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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  May 19, 2016 3:30pm-5:31pm EDT

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people on this panel. it's going to be done by all of you and the people that you represent all across america. so, let me start with one question, which is that we are one of three countries in the oecd who spend more money on wealthy students than we do on poor students. is there anybody on the panel who will defend that system in terms of closing the achievement gap in the united states? in other words, do you expect that if we continue to spend more money on wealthy kids than we do on poor kids we will have any hope of closing america's achievement gap? it was said today -- there was testimony today, mr. chairman, i think we spend $620 billion all in on education in america. and if you're running a decent school district, you know, 80% of that ought to be spent on teachers or more in my view. the testimony from my fellow superintendent today was that, quote, there is no relationship
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between salary level and teacher effectiveness. does anybody want to defend that? there is no relationship between the expenditure of 80% of what we spend and effectiveness of teachers. randy? >> i mean -- >> what i want -- >> of course there's a relationship. i mean, i won't speak for who is an amazing superintendent in des moines, but there's much evidence that there is relationship between the experience of teachers and the stability of schools and frankly part of what we're trying to do in schools that are struggling is how do we nurture and secure great teachers to stay at those schools. so, obviously, there is both on a macro and a micro way, there are real both correlations here and things like that. i think what my colleague was
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saying is that the dollar-for-dollar piece that the -- that the department is proposing doesn't get you -- doesn't get you to the equity issues that you have spent your life, senator, fighting for. >> and you as well. and what i'm saying is whether the department, you know, ends up with this rule or doesn't end up with this rule, the reality is the way we are spending resources in this country -- i'm the first to say, maybe i'll be the second or third because the two of you are here, the first to say we should pay teachers more in this country. it's a disgrace what we pay teachers in the united states. but how we pay them really is important. and i don't think we should be having people come here ten years from now and say there is no correlation between how we pay teachers and their effectiveness. and i think we need to work together to make sure that's not the case. because then you can't make the case that we should have more resources.
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it worries me, you know, that we continue -- we come here, we tinker around the edges. and the reality is that if we don't have a solution to the kids that are showing up to kindergarten having heard 30 million fewer words, if kids don't have a choice of a school than any of us would send our kid and if higher education continues to -- continues to accelerate in its costs so that if you're in the bottom quartile of income earners it costs you 85% to go to college whereas if you're in the top income it's 15% and you add it together the system of education is enforcing the income inequality gap that we have and that's an invitation from me to anybody on this panel to figure out how we go forward so that ten years from now we're not sitting here having -- seeing these kinds of results and that's going to happen in america, not here. >> well, i would just -- can i
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just comment on that, senator? >> i have seven seconds left. but please. >> i would just say, look, it took an extraordinary amount of effort for us all to kind of sorta barely come together to get this law over the finish line. it required a lot of engagement of a lot of stakeholders. honestly, as we look to implement this law, we're going to have to do the same thing, local district by local school district, state by state, and for us, those of us obviously who are very invested in seeing that equity outcome that we know is so important and consistent with our american values, you know, we believe that that flexibility is there, now that we've created this law. but it does not in my view undermine the importance of requiring appropriate, rigorous federal oversight. and striking that balance as we
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move forward is going to be the challenge and the charge for all of us. but i feel like in many ways our work has just begun as we look at how we're going to try to do that with this flexibility in mind but i want a guarantee of strong, appropriate federal oversight as we move forward. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator bennet. senator isakson? whoop, senator murkowski, i made a mistake. senator murkowski is next. i've done that once before. i don't want to do it twice, excuse me. >> and, actually, mr. chairman, i will defer to senator isakson as i just came back in, and i'm just finding out what has already been discussed. so, i will defer to senator isakson and -- >> thank you. senator isakson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, lisa, i appreciate that. ranking member murray -- she's left, i guess. i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member on the essa
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and every student succeeds and the point we're at today. i think it will be a great empowerment for the local boards and state boards of education to carry out the educational mandate in their state. i'm the last remaining people that wrote no child left behind so i readily admit that. it was a great act for six years but it became an impediment as the ceiling got too low and people were put in nonperforming schools that shouldn't have been put in that category. but the thing i look at most with the assessment of children with disabilities, i married to a special ed teacher, and i worked hard on education and our kids with disabilities and learning disabilities to try to provide as much quality rules as we could and quality education. one of the things we had was a 1% -- 1% exception i guess you'd call it for kids with the kind of disability to have an alternative assessment rather than the mandated test under no
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child left behind. when we wrote every student succe succeed, it was overruled by the state board could not keep a local system from determining if a kid needed an individual assessment to ensure it was more flexibility so all of the 1% cap it really doesn't apply because the state and local education agencies i.d.e.a. governs and the iep is the governing document to determine if the alternative assessment is necessary or not. would you tell me how that's working and how you intend to carry it out in your respective systems? >> well, the -- that was an issue of lots of discussion. it's a negotiated regulation. it is, it's clearly the -- essa has changed the -- flipped the equation in that schools aren't
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held to the 1%, states are. and we have an obligation to i think it's an obligation as a state to make sure that we don't as a state exceed that 1%. in addition when we negotiated rules around that, there are -- there are rules that -- asking for a waiver for any particular district. we have to go through relatively rigorous process to make sure it doesn't happen. so it's going to be about providing technical assistance to those districts that exceed 1% and we'll do that. it's our responsibility. in the past it's been a local responsibility. but it's clear that this committee determine that the state needs to be accountable for that, which we will be. it's something that we've -- we take very seriously. >> yeah, thank you, senator. my district probably has a bigger challenge in meeting that 1% mark simply because of some
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of the specialized programming that we have for medically fragile and severely profoundly disabled students, but we always meet -- we always fall under that 1% mark. i think this is another example where it's very difficult at the federal level to set benchmarks that translate into an equitable measure at the state and local level. so, one of the things that came up during regulations negotiations was just this issue. and there's certainly what seems to be a bit of a paradox there. the state can't go over 1% but individual districts can. i would argue that a district that -- a district could have a lower percentage of students with that alternative assessment than what i have in my district and be inappropriately testing more students than i am because of the nature of the programming that we offer. so, again, i think with good guidance from the state and the state offices, you know, working closely with the local education
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agencies, i don't see this as being particularly problematic. >> well, that's good to hear because chairman alexander made a point that we got out of the national school board business and empowered the state and local school boards and this is one of the areas where the federal agency decided to enforce its side of the 1% it would be negative to the local side of the states. we want you to be in control of education and thank you. >> senator warren? >> thank you, mr. chairman. we've spent a lot of time today talking about the financial accountability provisions in the new education law. and about the department of education's plans for enforcing these provisions. now, we've heard concerns from witnesses who represent the professionals on the front lines implementing essa, but i want to make sure we have an opportunity to clarify a few key points regarding these provisions and why they're in the law in the first place. congress strengthened the
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financial accountability provisions in essa for a simple reason, to ensure that federal money is used to meet the purpose of title one. i don't have a poster but i'll read it. to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education. and i underline "all" not just children in wealthy districts. so, ms. weingarden, let me start there. why do you believe it's important for federal law to require equity and adequacy in terms of how education money is spent? >> it's -- sorry. i'm having a -- i've been having a microphone problem all morning. essa is a civil rights law, and it is about trying to make sure that there's opportunity for all children. so, if that is the case, equity is absolutely essential in order to get to excellence. but as i was saying to senator
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murray earlier, that that what we're seeing locally is that we have to actually have a fight for adequacy, too. because it's not simply, you know, what is eke ququal. in order to level the playing field we actually have to give our vulnerable kids more. and as senator bennet said, we have to flip what's going on in this country. so, what the law does is it starts us on that path, but it's at the end of that path and we need to be vigorous and rigorous in making sure that the kids who have had the least get the most. >> all right. thank you. i agree. and let me follow-up on that by asking, do you believe that the department has the authority to ensure that states and districts do not divert state and local funds away from public schools in low income neighborhoods? >> so, i am very glad, senator warren, you asked the question in that way. because the entire testimony
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we've been talking about increasing as opposed to diverting. i believe that the federal government and the department of education has the authority to ensure that there's no diversion. they have that in three different ways. it's not just the title one funding formulas that focus on concentration of poverty. and i think dr. gordon is probably better at this than i would ever be. but it's the maintenance of effort issues -- provisions and the s & s provisions as was clarified several months beforehand. they have that authority and need it and part of what we're concerned about is making sure that it's not overreach so that they can actually do their job. >> good. well, then, let me turn to that part of it. they have the authority but how can the department enforce these provisions in a manner that doesn't result in the unintended consequences that you and others have discussed? >> so, that is a really, you know, that frankly should have
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been what was the -- what consumed the time of the negreg committee with all due respect. as janet had said earlier, this is a very complicated law, and there is a lot of complicated factors because it is very much a law that is about human behavior. and about lots of different multiple parts as many of the senators and many of the witnesses have talked about. the law provides some very powerful new provisions including transparency. and that transparency provision, as dr. gordon earlier said, can be over methodology not just over resources. so, we need to actually see what the funding levels are. we need to see how those transparency provisions operate. that can be the first set of enforcement processes. and then after that, one looks at what you do next. but right now, to move to something that some one size
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fits all enforcement mechanisms that's not even allowed by the law seems like -- seems not wise. >> all right, not in the right direction. thank you. and i will ask more on questions for the record. but financial accountability is about making sure that federal dollars are used to make sure that the money goes to the children who need it most. there are legitimate disagreements over how the department of education can best enforce financial accountability provisions but these are not disputes over whether those accountability provisions should be enforced or whether the department of education has the power to enforce those provisions. on that issue, i believe that the democrats and the teachers are in very strong agreement. republicans, on the other hand, seem to be arguing that financial accountability provisions of the law should simply be ignored. the department needs to figure out how to enforce financial
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accountability in a way that doesn't have unintended consequences that disrupt schools. it is critical that the department listen to our teachers and to our school leaders, but ignoring accountability provisions is not an option. financial accountability is essential to ensure that states and districts actually give our teachers the resources they need to do their jobs and that the states and districts use federal money to help our most vulnerable kids get a decent education. that is the law. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator warren. i would like to say to the witnesses that i have an unavoidable conflict at 11:40, and i will need to leave. but senator cassidy's agreed to chair the remainder of the hearing, and i want to thank each of you for coming and for your excellent written testimony and for what you've said this morning. senator murkowski. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for the discussion
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this morning. very important on a lot of different levels. i come from a state where we spend a lot of money per pupil on our students, and yet the outcomes are not consistent throughout. most particularly in our rural areas. back in 2007 a case was heard before our state supreme court brought by stakeholders in three rural districts, and this was based on the concern that these districts were low performing because of a lack of funding equity. and considerable deliberation, long-term fact finding, but the judge came back, and he said the problem wasn't money. because each rural district got about the same per pupil. but what they were seeing were, again, very different outcomes among them and among the individual schools.
