandate places on tribes and the need for this legislation to exempt them from this mandate? >> the question is catered to me because i have been echoing this and speaking loudly on this issue. so for my tribe in particular as an example, i'm here to speak for nci but i have an example, the cost for the full implementation of the employer mandate is likely to be $3 million for my tribe. so we're beginning to see some of the gains under the affordable care act and the reauthorization of the ihs under the affordable care act. we're grateful for the affordable care act and permanent reauthorization and
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seeing some of the gains we received be erased because of the consequence of the employer mandate. probably more importantly on a broader sense and we met with representatives from the white house is we need to understand the full impact and the unintended consequences before implementation, not afterwards. so we've asked for that. there's a way the funding gets to indian tribes through self-governance tribes. then there's also tribes have insurances, some tribes don't have insurance. there's a complex maze to figure out what the unintended consequences are going to be, but i would venture to guess it's over $15 million in indian country, the negative consequence of the employer mandate. i would ask that this be put on hold until after we do consultation with tribes and we
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fully appreciate what the full costs are going to be. >> thank you, secretary payment. i want to shift gears and talk about wildfires. in 2015 montana experienced one of its worst fire seasons and montana tribal reservations were no exception. the fires in the black river reservation were so severe that the tribe opened a separate facility for elders and those with special health needs that were displaced by area wildfires. here's one of the challenges. oftentimes, these fires start on federal lands and then spread to tribal lands. the tribal force protection act of 2004 did attempt to address that problem and a proposal passed the house to provide tribes more freedom to protect the tribal resources. mr. roberts, do you support increasing tribe's authority to more actively manage the tribal lands and the neighboring federal forest lands? >> thank you for the question. i am not familiar with the act but i am generally supportive of obviously greater tribal self-determination and sovereignty and i understand that the act is particularly focused on the department of agriculture. so i understand that it does provide deadlines for certain types of funding to be provided to tribes. i think generally, we're supportive of deadlines. so i would like to talk more with my colleagues at the
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department of agriculture and circle back with my staff on questions that we might have. >> we saw some very clear examples of proper forest treatment management to stop from spreading but wildfires are not a respecter of boundaries. that interface is very important, so what i'd like is to get your commitment to work with me and the usda to address these tribal forests. >> absolutely. >> thank you mr. chairman and vice chairman for letting me go first. you know, i think when we usually do these hearings and other committees, there is one agency sitting in front of us who we can hold accountable for outcomes. one of our great challenges is the siloing of services for the tribes, whether it's health care with ihs, which is really hhs,
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whether it is housing or hud, whether it is all of the issues that fall in all of the above with the department of interior and obviously the department of justice. and i want to say i applaud this administration for doing the most that i've ever seen to try and coordinate among all of you to try to build relationships across the agencies to change outcomes. but with that said, we continue to see incredible challenges, whether it's housing or indian education, indian health care, law enforcement, respect for sovereignty and respect for consultation. and so i just start at that juncture, and i kind of be rapidfire here because there's so much to talk about. miss mason, obviously, we've extended an invitation to director comey to come to north dakota and come to even montana and see what's happening with the lack of law enforcement personnel, the lack of really protection for a very vulnerable population hasn't responded and i hope you will go back and ask him once again, given that you have primary jurisdiction in
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many of our states. >> i will share that information with the director, but i would also like to point out that in partnership with the department of interior, the office for victims of crime and the office on violence against women have been working collaboratively to provide services. >> it hasn't stopped drugs from coming onto the reservation, trust me. we're debating right now an opioid bill, a heroin bill. let me tell you, if you want children born under conditions they should not be born come to any one of my reservations, and there are people operating there with impunity. and that crosses over to the problems that we have in indian
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health and in housing. i want to applaud the great work of secretary castro. we've had a number of meetings. thank you for mentioning our efforts to get a major summit. i am curious about the report, when you expect it to be done, and when we will be seeing you all in north dakota or even maybe montana. i've offered maybe to share the responsibility, but we know we have a housing crisis. >> right. thank you, senator, thank you very much. and we very much appreciate the opportunity to continue to do what we can to foster private and public partnerships. with regard to the housing needs, a study report will be completed this year. we are looking at the preliminary -- >> can you narrow it? this year is a pretty big -- >> yes, i can. i definitely can. in july of this year we will release the preliminary findings stemming from the report. at that time, the report will be made available to the tribes for further tribal consultation. we welcome the opportunity to
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present to this committee the findings of the report. the final report will be completed by no later than december of 2016. >> terrific. i think that's critically important we look beyond the we're doing right now. it's obviously not getting the job done as it relates to indian housing and that exacerbates all of these problems, whether it's locating law enforcement where the crimes are being committed or whether it's getting medical personnel into critical jobs. so i guess my last question would be for miss smith, recognizing that you haven't been at it very long. but i think to follow up on the chairman's comment, you know, we're being asked to provide more resources, and most of you know that i am in that camp. the resources we're providing right now are not adequate to meet treating obligations, not adequate to fulfill our responsibility. but we need to make sure that what's being spent is being
