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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 24, 2016 7:00pm-12:01am EDT

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the economy. importantly, with the farm bill in place, farmers, ranchers and their bankers have certainly from washington about future agricultural policy. in 2015, farm banks defined as any bank with more than 15.5% of their loans made to farmers or ranchers now provide over $00 billion in total farm loans, small farmers rely particularly on banks for funding. farm banks hold $48 billion in small farm loans with $11.5 billion of that in micro fall farm loans. farm banks are healthy and continue to be forward looking. growing capital and increasing reserves. this provides flexibility to serve our nation's farmers and manage risks associated with any downturn in the agricultural sector. i would like to thank congress and especially the agricultural committees for repealing the borrower term limits on usda
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farm service agency guaranteed loans in the last farm bill. banks work closely with the usda to make additional available by utilizing guaranteed farm loan programs. on this subject of usda guaranteed farm loan programs, i believe that congress needs to consider reforms to the programs specifically to raise the cap on these loans due to the rising cost of agriculture along with the modernizing of the programs. usda farm service agency guaranteed loans have allowed farmers to continue to access credit from banks like mine as they grow and ensuring credit access for farmers across the country. we remain concerned, however, with one area of the agricultural credit market. the farm credit system. over the years, the farm credit system has veered away from its intended mission and now represents an unwarranted risk to taxpayers. as a government sponsored
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enterprise, it represents a risk to taxpayers in the same way fannie mae and freddie mac do. the farm credit system was founded in 1916 to ensure that young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers had access to credit. however, that is not as focused today. the farm credit system has grown into an enormous $304 billion system offering complex financial services. to put this into hperspective, f the farm credit system were bank, it would be the ninth largest bank in the united states and it is larger than 99.9% of the banks in this country. the farm credit system benefits from significant tax breaks valued at $1.3 billion in 2015, giving it a significant edge over private sector competitors. moreover, the farm credit system enjoys government backing formalized by the creation of the $10 billion line of credit with the u.s. treasury in 2013.
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it is shocking that nearly half of the entire farm credit system's portfolio is to individuals that each owe more than $1 million. these are not young, beginning, and small farmers and ranchers. this system now primarily serves large established organizations that do not need subsidized credit. it is clear that the farm credit system has become too large and unfocused. using taxpayer dollars to su subsidize large borrowers. we urge congress to perform an autopsy on the system to ensure their charter of helping young, beginning and small farmers is being followed. if it is not, we urge congress to remove the significant tax break provided to the system. banks like mine are proud of the work we do to support our nation's farmers and ranchers. the agriculture is a critical part of us, and we serve it
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through good times and bad. thank you, and i'd be happy to answer any questions. >> our next witness is mr. gus parker, president and ceo of the community bank of owine, iowa. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> just a moment. i've got to say some other -- >> okay. sorry. >> -- wonderful things on your behalf. >> mr. parker grew up on a small grain and livestock farm in northwest iowa. always had the dream of taking over that operation. but with escalating costs, little capital, he was forced to begin his banking career in the 1970s and served in senior management positions in community banks ever since. he now serves as an elected federal delegate for the northern half of iowa for the independent community bankers of america. mr. barker, thank you again for testifying and we welcome your statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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as you stated, i'm gus parker, president and ceo of community bank of owine, iowa. i thank you for the opportunity to testify on behalf of the icba, independent community bankers of america. it's a full service bank employing exceptional bankers who work with our customers, providing them products they need while treating them like friends and family. our success is measured by the relationships we build with customers and individualized hands-on service. we're located in northeast iowa. serving ag borrowers who produce corn, soybeans, and livestock. america's 6,400 community banks, primarily in rural areas and in virtually every small town, do an outstanding job providing credit in good times and bad. rural community banks provide more than one-half of all ag credit from the banking sector.
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most farmers are at best breaking even right now and then only if they have low debt levels and low carryover debt. most threatened are the young, beginning and small, or ybs farmers, particularly if they have high debt levels or have little to no additional financing backing. ybs, unless financially secure farmers, are the most at risk of exiting agriculture in the future. however, continuation of low farm prices will cause many farmers to exit including those currently financially strong and larger farmers. we do urge senators to discuss this with the regulators so they don't overreact to this situation. my testimony also makes recommendations on usda farm loan programs to keep our farmers in business. regarding fcs, year end 2015,
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fcs total assets were $304 billion, an 86% increase from just 10 years earlier of $163 billion. fcs growth loans of $236 billion is a 92% increase from a decade earlier. fcs net income, $4.7 billion. and the fcs effective tax rate is 4%. by comparison, my bank, is taxed at 34% federal and 5% state, almost 40% total tax. 36% more than the fcs. fcs has a huge advantage in pricing loans, enabling their cherry picking. fcs also grows their retained earnings greatly with this tax benefit. fcs has had tremendous growth the last decade when fcs lobbied congress and its regulator for
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expanded powers and inappropriately received many of those powers through their complicit regulator, the fca. we question fca's obtaining the $10 billion line of credit at a time of record profits. fcs has an insurance fund supposedly to protect their lenders, but we note that their allowance for loan losses is only 5 4 basis points. by contrast, my bank is 186 basis points. perhaps if fcs had an adequate insurance fund and higher loan loss reserve ares they wouldn't need to dash to the treasury for a $10 billion lain of credit with no congressional involvement as was recommended by the brookings institution report. why did fca act in secret behind congress' back? we surveyed bankers in every geographical region on fcs issues in recent years. all bankers are alarmed by the fcs cherry picking.
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fcs leverages tax and funding advantages as a government sponsored enterprise, gse, to undercut loan rates on community banks' biggest and financially strongest customers and ignores the less credit worthy borrowers. banks' larger more stable borrowers are important to bank portfolios allowing lending risks to be spread over both small and large operations and losing those biggest and best borrowers elevates the risk in our banks' portfolios. this also diminishes banks' -- it lessens the credit choices for farm borrowers and lessens the credit availability in rural america. wants to allow fcs to broadly make non-farm loans. they also want to cherry pick the very best non-farm loans from bank portfolios although not authorize by law.
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fca's proposed mission-related investment regulation would allow fcs lenders to gain approval for broad non-farm lending programs labeled as investments. loans for manufacturing, apartments, office buildings, would be eligible. fca's lack of awareness at co-bank $725 million verizon loan is alarming. verizon and voda phone are located in new york city and london. this isn't rural iowa. it isn't rural america. it isn't authorized by schatatu. not credible. that isn't intended to allow loans of hundreds of millions of dollars in nonrural areas to corporations. fcs cherry picks the very best loans. fcs seeks to lend aggressively for non-farm purposes. fcs and co-bank are loaning to very large non-farm corporations.
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these activities undermine community banks' ability to remain in business and serve rural communities and farmers. this diminishes the number of rural kmuscommunity banks. fcs' actions therefore threaten rural credit availability. they're worse than a race car that has veered off track and we suggest reforms are needed. thank you. >> i appreciate your statement, sir. our next witness is mr. doug stark of omaha. senator sasse was to introduce you. we'll save a little time and senator sasse usually repeats the constitution of the united states before he asks a question. mr. stark, is the president and ceo of farm credit services of america, frontier farm credit, mr. stark has been with the farm credit system for 35 years. having served in several capacities beginning as an assi
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assi assi assistant loan officer. he also worked in spokane, washington, for two years as an examiner and supervisor. mr. stark, thank withdryou your joining us today and hopefully we will turn to our distinguished ranking member for the next witness. but if not, i will try to do the best job possible. please go ahead, sir, with your statement. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member stabenow, members of the committee, i appreciate the opportunity to testify on behalf of the farm credit system. my name is doug stark and i am president and ceo of farm credit services of america and frontier farm credit headquartered in omaha, nebraska, and manhattan, kansas, respectively. mr. chairman, senator stabenow, thank you very much for being original co-sponsors of the congressional resolution congratulating farm credit on its 100th anniversary. we're very proud that so many of your colleagues on this committee are also resolution
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co-sponsors. as i turn the pages -- i got them stuck together -- we and our colleagues in the banking industry come before you today with good news. the commercial banking industry recently announced record profits and the farm credit system is as financially strong as it's ever been. given the challenges facing farmers and ranchers today and the extraordinary capital requirements of this industry, our nation's agricultural producers need the farm credit system and the commercial banking industry to be viable and strong. the farm credit system, as you've heard this morning, is made up of 78 individually and cooperatively owned and governed institutions. all have separate boards of directors elected by their customer owners. there are no federal funds or taxpayer dollars appropriated for the ongoing operations of the farm credit system. as a cooperative, net income in farm credit goes to one of two places. it's either retained within the
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institution to build financial strength to serve customers, or is paid out to customers in the form of patronage dividends. as one of our directors wrote in a letter to a fellow customer this year, and i quote, "the board believes the cooperative lending system allows us to bring a unique and important value proposition to the market. we want stockholder capital to be hold as close to the farm as possible." that's the beauty of the farm credit system that congress had the foresight to create in 1916. farm credit's cooperative business model is fundamentally different by design. a healthy farm credit system and a healthy commercial banking industry bring greater stability and competition to the credit market. if we lose business to commercial banks, and we do, that means the lending market is working for producers. if we partner with a commercial bank to meet the credit needs of an enterprise serving rural america, and we do, that means the lending market is working for those communities.
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if a local bank can't take on the risk of a beginning operation and refers a young farmer to farm credit and it happens, that means the lending market is working for producers. we know that competition makes all of us in lending work hard each day to be more efficient and customer centric. we focus our time and energy on better serving producers versus asking for elimination of competitors. there is room in the market for both commercial banks and farm credit. producers need us both. at farm credit associations, we've been proactive in helping customers prepare for the challenges of the current cycle. we counsel around the importance of working capital and have restructured debt where appropriate. we are committed to working with our customers through tough times. strong earnings have allowed farm credit to build equally strong capital levels protect against deterioration and loan quality. we have sophisticated stress testing procedures and are
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thoroughly examined by a federal regulator and issued transparent, awe ditsed financial statements. the farm credit system does not pose a risk to u.s. taxpayers, in fact, the system has never been stronger. i personally take particular pride in the support we provide to our young and beginning and small producers. it is an important part of what we do every day. while some would have you believe that it's the sole reason we exist, our mission is spelled out is to serve all of agriculture, large, small, young and old. in 2015, alone, the farm credit system made more than 62,000 loans to young producers. 80,000 loans to beginning producers. and 150,000 loans to small producers. farm credit's mission also expands to supporting rural communities by financing vital infrastructure, helping bring clean water to rural families, reliable energy to farms in rural towns and modern high-speed telecommunications to connect rural america to the
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rest of the world. we also help finance entities that are similar to our directly eligible borrowers, as defined by congress, these similar entity loans are always made in partnership with and at the invitation of commercial banks. in summary, i see farmers and ranchers working hard to adjust to the current decline in commodity prices and profits. they take enormous pride in what they do. and many are trying to carve out a way for their sons and daughters to continue a family tradition. we are honored to serve agriculture producers, farmer owned cooperatives and rural infrastructure producers who own the farm credit system. they are the farm credit system. on behalf of our customer owners, we look forward to the next 100 years of sevrving rura communities and agriculture. mr. chairman, i have variety of statements with me from groups represents producers, farmer owned cooperatives, and anotherers that reinforce the importance of farm credit's
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mission. i ask that those statements be made part of the hearing record. >> without objection. >> thank you. i'll be pleased to respond to your questions. >> sthauthank you very much. i apologize for the back and forth today. i know you understand about what the votes that are occurring and members having to try to be several places at once, but we very much appreciate all of your testimony and it's an important part of our deliberations going forward. and i'm pleased that i made it back in time to introduce mr. jed welder, who as i mentioned earlier is taking time from a busy planting season to provide a producer perspective today. mr. welder served in both the u.s. marine corps and the u.s. army and several tours in afghanistan, iraq, and bosnia before returning to greenville, michigan, to start a farm with his wife, and two children, d daniella and mirko. he's a proud alumnus of central
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michigan university, not far from where i grew up in claire, and serves on the inaugural board of directors for the michigan chapter or the farmer/veteran coalition. we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, chairman roberts and ranking member stabenow for the kind introduction, and thank you to all the members of the committee for this opportunity to testify today. i am the owner of trinity farms, a mid-sized farm in greenville, michigan, where my family and i raise corn, soybeans and recently began growing several acres of hops. i had an happen nor my service iraq, afghanistan, bosnia, serving with the greatest men and women in the world. in 2008, my wife and i made the difficult decision to leave the army. after repeated deployments and ever increasing operational
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tempo, we wanted to start a family and farm back in michigan. we loved moving to the country and enjoyed the challenges of this new profession but quickly realized we needed land an capital to farm full time. farmers are a close-knit group. you can't google how to do things. you actually ask mentors and experienced farmers in the area what has worked on their farms. when i asked older farmers in west gn begmichigan about acces credit, they told me years ago i would have fwoen to a local bank and taken out an operating loan but banks don't do that anymore. a small farm requires hundreds of thousands of dla dollars in seed, fertilizer to operate. my small farm uses older equipment but that costs more than a mortgage most local banks would handle. there was a service in my county recommended by several farmers so i prepared a business plan and walked through their door. they understood what i wanted to do and what i needed to run my operation. they made good solid recommendations and over time became a trusted partner. as my business changed and grew,
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they grew with me. today, i farm more than 800 acres of lands and have been able to continue farming land my folks have farmed since the 1960s. this summer my loan officer came out to see the progress and talk about it with me. we constructed one of the first hop yards in our county. greenstone walked through the yards to see what hops were. their office is 20 minutes away. they know how the crops in our area look and what the prospects for harvest are because they're in the business of working with farmers. last fall an army buddy contacted me because she wanted to buy land near my farm. she had talked to several banks but she worked in texas at the time and wanted to buy farmland near her family in michigan. every bank she talked to told her we don't do that anymore. when i put her in contact with my greenstone office, they told her that's what we do. last friday, my daughter and i planted that farm to corn. this fall when we harvest this crop, this veteran will realize her dream of owning farmland
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even as my family expands its own operation. this is a challenging time for farmers like me across the country. we're planting corn and soybeans with prices very near break even. many of us have second full-time jobs just to provide enough income to stay on the farm. more efficient but the same time the cost of farming increases every year. please understand -- the challenges i face is more important than ever. there's an old saying on the farm, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. i would like to leave you with some idea how important this issue is. we're currently in the middle of planting season of major crops.
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michigan farm eers. families learned there are no after-school activities, trips or days off until the crops are in. . that being said when i had the opportunity to testify before this committee i came out here to appear before you today because this is important to my family and the families of all farmers. thank you. i'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. >> thank you very much again and thank you to all of you. let me start, mr. welder, if you could tell us a little bit more about how greenstone farm credit has helped you both in looking to expand operations even diversifying your farm, we talked earlier how hops is a growing new industry and in michigan i know across the country. that talk a little bit more about greenstone farm credit and their role in helping to be able to do that. >> yes, ma'am. greenstone provided educational
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things and allowed producers to use facilities for getting together for conferences. they've also provided my local loan officers input and talked about expanding our business to doing custom work for other farmers. as we look to increase and purchase new equipment, they worked with us and provided suggestions. when we traded in my 37-year-old combine two years ago and bought a slightly newer peace eer pie equipment, that's something we financed in greenstone. they've been with us every step of the way. michigan is on the cutting edge of a new crop of hops, something entirely new. so it was gratifying to me when they came out and walked through the yard, learned what the challenges were we face with this new industry.
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either go back to the farm or go into farms including support for the new and beginning farmer, rancher development programs. in 2015, the national farmer veteran coalition received funds from the farm bill to expand agriculture production, development, business development skills and so on. mr. welder, you're a board member of the michigan chapter of the farmer/veteran coalition. can you describe some of the ways the coalition is working to support our military veterans initiative? >> yes, ma'am. the farm michigan chapter -- farmer veterans coalition is in its first year and it's very exciting what we're doing working with veterans in all different areas of agriculture. i've got friends that i've developed through the michigan farmer veteran coalition that raising grass-fed pigs that are working in poultry, raising
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hops, raising crops. all across the state. the farmer veteran coalition is working to provide grants as well as educational opportunities in both the upper and lower peninsula. we just held a cooperation with the nrcs, a soil conservation class. we've also had grant writing classes that we've held with veterans who want to become farmers. some of the best friend and r crews i have in agriculture are through the coalition. >> thank withdryou. anybody else want to respond in working with veteran farmers or veterans anywhere working in the food system? what we described financially and with resources personally.
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we're really trying to feature new products raised by our veterans and make them more visible to the general public so they can be featured and distributed and help them be successful. thank you. >> ranking member, i just want to add that we don't have special programs for our veterans because we honored them our entire careers in the community banks. and that would include rate concession, some terms that maybe would unusual in a normal situation to try and stimulate them. i appreciate mr. welder's office of farm credit. sounds just like a community banker that i know. >> all right. let me ask, again, i'll start with you, of course, the 2014 farm bill made a number of reforms to the farm safety net. we strengthened and expanded crop insurance. specialty crops and hops is one of those new specialty crops.
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as we expand, it will be interesting to see what other opportunities there are. also to provide inceptintives f beginning farmers. when producers approach your institutions for loans, how do you take the safety net programs into account? and how important are things like crop insurance, particularly for beginning farmers, when you're looking at potential borrowers? >> yeah. that's a key topic of focus of both this committee and congress here through these last couple years. we're very pleased to get a farm bill last year that included a strong crop insurance program. and i certainly think this is one thing the banks and ourselves can agree upon. it's vitally important to the producers out there, and particularly the feature that have revenue coverage for many of these producers because that's really a critical issue we have out here. most of the producers in the marketplace carry some level of crop insurance.
