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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 8, 2016 7:00pm-12:01am EDT

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if these ideas had been thought up in vermont they would have gone nowhere because you couldn't have gone to people of missouri and say they have a great idea in vermont. texas and other states that moved first have allowed it to move forward. i think the idea of federalism where we are getting more and more states to do this and now looking at federal government making similar reforms at the national level we are not asking anybody to vote for something that isn't politically safe. we haven't been using house seats, governors races on this. it has been a wonderful opportunity for conservatives to message i care and to mean it. the other model is pass it on states. ten states have done it first. do it in a bunch of states and show us it works. that is what the movement has done.
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i think it is a model not just for this issue but for others. >> we will talk about specific issues being debated in congress and the various bills but for everyone's information there will not be endorsements from the panelists today one important thing i want to clear up because i think it is important for context of this discussion is that the impression you have in organizations in working on this because in washington d.c. people say on the 6:00 news on the sunday talk shows where is the compromise? where are the people in the middle that can split the baby and come up with legislation?
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i think that you're going to hear loud and clear from us but is this about compromise or is this about working towards shared values of principled people on both the left and the right? >> all the reasonable people thought this was the way to respond to everything. left/right coalitions and criminal justice reform have been successful. work because curved led so if they led the same fight it wouldn't work. i'm not sure i trust everybody but on a right/left coalition
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there is no compromise on principles. we are working to do the same thing perhaps for different reasons, maybe different life experiences, different senses of what works and what doesn't. but when you sit down with the guys they are very serious about having criminal intent. they think this is an important thing. other guys on the left who aren't. there are people men and women on the left of principle who actually think rule of law matters and they get scared at the idea and that they are the target of the regulator. this is not right/left get together and do something stupid but half way from where they want it to be. >> how do we get people out of prison so that they don't come back into prison. cops come stop your car and say we think you might have drugs. sell your car and now they take the money out of your bank account. unless there is a conviction. if you are convicted and there
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was proceeds of bank robbery, good, but they shouldn't steal it unless you have been convicted of something. you saw the numbers. there is more money taken away from americans in civil asset forfeiture last year. it is a big deal and very sad big number. all of these reforms are ones people of principle can agree on. we don't agree on everything. there are a bunch of criminal justice things we are not working on. the ones we can agree and we can pass legislation it is not a
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question of sacrificing principles. there isn't a bill we look at -- there is other good stuff in there where that is not the deal here. this is not a compromise with stupid ideas. this is working with people who we can agree with. >> i want to reinforce that i can't imagine a bill passing that showed an increase in crime. there has been no evidence and the states with every reform that they have passed have done much better job of tracking things. every proposal from the right and left and every bill that has gotten traction has improved public safety. i think that gets lost in the debate. is this a compromise of the american conservative union's values or a chance to express your values and find them attractive to a broader
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audience? >> i think your first question related to the legislative process. can left and right compromise? i just want to reiterate that so much of what is going on now within the criminal justice sphere is not legislative in orientation. it should lead politics and should control the people. that runs counter to founding of our nation as staff knows well we believe that sovereignty resides in the person and our nation's founding. we understood that because our whole constitution begins not with we the continental congress or we the states or we the founding fathers, but we the people. there is a conflict now where it is the left pushing the bureaucracy to move ahead of the
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people so it creates these laws criminal laws that include incars nation of individuals as well as stiff fines, outside of that political process. by political process i do not mean partisan process but how people govern themselves and as we have seen the legislative branch diminish in stature. one consequence we need to congress needs to take its rightful place in this process and we need to return to a place where members of congress can work together to address issues and take control of this process and take it back from the bureaucracy and then as members
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of congress move forward understand that everything they do needs to be based on the idea that the liberty of the individual is paramount and should be abridged when somebody committed something really bad. >> a prison fellowship we applaud things by saying amen. >> amen. >> right of crime is involved with coalitions involved with the states experienced. you have been around to see the results of the work and to see it play out. in those cases do you feel that right on crime is a principle mayor or do you feel you were drawn in on compromises of principle. in terms of a spectrum of ideology we are not just groups
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meeting in the middle, it is more of a u. we just happen to overlap on these particular issues. great example of this coming from texas in 2015. prior to we were one of two states part of the criminal justice system as the venue for kids skipping school. if you are asked to relate i always make the joke that this would have made me equivalent of bonnie and clyde when i was a youngster. it was one of two states that use that. through a concerted effort between us on the right and apple seed on the left, we were able to overlap on this
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particular issue with the same exact policy prescription. neither of us compromising values. they are advocating for pay day lender reform and school to prison pipeline reform and things that we are not advocating for. on the criminal justice interlude into school discipline we were 100% in agreement on. this is just one example of where we find that issue as opposed to changing what texas apple seed stands for. you see that across the spectrum. another great example of that, in michigan, you saw the center and the michigan chapter of aclu both shoulder to shoulder championing the mens rea. this might show that the federal process tends to be a little detached from it. both of them had natural constituencies that were approximately affected by the law or as the case were, the lack of law. you find these uncommon allies overlapping on these particular
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issues and then they move forward on that without changing the core of their beliefs. >> the next question it seems, and the elephant in the room, if you will, when discussing these issues, for a member of congress, for 40 years we've had a template, to be successful politically whether running as republican or democratic to lock people up for longer periods of time and more people in prison is the politically safe move and to do the opposite is a politically risky move. we are seeing evidence that these reforms reduce new crime. has that changed the political dynamic in america? is a no vote on reforms that address fiscal oversight, liberty issues, performance of
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the system? what's a member of congress looking at when presented with bills that have the research and the support in front of them now? >> i think you hit the good and the bad on the head in that question. you have generally a policy issue. criminal justice and criminal justice reform is a policy issue that requires an elevator speech. it doesn't sound byte very well. however, here we have this litany of successes in the states and across a variety of programs. i think the fruits of it poetically speaking i think that is diminishing if not gone. you have seen in recent campaign cycles is where the crime has been invoked you tend to be a death rattle as opposed to a tip of the spear.
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and when it has aired it has not found footing. you also see that all the polling that goes on in tandem. in texas we have been polling on this issue since 2013. 2013 we were a good five years on from our reforms in 2007. so we wanted to look at what about the hearts and minds? are the hearts and minds with us on this program. we found that not only does the effect of people wanting to see common sense reform and conservative reform, not only did we see that very strongly supported we have seen very incredible effects on there. we actually saw that conservative identification actually predicted decent amount of one's affinity towards rehabilitation. you see that tends to drive a lot of public preference.
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that is not to say there isn't a punitive element to that. that is overshadowed by rehabilitation and then a lot of people say we need to have a strong deterrent system. when polled it gets at most 7% of people saying this should be the purpose of our criminal justice system. it's not that they don't want to punish. they don't even juan tobt retributive. it's just that it is simply not what drives it. we find people two to one would rather spend money on effective rehabilitation programs than prison or jail? that persists across the board. this is in texas.
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this isn't what the average person thinks. this is what people in tyler think. this is what people think. i think when we look at what is going on in the states it is really giving a better sense of where the american political policy imagination is on this. >> grover, you mentioned in your remarks already about the performance of governmental institutions and that conservatives have looked at going after the things they consider unnecessary or overstepping the proper role of government. this is an area where there is probably consensus on the right and left but there hasn't been a lot of scrutiny. my dear wife stacy at home sometimes better at summing up political issue s and policy issues than i am. she would simply say hospitals are supposed to make people healthier.
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classrooms are supposed to make people smarter. the criminal justice system is supposed to reduce crime, hold people accountable. what is your take on the performance of the system from taxpayer's perspective? >> it hasn't done a very good job. it has gotten extremely expensive because people don't focus on it. we are spending $50,000 a year in california to put an adult in prison for 25,000. these are pretty significant numbers. if you can punish somebody and/or rehabilitate them in ten years instead of 15 it is a lot of money that has been saved. if you can keep someone out of going to prison without keeping them away from crime that saves a whole bunch of money. the other thing you do is take a
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parent out of a household that could be earning support for the family. doesn't do any good to have a fatherless household. it's very tough on kids. a lot of damage is done and we need to figure out how to punish crime, deter crime, work on rehabilitating people who have been bad and could do better at the least amount of damage, not just dollar cost but damage that we do. we don't do that well because we are not focussed on it. you guys passed a law against people raping each other in prison. for how long is that a punch line in jokes? that's kind of sad. so i think if we focus on getting it done. we can do a lot better than we have done. just one thing to add. sometimes people say there was a spike in putting people in prison and maybe that is responsible for actually some of the drop in crime.
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crime has continued to fall as we have moved away from the number of people in prison. what the drop in physical violence, physical crimes, rape, murder, assault, the drop in those crimes is matched with passage of concealed carry legislation in the states. they passed it state by state so you can compare states that did it ten years ago and states that did it 15 years ago and states that did it five years ago. that is where you are seeing people steal your car but in conceal carry states they are less likely to mug you. that is one reason you are seeing the drop. when people say the drop is because of crime they are trying to get away from the fact that you can track conceal carry passage and the number of people with conceal carry permits with the drop in physical violence. 14.2 million americans with active permit i'm not surprised we have seen that kind of crime
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decrease. >> thank you. i reserve my right to interject and i will say one thing before i go to dan on statistics of what grover said. one casualty of passage of locking more people up from early '70s up through a few years ago was the actual arrest and conviction clearance rate of murder in violent crime rates. senator tom cotton cited in an arkansas paper that the current system leaves 47% of the murders go without having arrests. no time served, no sentence, no probation, no reentry or collateral consequences. where i'm from they run about 50% arrest rate in chicago. in 2012 running 30% arrest rate for murder in chicago.
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in the '60s before we started focussing on locking up more people for lesser crimes the arrest rate for murder was significantly higher, in some years into the 90 percentile. statistically we have moved our focus away from where i think america would think the members of congress have focussed on who they are arresting. dan, my question for you as the oldest and one of the most respected conservative voices in america, the american conservative union, from your vantage point how do you believe that we got here? what brought us to this point where we are having this debate in congress today? >> i was looking around the
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audience earlier and i'm not going to ask people to raise their hands, but how many of you are 50 years of age or older? please don't raise your hands. my guess is that maybe a fourth or a fifth of you all are 50 years or older. for those of you under 50 you may not recall the time when the mantra changed from crime never pays to crime does pay. there was a period in our nation's history was the focus you can get a crime and get away with it. congress started to get tough on crime. that was a phrase that was often used in '70s and '80s. it was a phrase supposed to mean we are going to pursue justice for victims, but i think the pendulum has swung so far in the
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other direction that we now have all of these cases where young man from detroit moving to hollywood. he wanted to be a video producer but atf boarded the train in new mexico and they couldn't figure out why a young black man had $40,000 on him. atf thought he does not deserve to have $40,000. he must be up to no good. so atf took this young man's $40,000 under the asset forfeiture law. the young man has to hire a lawyer to prove his innocence. he is guilty. his money is guilty. his money was taken from him. we have swung so far in the other direction, the young man who earned $40,000 to begin his life has to hire lawyers and go through years of trial to get his money back. this is obscene.
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fortunately we have people who are fighting hard to reform these asset fortunateture laws but across the board we have seen this extreme move where the individual is no longer thought to be sovereign where it is the state who controls the individual. i think this whole election that we are approaching is asking this question. does government control the person or person control government. as a conservative i think we need to restore the rights of the individual. we need to pull back on these extreme criminal laws that turn everybody into a criminal. >> thank you. we have a few more minutes together here i believe. i'm getting a nod. and we are going to talk about some of the issues, not endorsing any specific bills but some of the things that the members of congress are confronted with today. i will give my commentary as somebody who reviews the bills in both chambers that by and large if you divided the
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criminal justice system into three parts, sentencing, while somebody is paying their debt back serving their time, if you will, and then post release. most of the congressional bills that are being debated and where there is a strong desire for passage or consideration this year before a new congressnd new president relate to the first two either sentencing or the conditions of confinement, duration of confinement, when people can leave a federal institution. so you have heard the panelists talk about mensrea and civil asset forfeiture throughout their remarks but specific to those policies let's go a little briefer here with those two, with all the panelists talking about the importance of congress addressing those. >> we just have a little
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tutorial today on mens rea, the reason hillary clinton is putting what was supposed to be secure documents on e-mail is okay and not a crime according to the fbi director is because, quote, there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort. mens rea. now, i think that might be an extension a little bit far, but here you have a white collar crime being told that no intention, no crime. somewhere between 300,000 federal regulations that can put you in prison and it is not attached to most of them. people in prison because they filled up paperwork wrong, plastic instead of paper when there was no reason to use either. just the law. step one, let's give everybody the hillary rule.
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all laws need mens rea. everybody should be treated as well as hillary clinton including business men and women. the other is the overcriminalization issue. it's not in one of the bills but it was put together by the late senator specter and i would recommend it to a congressman or senator to pick it up. that is a base closing bill for federal crimes. remember the closing bill you have commission of military guys and get together and determine what bases the pentagon doesn't need. that lets everybody off the hook for base closing in their state because pentagon didn't want it. let's do the same thing for federal laws.
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we have 2,000 to 4,000 federal laws, if we have several thousand federal laws let's allow judges to get together and look at which ones are redundant and yesterday's news. federal law carjacking, all 57 states already make carjacking a crime. somebody wanted to headline so they had a federal law and now a federal crime and not just illegal in all states. there are real opportunities to peel that back. i think the base closing approach would allow us to do that for federal overcriminalization in the same way we are able to pull back bases that were not part of national defense but were expensive. and civil asset forfeiture the president tomorrow could solve the problem by telling them the feds won't goat involved when new mexico in our packet, a list of who has done good stuff and
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who hasn't. one best state is new mexico. you have to be convicted before they can steal your stuff. and when they steal your stuff it goes into the state budget, not to the sheriff which is a bad incentive when the money goes to the guy who took your stuff. better to have it go to general budget because then they take it if it is really a bad idea and doesn't enrich them. in new mexico the local cops can go and bring the feds in on the bust and then the money goes to the federal government and comes back. and the administration stopped that temporarily and now it is back open again. that is a pipeline around civil asset forfeiture in the states. the president could stop that tomorrow. we really need to even without a law but a law would be helpful. >> to that point on civil asset forfeiture and with your legal background we believe it is a moral hazard for the staff at the local level. my question for you is at the
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federal level is it proper for the federal government to chime in? is it civil rights that the congress can talk about standard for civil asset forfeiture that they believe is consistent with the constitution or would that be overstepping for congress to get involved? >> i suspect most people don't know the history of civil asset forfeiture. if you ever watched miami vice in the early '80s you would know the speed boats would run drugs up from mexico or that is how it was portrayed on tv. let's stop the drug flow by taking away the property of the bad guys. that seemed like a great idea but instead of asking who is indicted when somebody's assets are taken because nobody is indicted, but what is guilty of the crime? the asset is. it's the $40,000 in cash that that young man had that is apparently guilty of the crime. so is it constitutional?
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i didn't know that boats and cash had constitutional rights. but the owners of those properties have constitutional rights and their rights to property are being violated. let me also kind of go back and address some broader. you addressed sentencing reform. judge prior has been the leader in sentencing reform included among 11 candidates that donald trump might select for appointment to supreme court if trump were elected to president. he has done a great job. before he was a federal judge he led on sentencing reform. post release explained long ago that what makes america truly unique is voluntary society how we take care of each other. this is an area where conservatives have really dropped the ball.
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voluntary society. i encourage everybody to engage in their communities with more. terms of confinement there is one bad idea floating around which is for the federal government to take over the bail bond program our constitution con templates that bail has to be set at an appropriate rate and not too high. the idea that government would take over the function is a bad idea. but while somebody is incarcerated maybe we go back to law school experience one last time. in my criminal law class i was asked what is the purpose of prison. is it retribution?
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what is the purpose? is it to get even? is it rehabilitation? i think as a nation we need to -- it's just we need to do a much better job actually helping people become productive members of society. >> what do members need to see? which issues with the clock running on this congress and this president what do you think would be most impactful? >> all of the above. specifically i really think that we are at a water shed moment on the issues tat you mention as
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far as sentencing. i echo your sentiment that we need to do a better job. when we abolish federal parole we are going to knife off our ability to monitor people who might pose public safety risk in the community. not only tough on crime but reckless. i think that several examples have under scored that point. i think the civil asset forfeiture debate, that is something that the federal government does provide an end around for that causes trouble and takes away from the actual police powers of the states. that needs to be addressed. however, to look to the federal government and expect it to be addressed i think is a bit too far. what you need to do to combat
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that is you need state individual reforms. states can put handcuffs on their law enforcement agencies in dealing with equitable sharing agreements. they can run these particular agreements through the attorney general one possible example of many that really gets away from offering that shot for even if the legislature says we want to protect property rights through allowing other individuals to go around that. >> thank you. we are going to bring this part of our discussion to a close here. to set the stage for your questions i think the panelists we know from our experience in working on these issues with members of congress but also in the states that there are only two ways to effect the number of people that are currently in the federal prison system. that is the number you sent into the prison and the number you let out of prison. and we didn't get a chance to talk much about the post release but i did want to be clear in my comments that that is currently not prominent in any congressional bills being discussed now. so you can ask questions related
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to that, but as grover encouraged members of congress i know we have a number of staff members in attendance here today to dust off a criminal task force bill but i encourage the members and the staff to look at what can be done post release as prison fellowship the core of what we believe the criminal justice system exists for is restoration for those affected by crime and incarceration. you can't do that if somebody pays back debt and and never allowed to pay back. so with that, jo. >> state your name, too. >> i am director of campaign for
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fair sentencing of youth. thank you for being here for your leadership on these important issues. i am wondering what each organization would advise our presumptive nominees for president on what their priorities should be on criminal justice reform in the coming years. >> we're going to -- i didn't set the stage well enough so i will set it now. we have about 20 more minutes together and we want to get to as many people in the audience so where possible direct it to one of the panelists and if it is to all of us i will ask us to
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be short or we can just say pass. prison fellowship believes -- thank you for the question. prison fellowship believes each human being is created in the image of god. my friendsb on the left in secular worlds that i run in in criminal justice reform equate that with fairness and say people are equal and our founding documents speak to that. when you talk about presumption of different things i think it is something that laws have been passed to ease the prosecution and the processing of people almost in a spreadsheet manner in america which is not consistent with american values
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of each life having a value. before we take away somebody's life, liberty, pursuit of happiness we should slow down enough to take that individual case seriously. i'm not trying to offer -- we are not endorsing specific things on this panel, sweeping legislation. i'm saying that is the corner that we should fight out of and we should go as far as we can. this is something the government should be in the business of doing but it shouldn't reduce the value of the people that are going before this process for efficiency. anybody else want to chime in on this one? >> maybe one or two sentences. at the federal level 90% of instances of prosecutorial misconduct come out of justice. 10% of prosecutors work out of justice. the next president of the united states i hope their attorney general would take control of that office a few blocks away and get control of it. the state level i don't have the data. there may be instances where people are trying to further futures at the expense of people's liberty. >> thank you. prosay america. i would like to ask grover this. norquist. what are we doing about our judges? we have 10,000 people a year who
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go to jail illegally. i was illegally jailed and -- 22 days i snuck out documents to get out. there is nowhere for me to go for help. all of my complaints have been ignored. judges are running wild. it's like the wild wild west for them. nobody is policing them. i want to know what you think can be done because we seem to be thinking there is a conflict of interest to hold them accountable. we have three judges who have retired early that we will all pay for especially richard roberts here in d.c. who raped a 16 year old. we are going to all pay for him to retire. >> to the issue. >> to the issue, real challenges. i have heard stories of judicial abuse. i'm not sure what the best legislative approach is, but we need to look at it all.