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and what the judge found was that the issue was the degree of state support and its effectiveness within different communities or perhaps lack therefore within the communities. so, it was local support for schools. it was community school relationships. it was effective and cultural relevant curriculum and teacher effectiveness. the data really demonstrated that this was what mattered here. not that money doesn't matter. you have to have the money in order to do these things. but the judge back in 2007 denied the move for more money and ruled that what the state needed to provide was more effective state support. and then back in 2012 there was a settlement, because there was still an argument about whether or not adequate financial funding was being provided.
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so, in 2012 we see a settlement where the department of education and the state agreed to create programs to support pre-k, targeted resources grants, teacher retention grants, exit exam remediation. but it went specifically to the level of support that could be made available to these respective districts, rather than a dollar-for-dollar comparison. so, i questions i'd thrguess i' anyone here on the panel. i noted, ms. garcia, i wasn't here when you made the comment, but you apparently made a comment that we want to measure actual service and supports, not just the dollars. so, can you all comment on this situation in alaska and what our states courts found. >> well, i want to begin by saying i was a utah teacher, but i was a fairbanks, alaska,
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student. i want to tell you that the best teaching assignment i ever had was the salt lake homeless homeless shelter, because the surrounding support that i had as the teacher that the district placed there, there were social workers that worked with the family. there was a health clinic, there was a dentist that came in every two weeks, the nutrition programs that they had, i was never alone. you had the support i needed as the professional who could deal with sometimes mental health issues that that family had. so i understand when you say it's -- you do need every school needs the technology, the textbooks, the facility. you need the stuff, but you also need to deal with the reality of that child's life, and some
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children come to us with so many more needs that aren't met in their home, in their community. they come from homes where they don't have disposable income sometimes to take a child to the dentist. so that child walks into our classroom in pain women we have to do something about it, whether we've been given the presources or not. so for me it is more than counting the dollars. the dollars are important, but you also have to say how creative can i be in seeing what kind of service and supports? what kind of community organizations are out there that can help me? and in utah we're the lowest per pupil funded school district in the nation. we can stretch a dollar until you can see through it. we are the most creative
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educators on the planet. give us more money, that would be nice, but whatever we have given, we try and leverage that into something more meaningful in supporting those children. that's why we want to say which service? which supports, which programs? it may cost a different number of dollars in this community than in this community, but for instance i keep using on support as on how can we make sure on you kids on graduate from high school having already earned college credit? what would that look like? it might look like something different if you're in nome than in anchorage, where you have a university right there, and another might look like something online, but what we want is that power if of professionals working in
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collaboration in each community to design something that makes sense for tha community. if what you're measuring is, do you have the ability -- do these children have the opportunity to earn college credit before they graduate from high school? how many of them are doing that? how many of them used graduation day as a springboard into higher education? talk about what -- described what you're trying to accomplish, and then on be creative about designing something that meets the needs of that specific school community. >> senator murkowski, maw i respond briefly? >> i'm over my time, but if the chairman allows. >> what jumped out at me that you said initially about the case was that the judge ruled there was also a purr-pupil equality in the expenditure, and i think for us -- that's what it sounded like you said, that it wasn't the money that
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necessarily made the dimples, but for us, that equality sell -- is important. i've been in a lot of schools on both end of the spectrums. when you walk in the front door and the starkness of the resources hits you in the face, i cannot imagine how adding some extra dollars there actually equals he supplement when the scale is so tipped. >> thank you. >> i would just add a point. look, we know right now that black and latino students are 1.5 times more likely to be taught by novice teachers. is there a dollar for dollar solution that will directly assess that in every part of the country? i'm not sure, but i do know that a zip code should not dictate the resources available to students, and we need to make sure that there is an
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opportunity for the voices of those communities most affected and impacted by the plans that are going to be set forth at the state level to be represented, and i think for us having affiliates, and we have affiliates in alaska, to have that voice heard so they can representing those state plans is going to be an important part of getting to an outcome that hopefully achieves that equity that is at the heart of the original legislation that i believe is still embodied, but for me it's the strong federal oversight role that will ultimately be the counterbalance to making sure that is set forward in a manner consistent with what we have intended. >> thank you. i didn't mean to duty you off. >> mr. chairman, thank you. i would like to add that within the alaska court, the supreme court there, the funding may have been equally adequate, but
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the problem is the results are not. again when you're trying to measure this dollar for dollar, this is where the discussion gets even more intriguing. i thank you for the additional allowance of time for others to answer and the opportunity to speak. >> senator casey? >> mr. chairman, thanks very much. in the interest of time, let me say first thank you to the panel for being there. i'll submit a question for the record which will focus on nea, aft and la raza, but in my limited time i wanted to direct my questions to ms. marshall regarding the 1% cap on assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. >> maybe two if i can get to that. it's good that we had this win, that we codified an important policy made it law. how do you think in terms of how
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it's going to work, how will this policy, which is a continuation of prior policy, help special education teams he, help schools, help school districts making that very critical decision about which children should take which tests? >> thank you, senator casey. i want to thank you for your leadership on this issue. on it was a huge win for us to get this cap. we are the students that are represented around the table at the i piismts whose teams are making these decision, and for all too often for whom there is a lack of presumption of competent, and before there was such a cap, we saw untold numbers of students taking off access to the grid -- general education curriculum, as early as second grade. that's just unconsciousable. we think this cap is important,
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as someone alluded to earlier, or stated earlier. it's adequate, there are -- we have far more fights for children trying to stay on the regular assessment and graduate than we have who are not allowed to take an alternate assessment. so that's critical. i think the neg-reg process put up important guardrails to ensure that states and teams are asking the right questions, and they're very careful not to put students on there on the basis of their disability or the basis of their past test performance, but that they push harder to make sure those students have what they need to succeed. >> i only ask you, because i know your work validates this principle, and i think the policy we were tblt to get done in this bill validates that students with disability it is have a lot of ability, and that i think is an important validation. but i want to ask you, how can
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we ensure that districts and states implement this guidance to ensure that all students are held to these very high expectations? what would you hope would happened? >> in our experience, the clearer the guidelines, the brighter the lines, the easier it is for the families to enforce the laws, and it falls on their shoulder. that's why we appreciate the federal oversight we have needed it repeatedly in response to what the senator was saying before, we rely on that data. we need it. that's how we show that how our kits are being shortchanged and what they need to get equitable access to receive the benefit
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th this. >> i may take a contrarian viewpoint to some. let's go back to the dyslexic children. mow children in fact, if anyone difference with me, i'm not -- i don't think there's any school district in the nation which screens for dyslexia grade 1. so you have 20% of the population dyslexic, and at some point somewhere between third and fourth grade children -- typical child begins to learn to read, whereas the -- i think i go ahead that right.