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they make their own choices around that. certainly we take that into strong consideration and especially if they would decide not to consider it, in that case, we would require significant improvements and liquidity in order to continue their financing. for young producers, it's essential and we counsel them a lot regarding the level of coverage that hay might carry and the risk that they have the capacity to undertake. primarily as a result of the fact that most of them don't have working capital if, in fact, something should happen to their crop production year. thank you for your support on crop insurance. we would appreciate that and continued support as we go forward. >> i think as we move from subsidies to risk management, to crop insurance as well as conservation practices and other risk management tools, i think it is really important that we keep a strong system and i'm also anxious to see as we go forward how the opportunities we created through fruits and vegetable growers, specialty
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crops small growers, small farmers and so on how we can continue to expand those opportunities for small as well as large farms. so that they have that risk management tool. i think that's really important. so let me -- >> senator, could i respond to that as well? okay. the first panel was asked what are some of the differences going into potential crisis, this farm crisis, this time as compared to the 1980s. i became a banker in 1979. that was my first experience. as an ag lender. that's one of the primary differences. i mean, there's some real differences. i think the producers are much higher capitalized and lower leveraged than they were going into this, into the 198 os. the farm credit system is higher capitalized. the community banks are higher capitalized going into this. one of the real fundmental
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differences is crop insurance. in the 1980s, less than 5% of all crops were insured in the united states. that number is reverse now. 95% that are. that makes a huge difference for our industry and producers to ensure they'll be around the next season. we thank you for that. it's a very critical part of what we do. thank you. >> i appreciate that. as we go forward, and i hate to start talks about the next farm bill, get ahead -- i think about all the challenges we have. this is going it be a very important debate. we're going to need your voices as we are talking about the increased importance of crop insurance. mr. barker, i wonder if you might talk to us more. i apologize i was not here if for your testimony. describe the work of your institutions to support the rural food and agricultural
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businesses. not just farmers but more broadly, rural communities, food industry and so on. could you talk more about that? >> locally we have a lot of growers in the farmers' market type of area. those are very popular in the state of iowa. in our area. we committed many producers to organic production. those were some trying times. some of the challenges we face come from other states. the laws in california require chickens needed more space in their cages. -- so those are the things we're facing challenges now. we've had to loan more money to
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that facility to increase their buildings and their capacity to produce. >> thank you. yes? mr. wolfe, did you want to respond? >> yeah. just quickly. we're located in north-central, northern kansas, we're in the transition between plains and good, dark farm ground. we have wheat as a primary grow crop in the western part of our trade area. and that transitions to corn, soybeans. we also have a lot of dairies, hog operations, beef, cattle. so we're very diversified and we've been -- well, we're the largest ag lender in kansas. that's not all that large. probably ranks number 50 in the united states. we do our part to take care of local producers. we've been around a long time. we relish the opportunity even
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in the down times to be there for our customers. >> thank you very much. i am going to step away to vote. senator thune just came in i'm going to pass the entire -- i'm a little nervous about this, but i'll be happy to pass it to the senator from south dakota. >> thank you, madam chair. yeah, kind of would have liked to have been here to ask questions earlier of the previous panel, but we had the administrator of the tsa up here to talk about wait lines at airports. so i was chairing that meeting. but i appreciate the update today on what's going on in agriculture, particularly with regard to lending. i do want to include for the record, since i'm the only one here, i will say this will be included without objection. a story from the -- i should say
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from the "mitchell daily republic" in which it talks about a study that looked at farm income and that i know it's already been mentioned a couple of times today, but at least in my state, in 2015, we saw it top by $100,000 on average last year. which is a 77% decline in net profit in 2015. compared to the year before. and so it goes on and elaborates and gets down into the specifics and drills down to the numbers a little bit about what that means in terms of our economy, but i think it just puts a fine point on how important it is that we are really focused on agriculture and making sure that we do everything we can to get our producers through what are some pretty difficult economic times and hopefully on to when we get a better price structure. but i know that, you know, we're planting in south dakota some of it's in, some of it's still going in, but we're hoping for a
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big crop, need a big crop at the prices that we're dealing with today. but i'd be curious to know just from the lender standpoint, i know that, for example, mr. barker, you've got a smaller scale community bank with a portfolio of 35%ing agricultura loans. could you talk a little bit about what your greatest challenge is today in terms of looking at the outlook for your agricultural borrowers? >> as far as our borrowers, our biggest challenge is the cash flow coming in. we're in times where most of our borrowers have equity to survive a year or two. going forward, this equity is being used up with the low prices, with production, roughly a dollar below cost. sale prices on both corn and beans. it doesn't take long if they have any size at all to get used up in their equity. we're going to need the farm
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credit, the rural development guarantees. we would ask the senate to really beef that up. the program. because we really will need those guarantees going forward to keep them in business. and patience is a virtue in this thing. many examiners were not around in the '80s when we went through this ag crisis before. they're young and they're being told that this is maybe a panic situation and patience will be a virtue in dealing with all of this. >> and i would direct this to you and others only the panel as well, but do you believe that your banks and other aba banks coordinate more closely with the usga farm agency than fcs to obtain guaranteed loans for some of those eligible borrowers? >> well, from my personal experience, the banking community does. in fact, i've had a few local small borrowers come to us
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because their credit was shut off at farm credit services. and we've tried to look at getting a guarantee for those folks, but our experience is that loyalty has been to the larger borrowers by the farm credit services. and the smaller folks maybe in our area were not taken care of as well because they're a lot of work. it's easier to book a $1 million to $5 million loan. >> do any of you have examples of how the system neglects young, beginning, and small farmers and ranchers in your area? >> personally i don't see it. i don't see the farm credit system doing that. i know they talk about that and from a report from 2014 which i could enter into the record if you'd like, the numbers show that those young, beginning, small farmers are quite stagnant and one of the footnotes i thought ironic was if they qualify under each of those categories, they can be counted
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under each of those at gocatego so i'm not sure how the numbers relate. i know in theory that's what they'd like to do at the regional levels but on the local level, i just don't see it happening. >> mr. welder, you're a farm operator and when you're talking to other local farmers, have you noticed competition in ag lending driving down interest rates for borrowers? have you seen any evidence of that? >> from my perspective, in my very small operation, i i have seen that, senator. we're getting competition from other large corporate farms that maybe have other lending resources but at my level, no, not at all. the interest rates are staying pretty much constant for operating loans, machinery loans. >> okay. from your perspective, to what extent do private banks, commercial banks, farm credit system, play a role in ensuring credit exists for borrowers out
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there? how do you see that interaction working in the different entities? >> again, i can only give a very microperspective at my level. but the banks in my area don't deal with farmers as much other than checking and savings. the last farmer that had an operating loan with our very local sydney bank was my dad 20 years ago. 800 to 1,000 acres, might be talking a quarter million dollar loan. most of that will go through the farm credit system as opposed to going through a banking system. >> okay. and mr. barker, back to you, the -- would you say your bank is consistently more competitive loan rates? and local availability? to particularly as we talked about earlier, some of the younger, smaller, newer b borrowers? >> we compete as much as we can.
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i cannot compete with the farm credit services. they have a funding structure that is very enviable. for example, on a $1 million loan, if i charge 5%, that's $50,000 in interest. i pay my tax bill out of that. i net $30,000. the farm credit services is tax exempt, can only charge 3% on that same loan. they don't have to charge appraisal fees which i have to do, and there are other local fees in some states that they do. so we try to stay competitive as much as we can and make use of anything we can as far as federal home loan borrowings or something to that extent, but i just can't seem to touch the whole array of benefits that the farm credit services has. >> and you indicate in your testimony that 14% of your portfolio consists of loans ranging from $2,000 to $149,000 which is 76% of your portfolio by total number of borrowers.
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in my state, i pay 34% federal income tax, 4.38% state income tax. as mr. barker says, that's a 5% loan -- the same place we do. and my point is that when we go down that path, the farm credit is not passing, if i were a borrower -- they're not passing that entire savings along to them. they could have been fully taxed like the ccorp bank and they would still make more money than banks for the last two years. that's the point i'd like to make. >> okay, thanks. do you want to -- >> thank you. i'd be delighted to respond to those comments. it's really unfortunate and disappointing to hear the allegations against system with so many farmer-owned customers.
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support and feel so strongly about. you know, one thing i can say when it boils all down to the bottom line, what's been laid out this morning, irrespective of our business structures, when it gets down to the bottom line, the fact of the matter is we're just different use of models. that's clearly, as i mentioned in my opening remarks that was sbe intended. as a farmer owned cooperative, we have a different structure. community banks enjoy some of the same or similar -- backing by the federal government that the farm credit system does and forms of federal deposit insurance. have access to the gse through the federal home loan bank. access to chapter "s" corporations. we can compare and contrast business models for hours today. the bot totom line is, communit banks and commercial banks have 40% market share. by the testimony admitted here this morning, colleague here,
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mr. barker indicated they have over -- if you look at the data presented even in their own testimony, they grew 7. % last year, we grow 8.5%. be you look at the facts, there's no evidence to indicate the pend lum realulum really sw favor of the farm credit system. >> sorry, mr. stark. there are a lot of gses that don't have anything to do but compete with me and try to steal my loans. when we're not allowed to make a $5 million real estate loan, for example, that's a big part of my loan portfolio, goes to the farm credit services no matter what. there's no way to compete. it will be undercut no matter what i quoted. their rates just aren't the same. they're going to pick those. the young farmer that comes in
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that has a quote from the farm credit services gets a rate that is higher. they might get a rate that is 6% or 8% compared to the 3% rate. so does that really mean that they're taking care of those young farmers? when i price a loan to a young farmer it's the same whether they're a multimillion dollar farmer or young farmer that's really struggling and trying to get out there. we're going to help them no matter what. we don't get competition from the other gses. >> mr. chairman, i would just say, and i appreciate you having this hearing because i think it's an important one. it's an issue we need to pay close attention to. particularly over the next couple of years because i think as in production agriculture, if we don't see some improvement in prices of commodities we're going to have more and more stress and there's going to be a real need on behalf of the lending community to be able to work with borrowers and figure
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out ways to get them through. i'm particularly concerned about the young, beginning and small borrowers and what this means for them. people perhaps aren't as established or don't own their ground and are making cash rent payments. those sorts of things. it's going to be increasingly i think difficult given the current price structure which i said i hope improves but i think that the availability of credit and being able to work with and having all the various people who represent that community here today i think is really good, too, because it gives us an opportunity to explore a little bit more in detail what the various dynamics and who's lending to whom and where the sort of weak spots are. if there's anything this committee can do in the days and weeks and months ahead, i hope that you all will communicate that to us as well because we want to make sure we're being as responsive as possible when it comes to availability and credit for agriculture. so mr. chairman, i thank you.
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i thank our panelists today for being here. >> senator thune, thank you for that excellent statement. i share the concern with new, young -- what was the other? oh, beginning. i'm concerned about the older established producers who produce most of the food for this country. as well as everybody else. there is another vote pending i would tell the gentlemen very quickly. about ten minutes here. we're going to have to adjourn this. i have a question for the three lenders on the panel. your answer, of course, if this does not occur, the question that aisle asking, we will be -- when you're considering whether or not to issue a farm loan, how
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important is the role of federal crop insurance program? let's just go down line. mr. barker? >> yes, sir. it's extremely important. it is absolutely critical to the survival of the farmer out there. and the stability in financial services and i think i speak for me as well as the farm credit services on that. >> mr. chair. >> we totally agree. we thank the committee and your support, to get the last farm bill through. it's imperative for this industry as we go forward. >> i thank you, sir. mr. welder? >> as a bruproducer i maintain p insurance as do most of my peers. it's important as we move to a subsidy based to a more market based to stay with that crop insurance. i thank you for your support, sir. >> senator? >> if you were in a services that was always faithful, then
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chose to go army strong. >> yes, sir. >> you can be strong, but i'm not sure always faithful. why on they said i could jump out ever a perfectly good airplane and so i took them up on it. >> well put. leonard? >> i talked about this earlier, but a question was asked of the first panel some of the major differences as we head into what potentially could be a down-turn in ag and the differences compared to the 1980s. the primary difference as far as the producer protection is crop insurance and in the 1980s, i saw statistics that said that less than 5% -- i was there and you were there, less than 5% of all crops were insured at that time. today that number is reversed. it is now 95%. and it is possible because of actions that this committee and you specifically have taken and i think that is going to be paramount going into any
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down-turn, whether this is it or not. our regulators have been predicting this for seven years so if it finally happens, i think they are taking a certain level of glee from that. but we're ready for it. and crop insurance is one of the things that has prepared us for this, if we do have it. >> i appreciate your answer. it is what it is. we are now doing our appropriation bills, which is a very good thing. we are going back to constitutionally congressionally-directed funding and that is a good thing, and at a record pace but when you open the bill you have secretaries of agriculture wanting to change something. and crop insurance is usually a target. each one of you and every one of the organizations has said about megaphone and the value of crop insurance means whether you make it or not, or especially with
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all of the climate change that we're experiencing. let me just ask all of you, i note the somewhat different -- differences of opinion with regards to what the farm credit system has as opposed to what the community banks have, more especially with dodd-frank which was not -- dodd-frank was not supposed to touch you. it was the big banks. obviously it is -- i don't know whether it is a touch or a massage or what it is, but it is not good. if, especially the three folks here that are representing our community banks, if there is one piece of legislation that could address your concerns, and that would probably fall to the finance committee, i happen to be on the finance committee, but
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what would that be? let me start with you, mr. parker. i know that you want a whole series of things but what is the one thing that we could do to make your life easier? >> boy, that list is endless. dodd-frank is a huge thing for us right now. and i think our topic here today is a really big concern for me locally and for all of the community banks that have the farm credit system. but both of those topics are extremely important to us right now. dodd-frank is amess, sorry. >> don't be sorry. agree with you. a quite of few people would agree with you. mr. stark, i want to give you an opportunity. i don't want to leave you out. >> even though we aren't subject to the same regulatory impact as the counter parters here on
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dodd-frank, the farm system does whatever it can to comply with the spirit of the laws because they make good financial sense. the first panel talked about that specifically with regard to the credit -- or the capital requirements. and the farm credit system and through the fca has adopted the regulatory guidance under article three and implemented new requirements but nonetheless the answer to your question is continuation of the crop insurance program would be first and foremost, as we are a farm cooperative we are here on behalf of our farmer owners and that is first and foremost on their minds. consistency and predictability around this time of volatility is as critical as we could imagine and that would do more than anything. the second would be trade. and as you well know and we've talked about that, that is a critical item for our producers and depending on commodity, a big majority of crops or a big percentage of crops in almost all of the segments is traded
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overseas. the u.s. production of agriculture is extremely efficient and we need trade on behalf of our producer customer. >> thank you for your comments on trade and especially tpp. today, unfortunately -- well it has been this way as long as i've had the privilege. all trade agreements are overcriticized and all trade agreements are oversold but they are absolutely essential and thank you for that. let's just keep going down the line. mr. welder? >> sir, the one thing from my perspective would be certainty. farmers don't like change. and we certainly don't like change from washington if we could help it. when we go to our local fsa office and ask about the farm bill or what is upcoming for crop insurance and they generally have no idea. if the more center we -- certainty at my level for the farm bill and for crop insurance, the better off we'll be. >> let me just interrupt by
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saying that we're not going to open up the farm bill, period. so you'll have that stability, whether you have premises or not. the program, the plc program and more specially crop insurance. i'm not saying that that is an easy job because there is always folks that want to do that. but providing consistency and stability i think is paramount. leonard, what do you think? >> well, since you can't do anything about the weather, because that is the biggest variable in agriculture. >> i brought you the rain. >> now you need to make it stop. [ laughter ] >> so dodd-frank is just a monster hanging over a -- community banks today. it is threatening the model. a lot of things threaten our model. but as mr. barker said, frankly in my bank the biggest threat to me seriously is farm credit.
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if we could somehow -- mr. welder mentioned a fair deal. that is all he is looking for is a fair deal, if we could just get to the point -- and there is a misconception that banks want to eliminate farm credits and this and that. no, that is not correct. i'm not an advocate of that. we have to coexist and find a way to do that. i think it is funny that you mentioned appropriations because i have to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about last fall when we used a tacks on banks -- attacks on banks to pay for the highway bill. we have something right here hanging in front of us that is a $1.3 billion tax prefrnal treatment and used to pay for critical elements of agriculture which is crop insurance and things of that nature. this can be done a lot of different ways but there is more than one way to do this. rather than tax them, we could
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eliminate taxes on all agriculture real estate loans whether originated by banks or individuals or insurance companies or even farm credit. just you could level the playing field in that way. we all have different models, even banks have much different models as mr. stark points out. we recognize the difference between us and the farm credit but there is a great deal of differences across the board, so thanks for the opportunity. >> i want to thank all seven of our witnesses. my staff has informed me i have four minutes to skedaddle over there and make the final vote. but thank you for taking the time and your willingness to testify here. i know you are very busy people. testimony provided timely and very valuable for fellow lawmakers to hear firsthand and for my colleagues that have not heard it for the first time, i ask any additional questions they have be submitted to for the record by 5:00 p.m. next thursday may 26. now mr. barker, i have to say
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that mr. grassly, my senior colleague, basically, his question was regard to dodd-frank. and i think you've covered it. >> yes, sir. >> so i want the record to show that i have asked -- the question. [ laughter ] >> there was a more timely response, from his constituent. and with that, committee stands adjourned. thank you. [ hearing adjourned ]
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tonight on c-span, muslim members of congress keith ellison and andre carson discuss muslim bigotry and the ambassador talks about liz country's future and then the discussion about european security and diplomacy and the bipartisan center reports on issues facing america's aging population. two muslim members of congress keith ellison and andre carson spoke about anti-muslim rhetoric in politics. we moderate this hour-long discussion. >> good morning, everyone.
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i'm thomas bird, the washington correspondent for the salt lake tribute and the national press club. today we have two members of congress here to take about the rhetoric aimed at the followers of islam. last week two other members appeared in this room to talk about ending the dialing for dollars fundraising effort. gop house policy chair luke messer was here to discuss the 2016 race. and house transportation and infrastructure chairman will shuster appeared before us to talk about his faa bill and the press club has several members of colleagues here for the sp l spelling bee. i will not ask you to spell anything today but i thank you for being here to discuss this relevant and important topic. i will hand over the podium to the allison fitzgeraldco jack, the chair of our board of
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governors. >> good morning, everyone, thanks for coming. my name is allison fitzgeraldco jack and i'm the health correspondent at npr and chairman of the board of governors here at the club. a few weeks ago right here in washington, d.c. a woman in the starbucks coffee shop called a fellow customer who was a muslim, a quote, worthless piece of muslim trash. and then she poured a drink on her. and last week a man pleaded guilty to obstructing a woman's freedom to practice her religion after her hijab off of her on an airplane. while kate crimes are down in general, hate crimes against muslim have increased and in the political arena presidential hopeful donald trump has called on a ban on musliming erngt the united states all together. here to talk about the issue is tommy said.
