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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  March 16, 2011 10:00am-1:00pm EDT

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also non-governmental organizations, look at the regulatory commissions. i think japan is quite a democratic country. it will take awhile to get all the information out of it. in this country, active citizen participation -- go to nuclear regulatory commission hearings. you can comment on all kinds of things. i recently commented on an n.r.c. regulations and rules. it is possible, but i think you have to be vigilant. host: grace writes to us on twitter asking about a ban on nuclear power plants. sharon squassoni, thank you so much for joining us this morning. she is the program director for proliferation prevention at the center for strategic & international studies. let's go now to the floor of the
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house of representatives, where the session is getting underway. thanks for joining us today. ker. the clerk: the speaker's room, washington, d.c., march 16, 2011. i hereby appoint the honorable renee ellmers to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the house of january 5, 2011, the chair will now recognize members from lists submitted by the majority and minority leaders for morning hour debate . the chair will alternate recognition between the parties each -- with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and the minority whip limited to five minutes each. but in no event shall debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m.
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the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. poe, for five minutes. mr. poe: thank you, madam speaker. most americans are not personally affected by the two wars that america's engaged in in iraq and afghanistan. we go about our daily routine. we're concerned about march madness, the gasoline prices, but war doesn't really affect most americans personally. the media doesn't put those events on the front page. they're more concerned about the personal lives of celebrities than they are about the personal sacrifice of our warriors overseas. but war is real. real americans are tenaciously fighting on two fronts for the rest of us. for them it is personal and for their families it is very
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personal. united states is engaged in the longest continuous combat in american history as we serve our -- as our troops serve overseas. staff sergeant mark c. wells, photograph of him here, was 31 years of age, a member of the united states army and he was killed on march 5, 2011. in the helmand province of afghanistan by an i.e.d., that's an improvised explosive device. that's how the cowards fight our troops. of course they would not come out in the open because they would be defeated. his parents live in spring, texas, in my district, and he joined the united states army in 2003. growing up he always said, i want to be in the army. he was a volunteer, madam speaker, as all of those that are serving in iraq and afghanistan are. they are volunteers.
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they have the motto, here am i, send me. and mark went. he went to iraq for 14 months serving on active duty, and he's been in afghanistan since august of last year. he was a member of the 303 e.o.d. battalion. get this, madam speaker. an explosive ordinance disposal technician. and, yes, that means exactly what it says. his dad told me this week that his son was fearless. what a great attribute for an american soldier. he wanted to be a soldier. at the age of 12 he played the bagpipes. grew up eating corned beef and cabbage. in iraq one of his assignments was to play the bagpipes at funerals for other soldiers while killed in combat. he continually would say, i love the army. his dad said of his son, mark, that he was my personal hero.
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his family said he was patriotic, he was a great dad and he loved america. he leaves behind a wife, danielle, who is eight months pregnant. also a son named finn, who is 2 years of age. his father would say mark knew the risk involved being in the army but he loved what he was doing. and what i miss most is i won't be able to talk to him anymore. madam speaker, being in the army affects people personally, like his parents, burrow and his mother, sharon, his wife, danielle, his son, fiyy -- finn, and his unborn child. many of us have been down to the street at arlington cemetery to attend the funerals of our warriors that have been killed overseas. and we all know about those bagpipers that stand on the
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hill and play "amazing grace" in the fog as we bury our dead. so i suspect that on st. patrick's day another bagpiper will play for the funeral of mark wells, staff sergeant of the united states army, and play that amazing song, "amazing grace." madam speaker, the cost for america and the cost of freedom is expensive. it cost america a son. it cost america a husband. and it cost america a daddy. where does america get such great men? they are the rare breed. they are the american breed. and our prayers go out for his family, but while we mourn the loss of mark wells we should also thank the good lord that such men, as mark wells, ever lived. and that's just the way it is. i yield back my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland, mr. hoyer, for five minutes. mr. hoyer: thank you, madam speaker. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. last week, as i have been doing for a number of weeks, i've been speaking about our budget and the crisis that confronts us and the challenge that confronts us. last week former republican congressman joe scarborough said this about the hard work of getting america out of debt. and i quote, the belief of some on the right that american balance the budget by cutting education, infrastructure, the corporation for public broadcasting and others is budgetary witchcraft. that's from joe scarborough of