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it assumes fluency, yesterday that dyslexic child is learning to decode, not a fluent reader, so in a sense we have programmed failure. at fourth grade, we are going to teach, we're going to test 20% of the children in a way which they are not yet ready to be tested by. now, i suppose if you have a 1% cap, let's imagine that in the future some progressive school district would find that 20%, but we till test them know by great four they will still not be reading adequately. that doesn't make sense to me. do you have any thoughts on that? >> well, i can just tell you, in my home state is that we do
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screen children entering scoot. >> for dyslexia? >> it's a more general screening, but it has to do with understanding and decoding skills and skills relating to phonics, things like that. i'm sure some are caught by the screener, and we have state rules that children are requires additional happens, that school districts have to develop a plan, whether it's special ed or not. so i think i can answer the question generally, i believe our state is working hard to -- to address the needs of dyslexic children, but do -- if your question is, do we do a screening specifically for dyslexia? the answer would be no. >> i haven't found one that does, actually. >> most rely upon the child not
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doing well, but by grade 3 the horse is kind of out of the barn, so typically that deficiency is going to persist. if we should the able to screen these children, knowing they have not yet learned to read fluently, would we still give them the standardized test at grate 4 that the other children are receiving even we know they have not learned to read adequately. >> would you advocate. >> senator casey -- >> that's all right. >> i don't have my glasses on. without that accommodation, i'm in trouble. that actually gets to my point. we absolutely agree that students with dyslexia are not being screened or not being taught, and the teachers don't have the training they need. in fact, i will broaden that to say that all students with disabilities who this law protects as well as every other
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student have trouble reading, and are not getting the services they need to succeed. 9 we obvious hear the argument that put forth around not taking the test, but it is our believe again that we need to know where students are against the standards. we should not throw them in there without the accommodations -- >> now -- >> and we should make sure, if you could just let me finish. >> what would you say is the accommodation? >> it differs for each child, but they need to have the accommodations and supports that they used in the classroom to learn when they take the test. that is of grave concern to us right now. we find that students are not having that accessibility. >> let's go back to this go. >> this goes back to the content not on the ability to take the test. >> let's get granular, not just conceptual. if the child has not learned to decode and the child does not read fluently, taking a test which presumes fluency, that child is going to fail, period.
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do we really want to make that child take that particular test, as opposed to another chest which -- a different test which may indeed adjust for the fact that the child has not yet learned to read fluently? >> i can't make those decisions. it's on the individual basis with each student, but as a general principles, we want or kids to count and we want them to be part of the tests that all kids are taking to see where they are on grade level, according to the state standards. >> but we would nose these 20% of the kids, despite what are their i.q., they le read lest. >> we've gotten rid -- the reason to take them is to know where the students are. >> i'm not sure we came to a
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common mind, but i'm out of time, and i think it is now senator murphy. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for all the panelists' time today. i have one general comment and one specific question. i think she got it right when she made it clear that is a a civil rights law, because we're in the business of civil rights, if it's not at the foundation about equal student for disabled kids and poor kids, and i thought your answers to senator warren's questions were spot on.
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we're saying or disabled kits be treated fairly, local are going to accrue to the distributes of those kids. it's been at the found of our federal commitment to civil rights, and for decades i do think it's important, and i have since the beginning of the drafting process for this law to have some strong accountability requirements and high expectations for schools and for kids, and i don't think that it ends at the text of the law. i think there's a very important and appropriate role i
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understand dr. gordon, the ways in which a requirement to spend more money on pour kids may occasional not work to the ben filled, but if the aggregate if you're spending more money, that's going to help students, even if provides some per verse dysincentives here and there. on accountability, i think we have a good accountability section, but we have to make sure the interventions that are being used to try to turn around schools are not just whitewash. the willingness to trying to states and partners in this, but the regulations are important to make sure we have some basic
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guardrails to make sure what is happening to make these schools better continuing to move forward i don't think there's a lot of disbreak on that. it's on a narrow issue that's a passion of mine. that's the use of seclusion and restraints in our schools. so according to the department of education's latest civil rights data collection 2011-2012, 70,000 students are physically restained, 37,000 of them were seclude. i think that's the tip of the iceberg. i don't think we understand how deep and brought, i'll take ownership of it. in connecticut we have a
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problem. scream rooms being used to throw kids into so that they can scream out their problems, so their not a disruption to everybody else. we include language in this big, bipartisan language that would require state plans to address the use of what the bill calls adversive -- which really means seclusion and restraint. what do you want to see from the department of i had indication when it comes to the guidance that they give to schools on how they attack this issue of the overuse of both seclusion and restraint? >> thank you very much, senator murphy, for asking me this question, because it's a passion of mine and also for your leadership in ensuring that clause was added to the law. we also -- there were many tears and dances of joy when this portion of the law was included to make sure that there are positive school climates, and that we need to take steps --
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schools need to unequivocally stop this abuse of students in our schools putting a child in a locked room where they cannot escape, is -- restraints can only be used in emergency. the research is clear, it's used for power and control on also tiny kids. that must be stopped. i would be happy to submit more comments for the record, but i would like to say one more thing. i spent year as a positive behavior support specialist in the schools dealing with the kids with the most challenging behavior to keep them in school and keep them learning. again if you're in a seclusion room or four adults sitting on top of you, what are you or the other students watching this learning? the scream rooms in connecticut were called that by the other
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students, because that's what they heard. kids in a room screaming. imagine that effect on a little child when they're trying to learn? that's a life lesson no child in this country should be subjected to. so what i know has made the difference is not money, it is not -- it is about training. it is about the belief and the confidence of the teachers to keep all kids safe. the support of the principals and the other people in the building to make sure they have kind of those services around the kids who challenge the most, but it can be done positively, and it can be done without those barbaric practices. >> no teacher ever wants to engage in that kind of practice. >> right. >> so you are right. this is about supporting plans to create climates and atmospheres in schools to make sure those situations never arise. mr. chairman, one additional caveat, i want to make the point
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that this conversation is also uncomfortable. we often place the burden on accountability simply on the superintendents and the administrators and the teachers. when you look at the difference in educational outcomes that still persist among different groups, it often has to do with all sorts of factor that is exist outside of schools, and so this conversation about accountability that, of course, i think is incredibly important is not a conversation just about what happens inside the school. it's a conversation about what is happening in systems at large that are controlled by frankly folks way above the pay grade of teachers and administrators and superintendents. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you, chairman cassidy. i would like to first make the point that under title i we want quite clearly that a school must get, and if i quote the text
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correctly, funds it would otherwise receive under title i. we did not say it should get the same funds as other schools receive. we could have said that, but there wouldn't have been agreement on it, and the law i think is fairly clear. what worries me is that if we get into a wrangle over disregulation, re-reading the law as the latter statement rather than the former statement, which seems to me as a lawyer a reasonably clear statement, then we're going to start to get distracted from all of the areas that we baked into this law where there was common agreement that there is a great opportunity for innovation. one of the keys was to open up curriculum. we had curriculum get slaw evidence in title i schools, because everything that didn't teach to the task got thrown overboard for fear that the boat
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would sink if the testing came back poorly. that was a terrible disservice to the students in those schools. we have said up innovative dashboard opportunities for people to report in much more effectively on how schools are doing so there can be real accountability. we want open the rooms for intervention, so there's a lot more opportunity to bring different perspective to bear. we've opened the opportunity for innovation schools to exist. there are bright green lights in this bill saying let's do this better, and to insist on driving down a street that has a red light on it doesn't seem to me to be constructive, and i hope it does take us into a place where we're not taking advantage of all the green lights this bill clearly lays out. teachers, school administrators
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pretty much everybody in rhode island is very excited about the new tools that this bill gives us. so if we could avoid driving into this particular ditch and instead focus on the areas where there really is i think very, very significant bipartisan, solid and legally found the opportunity for reform and innovation, boy, i would like to encourage that. that said, it is i think absolutely clear and bipartisan, and has always been the case that nobody wants to see federal title i money come in and provide an execute to school districts or states to quietly ease money out of those schools and out of those districts to the favored and wealthier districts, knowing that title i was going to come in and make up the gap. if the equality of expect further ru --
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expenditure rule is not the one we should by following, i would ask that each of the witnesses let us know what rule they would recommend the department of education to follow, because it's to a degree, you know, i don't want to end up in a situation where no reg -- nobody will agree with any regulation of this if because people are, you know, waiting back to be against anything and everything, no matter what it is. so i think it is important that there be some affirmative statement from the folks here about what they think the regulation should look like, just not what it should not look like. i do have at least one hand up. >> i know what my -- my nea members think is the standard. there's one thing about
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interdistrict equality and equity. it's much more dramatic when you look across district lines within a state. if you were to -- if you were to ask anyone with two eyes to go into the best school, the best public school in that state, and everyone can think about what public school would be. in utah, you go to park city, and you would say let's do an inventory of it is services, the school nurses, the professional librarians, the programs, the international baccalaureate, the art classes, the field trips, if you were to take an inventory of it is service and supports in the program in the best school in your state, make that your standard. make that the dashboard. why not? then say now we are going to compare every single school in our state by how well it
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measures up. do you have a school nurse? do you have a professional librarian? what's your counselor-to-student ratio? how are you serving your special ed kids? what's your e.l.l. program? do you have clubs after school? if you were to do that and the federal government, by the way is not saying, and if you don't -- if you don't have perfect equality somebody's head rolls. you're saying that role of the federal government is to be transparent, to give good information to people like the advocates sitting at this table, to say give us -- put that information in our hands so we can go back and we can fight for the students that are being shortchanged. there are ways you can do this without micromanaging from the federal level and making it one more level of bureaucracy.