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representative keith ellison who is a democrat from minnesota and congressman andre carson has represented the seventh district of indiana since 2008 n. addition to the reporters in the room we have journalists listen on the phone. if you would like to ask, please e-mail them to questions at and identify your news outlet and your name. gentlemen, welcome to the national press club. i think we'll start with congressman ellison. >> good morning, everybody. and let me thank you allison for moderating and also let me give precious and thanks to my good friend andre carson. when i got elected to congress, i had a few people -- well this is going to be a fluke thing. you will be elected but that is it. and it wasn't long before andre joined me and he is the first muslim on the -- to serve on the house intelligence committee, which is a tremendous honor and a great responsibility.
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and i'm very grateful to him for his friendship and colleague-ship. muslims are part of the american fabric, always have been. and they are going to be. it so happens that anti-muslim hate spikes with the presidential cycle. it is not just trump. before trump ever said that he was going to ban muslims from entering the country temporarily, that didn't give me any comfort, did it you? we had herm an cane and newt gingrich saying the same thing four years before that. we had sarah palin making discriminatory and intolerant comments regarding muslims before that. so this political cycle that we live in is something that somehow attracts candidates who want to divide americans on
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actually any basis that they can in order to achieve electoral success. let me also say it is not just historical, even in this particular race, it is not trump and i hope that nobody here makes the mistake of thinking this is about trump. this is not about trump. perhaps one of the scariest development of this election is when a open well-known muslim hater identified by the southern poverty law centers as a bigot and hatemonger, frank gaffney was put on as a top aid to senator cruz. also, we know that dr. carson, no relation here, ben carson said that syrian -- potential syrian migrants were like dogs and a bunch of other hateful and
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scary comments. so what is the fallout from all of this. make no mistake about it. these things have real consequences, and i want to just say, allison correctly pointed out just some of them. but of course there are many more. i remember when the whole ground zero mosque controversy was going on. there was an occasion where a man got into a cab, asked the driver, are you a muslim an the man responded affirmatively and the person in the cab began to stab. i can tell you -- with a knife. i can tell you that i know literally dozens and dozens of people who feel like they've been pulled off airplanes and held up for hours, it is not just private discrimination, it is an official side to this as well. and so let me -- what do we do
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about it? we have to adhere to our core constitutional values. equal protection under the law. due process of law. fairness. religious tolerance andin pollution. congress shall make no law establishing a religion. it is if the first amendment, the same one that guarantees a right like the national press club to exist. so we should adhere to our basic value system. that is what values are. in a time of trouble and in a time where there is confusion and fear, we do the right thing by clutching our core values and that is what we must do at this time. let me wrap up my comments and head it over to andre but i want to leave you with this thought. the muslim community is not taking it lying down. the muslim community is doing a number of things that i think are very important to note. one, the muslim community is reaching out on an interfaith basis to people in the christian and the jewish and hindu and buddhist community and saying,
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look, we're going to stick together and the diverse faith community of this country has responded in a very positive way. i remember one time terry jones, the well-known muslim hate fresh florida went up to dearborn to try to have a hate rally and there were probably more christians and jews at that rally opposing him than there were muslims. the second thing the muslim community is doing is it is voting. the muslim community is voting and becoming a voting block. today we do not talk about the muslim vote as we might talk about the women's vote or the black vote or this vote or that vote. but we will be, and we should be now. there are a lot of states where the muslim vote is a critical vote. michigan, virginia. i could tell you in my own district of minneapolis, most of the muslim votes are somali votes and people talk about the two interchangeable but this is a very important political block in my state, the commodity is
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critical for anyone who wants to hold office to court. and there are 100% -- but 99% muslim. if they are not, i don't know any. and so the muslim community is responding and not just responding by voting, but by people running for office. and andre people know people like rasheeda talib in michigan, kayo vince amad in iowa. people running every day. not just for congress but for city council, for local races and things like that. and i believe that this anti-muslim hate is going to be responded to with -- with a renewed investment in activism and the people who promoted this hateful behavior will wish they had never done it because they are awaking a group of loyal dedicated americans who love their country and appreciate the democracy that we have and are
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going to rededicate themselves to it. and in fact, they are doing so right as we speak. with that, i'll yield the microphone and await questions. >> thank you. allison and co jack, i love that name since i have his hair cut. thank to you tommy burr and jessica and my good friend and colleague keith ellison. i often say that he and i are like batman and robin in congress. he is of course is batman, and i'm robin. i'll take that. you know, it is a special time to have someone to work with like congressman ellison. yes, he is the first muslim in congress and i came shortly after keith. folks don't know we're classmates. i came in a special election. but you know, we live in very serious times. keith mentioned the founding
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fathers. and the great thing about the founding fathers, as complicated as they were, they had a reference point from europe, they came over here to make it a point to establish in our constitution that there shall not be a religious test to hold public office and congress shall not make any law establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise there of and it was so important that they had it outlined in the constitution. muslim have been a part of our country since the inception of our country and arguably before the inception of our country. you know, i grew up in a predominantly baptist family i went to a catholic school and farmer alter boy. my conversion came about at a very critical time in my life. i was a teenager. i wrestled with great tenant of catholicism and spoke to the
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priest regularly and puberty hit and i reality that probably wouldn't be the best path for me. but i was influenced by their commitment to service. even more so of the neighborhood that i grew up in, the street that i grew up on, the middle class street and surrounding that was a crack-infested area. and saw muslims in my own community doing what law enforcement refused to do or was simply incapable of doing and that is pushing back on criminal enterprises, pushing back on drug activity. this is the height of the crack cocaine era. and i was influenced by that commitment to public service through nontraditional means. and a as a young muslim and a young teenager, i had many run--ins with law enforcement. always walking the down, i was always the tall kid. but there was one time when i
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was 17 years old and i was actually arrested at a mosque. and the charges were dropped. but that was a defining moment for me. and i didn't know that that situation in 1991 would have me look back as a reference point and see now what we're dealing with as a community. we saw in new york city, unfortunately, where the great new york police department had -- spying on mosques without having met the reasonable suspicion of probable cause test. we've seen instances where police department relationships with the muslim community are in large part free. but we've also seen instances where you have an apparatus like the new york police department had nearly a thousand officers who just happen to be muslim and many of whom serve in our military. we have seen other instances where there are muslims in our intelligence services. i come from the intelligence
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community and i work for the indiana department of homeland security, working in intelligence and counter-terrorism. so it is disappointing to hear folks who are running for the highest office in the land say that they don't want muslims coming into our country. it is disappointing to hear people who claim to love the united states of america talk about and try to point fingers at how muslims are the root of all society's ills. you go back and look at the discrimination against irish americans, against the italian americans, against jewish brothers and sisters, against latino americans, it is continually african-americans, but nonetheless, we as americans cannot stand for bigotry. symbolism has great value. when i see rasheeda talib, great value. when i see city councilman in
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new jersey, great value. but nearly 8 million muslims don't have a political presence in our country. i can remember and keith can remember as well pre-9/11 trying to register muslims to vote and there was great push-back. the emphasis was on being an engineer or being a doctor, or being a lawyer. and it is true, you go to any major hospital in this country, you'll find a muslim physician. go to some courtrooms in this country and you'll find great muslim barristers and lawyers. but the nearly 8 million muslims don't have much political leverage. and now in the post-9/11 reality, the same community that dealt with racial animosity on one end and you have instances of migrant brothers andsters that would not return to african-americans, now you are seeing this community question its identity in a very real way.
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and so as we are seeing, as evidented by the clinton campaign, as evidented by the sanders campaign, you are seeing a growing muslim presence in these campaigns and the question becomes how can we leverage our voting block to influence change. how can we come together through the coalition building and through the interfaith movement and through the great work of my friend rabbi snyder and the center for global understanding and other examples in indiana and minnesota and across the globe where muslims are coming together to work for positive change in our society. so i want to thank you. i'm happy to be here and let's get to it, allison. thank you. >> thank you, both. i'm going to go to questions and ask when i call on you to please say your name and your affiliation but i'll start with the first question. so we talked a little bit about the experiences that other people have had of islamic-o
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phobia and have either of you in recent months had personal experiences like this and could you share them with us. >> i think both of us have had -- >> could you come up to the mike? >> i think we've both had anti-muslim hate experiences and i think on twitter feed we get them every day and get them through the mail nearly every day and it is a pretty common thing. we've had them officially -- i remember when i first got to congress, you know, one of my first experiences was with congressman virgil good who told everybody that if america followed the virgil good immigration policy we would never have a problem such as a muslim entering congress but the only problem is i was born in the united states. so any way -- and we had more. i think when peter king used the homeland security committee to only tagt muslims, that was -- target muslims, that was anti-muslim hate and bigotry. and so it is officials -- in
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private individuals, think it is very important and i hope one of the messages that gets through is it is not just bad individuals acting badly there is an official component to this and it must be addressed and we're not going to stop talking about it. but, you know, more recently, we -- we've gotten threats. one thing is that andre and i and other murslims engaged in american political life and british muslims engaged in british political life have been thre threatened by daesh because we don't do it the way they say we should do it. so we're dealing with it on both sides. people proclaim islam who are haters and killers like daesh and the trumps of the world. and it is frequent but we are undaunted. >> and one more. you both seem to feel that you need to speak for the entire
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muslim community as the only muslim representatives in congress. are there other members of congress who are standing up with you, strongly and who might be? >> oh, yeah. absolutely. my good friend from new york joe crowley, i think javier bassera and maxine waters, i think of one of my mentors someone like emanuel clever who is the former mayor of kansas. but also a christian pastor. and i think it has a lot more weight coming from a christian pastor to speak out against islam phobia than to talk to me or keith. but there are scores who are progressive and forward thinking. sherry out of illinois, my next door neighbor. nancy pelosi who put me on the
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intelligence committee. she deserves a lot of credit. it was a bold move for her. and i think it speaks to the kind of great leader she is. so there are scores of people who are speaking out against islama phobia. >> and can i mention the other day, steny hoyer and i stayed late on a friday and didn't jump right on the plane to go back to minnesota and stenny and i went to a mosque in maryland and sat down and talked with community members. so this is common and after some of the hate was really pumping in december, andre and i and crowley asked the whole caucus to reach out to the members of the democratic caucus to reach out to muslims in their community. and a lot of people have just come up to me very -- you know, very informally and talked about how they've done this. even new members like kosman -- the guy -- the guy with the auto dealer. yeah, don beyer has been a
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leader on this. he has been a leader on this. and i just want to mention those as well. >> okay. you had a question? >> [ inaudible ]. you've mentioned trump and cruz and carson, but i think all of the names you mention ready republicans that are some form of islama phobia and there was a piece recounting [ inaudible ] in 2000 after hillary clinton asked her of allegations that she was taking, quote, unquote, muslim money, returned the money and refused to meet with members of the muslim american communities. so would you -- how do you respond to an incident like that, the democratic party itself is clear of islam phobia as well. >> i could only speak on what i know about.
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and i'm a bernie supporters. and i support bernie running all the way through the election. but i have to be honest and tell you that i'm not aware of that, right. well, i'm not aware of the incident. i tell you what i am aware of. i know when she came to minnesota -- and this is just being fair and honest, when she came to minnesota, she specifically reached out to the muslim community and had a sit-down to talk about anti-muslim hate. i know about that. i also know that years ago when she was secretary of state, the black caucus had a meeting with her and she had recently appointed a special envoy to muslim communities -- and she set andre and i next to pharaoh to make sure we were medicar we comparing. i don't want to say if something
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did happen, but if that did happen, if there is her reaching out as well. again, i'm not trying to discount anyone's experience, i don't have any information on it. but i could tell you she did some things and has not in any way contributed to anti-muslim hate. in fact huma abedin is one of her aids and she's been a target of anti-muslim hate herself and i've never sensed that secretary clinton is backing away from her association with huma abedin. and if you want to talk who i think should be president, i believe it is bernie sanders. but fair is fair and true is true and she has no record that i'm aware of anti-muslim hate. >> as a clinton guy -- [ laughter ] >> as keith stated, her -- one of her chief advisers and closest confidants who is huma
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abedin who is phenomenal and a friend of mine. the secretary clinton was in indianapolis a few weeks ago. we helped to ensure that muslims were not only there, they were a part of the process. and there were a group of syrian americans who had a moment with secretary clinton. if you look at her history as not only first lady of arkansas but first lady of the united states of america, and even secretary of state, she is the most traveled secretary of state in u.s. history. let's make that clear. whenever i go to embassies who happen to have muslim ambassadors, they talk about the bridge-building that was done under her leadership as secretary of state. when guy to muslim communities, across the country and the communities is divided. some are feeling the bern and some like me are climbing up that hill. but they respect secretary
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clinton because she has a kind of special sensitivity as it relates to issues impacting the muslim community as it relates to unwarranted surveillance and outright discrimination. and i believe, and we could talk about this later, that once she becomes president, you will see muslims in very important positions in her cabinet. >> do you have a question? >> [ inaudible ]. do you believe that in the airport -- in getting more votes, mr. trump is appealing to the most radical supremacy sectors in if the u.s., that they don't vote and now they are even offering [ inaudible ]? >> well, may i say first of all
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that it is important to point out that there is a lot of muslims in america of latin american origin. it is one of the fastest growing parts of the american muslim community. but let me also say, too, that before he ever said muslims, he said mexicans are rapist and drug dealers and so you're right, it is kind of an equal opportunity discriminator, i want to tell you this, i think it is incomplete to just say he is appealing to people's bigotry. it is incomplete. what he is doing is appealing to people's tribalism. and he is defining the tribe as white, working class people and he is saying if you are in that group, you are us. and if you are not, you're out. and so he's doing two things at once when he starts spewing hate at mexicans, people with disabilities, women.
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it is very important to talk about his just unbridled mass otheny. but it is a tribalistic impulse to try to get some people to say he is for me and simultaneously make other people think he is not for me but that is what he is trying to do. he is trying to -- he is basically making up tribalistic cases that he thinks is going to, you know, bounce in his favor. but i got a feeling that as he tries to draw in people who feel alien ated and affected by his message he is same tain cause yusly activating -- simultaneously activating all group ofs americans of all colors that reject that sort of nastiness. andre do you want to -- >> what is curious about mr. trump and i know my people who love me get nervous when i say this, but, you know, i've read
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most of mr. trump's books. i've met mr. trump. yeah, his personal persona betrays his rhetoric, which concerns me. so i think the kind of mackeya developy an maneuvers that we're seeing and to keith's point, he is speaking to a segment of our population that is disillusioned with the government. they feel disen frenchized and getting a smaller piece of the american pie as it were. so if you talk about making america great again, that is a form of meta-messaging to a certain segment, white brothers and sisters and largely blue-collar. and for him to -- as someone who has had muslim employees and do business in muslim and islamic countries, you would think that that kind of -- the kind of sophistication that it would take as an executive to make the maneuvers,
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to then spew very third grade, junior high-style antics and rhetoric to generate the crowds that generate a lot of media attention, it concerns me. it tells me that this is a guy who is a great showman, who is a p.t. barnham but will stop at nothing to leverage to his favor. and that concerns me as to someone who would be commander-in-chief. that kind of in clination -- i think that mr. trump is a classic bully. so he has a very high emotional intelligence when you see him on stage with marco rubio, he is saying little marco and assess a person very quickly and know what to do and say to get under their skin and that kind of impulsivity when you are dealing with the complexity of foreign affairs concerns me when you have a country that may disagree with our policy on a particular position. and to then out-right use our
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military as leverage to exact revenge for a philosophical disagreement should be a concern to most americans if they get beyond the rhetoric and the emotionalism that comes with mr. trump. >> the gentleman at the door. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> i would say it is important -- wide-ranging. mr. trump said recently, oh, oh, the mexicans, they love me. i think he was referring to like five who voted for him in arizona. so i think the support is greatly overstated. listen, after 9/11 there were muslims who supported president bush. and there were muslims -- most
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muslims did not necessarily support president bush. i think you will always find in any community that has been subjugated to racism and homophobia and bigotry there will always be some who feel it is important to go beyond the call of duty to placate to those who are calling for greater discrimination against them. so i can't speak as to why these folks are supporting mr. trump? they have that right to support mr. trump. but i would caution them in their strategy against conceding any kind of dignity to win favor with a bully. as anyone who has dealt with a bully knows that once you give up your lunch money, it will not stop. and i think that -- and keith and i are in new jersey and new york all of the time with
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muslims who do not support mr. trump, with muslims who are very critical of mr. trump. with muslims who have articulated an agenda -- a progressive agenda that speaks to the sentiment in our country. so i think that is a small section. i'm not familiar with their background. in fact, some of the muslims that i know that have worked for mr. trump are from newark, new jersey and new york. but i don't have a background on the group. >> i guarantee you if you -- i guarantee you if you were to see if there were any african-americans who supported george wallace, you would probably find a few. and so it's not unusual that you see a few people who -- who believe in that. but in my opinion, it's just -- i don't know, muslims who support trump is like chickens for colonel sanders. you think that you are going to be the chicken who doesn't get -- who doesn't get fried up. well, i think you better guess
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again. >> i think we have a question from the phone. >> i have a question that was e-mailed earlier today. my name is david, i'm a deputy chair of the [ inaudible ] committee. this comes from susie rosen blooj and her question is terrorism and other threats have a small percentage of muslims worldwide has led to the anti-muslim sentiment affecting the muslim community as a whole. is it possible that primarily muslim-led and anti-israel and [ inaudible ] on college university campuses dwlothrough the world has legitimized the homophobic rhetoric that you are talking about today? >> there is a lot packed in there. a number of assumptions in there. i will say this. that american muslims and american jews have a lot in common. we are both minority religiouses and there is a lot of
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inter-faith relations that happens all of the time and i think it will only grow. i think the truth is that on the issue of israel and palestine peace, there is a lot of approaches. i happen to support a two-state solution. but this is an issue that cries out for public attention and people do want to focus their attention on what might be done to resolve that conflict. and they are taking different kinds of approaches. and some of them might be more constructive than others, right. so simply say that -- i would not say that anti-muslim hate is somehow connected to muslims raising questions around the current israeli policy vis-a-vis the palastinians. there is muslim anti-semitism and jewish racism. ander kind of people -- every kind of people could be as
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hateful as any other people. nobody has a monopoly on bigotry andin tolerance but i will add that simply questioning israeli policy in connection with the palestinians is not inherently anti-jewish. there are legitimate complaints people could make and they should make them based on facts, based on good faith. they should never only single israel out for violations because there is a whole lot of violations of human rights going on across this globe. but at the same time if there are israeli hume ran rights violations against palestinians, i don't think it is right to ignore them and don't think it is anti-semitism to ignore fact-based situations when it occurs. so that is all i have to say about it. >> to that point we had a young lady at indiana university who was threatened for being vocal in terms of the expansion of
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settlements in israel. i took a trip recently with a congressional black caucus and we pushed the issue with the israely government about a two-state solution, which i support. but we also raised deeper concerns about the mistreatment of ethiopians as well. and i have found that jewish americans in particular are on the same page as it relates to the two-state solution and as it re lates to ethiopians not being discriminated against or other africa ans with an identification toward israel and once they get there they feel like they are treated less than. and so i think as human beings, we have to get away from the inclination to deify one particular group and realize we are part of one human creation. we may attach different mythologies to our identification to make ourselves feel better about who we are. but at the end of the day, if we see ourselves equally as human
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beings we can begin to unearth truths that will solve some of our situations and concerns globally. >> i thought i heard a little bit in the question about the issue of fear of terrorism and -- and i know it isn't the issue but how do you separate the identity of the terrorists from the identity of the muslim. you must have to deal with that on a regular basis? >> we do have to contend with that problem. people -- whenever we hear of a horrific tragic incident the first impulse is to the welfare of the victims of that horrible incident. the second question is, if the muslim did, it you know it is going to be rough around here for a while. and that is just reality. but here -- here is the facts. people have studied domestic terrorism and terrorism around the world. if you look at terrorism in the united states, anti-government
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white supremacist groups are far more likely to commit acts of terrorism than anyone who proclaims to be muslim. but at the same time, andre and i -- we are first if line to say if somebody committed an act of terrorism and they say they do it because of islam, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. they have no corner with the muslim community and they have no quarter with the muslim community. and let me say this, as people think this -- muslims commit acts of terrorism there for all of you people are suspect. imagine this, when the klu klux klan inspired dylann roof to kill nine people in a church in charlotte -- not charlotte -- charleston, we don't assume that all white males have to apologize or explain themselves about it. we don't -- no one comes up to white males and say, hey, look, man, do you condone this.