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spent appropriately. and we look forward to hearing the outcome of what deputy secretary wakefield told us was the new structure for analyzing these problems and working across the line. but i will encourage you. so many members actually qualify for medicaid and could provide a third party reimbursement funding source that would, in fact, satisfy some of my hospital's concerns that ihs doesn't pay the bills. so that happens. so i want to continue to encourage you to encourage tribal members to enroll in medicare and medicaid and somehow, i know that this is a great concern that somehow that's an aggregation or inappropriate given the treaty obligation. hopefully the national congress can work with us to get the
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message out and we can fashion a program that could, in fact, make indian people more comfortable with getting health care through a third party fee-for-payment service. >> senator, thank you for the question. we are working very hard on encouraging people to sign up for medicaid and i actually spoke to tribal leaders in bismarck, north dakota, two months ago about medicaid expansion and that's exactly the topic we were talking about. we are collaborating closely with cms. >> i will tell you, tribal leaders get it. unfortunately, many tribal members don't. and somehow, we're missing that. and i think the more advocacy that we can get out there, the better the opportunity to expand services and give native american people a choice on where they get their health care. thank you, chairman. i'm sorry, one over. -- i'm sorry i went over. >> senator murkowski. >> thank you chairman and for
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each of you, thank you for the work that you do. i want to begin this afternoon by general comment about consultation. over the past few months, i can't tell you the number of conversations that i have had with alaska/native people both here in washington, d.c. and in alaska that are expressing more concern about the processes and the policies around consultation. we all know that the imperative behind consultation, the federal government has a duty to consult with tribes and to do so in a way that is meaningful, not just a check the box exercise. in terms of responsibilities that you all have with your respective agencies, i look at it and say, it's got to be one of our top responsibilities. so i'm just urging all of you, within your agencies, within your departments, as you develop
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your budgets and develop procedures, in your day-to-day operations, keep these cons consultations as a very high priority. i think some of you are doing a better job than others, and i'm not going to single anybody out, but i will put it front and center that when you do all that you do on a daily basis, do not forget the consultation part of that. i did have an opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with you, miss smith, in the appropriations committee this morning. i thank you for that and for -- i also thank you for your willingness to come to the state and see some of the issues that we have discussed. and miss castro ramirez, i invite you to come to rural alaska to see some of the housing issues you speak very informed about, but knowing that we have some concerns and some issues that are perhaps a little unique. i want to ask you specifically about this comprehensive housing needs study. you say that this is close to completion and the results of this study are intended to be
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used to be driving policy and strategy. this concerns me. it concerns me because i'm told that out of the 229 federally recognized tribes in alaska, there were only three that were included in your household survey. that was chickaloon, quinault and king cove. so you have a sampling rate that is vastly lower for alaskan tribes than tribes in the lower 48. that was brought to the attention of hud and to your contractors. know i'm very concerned about what this very important study upon which you're going to be basing future decisions, i want to make sure that alaska and alaska tribes are not under-represented or misrepresented. so i just need to know that this has clearly been brought to your attention. >> senator, thank you very much for the question. i just wanted to provide some context.
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the housing study that is being conducted by hud, essentially, by our policy department, the study is a national study. it is using a statistically valid sample, and we have engaged in substantial tribal consultation. this is one of the reasons why there has been a delay. we are working very closely with the alaska tribes. in fact, we held two tribal consultation sessions, but i will definitely follow up, senator, and i note your concern. and i will follow up. >> i appreciate that. because, again, it's three out of 229, and these are very small communities, for the most part. i want to ask you a question, mr. roberts, regarding tribal courts. as you know, i have made tribal courts in alaska a priority as well as other pl 280 states. we had language included in the
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omnibus last year, well, no, in '15, that directed a study of the budgetary needs of tribal courts, and then last year in the omni, there was $10 million for pilot tribal systems in the pl-280 states. we're making some progress there. as i keep saying, we've got our foot in the door, but the question to you is whether or not you have an update for me on how this pilot system may move forward and then also, the fy17 budget request plans to cut the funding that we had included, the $10 million, by $8 million from the 16 enacted levels. so the question is on the pilot and then any explanation for the proposed decrease. >> okay. thank you, senator. thank you so much for the funding.
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we really appreciate it. it's extremely important. i've heard from a number of tribal leaders in alaska when from ncai about the funding. one of the things to do is it's important to get the funding as quickly as possible. i think it's also important to consult with the tribes and the pl-280 states. how we are going to move forward is we have to have telephonic consultations within the next 30 to 35 days. we have a couple of days of telephonic consultations with the tribes in the pl-280 states. whether that funding, how that funding should be utilized. so i've heard a number of different things from tribes in alaska and other places in the pl-280 states. i think it's very important to have the court assessments but i heard it's very important for the tribes to implement some of the money in the tribal courts themselves. so that's going to be part of the consultation with tribes given that it is $10 million.