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>> we have gone over my time, i appreciate it. senator cassidy, and thank the panel very much for a. first, i also thank y'all, putting a little southern tough on it, y'all. the hearing record will remain there for ten days. members may submit additional information and answers to questions if they would like. thanks for being here today. the committee will stand adjourned.
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donald trump holds a fund-raiser this evening with new jersey governor chris christie at the it national guard armory. we'll hear from governor christie and the presumptive gop nominee, live on our companion network c-span at 7:00 p.m. eastern. sunday night on c-span, the state opening of the british parliament. queen elizabeth delivered a speech this week on the british government's priorities for the comer year. sunday night at 9:00 p.m., we'll
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so you bbc's parliament coverage of the open. our 2016 bus continues to travel throughout the country to recognize winners from the student cam winners. recently it stopped in massachusetts to visit several winning students. they went to the same school in fox borough where all the students attended a ceremony to honor the seventh graders for their honorable mention video. and her winning video called "vet wand services." , and james won for his video "lbgt rights." they were honored, receiving $250 for their winning video. thanks to comcast cable and charter communications for helping to coordinate these
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visits. you can view all the winning documentaries at studentcam.org. the house oversight committee on tuesday head a hear on how the obama administration sought to win support. the committee invited deputy national security adviser ben rhodes to testify about his efforts to build public support for the nuclear agreement, but mr. rhodes decline to appear. instead the committee heard from representatives of conservative think tanks, this is 2 hours, 45 minutes. good morning.
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the committee a oversight government reform will cup to order. today's hearing is entitled the white house narratives on the iran nuclear deal. i think this is important we take this up and deal with the situation, as we get going. there are three items i would ask unanimous consent. first is "new york times" magazine article, the aspiring novelist who became obama's foreign policy ghoul rye, the second is a her from the white house, addressed to me, copied to mr. cummings, talking about how the white house would not make ben rhodes available to the committee today. also a may 16th letter from senators cornyn, senator mark kirk, and senator john barrasso. without objection i'd like to enter these three into the
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record. without objection, so ordered. iran, it's one of three countries that are still on the state sponsors of terrorism. i think it's important we have some clarity. there are issues that are outstanding, one of the most important foreign policy initiatives that the also has taken forward. we were hoping the clarity would be provided by benjamin rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications and spee speechwriting, obviously a very talented and trusted person in the white house. i do not doubt his talents and his knowledge, but the deal that had been spun up and sold to the american people i'm not sure was as clear as it should have been. i have serious questions about the transparency, the truthfulness, and when it really ultimately started. i think those been legitimate
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questions, as we move forward. here you have a state sponsor of terrorism in iran, and we still don't know fully the answer to a lot of these questions. some may think they know the answers to all these questions, but there's still a shroud of secret sill, and he was in a unique perspective. what is mystifying to me how readily available he made himself to media, but only select media. shall howed obvious disdain to people with foreign policy credentials. he's entitled to those personal opinions, but he also elected to share those with "new york times" and put them out there. also very negative about congress, going so far as to stay could not have a rational discussion -- i'm summarizing here, so we provided that.
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josh earnest from the podium there at the white house openly mocked congress, said that perhaps we should be calling other members up, such as senator tom cotton, who should also raise their right hand, swear and affirm and answer questions. i took that suggestion, shared it with senator cotton, we accommodated that. senator cotton had agreed if mr. rhodes would be here, to also be here to answer question, and ferret out any of these details, but mr. rhodes elected not to speak. now, he does have a public speaking engagement today. he's out given a public speech today, but refusing to come and speak with congress. i'm going to play a clip -- i have two clips in my opening statement. you can see where some on the other sigh of the aisle will say we know everything about it,
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it's been thoroughly debated, we're going to go to clip b, if we could, and let's watch this. >> one final question on the subject. there have been reports that intermittently and outside of the form's p.m.-5 plus one mechanisms, the obama administration or members of it have conducted direct secret bilateral talks with iran, is that true or false? >> we have made clear as the vice president did at munich, that in the context of the larger p-5 plus one framework, we would be prepared to talk to iran bilaterally, but with regard to the kind of thing ire talking about on a government-to-government level, no. >> i notice you have -- >> let me try it one last time. i appreciate your indulgence, is it the policy of the state department where the preservation of secret
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negotiations is concerned to lie in order to achieve that goal? >> james, i think there are times when diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. this is a good example of that. >> so as you can see there victoria nuland offered what turned out to be absolutely and totally not true. ms. psaki was mo candid, and basically the administration thofs at the in their best interest to store up the story that it was -- but that's not what had happened. that was fiction as well. i also want to talk about 24 by 7 access. i think the american people were let to believe that americans with the best interests would have access and be able to see and get in there, and go into these nuclear facilities 24/7, so i'm going to play another
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clip. this is clip e. >> so the israelis put out this list including inspectors to go anywhere anytime. that seems personally reasonable. no? >> jake, first of all, under this deal you will have anywhere anytime 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that iran has. you will also have -- >> what about the military facilities? >> so what we'll have under this deal, jake, is the strongest inspection regime that any country faces in the world. if that means if we see a site on a military the facility, we can get access. if it's suspicious that we believe is related to the nuclear efforts, we can get access through the iaea.
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>> ben told jake tapper of cnn on april 6th, and i quote,ened this deal you will have anywhere anytime, 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that iran has. is that a lie? >> no. their nuclear facilities, there's 24/7 access to iran to verify their compliance with the agreement. >> 24/7 access anytime anywhere. >> to their nuclear facilities. that's the quote you quoted me, right? >> over the past week elf spoken at length about what exactly this deal is. i also want to make clear what this deal was never intended to be. first of all, as the chief negotiator, i can tell you i never uttered the words "anywhere anytime" nor was it ever a part of the discussion we had with the iranians. >> thanks, you can take that
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down. so first of all, as somebody pointed out in our committee, i think mr. palmer pointed out, i don't think mr. kerry was the chief negotiator, but the second part, is there 24 by 7 access? can you access anything anywhere anytime? spinning quite a different story as we go along. we have also heard a lot of numbers related to sanctions release, dealing with escrowed oil fuzz. president obama because quoted in an "atlantic" article talking about $150 billion going back to iran. iranians say they have access to $100 billion. treasury department says 50 billion, secretary kerry said only access to $3 billion and then blamed treasury. talking about a lot of money going to a state sponsor of terrorism. also a conversation about ballistic missiles, there was a violation of the united nations resolution 2231 in testimony by the iran deal coordinator,
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ambassador mull, but in march of 2016, you have ambassador -- united states ambassador power to the united nations who toned it down. know it's an inconsistent with, as opposed to a violation of the united nations resolution. then also issues about boosting iran's -- secretary kerry is currently on tour in we were. the state department suggests we're object gaited to boost the commission, the iranian economy. again, something we need to understand. we don't understand the side deals. there are still sanctions on terrorism on iran. we want to understand that, and then there's questions about everything that has actually been agreed to, not just in writing, but the side deals in any other he verbal commitments that were also made. i would also note to our colleagues that the chairman of armed services, mr. thornberry
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has a very important amendment we should all consider and look at that would be part of the issue as we move forward. again, there are a lot of outstanding questions. we wanted to get the person who was right in the think of things from the white house to come here and testify. the white house on thursday claimed that this wasn't about executive privilege, and less than 24 hours before this hearing, they reversed course and said, oh, it is about executive privilege. now, who is being inconsistent? who is being inconsistent? you have plenty of time mr. rhodes, to go to talk to the media friends and talk to the echo chamber that you brag about in "new york times," but when it comes times to answer our questions under oath, they decide not to do it. my time has far exceeded what we allocated, now recognize the ranks members mr. cummings. >> thank you, mr. charm.