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we assume they reject that horrific behavior. and that is all people in the muslim community want. is to say, look, i'm a person. and of course we are absolutely against daesh. they are threatening to kill us if people don't know. so the thing is that this is an important question that we do contend with a lot. i'll just wrap up with this. whenever you hear about people -- refugees fleeing raqqa and iraq or you hear about bombings in iraq or you hear about these kind of things, who do you think they are killing? they are killing muslims. most of the blood on their hands of daesh and al qaeda and these maniacs are people who are muslim. there is no love for these people. or al sab ab. when they kill people in somalia, who are they killing. do you think boko haram care about the religion they are blowing up or the girls they are stealing and raping?
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no. these are homicidal maniacs who quest one thing and that is power. and they need a legitimacy. so in the western in the united states where islam is a minority religion but in place where's it is a majority religion and those who live in america, islam is a good thing. so why wornt the murderers sort -- won't the murderers try to cover themselves with it and use it to legit mate their evil, just like the klan said we are christians or just like timothy mcveigh said he is a freedom fighter. this is simply exploiting a philosophy beloved by over a billion people to legit mate their wickedness. that is my take on the problem. >> abig ale from the washington
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post. from the statistics that you have been able to look at in law enforcement, have you been able to identify there is a spike in anti-muslim attacks, verbal and physical, and are there fears compared to less -- and also have you been able to see a correlation or are law enforcement officials here talking to are seeing the correlation between those effects an the actual rhetoric that you were talking about? >> oh, sure. the islamic society of north america is headquarters at the edge of my district. and there was an act of vandalism very recently there. there have been muslims, a young lady that was threatened on indiana university at the indianapolis campus. and i think we've seen these kind of in stances but what is most troubling is that you have
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people like mr. trump fab fanning the -- fanning the flames of islam phobia. so i caution muslims against retreating in these kind of times. i caution any other group who has been involved in important interfaith efforts, you have a catholic group who has done work with muhammed's community and the jewish brothers and sisters with the jcrc in places like new york and minneapolis and across the country who are standing up boldly and who are going to mosques and participating in prayer services and saying we will not let our fellow citizens be a victim of this kind of bigotry. so there has been an increase since 2015, but the increase is important in these times and it is important for our friends in the media not to overlook a
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spike in numbers but to highlight the issues to hold our candidates accountable when they make these kind of in fl-- inflammatory remarks. >> tom brody. i wanted to ask when terrorist attacks occur that were perpetrated by muslims people often call on muslims in power to respond to condemn it. i'm curious what your cal class is like responding and if you face pressure from colleagues or leaders in your party to publicly respond? >> as i already mentioned, i think that when any horrific attack happens, any terrorist attack or a natural disaster, it is incumbent upon all decent people to publicly proclaim sympathy for the victims. particularly if you are in a leadership role like andre and i are. when a muslim has committed an
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act of terrorism or somebody proclaiming to be muslim or in the name of islam, i do feel that unless we're going to ask people to denounce acts of terrorism whenever someone in their demographic group does an act of terrorism, then i think it is not really fair to say there is a special responsibility for muslims. but guess what, we do it any way. why? because we need to -- we're trying to fight this mistaken notion that -- that muslims condone these homeo sidal maniac behavior and we don't. and i can tell you this, that for everyone you hear muslims not condemning, i could give you sheets and buckets and websites and everything else. people condemn it. but the thing is it is not news worthy when a muslim condemned
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terrorism, right. and the news -- the media kind of knows that we do it. it is not people that aren't rushing to that press conference. and that is just the fact of the matter. so the bad side of that is that a lot of people who, you know, don't know what is going on might be under the mistaken impression that muslims are not condemning terrorism or they condemn terrorism all of the time and we are the number one victims of daesh's terrorism and al qaeda's too and boko haram and al shabab and so we do it. but the truth is it is not with a certain amount of, like, you know, sense that, um, this has to apply to everybody or it shouldn't apply to anybody. >> no, i think often times we get those requests and -- i don't see myself as a spokesperson for all muslims.
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i'm just a regular guy from indiana who represents the seventh congressional district who happens to be muslim but i proudly speak on these issues. largely because i think i -- i have a different lens and that is a law enforcement lens, starting with the sheriff's department in marin county in the county and the department of homeland security, now the intelligence committee. but also as someone who has been on the other side and had been pushed on a police car, who was arrested at 17 without justification, as an african-american. so my lens is different as a black man, and as a muslim where you have -- and a big guy. so you have triple the suspicion, and triple the asu s assumption but it is an opportunity to talk about the issues and hopefully educate people on the law enforcement and the sacrifices that our law enforcement officers make each
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and every day. it is a thankless job, literally. but at the same time there are elements in law enforcement and things that start -- that begin at the police academy that need to be corrected as it relates to a recruitment efforts and as it relates to practices that oftentimes solidify sexist and racist and homophobic views and anti-jewish views and so on and so forth. so i see it as an opportunity to speak to these issues and if i had a chance as a member of congress to talk about a transportation bill that i introduced, i'll do it as well but i'll still speak boldly about the other issues. >> [ inaudible question ]. when you talk about the rhetoric, what is the solution and is there a specific legal solution? for example, i know there are a couple of -- circulated, regarding prohibiting using --
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[ inaudible ]. is there a legal solution to this or is this just encouraging people to basically have this rhetoric? >> well, first of all, there is a whole range of solutions. it all depends on what the particular nature of the problem is. so, yes, in some cases there are appropriate legislative solutions we are pushing revolving around the issue not profiling people on religion. you have to behavior not, not just identity. that is one. but at the end of the day, mona, at the end of the day, this is something that americans of all faiths, including muslims, have to stand up and work on. and this is going to be solved when that mosque and that synogogue and the members in it sit down and that local community in minneapolis or indianapolis and talk about
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their shared humanity and shared citizenship as americans when that mosque and that christian community come together, that is the root of it. because the community is going to solve this problem. we are going to offer legislation, there will be legal challenges, legislative chal everyones versus going to -- challenges versus going to court. but let me end with a quick little story. this is how you're going to solve it. i was -- when michael brown was shot and killed in ferguson, only 12% of the people of ferguson were voting. and so when the next election came up, i went down there and a few members of the black caucus went down there to try to increase voter turn-out. and so one of the things i did is i went into an african-american baptist church. and in that church, i found salaam clinic. so now you have a black preacher and three muslim pakistani doctors -- maybe one of them was an egyptian and the other two
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were pakistani, but is this doctors and they are taking their saturday to see patients all day long for free. here is the kicker. i say, hey,
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you agree, you want better schools. you agreed, we need to certain places like minneapolis and indianapolis and new york to create jobs. our methodologies may vary but there's large similarities. i think there are legal remedies but you can't legislate human nature. the constitution, it's great document but it's a flawed document. we had to go back and we had to have frederick douglass work with elizabeth stanton for womens suffrage to speak to our
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better nature to get lincoln to emancipate the slaves. it prevents a different phase for us. i think there's a shift taking place. not in the african-american muslim community. there's still a common struggle. in the greater muslim community, you have muslims who were legally white in terms of checking a box for socially non-white and now they're making a transition because of this new found status. there is an opportunity there
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for education on both sides of the aisle. i've talked to some of my republican colleagues who happen to have a muslim physician or a dentist. even though the physician or dentist may not be super religious, they still identify as being muslim and they still have complaints about paying for their child's education. they still have complaints about their son who won't take out the trash and just identifying with those common struggles can begin a greater dialogue about our common humanity. >> we're out of time. thank you for coming. thank congressman.
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>> he'll talk about the abuse of prescription drugs. he'll discuss work on the homeland security committee to reduce wait times at security check points. massachusetts democratic congressman james mcgovern talks about the house agriculture committee and the latest debate on the use of the snap the nutrition food program. our spotlight on magazines, we feature reason magazine. it states that since 2001, the war on terror has cost $4 trillion. watch c-span washington journal beginning live at 7:00 eastern wednesday morning.
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join the discussion. from the world affairs council this is 1:10. >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen. any name is tony culley-foster. i'm the president and ceo of the world affairs council washington, d.c. our institution is committed to global education, international affairs and global communications. we're an institution where learning happens. our goal tonight in our public program is to provide our distinguished guests an opportunity, all of you, after this presentation facilitated by
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the distinguished ambassador ron neumann. to ask questions, please listen carefully. to listen doesn't mean to hear. we have got an opportunity tonight to listen to and hear from two experts representing a region of the world, afghanistan, a sovereign nation that is a participating member in our global community. a country in transition thanks to the efforts of ambassador mohib, others in the u.s. and world community. working together in harmony towards a common goal. the transition of a country that is known too much violence, too much conflict, too much separation to be embraced by the
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world community as a peaceful merging lee i emerging leader for the world dp low mat -- diplomatic community. appreciate very much indeed in 1919. timing is everything. first diplomatic ties with the united states 1921. that relationship has opinion maintained. population now is almost 32 million. 50% under the age of 18. only 27% of this population lives in urban areas. two official languages. afghanistan is a land linked, not a land locked. it's land linked nation.
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it's almost as big as the state of texas. i don't know if that's a back handed compliment or not, ambassador, but take it as a compliment. education is critical to afghanistan's future. the demographics they have of this youth population unless it receives equally boys and girls, young men, young woman. the future will not be as bright as everyone wants it to be. in may 2012, u.s. and afghanistan find the enduring partnership agreement. it reflects the shared commitment to combatting terrorism and promoting peace, democratic values and economic opportunity in afghanistan and
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the region. they are banded together by a common goal, protecting and helping to develop a new afghanistan. numerous challenges stand in the way. threatens to supercede al qaeda. afghan use and patience for economic development and employment aren't too enthusiastic. threatening national policies for eradication and differences and partisan affiliations, electoral reform and government
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corruption mired national community. through the efforts of the individuals like ambassador mohib, afghanistan has made strides toward a prosperous and peaceful nation. on saturday, i think the prospect of peace was enhanced. i hope the reports are true. i hope whoever replaces him see there is path to the future that should not involve conflict.
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the next election plan will align afghanistan with international accords and promote article 22 of the afghan institution. man and woman have equal rights before the law. ambassador mohib, in the short time i have known him, six months where i have followed day by day the activities that he and the leaders of the country have committed to in the quest
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for peace. he's a man of tiring thought diplomacy, terms of appealing to hearts and mind educating people to the new afghanistan. he served as ambassador to the united states in september 2015. he founded the afghan students association in the uk, think tank discourse and has initiated multiple community service programs for afghan woman and orpha orphans. moderating today's discussions is one of diplomacy's great
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rascals, ambassador ron neumann. a mischiefovous fellow with a sense of humor. a son has followed a father in their diplomatic posting. we have hear tonight one of those individuals. the first one's name was adam. ambassador neumann and i are friends. we're professional colleagues. we share the same space and the same point in space and time in terms of our commitment to doing anything that we can to mobilize whatever networks that we have or that question in support of your nation's quest for long
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term peace and economic development and success in the global community. i'm very honored to ask two am bo bass dors bassdors to come to our table tonight. i want to thank them for our kindness and being our strategic partner in terms of the work that we do to our public programs. i also want to thank miss stephanie, our director of international affairs and our director of global communications and the interns who work with us for their commitment to our cause. stomp your feet and clap your hand, welcome to ambassador mohib and ambassador neumann. >> thank you.
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thank you. [ applause ] >> i guess ambassador neumann will have something to say about that. >> i've been called many things. i've had my name called in the streets in protest but rascal is new. thank you, i think for that interesting introduction. >> such a pleasure to be with council. i met some of the members at the embassy. it was a great experience. we decided to do it twice.
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it's an interesting evening. a couple of interesting days in the news. before we go to the hard stuff, you're still emblemmatic of this new generation that comes from a very different background but also has lived through a lot of tragedy of afghanistan. if you want take a moment to talk about your background.
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>> as a child no one would believe that child would produce something successful. through hard work and dedication and people who believed in that potential gave me the opportunity to be able to serve my country and have the honor to serve my country in one of the most diplomatic postings. i think that's also a showing of where afghanistan is. we've had over 30 years of extremely difficult period, but the afghan, the resilient afghan people have turned the table around today, and it's a functioning democracy. it has opportunities for our youth, for our population.
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the opportunities we didn't have. a democracy that we can't to build on. >> you and your family went through a lot through the process of getting here. >> absolutely. it's not just me. the vast majority of afghans suffered through. we had to live in refugee camps or our homes being destroyed. we went through a difficult time and we survived it.
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that's where the afghan resilience comes in. the people were so proud. they wanted to go and welcome our football team, our heroes. that morning, a bomb exploded outside the airport. there were threats of a second one. that didn't stop thousands of afghans to still go and receive our heroes with greatst joy.
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that was the message from the afghan people saying nothing will stop us. we will rebuild there country. >> i know that in the years i've been dealing with afghanistan, i can hardly think of an afghan friend, colleague or associate who has not had either themselves or in their family death, torture, imprisonment and yet keeps going. this last year was another violent year. i think it's important to understand that afghan security forces had more people killed last year alone than america had lost in its 15 years of warfare in afghanistan. what would you say, how do you think could the security forces
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of afghanistan will do this year. it's very dangerous to predict battle. how do you foresee the ability of the afghan forces to make out this year? >> our president last year military was 12 years old. in one year it's now 20 years old. we've made huge leaps of progress but to come back to that determination we have seen so much that despite all those upsets last year i know many people were predicting that we would fail. despite a very difficult security force is not only made sure that the enemy doesn't make the strategic objectsive with
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holding land, capturing and holding land that we also improve coordination. the number of attacks or the amount of attacks that were expected or predicted to be a report suggest 75% more than last year. every attack apg majority it's all about defeated. this same place, a much more intense attack. we were able to do that. we were able to do that because for a nation among those security forces became better, we have a mump more offensive plan and how to defend our territory. also what's important to understand is the role of transition. last year was the first year where our security forces had the responsibility for securing afghanistan or territory for the
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first time ever. we have to rely on international security forces about 600,000 security personnel. the official military since we left afghanistan. it was a very difficult time. >> the united states seems to have made a rather critical attack in this last couple of days. how do you evaluate what is happening? we haven't heard much from the pakist pakistanis about this attack which was in part of pakistan where we have never attacked before.
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it's very significant blow of killing the taliban leader. speculation is dangerous and diplomatic speculate in way of getting in trouble. how much would you like to speculate on what happens as a result of it. >> we welcome president obama's decision and his bold actions to eliminate a person who was preventing other taliban elements and the cause for government for peace process. it's not about that action.
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>> you said speculation is difficult. we know it. it has created a sense of hope in the afghan community. knowing that the sanctuaries that were provided to the taliban are no longer safe and they will be eliminated no matter where they are. >> it's not clear from president's obama comments whether we actually have a change of american policy that will put the sanctuaries under
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pressure. i'm sure that's a big question for the taliban leadership as well. i hope you're right. we have lost a lot of people because of the sanctuaries that provide place for taliban to find medical care and keep their families and their leaders while their send their soldiers to battle. i don't know whether the american policies really changed or not. >> speculation is difficult. what we are hopeful what this event brings to create peace in afghanistan. to all those who might want to take the opportunity now. >> you have an interesting
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possible reenforcement of that with all the talk about a peace settlement. i know a lot of people are wondering will that settlement seems to be there, almost there or sort of there. is that going to have an effect on things like the progress women have made or the afghan constitution. >> absolutely not. we don't make compromises on our constitution and that has been very clear right from the beginning that this process is to make, to provide an opportunity for those who may have legitimate grievances toward afghanistan and if they're willing the drop their guns and come to negotiate that the government would be open to negotiate a peace deal with them. not at the price of the progress
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we have made. >> we often, i'm sure you get questioned, i get it occasion occasionally. i'm sure you get it all the time about whether this holds out a threat to the progress women have made. >> absolutely not. that's been very clear message that we have always put on the peace process. we're not ready to compromise on the progresses we have made and the constitution. this has been a message we've always given but also to the taliban and those who are willing to. i don't think anyone has a problem with the constitution. this is the most islamic institution a country can have. we're confidence that would not
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be an issue for the progress made. it's not just the progress that we have made. you may remember from this p where the man came out to the street to protest for for rights. that is an extremely positive change that cannot be turned back. >> i'm happy to hear that. one of the pictures from the last election, it must have been
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50 women all in burka holding up a long piece of blue plastic covering those long lines standing in the rain all helping to hold up this plastic to keep the rain off them waiting to get into the polling place to vote. i thought that was such a powerful picture of their determination. when you look at this evolving democracy of afghanistan, it's pictured so on the one hand and the other hand. people get very carried away talking about which ever hand they want to shake. it's all about corruption. it's all failed. that i me they came out despite being warned they could be killed. there's an appetite for
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democracy. not more corrupt. it's got much more competition. how do you see this balance between old politics and corruption on the one hand and democracy on the other. where do you see that balance tilting in the future? >> i paint the picture. i work at the american university of afghanistan. it was a difficult period
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because we were just building. this is before it has its first graduate. we have invited people. findi inin ining those professo would come. they have the internet to connect to their family. we knew how difficult it was building that. you ask the american university of afghanistan. to many people that was a headline. it was an emotional moment. i knew how much difficulty we went to get to that stage. it's the same with hospitals. when you had to go agree the border just to treat malaria.
