tv Secretary Tillerson Testifies on FY 2018 State Department Budget CSPAN June 17, 2017 3:57am-4:51am EDT
the committee will reconvene at this time and we will begin with questioning from mr. barra from california. you know, it's -- you know, this is a tough day today. but it's with thanks to the capitol police, it's thanks to the men and women that not only protect us, but all across this country, protect not only communities across the country,
but men and women around the world protecting who we are. you know, i have stated this previously in committee. a world led by american leadership is a better world and we can see that if we look back on the second half of the 20th century and the post world order. american leadership, leading with our values, with our morals has created a better world and most around the world recognize that. that's really been predicated on a foreign policy plank that has three legs. certainly our defense, but also development and diplomacy. and my concern with this budget is it cuts off two of those legs on that stool. that stool is going to collapse. it devastates the diplomacy and development budget. i know it's not your budget, mr. secretary. but as members of congress who have a responsibility for setting priorities, et cetera, i have grave concerns and can talk about a number of areas that i find very, very troublesome in this budget. i'm going to focus -- i'm a physician by training with the
public health and global health background. i have some real deep reservations about, you know, some of the cuts to our global health. development. some of the developments to usaid, particularly 15% cut to maternal and child health programs. that is very worrisome to me. the impact that those cuts potentially have around the world. i think america is a great nation, but a great nation leads by our values and our morals and we don't withdraw from the world. so, you know, my concern is if those cuts go into effect, the number of women that potentially will suffer, the number of women that will potentially die, i think some of the cuts with regards to a potential billion dollar reduction from pet far, the zeroing out of family planning funds are going to have devastating impacts.
i watched and read the testimony and the question of the colleague across the capitol, senator shaheen, you know, discussing the extension of the mexico city policy and heard your answer to that, that your office would be studying the impact of the extension of the global gag rule. can you give us assurances that in that six month time frame when you get that report back if we are seeing adverse impacts that you would make recommendations to reverse that policy. >> thank you for the attention to that particular matter. i can't commit to you that i would seek a reversal of that policy. as i explained to congresswoman -- i mean to senator shaheen yesterday, our implementation of the policy was structured in a way that engagement with a number of our health partners to mitigate any effect on delivery of their activities. we said we would do a six month check to see if it is impacting them.
and one provision i left out in my response to her yesterday, if it is impacting any particular areas of our health care that we did not intend to impact then in consultation with the secretary of hhs, i as secretary of state can issue waivers and allow the funding to continue. the reason we want to do the six month check what impact is it having. >> will you commit to providing us the results of that report? and what you find at that six month check? >> we'd be happy to share that. >> great. i also have real reservations about the impact of pet far. it has been a remarkable program, saving thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives in africa. and i think president bush would suggest that that is his proudest accomplishment. i would like to hear further
commitment as we look at how we engage in global health around the world with partnerships and i understand that it's our responsibility to evaluate each program that we have limited resources and limited funds. but i would like to have this commitment that we're going look at how we work with nonprofits around the world. how we work with allies and other countries around the world to continuing relieving suffering. >> that is a fundamental element of our approach to how we manage the reductions even with these cuts. the 1 billion cut to pet far we will be the leader in health issues globally and pet far is clearly recognized as a model program that should be replicated elsewhere. >> thank you. >> thank you, well, we're going now to mr. paul cook, vice chairman of the committee of california. >> good to see you again, mr. secretary. i missed some of the testimony and i hope i'm not being redundant.
but i wanted to talk about the muslim brotherhood, the impact in qatar and quite frankly turkey and the strained relationship and how it is so difficult to find out one day you have an ally, next day you might have an adversary. and i know that's got to be very, very challenging with the saudis and what has happened in the past few weeks as well as the ongoing political situation in turkey. which affects the whole middle east and our policy. if you could address that, i would appreciate it. i talked to you i think last week about the same thing. but secretary mattis had some input on it monday night and it's one which is -- doesn't necessarily have a military solution but this is going to be right -- you're going to be right in the eye of the storm.