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florida. budgetary committee paul ryan expressed a similar thought and he said this, literally -- if you literally think you can just balance the budget by cutting waste, fraud and abuse, foreign aid and n.p.r., it doesn't work like that, said paul ryan, chairman of the budget committee. both congressman scarborough and congressman ryan are exactly right. last week i explained why republican spending plans, barely makes a dent in our debt. that's because the spending targeted by republicans, nonsecurity, discretionary spending, only amounts to 14% of the entire budget. should we focus on that? yes. can we get to where we need to be from there? no. if you want to meet an arbitrary goal of cutting $100 billion and you want 14% done, you severely hurt education,
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innovation and competitiveness without making our fiscal condition significantly healthier. that's why to really get our debt under control we have to go beyond that 14%, we have to stop making the cuts that while reckless are politically -- or politically easy. we need to start doing what's in the best interest of the country even though it's politically hard. that means addressing the defense spending that takes in more than a quarter of our budget. it means making hard choices that can keep our entitlements strong for generations to come. but we also need to pass deficit-reducing tax reform. our tax code is a monumental collection of rules and regulations riddled with loopholes and preferences which are a drain on job creation and frankly exacerbate the deficit. many of those loopholes are tax expenditures, as they're called, and popular with all
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sorts of special interests. but they exact a high price from millions of us, billions of dollars and more than 225 million collective hours spent spent on tax preparation. money and time that can be invested in more productive activity. just as importantly, when the tax code is full of loopholes, businesses and families start making decisions on maximizing tax breaks, not on their economic common sense. closing those loopholes in return for lower tax rates freezes all to make more economically sensible choices. in other words, less preferences, lower rates. closing those loopholes can also reduce the deficit, and the spending bill on the floor this week, total discretionary spending for fiscal year 2011, adds up to $1.1 trillion. an awful lot of money. how much do our tax expenditures cost for the same fiscal year?
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coinc irving dentally, $1.1 trillion. this chart reflects that. $1.077 trillion in expenditures. $1.068 trillion. almost the exact same sum in tax expenditures. how much do they cost for the same fiscal year? just as much as we spend on nonsecurity discretionary spending and security spending. clearly tax expenditures must be part of the answer. the two commissions that met to try to focus on getting our deficit under control, making sure that we're economically viable into the next century and making sure that our children are not left in a deep economic hole, that they'll have the resources necessary to meet the challenges of their time and not look at our generation as the generation of
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debt. it must be part of the answer, tax expenditures, because if we attempt to solve our debt without addressing defense, entitlements and revenues we're fighting with one hand and four fingers behind our back. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, mr. duncan, for five minutes. mr. duncan: thank you, madam speaker. i rise today to honor life and the work of a ministry that is literally saving lives in the state of south carolina. but before i begin, let us pause to remember our friends in japan and the tragic loss of life there. the piedmont women center is a christian ministry in that state, providing compassion to thousands of women each year who face unplanned pregnancies,
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by giving confidential counseling. they have protected the most innocent among us, the unborn. the doors of this life affirming ministry opened 20 years ago today. next door to the largest abortion clinic in south carolina. in 1991 a group of christians came together to collectively start a ministry funded by individuals, churches and businesses to offer real alternatives to those in crisis. the staff and volunteers of the piedmont women's center can hold newborn babies who have been given the gift of life because of their ministry. they have countless stories of real people, like lisa and her boyfriend, peter, who came into the center early one saturday morning with the intent of ending their pregnancy at the abortion clinic next door. a story that i'd like to submit and share with you today. minutes before this young couple came to the door, the four volunteers at the center
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prayed god would do a work of redemption in someone's life that morning. their amen had barely been voiced when the door opened and lisa and peter, mistaking the center for an abortion clinic, entered and announced they were there for their appointment. the 12-week old unborn child was scheduled to end. realizing they were not at the abortion clinic, they started to leave. the director boldly stepped up and asked them to use 10 minutes before their appointment to talk about their decision. they agreed. alone, lisa went in the counseling room with a director while one talked to peter about their unborn child. lisa made the decision to trust their director and have an ultrasound. this decision would change their lives forever. our volunteer silently prayed and with her highly skilled touch, the cold still of the ultrasound machine came alive with activity. lisa and peter were mesmerized
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as they observed the antics of the little life they had conceived. they both melted at the sight of their precious child and cleatly changed their minds about the aabortion -- abortion. not only had a baby been saved, but before their lives, the king of kings, the lord of lord allowed them to see past their fears and allowed them to accept her child. peter said they had offered to help financially so they could continue their college education. they walked out of the center teary eyed, giving evidence to the change that had taken place in their hearts. the c.e.o. for the last 20 years at the piedmont women's center says she is continually encurninged as she sees more and more in her community to see that all life is protected and respected. . .