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we shouldn't go prosecutor is always right. we shouldn't go the judge is always right or defendant is always right. too often different individuals or the whole system takes the position that prosecutors never make a mistake or judges never make mistakes. they do and i don't know the answer to your question but we have to focus on it. >> one thing i would bring up is in texas we have a case involving a gentleman who you might have heard of. the judge and the prosecutor obstructed dna testing for six years which exonerated him off the dna off a bandana. both of them have been sanctioned by judicial conduct commission. we need to strengthen those remedies. sometimes you don't realize someone committing misconduct
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and wrongfully convicting. you mentioned solitary confinement. a lot of states have reduced solitary confinement. we still have, for example, people in texas, new mexico and other states discharged from solitary confinement to the public. that is a practice we need to end and reduce the number of people because it is proven to lead to higher resitivism once they are released to the public. >> i want you to know i am sympathetic to the situation. i was a prosecutor for 2 1/2 years. there is no oversight for prosecutors that choose to go after somebody because they have a blank check without a boss. i didn't want you to get -- i
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presumption has to be that we preserve people's liberty. that's what we always have to strive. so on retroactivity, what's the goal here? is the goal to lock up as many people as we? to reach back and grab as many people as we can? or is the idea to preserve the rule of law and lock up only the people that we really deem as committing really heinous things. on mandatory minimums, is the idea to have a cookie-cutter approach where there is no discretion?
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of where you check off this box, this box, this box and that is what the result is? that i think flies in the face of the idea that the first presumption is that we have to protect people's individual rights and sovereignty. >> one other problem is you don't consider the person's risk level, don't consider what the victim wants in cases of restitution when you're talking about property crimes. there is actually surveys of victims. and instead politicians are setting without knowing the facts of the case, they're substituting their judgment for that of the judge or in texas we have juries do a lot of sentencing. and so with regard to retro activity it is happenstance whether the crime was committed yesterday or five years ago. and obviously a number of states that are updating their drug laws to reduce penalties for a level possession have made it retroactive and the sky hasn't fallen. it is easier for people to get a job now that it is a misdemeanor instead of a felony. and i also just believe --
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i understand i have heard prosecutors say if you reduce penalties for violent crime that is tough for me to go to a victim and say this isn't what we told you it was. now that i understand. we can have a discussion about that. when we are talking about making retroactive reductions in drug penalties, i don't see how anyone can possibly object to that. >> take a look and see if you think it is wise to reform and just to victims as well as general society. if it is, retroactivity is not that big a problem. if you're going to decide that you're changing the law, changing it back makes sense. if it doesn't make sense to fix the mandatory minimum, a lot of them are too long and there's too much rigidity, don't do it. but if it does make sense, it makes sense for the guy two years ago as well as two years from now. >> there's one more question behind you.
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>> steve landi. i'm sitting here because i'm 74 years i think, not because i'm part of the committee. a short question, i think, for norville. one of the pieces of legislation they keep talking about is a possibly a constitutional amendment on parents' rights. perhaps nothing is more to deprive somebody of a right is to lose a child because of your economic position and so on, which in many ways is a lifetime if not two or three generational punishment. what is your own view of that kind of legislation, and does it have any chance of getting, quote bipartisan support. >> i just need to ask a clarifying question. you're talking about the parent being taken away or the child? >> the sin is that some middle class person comes and makes a judgment and takes the child away from the parents despite the parents' intention to raise the child as best he can. so it's taking the child away. >> i serve on the board of
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directors of the parent rights organization, which supports the parental rights amendment, so this is a softball, i guess. i think it's a great idea. and i commend to your attention and to your boss' attention the constitutional amendment, parental rights amendment, that basically puts into the constitution the idea that parents have the right to raise their own kids, as the late justice scalia said. there ought to be a right like that but it's not in the constitution. i'm not going to see it if it's not written down. i think it's a good idea to put that into the federal constitution and parental rights amendment. it's a great idea. >> can i mention real quick it does come up. i was at a hearing in texas testifying a few years ago. a woman had gone to jail for a small amount of marijuana, and she lost her child. her child was put in some center up in east texas, and she couldn't get the child back even after she was discharged. so she told me, she testified that she said well, my child is depressed. i said well he is depressed because he doesn't have his mother.
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a lot of the average women in prison, women are the fastest growing prison population have two and a half children. as was mentioned earlier, a lot of bread winners as fathers are incarcerated as well and their children miss out on their father. so this is a huge issue within the criminal justice system as well. >> thank you. >> at least one more. >> thank you. my name is james ross. you've mentioned this sort of left/right coalition in doing sort of criminal justice reform work and my question is there is broad bipartisan support in the senate for the senate reform and corrections act and its passage through the judiciary. my question would be what is necessary at this point to get senator mcconnell to bring it to the floor, and is there anything that people in this room can be doing to help move that forward? >> well, that's, again, not speaking to the advocacy of any particular bill at this panel, reporting to this audience my
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understanding of what is going on is that there is a very large number of united states senators that do, in fact, support that legislation just as the various bills in the house, there's a very large number of members of the house of representatives from both parties that support those bills. and the gentleman who asked the question is properly noting what the hurdle is. what does it take to get the the leadership in either chamber to actually move legislation so it would have time to pass before we seat a new congress. and i'll let others comment on that, too, but from our view at prison fellowship, it's the age-old issue that congress has a limited number of things that they can bring up to that level and while this is a significant priority to many americans, it's competing with other priorities.
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so to be specific about what would work, what i've seen work on any number of bills is when people bring in the values part of the discussion and they're not trying to convince their member of congress on a new set of values but they're trying to remind their members of congress this is the values that they campaign on, that they're their own values and it's an opportunity to express that. and the second is that this is a very real, human consequence in that we are talking about increasing public safety and reducing crime. and there's nothing more respectful to victims that we can do than to improve the criminal justice system so we have less crime in america. and the federal government can contribute to that now if they in the remainder of this session
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take steps forward with a variety of bills that are available for them and how they express that. and so from there it's the traditional advocacy but as you've seen here this panel was convened to show that the base of folks on one particular side of the aisle very much thinks this should be on the top of the agenda very much believes that this is something that leadership should take up. sorry i went a little long, my friends. >> just quickly, there's a lot of consensus out there on what we can do. there are some of our friend on the hard left who don't like mens rea. the rest of the country, not gist hillary clinton, should have it in the laws that they face. and the idea that regulations passed by some bureaucrat somewhere, never passed by continue don't have mens rea protection. and the first lady just was
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granted it properly, the law is proper, that you have to know what you're doing. but it's very important that mens rea be part of this and those standing in the way are standing in the way of reform and go talk to them. >> again, to elaborate what we have heard is public. speaker ryan has indicated he would like to bring this to the floor in september. i believe particularly if men's rea is a part of that, it would pass the house with huge numbers. that would put considerable weight behind it in the senate to overcome some of the voices on the other side. having that huge overwhelming numbers which you can only get through the comprehensive package out of the house i think would bode very well whether it's before the election or even in the lame duck session. the biggest challenge there are very few working days left as all of you know. >> the house bill with mens rea you put them all together, that should pass with strong bipartisan support. mens rea has it. in the senate a few people can be obstructive.
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>> i would just add that, you know, mark and i on this panel we can -- it's almost flippant to say but we can claim beltway outsider status because we're in the i-35 beltway down in austin. but one thing i think that you're seeing and that hopefully the polling data has met out is regardless of what the stumbling block is, be it not enough days on the calendar, not enough hours in the day, this is a very, very safe issue and is representative of the voter base, no matter how you slice it up. you see it pan ideological across the ages, across genders, too. you generally see this not modulated at all by party affiliation. it simply is a safe issue. >> dan? do you want to close us out? >> maybe i'll quickly respond to that. the american conservative union is the host of cpac, the annual conference for conservatives. we had a panel on the main stage
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at cpac on the prospect of criminal justice reform, what are the prospects of it. you might be interested in that. we had one democrat and three republicans on the panel, and the democrat was the one most aggressively not wanting any reforms. a couple of the republicans were saying some modest reforms, and the third republican on the panel was saying aggressive reforms. so i don't think it's such a binary thing. mcconnell, why doesn't he just bring it up? like most legislation, it's complicated and there are different people who have different priorities and different interests. maybe that's why i keep on stressing some of the philosophical foundational questions so that that informs the thinking going forward that we have to respect the sovereignty and the dignity of the individual. we have to presume innocence until proven guilt. these are some bedrock principles that i think we need to restore as well as the first
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branch of government. the first branch of government needs to be doing oversight of federal agencies and judges. federal judges have been impeached in the past for wrongdoing. congress needs to take back its rightful place and we need to return to our foundational principles. >> thank you. joe? >> yeah, let's thank our panelists, please. [ applause ] and i do want to go back to that last question. i think a big part of the reason why we held this in the rayburn building today is i think the senate bill has gotten a lot of attention, but it's really the house bill that's looking like it's going to move. the folks in the senate are telling us the house bill will move first. house people, the question is when are we going to start moving things over here? i want to thank the chairman and his staff who are very helpful in getting us this room. although the next time i think we'll need a bigger room. i want to thank the americans for tax reform. they were helpful today.
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we need add few more hands on deck since a handful are usually in austin. it was helpful to have a few of them here as well. i think hopefully you got the message today that conservatives have been and will continue to be the real champions of successful criminal justice reform. and when i say that, i want you to remember the successful part. and the conservative part, but the successful part. the successful reforms are the conservative reforms. it takes conservative principles for the system to work. and conservatives in the states have known this for years as mark mentioned and i hope that our presentation helps shed a light on that. for those of you who want to learn more, we have a handful of materials in the back. in particular i commend to you one on federal emits that you hear about sentencing reform. i think it's particularly good because i wrote it. we also haveur website as well as that talks about the mens rea. and criminal intent issue. feel free to reach out to me. unlike some of my other colleagues, i'm actually based here in washington. so feel free to reach out the
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me. and of course feel free to get in touch with any of our speakers. i'm not obligating you all to do that as well. it's an important issue for them. it's an important issue everywhere. thank you for being here. have a great afternoon. [ applause ]
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the hard fought 2016 primary season is over, with historic conventions to follow this summer. >> colorado . >> florida! >> texas. >> ohio. >> watch c-span as the delegates consider the nomination of the first woman ever to head a major political party, and the first nonpolitician in several decades.
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watch live on c-span. listen on the c-span radio app, or get video on demand at you have a front row seat to every minute of both conventions on c-span, all beginning on monday, july 18th. next, anti-abortion advocates discuss the impact of their issues on the 2016 elections. then a house hearing on the future of guantanamo bay detention facility. after that, a senate hearing on the impact of the rising costs of flood insurance. now anti-abortion advocates speak at the national right to life convention on how right-to-life issues will impact the 2016 election. they discuss competitive house and senate races in november and where presidential candidates donald trump and hillary clinton stand on abortion. this is just over an hour.
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>> welcome. welcome to national right to life's session, the battle before us. it has been an amazing year. full of surprises. and we have learned not to take anything for granted. the presidency, the house, and the senate are all in play, and we need the help of every one of you this year. we have a panel of people who work every day in these areas here. and i will introduce them briefly. i think you probably know them all already.
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dr. david olstein, our executive director. our president carol tobias, and our political action committee director karen cross. [ applause ] . national right to life makes a recommendation on a candidate. when they do that, they take their time to collect all the facts and make the best possible decision on the life issue. don't let the media tell you how to vote. don't let your favorite commentator tell you how to vote. all of these people have lots of issues, and these issues, a whole range of them, are influencing their opinions.
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you need to look at the candidate's record on life, the candidates' statements on life, and whether or not they have a real chance of winning because you shouldn't throw your vote away. and then what nrlc has learned from their research on the candidate. we are a group totally dedicated to the life issue. we want to help you compare candidates and make the best decision for life. this session is designed to help you do that. and so we have been sent by congressman peter roskam a video which is very appropriate because he is the successor to
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congressman henry hyde. and this is the 40th anniversary of henry hyde's momentous amendment. [ applause ] so we would like to hear from his successor congressman peter ro roskam. he had hoped to be here in person but he sent us a video. >> i'm peter roskam from suburban chicago. and i want to say hello to everybody at the national right to life committee's convention. but i want to tell you a quick story. so it's a couple of years ago, and i'm in chicago, and i've been invited to be one of the speakers for march for life. i'm downtown chicago. it's a cold day. and i got there a little bit early. and i was waiting. just waiting for people to show up. and off to one side there was
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some abortion protesters. these were pro-abortion protesters, and it was a small group. they looked miserable. their signs said terribly ugly things. and i felt sorry for them actually because they just seemed lost to me. and i was waiting, i began to hear some music. and over the course of the next couple of minutes, the music got louder and louder and louder and more and more joyful and buoyant. and then all of the sudden around the corner came thousands of pro-life advocates. and they had flags and they were dancing, and they had balloons. and the contrast between these two groups literally took my breath away. here you have on one hand this pathetic group that really is articulating a lie, and then you got a group that is articulating the truth. and i'm telling you, the witness that the pro-lifers were bearing, that is the witness that life is a gift from god is
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one of the most powerful images that i've come across in my entire political life. we're on the side of the angels on this issue, literally we're on the side of the angels. we've got a lot of work to do. but there has been a lot of people that have been persuaded to see things as we see them. i want to let you know how deeply appreciative that i am of the witness you are bearing that life is a gift from god, and life is worth defending. thank you. [ applause ] >> and now you will hear from our president, carol tobias. [ applause ] >> good morning. thank you all for being here. i had my remarks prepared, and then yesterday we found out that there is going to be a vote in the u.s. house of representatives next week. so i need to spend a few minutes telling you about that vote and
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encouraging you to get your grassroots people back home supporting this bill as well and getting contacts, calls, e-mails, whatever into your representative's office. as the obama administration has approached the end of its eight years, president obama and his appointees have become more and more brazen in trampling on the rule of law where they have an ideological goal that congress has not enacted into law, they manufacture their own laws. in the form of executive orders and directives from various federal agencies. where there is a law that they find idealogically distasteful, they refuse to enforce it, or they gut it by radical reinterpretation, and that is what is happening now. to years ago, the california department of managed care issued a decree mandating that nearly all health plans in the state must cover all abortions. well, we said they can't do that
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because since 2004, we have had a federal law, the weldon amendment sponsored by congressman david weldon from florida at that time says no state government that receives any federal health and human services money, and of course california gets all kinds of that money, but no agency may discriminate against any health care provider for refusing to participate in providing abortions. the law explicitly includes insurance coverage and explicitly covers health plans. well, various churches and religiously affiliated schools filed complaints with the obama administration's department of hhs, asking that the administration a enforce the federal law, and thereby compel california to withdraw the state mandate that was forcing these churches and schools to pay for the killing of unborn children. for two years, the
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administration did nothing, despite many urgings and prods from members of congress. then finally just a couple weeks ago on june 21st, hhs took action. but it did not compel california to withdraw its abortion mandate. instead the administration sent letters to the people of california who had complained announcing that no violation of federal law had occurred. the letters were written by a government lawyer whose previous job was vice president of a pro-abortion legal organization. she announced that hhs had decided the weldon amendment only applied to those who file objections to abortion on religious or moral grounds, and said the department had decided that insurance companies in california did not have such religion-based objections. the churches and religiously affiliated employers who filed the complaints did have religious objections, but they
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were not health care providers, and therefore they were not covered by the law. now there is no language whatsoever in the weldon law that imposes a religious test. and the weldon amendment explicitly includes health plans within its scope. so on its face, the california decree was as blatant a violation of federal law as could be imagined. to avoid this conclusion, the administration had to engage in its own blatant fabrication in order to achieve its idealogically dictated end. for good measure they suggested that the weldon law, which does no more than protect against government impelled participation -- compelled participation in the killing of unborn children might be constitutional, a suggestion that is not supported by any federal court decision. in the face of this outrage, paul ryan, speaker of the u.s. house of representatives has announced that next week, probably on wednesday, the house
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will vote on legislation that would prevent states from requiring health care providers to participate in abortion. this legislation, the conscience protection act, and that's what you need to remember, the conscience protection act would prohibit any level of government from mandating that health care providers such as doctors and nurses and also entities such as hospitals and health plans and their clients would be covered. it provides for people who are affected by abortion mandates to file private lawsuits in federal courts so the cooperation of ideologically hostile activists drawing paychecks at the department of hhs would no longer be necessary. this legislation is urgently needed. an agency in new york has already adopted an abortion mandate similar to this california one. requiring small group employers to cover all kinds of abortion. and on the very same day that
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the obama administration gutted the weldon amendment, a court in washington state ruled that public hospitals must provide abortions if they offer maternity care. i urge you to visit the legislative action site on our website, from there it is easy to send a letter to your representative. you can just put in your zip code and it will tell you who your representative is, if you're not sure. the conscience protection act will be voted on in the u.s. house next week. make sure you have your people contacting their representatives to support this bill. nobody should be forced to participate in the brutal act of abortion. governments should never require doctors, nurses, hospitals, insurance plans, or employers who pay for insurance plans to participate in abortion. so please get that. do it today if you can. do it tomorrow, whenever you get home. just make sure that your people are legislate their
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representatives now. people have a right to object to killing unborn children can. health plans' tax dollars should not be involved. all right. that was the legislative update right from yesterday. so my remarks. did you know that there is an election this year? yes, surprise. of course you did. on the ballot, of course there is a lot of attention placed on the presidential race. so on everybody's ballot will be the chance to vote for president. but in 34 state, you will also have a chance to vote for a united states senator. also on the ballot in many states will be a chance to vote for governor, attorney general, secretary of state. everyone will have a chance to vote for u.s. house of representatives member. and many of you, most of you will be voting on state legislative races as well. i want to take just a couple of minutes to look at the presidential candidates. now donald trump for many years had said -- well, we've got -- of course there is the videotapes that he is pro-choice. and he has been out there
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publicly saying that. but he wrote in a news column earlier this year, and i want to quote, let me be clear. i am pro-life. i support that position with exceptions allowed for rape, incest, or the life of the mother being at risk. i did not always hold this position, but i had a significant personal experience that brought the precious gift of life into perspective for me. now donald trump has expressed his support for the pain capable unborn child protection act. he has expressed his opposition to taxpayer funding for abortion and abortion providers, and said that he would appoint pro-life judges. hillary clinton, having been in elected office, and just having been around for a very long time, has a much longer record. as awes senator, hillary clinton voted 100% against the babies. there was no limit on abortion that she would accept.