>> our relationship with turkey is extremely important to the united states. it's also extremely important to nato, to europe and clearly we are concerned about the evolution of events particularly since the coup attempt in turkey. i have travelled to ankara obviously president erdogan has been here, so our level of engagement with turkey is at a high level of communication and engagement. and where we have the issues of concern we're talking about those discussing them. clearly they have some issues with how we're executing our military plans in syria to defeat isis. we are concerned about their engagements with russia, the european union is concerned about the relationships. turkey sits in an extremely important place geographically and geopolitically. so it's an important relationship. it is quite complex right now. our objective is not to worse than relationship but find ways to re-engage and strengthen it
so we can have some influence over the choices they are making, particularly with respect to freedoms within the country. to continuing their role and their construct as a democracy. >> thank you. i yield back. >> i thank my good friend for yielding. mr. secretary, i would ask you if you would to -- your thought about waivers for the mexico city policy in answer to my friend and colleague dr. barra. i would hope that you would not go that route. that would have the perverse impact of incentivizing foreign nongovernmental organizations to be noncompliant with the mexico city policy. i would point out to my colleagues that back in 1985 after ronald reagan first announced the mexico city policy at the u.n. conference in mexico city, hence its name, there were
large numbers of ngos, foreign ngos that said we are not going to comply. i offered the amendment in 1985 which passed. i fully expect we'll have it all out. legislative battle on the floor again, which i would welcome with a policy that seeks to hold harmless unborn children in our foreign aid. global health ought to be inclusive, not exclusive of unborn children which we know now beyond any reasonable doubt are harmed. and it's violence against children. abortion is violence against children and also has consequence in the negative for women. and the mexico city policy as you know so well that's three exceptions, rape, incest and life of the mother which track what's ronald reagan did and george w. bush did and bush one when he initiated the policy as well. waivers -- and at the end of the day, when it only applied to
family planning organizations, when i offered the amendment on the floor, olympia snowe and others said none of the groups are going to accept it. at the end of the day, all but two accepted it. and that was, ippbf based out of london and a group international. they all accepted it. so i would encourage you, waivers would be an incentive to a foreign, nongovernmental organization. again, american taxpayers through the polling have shown clearly that they do not want our foreign aid subsidizing and enabling the killing of unborn children overseas or anywhere else. that's why the hyde amendment domestically enjoys such strong support. i would just offer that thought. >> we go now to lois frankel of florida. >> thank you. welcome mr. secretary of state. i think today is a day where we all recognize our common humanity as my thoughts are with my colleague and the other folks
impacted by this shooting. so i'll try to be kind and gentle. i'm always kind and gentle, aren't i? so in a very kind and gentle way, want to say that i -- i am sad to say that i think your budget is inhumane and dangerous. okay. i had to say that. i don't want to turn this into an abortion fight at all. because that was not part of my remarks but i just want to counter my colleague who i respect very, very much and just say that women having full access to reproductive choice and care is imperative for them to have a full and productive life. and i think it's important to the security of their community. but i'm going to move on. i wanted to mention -- i remember the president said i think he said he inherited a mess in talking about international affairs. so it's, to me, it's very
perplexing that he inherits a mess and then you come in with a budget with almost a one-third cut in state department activities. over 120 retired four star generals sent the letter opposing the cuts saying this is not the time to retreat. secretary mattis, when he was commander of u.s. central command, says if you don't fully fund the state department, then i need to buy more ammunition. i guess this is the trump doctrine. because he's putting billions of more dollars into ammunition and cutting as mr. -- my colleagues said before, two of the legs of our national security, which is diplomacy and development. i want to focus on what i think is one of the crown jewels of our development efforts and that is our global health investments. and i know you would probably agree that diseases do not