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it was established 10 years ago with the purpose of providing a network across the state of compassionate ministries to care for women in need. the abortion rate through clab brat efforts of ministries and legislation has reduced the rate of abortions in my home state of south carolina almost 50% in the last 20 years. while congress is fighting to defund planned parenthood and protect life at conception, the staff and volunteers at the piedmont women's center are on the frontlines every day, literally saving lives. i'd like to congratulate the piedmont women's center and their c.e.o. on reaching their 20th anniversary. thank them for their commitment to protecting the most innocent among us and wish them god's blessing as they continue to spread their ministry across the palmetto state. may god bless you, the unborn, and may god continue to bless america. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman
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from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for five minutes. mr. blumenauer: permission to revise and extend. the republican assault on public broadcasting continues. we are told that tomorrow we will be considering h.r. 1076, which really goes further than anything that we have considered to date. it would prohibit the purchase of any content for public broadcasting resources using federal money. now, i think we are going to see in the course of the debate some unfortunate, and i hope unintended, consequences. although it's ironic that my republican friends who came to congress this time with a pledge of regular order, that everybody would have 72 hours to review
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legislation online, that we are going to have the committee process working in a robust fashion, have again decided to violate their own rules. by rushing this to the floor without extensive committee work and without being available for americans to review this legislation for 72 hours. i don't understand why, but i can guess that they -- if they really want to try and pass this, that they would be far better off rushing it, not having it carefully examined. first and foremost the whole point of public broadcasting is the development and broadcast of content that doesn't have commercial value. that doesn't inspire the networks, the channels, radio and television, to be able to
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sell advertising for this particular type of program. you will search in vain reviewing the thousands of commercial radio and television stations, cable channels, and networks to find the type of educational programming that we rely on p.b.s., for example, to supply to our children. there is no content for our children on the vast commercial sea of broadcasting that doesn't come from people who are trying to sell something to our kids. not educate them. you are at a time when news is shrinking in the commercial arena, newspapers are getting thinner, broadcast networks are withdrawing correspondentents from overseas at precisely the time that the american public
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needs to know what is happening in the middle east, in japan. at precisely the time commercial coverage is shrinking, public broadcasting has actually expanded coverage and in fact at times devotes a lot of time and attention to boring news. boring news which often we find is some of the most important for us to understand. now, this proposal would prohibit public -- not just purchase of n.p.r., which is the target, ironically national public radio has a minuscule level of support from the federal government, most of this money flows to provide content and programming to smaller stations, rural and small town
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america where they don't have the financial base to be able to provide robust public broadcasting. we are always going to have public broadcasting -- broadcast stations in new york, san francisco, los angeles, even portland, oregon, a medium-sized city will have that resource. it will be diminished if we don't have the program support, but it will be there. but in rural burns, oregon, where it costs 11 times as much to send a signal, that's where it's going to be felt. that's where it's going to be hit. now, denying the ability to purchase content isn't just n.p.r., it's car talk, it's "prairie home companion." and most significantly in my mind, it is some of the special programs that had been developed for the pacific northwest. again, no commercial station would do it because no advertiser will pay for it, but it serves a market for important
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news that people need to have about their communities. it's not just in the pacific northwest. it's in the rocky mountain states, in the upper midwest, and in fact some of these stations are the sole source of programming. so by prohibiting the use of this resource, it's going to cut them off at the knees. well, that's unfortunate. because public broadcasting is the most trusted name in america media. it's why republicans, democrats alike don't want it cut. in fact some would even increase it. i hope my colleagues will listen to what the american public wants and reject this legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california, ms. woolsey, for five minutes. ms. woolsey: madam speaker, the american people are rapidly losing confidence in the
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nation's afghanistan policy. public opposition has reached an all-time high. according to the new abc news/"washington post" poll, nearly 2/3 of americans, 64%, say this war isn't worth fighting. i wonder if any of the programs that my republican colleagues want to cut have sunk to that level of nonsupport. and yet this charade goes on. the july drawdown, the date we should be leaving afghanistan, is rapidly approaching. and there are precious few signs of preparations for a massive military reemployment. in fact, -- redeployment. in fact, top officials have been rocking back the commitment from almost the moment the president made it. general petraeus has returned to capitol hill this week to pat us on the head and tell us the same things he told us before.