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we had a 12-year battle to ban a particular abortion method, the partial birth abortion procedure. in this procedure, the abortionist grabs the unborn baby's legs with forceps and pulls the baby into the birth canal. the abortionist delivers the baby's body, all but the head. he jams the scissors into the back of the baby's head, inserts a suction tube, pulls out the brains. the head collapses and then he removes the head from the body of the mother. horrifying? absolutely. gruesome? definitely. hillary clinton voted repeatedly to keep that procedure, partial birth abortion, legal. now thankfully in 2007, the united states supreme court banned that procedure. and it is no longer allowed. more than half of the states have in effect laws that require parents to be notified if their
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minor daughter is pregnant and considering an abortion. but there are some who think parents shouldn't have to be involved, shouldn't get to be involved. and there was an effort, of course, to take minor girls into other states to avoid or semiconductor vent the laws of the state that said parents had to be notified or maybe even have to give their consent before their daughter can kill their grandchild. congress tried to protect the rights of the parents in saying you cannot take a girl across state lines. but senate democrats, including hillary clinton blocked those bills. clinton didn't care about your rights as a parent. she apparently has no problem with someone taking your daughter into another state to get an abortion with you not even knowing she is pregnant. now let's look more at her record. the state children's health insurance program is a federal program that provides funds to states primarily so that they help provide health services to
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children in low-income families. in 2002, the bush administration issued a regulation giving states the option of covering unborn children under this program, a policy known as the unborn child rule. since this was an administrative rule that could be changed by a future administration, the senate in 2007 held a vote to codify the unborn child rule. the amendment would have written explicit language into the schip program to guarantee that a covered child includes at the option of a state the unborn child. hillary clinton voted no. this woman who wants us to think she cares so much about health care, remember hillary care back in the '90s? but she didn't think unborn children should get health care or be allowed to be provided under this program. last year the united states house of representatives voted to pass the payne capable unborn child protection act.
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they say if an unborn child is developed to the point where he or she can feel pain, abortion should not be allowed. hillary clinton opposed the pain capable abortion act. she thinks it's okay to kill babies who have developed far enough along in the pregnancy that they can feel pain. and of course hillary clinton is planned parenthood's favorite candidate. the nation's largest abortion provider announced it will spend around $20 million to elect hillary clinton and pro-abortion senators. when bill clinton was president, he said that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. hillary doesn't use that anymore. she just wants it legal. in fact, she has not met a restriction or a limit on abortion that she would approve of. she says the unborn child has no constitutional rights right up until the day of birth. in april, chuck todd on "meet the press" asked mrs. clinton,
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secretary clinton when or if does an unborn child have constitutional rights. she answered, "well, under our laws currently, that is not something that exists. the unborn person doesn't have constitutional rights." well, two days later on "the view", paula faris said secretary, i want to ask you about some comments you made over the weekend on "meet the press" regarding abortion. you said, quote, the unborn person doesn't have constitutional rights. my question is at what point does someone have constitutional rights? and are you saying that a child on its due date, just hours before delivery still has no constitutional rights? clinton responded, "under our law, that is the case, paula. i support roe v. wade." now when you think hillary clinton, think abortion for all nine months, for any reason. no limits, no restrictions allowed.
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now it's not just the presidential candidates that will be on the ballot this fall. last week, the supreme court overturned a fifth court of appeals ruling on a ruling out of texas. it was a win for the abortion. planned parenthood announced a nationwide campaign. they will work to repeal pro-life laws, pass pro-abortion laws. well they didn't say pro-abortion, but that's what they are, and enact pro-abortion laws and pursue litigation to strike down laws they consider to be unjust. now i will admit i was a bit amused by that. i'm thinking you have not been able to pass pro-life laws in most of these states in how many years, and yet all of the sudden you're going to do that? we've been passing pro-life laws in state after sate after state for years after year year. and they think they're going to waltz in and just repeal them? they don't have the people.
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they don't have the popular support. they have not been electing legislators. you have been electing legislators. you have been passing pro-life laws. it's not going to be as easy as they think to challenge this group when you go home and you work with your people and you elect those pro-life legislators. it's not going to happen. so, you know, good luck to them, but it ain't going to happen. [ applause ] there are, i will say, there are a handful of states that they have been able to get some of their legislation through, that they have been able to dominate. the way the abortion industry has been able to accomplish what they accomplish is through the courts. because they're not electing legislators. they're not passing bills. there is one state in particular that they have a good firm grip on, unfortunately. that is california. i just talked about the con shns
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protection act where the state of california of is telling insurance companies they have to cover all abortions. last year they passed another draconian law. they are telling pregnancy resource centers that when a woman comes into your facility, you to give them information telling them that the state the provide low cost prenatal care, family planning services, and abortion, along with the notice that if they want the abortion, the state will probably pay for it. now can you imagine a state government telling taco bell that they have to tell customers coming in their door that we serve pepsi products. if you want coke, you have to go down to the mcdonald's station on the corner. telling a honda dealer that if someone walks in their door looking at their cars, they have to tell them where they can also go look at ford cars? pregnancy resource centers have a moral objection to telling
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women where they can go to kill their unborn child. i think this law is horrible. it's in the courts, and i would encourage you all to be praying that it be overturned. pregnancy resource centers are outnumbering abortion facilities by three or four to one in this country. giving women choices, giving them options. [ applause ] the problem is the abortion industry can't stand competition. and i would say to them when you only allow one option, you cannot call yourself pro-choice. [ applause ] i am a tremendous admirer of winston churchill. he was the right man in the right place at the right time. to quite frankly, save the world. if it hadn't been for his
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determination and indomitable spirit, we can't know how much of the world adolf hitler would have been able to conquer. to express this country's appreciation, in 1963, president john f. kennedy made churchill an honorary american citizen, i think well-deserved. but in the book "the last lion: defender of the realm" churchill says that hitler was outkilling even his teutonic ancestors. and not since the mongols came in the 13th century had europe seen such methodical, merciless butchery on such a monstrous scale. we are in the presence, he concluded, of a crime without a name. i read that and i thought wow, methodical, merciless butchery on such a monstrous scale. we are in the presence of a crime without a name. now i know you are all thinking the same thing i was thinking. that is what we are in right
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now. methodical, merciless butchery. one million unborn children every year killed by abortion, having their arms torn off as they are dismembered, bleeding to death, as limbs are torn off. being scraped out of the uterus with a metal curette. being vacuumed or suctioned out of the uterus. this is merciless and methodical, except this crime does have a name, and it is abortion. we must do everything we can to stop it. the battle before us is to elect pro-life candidates who will continue to pass pro-life laws so that we may once again in this country protect our children. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, carol.
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once again, she's given us great things to think about. and now our political action committee director, karen cross will begin to talk to us about the battle ahead and what we have to do politically. [ applause ] >> good morning. every election year brings with it new challenges. and it's not an exaggeration to say that this election has been the most unpredictable election year of our lifetime. but there do remain constants. every election, pro-life leaders take their training from the national right to life convention and use it to rally
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the grassroots troops in preparation for the battle ahead. every election, we encounter those who were so discouraged with how some races are shaping up that they hide behind their anger and sacrifice their right to vote. and every election we make decisions that will have consequences for good or ill for generations to come. yes, in politics we always have to be looking forward, being watchful and vigilant. in a field that is constantly changing. but we can't just look to the future. we must also learn from our past, being ever mindful to not repeat history's mistakes. it's no wonder, then, that i've always been fascinated by history. reading over the founding of our country, especially those willing to fight the necessary battles, giving up their lives
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and their happiness. for the opportunity to give us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of our own. i often find the selflessness reflected in the pro-life movement. we who dedicate our lives fighting for the rights of people we will never meet. making sacrifices so that others might live. as pro-lifers, we are instantly on the battle lines. we battle for the hearts and minds of americans. we're on the front lines in a spiritual battle as well. and we find ourselves battling to keep pro-life leadership in the united states house of representatives and the u.s. senate so that we can pass protective pro-life legislation that saves lives. we -- life, liberty and the
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pursuit of happiness. how many times have we heard these words? too many of us have become numb to the profound history behind them. we forget that these words represented a truly radical idea of the time. they fought on the front lines of history, incapable of knowing the ripple effect their efforts would have on future lives. but they knew that these ideas, life, liberty, were worth fighting for. each time you enter the voting booth, you have a ripple effect that will impact the entire country. you will be electing senators and representatives who will determine the direction of our nation, and who will decide the next members of our supreme
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court. you will be electing local representatives who will decide whether your state represents -- respects life or passes laws that prey on the vulnerable. those local representatives whom you elect may eventually run for higher office. and so the cycle continues. each vote we cast or do not cast will have consequences. you may tire of hearing me tell you that each election is the most important we have ever seen, but with each election comes new opportunities, new dangers, and fresh faces. each election is a chance to protect mothers and their unborn children. and each election i will sound the call for you to take up your arms and work for political leaders who will represent all of us born and unborn.
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the freedom to vote and the opportunity to have an impact of this magnitude is a great responsibility we all bear. as we look to the upcoming supreme court nominations, perhaps the greatest responsibility we in the political field have right now is to ensure we have a pro-life senate that will confirm pro-life nominees and block judges who would entrench roe. there are a lot of races we will need to work on to accomplish this task, but i know that armed with this information, you will go back to your communities and rally the necessary troops to see this through. as we discuss these senate races, i will be talking a lot about the nation's largest abortion provider, planned parenthood and the extreme pro-abortion pack that only works for abortion for women for
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any reason, emily's list. but i don't like repeating myself. so i'm going to give you your first and easiest task in the upcoming battle. so you need to wake up, because i need your help. when i say planned parenthood, you say the nation's largest abortion provider. good job. next, when i say emily's list, you say the extreme pro-abortion pac. got it. so this year there are 34 u.s. senate seats up for election. okay. i think we need to go to a next slide. yes. thank you. ten democrat seats and 24 republican seats. all of the democrats up for reelection are pro-abortion. according to cook political report, eight of the ten democrat seats are currently
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safe, while 13 of the 24 republican seats are actually vulnerable. democrats need a net gain of five seats to regain control of the senate or four if they win the white house. in order to maintain pro-life leadership, we cannot afford to lose any pro-life senators in 2016. and the senate elections will be tough. please do not fall into the trap of thinking that if you don't live in one of those toss-upstates, that this election does not affect you. remember, we are all in this together. and we need to support each other regardless of our location. if you were nowhere near a race, find out how you can support your colleagues via social media. reach out to your friends and family who may live in different locations. never stop looking for an opportunity to make a difference.
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we are all responsible for these races and for the future of our country. so with an eye towards how you can make an impact in the battle before us, let's review the most pressing senate races we face in november. just last month, many of us breathed a sigh of relief when pro-life senator marco rubio announced he will run for a second term in the senate. senator rubio has voted pro-life on every occasion. yay. [ applause ] following the august 30 primary, rubio's opponent will likely be either pro-abortion representative allen grayson, or pro-abortion representative patrick murphy. who is so extreme on the life issue, he even voted against the bill to care for babies who are born alive during an abortion, and he voted to continue funding planned parenthood.
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>> the nation's largest abortion provider. >> pro-life congressman joe heck will face pro-abortion former attorney general katherine cortez masto for nevada's open seat. the congressman voted for the pain capable pro-abortion act and voted to defund planned parenthood. >> the nation's largest abortion provider. >> in contrast, cortez-masto is supported by pro-choice america and emily's list. >> pro-abortion pac. >> in new hampshire, senator kelly ayotte, who has a 100% pro-life voting record is being challenged by pro-choice maggie hassan, another democrat supported by emily's list. >> the extreme pro-abortion pac. >> in ohio pro-life senator rob portman is facing a challenge by former pro-abortion governor ted strickland. portman has a 100% pro-life
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voting record while strickland had a dismal voting record in congress, voting against the pro-life position nearly 80% of the time over ten-year span. strickland has been endorsed by planned parenthood. >> the nation's largest abortion provider. >> in pennsylvania, pro-life senator pat toomey is facing a challenge by katie mcginty, another candidate from emily's list. >> the extreme pro-abortion pac. >> in wisconsin, pro-life senator ron johnson faces pro-abortion former senator russ feingold. senator johnson has a 100% pro-life voting record. in contrast, former senator feingold supports the current policy of abortion on demand and voted against the partial birth abortion ban every chance he had. and is endorsed by planned parenthood. >> the nation's largest abortion
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provider. >> north carolina pro-life senator robert burr is face challenge by former assemblywoman debra ross, a candidate supported by emily's list. >> the extreme pro-abortion pac. >> in arizona, congresswoman ann kirkpatrick, a candidate from emily's list -- >> the nation's largest -- >> the extreme pro-abortion pac is challenging pro-life senator john mccain. senator mccain's pro-life record contrasts greatly with kirkpatrick's, who voted against the pain capable legislation and voted to fund planned parenthood. >> the nation's largest abortion provider. >> pro-life el paso county commissioner darryl glen is challenging pro-abortion senator michael bennet in colorado's senate race. michael bennet voted against the
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pain-capable unborn child protection act and has been awarded a 100% lifetime rating by planned parenthood. >> the nation's largest abortion provider. >> pro-life congressman todd young will face former congressman baron hill for indiana's open senate seat. todd young has a 100% pro-life voting record while baron hill has a mixed record on abortion. including votes to continue funding planned parenthood. >> the nation's largest abortion provider. >> in missouri, senator roy blunt, a pro-life leader in the senate, is facing a challenge by pro-abortion secretary of state jason kantor who had 100% pro-abortion voting record while in the missouri house of representatives. and finally, in iowa, pro-life senator chuck grassley, chairman of the senate judiciary committee is facing a challenge by pro-abortion former
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lieutenant governor patty judge. senator grassley has a 100% pro-life voting record while patty judge is so extreme on abortion that she is supported by emily's list -- >> the extreme pro-abortion pac. >> and planned parenthood. >> the nation's largest abortion provider. >> good job, guys. [ applause ] as you can see, there is a lot at stake for babies and their mamas in the senate in 2016. moving on to the house of representatives, if you look at the screen, you'll see the current list of competitive house races. democrats need a net gain of only 30 seats to take pro-abortion control of the u.s. house of representatives. the battle for majority control of the u.s. senate and the u.s. house of representatives will have sweeping implications for
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the future of the pro-life movement. the loss of the pro-life republican majorities would be devastating to life issues. i began this morning by talking about history and the importance of reflecting upon where we have been. so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past. a radical idea in the 1700s that we all have the equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness carries us through our actions today. but today we make history of our own. today we make choices for future generations to reflect upon. will they look back in 300 years at our choices and deride us for staying silent in the face of evil? will they admire our diligence in protecting the weak and the
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vulnerable? will they wonder why we didn't do more? no. no, they won't. that last one is off the table. we will do all we can. [ applause ] we will fight with our last breath for those who cannot speak for themselves. as long as there is the violence and injustice of abortion, there will be those of us who stand against it and work to protect all of our unborn brothers and sisters. abortion is the ultimate human discrimination, and we will not stay silent. [ applause ] the late elie weisel told us to
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remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all. in every battle there are soldiers, and every soldier needs their marching orders. these are yours. do not stay silent. do not be discouraged. and do not let fear or allow fear to guide your steps. the stakes are too important, and every voice will be needed to ensure the senate holds. we must hold the senate. you must hold the senate. if you leave here today and do nothing, we will fail. you must take this information and you must reenergize your troops at home who weren't able to join us today. when the grassroots march is
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won, we will succeed. and with our success will come a culture that makes good on the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, karen. and now i would like to present to you for the next speech dr. -- i hesitated a moment because he gives us information in a slide show also, and he is, as many of you know, he was a professor of mathematics. and he understands these figures, and they are very
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important to us to understand too, because they tell us how we can succeed and what's happening out there. dr. david osteen. [ applause ] >> thank you. for it is god who works in us, both to will and to do according to his good pleasure. you shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life. you shine as lights in the world holding forth the word of life. those words almost 2,000 years ago by st. paul. he was inspired to write have aptly described, spoken to and spoken about many, many good men and women through the ages.
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who have fought against evil. and certainly there are no people today they more aptly describe and speak to and speak about than you, shining light in the world, holding forth the word of life. and you have had success. you've heard about the challenges facing you right now. but let's reflect for a moment on what you have done. there are 600,000 fewer babies killed today annually in the united states than at the height of the abortion epidemic. [ applause ] think of that. think of the blessings that you have. how many people have actually saved a life? and through your work, your
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sacrifice, your faith, you're saving lives. today when you go home, despite having the administration raid against us and the billion dollar a year abortion corporation called planned parenthood arrayed against us, we're continuing to make progress. four more states this year banned dismemberment abortion. [ applause ] two more states stopped abortion when the baby could feel pain. [ applause ] now the pro-abortion forces are reveling in the victory they had in the supreme court. they're energized, and they plan to move forward. and they hide behind judges. they don't elect legislators. but think what they won.
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think what they're overjoyed about. and it says something about the pro-abortion. what they won was the right to operate clinics so shabby that they can't meet the standards of other outpatient surgical centers. they won the right to have so-called doctors who are so bad they can't get admitting privileges at a hospital. what a great victory. we've got the shabbiest clinics, we've got the worst doctors. that's the pro-abortion movement. but they are so energized, they think they're going to defeat us this year. because they believe there should be, and they do, they say this, more abortion clinics, more abortionists, more abortions. and you have been making abortion rare. not as rare as it should be, a million kids a year are still dying.
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but you have been, i don't know, hillary clinton's not happy. bill said he wanted abortion rare. hope he's happy. we're trying to do it. now they mention taking away the hyde amendment. and we want to talk a little bit about that. and i'm going to come back to that. they think they're going to use your tax dollars to pay for abortion. they're already getting planned parenthood is getting hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars, hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars annually anyway. but they want it directly to pay for abortion. well, we're going to stop them. it is no accident that the pro-life movement has been able to pass this legislation because as i have said before, those
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i've had the pleasure to meet with before here, they have never, ever had the majority of the american people for what they stand for. unfettered abortion on demand for any reason at any stage of pregnancy using your tax dollars to the pay for it. they've never had that. they don't have it today. that's why they don't elect legislators. it is no accident that the united states house of representatives, which is the most representative branch of the federal government, has year in and year out, year in and year out had a pro-life majority. and now i'm going to, as darla mentioned, yes, she knew those that have been here before there would be numbers. i want to show you why. this is a poll just released by gallup. what did they ask? do you think abortion should be legal in all circumstances? legal in only a few
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circumstances, legal in most circumstances? or legal under any circumstance? notice 56% of the population believes abortion should be never allowed or only allowed in a few circumstances. few circum. only 29% sides with the emily's list, planned parenthood position. not our poll. this is gallup. the next pop shows essentially the same result taken this march and i only put it up so i could show you several like this, to help validate the first taken by cnn. again, 54% thinks abortion should always be illegal. legal in only in a few circumstances and 29% agrees with the position of planned parenthood and narol.
