tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 14, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
♪ c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up thursday morning, pennsylvania republican congressman charles dent will join us. we will discuss the budget debate. his role as co-chair of the tuesday group, a group of center right republicans on fiscal and military issues. the 2016 presidential campaign and a preview of the april 26, pennsylvania primary. then judy chu will discuss immigration issues and the
upcoming supreme court hearing as well as the fair day in court kids act which will require every immigrant and child involved in removal proceedings receive legal representation. and the foreign affairs representative for politico will be on. watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern thursday morning. join the discussion. a congressional gold medal ceremony was held to honor the u.s. army's 65th infantry regimen known as the borinqueneers. they were the last segregated unit of the u.s. military. held in emancipation hall at the u.s. capitol visitor center, it honored their service during world war ii and in korea. this is about an hour and ten minutes.
>> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable paul ryan. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. good afternoon, everybody. it's great to see you here. i want to welcome all of you to the u.s. capitol. we are here today to honor the 65th infantry regiment of the u.s. army. [ applause ] or as we prefer to say the borinqueneers. isn't that cool? puerto rico became a part of the united states in 1898. soon after, congress created a special unit of puerto rican soldiers. they went on to fight for our country valiantly in both world wars and in korea.
but throughout their service, they suffered persistent discrimination. for too long their contribution to our history has been overlooked. so today, today we are setting the record straight by giving them the highest award within our possession, the congressional gold medal. [ applause ] i know a lot of people worked very hard to make this happen. and i just want to recognize just a few of them, the people who made this happen. first of all, commissioner peer luisi. [ applause ] congressman bill posey. [ applause ] senator blumenthal.
[ applause ] senator rubio. [ applause ] i also want to thank governor padea. [ applause ] we would like to thank secretary murphy and secretary mcdonald for joining us as well. [ applause ] finally, i would like to point out today that we have here with us some borinqueneers themselves. jose colon is here with us today. [ applause ] manuel sivero is here with us today. [ applause ] and john palazi. where is john? [ applause ] i would like to add that john now lives in milwaukee,
wisconsin. go packers. i won't hold things up any longer, only to say to our honorees that we are forever in your debt and this medal is long, long overdue. thank you very much and enjoy the program. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the presentation of the colors by the united states army color guard. the performance of our national anthem and the retiring of the colors. ♪ ♪
that served with heroism and distinction during both world wars and the korean conflict. lord, we praise you for this opportunity to acknowledge their courageous contributions to america's freedom with the congressional gold medal. lord, forgive us for segregating our puerto rican and latino soldiers and for being slow to acknowledge their contributions. may this congressional gold medal ceremony for the intrepid borinqueneers remind us that all humanity is wrapped in a blanket of mutuality and tied to a
single garment of destiny. send, send heaven's richest blessings upon this ceremony as you hasten the day when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. we pray in your sovereign name, amen. >> please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, resident commissioner from puerto rico, the honorable pedro peluisi.
[ applause ] >> the u.s. territory of puerto rico faces enormous chamllenges. it has been difficult for the my constituents and i to see the island suffer. it is easy to lose spirit as the good name of your home is tarnished, too often associated with the negative rather than the positive. that is why even though the korean war ended 60 years ago, today's ceremony could not be more timely. the american soldiers from puerto rico who formed the core of the 65th infantry regiment remind the public of the extraordinary contributions that puerto rico has made to this country since 1898. in times of both war and peace.
the borinqueneers remind me and the 3.5 million u.s. citizens i remember why we're so proud to be puerto rican at a time when our science of pride has been shaken but never, ever shattered. we should draw strength and inspiration from their legacy and emulate their example. after all, this band of brothers overcame adversity of the most extreme sort, fighting the enemy on the front lyoines of the battlefield while fighting discrimination in the barracks. these warriors may have spoken english with an accent, but their service and sacrifice were universally understood. the men of the 65th infantry regiment, many of whom are here today, but many more of whom did not live to enjoy this glorious moment, represent the human spirit at its best.