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you have hospitals that treat, that separate conjoined twins and the heart transplant. that progress is very difficult to get and cover in a headline. one of the reasons we have so much is it only covers the war. the progress afghanistan has made over the past 15 years. we are making progress. we will continue to do that. we now have the institution to maintain that progress. we have more educated use than we ever had before. we have more opportunity, more frustrate that we have ever had before. we're building on the legal infrastructure to make sure that everybody has their rights preserved. this would have not been possible if we didn't have the
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basis to do that. having revolutions and the lead rs changing and all the loyalty switching to a new leader. a lot of institutions had trouble adjusting themselves to their loyalties. the person who left office. it was made even more complicated by it being a national unity government.
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they had a difficult period going through that adjustment but it happened. over the past few months noticed a lot more progress in afghanistan. you don't see the same questions. it was a question of survival for a while whether we would with able to survive and we passed that test. there's a lot more confidence and every day that confidence grows. we're determined to preserve the progress we have made and build on it. we're also confident because we can see it's all relative.
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the media may only see the war that's covered. people's angle to afghanistan is only through the media. it's an abstract. >> it's been a difficult year. i think it's time to go to audience questions here. it has no real policy differences. it has a lot of other issues.
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what do you see look out at this next year? are we going to continue to see this endless fussing and squabbling or can they play better together. >> for the first time we shared power. it took them 11 months. it took germany six months and australia struggled with it for a long time.
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p it's part of the phase that's into trust build iing. also our population was not accustomed to this sort of rule. they wanted the difference. the leaders may have been able to get along. the teams took time to trust each other. i think the trust will continue to be built. not saying we're there yet. it will take time before it's fully established. in a better place. >> having lived through, i think, nine transitions in my career, i can say it should be immediately employed. it's not only in afghanistan.
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i think we should go to the audience here. when we recognize you to please give your name. if you have an affiliation, give your affiliation. please try to make them questions instead of statements and not of too great length. we have one back here already with a mike. there you are. >> here in the united states we have representative, congressman and senators on both sides of the aisle that support a long term afghanistan policy. we're about to go through a very interesting presidential election. as an ambassador, what are the
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two or three u.s. policies that you would like to see continued into the next administration no matter who is elected? >> we're lucky to have bipartisan support in the united states. we hope to see that through the campaign teams. we start working with the candidate and their teams. so far we don't have any conversations. i think we're, like you mentioned, there's a lot of support for afghanistan. we're an extremely fortunate position. to have made so much success.
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afghanistan is going through a decade of what we call the confirmation decade toward self-reliance. we have received a lot of support for that for our policies. i'm not ignoring this side of the crowd. >> i have to ask people who want to ask questions to go to the mike so you can have a quick stampede.
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i haven't heard either candidate say one word about afghanistan in the presidential election. everybody talks about iraq and syria. we have twice as many trips in afghanistan as we have in syria. >> you made a statement that was a little troublesome to me. you made reference to the fact that afghanistan has the most islamic of constitutions. how do you interpret that? does that mean should ria law? how do you interpret that? >> it may be the version that it's not the strictest interpretation perhaps an
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extremist want. you've signed international rights agreements and laws. >> absolutely. it has some careful wording but it doesn't make it the only source of law. no law can be in contradiction to shria law but leaves room for a broad base. >> where there's doubt, we refer to sheria for that matter. that's what is acceptable to the afghan population. we have been able to include all
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of the afghan population. my reference is we're negotiating a peace process we already have sheria law in afghanistan. our constitution is based on it. we don't see that being a problem. the question is whether we would put us in a position where we have to make compromise. we don't have to make any compromise because we are already compliant. it's already acceptable and implemented by our government and accepted by the population. we have not had any issues with
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although there's been no substantive remarks about what needs to be -- what the taliban would want, for example, we have not had those but unofficially there's been discussions there's been no questions. that's what makes us even more confident that we don't have to make compromises on the gains we have made and it's strictly adraft and communicated. >> thank you so much. i'm a psychiatrist with george washington university. i'm interested in the psychology of conflict. my question is, is it possible to negotiate with the taliban how that process has gone so far and how do we proceed in that
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direction? >> you're talking about is a logically possible. >> understanding psychology of the taliban and what do they want and who are they as a group? are there elements of the taliban that's more cognitively flexible, if you will, than others there can be some. it can only be dealt with drone strikes. >> a piece of the process. it's not one deal. i'm studying what's been going on in other places.
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it's not a one time event. when a conflict drags this long it becomes part of it and they become invested. we see a lot of people who are involved in the drug trade that have become part of this insurgency. it begs to question whether it's the drug trade that is fueling the insurgency. the insurgency fueling the drug trade. the question here would be those who have legitimate grievances with the government and if there is any way of we've not been able to include we're open to negotiate with. >> my name is ronald wilson. i'm with the united states government. my question is do you think that
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democratic principles as they are known in the western society, particularly united states, are truly viable than islamic state? >> we're very democratic. all our decisions have always been made in a council. to this day most of our biggest decisions that we cannot make that are not allowed within the constitution or about the constitution are made by a grand council. it's enshrined in the afghan culture. we're democratic by design. >> good evening. my name is sarah. i'm not affiliated. i'm very interested to see your
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technology background and your comments about surgery. i was wondering if you could tell us a bit about how the intersection of technology and development perhaps in the education and health sectors. thank you. >> well, i have to say afghanistan made great strides in technology. we now have about 90% of all population that has access to cell phones. we have coverage through 90% of territory. with the availability of 3g because our country was not connected to wireless communication, we jumped a generation went straight into wireless communication. almost every one that has access to 3g has been keked. it's been a very part of
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society. they continue to be very active through social media. we're working, the government is looking into how we can bank on that accessibility and that interest to deliver services such as education. there are institutions that have been looking into this. we're lucky to see it has gained a lot of interest in afghanistan. >> it's also a free market success. we had three different contracts and they didn't talk to each other. if you were in northern iraq, you couldn't talk to south. i use my phone when ever i go to
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afghanistan all over the country. it's one of the perks that's paying the government pretty well. congratulations. >> it is our second largest income for the government, the telecom sector. things like e payments where they are being paid through electronic payments, mobile payments. >> thank you. my name is john banks.
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i'm not affiliated with anybody. my question is this, a couple of times today, tonight, you've mentioned cutting back on the international drug trade or eradicating it. eventually, america will pull back militarily and financially and without the opium trade, what do you see as the economic gap filler for those two influx of cash? >> afghanistan has many riches including mine. we have over $3 trillion worth of mines alone in afghanistan. we're working on the legal infrastructure to make that accessible. we're also building infrastructure to be able to physically deliver it, but we're also working on the legal infrastructure to make sure afghanistan doesn't get into what happens in africa, for example, as the resources
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situation. we're also its afghanistan is at the cross roads of what the president mentioned. a linkage point between south and central asia. we're already working on proj t projects where gas is being transported from the resource rich central asia to south asia. we're working on electricity projects that are regional but we're also a land base for transport of goods. our idea for hafafghanistan or vision is the roundabout of south and central asia where people in goods flow freely. that's an afghanistan we're working on building. we're also increasing our revenue through different entities. last year, alone, despite the very difficult year we were able to increase our revenue by 22%.
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now, making a security improved in our legal infrastructure is much more attractive to investors. we'll be able to invest, to attract more investments into afghanistan. >> time for the media. >> thank you. we are very worried about achievement in afghanistan. do you think any from the united
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states that woman's achievement will be safe. >> let me repeat we will not make any compromises on the achievement and our society in general has made. a deadline or a time line for the security forces, international security forces leaving. we're working on a self-reliant. we're not counting on afghanistan to always have the
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acquired assistance. as you're aware the afghanistan security forces are now in full control and taking, their the ones responsible for protecting our territory at the international security forces. >> we dropped 300 bombs this year in iraq. i think it's a very strange approach. taliban seems to think they are in a world with us. >> thank you very much. i'm doing my feed work with international security institute. before i came to my question i want to clarify something for the gentleman that was sitting over here. the minute you mentioned sheria
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law in america, you think of something very extreme and something like the saudi government. in saudi arabia there's no constitution. the source of information like legal, social, political, economic all derive from the holy koran and that's based on the sheria law. for the gentleman not to worry. not everything is based on that. we do have a constitution which is aligned with international human rights. we have our parliament. 28% are women. that will not be taken back if everything was based on the sheria law. >> you had a question. >> just for the gentleman, i
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think pe left but ho-- hopefulle later. i've been here for the past eight months. i'm doing my coming from a very poor background but if it was not for the 15 years of the recent government and for the international community, i wouldn't be standing here so just one example, what has been achieved in the past 15 years. i know you have done some amazing work in the last 20 years. one thing that i was very impressed and it is my first week in washington, d.c. is that opportunity for full bright scholars, when they are done here in the u.s., they go back and i think it will be some opportunities for them and thank you so much for that because they didn't have that opportunity before. you finish and you go back and look for work and some of them would just leave afghanistan again. so not a full bright student but i am studying in the u.k. when i finish my master degree
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and my hope and goal is to go back to afghanistan and serve my country in any way i can just like you. and what would be some of the -- the innocecentive for me, when back, but how hopeful i could be when i go back to afghanistan. >> it is a great opportunity for announcing that we have a jobs fair this friday at the embassy. and that is meant to address the very questions that you have. and in the past with many ngos and contracting companies that work in afghanistan, it is easy to find a job from abroad. as with the drawn down, it has not been easy for many people to find jobs and we notice that there was that very same question for many people so we have organized a job fair. we'll have recruiters in afghanistan connected with their
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technology, video conferencing and phones to be able to provide the information and direct question on what could be expected in the current market in afghanistan and where the jobs are and how are to find them and, again, what has -- how to adjust yourself to be able to get that job. i think we're -- afghanistan is looking forward to people like you returning back to us, to our country and contributing. and sometimes with your education and with the opportunities that -- that were at your disposal, it means you could create jobs in afghanistan. we are trying or trying to attract more investment and small businesses who would not only provide jobs for themselves but be able to provide jobs for others. so those are some of the discussions that you would hear when you -- on friday, i think it is this friday. this friday at the embassy. it starts at 8:00.
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8:00 a.m. >> thanks so much, ambassador. >> thank you. >> all right. >> i'm john rothenberg, currently unaffiliated but i was part of the civilian surge, i worked for the u.s. aid at that time and i was wondering do you think the civilian surge was successful or unsuccessful and in what ways. >> the civilian surge? >> when obama sent americans to work on -- to work in the provinces on prts. >> so, again, to say, well, afghanistan has made a lot of progress and it would not have been possible without the support from the united states. the institutions that we have managed to build, the infrastructure that we've managed to build -- the credit goes to the united states and i
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have to mention the other international partners as well. there are -- i think we focus on challenges and this is point earlier to ambassador neumann, we focus on the challenges and we don't want to hide and every government has its challenges and we may have more than other but we don't want to undermine the progress that was made in the last, what, 15 years. and with the surge, too, that was -- we built over 7,000 kilometers of paved -- paved over 7,000 kilometers of road in afghanistan and built hospitals and schools, over 8 million children that attend school in all of the districts in afghanistan would not have been possible without the support of those -- with those individuals who served there and we thank them. and i think we owe it to the service of americans and afghans
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who made those possible that we continue on that path and build on it. >> the civilian surge was a little bit like a roller coaster it took quite a bit to crank it up to the top and it peaked quickly and then went down and i don't know that there is any academic work -- there is an enormous amount of anecdotal -- that it doesn't -- every district is different. and i don't think there is any significant academic work yet, or study to actually do any cross comparison. >> you have a question. >> not so much a question but i want to let you know i had a friend or i have a friend and she and her husband spent a year in 2000 in afghanistan volunteering doing medical work there and i want to tell her that i had an opportunity to tell you how she really found the afghan people so wonderful and what they needed was just an
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opportunity to explode and do their thing. and it sounds like they are doing it. and i'm sure she will be delighted to hear the progress that they've made. so i congratulate you and your country and i wish you all the best. >> well, thank you. it is wonderful to hear that i've been able to convey that, first of all. >> we'll let you go right now: >> i would like to thank all of those who served. i think -- i feel that we are lucky as a diplomatic mission compared to other countries, we have so many friends in the united states, over a million americans served in afghanistan and i think afghanistan is the type of country where if you are engauged with it, and even if you are not there -- have not been there, it captivates you. and i think it is to do with the opportunities. because you suddenly see that potential, you see that there is -- there is great opportunities to be able to
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build on. and we're thankful to those people who served in our country and we thank you for the opportunity that we can to do that and we call them friends, of course. and i think they can continue helping the country by advocating for the cause that is afghanistan and i think the people that they, themselves, put their lives at risk to help rebuild our country. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank your friend for me. sorry. >> i wanted to be explicit, for sure. >> hussein insurance with [ inaudible ] and embassy affairs. your excellency, congratulations on the baby. [ speaking in a foreign language ] in arabic, that means god willing with blessings. i'm a united states citizen and i've learned over the years that
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any states two most vital assets are youth and education. i think we said in the beginning of the discussion today that there is about 50% of afghanistan's population under the age of 27. can you tell us very briefly what the international community can do to further the progress of -- of education and in the youth of afghanistan, just furthering over what it has accomplished over the past 15 years. >> more investments. we're working, like i said, on a decade that want to get to self-reliance. and it would not be possible without us being able to build an economy that is self-sustainable. now there are a number of things that the afghan government is doing to achieve that, that is by making sure that we sort our produce locally and our imports -- it is an agricultural country but sadly we import a
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large quantity of agriculture produce from outside. and the government has set a rule where for our own security forces and our own purchasing that those be produced locally so we can create more jobs, we can also create a sustainable economy. we're also working on attracting more investment. so one of the things that we have been working on over the past 18 months is putting in the legal infrastructure in place so that we could attract investments. talking to many investors, including american ambassadors who work in afghanistan, they didn't leave afghanistan because of in security, they left because they didn't find the legal infrastructure there supporting their investment to protect them. and we've been busy passing laws to be able to create that opportunity. and if we want to attract investors, we need to have the ground not just -- not just the
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physical infrastructure in place, we need to have the laws in place to be able to -- for them to be able to feel safe and be able to feel secure. we find -- we joined the world trade organization so there is the -- the availability of international court if there is arbitration required. we're also passing laws to be able to protect, let's say if you had a technology business, if amazon was to invest in afghanistan and wanted to put a data center there, while their immediate needs may be making sure they have internet connectivity and a safe location, the other is privacy laws to make sure that the government is not going to one day show up and say i want to look into all of your data. so we're preparing afghanistan for that investment while we're attracting smaller businesses meanwhile. >> thank you. >> okay.