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as you mentioned, the fy-'17 request had a bump-up from $15 million. the 2016 budget was passed in the closing days of the year. so we weren't able to necessarily maintain that funding for the '17 request. but i know i'll be talking with tribal leaders as part of our tribal interior budget council in a couple of weeks. i'm really hopeful that we can build off of the great work we did for the fy18 budget but i agree with you 100%. it's very much needed, and we're going to try to make the best use of those dollars that we can. >> well, i appreciate that, and we really want to try to make a success of this. i do want to just add, mr. chairman, i was prepared to kind of jump on mr. roberts here this afternoon about some payments as
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they relate to compact funding due to bristol bay native association, the second largest employer in the region. they were looking to lay off or furlough some of their employees because they hadn't received the fy-'16 compact funds. and i received this afternoon that the issue was resolved and remaining funds go out today. so i can tell you ralph anderson and some there have been appreciative, waiting since december, and they're very appreciative that this has been resolved. so thank you. >> thank you, mr. murkowski. searpt -- senator franken? >> thank you, mr. chairman and vice chairman for holding this hearing. mr. roberts, ever since i first came to the senate, i have been raising an alarm, i guess, about the nagonagesha lake school in
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minnesota and pushing very hard every year to get construction money to rebuild the school. i was pleased that secretary jewel came to the lake reservation, an opportunity not just to see the school, but spend some real time there and see the deplorable conditions herself first hand. and what the teachers and the students have to deal with every day. and this is kind of disgraceful, this school. have you had a chance to go to the school? >> i have not yet, senator. >> okay. it is drafty. it is cold. structurally, it's not sound enough. if the wind blows hard, they have to leave the school. and that's very hard. in minnesota, it gets really cold. and if the wind is blowing more than a certain amount, they have
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to leave and run to another building, but it is, it's a deplorable condition. and so my question is, and i'm, you know, i've been trying to get this thing rebuilt every year, what is the status, can you tell me? >> yes. so, thank you, senator, for the question. as you mentioned, secretary jewel has been out there and my predecessor, kevin washburn, had visited. everyone i talked to within the department notes the horrible condition of the building, and it's a building that was never really intended for educational purposes at the outset. so there were some questions by your colleagues about the bie campus-wide replacement. the bug school doesn't fit in that category because it's a single building, essentially. so we do have appropriations. i'm hoping that within the next
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30 days or so, i have an answer for you on how we're moving forward with the bug school. that's my hope. i am meeting with the chairwoman of leetch lake later this month. with you i'm also -- but i'm also meeting internally with the team. everything i've heard is that there isn't a building in necessarily worse condition there. i don't have anything for you today except that i am very well aware of it and focused and i appreciate each amping of this issue. i have been to some of the schools on the campus-wide construction list, and the process that we have for school replacement right now, we need a lot more resources. >> well, usually at this budget meetings, that becomes abundantly clear, and i just
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want to say to my colleagues again, who are on this committee, that i believe it's our job to go to our caucuses and tell them. because we're the only ones who are hearing this testimony from indian country and about our native people. and we need to, we are not honoring our moral obligations or treaty obligations. and i think it's something we need to be, all of us on both sides of the aisle, we need to be telling our caucuses. especially when we have this hearing reporting on budget, it becomes especially apparent. i want to talk about opioid use. it has become epidemic in native indian country. in minnesota and in urban settings.
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whim american indians infants in minnesota make up 3% of kids born in public systems programs, they make up 28% of the infants born with neonatal abs sense syndrome. i know, ms. smith, i know tawahee initiative is intended, in part, to address this. are you hearing about similar rates of opioid use in indian country as i am hearing from minnesota and how will the tawahee initiative or other programs in the budget fight this rapidly increasing problem in my state and around the country? >> thank you, senator, for that question, and for your leadership on that topic. unfortunately, there is a very real problem with opioid abuse in indian country.
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we are working on it. we have, you know, in our budget, we have included $15 million for additional funding for our substance abuse initiative, but on an operational basis, we're attacking it on a three pronged basis. we have a policy that goes out to our providers as to how to prescribe correct dosages. we have mandatory training for all our providers, and then in terms of treatment, we utilize what's called m.a.t., medication assisted treatment to ensure that we're trying to, you know, address this epidemic. >> that's methadone? >> well, and then, we actually, since we're on this panel, it's not a solution but one of the things that helps with the problem. we are cooperating with the bureau of indian affairs, we
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have providedenal -- provided nalox own, we rolled it out in oklahoma and we are going to move that out to other areas. >> for o.d.s. i'm out of time. i just want to say that that epidemic is very much tied to the poor housing, the poor health care, the poor -- the job situation, in the sense of hopelessness that people get when they're living in those kind of conditions. thank you. >> thank you, senator franken. senator hoken. >> my questions are for deputy director mary smith. in your testimony, you note the challenges of recruiting and retaining quality health care professionals, specifically in the great plains region. and recently, i was informed of the credential process required under ihs and i heard that this
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process is cumbersome because it must be renewed every year. so i'm concerned that this may disqualify qualified professionals who are in good standing with the state medical boards from working in some of these underserved areas. and so i just wanted to get your thoughts on that. what's the purpose of the credential, in particular, having to go through this every single year, and do you think it does have an impact on retaining, attracting and retaining qualified staff? >> thanks for your question about attracting or retaining staff. we do have a number of challenges there. in terms of the credentialing, obviously, credentialing is necessary to ensure we are providing quality health care and the providers are credentialed, but with respect to our credentialing system, i do think there are improvements that can be made. we have a new quality consortium that is going to look at a lot
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of these quality standards, and one of the areas they're looking at is a more uniform credentialing process that would make, allow more flexibility for providers. so i appreciate your question. >> is that a change you anticipate you will be making, or is that something you're just looking into? >> i think we will make changes. i don't know exactly specifically what change. one of the things we're looking at is a different software package for credentialing. i don't have an answer today, like, whether that will go forward. we definitely will make changes to streamline the process. >> do you have any estimate on timeline for that? >> i hope we will be able to do at least some changes this year. >> something this year. >> yes. >> okay, and as you know, there are serious problems at the ihs facilities in the great plains region. many problems were due to lack
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of funding, no question about it. but in other cases, it's a lack of accountability. my next question, in your opinion, how does the president's budget leverage resources to empower ihs facilities and hold them accountable? one of the things we talked about was trying to leverage ihs facilities to address the resource issue. so how do you do that? and then, how do you get accountability, make sure you have accountability for performance on the part of ihs? >> thanks for the question. i think it is not easy, sometimes. but i think it's creating a culture of quality and accountability. and i think it starts at the top. and i think you need key leadership positions. and one of the things we're doing, and there is money for this in the budget, there's $2 million for our quality consortium. as i mentioned, we created a new position. deputy director of quality.