recognize international borders. every year almost 80 million people from other countries visit the united states. this was in 2016. and americans took more than 77 million international trips. we have hundreds of thousands of military living overseas. so u.s. global assistance helps not only to protect people in other countries but it protects the united states. and i hope you would agree that when we -- these health initiatives help keep countries stable. when you have -- one of my colleagues mentioned famine. if you have disease and famine, you have inhumane conditions, it promotes not only people trying to escape the country but it destabilizes countries and creating an environment for
terrorism. george bush, one of his great achievements is pepfar. which put us on track to end aids as a public health threat by 2030. i know, yourself, have said it's a model for the world to follow. yet the president's budget cuts this by $1.1 billion. this the global fund which controls the spread of malaria and t.b. and hiv, also that is getting cut by $225 million. i know people say well, you know, why should -- why should we care what is happening in these other countries? i think that's going to the question i want to ask you which is this. mr. secretary, why should we care about diseases in other countries? >> well, congresswoman, i think you just gave the explanation for why we should care. i do not -- >> then how can i -- >> -- i know we're focused on the cuts. i think it's important to also focus on how much we still will be committing and spending
towards these diseases, towards our global health efforts. we're not zeroing health out. these were difficult choices that we -- that were made in the budget. we do believe that we can attract others. and enable continuation of the programs. there is no stepping back from our commitment on pepfar to the countries. we're going to fully make the commitments on our aids program and fulfilling our five year pledge. we don't intend in any way to abandon our efforts or abandon our view of how important these issues are. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> to mr. lee zeldon of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. a few questions. i want to ask about iran. has iran -- i guess there is a lot of agreement that iran has violated the spirit of the
jcpoa. have you seen any evidence that iran has violated the letter of the jcpoa? >> we will await the quarterly report from iaea to see if they have violated any specific regulations. i read the entire jcpoa for myself. i can understand this spirit and intent. quite frankly, it is a poorly constructed agreement. the bar for iran's compliance is pretty low. so it should not come as a surprise to people that they're able to comply. it is not that difficult for them to comply. having said that, we intend a rigorous application of the compliance requirements and a rigorous confirmation from the iaea that they are complying. the whole spirit and intent
question is one that obviously is always open to interpretation by both sides. and importantly, remember the jcpoa is a multilateral agreement. so we have partners, i would say that, were on our side of the table. best i can tell. they will have their interpretation of that as well. >> your predecessor pointed out it was a political commitment. it was not a treaty or executive privilege, it was an agreement that we didn't asked for a signature on. an unsigned political commitment. does the united states recognize jerusalem as the capital of israel? >> the administration has not expressed a specific view in that regard. >> stating my own position. i believe strongly that the administration should recognize jerusalem as the unquestionable capital of israel. will the administration eventually move the american embassy in israel to jerusalem? >> that decision is under
evaluation by the president. obviously, he'll have to make a decision coming up on whether to extend the final excision on that or not. he has not made that decision to my knowledge. >> and the president was absolutely correct during the campaign when he had stated his position and intent then of moving the embassy and i would encourage him to go with the instinct and follow-through with that pledge. >> what do you think about the foreign aid we provide to the palestinian authority? >> i think our engagement with them and making clear on expectations on how aid is utilized, one thing i'd like to clarify from this morning's hearing several times in the question people suggested our support to the palestinian authority was increasing next year. that is inaccurate. and to remind everyone, our aid does not go directly to the palestinian authority.