brave, tough, devoted to their duty and to each other. puerto rico has always had this nation's back in times of crisis. it takes a special kind of patriotism to fight for a country that you love but one that does not treat you equally. to the borinqueneers, those who are living and those who have left us, i want to simply say, thank you. [ speaking foreign language ] god bless the borinqueneers and the united states of america. [ applause ]
>> ladies and gentlemen, united states representative from the 8th district of florida, the honorable bill posey. [ applause ] >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. distinguished guests and especially the heros of the 65th infantry regiment. this is truly a momentous day, one which will honor to the gallant try of this decorated unit and the valor of each of its soldiers. during the darkest days of the korean war, the 65th infantry regiment fought some of the fiercest battles under some of the harshest conditions, and they did so as the military's last segregated unit, a true testimony to their character. it was a now famous battle of cho si n reservoir that the 65t
infantry regiment fearlessly provided cover for the 1 of tst marine division. their action earned high praise from general douglas macarthur who said, they are writing a brilliant record of heroism in battle, and i am proud to have them under my command. i wish that we could count many more like them. for its extraordinary service in the korean war, the regiment earned a medal of honor, nine distinguished service crosses, approximately 250 silver stars, over 600 bronze stars and more than 2,700 purple hearts. today the borinqueneers join the ranks of the most intrepid american warriors who have received the congressional gold medal. i would like to recognize the efforts of hundreds of people in the borinqueneer community whose
dedication results in this worthy distinction. i would also like to acknowledge a group of exceptional students from saint luke's lutheran church. they took it upon themselves to embrace the legacy of the borinqueneers and pay tribute to their achievements of the 65th infantry regiment. congratulations, borinqueneers. thank you for your fierce courage and service to our country. may god continue to bless you and the united states of america. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states senator from connecticut, the honorable richard blumenthal. [ applause ]
[ speaking foreign language ] >> because i'm going to be followed by marco rubio who will correct me when i get it wrong. and i want to thank senator rubio for his partnership in this effort as well as my colleagues senator mcconnell and senator reed who were so instrumental in making possible this extraordinary day. there are very few magic moments in this place. but this time is one of them. and it was made possible by truly a bipartisan effort. we ought to see more like it in the united states congress. [ applause ] i want to thank the borinqueneers who are here today, particularly my friends
from connecticut. [ applause ] thank you for being here. [ applause ] they inspired me in connecticut and then when i visited the borinqueneers in puerto rico to see their history displayed in photographs and to hear from them the stories of their bravery and others of men who did not come back. they are american warriors. they are american fighters. and patriots in the best and bravest sense of the word. [ applause ] and we honor them today in a proud tradition. the tradition of the tuskegee airmen, the navajo code talkers, men who braved and overcame and
defied the insult of discrimination and even segregation. who showed us how to be better americans. [ applause ] the men and women of puerto rico are americans. and their contribution to america's defense and most importantly the ideals of the american dream, the ideals of freedom and opportunity and equal rights under the law, are remarkable, not just in war but in peace and the borinqueneers came back from war and continued to serve and sacrifice for our great nation. we are the greatest nation in the history of the world. but we are imperfect. and the borinqueneers remind us
that their journey and ours will never end as long as we tolerate the imperfection of discrimination and segregation in this country. and i want to thank them for giving us this opportunity to recognize and celebrate their patriotism, their courage, their strength, resilience and resolve that will make our nation better and continue to make us the greatest nation in the history of the world. god bless you and god bless our great country. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states senator from florida, the honorable marco rubio. [ applause ] >> thank you very much.
first of all, i was very impressed with senator blumenthal's spanish. for those of you who don't speak spanish, he just said he saved a bunch of money on his car insurance by switching to geico. and i want to thank him as well for the opportunity to work with him on this very important issue. we're gathered here today for a moment that's been years in the making and quite frankly many years overdue. and i do want to say from the outset that as a member of the u.s. congress, i wish we could have honored with you this medal sooner. i join all the borinqueneers present today in remembering your brothers in arms who passed away before this day could come. including those who have died since this legislation was signed by the president in 2014. it is my hope that more than -- that the more than 1,000 borinqueneers still living throughout the united states as well as the family members of those who who have fallen and departed or are missing in action, that they will not at least that their service has
received the ultimate tribute from a grateful nation. over the years, even in the shadow of unequal treatment, your regiment never faltered and failed to prove how valuable it is to the cause of freedom. my favorite example was operation portrex. when the borinqueneers were tasked with playing the role of the enemy aggressors in the military exercise, they were able to halt the group of more than 32,000 american troops. after seeing their skill, our army commanders wisely quickly deployed them into the heart of the korean war after seeing their capabilities. it has been one of my great honors as a senator to be involved in the effort to secure the congressional gold medal for the borinqueneers by having the opportunity to co-sponsor the legislation that passed in 2014. today i would like to thank two congressionally designated liaisons to the u.s. who work to ensure this medal would be as
impressive as it turned out. sam and javier who are army veterans. i would want to echo what congressman posey said about the school in florida. several of them are here today along with their teacher who is the granddaughter of two borinqueneers. they raised thousands of dollars in their community towards an ongoing national effort to ensure that every living borinqueneer would receive a replica of the congressional gold medal. [ applause ] the passionate efforts of mr. rodriguez and mr. morales and miss ford and her students and so many others would have labored to make this day a reality is part of what makes this medal so special. it reminds us that the legacy of past generations of borinqueneers who fought and died for america is indeed a living legacy.
today that legacy alive and well reminds us that america is truly an exceptional country. ours is a nation made up of people from all different backgrounds and all different cultures who came together as one nation because we share a common idea that everyone deserves the freedom to exercise their god-given rights. each member of the 65th infantry regiment fought for that freedom. not just for themselves. they fought for every man and woman and child in these united states of america. so in closing to the borinqueneers, i would like to say congratulations on the unveiling of your well deserved congressional gold medal. more importantly on behalf of my staff, on behalf of my children and of the people of florida, i say thank you. thank you for your service. thank you for your courage and thank you for fighting to make this nation the best it can be. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the democratic leader of the united states house of representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. [ applause ] >> good afternoon, everyone. it is my honer to join our speaker and our leaders in the senate in welcoming you all to the capitol on this very special day for all of us. a privilege to have each and every one of you here along with the secretary of veterans affairs and secretary of the army. i'm pleased to join senator -- leader mcconnell and leader reed in this very personal gold medal award ceremony. it is such a special day to join our colleague, resident commissioner perilisi who is
part of the sponsor of the legislation and thank the other sponsors. our advocate in the house of representative, nidia velasquez, who is here with us today. [ applause ] and, of course, a special honor to welcome governor pedia of puerto rico. [ applause ] just in case everyone hadn't been introduced, we had to go over it some more. it's an honor to join all of you as we destbestow the gold medal the dignified 65th infantry regiment. honor and fidelity, so rings the motto of this courageous group. first formed as a unit of puerto rican volunteers, it was redesignated at the 65th infantry regiment in 1920.