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and we are going to be setting up a quality system, which is essentially a compliance system with training. and we are going to be working to ensure that the systems are in place and that people are held accountable. and i think that was one of the problems that, why those problems arose in the great plains. so that is one of the top priorities that we will be addressing this year. >> well, i think there are other service providers that you can partner with to leverage your resources, but as part of that too, and this goes to the accountability, is reimbursement to hospitals, clinics, doctors, and others that do provide services either on or off the reservation. they have a real problem with backlog and accounts receivable or getting or collecting those receivables from ihs. so anything you can do to make sure that ihs, working with the
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tribes, gets payments out to the health care providers in a timely basis, i think now is not only important for them, for the service providers, health care providers themselves, but will help generate more services both on and off the reservation for native people. >> yes, thank you, senator. i agree. leveraging the resources and ensuring prompt payment. and i actually was talking to the person who runs our purchase referred care program yesterday about the processes she's putting in place to try to streamline those payments, so thank you, senator. >> yay, anything you can do there, because we really hear from the health care providers they really need help collecting the receivables. so thank you. >> thank you, and senator tester. >> i want to thank the panels for being here today. we're going to start with you, carol. the grand funds implements ballot is at $5 million. last year, i believe it was $2.5 million. you can correct me if i'm wrong.
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is $5 million going to be adequate? >> thank you for the question, senator. as you know, in march of '15, it went into full implementation of the expanded ability to prosecute non-native offenders for domestic violence. we have 45 tribes who are participating in our voluntary working group, so we expect the $5 million since 2014 and others implemented, we expect we'll have many more people applying for the money than -- >> is $5 million going to be adequate? >> we will make it adequate, but the need exceeds that. >> that's all i need to know. the doj appendage mentions allocating $1 million for research on violence against native women. it's in the same section about implementation. is that $1 million coming out of the $5 million or separate? >> that's a separate funding source. >> that's good news. now over to you, larry.
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you've heard this before. we will come in and talk to you about different kind of issues in indian country and they've got a lot of them. and we often say to you, you've got to fight harder during the budgeting process to make sure the budget meets the needs of indian country. does this budget meet the needs of indian country? >> thank you, sir, for the question. so i do think that the budget reflects the president's commitment to indian country. as i said earlier, the discretionary funding across federal agencies is less than 1% increase. for indian country -- >> i got you, but that wasn't the question. >> i know, i know. so the -- what i will say is, tribal rates still haven't regained the footing. from sequester. that was $142 million. so if there's anything, i know this congress, and i know many
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of you for the '16 budget help -- >> what i hear you are saying is this is the best you can do but it's still not adequate. >> i think everyone needs -- knows there's still additional needs in indian country. >> perfect, larry. i want to go back to what the chairman said when he opened up. if you've got metrics to bring to this committee to justify the increases in budget, it would be helpful. because i don't think there's anybody in this committee that doesn't understand some or all the programs. -- are in trouble, the sequester, the obama administration has done a pretty good job, but it was so doggone bad last -- they had a long ways to go. >> some of the metrics we can provide tomorrow are the great work that we've done in indian country with tribes. >> okay. >> on preventing violent crimes, reducing recidivism. >> i got it. otherwise, we just bring you in here to hammer you.