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>> thank you so much, ambassador. i come from the spanish embassy. and i read in an interview in "the washington post" that you were a representative two times, i think in pakistan. so my question is, what is your opinion about the european union's behavior with the refugee crisis? seeing your example that a refugee can become an ambassador of his country. >> okay. right to the point. you know, it is not easy to be -- to be a refugee. having gone through it several times, not just two times. i am -- the first time when we were escaping the ussr or the soviet invasion in afghanistan and the second time when -- due to civil war. and each time brought its own challenges. and the third time because we
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had lost hope. and that is the most important part. we don't want our people to lose hope. we want to be able to create opportunities. and that is where the international community's role is so important. because the afghan public has seen so much turmoil over time. we have seen different factions come and take over and we have seen them -- they, themselves, have witnessed in our generation, losing their entire wealth and houses and everything they owned. so it makes the afghans a little concerned when we see we're headed toward insecurity and the international community supports because there was a period when we lost support and so much tragedy happened. so the international community is continuing to assure us that afghanistan -- they will continue to stand by afghanistan as we develop. and it is extremely important at giving the afghans who were maybe thinking about leaving and those who have left to be able
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to return because they feel there are opportunities for them in their own country. you would know and everybody knows that there is no better place than home. that is where you feel comfortable. that is where your family is. that is where your friends are and that is where you feel you are not a foreigner. you belong at home. and we want to make sure that afghanistan has those opportunities for our people so they could come back. that is why we are negotiating peace deals so those not in afghanistan or worried about the security there or the lack of opportunities to come back from the larger refugee populations in pakistan and iran as well as those who may be outside. and also those are -- those are the people who are going to build our country, people who have study aded -- studied abro or in the united states or europe where they had the opportunity to learn skills that
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we need to rebuild. and thank you for your support for afghanistan. when we are in the united states, we attack the united states and sometimes -- [ inaudible ]. >> on behalf of the world affairs council in washington, d.c. and the ronald reagan center and ambassador thank you for sharing your time and expertise with us. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> we hope to see you back here again. thank you. [ proceedings concluded ]
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[ proceedings concluded ] thursday the house hearing on the tsa airport screening and the long security lines at many u.s. airports and tsa staffing. tsa administrator peter nessinger will testify. he recently announced the head of security in reaction to the long waits at airports. we'll have live coverage of the homeland security committee at 10:00 a.m. here on c-span 3. this sunday night on q&a, u.s. senate historian betty coed talked about various events in history and the work her office does. >> i came in june of 1998 as a
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newly minted historian. my colleagues said to me, oh, it is going to be nice and quiet. we have an election coming up. you have a lot of time to settle in and read and get comfortable in your job. and within a few weeks the house had decided to impeach bill clinton and we got busy quickly and we had to do research on impeachment trials. we had not had a impeeve -- impeachment since 1868 and they wanted to follow historical precedent as much as they could. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span q&a. european diplomats and foreign policy analysts recently took part in a discussion about the role of diplomacy in strengthening european security. they discussed the conflict in ukraine and russia's influence in european affairs. this event hosted by the atlantic council is an hour and
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10 minutes. good morning and welcome thank you for joining us. i'm fred kemp. it is my pleasure to welcome you on today's discussion in the role of diplomacy in the future of european security. i would like to extend a special welcome to our esteemed speakers, first and foremost the secretary general for the security and cooperation in european, alberto lannier. and the secretary general is joined by a member of the panel of imminent persons on european security, as a common project. professor adam rot feld and
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barbara hearing and sergi kapanadze and the member of the board of the atlantic council and serving as president of the chicago counsel on global affairs or partner organization for today's event. would you like to welcome the distinguished guests we have today. forgive me if i don't have all of you in my notes but you know the ambassador of belgium, nicaragua, switzerland and lithuain yua. this is an in certain time in european history. more than a quarter century after the fall of the berlin wall in the post war era about post political diverges. looking back sometimes where we are now we forget the huge importance of the cse getting us through the cold war and getting us through the other side in as
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good as shape as we've been and people are kicking around the idea of whether some of those lessons could be applied to the other parts of the world, including the middle east. but turning back to europe and ukraine, instability persists. the min ex has killed people and there is a spike with 20 ukraineab soldiers killed and europe south is inundated but the humanitarian security concerns of mass migration and the overflow of four civil wars and it is unclear whether europe will be able to deliver while working with complex parters in the region, including turkey. among these challenges are also threats to europe's core. the mounting forces of disintegration and nationalism across the forces fueled by
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anti-refugee and anti-establishment narratives risk unraveling the possess and stability achieved through years of determined transatlantic leadership for european security and prosperity as a common project. realizing these new dangers to europe, the atlantic council has wrapped up their -- ramped up their ownishive because they believe a reminder is necessary in washington and across the atlantic of the transatlantic relationship to global security and the global future. but under siege by electorates, leaders are reluctant to work together in restoring a vision for europe or a transatlantic vision. achieve example of this challenge is the united kingdom's june 23rd vote to stay in or to leave the european union. we released last week a letter signed by 13 former secretaries of defense, secretaries of state and national security advisers
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and remaining in britain from a geopolitical security standpoint. a vote to leave could inspire a cascade of other e.u. referendums as half of voters in eight other e.u. countries want their own vote. our panelists come from a group of experts across the ese who comprise the panel of imminent persons on european security as a common project. since the group's founding in december of 2014 by the osce swiss chairmanship in response to the annexation of crimea that year, the panel has held a series of frank and intense discussions on european security. copies of the panel's final report, and i urge you to read it, is back to -- back to bip lomasy -- diplomacy can be found
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in the lobby. pick it up on the way out. and join the conversation we're starting here and continuing on twitter using the #stronger with allies. we have much to discuss. so let me go ahead and turn things over to professor rot feld, a man i respected for many years, currently a professor at warsaw university but previously minister of affairs at poland at a decisive moment in the country history and it is a great friend and a pleasure to have him back with us. professor i leave it to you to give you a more comprehensive introduction of the panelists and the report. [ applause ] >> mr. chairman, thank you very much for your kind words and i would like to say that my -- i will make a brief introduction to our debate today. i would like to say that the
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panel was established with a mandate to respond to questions of how european security can be rediscovered as a common project for -- for the common project. the common wisdom popular among intellectuals and international security experts is that there is a need to transcend the existing institutions with -- with an end to [ inaudible ]. the other school of thinking is that one should convene a new great congress like historical summits in vienna, 1815 versailles, 1900 to 18 or helsinki 1945. and to elaborate a european security treaty which should contain new principles and procedures or fundamentally new
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code of conduct. in my view, however, there is no deficit in europe of these institutions. political and legal procedures and -- and binding rules of the states in their mutual relationship. the problem in europe is not for the lack of documents, but for the deficit of neutral just and con continuance. our report reflects three different -- three different narratives. one of them is represented by the -- the democratic western states and another one by russia and the third one by the countries in between who were represented by two participants
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of our panel from ukraine and georgia. i would like to say that the institutions should follow the problems. there for the panel of imminent persons on this final report has been focused on the origin and death of the crisis in the european security. the suggested remedies as a rule don't correspond to new risks and challenges. there is no shortage of contact, including high level meetings. there is an urgent need to find a way how to rebuild class and confidence. the proposed recommendations along -- along modest -- i would like to say that -- that proposed accommodations, although they are modest, ant quait new challenges and the new
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common project should be less oriented to the new rhetoric and technicalities but to the call of matters. the problems impact -- were originated within the states and not between them. not between the west and russia, but within the west and within russia. what has to be done? in general, the terms one has to recommend to de-escalate and demilitarize security policy. the priorities of strategies for cooperation and joint solution under the joint auspices should include in 2016 immediate steps and measures aimed at first prevention of the direct military conflict between the
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west and russia, one should be focused on specially the question of how to prevent unintentional military incidents. second, the development of political economic and military conditions for a just and peaceful settlement in and around ukraine as though -- as well as [ inaudible ]. and would you like to say that the interim report of our group was exactly focused on the solution of the crisis in and around ukraine. france -- excuse me -- the sentiment of the mission in ukraine and establishing a mechanism to monitor and supervise the implementation of the agreement and elaborating a
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framework for the lasting political settlement of the ukraine crisis within the new european security order which has to be based on the following elements: the core and fundamental critical component of a new military order must be reviewed by national territory of states and the instability of in ternal political order. second, confirmation of the principals -- of states and use of force and [ inaudible ] intervention in internal affairs and respect for human rights and equal rights and cooperation among states and fulfillment to good -- in good faith of
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obligations under international law. the next element that has to be taken in this broader context is the elaboration of antiquated risk and threats, military and nonmilitary and security measures and a reflection of some old ideas of or rejection of old ideas of influences or privileged inches for great powers or -- or irreconcilable with the equal rights of all of the states, all of the states who belong to the osc. next element is revitalization and reactivation of the negotiation of the conventional
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arms control process and on a new act -- new sets of confidence and security building measures under the oac auspices. adjustment of the existing institutions and organizations to the new tasks and challenges, would you like to say that not everything has to be reinvented, but many things could be rediscovered. some only see -- mechanisms could be upgraded n. short, it seems to me that the time is ripe to initiate the process of negotiation with an end to find the common security for west and russia in the form of a new security arrangement. such a negotiated compromise has to reconcile both different set perceptions and national security interests. it has to be done through a
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world which is more interconnected and more contested at the moment and a more complex than one than in the past years, which is -- which we know as the cold war period. at that point, the new european and security system has to be more integrated, and as i said, interconnected. since -- interdependent. since europe and the world are more praguemented and contested, there is a need to take under consideration the existing policy and demonstrate both flexibility and sense of direction reflected in the new set of priorities in the way -- how they are reflected in our final report under the title of diplomacy. thank you very much for your attention. [ applause ]
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thank you very much for your introduction and, adam, for your overview of our report. as fred said, copies are just outside of the door. we're going to look forward rather than at the work that we have been doing. very much appreciate the opportunity to have this discussion here at the atlantic council today. let me start with the secretary general and a reflection on i think something that may be underappreciated which is the role of the one international organization in ukraine, explaining today and the osc role has been critical from the
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very start of the conflict and continues to be critical. if you could reflect on that role and where that might evolve over the future and what it is that the osc has and could be doing in order to address the conflict that really is bringing all of us here together. >> right. perhaps one of the -- one of the tragic things that is surprised by the osc being involved in this and at the beginning of the crisis, the european union has said we've been dealing with kraip and the crisis -- with ukraine and the crisis and they discovered their role was somehow one-sided and didn't find the ground for them to engage in what became an extremely polarized crisis with the media and the narratives that were different and where there was a need for an in collusive approach -- inclusive
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approach around which the players could play their role. and that is what the osc was able to provide. it is -- it is very -- how can i say in a controversial manner, the issue was discussed and then in the end there was an agreement a need for an international role and international role in a political process and international role on the ground to try to stabilize the situation. but also to try to unify the narrative on the conflict. so our mandate was mainly a mandate of monitoring and reporting back. trying to avoid this kind of -- how can i say -- expansion of the different narratives that could have brought to an expansion of the conflict. we started deploying and telling -- there was a story brought back by our monitors when they were presented -- all the difference within the osc communities. we have monitoring come from
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here and the european countries and from russia and they operate not in national teams but in multi-national teams and so they have to tell us the story together the way they see things, et cetera. so we forced a little bit, for everybody to look at things from the same perspective. and i think that was a good contribution that the international community provided to not only have feet on the ground but also in lowering the amount of -- the animosity around this conflict. the political process is normandy and you may be following the progress or the difficulties in the progress, on the ground the mission and the mandate of the mission which as i say mainly is one of monitoring, it is an observer that we have and expanded to a thousand people, 700 monitors an the support staff. most of which are now deployed
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in the western regions. it is a mandate that is defacto been expanded to cover other functions. basically supporting the various steps of implementation of monitoring areas where we -- where the military equipment has been moved to, or reporting back on the fact that some of this equipment subsequent was repositioned close to the line of contact and so serving also as an early warning tool in relation to a possible violation of the cease-fire. this is also to show that -- that at times when we see division or we see conflict back in europe where we hoped we would have -- after the cold war, we would have come and opened a new phase of -- of
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cooperation and peaceful interaction and we see that that -- that that order is not -- is not sustainable as we were expecting. we've seen a number of con flicks. in fa -- conflicts. and in fact there is a conflict with -- [ inaudible ] and ukraine is just another expression of that kind of problematic. so we still need a table around which we have to discuss our differences and understand the problems, promote the reconciliation which is still lacking and update the tools that we develop, some of the tools go back to the cold war phase but they need to be readapted and modernized and readjusted to address the -- the more challenging nature of the conflict today. so that's -- that is the dream we have in the osc and it is very much a work in progress. >> so our report as professor
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rot feld described, we had two reports one that looked at ukraine and the role of the osc and some important recommendations on how to improve it and how to even do a better job because as we concluded the osc is a critical component of this. the second part of our report said that we need to have a diplomatic strategy that looks both to the immediate area and longer term. based on the implementation of minsk we said nothing could happen until that fundamental part of that conflict is resolved and talk a little bit about what we should -- the focus immediately but in the longer term and how we -- we should be looking at that. >> well, since we leased the report in 2015 the situation has
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even become more serious and more urgent. minsk has not been implemented and conflicts that have been frozen are popping up again. and the rick of incidents -- the risk of unintended incidents have increased. therefore our focus today is really to avoid an escalation of the situation caused by unintended accidents, incidents. this needs a call for a stable military cooperation. it needs a joint europe defending principals that we have all agreed and it needed more implication of the united states. the united states has to be at the table. because this crisis over the ukraine goes beyond the ukraine. it goes beyond europe.
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and it is a geopolitical threat to many countries. that's the immediate focus we have to take. and in the long run we have to find a strategy on how to define the security status of countries that do not belong to an alliance. the report calls to the countries in between. there is certainly a strategy needs that goes country by country because every issue is a particular suggestion but this is not enough. that is why our report asks for -- for a comprehensive diplomat initiative to address these issues in the interest of the principals we've all agreed in the helsinki and also in the paris charter, which we stuck with. this framework is solid and does not have to be rewritten.
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it just has to be followed. >> but let's take the conversation to both parts of what you just talked about and jean-marie, where we are, we concluded and the one thing that we all agreed as the 15 panel members including our russian colleagues that the situation is dangerous and we need to focus on that situation in order to avoid it becoming more dangerous and the need -- and more hot wars occurring there. there is already one in ukraine but more hot wars occurring. reflect on that, jean-marie, about what we could do and perhaps what the situation really demands at this point. >> well, this report is really a call to diplomatic action. there is great come placeancy today -- complacency.
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and nobody should regret the cold war which kept half of europe with the limited sovereignty with the attacks on human rights but at the same time one should recognize that today's situation is more dangerous sometimes than the cold warm and it is more dangerous because there is no agreed status quo. it's -- everything is up for grabs. which in some ways we should be happy with. if it means that the people -- the people take charge. but if it means that incidents can escalate because there is no clarity on the situation of each country, then that becomes a very -- very dangerous. and that is why we believe in the panel that it is very important to take action both -- the very immediate short-term tactical situations where armed forces from russia and from nato countries can become embroiled,
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we saw it when -- when a russian fighter was shot over -- i mean was -- a sliver over turkish territory. we have been lucky so far that none of those incidents has really escalated but you can't have a sound security based on luck. and so we do call for much more engagement -- military -- to mi military to look at how to manage in case of escalation. if we are not lucky, what happens? there needs to be procedures in place, so that events do not take control. that is how wars start. and we believe that maybe there is not enough thought given to that today. and then there is the broader -- the broader picture. the fact that, yes, during the cold war, as barbara was saying, you had neutral countries and still like switzerland or with
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different status for finland, but clear status. you had nato members and warsa pact members and that was the end of the cold war. you had an arms control that extended to europe with -- with conference on forces on europe, vienna document, and then on the nuclear front the intermediate nuclear forces agreement so you had a whole framework that created stability and transparency that limited the risk of unexpected escalation. and we see those frameworks frankly at risk today. and so they have -- there has to be hard work to engage with russia on those issues. and of course we -- we hear and we know that unfortunately the reality that in many cases you engage and you don't get the response. but in our view, it is not a reason not to engage.
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let alone to make it clear to our public opinions that -- that every effort is made to maintain the framework -- the structures of -- that have kept stability and the peace in europe. and there i think one has to be aware that -- i'm a frenchman. i can see the fragility of public opinion in europe. you have a combination of some extreme left and extreme rights that are quite happy if the united states disengages. the majority of europeans don't want that. but there is a very vocal minority that is quite comfortable with that. so the whole architecture is at risk. and there is not -- there has been nothing worse -- in it a way that disengaged faster than europe integrates or disengaged
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as europe seizes to integrate and the integration of europe has in large part been made possible by the strong relationship with the united states. and so if that relationship begins to fray, it is connected also to the crisis in europe. so i think we have our work cut out for us. and it -- and we won't find a solution if we don't work jointly, i think europeans and americans, on this issue. >> sergei kapanadze, they describe the problem that we have which is that the frameworks that we live with for so many years are falling in part, in part because there is a challenge to the status quo. we found that that real challenge is focused in particular in that part of europe where the security status of countries like your own in georgia is being contested. and in fact, in some ways
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uncertain. there is a desire on the part -- in georgia to be a member of nato. there is a commitment by nato to have georgia as a member. but we're not there. how -- how does it look from georgia's perspective and in this continued uncertainty of the continued status as a country like georgia and the same is true for moldova for the ukraine of course with a direct military presence on your territory of russia? how does it look and particularly how does it look in the short-term as well as the developments down the road? >> i can say that it doesn't look good, that is the sort answer. but then, the four things that -- that you can -- you can identify in georgia's position when it comes to the ukraine security, also the four things
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that you could also take from this report is irrelevant for georgia. and you mentioned some of them so i might repeat them but i'll be brief on those. the first one is that from the perspective, there is no need to change the health and services. it is not the principal. it is about one country who violates those principals and most of the violations are actually well seen in georgia. whether it is [ inaudible ] or annexation or the use of force or the threat of use of force or you name it. or whether it is economic or sanctions or the international or domestic affairs and we can list every single item on the -- in relation to georgia. it is not to the principals, it is about one country, russia, who doesn't want to play by the rules. and we have these principals in terms of words but also in terms of deeds. there is a principal.
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it is not part -- it is part of the european principle that my country has the right to choose their land. and that is a fundamental principle vested in the osc made from the 1992 or 1999 in istanbul declaration or the paris tragedy of the european security. but we have to implement it. we cannot just say that -- if it is not being implemented then russia is getting the message that actually the european countries are back-tracking on this important principle. so while we might be saying, yes, georgia has a right to join nato, they have a right to choose their own alliance, this is not happening in reality. what is happening is the alternative which is russia is preventing the integration. so there is no simple answer to that. but what is important is that there is no doubt in the positions of the nations in the
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list of the capital that you choose to join nato if they wish to, it is a matter of time. it is not something -- it is not a slip of tongue in 2008 and it is actually something that has been pledged and there needs to be a follow-up on that. the main problem we have right now is the issue of islam that we have told the door is open but we haven't been told where the door is. so we need to be given the instrument for the integration into nato is the first point. the second point is we need u.s. leadership. i cannot just -- you cannot overestimate the importance of this. you really need the u.s. for the security of europe. and particularly when it comes to georgia. and that is visible not only in terms when it comes to promoting integrity and sovereignty, but in terms of also upholding the georgia's quest to join nato.