with honor and iffidelity, it became -- overcame prejudice and bigotry and wrote a new chapter of heroism in our shared american story. that is part of their legacy. in the panama canal zone in world war i, later on the doorstep of germany, in the defining time of the korean war and beyond, borinqueneers protected freedom abroad and advanced dignity for puerto rico and latino americans at home. the korean war in particular, the borinqueneers astounded their commanders with their spectacular valor and courage. they toaught lessons. they enriched our nation with the strength of their service through the excellence of their example and the power of their bravery.
the borinqueneers' volumer under fire is nothing short of legendary. and it's no accident that the u.s. army's first latino general in the u.s. army, general richard cavosose is a veteran of the 65th infantry. i believe he is with us today. general, are you here? please rise and be acknowledged. [ applause ] the first four star general. i should speak directly to you're heroic service, all of you, as truly one of the great american stories. it's not just about what you did then, which is a proud legacy and a dignified legacy. it's also the fact that others from the latino-american community, puerto ricans and others, followed in your footsteps and are very important
parts of the national security of our country. i know that my colleagues would agree that wherever we travel in the world to visit our men and women in uniform, including in some of the u.s. hospitals around the world, we see and meet latino-american brave men and women in uniform who are fighting, who have fought for our country. you should take some satisfaction in your leadership role. and that is part of your legacy. [ applause ] again, as senator blumenthal members, it stands among some of the most honored names in american military history. units who overcame the worst discrimination for the right to defend our country. today we add to the rolls of our
most kocourageous, the native american code talkers, the 100th infantry beattalion of the japanese-american combat team, tuskegee airmen and the marines. imagine, they were out there fighting for freedom. you were out there fighting for freedom while being deprived of it in many cases at home. [ applause ] again, you are making america more american. to these ranks of heros, it is our privilege to add the 65th infantry regiment. to the veterans of the 65th regiment -- infantry regiment with us today and to your families who shared your sacrifice and contribution to america, to all those around the country, thank you. thank you for your service, your
leadership, your courage. thank you for your honor and your fidelity. thank you for defending freedom and enriching our great democracy. thank you for blessing america with your service. god bless you. god bless america. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, the democratic leader of the united states senate, the honorable harry reid. [ applause ] >> on may 19th, i was given the unique honor, but it was 1996. i represent the united states senate at the dedication of the monument of remembrance in san juan, puerto rico. i will never forget that day.
i was a new senator. it was a beautiful day. i can remember the hot sun. i can remember the crowd that was there. i can still picture that dedication in my mind's eye. the new monument looked exquisite in that great puerto rican sky reflected off the round granite wall that bears the names of every puerto rican who had fallen in defense of the united states in world war i, world war ii and korea. and vietnam. but what i remember most isn't the spectacle of the dedication. rather, will always remember the feeling that prevailed at that dedication. the honor of those veterans in attendance we could all feel it. the reverence for the service members who paid the ultimate price, we could feel it. and the immense gratitude the
people of puerto rico had for their veterans. the same emotions are with us today as we honor the 65th infantry regiment. to be sure this honor is late in coming, we have had a number of people say that. but in spite of the 65th infantry rent mea regiment's hes efforts were unrecognized for too long by congress and by the american people. as one member of the regiment said, and i quote, we lost so many. the american people don't know the sacrifice of so many puerto ricans who died in korea. it was the bloodiest war for puerto rico. closed quote. the sacrifices of service members from puerto rico were disproportionately large. 740 puerto ricans died in the korean conflict. 2300 were wounded.
many of them grievously wounded. 121 are still missing in action. the 65 infantry regiment paid a terrible price, a prize for freedom, our freedom. but they left an incredible example of service and patriotism that tens of thousands of puerto ricans have followed by enlisted in the armed services. it was an exemplary service those military folks in all those conflicts, but especially korea. today all across the world, puerto ricans are fighting and sacrificing for our country. throughout the war on terror and the combined veterans -- combined operations in iraq and afghanistan, 78 puerto ricans have been killed and 378 have been wounded. all in combat. the brave men and women of puerto rico who serve today are falling in the footsteps of the 65th infantry regiment. they will always be remembered for their heroic efforts.
they will be remembered by the fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers, and all puerto ricans will remember the sacrifices of the korean conflict. and we should do the same. i'm confident i will and i hope we all do. may we as a nation never forget the 65th proud infantry regiment. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, the majority leader of the united states senate, the honorable mitch mcconnell. [ applause ] >> christmas eve is a special time for many of us. it's an evening filled with love and anticipation, confections and devotion. that's true whether you are
louisville or las vegas, anchorage or austin, seattle or san juan. if you happen to be in san juan one particular christmas eve in 1950, you might have seen families celebrating over elaborate dinners. you might have detected the smells of roast pork and the faint melodies of familiar songs like silent night. and maybe, just maybe, you might have detected a recognizable echo from half the world away, the sound of soldiers singing in spanish the very same song. it could have been a song of gratitude for a hot shower and warm meals or a song of remembrance for comrades lost or a song of celebration for one of the greatest withdrawals in modern military history. what we do know is this.