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you during testimony he gave last year he offered up this i call it a doozy describing the july deadline as the point at which a process begins to transition security tasks to afghan forces at a rate to be determined by conditions at the time. with all due respect to the general, madam speaker, that's an awful lot of weasel words. his testimony in the senate yesterday didn't inspire much confidence, either. he continues to offer the same bland and tone deaf talking points, a lot of vage reassurances about progress we supposedly made while being sure to say challenges remain so he can continue justifying a substantial troop presence. he's over here on the house side stayed. i hope my colleagues on the armed services committee will hold his feet to the fire, demanding the clarity and candor that the american people
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deserve. with everyone hanging on general petraeus' every word, even though he is a symbol of discredit and unpopular policy, i thought some of us should speak for the overwhelming majority opinions, for that 64%. so congress -- congressional progressive caucus peace and security task force held a briefing with a fascinating group of panelists. we heard from robert, the suicide terrorism scholar who posed an interesting analogy. if suicide bombings are the lung cancer of terrorism, then foreign occupation is the smoking habit. the lethal but preventable addiction that's feeding the illness. matthew, the former marine captain and state department official, noted that we are laying off police officers here at home while building up a
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corrupt and ineffective police force in afghanistan. and rolling stone contributing editor, michael hastings, who recently broke the story about the army using cyops propaganda on u.s. senators, was also there and he made this observation, he said, general petraeus is giving us the charlie sheen counterinsurgency strategy to give exclusive interviews to every major network and keep saying we are winning and hope the public agrees with you. madam speaker, it was a compelling briefing. i hope all of us in the 112th congress will listen to people like professor pate, mr. ho, and mr. hastings, but most of all i hope we'll listen to the american people who are angry, disillusioned, and pleading with us to bring our troops home. they want us to do that so there
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will be no more staff sar get mark wells' deaths like the young man from congressman poe's district. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona, mr. quayle, for five minutes. mr. quayle: thank you, madam speaker. madam speaker, i rise today to honor a man who was would delight and epitomized america's dream. never asked for anything in return. we here in washington talk a lot about the american dream. unfortunately we often talk about this dream in abstract terms. yet every day there are people all across this great country who are living this dream without any recognition. and for many of them, that's exactly how they like it. they want acould he -- they
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don't want accolades or praise, they simply want to live a happy life and be surrounded by the people they love. they believe that building a strong family and serving their country is nothing special. they believe it's ordinary. madam speaker, that mind set and that belief is what makes these people extraordinary. and that is what made theo extraordinary. daily -- dale came from humble beginnings in southern california. after he graduate interested high school, he briefly attended college until he found another calling. instead of furthering his education, dale joined the marines and went on to fight for our country in vietnam. after being honorably discharged from his beloved corps, he met the love of his life and married her. dale went on to be a successful small business man. he scrapped and he saved, but in the end he built up one of those small businesses that makes our
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country strong. although dale built a tremendous small business, this was not his greatest accomplishment. in dale's mind, his greatest accomplishment was his family. his marriage, and his four children who are far and away the most important thing in his life. i don't know this because i read a story about dale in the newspaper. i know this because i felt it firsthand. dale was my father-in-law, the love he had for his family knew no bounds. and if we all embraced this love of family and country, we would be in a better place. madam speaker, on february 19 of this year, dale's family and friends mourned his death. but more importantly we celebrated his life. we will never forget the sacrifices he made for his family and his country. with that, i yield back the balance of my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington, mr. mcdermott, for five minutes. mr. mcdermott: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. madam speaker, i'm here to report that the republican follies continue today. today we were scheduled to debate the republicans' proposal to terminate the president's foreclosure prevention program called hamp. but like last night, the republican leadership decided to postpone the debate until after returning from the recess. as the country faces a number of problems, including the serious housing crisis, the house republican leadership decided that today wasn't the best time to terminate a program that has helped more than a half a million