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the next, with respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself to be pro-choice or pro-life? now, on these labels, there is essentially parity between the pro-life and pro-choice decision. in this gallup poll it shows 46% adopting the label pro-life. and 47% adopting the level pro-choice. many of the pro-choicers don't know what that label means according to planned parenthood, emily's list and nerol. in the next slide we see that 57% of the population believes abortion should be permitted only to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape and incest. only 20% of the population would allow abortion after the first three months of the pregnancy or
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at any time during pregnancy. 24% of the population would allow it in the first three months. when you cross tab this, next, you find that among pro-choice, this is among self id'd pro-choicers. 44% of them would only allow abortion in the first three months of pregnancy. meaning they would support the pain capable unborn protection act. remember, the candidate is running with emily's list, with nerol, with planned parenthood. they have to pledge. they keep a lock on them just like this. you know, they have to pledge against the pain capable unborn child protection act. they have to pledge in favor of dismemberment abortions where the baby is pulled apart arm by arm, leg by leg, alive in the womb. they have to pledge to use your
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tax dollars to pay for abortion, and according to this, they have, at most, 32% of the population agreeing with that position. so it is important that your pro-life candidate not allow this election to be decided on labels. they have to make -- the pro-life candidate has to make sure people understand that their opponent, their opponent is so extreme they believe in abortion for any reason, late in pregnancy, they think it is perfectly okay to kill a kid who feels the pain of abortion by pulling off the arms and legs while it is alive and they want to use your tax dollars to pay for it. that is the planned parenthood position so it is important that the pro-life candidate articulate that and on the question of using tax dollars for abortion, if they want to make that the campaign issue
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this year, bring it on. 49% of id'd pro-choicers oppose using your tax dollars to pay for abortion, so let's make that the issue this year. next slide. now, gallup asks, thinking about the abortion issue, does the candidate have to agree with your position? 20% of the population says that the candidate must share their view on abortion. 49% says it is one of the important factors. iemds going to look just at what i call the hard pro-life incredi increment. 20% of all respondents say the
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candidate must agree with their position on abortion. that is 23% of the pro-lifers and 17% of the pro-choicers. next slide, when you do the math, in other words, you take the % of pro-lifers against the percentage of people who self id pro-life and i'm working in the same poll, in the same gallop poll doing the cross tab, you find 10 and a half % of the population are one, pro-life, and two, say the candidate has to agree with their position on abortion. 8% say they're pro-choice and say the candidate has to agree with their position on abortion and that gives us a 2.5% pro-life increment. that is consistent with what we've had in past elections going back to 1994. i'm told you before. if a candidate is going to lose by 689 points, the pro-life movement can't put them over the
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top. most are won by a point or two. if we have the resources. we don't need the 20 million. we don't need the billion. i'm going to talk about what we do need. if we have the resources to reach the pro-life people, we can provide an edge, a hard edge to two to three points. we have an election after election after election and that is what we're going to need. let me show you where we stand with some of these tough senate races. i'm going to show you some of the closest ones and remember, we have more of the good guys up than the others this time. in arizona, here is three polls showing mccain leading from between two and nine points. think he will win? i think he'll win but we have to be there. in the next state we want to look at in florida, this was before senator rubio came in that looked like we might lose.
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we saw three polls since then. one has him tied and that is putting him against the person that seems this time to be leading for the democratic nomination. he may not win. mr. grayson may win this and we would do even better against him but it shows rubio ahead essentially in one, tied in one, and murphy leading by one. we've got to be in florida. a big, expensive state. in iowa, grassley ahead by seven, grassley ahead by one. we can't take this for granted. in new hampshire, four polls winning by two, losing in two. tough race. our two to three points will make the difference in new hampshire. next slide.
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north carolina. always competitive. we usually win, we usually have to do everything. burr is ahead in the last three polls but look at one of them, by one point and it is always a close state. in ohio, can you get any closer than that? we're up by one, we're down by one, we're tied. a basig expensive state. pennsylvania, last three polls, up by one, up by one, up by one. this is all in the margin of error. and finally, in wisconsin, we're trailing. we're trailing against someone who voted every chance he had in favor of pulling children out of the womb alive, stabbing them in the head, and suctions out their
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brains in a partial birth abortion. next slide. in every election between 2004 and 2014, national right to life, according to polling, when we ask the whole population did you hear anything from national right to life. did you hear an ad, did you get a phone call, did you get a piece of mail, did you get a piece of literature distributed. 20% of the population say they heard from the national right to life and we didn't have $20 million to do it but we had you. we've got to produce that again. and to do that, we're going to have to have some resources. we don't need 20 million. we don't need 100 million. we don't need a billion but we need 4 million that we don't have right now.
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we do need 4 million that we don't have right now and i'll tell you that this has been the toughest year we have faced since i've been executive director of national right to life and i came here in 1984. for our political fund raising. it has been a topsy turvy, for many a discouraging year. many, many, many pro-life dollars or dollars from people who would normally donate were spent among 17 candidates in the republican primary and it has been discouraging to some people. we have to pick up from that. we have to win tar heels race-- have to win these races and we need to have the resources to do. i'll ask you to do a couple of
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things. would you please, every dollar counts. we'll pass the plate. would you please contribute anything you can, i know it cost you to come here, but think about your expendable funds. write the largest check you can to the national rights victory fund or make a cash contribution to national right to life right now to help support our activities because we're 4 million short and as they, i think they're going to, i hope i have people passing baskets. yes, please, just whatever you can donate, as large as you can, whatever you can, and then, if you can't right now, if you want to give us a note to give us a call, we will. anything you can give because we're short and we have to get
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that pro-life increment. whatever you move to do. then i want you to do something else. you'll get a piece of paper passed out, too. i hope with this prolifevicto at any time you feel moved to between now and the election, but i want you, how many of you are on facebook? how many of you ever tweet? ever use e-mail? do you have any friends? okay. now, i hear these people say to me, i have 2,000 friends. i have 1,000 friends. i think i've got three here. i've got 15 or 16 and my kids, but you can do this, i'm told of
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that if you put this on your facebook page and you ask all of your facebook friends to donate, and then ask them to put it on their facebook page and you can do that, you know, that is a matter of a few clicks. could you all tweet this out? and just say please give to be pro-life candidates. go here, or goiv pro-life, to help elect pro-life candidates, go here. can you e-mail it to your friends and share it? everyone here, i believe i'm told can reach thousands of people. so please, please do that and help us. we're going to ask you for your help. we're going to ask you, you know, to pass out the pro-life literature. we're going to ask you to speak. we have a tremendous challenge in front of us. a tremendous challenge in front of us. and we're not guaranteed that
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we're going to win every victory this year. we have done far more than the pro abortionists ever thought we would. i remember many years ago when i was on the stump debating abortion and i was then teaching at a college in minnesota and they there was a professor from at a neighboring university who was a biology prof i would debate and he was funny and humorous and a much better debater than i was. i remember clearly him telling me after one debate. he said, essentially, you know, dave, you know, you know, you've lost this. it is over. in just a few years, this is settled. well, thank god he was wrong,
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you know? and thank god for everything you do. may your light shine brilliantly and your word of life be heard strongly and clearly in november. thank you. [ applause ] >> well thank you all. i've never been prouder of this team. they did a great job presenting our case here. thank you and go forth and take on the forces of, i want to say
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evil and i think they are evil because killing -- i cannot imagine a greater evil in the world than killing a helpless little baby. you have a great job and go forth and do it. >> book tv has 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend and here are programs to look out for. on saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern, hillary clinton's 1996 book it takes a village is a topic of a roundtable discussion with gil troy. >> no one knew what people were talking about. it takes a village is hillary's branding. >> carlos lozada of the washington post. >> it was a big moment to declare as she did in the book, i'm a moderate. >> and amie parnes.
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>> she is pushing the ideas that she is pushing today. equal pay and child care which is a huge issue for her right now. >> at 8:30 p.m. eastern, gary byrne discusses crisis of character. a white house secret service officer discusses his first hand experience with hillary and bill and how they operate. on sunday acht 9:00 p.m. eastern, afterwards, manhattan institute senior fellow heather mcdonald discusses her book the war on cops which looks like policing. she is interviewed dolores jones brown. >> there is no question that black males today face a much higher rate of getting stopped when they're innocent than while males do today and that is a crime tax that the community unfortunately pays because of the elevated rates of crime. >> go to book for the complete weekend schedule.
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our road to the white house coverage continues in cleveland with live coverage of the republican party platform committee. monday, july 11th, starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern and continuing tuesday, july 12th at 10:00 a.m. eastern. the rnc platform committee is responsible for drafting and approving the party platform and submitting it to delegates. live coverage on c-span, the c-span radio app and on thursday, two house home land security sub committees presented findings from their investigation on miss allegation by employees of the transportation security administration. members of the sub committees heard testimony from two tsa officials. this is almost two hours.
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royce . this hearing will come to order. today will welcome back the obama administration's top officials for closing the detention center at guantanamo bay in march, these two gentleman appeared before the committee to discuss the proposal to relocate the prison and detainees to the continental united states as well as the process of releasing individuals to foreign countries.
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much of the news from that hearing surrounded mr. lewis's revelation that, in his words, unfortunately, there have been americans that have died because of guantanamo detainees, and indeed last month, the washington post reported that the administration believes that at least 12 detainees released from the guantanamo facility have since attacked u.s. or allied forces in afghanistan, killing about a half dozen americans. that was startling enough, but it is particularly disturbing that upon close examination, these witnesses made statements to the committee that are inconsistent with the documents and inconsistent with information that the administration has supplied the committee under the law, specifically, the committee
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asked whether the department of defense ever knowingly transferred a detainee to a country that did not exhibit an ability to substantially mitigate the issue of recidivism or maintain custody or control of the individual. mr. lewis and mr. wolosky assured committee members that it had not. yet numerous intelligence reports provided by the administration suggest that their answers were inaccurate. in fact, the defense department had done so on numerous occasions. the secretary of state has the sole responsibility to negotiate transfers, including agreements to monitor released detainees. under the law, congress regularly receives information from the intelligence community, on the return to terrorism rate
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of individuals released to foreign countries, as well as assessments of a country's ability to prevent terrorists from returning to the fight. simply put, many countries just aren't up to the job and a diplomatic agreement to do the job isn't worth the paper it is written on if a country does not have the resources, does not have the training, to dekeep committed terrorists from returning to the battle field, yet, the administration has sent guantanamo terrorists to these countries anyway. to then deceive this committee and the american people is deeply disturbing and when given the opportunity to correct the record for the committee, they ignored us. i appreciate that the administration finally responded on tuesday but it shouldn't take the calling of a hearing to
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illicit a return letter, especially on something as consequential as this. this committee has an obligation to conduct over sight. while we have differences of opinion over guantanamo policy, i don't think anyone here finds the administration's dismissi dismissiveness acceptable and should anyone think the committee's concerns are theoretical and specifically i was pressing on those transferred to uruguay, it is not theoretical because now abu wa'el dhiab, sent from guantanamo to uruguay in december of 2014, we sounded the alarm about uruguay's lack of legal framework, we explained to you about the critical resources
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to prevent travel outside of the country that that was lacking in the case of uruguay and so what is the result? the result is last month, jihad dhiab disappeared from uruguay. this was after mr. wolosky testified to us in march that we're confident that the government of uruguay is taking appropriate steps to substantially mitigate the risk of this former detainee and others sent to uruguay. yesterday cnn, citing u.s. officials, reported that this terrorist was last spotted in venezuela. he is believed to be headed back to syria or yemen. we have been awaiting answers to the committee's inquiry. while i've been present, the president has been in a rush,
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seemingly willing to release guantanamo terrorists to wherever he can. i wish we were not here today, holding another guantanamo hearing this week was not my intention but he is loose and my patience has run out and i now turn to the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and mr. wolosky and mr. lewis, welcome back and thank you for your service. last time you gentlemen were here i madey views on the guantanamo prison pretty clear and i would ask that my opening statement from that hearing be included as part of the record of this hearing. >> without objection. >> to recap, the prison should be closed. national security experts at both parties agree with me. in fact, i have a letter here from 36 retired generals and admirals calling for the prison's closure. and i ask that it be included in the record. the prison is a waste of money
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and propaganda tool for terrorists. end of story as far as the prison goes. there were issues raised about transferred detainees at the last hearing that deserve some follow up and i say transferred rather than released because there is an extensive process that goes into removing the detainee from the presideison a sending them to another country. it is important to know how exactly we're monitoring transferred detainees and assessing the risk they pose. those are good questions but because they deal with intelligence methods, we can only discuss them in a closed, classified setting. my understanding is that the administration offered to do just that and that offer was rebuffed. i hope that after this hearing in a few weeks or so, we can have a closed, classified setting to get answers to some questions that you are not really allowed to say here in
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open session. so why are we here? the title of today's hearing is demanding accountability, the administration's reckless release of terrorists from guantanamo. since we say reckless release, it sounds like the people's minds are made up and i want to make sure all of the facts are on the table. i think there is plenty of blame to go all around. i think the chairman raises legitimate issues but i do think there is plenty of blame to go around. first, the vast majority of guantanamo detainees are transferred out of the prison before president obama took office, a total of 780 detainees have been held in guantanamo during the bush administration. 500 were transferred out compared to 159 detainees under president obama. secondly, let's look at the number of transferred detainees that returned to the battle field. the figure 30% gets thrown around a lot but what goes into that number? it includes the total number of transferred detainees we know
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for sure have returned to the fight as well as those suspected of reengagement of the entire life of the guantanamo prison 2001 to present. during the bush years, 2001 through 2008, the rate of suspected and confirmed cases of reengagement was higher than that. 35% with 21% of the cases confirmed and 14% suspected so let me say that again. more than 1/3 of the terrorists that president bush's administration transferred may have return to the fight. let's contrast with the obama administration under president obama. that number totaling suspected and confirmed cases drops to 13%. 8% suspected and 5% confirmed. i know one person escaping is one person too much but i just want to have a balanced hearing here because if we've made up our minds in talking about the
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administration being reckless, it doesn't seem to me like we're really here to learn anything more. i reiterate, at most. 13% of those transferred since january of 2009 have reengaged compared to as much as 35% during the previous administration. contrast is striking but let's not get lost in the numbers. this is perhaps the most important point. the transferred detainees who returned to the battle field and killed americans were let out during the bush administration, not during the obama administration so if we are going to paint with a broad brush and say 30% of transferred detainees may be going back to the fight, we have to take the whole story and put it in perspective. the bush administration racked up the average and then some. ed obama administration helped bring it back down. the closure plan would not transfer any person who would not meet the pro stringent
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criteria. i heard these are the worst of the worst and the administration wants to turn them loose. among them 2rks 2 are from yemen, the administration isn't transferring them yet as a matter of policy we transfer detainees to the home countries but in the case of yemen, the government can't provide adequate security assurances so they pumped the brakes. we have to find countries that can provide adequate assurances before the 22 are transferred. that leaves 50. some are really bad guys. ten of them will stand trial. another 40 are legitimately held as prisoners of war but under no circumstances, in my opinion is that obama administration simply opening the gate and releasing dangerous terrorists onto the street. guantanamo is a mess and it always has not about. no one is blameless. anyone can cherry pick single
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cases. but i think the facts and statistics speak for themselves and i think that what we should do after this, instead of having the witnesses come and tell us that they can only tell us things in a classified briefing is to spend our time with them after this hearing in a few weeks where we could be in a closed setting, getting to the bottom of this matter. now, the foreign affairs committee, obviously has over sight on this issue. the hearing last march and today's hearing are the only two times the committee has taken up this issue in the nearly 15 years of guantanamo prison has been open. since we have our top guantanamo experts with us today, i hope you can give us your opinions on some of the interesting ideas we've recently heard about the prison. i'm going to read you a few
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quotes. i'll give you a hint. it is one of the candidates running for president. this morning i watched president obama talking about gitmo, guantanamo bay, which by the way we're keeping open and we'll load it up with bad dudes, we're going to load it up, end quote. and the second, quote, torture works, okay folks, believe me, it works and water boarding is a minor form. some say it is not actually torture. let's assume it is, but they ask me the question, what do you think of water boarding, absolutely fine but we should go much stronger than water boarding. we should go much stronger because our country is in trouble. end quote. so i just want to say, i read that because you know, some people say they want to expand the guantanamo prison and torture. i can't think of a worse proposal for the national security. these schemes would only harm us
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with our allies and provide ammunition to the adversaries. mr. wolosky, mr. lewis, maybe we'll hear your views on what would happen if we went in that direction. i do think it is not really fair to blame the administration forl all of the frustrations we have about guantanamo when we see that there were problems and wrong things done in the previous administration as well, so i look forward to listening to you and hearing your thoughts. thank mr. chairman. >> we are pleased to be joined by lee wolosky, special envoy for guantanamo closure at the u.s. department of state, previously mr. wolosky served as the director for transnational threats on the national security
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council under president clinton and mr. paul lewis is joining us. we're pleased he is there. special envoy closure at the department of defense. previously he served as both the general council and minority general council on the u.s. armed services committee. without objection, the witness's full prepared statements will be made part of the record. members will have five calendar days to submit any statements or questions or any extraneous material they might want to submit for the record and i would like to remind everyone, including our witnesses that willful miss representation or false statements by a witness is a criminal offense under 18 u.s. code section 1001. indeed, that is the case for all of the hearings and special envoy wolosky, please summarize your remarks. >> thank you very much, mr.