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that's why it's important. we have an obligation too. we've heard from tribes, tribal organizations, and entities to do business in indian country, and the loan program is a great economic development tool, and god knows in my neck of the woods, they need economic development in indian country. this is level funded. is that because the request for the loan guarantee program have been flat? >> it's a great program. we could use more. we can't always bump up everywhere across the budget. so we're focused on schools and youth and social services. it is a great program. we're doing the most we can. it leverages dollars for indian country. >> all right. i want to go to ms. ramirez. this year's budget proposal proposes a $50 million increase for native housing, which is good. press conference questions about the housing, but it's been
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stagnant for almost 20 years. i appreciate the advocacy for a bump-up. do you feel the additional dollars will be able to get out the door? >> yes, senator. i definitely believe the dollars will be able to get out of the door and the tribes will be able to invest and make use of these dollars. >> do you think the program is critically important when it comes to housing in indian country? do you think this is one of the big programs or kind of an ancillary program, there's other ones out there to fill this need? >> senator, this is the core program of nahasta, to provide the single source of funding to provide tribes the opportunity to develop affordable housing, to renovate -- >> so can i ask you a question? if this is the primary one. have you guys done an assessment on the standards of housing in indian country? like, are they, what percent are
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substandard? have you been able to do any of that? >> we have, senator. i mentioned earlier that we are in the process of completing a housing needs study that speaks to the conditions of housing across -- >> what does that study show? 80% substandard, 10%? >> in 2014, we released preliminary results using the census and american community survey. a few key statistics that were included were, one, a very severe overcrowding problem in indian country. three or four times that of the national average. we also know, senator, that tribes are having to use more of their ihgb funding to rehabilitate and renovate existing stock, and less is going into the creation of new affordable housing. >> thank you for the courtesy, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator.
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i'll start a second round. would you like to start? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and a couple things, and they don't go necessarily to this budget, but they go to the potential for change. and one is obviously something that we've been working on in this committee, and that is looking across the board on trauma and making sure that we have trauma-informed health care professionals, making sure that we have trauma-informed and trauma-based folks in our department of justice and in the bureau of indian education. just making sure that everybody understands this kind of new brain research that is going on. and so i will kind of warn you that i will continue to be a broken record as it relates to trauma as a potential path forward for change. the other thing, obviously, we've been talking a lot about this week is opioid abuse,
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heroin abuse. and i've met yesterday with a number of folks. it's that time of the year. but one of the meetings that sparked a great deal of interest with me was when i met with the women representing the ob/gyns. they believe there's prescription medications dispensed in a different way. and i can't speak to all the options that are out there, that would actually provide treatment, that's not methadone treatment for women who are addicted, who are pregnant. and i wonder whether indian health has taken an active look on other kinds of treatment options that they have for addiction, especially with pregnant women. >> thank you, senator. yes, i know. we are working on a multi-prong
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approach with opioid dependence. i don't, we have a whole division of behavioral health, and i was just talking with a dr. cotton, who heads that, yesterday, about the opioid crisis. and i know we're looking at a number of different things. we can get you, if we are doing anything specifically with respect to pregnant women, i can get you that information. >> we've been looking at it, but in the meantime, this is basically ballooned into a full-blown, absolute, horrible crisis, especially in indian country, but across the country, but especially in indian country in north dakota. if we are not pursuing state-of-the-art treatment options, then we're going to fail. and if we're not offering help to those who come in in dealing with their addiction, i think, obviously, from the standpoint of very many of the people who provide services to pregnant women, there is a big incentive
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for women to look at addiction and change behavior. and to me, there's a real option to get this done. and one of the frustrations i have with indian health is you continue to do what you've always done over and over and over again and expect a different result in indian country. it's not going to happen. we've got to change how we approach it, and we've got to look at a system that really treats the family. a system that treats the individual, and doesn't just say, okay, here's your diabetes and expect people to be compliant when they're addicted. i mean, it's just not going to happen, and we're going to continue to spend dollar after dollar without really treating the individual. so i would appreciate any kind of information on the structure that you plan on pursuing, especially for addicted, pregnant women, which has become a crisis. in fact, we've heard reports as
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high as women in 50% of the babies born from women who are addicted. i've heard the same kind of information. that's not a formula for a successful society in any case. and so falls on your shoulders, and we expect to know what we're doing about it. so thank you, ms. smith. >> thank you, senator highcamp. ms. ramirez, the budget for the -- your office proposes to raise the indian loan guarantee annual fee from 15 basis points to 25 basis points. the impact on a budget request to a $11 buyer monthly mortgage, $130 a year. this increase is now going to be assessed with some of the people who are most at risk homeowners. you stated the tribal consultation will take place prior to implementation.