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i thank all our witnesses for being here today. mr. chairman, sitting here today, i'm surprised and supremely -- very surprised and shocked that you would invite john hannah to testify before our committee as an expert witness. particularly on the subject of false white house narratives. mr. hannah was vice president dick cheney's top national security adviser in the white house. he personally, personally helped prepare secretary of state colin powell's infamous speech to the united nations in the run-up to the iraq war. a speech that secretary powell has called a permanent blot on
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his record. mr. hannah was identified by the iraqi national congress as its, quote, principal point of contact, end of quote, in the vice president's office. the inc was an organization that supplied our nation with reams -- with reams of false information about weapons of mass destruction. mr. hannah worked directly for scooter libby, who was convicted after the bush administration leaked the identity of a covert cia agent valerie plame. her husband, ambassador joe wilson, had publicly debunked the administration's false claims about the iraqi nuclear program. s this was the same scooter libby who told the fbi that it
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was a, quote possibly, end of quote, that vice president directed him to leak information about ms. plame's covert status. that's mr. hannah. i don't know mr. hannah, and i don't believe i have ever met him before today, but based on a public record alone, let me say this. if our goal is to hear from an expert who actually promoted false, false white house narratives, then i think you picked the right person, but if our goal is to hear from someone who was not involved in one of the biggest misrepresentations in our nation's history, then you picked the wrong person. listening to john hannah criticize anyone else for pushing a false white house
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narrative is beyond ironic. he and dick cheney and their colleagues in the white house wrote the how-to manual on this. the profound tragedy thousands, thousands of u.s. service members from our districts were killed in iraq, and thousands more sustained terrible injuries. the american taxpayers have now spent hundreds of billions, billions of dollars even by the most conservative estimates. unfortunate unfortunately flow invite mr. hannah without consulting anyone. in fact this entire panel has been stacked with hand-picked witnesses who all oppose the iran agreement. you did not invite prominent republicans like brent scowcroft
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on richard lugar, you did not invite any of the dozens or generals or add mirls or other military experts who support this agreement. other of committees have held dozens of substantive hearings on the iran agreement. but you know how many this committee has held? zero. yet all of a sudden our committee is rushing to hold, without even one week's notice on of the rules according to the parliament yaern. they are all repeating the same talking points, for the same republican political narrative. this committee has basically created its own republican echo chamber. with respect to ben rhodes, i'm
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struggling to understand the allegations against him. if i understand it correctly, republicans accuse him of misleading the american people by claiming that nothing happened with iran before 2013. when they elected a so-called moderate president. republicans claim if the americans just knew the president was working towards an agreement before 2013, they would have rejected the deal. of course, this is absurd. there are dozens of public press reports from every single year of the obama administration documenting house they were working to reach out to iran with varying degrees of success. all you have to do is google it. from the time that president barack obama was a candidate for president until today, press reports are full of accounts of
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how letters were being exchanged, meetings were being held, and negotiations were being launched. the republicans rushed to hold this hearing not as a way to change substantive information about the iran agreement, or even to investigate a legitimate allegation. instead this hearing is exactly what it purports to condemn, partisan narrative, designed to mislead the american people. that is not just ironic, that's hypocritical. with that, i yield back and thank the witnesses again for being here. >> i thank the gentleman. the prime witness we had invited, mr. rhodes, from the white house had decline -- has decline to come before the committee. we're disappointed in his failure to appear. the chair also nose contingent upon mr. rhodes appears, a invitation was also extended to
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senator tom cotton at the request of the white house. mr. rhodes refused to appear before the committee today, the distinguished senator from arkansas is also excused. >> mr. chairman, we -- >> yes, gentleman from south carolina. >> i have an inquiry. >> yes. is mr. hannah here? >> yes. >> well, why didn't mr. cummings ask him the questions? he'll have the chance to -- we don't have a question to summer mr. rhodes, because he didn't bother to show up. would the chairman yield? >> yes. >> i can say whatever i want to say in my opening statements. >> yes, you can. it just needs to be fair. just be fair about it. >> gentlemen, gentlemen. state your inquiry. >> i wanted to know if he was here. >> and mr. rhodes is not here. i would also note that the democrats were free and usually almost always in my experience
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invite a democratic witness, but there is no democratic witness today, because you didn't invite with. >> would the champl yield? >> sure. >> you know for a fact we got less than thes notice required in the rules. and we did not object and went on with the hearing. >> i disagree with the timing issue that you suggest. >> you gave us a required time? >> yes. >> i disagree with you. >> okay. we'll sort that out. we have a good working relationship, mr. cummings and i -- >> parliamentary inquiry. >> the gentleman from south carolina. >> does the executive privilege apply to media interviews or only to appearances before congress? >> uh, i don't know the full answer to that, but i believe they are free to talk to whoever they want to in the media, but they did claim executive privilege in the her. >> is that a yes or no.
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does it apply when you're being interviewed? or just when members of congress want to ask -- evident evidently just when members of congress ask. >> sill thank the chairman for that clarification. we are going to continue with the hearing. we do have mr. mike at rubin, resident scholar at the american enterprise institute. mr. michael doran, a senior fellow at the hudson institute, and mr. john hannah, senior counselor at the foundation to defense of accept sills. we welcome you ought. pursuant to committee rules, all witnesses are to be sworn before they testify. if you will please rise and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear other affirm the testimony you're good to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. thank you, let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. we would appreciate you limiting your verbal comments to five minutes, to give us time to ask
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questions, your entire sometime will be entered into the record. now recognize mr. rubin. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. the major iran issues about -- when selling the iran deal we are verification. lookened the standards set in south africa and libya, embraced iran's voluntary compliance with the additional protocol when previously rouhani had bragged that voluntary allows iran to reverse course. have iranians transferred some nuclear work to labs in north korea? under the jcpoa, we will never know. rouhani is no moderate. loyalty to comaini's vision was a major theme of thinks campaign commercials. he stuffed his cabinets with veterans of the intelligence committee. but a kgb cabinet. in 2005, he laid out a doctrine of surprise.