it is given to them by way of israel. and we work closely with them as to how that money is delivered and for what purposes it is delivered. >> and i appreciate that point and i would offer that whatever the united states can't do to the palestinian authority legally, we should also have the position that we also cannot do for the palestinian authority indirectly. i co-sponsor the taylor force act. i know a number of my colleagues and the house and senate do as well. i believe it's now one that has bipartisan support over on the senate side. i know we should better leverage the aid provided for the palestinian authority which includes providing certifications that the palestinian authority is not in citing violence. and in the taylor force act, the
palestinians are not only inciting violence on the part -- to target innocent israelis but they're doing so to target americans as well. >> just so you're clear, it's with that strong bipartisan sense of the congress that we have taken the position with the palestinian authority in an uneconservative call way that you take care of this yourself or someone else is going to take care of it for you. those are the words that i have used with them. >> and you have strongly stated that it's included recent statements where you have mentioned that president brought this up with abbas that you had received assurances. it is in the news today that there are palestinian officials pushing back on your position that the palestinian authority has agreed to stop providing the payments to financially reward terror. i wish you the absolute best as secretary of state in your pursuit here. i'd love to talk you to further about those efforts moving forward in the weeks, months,
and years ahead. i yield back. >> we go now to mr. joaquin castro of texas. >> thank you for being here and your testimony. obviously cooperation between congress and state department is important but i'm concerned over what looks like a lack of cooperation within the executive. the policy of the white house and the state department has not been completely aligned over the last several months. president trump took to twitter to praise the blockade. as you attempted to form an international coalition to isolate north korea, president trump called north korean leader jung kim jong-un a smart cookie and said he'd be honored to meet him. hurting your efforts. your efforts to assure our
european and asian alliances have similarly been undercut by the white house and the president. it was reported that when prime minister netanyahu and president trump stood up at their press conference and approached the idea of a one state solution instead of a two state solution that you were in an airplane. somewhere else and that the state department was not part of those discussions. so my question is, how can americans and our allies around the world have confidence in your word, in the state department's position and most of all that it represents what president trump believes? >> congressman, just to be clear, there is no gap between the president and myself or the state department on policy. there are differences in terms of how the president chooses to articulate elements of that policy. in the instance of the qatar example you gave, i made a statement, the state department,
i then attended a bilateral with the president of romania with president trump and then he made a statement in the rose garden. i was involved in writing his comments in the rose garden to reflect the strong message he wanted to send which was not just to qatar, but to everyone, to all countries, to stop funding, stop the killing, stop teaching your young people hate. that is the way he wanted to deliver it. he wanted to deliver a very strong message. but there's no daylight between he and i. >> i hear you. >> jared kushner has been given a big portfolio with respect to foreign affairs. who is responsible for the foreign affairs of our country? is it the department of state and yourself or mr. jared kushner and the white house? >> it is the department of state and myself and that has been reconfirmed by the president to me on multiple occasions. >> then -- and i guess -- and part of the reason i ask these questions, in february i was in japan and south korea and this
was the biggest question that people had. when we look to the united states, who speaks for the president reliably? whose word can we trust? i know you can understand how important that is for our allies and also for our adversaries. so why would the state department be left out of any discussion about one of our most important policy issues whether you're going to have a one state solution or a two state solution? you can see how that is quite strange and bizarre. >> i think that came out of the bilateral private meeting between the president and prime minister netanyahu. and i think, you know, to be fair, what the president was indicating is that whatever approach the two sides, the palestinians and the israelis want to take to achieve a peace accord, we will support. and i think what he was saying is we're prepared, and he is prepared to put his shoulder to the wheel to see if we can move a process along and he's going
to be unconstrained to exploring any and all other alternatives. the alternatives everyone pursued for many years and have not produced a result. i think these are some of the changes that people have a difficult time, perhaps understanding, statistically. >> thank you for that. >> the president is saying, let's explore everything. >> let me make one last comment. first, i don't mean it as a knock on your leadership or record of the department. i think that you have been put in a very difficult position and it's not just yourself, it's other members of the cabinet. where they essentially will make a statement, believing what they believe to be the president's position, only to have the president go on twitter or otherwise make a contradictory statement. but in all of it it's very unsettling for all americans to try to understand where the government is headed and the president is headed.