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raising it from 15 to 25. currently, you use a negotiated rule-making. to conduct true and meaningful tribal consultation. despite recent concerning examples, this appears to be a successful model for a tribal consultation. are you going to be open to using this negotiated rule-making to implement this increase and a 184 program annual fee and how do you plan to go ahead with that? >> thank you, chairman, for the question. as you stated, the loan guarantee program is a critical program in indian country. we know that this is a program that works and enables the opportunity for home ownership. with regard to the modest annual fee increase, this modest annual fee increase is driven by the credit reform act of 1990. it is not a program of nahasda, hence, it's not subject to
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negotiated rule-making, but you have our full commitment that as we begin to have further discussions with tribes, we will engage in tribal consultation on the changes to the 184 program but also on the opportunities for the department to be able to improve the program in general. >> thank you. mr. roberts, the road :l)l maintenance program is responsible for maintaining almost 29,700 -- almost 30,000 miles of bia-owned roads, 931 owned bridges constructed with federal funds. the administration requested funding level for this year with a need to maintain only 16% of the road and 62% of it with the bridges in acceptable conditions. the funds are used to simply maintain the current condition. far too many public roads are in -- on indian reservations are in
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poor or failing conditions as i drive wind river reservation. so if only 16% of the bia roads and 62% of the bridges are going to be an acceptable condition, how can we safely get kids to school, drive somebody to the hospital without safe roads in which to drive? is the funding level in the president's budget too low given the importance of the travel community? >> it is an incredible importance in indian country. we hear about it all the time. the department of transportation takes the lead on those funding issues. i will say the president's budget, as you say, chairman, reflects maintaining the roads that you identified as in moderate or fair or acceptable conditions. so it's extraordinarily challenging to improve infrastructure in this fiscal climate, but so i share your concern about the issue. >> in addition to transportation, i go to education in the president's fiscal year 2017 budget request. education funding requests has
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increased. we all understand the urgent need to fix the broken school systems. i would like to bring to your attention the request for $20.4 -- $24.8 million for education management. can you talk about what services or type of services that education management provides? >> absolutely. and so, basically, chairman, the president's budget requests an $8 million plus-up for $24 million overall for that line. and the plus-up is essentially for 15 positions. contracting, acquisitions, construction, construction budget planning, ip education specialists. it's all of the, it's the 15 positions that we need for bie to address those services under the reorganization. and so it's really looking at human resource specialists, recruiters, budget planning. those type of things. so i'm more than happy to provide additional information to your staff on that funding.
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>> thank you. and secretary mace mason, want to talk about the division 21 project focused on current crime victimization and enhancing partnerships, improving integration to crime victims' rights. it's intended to facilitate to facility the ability of networks to meet current crime victims needs, organizational flexibility and stronger collaboration, those things that you talked about previously. the collaboration of crimes victims' rights and then the budget's request to include a project grant. can you talk about how you're going to, how will the development of these grants be tailored to tribal communities and incorporate tribal consultation prior to announcing the grants? >> thank you for the question. the $25 million request in the president's fiscal year 2017 budget is designed to give us more flexibility than we currently have with the voca funding and we have a history of consulting with the tribes and this is -- this request is a
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result of having numerous conversations with our tribal partners. >> senator, any additional questions? >> i do. thank you, mr. chairman. we go back to you, larry. there's a request in here, i think you discussed in your testimony of a $4 million request for native one stop initiative. is it -- it is an internet site. is there more to it an than internet site? >> absolutely. so it will, the internet site will basically, all of the different agencies across the federal government have their information fed into this internet site to provide tribes and individuals, you know, they can access the programs. let's say they have a housing issue. they can access the site and say, hud's got a program, we've got a program. >> let me refine my program. is there funding for a physical site too to go to or is it all internet? >> my understanding is it's all
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internet at this point. >> okay. okay, so $4 million, this must be one hell of an internet site. that's a lot of dough for an internet site. >> fair enough. but when you have a number of different federal government agencies across the government in indian country, there's quite a bit of data too. >> no doubt about that. let me ask you. how, broadband is pretty deficient in indian country. are we building something that they will not have access to? >> i think -- >> don't misunderstand me, i think it's a great idea, but if they don't have internet service, how are they going to access the website? >> so the president's budget got -- does support additional broadband access to bie schools. so there is increases. i'm not sure what the other federal agencies have for broadband, but i don't think this internet site will be something that needs the highest capabilities.
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i think tribes will be able to access it. it's something tribes have been asking us for, as a one-stop to identify those programs that serve them. so i think it's well worth the small investment and hopefully what it does, it saves tribes a lot of money as they're going through that process. >> your testimony talks about an office of services to work with assisting tribes in adopting and updating tribal court codes. and the same thing kinda for uniform commercial codes. updating tribes -- helping tribes update those. any of that work being done now? >> i believe it is. i would have to get you more information on that. >> if you could. i think, once again, i think it's a great idea. my next question would be, do you have the infrastructure to do this? >> we have a great team in ojs. i just don't have the details on that for you now, senator.
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>> that's good. and i have one last question for miss ramirez if i might. it has to do with the loan program. this is one of the programs we saw cut from last year's budget. and quite frankly, native americans, they want this expanded to include native americans that live off reservation. so i have two questions for you. number one, would you support that if this program was expanded? to be able to use this money, these loan guarantees for homes outside of the reservation? >> in principle, yes, i would support it. i would need to look into the technical requirements behind the loan guarantee program, because i know that it was designed for indian country. but, yes, i think anything that we can do to expand and increase home ownership opportunities. >> okay, that's good.
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and the second thing is, it's kind of the same question i asked other people in other programs, but this is a pretty doggone good program. and so -- and it's being cut. what is the justification? is it simply dollars, that's it, you had to cut somewhere, so this is the one that got the axe? >> senator, our request for $5.5 million for fy 2017, takes into account carryover funds that we are projecting from prior years. >> all right. how much carryover do you have? >> we're projecting close to a million dollars of carryover funds. >> on one hand, that's good. we'll just leave it at that. thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate it. and appreciate all your testimony. i grilled mary pretty hard this morning, so i told her i'd let her off the hook this afternoon. and aaron, i'm sorry. i'll catch you next time. thanks.