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lulled the americans to complacency and then deliver a knockout blow. just last week he offered full-throated endorsement to the legacy of qods force leader. history belies moderates the country or trickles down to ordinary people. the european union almost tripled the trade with iran, and the price of oil quinn tumled. iran took the windfall and invested it in the ballistic missile program and covert nuclear enrichment facilities. a spokesman bragged about how he had defeated the west. we had an overt policy, and a covert policy which was continuation of the activities. in his capacity as chairman of the national security council. the problem goes beyond the supreme leaders's investment
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arm. the economic wing controls perhaps 40% of the economy, including every sector now open for business. the of those supported it acknowledged it to be a flaw -- but argued the alternative was war. this may have been crafty politics, but undermined the u.s. position by creating a binary choice, rhodes removed credibility to the notion that the obama administration, in in addition to the best -- this played into iranian hand, because they knew no matter what they pushed for, curry would concede. the probable is what rhodes did has become the rule rather than the exception in my written testimony i detale the long history of diplomats and politicians lies to keep diplomacy alive. too obvious think blame political opponents more than foreign adversaries. as i document in "dancing with a devil" with as diplomat proceed,
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they too often calibrated to the fantasy they have correct v constructed rather than reality. it leads officials to -- and on occasion to lie to congress. during the 1990s, senior state department officials testified that they could draw no direct lisks from arafat and terrorism to avoid an aid cutoff. likewise in 2007 during the bush administration, christopher hill, the state department's point man on north korean issued presented to congress as artificially rosy picture. in order to keep support for engagement alive, no matter the truth of about i don't think yang's behavior. morse recently, diplomat lied both directly and by omanages to consequence in order to avoid reporting that russia his cheating on armed controls -- >> what is rhodes to do? he put the allies at risk. certainly any dissemination of
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falsehoods merit a broader investigation. national security and congress's credibility are at risk. that's not enough. in the past six decades, the u.s. state department has failed to learned exercises as to why its high profile with rogue regimes has seldom if ever succeeded. that would be poisonous and counterproductive, but if the state department refuses due diligence it would be beneficial if congress would examine diplomacy if only to ensure that the same mistakes are not made for a seventh time. there should be bipartisan consensus. even supporters of the deal acknowledge serious concerns about its flaws. so, too, do most serious arms control and counterproliferation experts outside of the echo chamber whose crafting rhodes bragged. one final point if i may. i'm concerned that by perhaps creating an echo chamber and solely talking to people within it in effect what rhodes did was create a propaganda operation in
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which he trapped not other than secretary of state john kerry. he's a victim of ben rhodes as well. thank you. >> thank the gentleman. and go to mr. doran. sorry, microphone there, please. >> thanks. chairman chaffetz, ranking member cummings -- >> if you can move the microphone up close and comfortable. >> -- thank you for inviting me to address the problems in "the new york times" article of ben rhodes. mr. rhodes admitted to "the new york times" that he created a war room of some two dozen detailees from around the executive branch who came from the white house and monitored all public communications about the iran deal, communications coming out of the capitol hill, the think tank world, on social media and in the traditional media. he also created what he called
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an echo chamber a network of sympathetic ngos, think tanks and compliant members of the press to whom he ceded false narratives i would say about the iran deal and then he directed the reporters to these ngos and think tanks to give seemingly independent verification to the narratives that he put out. in my view the creation of the echo chamber and the war room does constitute a deception of the american people and of their representatives, but the question is what exactly was the nature of the deception. i think to understand that we have to understand the larger policy context. and that is the strategic goal of the president was to carry out a detente with iran. it was to end the conflict with iran as a -- as a necessary precondition to pulling the united states back from the middle east because ending the military engagement in the
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middle east i think is the president's overall goal. now, if the president had been upfront about this with the american people and said that he wanted to, "a," pull the united states out of the middle east and, "b," make iran part of the security architecture of the region, he would have encountered immediately a severe political backlash that would have undermined his whole project and former defense secretary panetta, former chief of the cia panetta, said as much to "the new york times" magazine. now, that's the -- that's the need for a propaganda operation that to deceive the american people. it's not just to misrepresent what's in the iran deal, but to misrepresent everything else that's around it, that is the strategic goal of the president in the middle east. i'd like to say a few words if i may about what i think were the -- what is the anatomy of the deception, that is, the main
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lines of false narrative that the war room and echo chamber put out. and in my prepared statement i go into more detail about this. i'll just summarize here five major points. number one, conjuring moderates. the echo chamber created the impression that rouhani the president of iran was a moderate coming to power in -- representing a wave of moderation in iran, a desire to fundamentally change relations between iran and the west. this narrative of the moderates coming to power and the need to support the moderates have been the gift that keeps on giving to the -- to president obama's diplomacy. it creates -- it creates a pleasing story of breaking down of barriers. it creates a moral equivalence
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in political terms between those who are critical of the deal in the united states and hardliners, the supposed enemies of rouhani in iraq. and, importantly, it makes -- it lulls us into a false sense of security about all of the concessions that we have made to iran and in particular the sunset component of the nuclear deal which gives iran effectively in ten years a completely legitimate program and the ability to move -- nuclear program and the ability to move quickly toward a weapon. if iran is moderating, if we are supporting a process of moderation in iran, then allowing it to have these capabilities is really no danger. the second -- the second deception is falsifying the chronology of the negotiations, which began much earlier than the election of rouhani. they go back to july, 2012, and they were initiated by the united states. the third deception is erasing
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concessions from the united states along the lines of what dr. rubin just discussed. the fourth is hiding the regional cost. the president has in effect -- has in effect recognized syria as an iranian sphere of influence, and one of the goals of the deception of mr. rhodes is to -- is to prevent people from connecting the dots between the syria policy and the iranian nuclear policy. and the fifth part of the deception is blaming allies. the white house on background and in public is very -- is very willing to criticize our sunni allies as creating sectarian extremism in the region. it's willing to criticize in very -- in very derogatory terms prime minister netanyahu of israel. it never criticizes the iranians. you never hear a word from the
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white house about what the iranians are doing in syria in pursuit of the -- in pursuit of -- in support of -- in support of assad's murder machine. i'll just sum up now by what i think we need to do were this and i would say two points. number one, i agree with you, chairman chaffetz, that we do not actually know what is in the iran deal. we still do this day don't know. and i completely agree with your assessment about the activities of secretary of state kerry in euro europe. last week he was in europe drumming up things for the iranians. is it part of the deal or not? we don't know. so, i would support further investigation. and secondly, i think we have to trim the size of the nfc. i don't see how anyone that looks at this and sees a war room of 22 -- of 22 detailees from around the executive branch in the -- in the white house
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with the job of monitoring communications and creating a false narrative in the media is a legitimate -- is a legitimate part of the nfc. the nfc should be a coordinating body. it should not be a muscular imperial body running roughshod over all the executive branch. so, i would add my voice who those who are saying that the nfc should be cut back severely from the 400 members it currently has to something more like 100. thank you. >> thank the gentleman. now recognize mr. hanna for five minutes. >> chairman chaffetz, ranking member cummings, members of the committee, on behalf of the foundation for defense of democracy, thank you for the invitation to testify on the iran nuclear deal. for me as a foreign policy analyst, perhaps the most important revelation made in the recent "new york times" profile
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of ben rhodes was its allegation concerning president obama's overriding strategic purpose in seeking a nuclear deal with iran. a purpose which until now has been largely concealed from the american people. according to the article, quote, by eliminating the fuss about iran's nuclear program, the administration hoped to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create the space for america to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like saudi arabia, egypt, israel, and turkey. with one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the middle east, close quote. now, if accurate, this is truly a stunning admission with very big implications. as suggested elsewhere in the article, it does represent nothing less than a radical shift in american foreign
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policy. according to the article, mr. rhodes' passion for the iranian nuclear deal did not derive from any investment in the technical deals of sanctions or centrifuges or the future of iranian politics but rather, quote, from his own sense of urgency of radically reorienting american policy in the middle east in order to make the prospects of any american involvement in the region's future wars a lot less likely, close quote. now, whether you agree or disagree with this inclination to step back from the leadership role that the united states has played in the middle east since world war ii, the troubling fact remains that this fundamental shift in american strategy has never been openly communicated to the american people. it has never been debated by the u.s. congress, and it has never been revealed to america's longtime allies in the middle east. determining whether or not this very substantive claim is true
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that is whether the white house is in reality seeking to engage in disengagement from the middle east is of vital importance to the u.s. national interests. again, whether you agree with it or disagree and it's one that i think the congress should seek clarification on. if, in fact, the nuclear deal with iran is as mr. rhodes suggests the center of the arc for president obama's efforts to radically transform u.s. policy, it raises a host of concerns. certainly it casts doubt on the administration's repeated claim that no deal was better than a bad deal. to the extent that the preeminent objective instead in mr. rhodes' view was to, quote, eliminate the fuss about iran's nuclear program rather than to actually eliminate that program itself, one wonders whether the administration did demand or had a tough enough posture in the negotiations as it might otherwise have been.
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similar concerns i think exist now that the deal is in place and being implemented. when congress was reviewing the jcpoa last summer the administration made repeated assurances to the congress that it would vigorously enforce the agreement while using every tool at its disposal to counter iranian terrorism, the ballistic missile program and human rights abuses. since then, however, iran's bad behavior has dramatically escalated. it has significantly increased its combat role in syria, or it's arrested additional u.s. citizens, conducted multiple ballistic missile tests, it's fired rockets in very close proximity to u.s. ships in the persian gulf, held ten american sailors captive and threatened close the straits of hormuz. the u.s. response to these repeated provocations, despite the administration's earlier assurances, has so far ranged from quite tepid to nonexistent. even more worrisome perhaps has
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been the reported u.s. willingness to at least contemplate granting iran additional sanctions relief that it failed to negotiate in the jcpoa. specifically, iran is demanding access to dollarized financial transactions. this would be a huge unilateral concession that would greatly expand iran's ability to do business internationally, while legitimizing an iranian banking sector that remains mired in illicit financing activities. let me close by stressing that especially in light of the questions raised by "the new york times" profile about what america's true underlying purpose is in pursuing the iran deal, it's extremely important that congress now hold the administration's feet to the fire when it comes to the commitment to combat iran's continued aggression. at a minimum, congress should do everything in its power to assure that iran receives no new sanctions relief in the absence of significant new iranian
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concessions. and far more aggressive use should be made of nonnuclear sanctions to constrain iran's expanding ballistic missile program and deter the iranian revolutionary guard corps from their activities in syria, iraq and yemen. the bottom line is that the united states should not be sending iran a message that we now place such a high premium on its continued adherence to the nuclear deal that it will have carte blanche to pursue its increasingly threatening policies in other areas that endanger our interests and those of our allies. thank you, again, mr. chairman, for the opportunity to testify. i know this is the place where i would normally say i look forward to your questions. but i'm -- may be more appropriately i stand by and i'm ready to try to answer your questions. >> fair enough. i think that's a fair summary of where we're at. i'll now recognize myself for five minutes. mr. rhodes i wish were here. he has a unique perspective.