the men singing that christmas eve off the coast of north korea were proud members of the 65th infantry regiment, the borinqueneers. these soldiers had just faced a daunting mission, help korea refugees and fellow american soldiers escape from over 100,000 communist chinese troops. troops that not only outnumbered the americans but carried order to annihilate them. outgunned and outmanned though the 65th may have been, these soldiers courageously marched forward through subzero temperatures, through mountainous terrain and right into heavy gunfire. near the beaches the 65th swung into action providing rear guard assistance to the 1st marine
division. what these soldiers achieved at the reservoir helped thousands maneuver to safety. the men of the 65th lost many comrades. but they stayed behind until the job was done. they were among the last to evacuate on christmas eve. it's no wonder general douglas macarthur praised them as a resolute will to victory. these soldiers he said were writing a brilliant record of achievement. it's a record that began in the sometimes hellish theaters of world war i and world war ii. it continues across fierce battles in the korean war. what these men achieved is all the more remarkable when you consider the other obstacles they often had to confront at the very same time. so we're proud today to have some of these brave men and their families here with us.
we also honor the soldiers who can't be here. we remember the wounded, the missing and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. the soldiers of the 65th infantry regiment distinguish themselves with a number of high honors in the korean war. as others have said, nearly a dozen distinguished service crosses, some 250 silver stars, more than 600 bronze stars and over 2,700 purple hearts. we add to that today with the highest civilian honor congress can bestow. the congressional gold medal is an honor that has been granted to our country's most distinguished military units from the raiders and the navajo code talkers to the fighter aces and the tuskegee airmen. we now present it to a group of soldiers who distinguished themselves with bravery and a determination to never stop
writing that brilliant, brilliant record. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable paul d. ryan. [ applause ] >> when you start learning about the borinqueneers and their history, the question that keeps coming to mind is, would you fight for a country that discriminated against you? would you fight in an army that puts you in a segregated unit? and would you fight without any guarantee that one day, way down the line, your country would finally recognize your service? because these men, they did
that. it takes a certain caliber of man to do that. i recently heard a story that makes this point beautifully. it's about one of the men i mentioned earlier. john was a doctor serving in korea. one day a korean couple came to his aid station with a very, very sick baby. he had a severe case of pneumon pneumon pneumonia. there was a new wonder drug called penicillin. john knew it would save the boy. there were strict rules about its use. you were supposed to give it to american soldiers and american soldiers only. john later said, i just could not simply let that baby die. and so he gave their son an injection. six weeks later, the couple came to visit john at his aid station. now very, very far away from where he had originally met them. and thanked him for curing their
son. in exchange they offered him a bag of chestnuts and he gladly accepted. i tell think story -- a simple story, because i think it illustrates what we admire in the borinqueneers. they showed us that time again, courage does not know color. decency does not pick sides. these men did not fight to preserve the status quo. they fought to make their country better. and they succeeded. their decency was so plain, their courage very obvious, that now the whole country has honored them for their valor. their story of the 65th infantry regiment is full of heroism and sacrifice. and with this medal, the borinqueneers, we are weaving that story into this fabric of american history.
allowing me to join this assembly of distinguished members of congress to represent the regiment. for which i was part. on behalf of the men who were members of the regiment, it is a distinct privilege for me to receive this highly prestigious award, the congressional gold medal. it is well-deserved tribute to the brave men that fought many hard battles in korea. those who survived as well as those who lost their lives in combat, their devotion to duty and many acts of valor against
the enemy, demonstrated the skills and their loyalty to the united states. william harris, the former commander of the 55th infantry regiment, in combat in the early part of the korean war, expressed it best when he said, and i quote, no group has greater pride in itself and its heritage than the puerto rican people. [ applause ] nor have i encountered any that were more dedicated in support of the democratic principles for
which the united states stands. [ applause ] i accept this medal in the name of the regiment, the families of those who lost their loved ones, the families of over 100 missing in action, and whose remains have not been recovered. thank you again for remembering the 65th infantry regiment, for our extreme sacrifice in many cases, in battles against the enemy. god bless you. [ cheers and applause ]
next time, we're going to get congresswoman vasquez from new york, she was singing the whole time. so they were awesome. [ applause ] first off the bat, speaker ryan, thank you for hosting us and to all the national political leaders, thank you for your leadership to make this a reali reality. [ applause ] and of course, the other speakers i want to echo the remarks that there are some great military leaders here in our presence. we have oured adjutant general puerto rico, we thank you for your leadership. it's a historic year for the army. we have three women graduate
from ranger school. there's a great general officer right there one of the mentors to this next generation. so thank you so much, ma'am. [ applause ] we also have the vice chief of staff, general dan allen that is here. [ applause ] and general tim cavity, who is head of our reserves. so thank you so much, general. [ applause ] now, we are here to recognize this unit for their time in korea, but they have led in so many efforts for our nations. with two members of congress that are also korean war veterans. congressmen sam johnson and we have congressman charlie rangel. charlie, thank you so much for your leadership. [ applause ]