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and when the united states does not do that, the countries in between, or caught in between, as one of our friends have said, between nato and russia, they actually suffer. so the leadership is extremely important in this conflict. now one of the accommodations in the -- in the report of the panel is that we want to see the role of the united states bigger in the ukraine crisis because they are not part of the u.s. and the normandy and that is i think a very strong right recommendation but i want to draw your attention to the fact that in the case the united states draw -- it is a international discussion but the problem with the international discussion is that it is a low-level form. we have here one of the founders of those discussions and who was representative of the u.n. but the problem with that format is the participation only takes place at the low level, the ministerial level, you have no high-level engagement from the
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united states from russia or even for that matter for the countries who are involved in this. and that is actually -- that is affecting the conflict. the second point i'm going to say is that for those, it is extremely important that georgia is kept on the radar of the international diplomacy. and we have slipped off the radar in the last years. that is also part of the domestic politics in georgia. but one way or another we need to remain on the radar. it is not just georgia but the conflicts have to remain on the radar. but the problem with the osc that once there is a crisis or someone has a chance to become active. it happened in ukraine. once there is a crisis, it shows that it possesses the tools to intervene. it has found the ability to create a sort of a peace mission for ukraine. but the problem with the osc once there is no crisis, they cannot do anything. and the problem with georgia is
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that we do not have the crisis -- [ inaudible ]. but because we have no crisis there is no -- the conflicts have slipped off the osc agenda. there is no presence of the osc in georgia and there is no activity to resume [ inaudible ]. in fact, there is -- there is a feeling in it cal issy that the public has been forgotten. you have syria around the corner and [ inaudible ] that almost exploded and ongoing tragedy in ukraine and these conflicts are just for georgia -- nothing is happening there. so should we wait before something explodes and pay attention to them or use this time and then try to move the things forward. i'll stop here and say thank you. >> i think the -- i think the problem that we always face in diplomacy is attention is only paid when things are going badly, not when they are not
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going not badly. and i would not say they are going good in georgia. the fundamental challenge is there and remains there. two themes i think come out of this discussion that i want to spend a little bit more time on. one is the danger of the situation that we face and the steps we need to take in order to -- in order to reduce the danger. an and the -- and the second is the role of the united states. let me start with the first one and just open it up to -- to press a little bit and then perhaps you want to reflect on this. >> we have airplanes flying wing tip to wing tip. we have airplanes flying over the front and back of ships that if a millimeter difference would have clipped a ship and fallen into -- as we saw in the baultic
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sea, we have airplanes being shot down because they cross territory of a nato country. that is how wars start. what procedures -- we call for procedures in our report, but what proceed oars, particularly in the -- procedures in the osc, is there something that we could do in the osc that focuses on the day after or the moment after. an accident has occurred. how do you make sure that that accident does not escalate to awar that nobody wants. what kind of process and procedures might be put into place specifically within vienna or outside of vienna that you think pay -- think may be able work. >> there are all sorts of things that could be done. first of all, in vienna, we have all of the players around the table all of the time. we have meetings every week in -- with various issues on the agenda but one of the things we can do is call everybody and
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start discussing what happens. and we can do that without special mechanism. we have framers with which we just call the people and push them to discuss and to extend views and then this can result into into a decision and common action. then we can think of more targets tools to address various aspects of. recently, in spite of this, we adopted the decision -- this was a decision that was negotiated and chaired by the u.s. ambassador with russians and others were participating and they all agreed in the end, these were on cyber security. to measures, if there is a cyber attack, confidence-building measures with tools that convene working groups and specialized working groups to analyze the incidents and try to dispel concerns that one country might be behind something similar could be -- could be for this kind of incidents.
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son an immediate -- first of all, some kind of preventative code of conduct that could be something one could try to invest in. in tense situations, we should avoid transforms and sort of behaviors that might lead to incidents and that is important. secondly, you could think of a mechanism somewhere -- there is a by lateral agreement to address situations of this kind but you could -- you could do it in russia council, you could do it in the osc where you can -- you can build a little bit of context for discussion of this so with also some parameters on how to do it and think of an investigation mechanism if there is an accident to avoid the problems that we started seeing at the beginning of the crisis where the stories were very
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different and try to have a team going through and investigating and bringing back a report and so lowering the temperature immediately after the incident. so these are all examples of things -- of tools that we, i believe, could be useful but there is a need for the political will to make them happen. and in this divided government finding that is a problem. so one of the -- i think the tasks for all of that is to raise awareness as to the potential danger of situations of this kind and try to gather the support we need to be able to develop these mechanisms to how to develop these mechanisms. >> anyone else want to come in on the mechanism piece and other ideas that we have? >> i very much agree that in crisis management, slowing down the pace of the crisis is of the essence. and those meck kmix committees, any way that drowns the emotion of the crisis into a process, it
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looks bureaucratic but it is good because it is bureaucratic and that is what is needed. >> i think that is right. let me -- before opening it up up to the floor, focus a little bit on the united states. and so we argue in the report that the actions of the united states and britain at the negotiating table and ukraine was unfortunate both we don't say this in the report, but clearly was the intent of those who were pushing this. both because of the 1994 memorandum with the united states, britain, russia and ukraine signed when the nuclear weapons were removed from ukraine and the absence of two of the four signaturearies in the negotiation sent the wrong signal. and also because the united states has generally been part of any discussion on the future of european security. and you heard why the -- an
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argument for the u.s. to take a stronger leadership role. let me pose the question which is these are problems that europe needs to lead on. because they're european security problems. the united states is not and should not be uninterested in european security. but there is a dilemma. that's affected and should we worry about that? it is something we should be concerned about and should we have in some way europe being pro actively in the lead and the u.s. in support of that when it comes to the issue of european security. at least that is an argument one could make. and i either would see how the panel reacts to that and the possibility or negatively.
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>> the crisis goes beyond ukraine and europe and that's why the u.s. has to be implied as well. actually, i prefer having the u.s. at the table and just having two tracks of trying to negotiate it. i think it's better for the process and all the parties concerned. actually, looking at the important element of the family mentioned, our report presents three narratives. we came to the consensus about the situation is urgent and action is needed. having said that, i do believe that both sides are not
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interested in an april conflict. that's the basis for a diplomatic action. that's where we have to start rebuilding the dialogue wherever we k i think our panel is one of the attempts to do so. and then we have to continue. >> it's striking that during the cold war there was a complete confrontation, ideological on all level between the soviet union and the west. and nevertheless, we were able to achieve major agreements, the arms control and the soviet union. and it was a very great achievement. whatever they're giving one that has with that action of russia, if we're not able to develop a
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real genuine diplomatic process with russia, russia remains a great power. needs to be treated with respect. it needs to be in a position of power. russia played a very constructive role. and we need to build on that. we need to build on that with a clear vision of what is wrong and what doesn't work. at the same time, if we shut down the diplomatic engageme in. t, if we just focus on one element which is important, too, the military strength and all that is key. but the diplomatic side is the other half. let me just stress a point.
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this is important. and the tendency at times to do so bilaterally with russia, which we are seeing in the ukraine track at the moment, maybe sending the wrong signal. and one is there is nothing that russia would like more than to have, if there is a negotiation to have a negotiation with the united states about europe. and my view is that is not in the united states' interest. europe needs to be in that process. and we can find out what the diplomatic niceties are and a condominium, something that looked like a condominium on part of the great powers is what we should not want russia to have and we shouldn't participate in that.
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and the contact group by definition has the parngs of russia and the united states and more importantly of key european partners in that process. i think you wanted to come in on this point and then i want to open it up. they have taken over the process and they have become older, stronger and more assertive. it is caught in between. and the people on the ground and something needs to be taken into account. also, the domestic political propaganda scene in moscow is the u.s. to blame.
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whether u.s. engages or disengages, that is the major line in the russian propaganda. even though the united states is not doing anything, the russians are selling to the people is that it is america's fault that things are going -- that you can't do what they are. so i think it's fwoer have a stronger u.s. engagement but not all diplomatic. that's why i think the united states has to appear in europe also more assertive milita iviv including in the countries like georgia. without the feelings that america is present in eastern europe, actually cares about the security, i do not think it will be safe. >> thank you. >> i want to open to the
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audience. make sure you actually ask a question. we're interested in comments but we're particularly interested in questions. i want to go to the ambassador from belgium up front. >> thank you very much. thank you for a stimulating conversation. i have a question to all of you. but particularly on the issue should he come back. the question is how come we lost diplomacy, why did it go away. what did the russians essentially do through the power of nuisance to set up a kind of understanding which was the post cold war understanding? i think we should be somewhat more sober. there is an understanding. they talked rather well.
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and including domestic reasons, mr. putin has decided that understanding and throw diplomacy out the window basically. instead of saying that diplomacy has to come back in the window, seems to be somewhat short. it seems to the point that these are exactly that kind of understanding was based on a majority of cooperation, perhaps not agreeing on everything, but at least having basic framework within. when you plead for a kind of enkbae enga engagement, where is your party? and is it forceful engagement on
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the outside because we generally like to restore that understanding, then probably that will be kind of a pleasing engagement. engagement to where we give into the difficult demands that other side. that is my conundrum. that is my question. >> do you want to start? >> i would start by saying since this panel and myself and none of us would recommend just appeasement and the agreement between all of us is that rules starting with the final act, there is no need to rewrite them. they are just fine. it's not about rewriting the rules. we all agree on. that that's the basis for any
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discussion. >> we decide to have and to explain and have several narratives. not pretending that there is no -- there is no fact and that each narrative is equally valid but part of resolving the present crisis is recognizing that the way the various actors in the european crisis read the crisis is very different. and it's deep and the way they read the crisis and there is a certain coherence in the russian writing of the crisis that it would be wrong to ignore because if you don't understand the
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logic, the other point that they come from, doesn't mean you have to come to share that view point. but you have to understand that viewpoint tone gauge. that's what we were taking by putting the various narrative side by side. not caving into one particular narrative but recognizing that there is a real problem. there were some agreements but they were reached with the perspective that was in the horizon of russia was very different from the horizon of european union members hor the horizon of the united states. and when you move on that road and suddenly you discover -- nod sut enly, gradually, you discover that roads don't go in the same direction, then you have a problem. so it's important to walk back
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in that role and understand where we can change course and begin to repair the relations. that's why i believe personallien that gaugement matters and it's not at all appeasement. >> i would add on -- just on the importance of the diplomacy is why we stress that importance. it's military confrontation. and our judgement is that the world is more dangerous than during the cold war because we don't have the structures of coordination, cooperation and of dialogue. i would add that a willingness by the united states, europe to engage in diplomacy does, of course, presume a partner on the other side. but a willingness in and of itself is important for
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political reasons. but the other side doesn't want to be part of the dialogue, we know what the problem is. you and i know what the problem is but we doend neat to be convinced. but the public doesn't know where the problem s and having an openness to dialogue, even if it is rejected serves the purpose to remind people who we're dealing with and why we're having the problems that we have. >> thank you, paul fritz. for those of us who have been involved in this dialogue since about 200 will 8, there's a certain sense of deja vu in this room that conclusions you reached are similar to the conclusions that we reached in the process and the summit that
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there seems to be a cycle here where we have a long serious analysis of the problems of european euro atlantic security and we come to the conclusion that the principles are fine. the institutions are fine and everyone needs to engage more. we tend to talk about the helsinki problem as if these are the ten commandments handed down by the mountain top and there is a certain flexibility built into the principles. you have sovereignty, integrity and self-determination of people. you have the right to choose and change alliances, but you also have the commitment not to enhance your own security at the expense of others. and this is a structure that was designed not as an enforcement mechanism but for constant dialogue about how the principle as pli in each individual case. there seems to be the element
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that's been missing now for a number of years. that it's present in the geneva process. it's present in the minsk process. but not sufficiently high level where the various parties involved are working toward common understanding of how these principles should apply. and i'd be curious as to whether the panel believes that there is a prospect for changing that. for returning to the core mission of taking the ten principles and reaching understandings of how they should ab plied in individual cases. and if not, then this might not be the right institutional framework for addressing the challenges. >> do you want to take that? >> looking up the case of the crisis in and over the ukraine, you simply have to state that he
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was the only institution that could become active. they didn't just become active because of the flexibility. >> narrator: lining but only in combination with the secretary-general and the secretary-general and the chairman in office. they were really committed and engaged and made it possible to deploy people from the secretary within 24 hours after the decision has been taken. so that is the right michlt tour of flexibility of approach and commitment. however, our first report, of course, there needs to be a series of improvement. strengthening the secretary-general to be able to act when it needed strengthening and to be able to act on short
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notice. of course, an issue of the legal personality of the situation. there are only situations like this where they can become active. >> i think in eastern europe there is no problem of applicability. the case where the territory as a nation could be more or less relevant. i'm sure many would doubt that. i think in most of the other cases and certainly ukraine, this is not the debate. the debate is between the letter
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of principles which shows the principles of the right to choose one's lines and the principle of as you mentioned you cannot enhance your own security at the xpengs of the others. now the problem is i think in the interpretation of the letter principles, particularly russian interpretation is because the way they interpret it is they cannot do anything if i don't like it. now that interpretation then the whole security is basically in shackles. and it zpt work anywhere. so i think what is important and what the panel has said and certainly within the intelligence of the panel is what we need to do is work with russia to make them understand that the country is on their alliances and doesn't mean they're in the security interest. i don't think that baltic states are a threat to russia. it will not be a threat to
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russia. so it's another perception. it's another mentality and not really the problem with the principle per se. that's why i don't think it's correct to say that what we need to do is to think which of the principle are applying in which region and we can find out how to adjust. that's what russia has been saying all along, particularly within the discussions of the past. >> sir, right here on the side. >> thank you for the panel and thank you for taking my question. when i look at the panel, and i go to work basically. i cannot believe it. >> speak a little more into the microphone. >> i don't think the european union cannot accomplish any goals of security anywhere in the world. democracy works and sometimes it
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doesn't work. my question for you all will be, when diplomatic can hurt and institute some problems whether they p more emphasize on one things that are important. it's economic security. you go over to -- look what happened in the middle east. there's a 50% or more of 6 o% employment. what do you think the young generation will do? what is supposed to be done? security will be done through education and create jobs and security where they can be occupied and go to work. that's what's happening in the ukraine where they have not security. there is only corruption. so what are you looking into the road of diplomatic development of this key issue?
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>> i can try to answer the question. i would agree with you is that in the end and europe a big part of security is the inner strength of each country. and we see that today a lot of the threat come from internal weakness. they then exploit it and become an international issue. if ukraine had been stronger, i mean, not militarily but intern internally, if they had sorted out its many issues, certainly the crisis that we have seen develop in eastern ukraine may not have developed the way it has developed. the zeeb on european security. there say bit of a theoretical dimension and then i have a friend friendly disagreement in a sense that there is not much enthusiasm at the moment for
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enlarging alliances and this is -- i'm not -- i doubt that it's going to come any time soon. so the reality is there is a fight about perception. a fight about sending political signals. whether one country has the right or not to be to choose its alliance which is a fundamental sovereign right and that is a contention that nobody will make. and at the same time, in practice, it's unlikely that that right is going to be tested in the shortly. so we need free throw tekt the principles while at the same time not creating -- not generating crisis that do not need to be generated.
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>> we're getting to our end of our alotted time. actually the final word and come back to the issues that were raced and to also help us wrap this up in two minutes. >> i tried to be as fast as i k first of all, dialogue, that does not mean appeasement. when we are looking at the situation now and we see many in play from sanctions to more investment. but we need to keep open a channel to address issues as they come up and to try to find avenues in a specific manner. so there is no contradiction in my view and it's important that they talk about the policies and the dialogue and define where the leadership also can be seen. obviously, europeans have strong
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responsibilities. it's a very complicated debate. principles are there. so they're coming from that perspective. now we're in a very different environment. so the principles, we -- they do reflect general principles in international law anyhow. and they dominate in europe and this doesn't mean that they're valid. and as you mention, it's a security guarantee. so it's not only a question of territorial integrity. it's a question of how it is an international commitment.
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so one always needs to take a look at the bigger picture. finally, we see more of your politics on the agenda. this is complicating a large way to deal with situations. at the same time, we we have a broader agenda driven by politics and certainly not only in the regions we are discussing now and also in other areas. but do create other problems. debate about migration and the organization between conflict and refugees and et cetera. and a lot of the challenges we have. we need the international community and that is making this more complicated to achieve. so it is time for a new form of
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diplomacy in a way, and it remains important to central and i'm reaching out to other constituencies. and, you know, from the financial sector to the academic circle and today, they're all so important. and this is not only a way for me to communicate you to but for me to listen to others and to mobilize society and whatever. if you see we do something we call the security and we do exactly that. to reach out. we need to learn to work in different ways. but at the same time, we need to also make people aware of the fact that we need strong leaders, strong leadership and don't think the challenges are in play. >> secretary-general, thank you
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so much for injuyour closing comments. i want to thank the pablinelist for this really interesting discussion. i want to thank the atlantic capital for hosting us. and with that, we're concluded. thank you.
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in addition to the graduating class, i wish you be graduating into a world of peace and love. but that's not the case. we all live in a fairytale. but i guess 1% does. >> this memorial day, watch commencement speeches in their entirety offering advice and encouragement to the class of 2016 like michael powell at pepperdine university, larry ellison at the university of southern california, and administrator of a small business administration at it withier college. >> you can count on yourself, what makes you special? what distinguishes you from others in business? we call it your unique value
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proposition. figuring out yours is key. >> politicians, senator jeff sessions at the university of alabama in huntsville, senator barbara boxer at the university of california berkeley, and governor mike penn at indiana wesleyan university. >> to be strong and courageous and to learn to stand for who you are and what you believe is a way that you've changed here and will carry into the balance of your life. >> and white house officials, joe biden at the university of notre dame, attorney general loretta lynch at spellman college and president obama at rutgers university. >> it is any wonder that i'm optimistic? throughout our history, a new generation of americans has reached up and bent the arc of history in the direction of more freedom and more opportunity and more justice. and class of 2016, it is your turn now. to shape our nation's destiny as
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well as your own. so get to work. >> kmins commencement speeches this weekend on c-span. >> july partisan policy center published a report on the needs of america's aging recommendation. they address medicare stability and long term insurance and affordable housing for seniors. two former housing secretaries hen ris cisneros and mel march teen ands two former members of congress wrote the report. they discuss their findings on monday at this hour and 20 minute event. >> good afternoon. >> good afternoon. and welcome to the bipartisan policy center. i'm a senior vice president here at the center.
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i have the pleasure of helping to oversee our physical pension, health care, and tax policy work. i recently came across the statistic that startled me. there are over 600 million people in the world today over the age of 65, all carved on the table on one of them. remarkable in itself. but even more remarkable it is estimated that half of all humans from the beginning of recorded time who had been over the age of 65 are alive today. amazing. now estimates can be always an error. i'm certain of one thing as i look around the room, everybody in this room will be ten years older ten years from today. we are all living longer and that's a good thing. but with the good news and also comes some challenges with the
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policy issues that we cannot ignore. the physical challenges to me are particularly daunting. and just ten years p 70% of all federal mandatory spending will be associated with federal health care spending. it's also true that some of the most creative solutions to our nations aging challenges are also found in the intersection of multiple disciplines. and that applies to our discussion today. in 2013, the bipartisan policy center had a housing commission and they had the forthright to see that flag -- that millions of americans seniors prefer to age in place in their homes and communities as a new frontier in housing. and with aging comes an obvious connection to health and thus the senior health and housing task force was launched one year ago to underscore the synergies
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between health care and housing and fostering improved health outcomes, public and private cost savings and enhanced quality of life for america's aging population. it seems to me too often my experience has been also that housing and health care are treated as separate and exclusive areas of concern. the task force's goal that was established has been to help policymakers break down the sil yoes separating the two and bridge this divide. today, you will hear that this indeed not only possibility but absolutely necessary. this project compliments a number of other effort wez have under way here including effort that's we've been working on in long term care reform, chronic disease prevention, innovation within the health care system and personal savings requirementrequirement retirements. and in about three weeks on june
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9th, the bipartisan policy center commission on retirement security and personal savings co-chaired by the former senator conrad and jaumz lockhart will release xens you have recommendation that's they've been working on for over two years and you're all invited. now today's senior health and housing force consists of two very distinguished republicans and two equally distinguished democratic members with significant experience and expertise in housing and health policy fields. former hud second and mayor henry sis nar yoez and mel martinez, former representative allison schwartz and ben weber all have been tremendous leaders for this effort with a level of technical depth and we very much thank therapy for their dedication to this particular project.