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chairman, ranking member engel, distinguished members of the committee, good morning, i appreciate your inviting me once again to appear before this committee. i look forward to continuing our discussion in closed session either late later today as we have or as soon as possible so we can have a fuller discussion of some of the classified topics we know are of interest to the committee. all together, a total of 779 detainees have passed through guantanamo and of those, 700 have departed. the vast majority of detainees transferred to other countries, some 532, were transferred by the administration of george w. bush. under president obama, a total of 159 detainees have been transferred. today, 79 remain. president bush acted to widdle the detainee population because he understood that, and i quote, the detention facility had
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become a propaganda tool for our enemies and a distraction for the allies. closed quote. president obama has continued detainees transferred for many of the same reasons. the 79 detainees, 29 are approved for transfer. detainees are approved for transfer during the administration through one of two rigorous interagency processes. first, soon after taking office, president obama ordered the first ever comprehensive interagency review of all of the 242 detainees then in u.s. custody. in 2009 and 2010, the guantanamo review task force, sometimes also called the executive order task force, which was compromised of more than 16 national security professionals from across the government assembled all reasonably available information relevant to determining an appropriate disposition for each detainee. then, based on the task force's
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recommendations, the departments of defense, state, justice, and home land security, the office of the director for national intelligence, and the joint chiefs of staff unanimously determined the appropriate disposition for each detainee. transfer, referral for prosecution or continued law for detention. pursue surnt to executive order 13567, detainees not approved for transfer nr 2009 and 2010 could be subject to additional review by the periodic review board. the prb is compromised of senior representatives from six agencies and departments, none of the prb representatives are political appointees. having described how guantanamo detainees are approved for transfer, i would like to briefly describe the process for transferring detainees. decisions regarding whether when and where to transfer a detainee are the culmination of another
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rigorous interagency process. the department of state leads diplomatic negotiations with foreign governments regarding the transfer of guantanamo detainees. we're typically joined in our discussions by senior career officials from the department of defense, justice, and home land security as well as those in the intelligence committee and on the joint staff. generally, transfer negotiations occur in two steps. first, the u.s. government obtains or reconfirms a political commitment that the potential receiving country is willing in principle to impose various measures that will substantially mitigate the threat the detainees may pose after transfer. second, we engage in technical discussions with foreign officials responsible for implementing these measures. these technical discussions offer the opportunity to tailor the integration and security
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measures to specific circumstances under consideration, and perhaps most importantly, to determine, based on an individualized assessment of the specific circumstances whether the statutory standard in the neaa governing the foreign transfer of the detainees can be met. once we conclude that the diplomatic negotiations will result in a security framework we assess will substantially mitigate the threat a detainee may pose after transfer, the secretary of defense consults with the secretaries of state, home land security, and the attorney general, the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff on the transfer. only after the secretary of defense receives the views of those principles and only if he is satisfied that the requirements of the ndaa are satisfied does the secretary of defense sign and transmit a
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certification to the congress conveying his intention to transfer detainees. ladies and gentlemen of the committee, let me close by saying although we would obviously prefer that no former detainees engage in terrorist and insurgent activity following their transfer, we believe that the low rate of confirmed reengagement for detainees transferred since january of 2009 under 5%, is testament to the rigorous interagency approach the administration has taken to both approving detainees for transfer and negotiating and vetting detainee transfer frameworks. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. mr. lewis? >> chairman royce, ranking member engle, representative donovan, thank you for the opportunity to testify again regarding the administration's guantanamo detainee transfer process. secretary carter has approved
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the transfer of 43 detainees, 28 of whom have been transferred this year. secretary hagel approved the transfer of 44 detainees. secretary panetta, 7, and secretary gates, 65, during this administration, 159 detainees have been transferred. mr. chairman, we understand the importance of this issue to you and this committee and we appreciate the attention you have given to it. as i stated in march at the outset, i would like to reiterate one continuing fundamental point regarding this detention facility. the prelz and his national security committee have determined that closing this detention facility is a national security imperative. imperative is a strong term. the president and his leadership of the national security team believe that the continued operation of the detention facility weakens the national security. closing guantanamo is about protecting the country, not weakening it. as you know, the importance in closing this detention facility
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is echoed by former president george w. bush and a long list of former secretaries of state, secretaries of defense, joint staff chair men and other former military leaders as representati representative engle noted, a letter was included by flag officers. transfers from gitmo are in the national security interest of the united states and are conducted in a safe and responsible manner. on march 23rd, 2016, i testified before this committee. during that hearing as the chairman noted, i was asked whether the department of defense had ever knowingly transferred a detainee to a country that did not exhibit an ability to substantially mitigate the risk or control the individual. in response to that question, i stated that the department of defense had not conducted such a transfer. i standby my response. we've addressed your concerns, mr. chairman, in the letter we
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sent you this week and i again apologize for the late response but i want to briefly highlight several points. here is our statutory framework, the 2016 nda requires at least 30 days prior to any transfer and in addition to other requirements, the secretary of defense certify to congress that the receiving country has taken or agreed to take steps to substantially mitigate any risk the individual could attempt to reengage or otherwise threaten the united states. we have met that statutory requirement with each of our transfers. prior to the transfer of any detainee to a foreign country, the united states government receives security assurances from the receiving country regarding the actions that the receiving country has taken or a agrees to take to substantially mitigate the risk. after the assurances are negotiated, the secretary of defense and senior staff engage in a review process that
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involves many factors including all of the intelligence the government has, regarding the threat posed by the individual detainee and the security assurances. importantly, updated intelligence, medical, and compliance information is provided to each country regarding the detainees under consideration for the transfer. many countries take the opportunity to travel to gitmo to interview transfer candidates. after full consideration of all of this information, including a full and update assessment from the intelligence committee, the secretary makes the determination that i told you about earlier. as secretary carter has testified and secretary hagel testified, they take this responsibility very seriously. secretary carter has said he will not transfer a detainee but he does not believe is in the security interest of the united states to do so. these transfers have not been conducted in a vacuum. each is formally notified to
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congress and we regularly brief members and staff on transfers. with the notice of each transfer, we offer to brief congressional leadership and members and staff of all of the national security committees. i appreciate the opportunity we have had to regularly brief you and your staff regarding these transfers. briefly, i think it is important to put these recent transfer decisions and foreign policy context for this committee. many want to close gitmo and have stepped up to help us. specifically 40 countries since 2009 have accepted for resettlement of guantanamo detainees that are not nationals of the country. additionally, there is sustained support for the closure efforts from civil society organizations both domestic and abroad including the organization of american states. even the vatican expressed support for our closure efforts. in summary, each transfer is only approved after careful scrutiny by the intensive inner
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agency review process and the negotiation of the security assurances sufficient to substantially mitigate any threat. finally, i would like to take a moment to again recognize the military service members who conduct detention operations at guantanamo. these men and women continue to have our deepest appreciation for their service and professionalism they display each and every day on behalf of our nation. thank you mr. chairman, i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, mr. lewis. the last time you appeared before this committee, we asked specific questions about the transfer of detainees to countries ill equipped to handle them, specifically we asked whether the department of defense ever transferred a detainee to a country that it knew was incapable of maintaining control of that individual and keeping him from returning to the battle field. mr. lewis stated no.
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mr. wolosky stated he was not aware of such an instance. upon further review of your own intelligence assessments, those answers appear to be false. in fact, it appears that the administration has released dangerous terrorists to ill-equipped countries on numerous occasions on may 16th i wrote to your departments asking you to correct the record. you did not. the committee asked the administration to halt all transferred until you explained your testimony. you did not. in fact, you completely ignored the letter until we called this hearing and that is why we are here today. and i'm going to ask you several simple questions and i would appreciate a simple yes or no answer. mr. lewis, mr. wolosky, in your roles, do you have access to intelligence assessments of detainees and transfer countries?
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>> yes. >> yes. >> do you review those intelligence assessments prior to the transfer of detainees to the custody of foreign governments. >> yes, sir. >> we review the intelligence assessments that are material to the issue before us which is whether to transfer a detainee to a specific country under certain circumstances in order to be able to meet the statutory standard. >> right. and in my may 16th letter, i referenced three intelligence reports submitted to congress pursuant to section 1023 of the national defense authorization act. those reports are dated may 31th of 2013, july 15th of 2014; august 6th of 2015. are you familiar with the content of those reports? >> yes. >> yes. >> are you aware that those reports contains assessments of each country to which the
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defense department has transferred detainees? >> yes. >> yes. >> and are you aware that those assessments indicate that some countries lack the ability to control those terrorists? >> we cannot, by law, discuss classified defense intelligence agency assessments in this session, mr. chairman. we're happy to do that in closed session. what i would point out to the committee is that in connection with each transfer, we do rely on intelligence reporting that is broader than just dia reporting and as i said, as tailored specifically to the issue of a transfer to a certain country at a particular point in time and is geared towards a determination or analysis on whether the relevant statutory requirements for transfer can be met. >> they're one of many reports we look at.
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we look at all sorts of information from the intelligence community and as the envoy has stated, the secretary makes the determination looking at all of the evidence available. the updated evidence, and in particular, he makes his assessment after we over lay the security assurances to the country. so if the intelligence tells us there may be a gap in capableabiliti capableabilities, that is what we negotiate the assurances for, so, again, we look at the records recor records, mr. chairman. but we look at a greater array. >> that is not what you said here in march. all right? and in light, in light of your familiarity with the intelligence reports and what is in those reports, i'm just going to ask you again. has the administration ever transferred a detainee to a country it knew was incapable of monitoring that individual preventing him from traveling
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outside of the country or otherwise keeping him from returning to the battlefield? >> sir, since i've worked for secretary hagel and secretary carter, every has met the statutory requirement and it is my understanding that the administration prior to my coming transferred pursuant to the process that envoy wolosky indicated and there were no transfers that i'm aware of that did not meet the statutory requirement. >> i don't think you can just wish away intelligence reports that raise grave concerns. reports that you chose to deny when asked about them in our last hearing. but if you're now saying that the intelligence reports are, i assume, the implication here, incomplete, then i have to say
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from what we can tell, the president has made a political decision to close guantanamo no matter what the cost to national security. based upon our experience, based upon our discussions which go on for some considerable time now in terms of the warnings on this committee about the five individuals transferred to uruguay and their subsequent conduct and now the fact that one of them has been released, that can be the only reason why those intelligence assessments are being pushed aside in my judgment. and it appears that the assurances that you got from uruguay didn't account for anything. this fellow, jihad dhiab walked
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right out of uruguay. we have no idea where he is and if the country is telling you that they woent preven't preven travel, which is what i pointed out to you, we better listen. if they're not going to prevent their travel it is not a surprise what subsequently has occurred. mr. wolosky, you briefed this committee several times about uruguay. you told us repeatedly that the government of uruguay was capable of handling the terrorists. in fact, you testified on march 23rd that we're confident, to your question, that the government of uruguay is taking appropriate steps to substantially mitigate the risk associated with each of the six detainees transferred to its custody. that turned out to be wrong, as i pointed out. jihad dhiab has now escaped. the other point i would make to you, and this also goes to some of the conversations he's had is
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that i'm aware this was the third time he left uruguay and nobody knows where he is. the media is reporting that he could be on his way to syria or yemen and i would just like to ask why did you provide false assurances to congress? why did you mislead us about uruguay's capabilities because i made it very clear to you. our concerns about uruguay's capabilities. they were pretty up front. >> mr. chairman, i strongly disagree with any suggestion that i misled this committee. in fact, i standby my testimony in march in which i affirmed that uruguay had committed to and is in fact taking steps to substantially mitigate the risk of the six detainees that were transferred to their custody in december of 2014. while we would have preferred
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that mr. dhiab remain in uruguay, if in fact, he is not in uruguay currently, until the expiration of the two year resettlement program that was the subject of the agreement reached with uruguay and reached with him, frankly, the fact is is that the standard is not elimination of risk. it is mitigation of risk and there is no. we never represented to this committee that there was a travel prohibiton. what the president's program describes generally and i can't get into the specific assurances provided by the government of uruguay, but what the president's plan describes are travel restrictions. the president's plan describes specifically the withholding of international travel documents. now, there are a number of additional steps that we take and our partners take to
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restrict travel and to monitor travel. i cannot go into those in an open session. i'm happy to describe them to you even in the specific context of uruguay in a closed session, but i cannot do it here. >> but let me explain this simple fact to you. when a country tells you that they won't prevent a terrorist from traveling, then you had better listen if your intention is to release that terrorist into that country. but my time has expired. i will go to mr. elliott engel of new york. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. lewis, let me start with you. in a hearing before this committee in march, you discussed the issue of former guantanamo detainees killing
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americans. according to the white house press secretary josh earnest. none of the former detainees have harmed americans. to quote mr. earnest from march of this year, and i quote him. no one released from prison at guantanamo bay on president obama's watch has been implicated in violence against americans, unquote. so i would like to ask both of you how is the obama administration changed the detainee process used before he took office or has he not changed it. i understand it has been changed. how have the changed help prevent former detainees from harming americans? why don't we start with you , m. wolosky. >> thank you, congressman engel. >> 540 detainees from guantanamo were released under the administration of george w.
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bush. the fact is that we can't tell you much about the circumstances under which they were released. we can speak to what our administration has done and what we understand to have been the process in the previous administration. so first, we engage in a rigorous interagency evidence based process reliant predomesticantpr predominantly on career officials to see if one may be designated for approval for transfer out of the united states. that is the first step. this is an interagency process that includes many career professionals throughout the government and as i described in my testimony, this administration there, are actually two separate processes at various points in the administration to first determine whether in principle a detainee may be safely transferred, subject to security assurances. second thing we do, very
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carefully, is we negotiate four detainees who have been approved for transfer, specific security assurance packages consistent with local law in the places that we transfer the detainees to and after obtaining a political commitment from the country in question, that, under those circumstances in question, the measures to be put in place by the country, monitoring, travel restrictions, information sharing, integration planning will mitigate substantially the risk that that particular detainee may pose. that is what we do and what we have done as i said in my opening statement has reduced the reengagement rate, the confirmed rate to under 5%. it is much higher in the previous administration. we believe that that reflects the fact that the things that i just described simply weren't done in the previous
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administration. but that is what we have done. >> thank you. >> it is a more rigorous process. the process in the previous administration was only dod. primarily when the obama administration took office about 240 detainees -- we decided of three categories. those who are eligible to be transferred to the proper country and those they wanted you to refer for prosecutions to take a look at prosecution and those merited and continued with detention. i say with more regressive because as lee said there is a broader group of career professionals and sub politicals that are primary professionals and intelligence folks and career prosecutors who looked at these cases and they looked at a broader array of evidence.
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where the previous process was primarily, as we know congress weighed in and we have the story over lays that all transfers. it is a much more rigorous and intensive process. >> thank you, i think it is important to put it in imts context. even one prison escaping is one prisoner too much. we are not going to save in and if anything of small proof. i think that if we look and see what the administration has done, the safe guards they try to put in -- i feel that we are absolutely doing our best of the fact -- administration and so let me ask you this, we heard a lot about the challenges
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closing. is it true? >> it is true that at some point -- the chairman is very upset about it. can you help put those cases into context? what are the cause of keep ting the facility opened and affecting terrorist recruitments and propaganda and defeating terrorist organizations. >> it drains our expenses and it is widely expensive. we can do it cheaper in the united states. more importantly of this committee, our allies wanted to be closed and it hurts of our international community. my opening statement and indications of members of previous administration that the department of state that says gitmo hurt us. it is a propaganda according to president bush and many other
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haves said that. the bottom fundamental point is we want to protect the country and the national security leadership of this administrati administration, president bush and many people and the administration knew or secretary of defense and numerous secretary of states that we talked about -- just to remind the committee that the individuals that we are
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talking about were held of the law detention by the united states. they were lawfully held. they were not convicted of crimes. when we transfer them to foreign countries, we transfer them subject to security assurance such as traveler's restrictions. this is what this administration does. the previous administration did not do this. there is a large number of detainees of the 532 transferred of the previous administration. it is not certainly subjected to the -- i want to make sure that we are getting terminology right because escapiing incarceration and when we transfer the individuals to the u.s. government including navy transfers and subject to security assurances -- at that
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point, they are not prisoners. they are former detainees under supervision. >> i will stop now because i know my time has ran out >> the thing that hurts all of us is the fact that this person was sentenced to -- and does not have the ability to monitor this person who now has left the country. just briefly, could you talk a little bit about the case or do you need to do it in a classified settings? >> on the issue of foreign countries, surveillance capabilities, i would need to discuss that with you in closed sessions and i welcome the
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opportunity to do so that you may be informed about what those capabilities are and what they are not and how they were used and applied in this instance. >> i echo the comments, we would appreciate the opportunity to discuss it in details. i can tell you that we talked to the authorities in a regular basis basis basis. secretary hagle, we know is a force full and careful person signed a congression that he felt uruguay -- again, we would be happy to discuss this in closed sessions. >> thank you, i would like to do that. we'll make arrangements to do that. at the end of the day, the
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travel cards, travel card to travel. at the end of the day, we walk right out of there three times. this time -- nobody can locate him to get him back in to custo custody. he's in al-qaida and linked to terrorist. i will go to ariana of florida >> thank you chairman for calling this hearing for continuing to demand transparency and accountability from the administration regarding its plans for naval station and -- the reality is that of the situation is far different than what we have been told. i continue to ask myself why does a nation like uruguay and
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so many others and synagogue, why do they want to take in these dangers of terrorists unless they believe the benefits out weighs the risks. we are talking about a high risk and high threat individual and and going to nation that limited intelligence that do not possess the most sophisticated monitoring system that was obvious of what the uruguay transfer and to believe that the terrorists will not use that to their advantage that they will be properly over seen and taken one day to realize how lack of
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security is in uruguay for example. it is no surprise to any of us that one of these individuals managed to please uruguay, we know that his movement is not required to be restricted to brazil or who knows what the german says. i would ask you if it is possible to get a yes or no answer. has the administration promised any of these countries whether it is uruguay or synagogue or cash for taking in these individuals. if so, how much and how often and to which countries. >> congresswoman, we have provided resettlement assistance to certain countries to support expenditures such as language
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training and vocational training and things of that sort. that's for a disclose to the congress and a congressional notification that you rereceive. >> if you can refresh my memory for uruguay of how much would that country have gotten for land and bridge and to the other -- >> i cannot tell you off the top of my head. >> i will get the notification, refresh my memory. had the add minuadministration offered my favorable agreements on other related matters in exchange or if so what kind of exchanges? >> nothing financial beyond what it is in the congressional notificatio notifications. anything related is a broad category, i can say generally in open session that is many of our partners do view a detainee transfer as an opportunity to
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deep end security and counter terrorism and cooperations of the united states. we welcome that and we look to facilitate that interest word exists. >> had the administration provided military training in exchange of taking in detainees and so to what extent and to which government. >> not to my knowledge, paul. >> ma'am, that's somethin something -- that's something we have to talk about in a closed session. >> like night vision goggles or something like that. >> again, the negotiation of security of assurances is detailed and complex and to discuss any specifics, i have to talk to you about that in closed sessions. we are happy to do so. >> have the administration provided intelligent equipment or training or intelligent sharing to any government in
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exchange for accepting a detainee and if so to what extent and to what government? >> we have to talk about intelligent matter and closed session. the absence of any of these agreements would need to be discussed in a classified setting. so unless you said no to these questions, i think it would be fair to assume that at least some of this has or has not been happening or is happening, is the intent of the obama administration to continue to release all but but a handful of the most dangerous detainees in order to say to congress well, why keep on getting it opened when we have such few detainees there as if president obama does not have anything to do with clearing out the detainees in
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the first place. >> we intend to continue the policy of the previous administration to transfer detainees that we conclude safely and responsibly transferred outside the custody of the united states and in accordance of applicable law. >> would it be fair to say that we would be seeing more detain t detain -- detainees being released. when you are the ones that is pushing them out? >> we have 29 detainees and our intention is to work to transfer those individual subjects to security sources. >> thank you, we know there is a great deal of resistance of having them coming to the united states, thank you very much, mr. chairman >> we go to mr. brad sherman of
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california. >> prior administration did release more and more of those released by the prior administration had been caught fighting us on the battlefield. the fact is as much as we would like to fight the democrats and republicans, the policy had been the same. how is it almost in guantánamo bay and massively under state the cost of the release. we are told that it is wrong to keep them there for the duration of the war because the war
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lastlas lasted too long. that's their faults. they raged war against america and we never guarantee them that the war is short. the purpose of incarceration of pow's is not only keeping them off battlefields but to detour their comrades. when we tell terrorists around the world if you get caught, you will get released while the war is still going on, we encourage their recruitment. americans have died because of this release. that's a massive under count. first of all, when we release somebody and they rejoin the battlefield, do they send us a report. are they link listed on linked in or news status and when one of them are on the battlefield, do we get a report of the
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terrorists. here is a list of the people who killed them or provided them with lodgistic or here are the people that provided of the recruiting and financing. so unless we are certain that one of these released people is being monitored everyday and is not doing everything to help terrorists, we have to pursue that they are raging against us as before. because the cause of the release is also -- brought this to attention, all the -- every country in the world, take one denan t detainee and the president of the united states in debited to you. when you got a fishing concern or if you are seeking something from the united states, now or later, the answer is yes. we'll never get in an account of
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that because you cannot account for the weeks or the notes. we are told that gitmo is a terrible advantage. gitmo is closed. we have no propaganda advantage. but, we can bring these prisoners to the united states, that does not enhance their legal status. the supreme court is ruled in the dion's case and the ramadan case as they have many legal rights there than they would here. here in america, when we accept nuclear bases and knowing that they will target our union and now we cannot accept our prisoner. we have 443 convicted terrorists right now. i will ask our witness if they are aware of any of those would escape.