and let me just say something about this group. their service in uniform was extraordinary over generations. as an iraq war veteran of this generation and now in this role, it's the korean war generation and the vietnam generation made sure when my generation came home, we were welcomed with open arms and we owe you a debt of gratitude for welcoming us home and making us feel like brothers. thank you so very much, every single one of you. [ applause ] as speaker ryan said, it could have been easy to look down, it could have been easy to turn your back, it could have been easy to put that uniform away and not serve anymore. but every single one of you showed what it means to be an american soldier. to be a soldier for life. that when you wore the cloth of
our country, the love of our nation is stamped in your heart forever. and you continue to serve. you continue to be an asset to our community, all over the world. when speaker ryan told that story about the colon over there with the penicillin, our soldiers, we're quite professionals. let me tell you something, you saved that boy's life. wherever an american soldier goes in this world, we make a positive difference. in your generation, in my generation, and it's hard to see it in real time. but you ask the people of afghanistan. there's millions of girls that are going to school now that never went to school before in afghanistan. that's because of the american soldier and our troops. [ applause ]
now, colonel, your eloquent speech, we appreciate. i will tell you, you look like an american paratrooper. i see his combat infantry badge on his shoulder. let me tell y-- he does look go. i think he's a married man, but he does look very good. but the heart of an american soldier is what we're celebrating today, and it's an honor, as your secretary of the army, to be here, to celebrate with each and every one of you. god bless you and god bless america. thank you. [ applause ]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable robert mcdonald. >> good afternoon. good afternoon. i'm pleased to be able to add my congratulations to everyone who has had a hand in make thing day happen, especially to those veterans who have earned this award through their pioneering service. my mission, and the mission of my apartment is the care for those who have born the battle, in president lincoln's words, and for the families and their survivors. it's the best and most inspiring mission in government, serving the best and most deserving clients in the world. the proof is right here among us. this the veterans of the 65th infantry regiment, this honor is
long overdue. but i want you know the veterans of puerto rico have never been forgotten by the american people. the v.a. has been caring for them for longer than it's been a department, providing them the same care and benefits available to other veterans. over 60,000 veterans are interred at the puerto rican cemetery where the wartime services of each one of them are etched in stone for all to see. among them is master sergeant juan martinez, a native of puerto rico. he enlisted in the army in 1948 and in april of 1951 was serving in korea with company l, 65th infantry regiment, 3rd infantry division. when his company was forced to withdraw by enemy attack, he
stayed behind and single handedly stopped the enemy from seizing the roadblock his company was defending. he held his position. and he held it through the entire night buying time for his company to regroup, and successfully counterattack. and for his bravery, he was recently awarded the nation's highest award for valor, the medal of honor. [ applause ] i'll be in san juan later this month, beneath the walls of the old spanish fort, where the 65th
fired the first american shots of world war i. while there, i'll visit the national cemetery to pay my respects on behalf of a nation, to those who did not live to see this day. but who are finally now receiving the recognition they so richly deserve. they will always be remembered, that's president lincoln's promise. that's the v.a.'s promise. and that's my promise, as well. god bless you all and god bless the united states of america. [ applause ] ladies and gentlemen, please stand as the chaplain of the united states house of representatives gives the benediction.
>> let us pray. may the hands and hearts of this nation be raised in prayer and praise for this puerto rican unit, which served our nation and the hope of freedom for all of the world. through three wars the borinqueneers chose to serve while they were still not completely welcome to share in the fullness of the american social fabric. even so, the unit earned thousands of military honors for their service. may the breath of god uphold their noble and heroic story. may it carry to other generations and even to other generations a message to inspire
citizens everywhere to observe everywhere without counting the cost. may those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who etched out historic victories, and those who suffered personally, the pain of discrimination in those dark days of our world and our nation, be rewarded with success and find peace. bless all women and men in military service, no matter their racial, cultural or religious heritage and their families. god bless america and grant us peace, both in the present and with you forever, amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain at your seats for the departure of the official party.
congress is considering legislation that would create a pilot program to pay wounded warriors with support talks. the bill would create a five-year, $10 million pilot program aimed at veterans suffering from ptsd. a house oversight and government reform hearing looks into the benefit service dogs provides veterans. we'll take you live on c-span3 tomorrow. >> i had a couple of meals and a steam shovel. i think, again, it's one of the other ironies to those rabidly anti-government and owe your entire fortune to the government. >> sunday night, sally benton talks about her book which takes a critical look at the bechtal
corporation. >> who else is the united states government going to get to build these projects throughout the world and i think, you know, it's fine for it to be bechtal. but if the american taxpayer is paying for it, it seems the american taxpayer should have access to some information about their -- the contracts, the amount of money, the worker's safety, the political relationships. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's c and a. former defense secretaries testified to talk about the cost and benefits of the uk's membership in the european union. the uk votes on whether to remain in the union on june 23rd. from london, this is two hours.