even more unsettling for allies who are not in the united states and have no other indicators by what they -- but then what they hear on the news. so we would just ask, i would just ask for i guess more thoughtfulness from the executive branch on how they approach these things. >> so we go now to mr. ted yoho of florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, good to see you again. appreciate you being here. as we talked the other day about ten years ago there were it 25 conflicts around the world today there is over 75. there are certainly no shortages of great challenges in the world. but with the challenges come great opportunities. so i see great things in store for you, for our nation, and hopefully for the world. and i feel some of the colleagues here aren't accepting the fact that we're $20 trillion in debt and austerity measures are coming. you know, we have reports of where we're going to be in five to six years. we're looking at puerto rico and greece and we don't want to go there. and so we do have to reform some of these programs and that leads to the current budget that we
continue the programs that work and we get the results. we get the results that we're looking for. and get rid of the programs that aren't working. we're in the drc with chairman royce. i remember sitting there at the table with the ministers and we're going around and talking about things. and i asked the people at that table and keep in mind we have given hundreds of billions of dollars. what do you do for your social programs? and they asked me, what do you mean? i said well, feeding the hungry, housing, health care. he goes, we have you. those aren't good programs. and we need to reform those and we need to put pressure on those kind of countries. you know, the comment that president trump said make america great again, put america first, i truly believe in that. and i think it's taken out of context because the only way we can become great, we can become first at whatever we do is to look out for the partners that we're working with and that
comes through the diplomacy in your agency and i have a lot of confidence in your business sense. i watched you since you came n i know we're in separate branches of government. look at this committee or, you know, i chair the asia pacific subcommittee as we talked about of how we can partner together to work on those commonalities and with that as you know yesterday panama terminated the diplomatic relationships with taiwan. it's the latest china effort to restrict taiwan's international space and including the blockade of taiwan delegation at the world health assembly. and to me this is uncon -- unconscienceable to say to another nation and i feel like with other people that have said
they are a nation that i recognize and i know it's in the a tough situation. we've had that policy since president nixon. but saying that and china says they're going to be a reliable partner to bring north korea to the table. when we look at what china has done, they've increased their trade with north korea 37.4% in the first quarter. chinese imports of korean iron increased 270% in january and february. yet no chinese firms have been subjected to secondary u.s. sanctions. i heard you talking about that. it looks like we're moving in that direction. i commend you for that. china, can we realistically rely on china in lieu of the past experience or actions? >> well, first, just to remind you that our korea -- our north korea policy really went into effect late february or early march when we began to execute that and so we recognize there was a lot of activity going on early in the year. that's what we've been trying to attack.
we recognize what china has done to put pressure on smaller countries. they're using the power of their trading relations. they're using the power of aid that they have gone in and provided to smaller countries. and in my trip that i recently made down to australia and new zealand, we're hearing this directly from them. that they are not only feeling this pressure, it is being put in right in front of them to say you either sever relationships with thus and so or we're going to end our trading relationships with you. even large countries are being threatened in this way. and our conversations with the chinese about this next 50 years of stability and prosperity, we're clear to them. you are destabilizing what has been a stable relationship with that -- these actions. if you are going, you're going to create instability and your
going to take this balance that has maintained a period of nonconflict, you're going to upset that balance. >> right. >> these are the kind of -- discussions we're having with the most senior levels of the chinese leadership. you have to think about where does this go? where does this lead? and what are you going to force as a response to that? so we're very mindful of that. we see it as threatening stability. >> i'm out of time. my last statement. i hope we stay in honor of the taiwan relations act as we have in the past. mr. chairman, thank you. >> thank you, mr. yoho. as i mentioned before, this hearing will conclude at 1:30. the secretary's been very flexible and he does have other commitments. so if the members will be brief and not be compelled to use their full time we want to give everyone a chance in the next 20 minutes. and we'll go to robin kelly of illinois.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary, for coming to the house foreign affairs committee. you are the first government witness to appear before the full committee. so i thank you for that. the official mission statement of the state department reads, the department's mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the american people and people everywhere. in your testimony, you stated that the state department's primary focus is to protect our citizens at home and abroad. and to me that sounds more like the mission of the defense department than the state department. so has the mission of the u.s. state department changed somewhat under president trump? >> the mission statement that you just read is one that is very powerful and that i would certainly support. having said that, it was a statement developed under previous administrations. part of our -- this redesign opportunity with very in front of us, a lot of the element
that we learned out of the listening session was there is some confusion over the mission. and that confusion doesn't just exist as of today, it's existed for some time. i think we do owe it to ourselves with the input and help of our colleagues in the state department to do a better job of articulating what is the enduring mission of the state department that endures regardless of what political party may be in place at any given time. because the state department is here constant. we understand that the will of the american people changes and can change from one election to the next. but the state department must have a mission that delivers regardless of what the policy decisions may be that change from time to time. and i think that's a conversation we really need to have with ourselves inside the state department, with our colleagues, and that's the
mission statement that i'm in search of is what will endure regardless of who may be occupying the white house? >> thank you. i do agree with most of my colleagues about the budget cuts. i have a lot of concerns. a recent article by mike mullen and james jones, two distinguished military leaders specifically cited cuts to usaid as risking u.s. national security and they go on to specifically say in the 21st century weapons and war fighters alone are insufficient to keep america safe. mr. chairman, i ask to submit the entire article into the record. i also have -- >> without objection. >> -- concerns about the staffing up that needs to be done. that will help you do the job you need to do if you have the people you need to have. is there a backlog of policy recommendations now because of the lack of staffing? >> there really is not. and again, i want to recognize, you know, every job is filled today.