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homeowners stay in their homes. see, tomorrow the house will close up shop until march 28, and republicans recognizing that killing a foreclosure prevention program today will be bad politics. it would force republican members to go home and defend this fickless move for 10 straight days, for terminating a program, many of whom are struggling right now to keep their mortgage and keep their home. but after the 10-day recess, when the house republicans come back out of the sight of their constituents, they'll move forward with their plans to end the home loan modification program. this kind of leadership is disgraceful. american homeowners are struggling. nearly seven million homeowners are facing foreclosure in this country. one in every four houses are
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owned by people who owe more than what the house is worth. more than half a million homeowners have been able to stay in their home because of the affordable modification program, or hamp. ending that program will undoubtedly kick families out of their homes. that's something the republicans realized they didn't want to do before a 10-day recess. now, i'll be the first to admit, the affordable modification program is not perfect, so let's fix it or replace it with something better. however, i have yet to see a legitimate alternative from the house republicans. they just want to cut, cut, cut, cut. cutting deficits is important, but the republican policies and scheduling gimmicks indicate they don't really care about the american people. every republican member should watch the "60 minutes" special entitled "hard times generation." it aired two sundays ago on march 6.
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the special focused on families who were homeowners and part of the middle class before the 2007 recession started. now, hundreds of thousands of those american families are homeless and hungry for the pictures time in their life. the children of one homeowner said what it was like to live in their parent's van. before school they'd go to a wal-mart bathroom to brush their teeth, wash their face and get cleaned up to go to school. the kids and their parents are now living in a motel room. the whole family of six, which is, quote, better than the van, although it's small. is this the america that the republicans want our children to grow up in? are republicans really comfortable killing a program that has prevented 500,000 people from moving out of their house and living in their car? clearly my republican colleagues need a wake-up call
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today and i'm here to help. watch that "60 minutes" special. i made it easier for you to watch the segment. all you can do is go to my website, and then click on the first slide that shows the "60 minutes" special tonight. if you can see it, click it and you can watch. when you're back, colleagues -- madam speaker, when my colleagues are back in their district over the 10-day recess, then they should meet with some of those people and get their thoughts are about ending the program and doing nothing to help american families. if they still believe that they should simply do away with the modification program, my belief is they have forgotten why they were elected and who they represent. the housing program that we will debate after the 10-day recess has saved the homes of over one half a million people,
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500,000 families. it's far from perfect but we need to fix it or replace it with something better, not just killing it. how many more kids have to take their morning bath in the wal-mart bathroom or the exxon gasoline bathroom before we begin to help the homeowners who were caught in the debacle from wall street from which not one person has gone to prison, served one single day? i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule
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>> second day on capitol hill he's talking about the situation in afghanistan. and u.s. policy going forward. this got under way about 35 minutes ago. live coverage here on c-span. >> reconciliation rather than continued fighting should be their goal. before concluding there are four additional issues i would like to highlight to the committee. first, i am concerned that levels of funding for our state department and usaid partners will not sufficiently enable them to build on the hard fought security achievements of our men and women in uniform. inadequate resourcing of our civilian partners could in fact jeopardize accomplishment of the overall mission. i offer that assessment noting that we have just completed a joint civil military campaign plan between u.s. forces -afghanistan and the u.s. embassy which emphasizes the