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he said some truly amazing and over-the-top things that were quoted in "the new york times." i haven't heard anything refute that. one of the ones that i think would concern all of us is this quote that he said on the fourth page of this article, he says, it's printed out, quote, i don't know anymore where i begin and obama ends. that's a true -- if you really think and let that settle in, that's a truly stunning statement. he also said some other things that i think are very concerning. quote, all these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus which i think he makes a good point on on that and then he says, quote, now they don't. they call us to explain to them what's happening in moscow and cairo. most of the outlets are reporting on world events from washington. the average reporter we talk to is 27 years old and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. that's a sea change. they literally know nothing, end quote.
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he went on to say, mr. rhodes said, quote, but then there are these sorts of force multipliers. we have our compadres. i will reach out to a couple people and, you know, i wouldn't want to name them and then he goes on and -- anyway. it's really interesting in his approach. but here's what -- that's one component. but you compile that on top of what you also hear former secretary panetta said. this is what secretary panetta said. and this is a quote from panetta. and you know my view talking with the president was, if i brought it to the point where we had evidence that they're developing an atomic weapon, i think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen. but then panetta stops, according to the article, and the author says, quote, but would you make that same assessment now, end quote. secretary panetta's quote is i would make the same assessment
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now, question mark, probably not. probably not. so, he said it once. i repeated it twice. but this is of what's deep concern. i think it would be naive to just gloss this over and say, hey, we got this deal. it's in the best interests of the united states. it's noting? that was fully brought before the congress. i would hope that we would walk out with an understanding from the three of you of what those big outstanding questions are. but maybe somebody could shed some light on these so-called side deals, these things where iran has maybe made other deals. do you have any insight, mr. doran, any of you, on what these so-called side deals might be? >> no. and there's what we have uncovered, but as time goes on -- as time goes on, we keep finding out more and more that wasn't in the text, and, of course, the obama administration
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says there is nothing else, but the iranians are -- the iranians are saying that there is larger deal, in particular with regard to access to dollars and expanding their economy. and the behavior of our officials suggests that they are right. our officials say that the iranians are not correct, but here we have -- here we have secretary kerry in europe last week meeting with banks trying to get them to overlook concerns about iran's illicit activities and to drum up business for iran. so, there's a mismatch here between what we're saying and what we're doing, but what we're doing actually does -- actually does match quite closely with what the iranians are saying. and that's been a -- that's been a characteristic of the deal from day one. the deal -- the deal has been shaped by the red lines of the supreme leader and not by the red lines of the president of
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the united states. our red lines have dropped all along the way and the iranians have stayed consistent with theirs. >> mr. rubin? >> very quickly the jcpoa is almost like a timeshare agreement, where you sign the deal and you only find out then what the true costs are. one of the subjects for oversight would be with regard to changing the language, restricting iran's ballistic missile work. was it a deliberate concession or was it the result of incompetence? what troubles me mostly is how we seem to having become iran's lawyer, for example, the iranians will now complain that we are not enabling enough openings for their economy, and yet what didn't hit the western press was last week the iranians on the order of the supreme leader cancelled an order $20 million -- $2 million for chevrolets. and the answer was, we shouldn't be doing business with the americans. who's kneecapping the iranian economy, us or the iranians?
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it's time to have the iranians stop blaming other people and take accountability to themselves. >> thank you. my time has expired. now recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. hanna, you were dick cheney's top national security adviser, is that right? >> yes, sir, from 2005 to 2009. >> no, i don't think it is. as you said, we played an important role in making the first draft of secretary powell's speech to the united nations. that was certainly true, but we -- >> okay. but you were involved in making the first draft? >> that's correct. >> is this pretty much the draft he presented to the united nations? i know a first draft usually goes through many more drafts. >> sure.
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if you hear mr. powell's people now, they say it contained reports that couldn't be supported by the intelligence community and at the end of the day they threw out my draft and secretary powell spent four days with the high eest level of peoe at langley and he did a new draft. their claim was my draft did not actually form the foundation of what he presented to the united nations. >> i'm sure you having heard that, i'm sure you probably said, let me at least listen to what he did say. is that right? did you read his -- >> oh, sure. yes, i did, absolutely. >> and was there any mention of weapons of mass destruction in
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your draft as compared to the final draft of secretary powle? >> yes, i think both of our drafts were entirely focused on weapons of mass destruction. >> what would you say was the difference? because he seemed like he was very disappointed with the information that you had provided him that said that it was a blot on his reputation and pretty much that he, you know -- until the day he dies he's going to regret it. but i'm just curious. >> just a correction first of all, when he said it was a blot, i think he was talking about what he presented to the united nations. i don't think he was talking about the draft that i presented him, it's what he did with george tenet and the rest of the intelligence community that he ended up presenting that was obviously filled with errors. most of it was wrong. my draft instruction to me when i started that draft was that you need to go look at all of the intelligence there is, including raw intelligence,
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which we regularly got at the white house, which were individual reports by individual intelligence sources. i did that. and put it into a draft, and then have the intelligence community look at that draft and decide what pieces of intelligence could they support, which ones weren't they able to support. that source was not reliable. didn't have enough of a reliable record of reporting, and they would throw it out. so i wrote the draft knowing that large segments of it would be thrown out because the intelligence community just didn't have the necessary confidence level in that reporting. >> now, let me read what secretary powell's chief of staff said about your document. i take it has to the first draft. he said hanna, quote, hanna was constantly flipping through his clipboard trying to source and verify all the statements. it was clear the thing was put together by cherry picking everything, end of quote. in fact, they discovered you did not use the dia report properly, you did not cite a cia report
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fairly, and you referenced "the new york times" article that quoted an intelligence report out of context. so, they scrapped, as you said, your entire document and the secretary's chief of staff described it in this way and i quote, he said, finally, i threw the paper down on the table and said this isn't going to cut it. now, this was the chief of staff, right, for secretary powell. how could you have given him such a document that appears, in his opinion, to have been baseless and misleading? >> well, i mean, there's a long history. it was colonel wilkerson who was his chief of staff. >> that's correct. >> he has a long record that anybody can go read about his views of the iraq war and his regrets and deep regrets. i think we just have a different view of the draft i presented. i do acknowledge that it included an awful lot of stuff that i knew that came from the intelligence community that they
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would not be able to support if they thought it wasn't used properly, they could use it properly if they thought it was useful. so, we just have a basic i think difference of view about what i actually provided and what the purpose of my draft was. it wasn't meant to be a final draft, the final word that would go to the united nations. it was meant to be a rough draft that the intelligence community would go through with a fine tooth comb and pick out those parts that they thought were the strong -- made the strongest case that, in fact, saddam did have weapons of mass destruction. >> but it wasn't just mr. wilkerson, it was also george tenet who reportedly turned directly to you, and i'm sure you'll remember this and said, you wasted a lot of our time, quote, end of quote. is that true, and did he say that? >> he certainly didn't say it to me. certainly i could easily see him saying that kind of thing, but he didn't say it to me. >> i thank you very much.
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>> now recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. wahlberg, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair, and thanks to the panel for being here. we wish there were other members, of course. mr. doran, in your testimony you discuss the need to restore checks and balances and note that while mr. rhodes' behavior is scandalous and i think propaganda is the word that you used, it wasn't a rogue operation, but that he was carrying out the will of the president. questions that i'm sure my constituents representing them here in the people's house would want me to ask in reference to this is, number one, how can congress take steps to prevent this president and future presidents from circumventing congress? >> i think this is part of the inherent tension in our government. i did -- i did say that i think that the -- mr. rhodes is doing the bidding of the president.