either a deputy assistant stepped up to be the acting assistant, an acting assistant stepped up to be the under if necessary. these are remarkably good people, competent, dedicated. i have a lot of conversation with them about how i know it's difficult to be the acting, but they are doing a superb job. i have great confidence in them. they travel with me when i go overseas. these are the people that help me develop the policy. they are executing the policy and they're doing an extraordinary job. >> okay. because of time, i yield back. >> thank you for yielding back. we go to brian master of florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your time today. a couple quick questions. you have any plans to bring vladimir putin a red reset button? >> i don't think you can reset anything. we are where we are. we just have to address the conditions as they exist. >> you foresee turning a blind eye if russia were to invade any other sovereignty? >> certainly not.
>> you anticipate president trump whispering in the ear of the russian president? saying he would have more flexibility after the next election? president trump has any intent to do anything other than to try to restore this relationship to something that is in the interest of the american people. >> do you anticipate mocking the threat of the russian flurns on the united states by saying the 1980s want their foreign policy back? >> i think we'll be articulating our own view towards russia and i described some and some respects today. we take the relationship with russia as serious. they are a global nuclear power. having said that, we have a number of troubling issues with them in front of us to deal with. >> is there any level of funding that can make up for actions like that? >> i think is going to be just very hard work of diplomacy coupled with some strong actions taken already and what they can
enable us to do with stronger actions if we cannot get progress. >> you believe that it's more important the words and the actions that you undertake than any level of funding you try to meet? >> today in restoring that relationship, it is not absence of funds that is in any way preventing us from tipping the work to identify areas where we may find cooperation to begin to build some level of trust and confidence. funding is not an issue in terms of how we're working with russia today. >> thank you for your remarks. i yield back. >> we go now to deana titus of nevada. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary. i, too, share my colleagues' concerns about the devastating budget cuts and also by the lack of senior leadership at the state department. i don't see how we can move forward in the leadership role in the world with those two problems hanging over us. but i want to go back to the kind of the questions that mr. castro raised. i don't believe our country has
a singular voice when it comes to foreign policy. and that concerns our allies and also emboldens our adversaries. because nobody knows who to believe. he mentioned several examples, qatar, the incident that occurred recently, the peace talks in the middle east. i would like to bring up a couple of others. you weren't part of the discussion to withdraw from the paris climate agreement. and i believe you have said that you are opposed to that. that we should not have done that. i'd like to ask you why you think this was a bad idea and is there any way with all this limited funds that we can move forward in any way as a leader on climate change? the second one i'd like to ask you to address is in the written statement, you say the u.s. and i quote, will continue to be the leader in international development, global health, democracy and good governance initiatives and humanitarian efforts. yet thes president has said we
don't care what other countries are doing internationally, only how they relate to us. it's not up to us to interfere. i believe the quote was, "we're not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be. would you tell us how that kind of jives with what you said. >> with respect to the decision to withdraw from the paris climate accord, i was part of that interagency process. what i would point out to you this is a decision the president could easily have taken the first week after inauguration. he clearly indicated in his campaign he intended to. i think it's note worthy that he took some time to think about it. he deliberated on it. he heard a lot. we had a couple of different sessions on it with him. he waited until he took first overseas trip and attended the g7 so he could hear directly from others that the issue is important to. then he came home. he had one more deliberation and it was on a telephone conference call which i participated.