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i want to emphasize the efforts of the team here. they stast task force as well as the external account and external advisory counsel consisting of housing and health space and i think many are here today and if you're here, please stand up. you're part of that advisory group if we have them. they were develop helpful in all of this. thank you. over the next hour we will hear first from the task force members on the recommendations. this will be followed by a moderated discussion with the task force led by dr. anan and followed by an open question and answer period and all of you here will have an opportunity for some questions. so at this time, please welcome a wonderful friend of bpc, the senior health and housing task force member henry cisneros.
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>> thank you. thank you very much for your kind words. and thank you for your service. i first had the opportunity to meet bill here at the bpc about four years ago after a career on capitol hill. he is focused on the really important questions before our country. four years ago, he was helping staff the task force that dealt with deficit reduction issues. medicare, medicaid, social security and the work of this task force overlap greatly. because what we're trying to do in this work is to find ways to shave the increasing costs by having people live healthier lives in their own homes for as long as possible. i want to express our thanks to the foundations who supported
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this important work. and have supported the bpc previous work in housing and in aging. over the next 15 years, america's senior population is poised to grow dramatically driven by the aging of the 78 million babyboomers. people born between 1946 and 1964, first of those turned 65 in 2011. every year 1.8, two million people turning 65 years of age. by 2030, seniors will represent more than 20% of the total american epopulation. that's up dramatically from 14% today. those over 85 years of age are already the nation's fastest growing demographic group. p that will put strain or our
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health care andec housing syste. the challenges have been hiding in plain sight as a nation we're severely underestimated the high stakes involved. it truly is one of the moest depressing domestic issues before our country. i don't think we really thought through asdo a nation what it wl mean to have an ever increasing portion of our population not only aging but aging without resources and aging without good home circumstances. one biggest challenges is the need for more affordable rental housing. the acuteal shortage of affordae homes affects low income households of all ages, many of whom are forced to spendnd excessive amounts of income just on housing. it is particularly tragic when an older adult often living alone must forego purchasing essentials like f nutritious fo or medications just so they can pay the strent. just for shelter.
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surveys show the overwhelming number ofel seniors want to "ag in place," stay at home as long as theyta can in their existing homes and communities. yet, many of our homes and communities lack the structural features and supports services that canan make living there sa andng viable. compounding the challenges is a 70% after dults over 65 who will eventually require help with daily essentials like bathing andti food preparation and medication management. assistance that is long term services and support. medicare doesn't cover these long term services and sports. the cost of this car can consume a large portion of a household's budget.d personal expenses are a critical source of retirement funding.
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personal savings are a critical source of retirement funding. but for millions of seniors, the savings fall well short of what is necessary to pay for housing, modifications to makear housing safer, that long term service andsin support i described, heah care, andrv other retirement needs.. today's task force report draws to these concerns and offer some recommendations for congress or thend administratio and for state and local governments to consider. they cover a broad range of subjects fromub increasing the supplypl of affordable housing transforming homes and communities so they are safer and more accessible for seniors, to enlisting the power of technology to help older adults livein more independent lives. underlying all the beliefs is in health care and housing systems will be essential.
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more tightly linking health care and other supporting services with the home can help managean chronic diseases, improve health outcomes for seniors and enable millions of americans to age with greater options. over the past year, the task force was fortunate to witness many success stories. housing providers who made integrating supportive services with the homee a central focus f their mission. health care providers who understood the importance of the home as a site forn. care and service delivery. local community helps seniors remain connected to the neighbors and friends. it is time to scale up the efforts so they can become truly national in scope. make no mistake, healthy aging begins at the title o of our report is nop just a slogan. it must be a central element of any i strategy to manage the
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demographic challenge as head. at this time sh i'd like to turn the floor over torn a gentleman that's become a very good friend. senator martinez. he was the mayor of orange county, florida. he was secretary of housing and urban development and then senator from florida. he is one of best public servants i had the privilege to know and as i say, a friend having thoroughly enjoyed working with him and several bipartisan policy efforts and hopefully more in the future. senator mel martinez. >> nicee job. >> thank you very much. i have enjoyed so much getting to know you better and to work with you and not onlyve on this but otheru housing issues and the past. again, like you, i hope that we'll have a chance to do more in the future as well.
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it's been productive. one thing tong remember as we le in the current times that this city lives in is that this bipartisan policy center is a hallmark of what is needed in washington so very much which is bipartisan ideas. ideas that bring together differing points of view but at theth end of the day resolve to find common ground so we can reach solutions, so that we can move the country forward. that's one thing i love so much about doing a this work. so may happens to be older american's month. in recognition of many ways seniors contributent to the communities and to america. the task force is releasing the plans at the time. we're going to try to maximize thee contributions as the senio population grows.
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monthly mortgage payments and the cost of home mmaintenance ca strain on seniorse households. housing related costs constitute their biggest household expenditures. and major factor contributing to high housing costs is the scarcity of affordable and available rental homes. this is for a problem in our country at large and an acute problem for seniors. this most negatively impacts those on fixed incomes. according to hud, there were 11.2or million extremely low income renter households competing for only 4.3 million affordable and available rental homes resulting in a total short fall of 6.9 million homes. of the 11.2 million households in thisat competition, 2.6 were
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identified as eld areally households with no children. aging population is going to increase affordable rental homes and exacerbate the supply/demand line that just not keeping up with current problems. millions off older americans wil seek transition from homeownership to rental housing. the demand for rental housing will intensify with greater numbers of senior suffers severe rent burdens. 75 or older who will pay more than 50% of their income on housing will rise by 42% and 39% respectively. as we say in our report, affordable housing is the glue
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that holds everything together. without access to such housing and stability it provides, it becomes increasingly difficult to introduce a system of home and community based support that can enable successful aging. they propose significant expansion of the housing income tax credit program. the housing credit is a 30-year-old program that has encouraged ni100 billion in private investment in affordable rental housing. it has proven to be a great success, hoping to support the construction andth preservationf more than 2.8 million affordable rental homes including hundred dledz of thousands of homes for seniors. we were very pleased to see that senator hatch and senator
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campwell, also a member of the finance committee,of released bipartisanan legislation last wk mirroring the recommendations. what is clear is the affordable housing that is needed now more than ever and the housing credit is indispensable to encouraging this future investment. when i serve as suh secretary, i consider the session 202 program to be one of our most successful initiatives. many of the seniors served by the program are at risk of institutionalization but benefit from the supportive services available to them as project fight. unsfort natalie, since 2011 there has been no funding under section 202 for new construction or rental assistance for new
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units. so while we must work together to fund this program, it is also time to try something different. the task force proposes a new federal program foror senior supportive housing that uses project based, rental assistance, and the housing credit to finance new construction and attract funding from health care programs. the design is to ensure that actors has skin in the r game, t just the federal government and mission oriented not for profit but also state government and private sector developors. the approach suggests to promote the integrated delivery of housing, health care, and other services. the task force also spent time examining the impact of regulatory policies on the cost of housing, including housing
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for seniors. this is an issue that receives attention. it is a great big problem in our country. recently i heard statistics that in florida 40% of cost of an affordable home goes to governmental costs. to permitting, impacting, et cetera. it's a real serious problem. they held a hearing on this issue this past march at the national association of home builders recently pointed out on a national level, government regulation is about 25% of the price of ana new single family home. they must work to bring more affordable home. they must also embrace permissive land use policies that encourage alternative housing structures for seniors such as accessory dwelling
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units, microunits and congregate homes. theseur policies must abe win-w for everyone preserving the integrity of naeighborhoods whie expanding affordable housing options. the bottom linevi is that we ne both. thent public and private sector to step up and recognize the need to help seniors age with options in their communities. finally, i want to conclude by highlighting the issue of senior homelessness. the number of homeless seniors is projected to risewa to nearls 509,000 by the year 2020. the task force believes that our country, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, should not accept the situation in which so much of the older citizens live on the streets without adequate shelter and appropriate care. preventing and ending homelessness should become a major national priority. and to help this effort the task force recommend that's the u.s.
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interagency council of homelessness adopt an explicit goal to prevent and then end homelessness among older members in the near future. and now it is my pleasure to turn the program over to congressman benpr weber to discs our recommendations to transform our home and communities and so now, vin? >> thank you, mel. this is my first project with the bipartisan policy center. it's been a real delight to work with henry and mel and congresswoman schwartz. we held the congressional side of it and they did more of the executive side. i also want to say what a delight it's been to work with the staff ofon the bipartisan policy center, all of whom are genuinelyel dedicated mission drivenf people. and we can be proud of the work we've done and the other
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projects that are emminating from this space, special notice to my friend bill hoeingman who noticed -- made some reference to his own approaching senior years since i can tell that you bill and i have been friends for over 30 years. that says something about my age, too. it's a delight to work with these folks. i think before i get into the specifics and i will, i want to say one of the things that we probably said to each other every time we met or did a telephone conference call or anything else like that was it's really kind of the case that america does not understand the magnitude of the problem that is going to be hitting them. we said it time and time and time if you cut throughout analysis we did and i can leave you with only one thought, that would be the thought.
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the country doesn't understand the difficulties they're going to face with the huge number of retireesus and aging population and the coming years. and i want to say those are successful efforts. we convened last september. a panel at the humphrey school in my hometown of minneapolis, minnesota. and councilman schwartz did the same thing. i tried to get different areas of expertise in those place ands we put input in a number of other ways as well. one thing we can say is the nature of the communities and our country may differ but the problem existsnt everywhere. as henry mentioned, the
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overwhelm mag jojority of senio seek to age in their own homes and communities. over the next 15 years, they're not going to be likely to do so. there will be a mismatch between this desire to age and at built for a number of reasons to do so.o this is something very close to me. within one month of launching this, we put my mother into a retirement facility. it's a nice place. it is well taken care of. i don't have any problems with the care. there but theng difficulty of moving someone out of an independent home where they've been living into a facility is enormously difficult. and sometimes it is unavoidable. but there are things question do to make it possible for people to live longer in independent living and age in place as the phrase goes. most homes lack the design features that we would allow people to stay longer in home according to one study.
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3.8% of housing units in the united states arek suitable for individuals with moderate mobility disability. and at the same time, communities as opposed to individual homes lack senior friendly infrastructure such as accessible transportation, well maintained streets and well lit and affordable housing close to retail stores and services. so you can see in our recommendations recommendation that's are aimed both at the individual residences where people live and at the e communities within which they live. they're both part of the problem. a large part of it, of course, the personal level that i think we're all becoming more aware of aset household finances. over the next 20 years, 40% of individuals over the age of 62 are projected to have financial assets of $25,000 or less. 20% of those over 60 will ha$60 ath
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$5,000 or less. that is he wouldfully inadequate to cover the expenses of daily living never mind the cost of trying towe adapt a structure t the problem of an older person. to accommodate this desire to age and n. place, it's obvious to us that new solutions and approaches will be necessary. and i believe will be adopted. we'll talk more about the possibility of that later. we offer a lot of specific recommendations. it seemed best to start with the use of existing resources more effectively. we have numerous federal programs which w. which you're all familiar to provide resources and expertise for home assessments and modifications. there is very little coordination or inadequate coordination in our mind among the program and public awareness of them remain limited. the task force to address this problem recommendation as modificationon assistance to th administrator about it department of health and human services administration for community living. acl. under this initiative, the acl would coordinate existing
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federal efforts as well as publish an annual inventory of program that support home assessments and modifications for homeowners an landlords that rent to seniors. initiative would serve as a resource center to inform a of federal, ork state, and local agency that's provide services to 11 million older adults annually about resources available for home assess assessments and modifications. we're pleased that the congress with recommendation from us didry authorize themo older americans act earlier this year which supports the aging network. the task force also recognizes that cities and states establish and expand programsth to assist particularly low income seniors with home modifications through property tax credits, grants, or forgivable loans. 80% of all modifications for aging are paid out of pocket by residence. local governments can help relief some of this burden by making funding available to help with the modifications.
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in my home state of minnesota and particular litke congressiol district that i represented, we haveve a lot of old rural peopl. a lot come from rural areas. we have a disproportionate and increasing share of seniors living in rural communities across the country. 15% of residents in nonmetropolitan regions are 65 or older compared to 12% in urban areas and they often lack the support network that you would get intr an urban area. the u.s. department of agriculture section 504 program is an important source of funds for single family home modifications for low income rural seniors but the program is a little bit outdated. so we suggest a number of ways to make section 504 more streamlining the application process, providing greater flexibility between the loan and grant portions and increasing the $7500 borrowing thresholdea requiring a lean against the home ownle aers
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property. our report certainly doesn't have all the answers but it is our hope it will help spark a national focus onn the incrediby important and difficult issues. it is my belief and the belief of the task force when we face a problem of this magnitude, eventually there will be a response. eventually there will be a response it is important research planning an effective and systematic well thought out response rather than dealing with that as a crisis. [applause] >> i am pleased to be here this afternoon as well to participate in this task force in my first time to
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work with a bipartisan policy center and a good way to do this we have a lot of discussion that we can't come too important recommendations thank you for the opportunity to do this and want to share a quick comment before start my remarks this report has a great deal of information the numbers are very real film matter in each and every community across the country but it does point out solutions that are open to other ideas as well and it is a call to all blast with public policy to understand the interaction
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between health and the communities that we live in and a great opportunity exist if we understand that. there is conversation going: in the health care space to understand how important those factors and reconsider a nontraditional and certainly seniors but the health care that contributes into a premature mortality the physical environment and makes a great deal of impact on your individual health the greater importance for greater americans to spend a great portion of their time in their home increasingly seen as care those that have health and wellness services
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for those with chronic multiple chronic conditions. and experiencing limitations of activities and daily living. there is one statistic that is stunning. 68% of medicare beneficiaries have multiple chronic conditions. 93% of medicare spending is spent on these people. so understand that there are multiple chronic conditions and the effective being able to provide care for seniors with multiple chronic conditions in their homes has the potential to improve health care outcomes and reduce health care utilization and costs in significant ways. there is evidence that this proposition works and it is growing and attracting attention around the country. senior services at home model
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known is stash is demonstrating how housing when combined with sortive services for seniors can slow the rate of growth in medicare spending. they're showing how tailored home interventions can help at risk youth avoid hospitalization. these are all very positive developments and they are challenge that's we face in communities across this country and pretty exciting and innovative ways. building on a strong foundation which has already been laid is really key. we have to accelerate this integration of health and housing and scaling it up. learning if all the different innovations and figuring out what is working and then really building it up to much bigger numbers. the task force identified several opportunities including
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key actors in the national health care system who can really be a part of all this. of course, as public ensurers, the private ensurers including medicare advantage plans, that has some flexibility to tackle some of the issues head on and health care professionals and hospitals. really all of our institutions. simply, this say call to action. the entire health care community to address housing when caring for older adults and to really there are a few opportunities to get more in the report and just to name a couple key ones where we really think we can make a difference. first, they're the most vulnerable seniors. those we need and enhance coordination including those who are, of course, seniors. there are, for example, 1.3 million older adults who live in public subsidized housing. the vast majority of whom are duly eligible for medicare and
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medicaid. which means they're older and they're poor. the task force recommends that the centers for disease and medicaid services, in essence, many of us in the room and the center for medicare and medicaid innovations and launching innovation in coordinating health care and long term care services that supports for medicare beneficiaries living in public housing. under this initiative, health care providers and partnership with housing entities would implement evidence based payer models and programs and be accountable for improving health care outcomes and reducing costs. ally jibl applicants would receive advance payment, for example, the beneficiary on a monthly basis which would use the use to make important investments and coordination and infrastructure and including supporting housing based service coordinators.
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there is an opportunity to prevent core health outcomes in seniors. consider, be very specific exampl examples, ones i think will capture your attention is that one in three older adults fall in this tier. and not just fall simply but fall quite dramatically. it results in 2.5 million emergency department visits each year. 700,000 hospitalizations and $34 billion in annual health care costs. that is also known and is very destructive and very difficult and sometimes really life ending experience for them and tragic in so many ways. many of these falls are preventable. and, yes, moef falls occur in our home. that's why we strongly recommend that medicare and other federal agencies make reducing falls for
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seniors a top priority. opportunities exist to both incentivize and provide technical assistance to help providers -- to help reduce falls. cdc has a steadi tool as a great resource in the establishment practices. and also look at the degree with the systems for holding providers accountable for providing support. there are prevention programs and support public and private sector efforts to modify homes as has been talked about. and we should be helpful in term of falls prevention. the upside here is enormous. there are issues around fitness and movement and some things in maintaining balance as you get older. turns out to be a real issue as well as getting rid of the red
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bumps all over our home. some very simple example if you have an older adult in your family and see what can you do about that. but third example is the task force says examining the role of technology in helping play a role in the home setting in improving successful and healthy aging. there is an on line survey to 179 housing and health care stake holders and asked the question which technologies are most effective and scaleable? and what health outcomes can be achieved with these technologies? so very interesting result about this. and the real sense that the find the results in the report that are included there. so what is clear is that older adults and their caregivers and health care providers can benefit considerably with technology like remote patient
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monitoring and to improve health and again health outcome. in tl are still numerous barriers that need to be reduced. there is difficulty in licensing in smeez requirement that's prevent at dopgs and use of the technologies and the barriers should remember moved and should be examined. again, there is good work on this and attention on the hill. so. so i will close by saying that this is an enormous opportunity as we know and we care deeply seniors over 65 so look out for each other and in a way to improve that reduces cost


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