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on what senator tester's talking about and asking the question on broadband deficiency in indian country, putting all this effort into a state-of-the-art website where all this information can be integrated. can you talk a little bit about how the needs are, because there's some infrastructure lack in the community. >> so i testified earlier of some of the hard infrastructure, when you think of infrastructure like pipes and indian country is largely neglected with that. indian country, we've built basically what we do have. in my tribe's case, we were recognized late in 1972, so we've had to acquire everything that we have. mostly what we were able to acquire was old swamp land. so we're in rural communities and old swamp land that we have to build the infrastructure ourselves. so broadband is a critical need in indian country. we are not as rural as most other tribal communities. so we do have some access, but our access is limited. we have council meetings in the
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districts and we find we don't have the ability to connect and our tribal staff look at us and laugh at us because we can't connect. but they live with that day to day and try to do their jobs day to day. so i would say absolutely if the program that we're talking about is a wonderful concept, which is to connect across agencies, we've talked about that recently and try to get permanency across agencies, but if that's going to work, tribes have to have access. otherwise we're building a structure that is not going to be used by indian people. >> and it's a loss of opportunity to use the resources is there. >> i don't want to get in the middle of a fight. i would say that you need to -- >> well, with that -- >> if there are no more questions for today, members may submit questions. the record will remain open for two weeks. want to thank all of you for being here for your time and your testimony today.
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the hearing is adjourned. the supreme court is vested with this outsized amount of power, and with that power comes greater responsibility. the idea that you have individuals sitting on the court for, unfettered for 30, 35 years, is just not -- just doesn't pass the smell test when it comes to a modern democracy.
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>> sunday night on q & a, gabe roth talks about changes he'd like to see at the supreme court, including opening up oral arguments to cameras, imposing term limits on the justices, and requiring justices to adhere to the same code of ethics that other federal judges follow. >> the supreme court's decisions affect all americans. all americans are aware of the third branch of government, and in the last 10, 15 years, the third branch of government has become so powerful. the idea that issues on voting and marriage and health care and immigration and women's rights, pregnancy discrimination, i could go on and on. these issues that maybe 20, 30 years ago, congress and the executive branch would get together and figure out a compromise and put together a bill. that doesn't really happen anymore. the buck stops with the supreme court in a way that i feel is unprecedented in our history. and given that the supreme court is making these very impactful decisions on our lives, the
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least we as the public can do is press them to comport with modern expectations and accountability. >> sunday night on c-span's q & a at 8:00 eastern. >> when i tune into it on the weekends, usually it's authors sharing new releases. >> watching the non-fiction authors on book tv is the best television for serious readers. >> on c-span, they can have a longer conversation and delve into their subject. >> book tv weekends, they bring you author after author after author that spotlight the work of fascinating people. >> i love book tv, and i'm a c-span fan. >> next, france's interior minister talks about how his country has worked to combat terrorism since the attacks in paris last year. he also takes questions on relations with turkey. and accessing encrypted phones and other digital devices. from george washington
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university center for cyber and homeland security, this is about an hour. [ applause ] >> cyber and homeland security director, ambassador, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, i would like to thank you for welcoming me today. i am honored to be speaking in front of you at the prestigious george washington university where so many great american political figures honed their skills. i am thinking of former secretaries of state, john foster dallas and colin powell as well as former first lady
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jackie kennedy. i also would like, of course, to warmly thank the members of the center of cyber and home security, especially the director who was kind enough to invite me to give you this lecture on france and the terror threat. france and the united states have a very long-shared history. and despite the occasional quarrel, we have always been bound by very strong, even passionate friendship. i would even describe it as a unique friendship because when we are confronted to our times, we always pull together.
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after the attacks in france last year, i read the great american philosopher explain that for you are french are not seen as completely -- which is why you were so deeply affected by the tragedy we had just experienced. it's also for this reason that we were driving by the same emotion after the slaughter committed in san bernardino on december 2, 2015. i would like to express my deep condolence to the families and their grief. i therefore would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart, both personally and on behalf of france and the french people for the solidarity you demonstrated during the terribly difficult time we have just been through.
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the strong support shown by president obama and the american people meant so much to us. we will never forget. and france will never forget. and we will never forget the reaction of three american citizens, spencer stone, anthony sadler, and alex skarl at os. they contribute to avoid another terrorist tragedy in the train, which was carrying more than 500 passengers from amsterdam to paris. for that bravery, president hollande awarded them our highest decoration.