i was free to express my views. i took a counter view to the decision that was made. but i fully appreciate the elements behind why he took the decision. >> can you tell us why you have a counter position and why you don't think it was a good idea to pull out? >> as i've expressed publicly and i excess -- expressed to the president, i think having our seat around the table at the paris climate accord to continue to have influence on the issue itself, continue to represent america's efforts because america has done an extraordinary job, an extraordinary job of dealing with our own greenhouse gas emissions without heavy handed regulation. and just because we have walked away from the target that's were set under paris is in no way indicative of our intent to walk away from that continued improvement. i think americans, businesses, and private and public enterprises have no intent of changing that commitment. so my view was it is as a diplomat it's an opportunity for engagement and i take every opportunity for engagement i
can. this is an issue that is very important to many of our allies. it is among -- >> i agree. >> i think having the opportunity to engage -- that's the reason i argued for staying in. >> yeah. and how about the second point about just okay with whatever you do in your own country? >> i think the president was indicating that he is not in to government building or, you know, changing governments. i think what he's indicating is some of the mistakes have been made in the past by involving ourselves with countries and then expanding our involvement to want to now change their culture, change their heritage, change who they are, change the way they live their lives. there's a lot of conflict that can be created when we try to go too far in imposing our way of life on others. that we have to recognize and respect the history of countries, the history of regions, their culture and not
create new areas of conflict just because we think they should be doing things differently. i think that's the intent. there's a lot of merit in that. i think there is a lot of he -- when i reflect on the conflicts around the world and how did we get there and why did they exist? a lot of it is grounded in these areas. we believe if we can deconflict areas and bring peace to areas, we have a much better chance of engaging on many things like human rights, freedom, democracy which we want -- >> thank you, my time up is. i appreciate that. so after we go in and after the war is over, we don't have any responsibility for doing nation building. but that's okay. >> francis rooney of florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for your service. thank you for leaving private industry to serve your country. as a person who's been in and
out of the state department for many years and relationships with the agency for international development, i want to thank you for bringing a business like and pro taxpayer approach to funding the department. what you said is true. it's about what you can accomplish and what kind of people you have not necessarily what you spend to get there. for example, the department has spent over $29 million to subsidize an organization that you and i know personally, the world economic forum. i wonder what the taxpayers would think of that. i want to applaud you and your budget for scrapping the u.s. institute of peace. if every taxpayer out from florida to california could see that building we would have a revolt on our hands. lastly, i wish you would reconsider the $10 million you in there for the u.n. human rights counsel. that's on top of 17 1/2 million we spent to try to buy friendship with israel that i'll tell you bet you a steak dinner it's not going to work. and so i guess i just want to know what can we do to agree with you to have your back to encourage you to stay tough and
to reinforce your effort to bring reform, to eliminate wasteful spending and position the don't live effectively in the 21st century. >> congressman, thank you for the support we already receive from the congress. and the input which is really important for us to have an understanding what the priorities are in the minds of the congress. and in particular, the house because you represent -- you're closest to the face of the american people. i recognize that. i think in terms of some of the cuts to international organizations, we are looking at those one by one by one. and really asking ourselves what is the cost benefit here? and in some areas, we either are going to reform those or we're going to withdraw from them. and we actually are using this exercise and everyone is well aware of what we're going through here where we're taking a very close look as to what do we, the american people, get in
return for this investment or this funding that we provide? and that is very much not as a threat but as a tool to use so they understand you -- this time this is a serious conversation. we need to get to a serious conclusion. if you don't want to change, if you don't want to reform, that's fine. just let us know. and we'll try a different approach and the human rights council at the u.n. is one that we're currently engaged in. ambassador haley is directly engaged in. she and i have spoken about. we're going to reform this thing and make it reflect what it should be reflecting or we're going to withdraw our support for it and try to find other means that we can approach human rights issues on a multilateral basis with partners who see it the same way we do. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i yield my time. >> thank you. norma torres from california will be our last speaker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and welcome. sack tear -- secretary, thank
you for staying as long as you have and accommodating our tough day today. i understand that later this week you are traveling to miami for a conference about security and prosperity in central america, specifically the northern triangle area. i want to make you aware that we in congress have been working very hard on a bipartisan way to deal with the crisis we have in this area. i want to make sure that you understand that while our president may not think that, you know, we should be building up other governments, our national security is very dependent on the democracy and democracy issues within our neighbors, our closest neighbors to the south. we have to be very proactive at dealing with the very corrupt governments that have become a culture of these -- of our neighbors. we have to deal with the narco
traffic issues and the money laundering that happens in this region because they are our partne partners in our national security. so thank you for making a commitment to working there. but i also want to make sure that you understand that this is important to congress. we pass this resolution unanimously here in congress. the world looks at the united states for leadership on the global stage. unfortunately, the president's words and actions have been undermining american leadership. part of the problem is that we don't have a fully staff functioning state department. another problem is that there is a conflict of mixed messages that come across when the president tweets and you have a different response and his press team has a different response. mr. secretary, my question to you is are the president's tweets the official foreign policy of the united states?