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we got the and the bombers and the uni bomber and we are training to bring to the united states el chapo who escaped mexican prison twice. we cannot incarcerate people here and obtain the political advantage that were told can be achieved by shutting down gitmo. but, instead we cannot vote on ways to do that. if the legal rights of these pow pows of the united states are great and if they are on u.s. soils, that's the public congress. identifying these are pows. they are none uniformed and combatment and less protection than those wearing uniforms fighting against us. so we got a lot of dead americans as a result of this catch and release program. we got one party that says we
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cannot house from here although we are able to -- we got another political parties so anxious to shut things down that we massively under state the cause of release. >> thank you very much mr. sherman. >> mr. -- california. >> is it true from under current law that closing guantánamo is prohibited. >> this is not a trick question. [ laughs ] >> i don't think that current law prohibits closing guantánamo. i think what current law prohibits the expenditure of money to move detainees at guantánamo. under current law, you can close guantánamo by releasing prisoners, you just cannot bring them here. that's your assessment.
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>> i believe the current loss of detainees being brought to the united states. the reason that you both have titles that say specia special -- closure is because your job is to close guantánamo, is that is right? >> that's correct. >> sir, my title is quguantánam detention closing. >> we'll leave that aside. your job is to close the detention, you are working towards that. i want to ask one or two fairly simple question. it is been said many times on both sides of the day that
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president george bush's administration released more prisoners than you inherited. >> yes. >> okay. during that time, it is been discovered and during this administration it has been discovered and made public that some released by the bush administration went back and killed americans on the battlefield in afghanistan and other places, is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> so george bush released more prisoners and attempted to vet them was wrong. they went back and killed americans on the battlefield and we know it and the public know it, right? >> yes, sir. >> okay. so george bush's failures are now very public. they released people who went back to kill americans on the battlefield, okay? like mr. short-teerman, that's necessarily popular of my party.
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this president released many people returned to afghanistan, are you prepared to say none of them killed americans? >> you are talking about guantánamo detainees returning to afghanistan? >> released after 2009 who in fact went back and killed americans. >> the assessment of the intelligent committee is the no detainee release since 2009 responsible for the deaths of america. >> so your public statement is that no detainees released by this administration have killed americans on the battlefield today. >> correct. >> i want to make sure that we have it on the record because i don't believe it. >> you can say it under the open and i believe it if you believe it. >> i want to make sure that we understand, we are sitting here and somehow president george
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bush releasing the less dangerous and the less likely to be harden criminal harden terrorist, they were released and killed americans. you are releasing people, they are not killing americans. how do you account for that. is this rehabilitation that you have done? >> sir, there are a lot of factual predicates. you release people that did not kill americans on the battlefield, how do you account that difference that you set under oath. >> we have put in place procedures that are comprehensive and rigorous and they're interagency in nature and we believe that as a result of those procedures, that has contributed to the substantial reduction in the reengageme
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reengagement -- seen in both administrations. >> okay, lets do that. you use procedures that limited reengagement but it has not limited reengagement, right? >> you released people after 2009 and they're back on the battlefield and attempting to kill americans, right? >> it is not correct to say that anyone reengaged of the definition and the intelligence of the community confirmed or suspected reengagement back in the battlefield. again, i am happy to talk and better yet, the intelligence community hence speak to the committee of the standards that are used but it is an over statement that an individual has been suspected from reenage gaugement to do harm in coalition forces. >> it is one of these things that i think this is not something that needs to be privately discussed.
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madame chair if i can have 30 more seconds. people that were released under bush reengaged and killed americans. although people released under this administration were harden criminals. these were the people in fact were not released under bush because he thought they were too dangerous. they have been released. you are saying in a public form that they are reengaged but you are saying nobody died. >> sir, it is incorrect to assume that individuals released under bush are less dangerous or more dangerous during this administration. again, this would require a rather long discussion about why of the overwhelming p preponderance of detainees.
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you keep on talking about vetting that's done by the bush administration. we have not aware of the type of vetting that's done. there is a lot of premises em d embedded. >> thank you. >> i am sure he will follow through. >> you need more time? the gentleman from california? >> thank you. >> i just want to understand, we have heard end lessly that the bush administration released people and they went back on the battlefield and president george bush and his administration have to live with the fact that they fought these people could be safely released back to cathar and other countries and in some cases they were wrong. but, you continue to work towards closure by release back to this country, yemen being a particular area of concern and i want to make sure that the american public here in an open session that you believed that you have been flaw less of no
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americans died because people released on this president's watch. i want to thank the gentleman very kind to let me recap >> thank you for your approach to everything chairman eisen. >> first, i want to apologize to the lady by coming brazen. one of the gitmo six has this spirit. we have also established the fact that i think that, there is certain requirements and parameters that must be met before detainees are transferred to a third country. uruguay told us and providing intelligence and monitorin monitoring -- the former president said that his
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government would place restriction on the movement of the six detainees that were released through uruguay. >> these gitmo six were not restricted in any way and he's not authorized ormond toing or surveillance. if we go back to the requirement that have been talked about numerous times here this morning, surveillance and monitoring and some assurances were part of the deal. so americans need to understand that one of the six detainees captures on the battlefield, al-qaeda operatives, captured it in afghanistan has disappeared. uruguay and brazil and united states and at this point have no idea where this individual is. now, this individual we are
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talking about -- is a forger. he's responsible for forging documents and travel documents for al-qaeda terrorist, he's now disappeared in brazil. lets take it to the 30,000 feet level and think about brazil in general. we got an area in brazil and uruguay, a lot of folks are transcending through latin america. they are coming to south america to that area, all time zones and fake passports. they're just passports that don't belong to them and they're exchanging those documents in those regions for other false documents and trying to transit through latin america to get to america, to get to the united states. taken point. travel to the border region in
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brazil and fake israeli passport. apprehended at the honduras airport trying to come to the united states on fake greek passport. now, we have a gitmo detainee forger for al-qaeda that escaped or disappeared or whatever you want to call it and here assisting others from the battlefield, isis operatives possibly and eck changing documents and getting new or fake documents to possibly travel to the united states of america. but, lets take another step, there is a huge event getting ready to happen in brazil, the olympics, that's a heck of a terrorist target. oh, so we got an al-qaida
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operatives who's a forger and escaped in brazil or disappeared in brazil, who has the ability to forge documents and he's in the country that's getting ready to host the olympics. i hope our can of terrorism efforts in brazil working our allies there are full board. now, this gentleman has escaped, he's gone missing rather, the obama administration, are they concern about that? >> they indicated previously that all six detainees transferred to uruguay. >> you stated that. are they concern over his disappearance, yes or no? >> i would prefer him staying in uruguay with the five detainees. if you are asking me what
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concerns me? frankly, it is the 532 who were transferred during the -- >> we have established the fact that we wished he would have stayed in uruguay with the other five. is the obama administration that he has disappeared. >> i believe i answered your question. >> mr. lewis. will you repewuate of the uruguay government -- will you re -- >> i believe that the y--
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>> they did. that contradicted previous statements they have made publicly. so, why do you think that is? >> i am sorry. >> why do you think that is? >> we go back to all of these. >> why would they say one thing to you and another thing private? mr. duncan, can you yield for a minute. >> i can. >> i did want to put something in perspective for all witnesses here. it has to do with why the chairman or the western subcommittee would be upset here. the fact is the chief of intelligence in uruguay explained to our committee and gave us the information that they were not allowed to monitor or surveillance these six terrorists. the decision you made was to
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transfer them anyway, he made that observation to this committee right at the transfer. you made the decision to transfer these six despite our warnings. the second point that's upsetting to him is the intelligence chief was then dismissed from his position after wantirning us and subsequently that they were outside our embassy. again, they were not allowed to monitor or surveil. now, we found ourselves in the situation despite jeff duncan's admirations and concerns and what we brought up, we find ourselves in the situation where one of these six intterrorists
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indeed has been able to walk out of uruguay and no one knows where he is but we know his attitude. this is the reason for our concern. i thank mr. duncan on his work. >> i would like to thank the chairman to help clarifying these. we have been asking about these gitmo six and the ability to monitor them for a long time now. we have raised concerns of the events where we have witnessed the last few days where one of the six disappeared. he was not a terrorist, he's a forger. they were not edge gauge ngagin attacking or hurting our allies
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in any way. i am clear that he was. thank you mr. chairman. >> last time you were here mr. lewis, you testified that women have been killed. you notified the committee that those deaths occurred in afghanistan by as many as 14 detainees who were released boo i the bush administration. i just like to ask a few questions. how many were killed and what were near names and where are they from. >> i believe it is 14. i believe our intelligence committee can give you specific details. the number is fourteen. many incidents were in a large scale fire fight and in a war
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zone, we cannot distinguish who were kills or participants. the intelligence committee can give you the specific details. >> i would like to know whether they were servicemen or women or civilians or both. i would like to know their names and where they are from. those are the things i would like. you can provide or get me all of that. >> yes, sir. >> that'll be very helpful. and then, just to piggy back on some of the other questions, knowing that there were casualties associated with those detaine detainees, two afghanistan specifically you then as an administration to say it was okay to release detainees to afghanistan, is that correct? >> it may have been correct. and, at the moment, i can assure you that each detainee transfer to afghanistan or frankly anywhere else, we subject to the
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review of the chairman of the chief of staffs and i can tell you the state department would not concur any transfer over the objection of the chairman that joined the chair of staff. >> did the government of afghanistan incapable of maintaining control of these individuals. >> the standard disnthe -- thes determinations that would have been made in conjunction with and subjected to consultation of the chairman, if in fact, they occur of this administration. i believe they have been. >> yes, congressman, there is been transfer drives. we do consult with the field
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commanders in afghanistan. those ratransfers have been mad that any threat is mitigated by the host nation. it is better to talk about this in a closed setting. >> state for the record that one of your criterias of releasing them was not monitoring. that's no t a concern. you did not tell whether they were able to monitor or not? we cannot speak to specific security assurances with specific countries in an open session. that's what we do in all transfers like afghanistan. currently, it would not consent any transfer to a place like us in afghanistan unless the chairman of the chief of stan
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concur in the transfer. >> it is the most corrupted place in the country, what a lot of us would like to understand is if monitoring is not apart of the decision and making sure that their whereabouts are readily ascertained. a lot of us are wondering why that is and what is the criteria? thank you, mr. chairman, yield back. >> you said that the the
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standard is a litigation of your comments. >> i don't believe so. >> the current administration came in with that with 2009? >> congress came in with that. it is written into the mdaa. it is a piece of legislation passed by the congress and signed to law by president obama. >> that was the standard that you used? >> um, that's pretty shocking council countdo council duncan revealed that we are told uruguay were not able to monitor these travels. theeds were not the five that was released and exchanged for bergdahl, correct? >> correct. >> the bush administration, did they attempt to release what was an assessment of the lower level of risks combatant at first.
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>> i cannot speak to it. the worse, we are not releasing. >> we are only releasing or transferring subject to security of those individuals who are designa designated. the bush administration would follow the same guidelines. i don't think that's a fair assumption respectfully. one reason why it is not a fair assumption for years that we have not release yemeni and detainees and of the circumstances in yemen. many of the detainees who
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remained in guantánamo and who approved for transfers are from yemen thar yemen, that could reflect more of their nationalities than their risk profiling. the five that were exchanged for bergdahl. are any of those back in the battlefield? >> no. it was negotiated by the department of prisoner exchange. i am confident he will say no when he turns around. >> his time is fast, i am going to move to the next question. what number of countries do we look at for transferring these combatants of six or eight or 26? how many countries are involved? >> we can get you the numbers
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but i believe we transferred detainees to 30 or 40 countries. >> we settled to 30 and nine back to their own countries. >> 30 countries. are you monitoring or are you able to track -- you talked about you spoke with career government officials in making those assessments and determinations. career officials on the united states side or the countryside or both? >> i was referring to the u.s. side >> on those 30 countries where we are sending people whether or not they can monitor them effectively, you are getting feedback and we call it -- i think it was information sharing, is that in realtime? >> it can be. >> but is it? >> in some circumstances that i am aware it is not realtime >> was it realtime from the guy in uruguay. >> we can discuss that in closed sessions.
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i welcome the opportunity do that today. >> of those 30 countries, are you able to track in realtime and even in retrospect, are you able to track, okay, this country did a good job of keeping up with their combatant and this country was okay or this country was lousy, is there a scale of rating those countries and their abilities? >> i am not aware of a scale. >> how do you know if the company does not do a good job, how do you determine that? >> by their record. >> boy, that'll be a scale, would it? >> it would be specific to the performance of the particular country they're monitoring and information sharing with the united states. if we are not satisfied, we would not transfer a new one to the same place. >> okay, that make sense. >> the discussion you had with
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mr. duncan and isa, you talked about the release under administration bush and 530 were we leased and how much under the current administration? >> 159. i don't think that you and i agree on the fact that somehow bush released the good ones and obama released a bad one, thas a fair statement? >> correct. >> would you say they were rough legislative equal? >> i can generalize. each case is different. what i was trying to do is push back against suggestions that bush released the easy ones and we only have the hard ones. >> is it safe to say, well, without the specifics you cannot know that. in general, one reasonable person may make that assumption. >> we are talking about specifics and not generalizat n
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generalizatio generalizations. that's why we are here and we requested to speak with you in close sessions. a lot that is said including g uruguay is in active. >> i am happy to tell you. >> we'll come back to that. >> mr. wolosky, i am out of time. >> let me say, thank you, we are all on a time limit >> can i make one comment though? >> yes, sir. >> there are 29 detainees that are currently eligible to transfer who we believe we can transfer responsibly. >> can i make a suggestion? >> don't send them to uruguay. >> many of them are in yemeni. >> mr. woslosky, back to you. >> you mentioned earlier that
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the guy got -- what would an additional two months done in your opinion? >> this individual was frankly a problem from the moment he landed in uruguay and i will tell you that and up front about it. his resettlement was difficult. >> we are not repopulating guantánamo. >> thank you mr. chairman, i yield back. >> we go to mr. joe wilson in south carolina >> thank you, leadership on this issue. it is so important and i have had the opportunity to visit guantánamo twice. to see the personnel there and the professionalism of our military. and it is a place where terrorists should be. in my home state of south
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carolina, we learned a lesson. there is one terrorist in charleston, he had a consequence, he's attracted more terrorists. the thought of going to the united states -- or releasing them and it is interesting you said yemen, you release people to yemen which was supposed to be an example of great success by this administration of establishing a stable country and within days of releasing and partnering, terrorists, the country collapsed. it is interest to know, what did happen to the person who's been released to yemen previously. >> we do not release -- these
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are the same people of the announcement of junior varsity committed murders in san bernardino and mass murders this week in baghdad and over and over again has been a dismissal to threats of the american families. >> this administration is consistent by reaching a nuclear deal providing tens of billions of dollars to a state's sponsored terrorism. last week the funding has been provided by iran to hamas of the attack and etcetera, and on israel. it is extraordinary to ignore this and we come to part ddonin
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and returning, it is uncon sleevable. >> as you talk about recruiting tool. it is releasing people and not being serious about detaining people who have every intent to kill american families. and it is really interesting to me that they don't use the argument that it is a -- people know that they can be incarcerated. they are less likely to commit a crime or killing american families. i am grateful and even cnn yesterday reported that the u.s. officials have said that 44 years old a syrian national went off the radar in uruguay where she was reestablished in 2014 and prior to 20009. uruguay told cnn that diab was
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considered a refugee and she would not need permission to leave the country. he would only need permission from foreign country to enter to get detain tees in uruguay point. >> there is a truth from cnn and i hope you look at and will reconsider what you are doing and that's the disappearance could provide fuel for an effort to close facilities in guantánamo especially if diab is found to join a terrorist group. 118 have returned to the faith and 86 of suspected to returning and a -- by releasing these people and pardoning people, american families are at risk
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around the world. i hope that you will reconsider what you are doing. i am grateful of the washington post, the former secretary of navy, gordon ingram, he has sworn that the process of releasing did work. that what is being done is that with 200 detainees when we departed, none have been approved for release under the president more than half have been released. he has conducted the administration statements by the contrary of the white house or misleading at best. so i hope that you will really reconsider and understand of terrorism. this is not an academic exercise
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of detur -- and i yield my time. >> do any of you believe that americans, gitmo involved with criminal of detainees? >> not aware of that. >> so the president has made it a national security imperative that we close gitmo. this we are told that he has to close gitmo because its got such a bad reputation but yet from what you just said, we know that those charges are not true. is that right? >> um -- we have a propaganda campaign going on by the enemies of the united states and trackers against the united
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states against us claiming there is some kind of major criminal mistreatment of prisoners in guantánamo and neither one of you know as an example of that or the fact that is there was one or two instances certainly did not reflect what was going on in guantánamo, correct? >> the issue is wrongfully so there are many people around world and many countries who think that there are things that went wrong in gitmo. >> right. >> they perceived of what happened. >> let me correct it. now that a lot of people who think that, there are people who hate our country for promoting that knowing it is not true. lets get this in your mind. this is not nice american politics. this is in a criminal manner where the president would like to think these terrorists are american criminals.
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this is people who hate our way of life and they are engaged in organized efforts to terrorize civilizations by murdering levels of non-combatant. >> we try to handle this. we got a president making national imperative to getting into people and by doing that adding some sort of credibility to whom? to the charge that our people who are working in guantánamo are a monbunch of ghouls who ar torturing people. there maybe one of two instances where they did something wrong. by and large you know and we know that the prisoners in guantánamo are treated brutally. it will be seen and is seen as a
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sign of weakness by terrorists all over the world. this very act we are talking ant is encouraging those people who will murder non-combatives. lets get to those who were released by bush. i know leaders of afghanistan were picked up. they were in afghanistan at the time of our regions and a lot of situations like that. obama has released 159. i think it is a bit disconcerning, again what this administration insists on treating these terrorists as nothing more than criminals. that's why perhaps the president
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finds it impossible to say the word, radical islamic terrorists." by doing so, again seeing as a weakness, the president is actually encouraging terrorists around the world to take advantage of this weakness and take advantage of the fact of what we are really to retreat if we have a propaganda campaign. i am glad to hear that we actually are suggesting that our guys did not commit all sorts of -- against these people. 159 that's released, what is disconcerning is that when i hear that we don't have proof but this number of these people have not committed in any other acts they have been released. i would like mr. isa trying
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to -- it is absurd. it is so bad and the fact is we -- if we are waiting for evidence to prove before we could say. well, we think it is probable that they have been involved because we know what kind of people they are. that's one thing. >> what we are being told unless we have evidence that they kill americans or innocent people, we are going to assume that they have not. well, that's a way, this is not watching out for the security of interest of ts of the people of united states. this is projecting weakness and it is making sure more americans die and if nothing else giving in and having a press of the united states insisting on treating terrorists as if they are american criminals which will do nothing but encouraging terrorists over seas. >> we got a mike mccall from texas.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. the president campaigned on a practi promise to close guantánamo, is it fair to say that fulfilled? >> it's difficult to say. as you know, we're asking the congress to reconsider its position on bringing a small number of detainees into the united states, where as you know better than most, congressman, our federal prison system has a 100% success rate in safely incarcerating over 400 convicted terrorists. >> so the current plan is to process 29 transfers out of gitmo, which would leave -- i think there's 79 detainees, that would leave 50, i guess, at guantanamo, right?