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in 2015, my country was the target of terrorist attacks of unprecedented kind and scale. 149 innocent victims lost their lives and others were seriously injured. in january, the targets chosen by the terrorists had an obvious symbolic significance. the editorial staff of "charlie hebdo." famous satirical newspaper. and police officers. they targeted freedom of conscience and expression, democracy and pluralism, and the values of the french republique. on november 13th, 2015, the killers struck indiscriminately at the very heart of paris, in our street. the bataclan concert hall and
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outside the stade de france. they attacked our young people. they attacked our way of life. among the bataclan victims was a young american student, naomi gonzalez. my thoughts go out to her family, loved ones, friends. before talking about the main lines of action we are conducting against terrorist networks in france and in europe, i would like to give you my analysis of the threat we are all facing. i believe we must understand it in order to protect ourselves more efficiently. over the past ten years, the threat has considerably evolved. the november attacks were planned from syria and coordinated abroad, yet all those were perpetrated by people
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radicalized on french soil. sometimes in a very short period of time. today, in fact, the threat is more and more diffuse. from our point of view the threat now takes many forms. on the one hand, it involves individual or small groups with accelerated training in handling weapons in syria or iraq. back in europe, sleeper cells capable as in november 13th of moving into action in cooperation with the syrian base of isis. on the other hand, individuals who are being progressively radicalized through environment, sometimes with the help of very informal networks which are thus even more difficult to identify.
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they feel they are responding to a general call to jihad by isis or by many other terrorists inspired by an organization. consequently, sociological and psychological profiles of jihadists or candidates for jihad has become more varied. some are criminals or former criminals who have been radicalized in prison or through encounters with islamists. this was for example the case of one of the terrorists involved in the attacks of january 2015. others are psychologically vulnerable and for various reasons, have developed feelings of hatred for the society in which they grew up. others finally tell themselves they are looking for meaning and
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have a fantasy conception of the islamist revolution thanks to the propaganda on the internet and on social networks. the jihadist organization rely on elaborate propaganda. i am thinking especially of the videos broadcast on social networks and of online media prepared by isis, such as dabiq written in english, or written in french. the battle against terrorism that is often fought in civil place, indeed most who have traveled or are seeking to travel to syria or iraq, have been radicalized online. basically the new jihadis is a combination of society and social networks.
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i am deeply convinced that authorities must cooperate with the actors of the digital community. just under a year ago, i was in california to meet the representatives of the major digital companies for enhanced cooperation on terrorist threats. since then, we have managed to agree upon a set of best practices which we collectively adopted in 2015. together, we are establishing a form of positive cooperation which must be encouraged. my staff and the digital professionals meet in an atmosphere of mutual trust and france has been a pioneer in this area. one may ask what is exactly the terrorist intent.
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not only to kill, but to foster terror, so that no one can feel safe anywhere. for that, there is an atmosphere of mistrust. our citizens pit against one another, on the contrary, neglect the fundamental principles of legitimacy by seeking innocent victims, terrorists attempt to place society on a permanent war footing. they seek to erase the boundaries between domestic and foreign, combat aant and non-combatant, and between civilian and military. this is what we must avoid at all costs. the response to terrorism is a state and the rule of law. very early, france realized the
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totally new and multi-faced nature of the threat. since 2012, we have constantly strengthened our counterterrorist capabilities adapted our arsenal to the evolving situation. i would like to tackle a few of the main aspects of this response. in france, in europe, of course, and quite obviously in cooperation with the united states. first and foremost, at the national level, to combat terrorist action and propaganda we have obtained new legal means better suited to the new time of the natural threat. since 2012, counterterrorism law has allowed prosecution of french citizens for participation in terrorist
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crimes abroad, which could not be done previously. this is vital for handing down sentences against returnees who were in syria or in iraq. then a second counterterrorist act adopted last 2014 instituted four major innovations. french nationals suspected of wanting to join active terrorist groups in the middle east are barred from leaving french soil. forbidding non-resident foreigners from presenting a threat to national security, from entering or living in the country. finding the individual terrorist undertaking as an offense. finally, legally blocking and removing websites advocating or
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glorifying terrorism. those measures are being applied in an extremely firm way and are proving efficient. in july 2015, we also adopted a major law on intelligence. our intelligence services now have a modern and consistent legal framework in line with the new threats, the most recent technological changes in the developments of national and international law. at the same time, we strengthened our homeland security and intelligence services by giving them additional human and monetary resources. last june i also created a specific terrorism prevention department that oversees monitoring of identified individuals and is enabling us to establish and update a system that covers such sensitive areas
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as education and facilities. so while the threat level has never been higher, france's response has never been so strong. this is demonstrated by the fact that 11 attacks have been foiled since 2013. six of them during last spring and last summer. we obviously strengthened our means against terrorists but we also developed innovative methods to prevent radicalization. telephone reporting hotlines set up in april 2014 allowed us to save over 4,007 reports. it enabled us to guide many families who benefit from valuable support and can report the risk of departure of syria or iraq when one of their
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relatives is on the brink of leaving france. thanks to this, we have already prevented many people from leaving and we acted before french youngsters succumb to violent radicalization. secondly, strengthening our protection against terrorism is also a key issue at the european level. it is why finally after the november attacks, i have obtained from our european partners many major improvements, strengthening of external border control, through modification of the schengen code, in order to finally implement systematic check at the eu's extended borders for all persons entering and leaving the eu. this will also apply to european citizens through the systematic
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consultation of european databases, the schengen information system, of course, and international databases such as interpol databases, of lost and stolen passports. in order to ensure these controls are effective, member states must systematically include
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