>> i'm not going to comment extensively on the president's tweets. the president has his own means he wishes to communicate. and he communicates a lot of different ways. >> i understand. that either it is an informed decision based on facts that he is tweeting out and is this our policy? u.s. policy? >> i'm not involved in how the president constructs his tweets, when he tweets, why he tweets, what he tweets. >> it seems to be a game that goes back and forth. this is not meant to be a gotcha question. this is simply wanting to clarify for other world leaders. i was just on a trip to mexico with a delegation of u.s. members of congress. part of the insecurity with our closest neighbor to the south is the fact that the president puts
out tweets and people don't know. these leaders don't know if this is informed policy and if this is truly how the united states intends to conduct business. >> what i would say with our neighbors in mexico to the south and you mention the miami conference that i'll be going to tomorrow to address both economic and security issues in the triangle area, this conference is being co-sponsored by the state department, department of homeland security, mexican counter parts, foreign ministry and state minister of mexico. this is something that came out of our mexico city engagement. we recognize that we have a common issue in transmigration, that is a problem for mexico, a
problem for us. and this gets to our approach to the budget question and concerns that we're not going able to carry out our foreign policy objectives. we're bringing the interamerican bank, the world bank, we're breg a number of private sector entities to miami, the vice president is coming to give the keynote address at the address. >> do you know who is not coming? do you know who is not coming? it is not because you did not invite them, but the attorneys general of all three countries are not coming simply because their governments think that there is instability happening here in the u.s. and they have left them out. i think it's important at this conference, sir, we called them out on that. >> as you know, a lot of our assistance in the three countries is strengthen law enforcement, strengthen the ability of attorneys general general to prosecute, strengthen the courts to make the cases stick on corruption in particular. we have made progress and the reason we're focusing on the triangle area is because we made progress. we think we're very close to pushing this over the hump so to speak. we want to bring in a lot of others to help with this so we're not doing it alone.
>> well, i want to thank the secretary for his time with the committee. this has been a challenging day in congress. >> mr. chairman -- >> it's a tough world out there. excuse me. we're at 1:30 -- >> i just want to -- i appreciate that and thank the secretary for speaking here today and sharing your time so generously. on behalf of those of us not able to ask questions, i request that we may submit them to you and get a response in writing. >> absolutely. >> i look forward to any other questions. and i'm sorry we were unable to have a dialogue with each of you as well. again, i understand the circumstances entirely. >> and as i said at the beginning of the hearing, that absolutely is something we will do. do, and i do want to convey on behalf of all the members here, the committee looks forward to working with you, mr. secretary, on many policies
including your reorganization efforts, and you've heard our concerns, and we look forward to receiving your legislative proposals for the department's reorganization once they are ready. again, i thank you, and i thank you for being prepared to respond to the other members who did not get an opportunity here today. i thank you, and we stand adjourned. >> week the h