>> so the final evidence taking special note, the role in the world for the united kingdom. so identify for the record. >> thank you very much. let me explain how we're going to do this. i advise each of you to make an opening statement of no more than 500 words. and then i'm going to advise each of my colleagues in turn to put questions to you and give
each of my colleagues ten minutes in which to do so. and then at the end, i may invite you to make very brief remarks to comments on things you may have heard in the session. so if we can go ahead and begin, i can invite you to open the batting. >> thank you very much. could i begin by congratulating the committee on the nature of this meeting today. i think it's probably the first time the conservatives has created a joint platform here. we're all speaking in our personal capacities. perhaps i should say where i'm personally coming from. historically, i have found it difficult to be on either end of
the spectrum from this issue. what i've tried to do for each of the issues involving the european union is look at the cost and benefits of each sector. i have to say, on foreign policy and britain's place in the world, i have not found it at all difficult to come to a judgment, because i plooebelievt the benefits are very substantial and the cost are minimal if not insignificant. the way in which any country conducts foreign policy is to use power, an when it does not have power to expand its influence. when it comes to the eu, we have power and substantial influence. the power we have should not be underestimated. there cannot be a foreign policy issue with the eu unless there's
unanimity. we can prevent any policy we don't like, and secondly, because we are a member of the eu, we can prevent the eu adopting a foreign policy position we don't like. there can be no european view if any country objects to it. when it comes to influence on the more positive side, along with germany and france, we have more influence than any other country and we see the importance of that on issues hike the iranian nuclear negotiations, the sanctions against russia, where your has made a real difference to the global position. if we were not in the european union, such are the common strategic interests with the rest of europe that a lot of our foreign policy effort could have to be diverted to influence the european union of which we were
no long eer a member. so we would be in the extraordinary situation to have given up the power to control or influence policy, but seeking as outsiders, so the outcome would be very important to us. for britain to be alone amongst friends in 2016 would be absurd. i notice that there is rhetoric that -- who is going to be influenced in a way they're not being influenced by the united kingdom at the moment in the united states have made it clear they don't want britain to leave
because they see our role as important to them, as well influencing the european union tradition. but the old and new commonwealth take the same view. they want the united kingdom in the eu, not outside of it. and the only people who would rejoice are the russians. they want the fragmentation of europe and they would see this as the first major step. let me conclude, because i know time is short. but one final thing. the world is becoming, as we all know, this committee knows more than most about this, the world is becoming global. the big decisions over the years to come are going to be taken more than anything by the united states, by china, by india, by russia, and by the european union, whether we're in it or not. is it seriously being suggested that the united kingdom with 65 million people, less than 1% of
a world of 7 billion is going to have more influence by itself than as part of the european union? my final point, i remembtogethe china, we represent a quarter of the world. now let's not make the same mistake, that somehow we are not strengthened by being part of the european union. thank you. >> thank you very much. can i invite you to speak? >> thank you very much. i think it is important to say that i was born in west germany.
i know these things are perfectly possible, but i know what it requires for it to work. i spent two years as a health minister, i spent 15 months trying to negotiate a european constitution. on behalf of this committee, by the way, when the constitutional convention was formed, it was this committee which sent representatives. and it was our duty to bring the european union closer to its people. i think it literally was in july of 2003 when after all attempts i reached the conclusion that this institution did not wish to be democratically accountable. that it was incapable of changing. and looking back now, i think the trajectory of where the united kingdom peeled off in some ways, started off with our
refusal to be part of the euro, and where we are today, is in the position where to one is actually prepared to defend the institution. we keep talking about the benefits of membership of an institution no one prepares to defend for its merits. so can we just talk about the institution? we're part of the imf, part of nato and parts of all kinds of alliances and groupings. what is different about the european union, it is an institution of supremacy. none of the other alliances does so. so i would urge colleagues to think about democratic accountability and where it's
going. before 2010, before the prime minister went off on a thursday to the european council. they have all gone. we have not only increasingly given more areas of decision making, this place itself is simply not taking an interest or the ability to influence and shape some of the decisions. which takes me to why do i now say we should leave? let's just be clear. if it weren't for the fact that the prime minister called the referendum, i would not have sent an application form.
it's a once in a generation chance to make a decision. i look at this institution when there were big blocks, there was the cold war, there was the east bloc, there was the americans and europe. but i would suggest there's been three ways of globalization. the ones that started with the formation of the wgo. increasingly the european union becomes the organization that hands down decisions to member states. the second one was the global slow of capital. and the migration crisis we see now is actually the third wave of globalization. and they're incapable of dealing with that.
but when i'm asked do i think that this institution, nobody is prepared to defend, am i going to endorse it? i say no, i think we should leave. >> thank you very much indeed. >> i am surrounded by conservatives, something which is physically impossible in scottish politics. but you have three scotts and a german trying to deal with the anguish of england. i'm sure we'll do our absolute best. i see this country's future as very connected with europe. the campaign that's been conducted thus far, i feel it's
almost like the scottish referendum has been split in two. one thing arguing for in, one arguing for out. so i don't think the fantastic compositions -- i'm going to take the view that if we didn't have an institution like the european union, we would find it necessary to invent one and no doubt we would invent one with many imperfections, but one to deal with challenges which we should and must meet on a constant basis. perhaps i can bring to the committee some practical
experience. i dealt with the domestic policy over a 7 1/2 year policy and i was thinking last night if i could identify those things which were so constrained by european union. i thish i had to introduce a living wage in scotland. but each of these are capable of being dealt with. and i can think of a whole range of policy initiatives which were enabled which membership of the european union. so pi position is an institution like the european union would be necessary to invent if we didn't have one. this country's future is with europe and we should embrace it. it is said that people are not
going to defend the european union. i'm prepared to defend it. i think it has achieved a great deal and with effort, it can achieve a great deal more. but on the issue of practical experience, opposed to phantoms of the night, i hope to offer this committee some insight. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. for me, the whole issue is one of sovereignty. so it's not possible for me to disaggregate the concepts of sovereignty related to that in terms of foreign policy security. i want to live in a free and independent country. for me, the positive benefits of leaving the european union, to get control of our law making, our borders and control of our own money and for me, i do not
believe in the concept of super nationalism. i do not believe that we should give voluntarily our identity to be subjugated to a legal authority rather than a cooperative organization. i do not believe that we can talk about europe and the eu as being the same. and one of the things that irritates me is people talking about europe and eu as one in the same. europe is a continent with individual nations. the eu is a political construct run for those at the center with precious little regard for its actions. i'm not one that says everything the eu does is bad.