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i think it's important to remember that. we have now numerous accounts from -- mainly from former defense secretaries, panetta and gates especially, showing thousand there's an inner core in the white house, five or six people, who consult closely with the president about his views. and everybody else is pretty much left out of the conversation. including principals on the national -- on the national security council and mr. rhodes is part of that inner circle. the only answer i have to this, i spent a lot of time thinking about it, the only answer i have are the two that i gave you. one is just exercising the oversight responsibilities that congress has, asking the hard questions, and continually putting pressure on the executive branch to come clean. the second is i think cutting back the size of the nfc.
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it's simply wrong -- i think anyone on both sides of the aisle would see that the national security council created by statute in 1947 was created to be a coordinating body, not an operational arm of the government. and under president obama it has slipped into becoming an operational arm. and i think when you look at the war room, as described not by me, but by mr. rhodes, this is -- this is an operational -- operational white house. just one last point here. there's an issue here that i think we all just need to be aware of but there's not much we can do about it, and that is the collapse of the press. so, one of the reasons why this is a threat to our checks and balances is because of the collapse of i would say certain informal checks on government -- on governmental power that have disappeared over the last decade, you know, very, very quickly because of the rise of
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the -- the rise of the internet. what ben rhodes said in that article about -- about foreign events being reported from washington and from the white house by young reporters who don't know anything and don't have any other sources of information except what the white house is telling them is completely correct and it's a danger. there's not much -- there's not much in terms of legislation that we can do about that, but we need to be aware of it. it's sort of a double danger because not only do the reporters not have alternative sources of information but because all of the information is coming out of the white houseve this of this white house and reporting the stories as the white house wants them. >> let me go on from there as well and ben rhodes' assistant in the article, the reports in the comments in "the new york times" magazine article, indicated that there were compadres involved in this. some of those were in the think
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tank community as well. who would he be referring to in the think tank and policy world? >> the plowshares funds. >> the what? >> the plowshares fund has funded many of the elements of the so-called echo chamber, to use ben rhodes' words. supposedly neutral assessors, for example, in various arms control think tanks, perhaps in the atlantic council as well, and elsewhere were receiving grants. now, one can say just because one has received a grant from this high-level funder -- and by the way, this funder also had provided grants to senior iranian officials working in the united states as well at universities and so forth. just because they have funded doesn't necessarily mean that there's a quid pro quo, but what you will find is that anyone who has received plowshares funding especially for the bulk of their
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grant or the bulk of their salary, never, not once, contradicted the assessment which ben rhodes sought to put forward. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. now recognize the gentle woman from new york ms. maloney for five minutes. >> thank you. after a good deal of deliberation and research, i voted against the iran nuclear deal. and at the time i was hoping very much that i was wrong. but everything that has happened since and the additional information that has come forward, it literally has convinced me that i made the right decision. but i have to say as a member who took the time to carefully study the plan before making a decision, as i believe all of my colleagues did, i had absolute, complete access to all documents. i read every document, even
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classified documents, every meeting was addressed in various areas. the administration bent over backwards to provide accurate information to us. and i must say that this was one of the most hotly debated issues that i've experienced since i've been in congress. but both sides were deeply involved in putting forward their cases. there were demonstrations. there were petitions. there were meetings. there were conferences. there were debates. there were -- it was completely and totally open to everyone to learn and to make their own decision. so, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are now taking another opportunity to attack the administration with a futile fishing expedition based on a widely questioned "new york times" profile of an adviser to
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president obama. i believe it's quite a stretch to suggest that the white house building a comprehensive information campaign to support a major policy, a foreign policy initiative, amounts to any way in misleading the american people. and i find it incredibly hypocritical to invite mr. ha a hanna, who worked for dick cheney and helped market the iraq war based on false pretenses to come now before us as an expert witness on an alleged false white house narrative. i find the hypocrisy really beyond belief. and i'd like to ask mr. hanna, do you know who scott mclennan is? yes or no? yeah, well -- >> yes. >> -- scott, other people may not know, he was the white house press secretary and he wrote a book about his experience. he explained how a small group
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of advisors called the white house iraq working group helped sell the iraq war by misleading the american people. and i'm quoting from president bush's press secretary. he said, the white house iraq group had been set up in the summer of 2002 to coordinate the marketing of the war to the public. and, mr. hanna, wasn't scooter libby your boss and dick cheney's chief of staff, weren't they part of the iraq group? >> the vice president wasn't. i think scooter libby was. i'm not 100% sure, but i think you're right. >> well, scott mcclellan further wrote, he explained exactly how you and others misled the american people. and he said this, and i quote, as the campaign accelerated, qualifications were downplayed or dropped altogether. contradictory intelligence was
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largely ignored or simply disregarded. so, mr. hanna, why did you ignore and disregard evidence that contradicted your political narrative for the war? >> congresswoman, i would just say that, you know, to the extent that i got it wrong in believing that saddam had weapons of mass destruction, an awful lot of people got it wrong. it was not a figment of the imagination -- >> are you saying -- are you saying that mr. mclennan was wrong in the book when he said he misled and lied to the american people? >> all i can tell you is that there have been bipartisan commissions that have looked at how -- the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and they came to the conclusion that the president of the united states did not lie about -- >> i'm not talking about him. i'm talking about mcclellan. was mcclellan wrong? was he misinformed? was he lying when he said -- he wrote we were misleading the american people. we downplayed any contradictory
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information. >> congresswoman, i haven't read his book. all i can tell you is a lot of people that know scott very well, i don't know scott at all, really -- >> are you saying -- >> -- have contradicted his presentation. they believe he was wrong in his judgments and he -- >> are you saying that you did include contradictory intelligence showing that your case was weak or nonexistent? >> no. i think we were instructed to write what we thought was the best case for why saddam had weapons of mass destruction. >> the gentle woman's time has expired. >> no, i have 21 seconds left according to this, so i'd just like to -- >> no, you are 27 seconds overtime. >> oh, okay. >> thank you. >> all right. well, i'd like to put my closing statement in the record. it's a zinger. and it's very hypocritical, mr. chairman.
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>> do you know mr. hanna is here to answer questions. mr. rhodes is not here to answer questions. that's what's difficult about this hearing. we'll go to the gentleman from arizona and recognize him for five minutes. >> thank you for your testimony and for providing valuable information to this committee which shed lights on the deceptive manner in which the obama administration sold out the american people and our allies across the globe with the iran capitulation agreement. even when presented with the facts like the facts each of you laid out in your testimony, the administration doubles down and try to disagree with anyone who questions it including me. when asked about the interview with "the new york times" magazine press secretary josh earnest dodged and decided to lambaste several members of congress including me as liars. truly eliciting principles to the core. why? because under the illegal iran deal in lifting sanctions that iran would be able to access up
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to $100 billion that was previously frozen. jack liu stated that sanctions relief would be worth about $100 billion. the president of iran said his country would get $100 billion. defight t despite the fact that i said something similar, the white house is now trying to brand me as a liar and attempting to deflect ben rhodes' recent statements. the point is not $100 billion or $50 billion or whether it's all at once or over a period of time, the real problem is president obama is funding the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism. iran is no friend to the united states, to christians or jews or even sunni muslims. iran is a rogue nation hell-bent on nuclear war in middle east. a responsible president who loves his country and supports our allies would never lift sanctions and give this murderous regime money, much less billions. this deal is a strain is our national character. the next president we can only hope will terminate this nonsense and promote freedom and
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accountability overseas and not a regime that stones women and hangs homehomosexuals. josh earnest suggest i show up to the oversight committee. here i am. where is ben rhodes? i guess you can run and hide. now, mr. doran, much of the news coverage recently had focused on mr. rhodes and the lies and misinformation he had spun relating to the iran deal, however, we know that no one operates in a vacuum. does mr. rhodes represent a rogue employee of the white house or does the spin campaign represent something more deeply about how the white house handled the iran deal? >> i believe it represents the president's strategic vision and the president's -- the president's will. he -- the president is on record as early as 2006 saying that he wanted to improve relations with iran and syria and that he saw iran and syria as sharing core interests and stabilizing iraq and that we should work with them -- with them to do that.
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i don't think he ever lost that -- >> so you would say that he actually is ultimately responsible for developing this frame of capitulation? >> absolutely. and that's the key factor to understand why we made all of these concessions to iran, because we're not actually trying to stop it from getting a nuclear weapon. we're trying to develop a partnership with it. >> unfortunately as you said, the lies and misrepresentation that are deeply woven deep within the iran capitulation agreement are just the latest example of a culture of deception that has been this administration's m.o. since its incepti inception. let's noter er iforget this is same administration that sold the american people out to the insurance companies under the guise of health care reform. the president and his congressional minions drove a legislative garbage truck full of special interest giveaways through congress and over american's pocketbook while knowing and willfully repeating the lie, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. this is the same administration thatta

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