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>> that's correct. you know, the -- there are ten that are in some phase of the commission process, being prosecuted or serving sentences. the periodic review board process is ongoing. so it's possible that the number of detainees who are approved for transfer will increase. but your round numbers are generally correct. >> i was down there, i saw shake muhammad, evil incar nat. so the 50 remaining, is it your intention to -- we passed under the congress under the national defense authorization bill an express prohibition against bringing these detainees into the united states. this administration will honor that legal restraint, correct? it will follow the law? >> as the president has said, his intention right now, his goal is to work with the congress to change the law.
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>> okay. what is the status of the trial of khalid shaikh mohammed? why is it taking so long? this has been since 9/11. >> sir, i'm a former federal prosecutor. other people are better placed to answer your question. but broadly what i'll tell you is, it's a new process, so everything is new. there's no precedent. there are a bunch of very good defense counsels. and the judge is being careful and deliberative. we have a very good chief prosecutor, chief martins, who's trying very hard. but it's just -- you know, to do the law carefully, as you know, sir, is a careful -- >> i know the defense counsel filing a lot of motions. pretty nice courtroom down there. there are 50 detainees that -- tell me how many of those will be facing military trials? >> right now, there are seven
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that are in motions phase. the alleged coal bomber. and one more al qaeda leader. there are three in the sentencing phase. and we're continually looking at the others to see if there can be a case. but i'm not best placed to tell you where we'd be. >> we know 13 released have been implicated in attacks against the united states, or coalition forces in afghanistan. not a good number. let me ask you this question. has the administration ever refused to send detainees to a country because it could not provide adequate security? >> absolutely. there are many countries that we look at that we ultimately determine are not suitable for this. >> you mention a lot of these detainees you want to transfer
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out are yemenese. yemen is a failed state, in my judgment. and it's in a really bad state of affairs. yet the huthis down there, you have al qaeda, in the arabian peninsula still plotting against the united states. can you tell me definitively you will not be sending these detainees to yemen? >> yes. >> okay. that's a very good answer. what country would most likely receive them? >> i'd prefer to talk to you in closed session about that. i mean, what i will say, as you know, generally we prefer repatriations to resettlements because of the language skills, family connections. in this case, that's not going to be possible for yemen. so we are looking at other
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alternatives. >> last question. the saudis have a pretty good deradicalization program. have you considered that? >> yes. in fact, we transferred a number of the yemenese, i believe nine to saudi arabia in april. >> okay. i see my time is expired. thank you. >> thank you. i want to get back to the issue of what you told this committee in march. just in closing here. we asked specific questions about the transfer of detainees to countries ill equipped to handle them. and specifically, we asked whether the department of defense ever transferred a detainee to a country that it knew was incapable of maintaining control of that individual, and keeping him from returning to the battlefield. and mr. lewis responded no, and mr. wolski stated he was not aware of such an instance. the committee's response to the
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letter, though, sent just this week states, that the law doesn't prohibit us from sending detainees to countries that have partially derogatory intelligence assessments. now, partially derogatory, in common terms, means can't contain. or at least are seriously challenged in containing those terrorists. so why didn't you cite the law instead of suggesting to the committee that detainees were not being transferred to countries that were incapable of maintaining control of them when it is so clear that they are? that's the point i wanted to make. that's why this seemed to me like misleading the committee. and while i appreciate the witness' willingness to speak to us in a classified setting, which we'll take advantage of, that can't hide the fact that these issues can and have been discussed very productively here
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today. as you can see, we have serious concerns about this policy. and we'll continue the conversation. but i do want to thank the witnesses, and thank the members of the committee. and the committee is adjourned. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> on "american history tv" on c-span3, saturday afternoon at 1:50 eastern -- >> memoirs, always you have to be wary of, because not only are memoirs just by their genre bound to be self-serving to a degree, but the -- they also -- most of these people did not want to disclose too much. and in some cases, they may actually dissemble, and to try to mislead people.
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>> historians talk about the techniques used by the cia and russian foreign intelligence service to gather intelligence, dating back to the cold war and how that has changed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. at 6:00, examination of race relations in post-civil war memphis. >> many whites thought this is it, it really is happening. a full-scale black uprising. and they panicked. mobs of white men armed with pistols and clubs formed spontaneously downtown, marched to the scene of the shootout, and began shooting, beating every black person they could find. >> the 1866 riot that resulted in the massacre of dozens of african-americans, and the assault on freed women. also the role of federal u.s. colored troops stationed near the city. and just before 9:00, author and journalist walter isakson on benjamin franklin's american
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national character. >> his view was that small businesses and startups would be the backbone of a new economy. and indeed one of the things that his group did was they made a set of rules and maxims for how to be a good startup entrepreneur and innovator. >> and sunday morning at 10:00, a road to the white house rewind. >> and in the music of our children, we are told to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. and for america, the time has come at last. >> you know that every politician's promise has a price. the taxpayer pays the bill. the american people are not going to be taken in by any scheme where government gives money with one hand and then takes it away with the other. [ cheers and applause ]
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>> the 1972 republican and democratic national conventions. with richard nixon accepting the gop nomination for a second term, and south dakota senator george mcgovern accepting the democratic nomination. for our complete schedule, go to federal emergency management agency's top flood insurance official and small business owners recently testified before the senate small business committee on the cost of insurance. fema officials say it's important for the flood insurance program to draw a wider base of customers in order to lower premium costs. this is about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
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good morning, everyone. and welcome. thank you for joining us today for our senate committee on small business and entrepreneurship hearing to discuss the need to avoid unaffordable flood insurance rate increases on small businesses. i want to begin by offering my condolences to the people of west virginia, who are dealing with the aftermath of truly devastating floods, which earlier reports indicate left thousands homeless, and took at least two dozen lives. i offer my thoughts, prayers and support to the citizens there who are burdened with this disaster, and encourage the federal agencies involved to continue their hard work to get these people the resources and assistance they desperately need. this hearing is an important step to begin a conversation in the senate about the national flood insurance program well in
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advance of the september 30th, 2017, deadline for reauthorization. we're going to hear from two panels of experts and stakeholders to examine the details of nfib. i want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today. my role as chairman of the senate committee on small business and entrepreneurship, i'm making every effort to help small businesses along with all of our colleagues on the panel. this committee is working to shape policies that promote stability in the marketplace, so that businesses can operate with a long-term certainty they need to make strategic decisions. in the spirit, i believe it's important congress proactively works to avoid lapses in coverage, by passing a long-term reauthorization of the national flood insurance program well before next year's deadline. as many of us here remember, the
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lapses in coverage in 2010 had major negative effects on the economy. it's extremely important for congress to thoroughly examine the program and carefully consider all potential legislative changes with plenty enough time for this body to take action, and prevent any unintended consequences from hurting the economy. to fully understand issues that the nfib has historically created for homeowners and small businesses in the marketplace, it's important to have a basic understanding of the changes in our country's flood policy. currently there are nearly 5.1 million flood insurance policyholders across the nation which represents a decrease over the last several years. after the big water insurance reform act was signed into law to help make the program solvent after hurricane sandy, many of these people, certainly many of my constituents in louisiana, were outraged at unaffordable
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increases in their premiums, or the threat of that in the near future. rates were so dramatic in some cases, that some folks faced ten times the price of their previous premium. or even higher. it is not unheard of to hear horror stories of families paying $20,000 to $30,000 for a policy that had previously been $2,000 or less all on a modest middle class home. i met with many louisianaians about this, including folks who asked me to hand-deliver copies of their house fees to headquarters because of these drastic rate increases, they were not going to be able to afford their mortgages. furthermore, fema's mishandling of some cases of the waters act implementation involved inaccurate rate hikes that placed the viability of the
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entire nfib at risk and caused real turmoil in real estate markets. not only in some cases did fema public inaccurate flood maps that could have permanently devalued the housing market, but they could have completely wiped out the life savings of many middle class homeowners and small business owners. our committee in new orleans last may, a resident lives in a home that was constructed at or above the nfip required elevation at the time of construction. in 2013, this resident wrote me that his flood insurance annual premium was increasing from $633 to $28,544 for an insurance policy worth $250,000. this is one of the many nightmare scenarios that we heard about on a regular basis. and that was fueled largely by
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information from fema going directly to policyholders. because of stories like these, it was clear that the nfip needed an urgent fix to help homeowners and small businesses from truly unaffordable rate increases. in 2010, nfip expired four times for a total of 53 days, adding uncertainty during an already fragile housing market and delaying or canceling more than 1,400 home closings every day of that expiration. one of the major reasons for passing bigger waters in the first place was to ensure no lapses in coverage. fema's failed implementation of this law actually priced policyholders with excessively high rate increases that would have created lapses in coverage for other reasons. so congress acted in a
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bipartisan fashion to pass a permanent legislative fix that provided relief to homeowners. unfortunately, fema was not as quick to implement these reforms, but under congressional oversight devised a plan to refund excessive overpayments back to many of the policyholders as mandated by the new law. going forward, we need to find a way to deal with the solvency of the nfip in a responsible way. but at the same time, not place this burden on the back of policyholders in an unaffordable way. it's important that we examine how fema spends every dollar of premiums paid into the system as part of this. i hope our conversations today will highlight the need for a long-term solution that prevents coverage lapses, and provides stability for small businesses who are trying their best to operate amidst rate increases and a track record of policy
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changes and executive orders. so now let's get today's conversation started. again, i want to thank everyone for being here. and for participating. as always, we will invite any other members to submit opening statements for the report. that will be made a full part of the record. but we, as always, we want to get to our witnesses, and hear from them and have plenty of time for questions and discussion. our first panel is one witness, roy wright, the deputy associated administrator for insurance and mitigation at fema. in his capacity, mr. wright is responsible for fema's risk management mitigation and insurance programs which includes the national flood insurance program. welcome, mr. wright. it's good to see you.
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we'll have questions after your testimony. >> good morning, and thank you, chairman vitter, and members of the committee. it's good to be with you this morning. thank you for the opportunity to testify about fema's efforts to strengthen the national flood insurance program, or nfip, and reduce the national loss to property caused by floods. after a disaster, it is crucial for a community's recovery to get local businesses back up and running. these businesses are at the heart of a community. often where the residents work, and get their resources. following a flooding disaster, having adequate insurance is a key part of a business's recovery. it is a powerful tool, and often the only tool available to home and small business owners. some reports suggest that nearly 40% of small businesses don't reopen after a flood. because they don't have the capital to rebuild, restock, or survive a sustained disruption.
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the nfip serves at the foundation for national efforts to reduce the loss of property from floods, which are the most costly and frequent disasters in the united states. mr. chairman, as you know very well, flood insurance is a lightning rod in these halls. it is imperative to so many citizens, and the cost of insurance premiums hit the wallets of homeowners and small business owners directly. the passage of the bigger waters flood insurance format of 2012, and homeowners affordability act of 2014, they directed to make changes to major components of the nfip. both bitter waters 12 and the affordability act of 2014, each approached the sensitive subject in different ways. they both laid out congressionally mandated
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reforms. including reducing subsidies for existing policies, for both residential and nonresidential policyholders, until they reflect the true risk rate. about 6.8% of our current policyholders are nonresidential, which includes businesses, nonprofits and houses of worship. nfip nonresidential policies provided up to $500,000 for building property, coverage and $500,000 for business related contents. the nfip policy allows a property owner to transfer their financial risk so that they can enable their recovery. before you can transfer the risk, you need to know you have a risk. and the greatest single way to inform on risk is with a pricing signal. all this said, there's been a stickiness to the criticism of the national flood insurance program in recent years. since assuming the overall leadership for insurance and mitigation program last summer, we've laid out priorities to
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change that. in terms of how we change how we serve the customer, the product that we offer, improving how they understand the risks, reducing risks through mitigation, engaging private insurers, and continuing to implement the legislative reforms. let me highlight one of the elements. nfip's current $23 billion outstanding liability has resulted from premium subsidies colliding with catastrophic events. so to better diversify our financial risk in the future, fema is reexploring reinsurance to ensure the financial stability of the flood insurance program. we are currently working with the reinsurance industry on catastrophic flood modeling, gathering coats for the nfip, and exploring how to build the cost of reinsurance into the program. we are also engaging private
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insurers on the primary market as we move forward. flooding disaster survivors can recover more quickly and more fully when they are assured against those losses. whether they purchase that insurance from the flood insurance program or through the private market. our priority is to ensure that as many citizens as possible are covered for flood damage. to that end, the coverage on the private market must be comparable to what we offer through international flood. and we need to be mindful of turning the nfip into the insurer of last resort, without the resources needed to map the risk in the nation, support proper land use including flood hazards, and have sufficient revenue to pay claims. finally, as directed by recent legislation, we're currently collecting data for nfip reforms and impacts on policyholders including small businesses. these data will feed into our work to design affordability
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framework for the program due back to congress next summer. we want to meet the needs of the individuals in the community to protect themselves and their property from the most common costly disaster in the united states, while being transparent about their true risk to support community development. again, i thank you for the opportunity to testify today. and i look forward to questions from the committee. >> great. thank you very much. deputy administrator. i'll get started with discussion and questions. as you know, a perennial issue and problem in the program is the fact that historically, something like only 60% of folks required to have flood insurance have flood insurance. >> right. >> obviously that makes a huge difference in terms of the financial soundness of the program. we've been talking about this for several years with other
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members. i've been asking what are we going to do differently to get that way up well above 90%. in general, the answer i've heard is, well, we're increasing the penalties for noncompliance. that always struck me as inadequate. just to sort of increase penalties on a piece of paper, but most people never are going to hear about that. what else has been going on, and what is the actual record, say, over the last two years of the percentage of properties that have to be insured actually under law, being insured? >> so a couple of points. first of all, i think what's really important about this kind of penetration rate and why it's so important, as high as the penetration rate goes, it actually brings prices down. it's imperative as we look at this. so we look at who is mandated under the law. it's those who have a federally backed mortgage.
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so just the residential portion who have the federally backed mortgages. and so we look at the ranges, i looked at a number of studies. fema doesn't have a definitive number of structures that we can count. so we did a number of studies. and the ranges can go from the 40s to the 70% kind of penetration rate. we started asking questions, who's not covered. well, many businesses who outright own their property. people who own their properties outright aren't required, as well as folks who have their mortgage not federally backed. some kind of state or local business. under the flood insurance act, the responsibility for that enforcement explicitly does not reside with the federal emergency management agency. it belongs with the lending regulators. and we have provided data to them. we have collaborated with them. when i talked with them, they said, well, this is the standard part of the audits. i've spoken to bankers and lenders who tell me it is part
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of what goes on, however i look at the penetration rates and they are insufficient. you speak about the penalties. obviously those are implemented by the regulators instead of by fema. i think to the degree that i've seen surges in people's insurance purchasing, is a point by which risks are understood, local government officials particularly help us advance this. and we see the synergy with the private sector. and just last year, some of it was tied to the pieces related to the el nino flooding. we saw an increase of policyholders, more than 30% in the state of california, because we lined those three pieces together. and so we've got to make the products are there to buy. and continue to work with the regulators. >> i don't want to cut you off, but as you suggested, this is a big deal in terms of the solvency of the program in terms of pricing. so has fema figured out a way to
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track whether there's been an increase over the last two years, three years, five years? what is the record over the last several years? is there substantial improvement or not in terms of those properties that have to be covered under law being covered? >> so we have anecdotal evidence that says that -- >> let me stop you right there. >> that's all we have. >> i don't want to be rude, but this is such a big deal, why the heck are we merely talking about anecdotal evidence? this is a huge factor in terms of the solvency of the program. why don't we have a meaningful way to track this, to see if we're getting much better or not, and if we're not, which i'm certain is the answer, do something about it? >> we are maintaining -- over
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the last year we've actually seen some growth in the mandatory purchase areas. you spoke about the decrease in policies. much of that happened in the areas that were the mandate was not in effect. some of that's tied to the $250 surcharge that was included. >> just to be clear, all i'm talking about now is mandatory. so what's the percentage within mandatory of compliance? >> i understand your point. when we went to the national academy of sciences and asked them this question, they came back and showed us a range. i'm committed to see the numbers go up, and the actions we can take there, and we will continue to redouble our efforts to give you better numbers. >> you mentioned that you're not in charge of compliance for that? >> correct. >> in this reauthorization, do you want power to make that happen? because it sure as heck affects things you have to deal with like solvency of the program. >> i think fema needs to have
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a -- it has a role to play in this space. it comes from a pure enforcement perspective. i do not have a team of auditors who go across the country looking at the lending books, where the regulators already do. i think that's why it's always been assigned to them. but it's not producing enough of the outcome. so some adjustments need to be made. and we are willing to collaborate with those other regulators -- >> can fema think about specific suggestions that we can potentially put in a reauthorization to get this well above 90%? i don't know exactly what those are. they may involve the present regulators, they may involve fema, they may involve others, but this is a huge problem. >> it's already on my radar screen. i will take this back. it is something we need to deliver better for you. >> thank you. senator scott? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. wright, for being here this morning. as you're well aware, south carolina had a thousand-year flood back in october.
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and we certainly appreciated the response of fema. i had the opportunity to go into sumter and manning that traditionally have not been hit by flood challenges and go door to door in communities and see the actual devastation firsthand. i certainly appreciate having a fail-safe, a position by the government to help out when necessary. i think it does, however, highlight chairman vitter's concern about the fact that we have a disastrous assistance program that doesn't compel or incent people to participate in some premium, some offset of what they anticipate as the federal government's response. very problematic, number one. so love to hear what you think would be positive, or constructive ways to incent folks to do something that they have no incentive to do. number one. number two, i spent about 25 years in the insurance business,
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and 18 or 20 years selling flood insurance. when you talk about a premium going from $600 to $23,000, there's probably an issue of the original premium of $633, and without any question, a bigger issue of the premium of $23,000. so the process of re-rating communities is an important consideration. but maybe it was improperly rated initially. >> right. >> case in point, myrtle beach, south carolina. here's a community that during the 1,000-year flood, there were thousands of homes that were not impacted by a 1,000-year flood, that according to the new maps that are coming out, there will be 35,000 homeowners that will be required to buy flood insurance in areas where there hasn't ever been a flood to include the latest thousand-year flood.