i think the ability for the eu to act as a beacon for countries who are under soviet tyranny, i think that was very important. but i do not believe that the european union understood the consequences of the new world that was on the other side of that. i do not believe we have a reformed eu, and i think it is an unreformable eu, because those at the center do not want it to be reformed. i also believe there are more risks to the united kingdom for remaining in the eu than in leaving. in particular, i think that the unfinished business by the completion of monetary union poses big risks to the uk. and if there are risks before the prime minister's
renegotiation, they're bigger now, because we have given up the power of veto when it comes to that process and what might happen in the euro zone. that is like being in a very modern driverless car, but this one not attached to google. and the security risks that will come, as many came into europe, if we have the unlimited free movement and people that we have at the present time. i agree that i think the fundamental move here when the euro zone was created, i think at that point, the euro zone started to leave us and it was the fundamental shift that we're seeing at the present time. i totally agree that the world is becoming more political. we moved from the cold war
through that moment of the u.s. into a very different world with multiple sensors, even though they are sill largely asymmetric. but i think this new era will require us to have greater flexibility and the restrictive nature of the structures of the european union will diminish our ability to take advantage over a new global dynamic. i think the european union remains backward looking, spending far too much time gazing at its navel. >> thank you very much indeed for your remarks. i'm now going to give each of my colleagues ten minutes to question. various questions will be aimed at one of the witnesses but if
they want flexibility to ask other witnesses in that ten minutes, then they have my leave to exercise that flexibility. >> in a debate in 2011, you said that what we need, for all member states, is a european union where we will not stop france and germany if they want to come into a fiscal union. now, this is agreed not to veto further integration, and we've given that up. but do you believe that the safeguards that gave us -- in 2011, you seemed to argue that
there should be a more thouroug agreement, that there could be no interference. that hasn't been achieved, has it? >> i know what you're getting at, but i think the achievement that david cameron got in negotiations, the most important was the clarification that the term "ever closer union" does not require the united kingdom to be under any pressure to conform to any new proposals for integration that it does not believe to be in its national interest. that is exactly the kind of european union we want. those who do wish to integrate must be allowed and must not be subject to our veto. can i, with your permission, a couple of very brief points. >> we can do that at the end.
>> thank you. >> you state previously that a referendum would be a distraction from the real concerns that this country faces. do you still believe the referendum is a massive distraction? >> i believe the real debate we should be having is not whether we should be in or out of the union, but what kind of union is it going to evolve when it's perhaps 28 or in the 30s. i was involved in publishing a paper "the partnership of nations."
it's inevitable that you have 28 countries, some in nato, some not, and that is going to be magnified. it was inevitable given the degree of hostility from a large section of the accomplish electorate whether we stay in the european union. i'm not saying it's a distraction. we will know on june 23rd whether the section of the british public that want to leave the union is a majority or a minority. >> you're retracting your statement? >> i'm not retracting it. i'm saying i would have preferred there not to have been a referendum. >> i would like to carry on with my questions. at a lecture on may 2, 2013, you said while nato continues to be
the main guarantor of the nations, it is the eu that has been the most important in creating democracy and rule of law in europe. do you believe that by enforcing unpopular decisions -- for example in greece, the effort to impose quotos, does this not undermine the argument that you believe -- >> today we're discussing foreign policy and britain's role in the world. we have given more by our membership in nato. in nato, there's an integrated military structure.
nato is an example of where we have -- nato is not intended to be a democratic organization. i always felt there's a democratic deficit in the european union. i was margaret thatcher's europe minister. she was a strong champion of making concessions to the majority. i was given instructions to support that when it was being excused by margaret thatcher as prime minister. not as a general principle.
i said this applies to all countries. >> for the greater good of europe? >> no, for the greater food of the united kingdom. i said i have only supported areas of integration. i they have supported a single currency, because you can't have that without a single government. i've said all along that i will support integration, including the united kingdom, if i'm satisfied that the united kingdom's prosperity or security or the quality of life as a people of the united kingdom will be enhanced. for example, with climate change policy, with environmental policy -- >> that is my next question. you have a further example of the international action needed.
y my question to you is, why does this require us to be part of a super national body that notions at one? >> let me give you an example. when the chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded, welsh farmers found their sheep were affected. the only way they could be protected from that happening again is by international agreement. and when it comes to international negotiations, we have far more clout being part of 500 million people negotiating than if we were simply by ourselves. >> i hear you. but the paris deal signed by 195 countries, only 28 were members of the european union. >> i wouldn't for a moment suggest that we could not play our part as a separate country
in an international negotiation and be part of the final decision. but a successful negotiation is actually successful when you get your many negotiating objectives. and if the british clout is restricted to that to one country out of 20, 30, 40, 50 countries negotiating, we're not going to get our own preference very often. if we are one of the leading three countries in the european union, when the european union comes to formulate its negotiating position, it is much more likely to reflect the views of germany, britain and france than it would otherwise do. i've been involved in these negotiations, and i know the extent to which not just the united kingdom, the uk, france, and germany, if they have very strong interests, like the city of london, carry far more weight, sadly, perhaps it's
unfair, but that is the reality of this. and if we can be part of the european union as well, i don't thing a mandate puts us in a pu much stronger position. >> you said the most important objective for the renegotiation of the united kingdom should be a binding guaranty that no proposal of social justice and employment of fiscal policy would apply to the united kingdom without our consent. do you believe this outcome has been achieved? >> i think it has been achieved. remember, i made the remarks, yes, i think we're very much in that direction, because the commitment will not apply to the
united kingdom -- what is unique for the united kingdom is that this moment in time, i 1789 other countries will demand a similar privilege, with you we are the only country that can invoke as an agreed position of the eu that we decide whether any further proposals are in our national interest or not. >> thank you very much. time has run out. we're going to need to exercise a bit of discipline. >> thank you. i should explain my position. i wear two hats. i was elected to the european parliament in 1979 as an anti-eu candidate. two years later, i changed my mind. in politics, if you change your
mind, it's always embarrassing because you then have to explain why you changed your mind. and i did so for a variety of reasons. i found that working with a group of people in 29 countries at that time, taking into account the views of other countries and i was very glad it didn't come to this space first. five years in the european parliament before coming here. so i'm obviously very pro eu for a variety of reasons. but i wonder, dr. fox, if you had heard david millieband speak
on the "today" program this morning about his views on why we should stay in the eu? and one of the points he made was why it would be nothing less than an act of political arson. he called it an unprecedented act of political self-destruction. his view is that the challenge is about security and there is only one where you can be sure of having a secure future. and that is working globally. when the need for global cooperation is greater than ever before. so the british question is not
only one of what we get out of europe, it's also one of whether we want to shore up the international order or contribute to perhaps even the destruction. i invite you to respond to that. >> well far be it from me to disagree with anything on the "today" show or "the guardian." it's not surprising i take a polar opposite view of that. because i think that the european union is failing. and i think that we should not be shoring up the institutions that we have at the present time contributing to that failure. i look across europe and i see a generation of young people made unemployed, not the least because of the failures of the project of monetary union. i see fences and barbed wire being erected with the failure to anticipate the problems of mass migration. and i think that there does
need -- if the european union is to ever succeed, there needs to be fundamental reform. i think a british exit might just provide the level of shock they require. of course we need to cooperate. we've always cooperated. and the idea that we're insular, were we to leave the european union, we still have to seek the u.n. security council. still the imf, still got the world bank. we've still got members of the g-7, members of the g-20, the world's fifth big e defense budget at the heart of the commonwealth. we'll hardly be thrust into outer darkness. our ability to cooperate is huge. the point i made initially for me remains a sticking point. i can't accept the supernatural authority. i can't accept the legal supremacy of the project. i'm very happy to cooperate with any of our continental european partners and beyond where we have mutual interests, but i can't accept having our law being sub jew gaited to the foreign court.
i don't think you should discount the role of the european parliament. i think it's unfortunate that most of the debate that takes place in the european parliament are are very late at night. i think system of them are very superior for the debate that takes place in the house of commons. and the role of the european parliament has been strengthened like every elected group of members that fought. they've achieved more powers. so what do you think the role of
the parliament is in all of this. >> the heads of government agreement seems to be the very agreement upon which our entire debate is predicated in this referendum. he said it was something that had been hammered out down the local bazaar. he said it was not binding legally. and that elements of it could be voted down in the european parliament. that's a statement of pact. it can be. the parliament doesn't agree. both things can't be true. >> what was evident is that many
of the other european countries where great losses are taking place, for example, 5,000 men were losing their jobs and 5,000 men have other jobs to go to. other countries planned for that change and have the social polly to deal with the change. this country under a conservative government had not accounted for that change. do you think anything has changed? >> i think it's very much changed because unemployment in the united kingdom's 5.1%. unemployment in the european union is 8.9. in the euro zone is 10.3. if you extract germany's 4.4 from the average, you get a much higher number.
the imposition of the single currency and the allowance of country into that single currency who were utterly unsuited for it has been a disaster. and i think if i may, the reason i think that it is such a social and potentially political disaster is that when i see chancellor merkel visiting athens and i see young greeks wearing nazi arm bands, that says to me they're not there to welcome the german tax pay e, but they see it as austerity being imposed by berlin on other european countries. memories are still raw and that, i think, plays into a growing sense of nationalistic tensions. my parents campaigned on opposite sides. and my father campaigned to join
the common market because he said i don't want my children involved in a european war. i don't want the tingss, the ethnic and national tensions that have torn the continent apart twice in a century to re-emerge. i think they are remerging now because what i regard the sclerosis. and the fact that the leaders in europe are intent on following a blueprint set down in the 1950s, which is not relevant for the world around us today. for this democratic european parliament who want to either leave the european union or effectively destroy the european uni union. how will you deal with that trend? the answer means 2/3 are not, therefore will continue in the same direction. they're not seeing