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so it brings into question, how we're mapping, where we're mapping, and is it actually accurate mapping. the 90-day period to respond, to petition the -- to provide a petition to say something's not working here, is it fairly a short amount of time -- i know it's codified in law -- but it seems to me that a longer period to dispute what the nfip comes to the conclusion would be helpful. >> let me take these in sequence. let me start with south carolina. i spent quite a bit of time with your insurance commissioner ray farmer following the event. and i think, mr. chairman, there's an interesting corollary we learned in south carolina. a hundred thousand households registered for individual assistance under the stafford act programs. 32,000 of them qualified. we paid flood insurance claims on 5, 200 households.
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that's a big gap that was there. and it wasn't because the maps didn't show the area at risk. and i put some time in the communities, in the homes as we were going through this, and many of the neighborhoods in that midland area, in and around columbia, were rental properties. there was no mortgage. the landlord didn't have flood insurance. and the renter didn't buy contents insurance. but here's the fundamental difference. the average payment on individual assistance in south carolina was $4,500. while that gives a hand, it does not put anyone back. the average on the flood insurance claim was $25,000. you can rebuild things, you can put things back. so we get in this kind of space where i saw the power of it. and we're working with commissioner farmer now in terms of ways to see the insurance takeup rates move.
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and i became particularly interested in those renters who didn't have coverage in this instance. you talk about the rating element, and the two extremes related to those prices. the original rate would have been one of those subsidized or grandfathered rates. that's how they have something sitting in the 600 range. we can debate the 23,000. but one of the provisions in biggert waters actually ledge slated an actuarial practice, which i think is something we need to be very leery of doing. and it required us to concentrate the risk, as opposed to mutualize it which is the way insurance normally works. and so we saw those extreme rates begin to play out. let's talk about the maps. as i've sat with some of the scientists with the thousand-year event first, i applied that normally to what
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the columbia area experienced. i don't know that the area in myrtle beach experienced that level of flow. simply because myrtle beach was hit more of a coastal event, which theirs is more of a lower return interval. their maps in south carolina are done by the state of south carolina. we provide the funding to the state, who leaves that mapping effort in concert with the local communities. so our engineering standards, those dollars were put in the state to do the work. to make sure that we had the best data to drive toward accuracy. you highlight the last 90 days which is codified. but the mapping process with the communities lasted more than four years, with a series of public meetings. i don't know that we always get the right people in those meetings. and we are working now to make sure that across the board, how do we get not only electives,
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but business leaders in the community engaging with us. if there are better answers, i want to know about them. but those maps are done in a way so that we do have something that is credible when it's done. >> last point. thank you, mr. chairman. >> you guys are now going through the process of engaging hopefully, successfully, and finding some reinsurance. which to me seems to be a no-brainer. >> absolutely. >> a necessity. it could have been, should have been, hopefully in the past, considered. i'm a little surprised, to say it kindly, that we have not had that process previously. >> so i can't speak to why my predecessors did not pursue reinsurance. what i can tell you is, in both -- particularly in the homeowners' flood bill, we were clearly directed to get to this,
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which we did, and i'm on a course -- i'm spending a lot of time with the reinsurance community. i can never afford reinsurance to the full level of what i may experience. >> no insurance company ever does. >> exactly. but i began to look at these pieces about, if i have my premiums on hand, we have about $3.5 billion a year worth of premiums that are brought in. we have expenses we pay for out of that. i have a reserve fund that is now in place by the end of this year. we should be close to $2 billion in that. and then put a reinsurance layer on top of that. it would be inappropriate for me to say what would sit there initially. if i had that in place, i would not have borrowed money after sandy. >> no doubt. >> i would have had the layers in place. and there's clearly dollars available in the reinsurance
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market today. there's an eagerness to come into this place. there are a series of legal procedures i have to walk through. but i have publicly said, and i will say here, it is my aim to be able to have reinsurance placed, and secured in calendar year 2016. >> the taxpayers will benefit tremendously on that notion. >> absolutely. >> given the true cost savings, and the number of catastrophic occurrences around the nation, and the definition of a flood zone today being so expansive. the ability to find that reinsurance today would be a cost saver to the taxpayer. >> i want to make sure that i -- i've got to build that into the price. so that we can afford that reinsurance coverage. >> that's a conversation we should have at some point in the future, since my time is completely up. but the difference between the price of something and the cost of something can be drastically
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different. >> thank you. >> senator rubio. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. wright. i'm sure you know florida is no stranger to floods. i think last count, nearly 40% of all the national flood insurance program policies come from florida. i think it's the largest state contributor to the program. in fact, people in florida pay four times more into the program than they receive in claim payments. they have numerous businesses, and local governments, of course, expressing a tremendous amount of concern over not knowing how fema determines actuarial premium rates. so what are your plans, what are fema's plans for updating, disclosure, and transparency, and the determination of the basis for risk premium rates? >> so it is true that to date, florida has not received payouts at the level that they paid into premiums. that was also true for new york and new jersey prior to 2012. and so a large event, and you
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know this very well, if a large hurricane hit the miami area, there would be large payments made out that would well exceed the kind of payments we saw in the sandy scenarios. i have been working with the insurance commissioner there in florida, because there's an interest in how are we setting our rates. some of them asked me to disclose all of my losses and what i've had to do is work under the privacy act. i can't hand all of that data over. so i have sat with a number of the folks from florida, and have begun to lay out a path, particularly given this reinsurance piece which is, how can i go through the modeling for reinsurance in a way by which i can provide the data they want to see. we have released our actuarial practices guide. but folks want to see more
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insight on a policy by policy basis. and we are working in tandem with the reinsurance effort to provide much more data about the policies, the payouts, and the pricing. >> you mentioned the office of insurance regulation. you remarked in a letter to them that fema is constantly reviewing its methodology. are you continuing to refine this methodology, how do we guarantee people in florida, middle class floridians and others, who bear the brunt of these rate increases, that they're not discriminatory? in essence, what exactly is fema going to do to complete its guarantee a fair and equitable rate for the people of the state of florida? >> right. if i set aside the part of my book that is the grandfathered or subsidized rates that are set -- there's congressionally mandated subsidies put in place. the actuarial part of the book, we look at an entire class, and
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we do meet the standards and we've been audited and reviewed and they have said, yes, these are the actuarial rates. this spring, i made an effort to take the pieces that the national academy of sciences gave me this year, and look at the methodology which i believe is antiquated, most of it rooted in the '80s, and said, we've got to advance down this path. over the next two years, i think we'll be able to demonstrate recognizable progress on that. and i think you'll see elements of transparency as part of that. >> one more point. pinellas county in particular, it has more nfip policyholders than 43 states. it recently received an award for an initiative. they created an app to better map the parcels in flood zones. that's an example of the kind of innovative solution that
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localities have the ability to create. how does fema plan these initiatives? >> it is based on data that we put forward. we're doing this in two ways. we've moving the technology side to the national level, and ensuring that our data is open sourced. you're talking particularly about the flood risk data. so that at a local level, they can use it and push it in a way forward. through our mapping efforts, which congress, we appreciate, has restored us back to the higher levels of funding that we had not had in the preceding five years. wer making more of those investments in the technology and the data. i'm particularly interested in ways by which i can take the data and set them up so that app developers can take them and move them that best meet the needs of locals. >> okay. thank you. mr. wright, i want to have plenty of time for our second panel. but i want to highlight three
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areas that will send you, for the record, and you can submit responses for the record. one is north carolina program of putting the state in charge of mapping, and according to the national academies, that's produced more accurate maps at lower costs. i want to ask you what you think that says about what fema should be doing more broadly with regard to empowering states and using states and/or locals as senator rubio said, and widear and new technology and where fema will be moving with that. number two, in 2004, congress passed legislation to make icc grants available before a flood where there's an offer of
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pre-flood mitigation. and as i understand it, that's not being implemented by fema now. so the question is, why not? and when is that going to be properly implemented? and number three, i want your assurance about giving proper credit to all flood control features in an area which did not happen in the recent past. certainly in louisiana. are we doing that now, ensuring that all actual features on the ground, whether it addresses hundred-year risk or lower, is given proper credit in mapping? >> i appreciate that, sir. we'll make sure we get back to you on all three of those points. >> great. thank you very much. and now i'd invite our second panel of stakeholders to the witness table. and as they come up and get settled, i'll be introducing them.
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mr. kevin roebls is from tampa, florida. he's been a licensed residential contractor in the tampa bay area since 1980. and has experience working for both private and public builders who sell numerous roles within the tampa homeowners association serving as president of tampa bay's home builders association in 2011. lucille strauss serves as chair of the state flood plane managers. miss krause has been involved with the flood plane program since 2002 as an area hydrologist in the twin cities area. mr. david mckey is broker and owner of caldwell banker one, a real estate company in baton rouge, louisiana. mr. mckey has been a licensed realtor since 1992 working in
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the baton rouge markets. additionally served as president of the louisiana association of realtors and currently is the vice chair of the national association of realtors insurance committee. and mr. randy noelle is the president of reeve, inc., in le plas, louisiana. and serves as the 2016 second vice chairman for the national association of home builders in new orleans. mr. knollle founded it in 1985 and since built 1,000 custom homes in the greater new orleans area. he has more than 30 years of experience in the residential construction industry. welcome to all of you. thanks for your participation. each of you will have five minutes to testify before us, and any additional comments, written material, will be made part of the record. with that, we'll start with mr.
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robles. >> chairman vitter, ranking member cheney, and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. my name is kevin robles. i'm a builder from the tampa bay, florida, market. i'm here to discuss how drastic rate increases in flood insurance have affected the housing affordability and my company's ability to meet the housing needs of my community. i will specifically address the flood insurance rate maps and their impact on the housing industry, most of which are small businesses. in 2012, the passage of the biggert waters brought on dramatic increases that negatively impacted home sales. rates doubled and tripled and homeowners were stuck paying for policies they could not afford. homeowners and home builders quickly saw the unintended consequences of the legislation, specifically on the grandfather or pre-firm properties. these rate increases took place when the housing market was still in recession. a flood in my home state was one
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of the hardest hit. housing prices in florida fell 44%, far outpacing the national decline of 10%. today's housing prices remain 22% below normal. any negative change to the market such as flood insurance rate increases have long-term unintended consequences for florida's economy. as a small business owner, with at least a quaert of my customer base, active or retired military, i am constantly reminded of trying to keep housing prices affordable. in florida, every $1,000 increase in the home pricing, is overpriced 8,000 households. the pre-firm and grandfathered properties immediately increased on the sale of the home and fema is required to refund homeowners whose rates have already
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increased. fema is required to notify the community affected and their congressional delegation before updating the new mapping models. although there are many positive changes that arose, i would like to discuss some of the problems the builders and small business homeowners face and their impact on affordability. in florida, there are a large special hazard flood areas. it is extremely difficult to avoid building in these flood planes. it can take months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to change the flood maps or elevated property. inaccurate maps are extremely problematic for builders. one of my builder colleagues realized the land had been incorrectly mapped into a flood plane. he had the funds to pay for the survey work and a staff who could fill out the application
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and worm with fema. small business owners particularly those trying to start their business do not have staff and funds at their disposal to go through the labor intensive application and often complex application process. fema neglected to factor in privately funded structures or drawing rivers and streams where none exist. homeowners are being incorrectly mapped into flood planes and forced to purchase unneeded flood insurance. it typically takes years for these mistakes to be fixed. often requiring a lecty and costly process for the community builder and homeowner. thankfully florida has a year-long construction season, but states with colder climates and shorter construction seasons experience devastating costs and delays waiting for fema to approve their requests. i would like to thank the chairman and the committee with the opportunity to testify today. the increasing costs for flood rates and the lack of affordability and inaccuracy in
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mapping have long-term problematic effects. we need to ensure that the next nfip reauthorization is done thoughtfully, to prevent the affordability concerns that we have seen. >> thank you very much, mr. robles. now we'll turn to miss stratus. welcome. >> i'm glad to be here today. first and foremost, we must understand that the national flood insurance program, or nfip, is far more than an insurance program. it includes flood plane management regulations and a mitigation component to help reduce damage to older at-risk buildings. this is a multi-faceted, multiple objective program as a four-legged stool is often referred to. these four components of the nfip work together to reduce future flood damage, and associated costs for businesses and landowners as well as taxpayers.
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the adoption of flood plane management standards by more than 22,000 nfip participating communities results in $1.7 billion in flood losses avided annually according to fema data. the mitigation program within the nfip, the krin esed cost compliance and flood mitigation assistance have mitigated on average 1,850 buildings annually between 2010 and 2014. the nfip program will need to be reauthorized in 2017. the program needs to be made more fiscally sound to give business owners and homeowners about their risk, and promote mitigation. flood insurance affordability was largely ignored in the previous two reform bills and must be addressed now. there are numerous innovative ideas to support the
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affordability, and we must bring all of the tools including those outside the nfip to bear on this issue. affordability should support mitigation, rather than subsidize insurance premiums only. our written testimony details the other priorities for the 2017 reauthorization. meanwhile, legislation to further promote the growth of a private market for flood insurance is making its way through congress. we support private sector investment and writing flood insurance and recognizes a valuable contribution that private sector currently brings to the table. in fact, the changes congress made in 2012 to promote private flood insurance market is working, and we are seeing an emerging but vigorous private market that is interested in able to write primary or first dollar flood policies. however, we have concerns with the proposed private insurance bill f 1679, in addition to other unintended consequences,
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the two main issues are the lack of a fee equivalent to the nfip federal policy fee on private policies. this fee pays for flood mapping and elements of the nfip. elements of the private sector also depends on it. and the lack of the provision to assure that private policies for mandatory purchase would only be sold in nfip participating communities. we'd like to see this to avoid communities dropping out of the program and not enforcing the flood plane management regulations. we're strongly opposed to schemes that relegate the nfip to a residual market or a market of last resort. the most frequent and costly natural disasters, the recovery from major flood disasters often takes years and affects homeowners, businesses, schools, and others. impacting local economies and social resilience. small businesses which are the
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economic engines for most communities need immediate access to funds for repairs, for replacement of inventory, and/or equipment, as well as for mitigation of future disaster losses. analysts report that of small businesses affected by floods, that cannot reopen within a month, 50% will never reopen. as flood losses increase, the nation will continue to need a robust fiscally strong nfip to comprehensively reduce flood risk. thank you. i'd be happy to answer any questions. >> thank you very much, miss strauss. now we'll turn to mr. mckey. welcome. >> thank you, chairman vitter, and thank you for the opportunity to be here today. my name is david mckey. i am the managing broker and owner of caldwell banker one in louisiana, your home state. i'm here today representing the views of 1.1 million members of the national association of realtors. as vice chair of the insurance
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committee 2013 president of louisiana realtors, and a small business owner, i bring a unique perspective on the need for flood insurance. chairman vitter, realtors appreciate your continued leadership on flood insurance, and especially your hard work last congress. you were one of the original team of senators and house members that drafted the homeowner flood insurance affordability act. i'm pleased to report the affordability act has succeeded in reining in the most inaccurate rate increases across the country. while the act resolved the most immediate and pressing issues, a few remain that we'd like to bring to your attention. the affordability act say the rates will increase no more than 25% per year, even if properties sell. this resolves some ambiguity in the biggert waters law and provided clarity that fema did
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not. since then, nfip rates have been gradually increasing. however, the market has calmed, and real estate transactions are moving. the law did not, however, eliminate the threat of $30,000 flood insurance. under the affordable act, rates keep escalating 25% each year until property owners reach the full cost rate. the problem is, property owners have to prove the full cost before they can get off the escalator. some small businesses may be stuck paying too much already. most are not being informed that they could pay less if they provided an elevation certificate. some are afraid they will pay $100 or $1,000 for an elevation certificate, and either their rates will not change, or they may possibly go up. what's worse, we don't know how many small businesses are facing extreme flood insurance rates at
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the top of the escalator. fema does not collect elevation data on structures built before the first flood insurance rate maps. without this data, we do not know the scope of the affordability issues in the program, or funding needed to solve the program. i have several recommendations i'd like to share with you. congress needs to act before september 2017 when the nfip sunsets. nar urges congress to reauthorize a program on time and for a minimum of five years. shorter term extensions only exacerbate the market uncertainty, and will disrupt property sales where flood insurance is required for federally funded mortgage. 1 million nfip insured properties are not yet paying full cost. the more these properties that
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are mitigated, the lower the nfip rates will be and the less the taxpayers will be exposed to future borrowing. while the federal government already provides substantial mitigation assistance, most property owners cannot access that assistance until after the property floods, when costs go up, and funds won't go as far. nar encourages congress to look governmentwide at all mitigation programs to find access before flooding and head off premiums while there's still time and the lower cost options are available. realtors believe that private insurance alternatives can provide a compliment to a strong and vibrant nfip. the combination of private market option and a strong nfip will ensure that flood insurance remains available in all markets
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at all times. we urge the senate to take up and pass hr-2901, the modernization act, and allow consumers to shop around for comparable coverage. fema's attempt to publish reasonably accurate flood maps based on reasonable resources, fema attempts to public accurate maps based on their resources. the agency relies on property owners and communities to spot inaccuracies, and provide the data and analysis needed to suppo support corrections. the state of north carolina, on the other hand, uses lidar to collect that data so property owners won't have to buy elevation certificates. based on the information nar has gathered so far, using lidar to map the nation will take a modest investment by congress, to produce benefits that are
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four to five times the cost. with that data not only would fewer property owners have to appeal, but also it would give congress thelevation data it needs to determine and address affordability issues. and next year's reauthorization bill. i do want to thank you for the opportunity to testify today. and nar greatly appreciates the committee's work. and realtors look forward to working with you and congress to get the renewal of the insurance program before september 30th of 2017. this is incredibly important for my state of louisiana, and i think very important for the country. thank you. >> thank you very, very much mr. mckey. and now we'll turn to mr. randy noelle. >> thank you, chairman vitter, and senator rubio. for the opportunity to testify today. my name is randy noelle.
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i'm a home builder from laplace, louisiana. nahb has a long history of support for the nfip. in the past a few major disasters, the solvency has been threatened. many thought biggert waters would assure the fiscal soundness of the nfip. but there were major consequences to the housing industry. it triggered an immediate shift to full risk rates. with nonprimary home premiums increasing by 25% of the full risk rate each year. across the country, builders witnessed how drastic rate increases were negatively affecting home sales and saw rates increase ten-fold over what homeowners were previously paying. one louisiana buyer bought a home only to realize the flood insurance rates had increased from $400 to the full risk rate of $13,000.
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this problem wasn't only affecting homeowners, i had a friend of mine who had a small home building business in louisiana, and his insurance rate on his office building went from $400 -- $4,000 to $40,000. one neighborhood near my home in st. charles parrish became fully devalued because the flood rate insurance increases. they were required to build 11 feet above the ground because of a levee that never flooded. however, the levee wasn't maintained by the core, and had been there for 70 years, fema wouldn't accredit it the levee. homeowners in that neighborhood were paying between $12,000 and $17,000 in flood insurance. they couldn't sell their homes. they couldn't make their
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payments. the community mailed fema the key to their homes. they told fema to keep their keys because the homes were now worthless. the rate increases also have a direct impact on small business home builders. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 captioning performed by vitac


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