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grit cal integration of civil-and-and military efforts in an endeavor such as that in afghanistan. second, i want to echo the undersecretary's eggs suppression of deep appreciation for your support of -- expression of deep appreciation for your support of our troops. the funding you have provided has, for example, enabled the rapid employment of a substantial increase in the intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets supporting our forces. to take one example, we have increased the number of various types of persistent surveillance systems, essentially blimps and towers with optics, there 114 this past august to 184 at the present with plans for continued increases throughout this year. your support has also enabled the rapid procurement and deployment of the all terrain vehicle version of the mine resistant ambush protected family of vehicles, with 6,00 fielded -- 6,00 -- 6,700 fielded
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since i took command. and your support has continued to provide our commanders with another critical element of our strategy, the commanders emergency response program funding that has once again proven absolutely invaluable as a way of capitalizing rapidly on hard-won gains on the ground. indeed, the establishment of the afghan infrastructure fund, and specific authorization for the reintegration program funding has been instrumental in enabling key components of our overall effort effort -- overall effort. i should also highlight the critical work of the world bank and asian development bank. these institutions are the largest donors to afghanistan after the united states, and they have been critical to the success of such projects as the ring road and the uzbek afghan railroad. we need these critical enabling institutions and further u.s.
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support for them will ensure that they are able to continue to contribute a significant -- significantly as they have in the past. fourth, i also want to thank you for the substantial funding for the development of the afghan national security forces. the continued growth of afghan forces and quantity, quality, and capability is, needless to say, essential to the process of transition of security tasks from isap to afghan forces. and the resources you have provided for this component of our effort have been the critical enabler of it. in closing, the past eight months have seen important but hard fought progress in afghanistan. key insurgent safe havens have been taken away from the taliban. numerous insurgent leaders have been killed or captured and hundreds of reconcilible mid level leaders and fighters have been reintegrated into afghan society.
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meanwhile, afghan forces have grown in number and in capability. local security solutions have been instituted and security improvements in key areas like kabul, kandahar, and helmund provinces have abled progress in areas of government and development as well. none of this has been easy. the progress achieved has entailed hard fighting and considerable sacrifice. there have been tough losses along the way. and there have been setbacks as well as successes. indeed, the experience has been akin to that of a roller coaster ride. the trajectory has generally been upward since last summer, but there certainly have been significant bumps and difficult resources -- reverses at various points. nonetheless, although the insurgents are already striving to regain lost momentum and lost safe havens as we enter the spring fighting season, we believe that we will be able to
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build object the momentum achieved in -- on the momentum achieved in 2010 though that clearly will entail additional tough fighting. as many of you have noted in the past and as you noted this morning here, chairman and ranking member, our objectives in afghanistan and in the region are of vital importance. we must do all we can to achieve those objectives. those of us on the ground believe the strategy in which we embarked provides the best approach for doing just that. noting as dialogue with president karzai has reminded us at various points we must constantly refine our activities in response to changes in the circumstances on the ground. needless to say we will continue to make adjustments in close consultation with our afghan and international counterparts as the situation evolves. finally, i want to thank each of you for your continued support
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of our country's men and women in afghanistan and their families. as i have noted to you before, nothing means more to them than knowing that what they are doing is important and knowing that their sacrifices are appreciated by their leaders and fellow citizens back home. each of you has sought to convey that sense to them and we are very grateful to you for doing so. thank you very much. >> thank you. in every speech the president has given on afghanistan since december, 2009, he's emphasized the withdrawal of u.s. forces that will begin in july of 2011. at the same time, administration officials have assured us that any such withdrawal will be conditions based. inpetraeus, -- general petraeus, in your professional judgment, would you recommend the july,
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2011, reemployment include the withdrawal of combat forces? >> mr. chairman, i am still formulating the options that i will provide the president and the recommendation that i will make. but i do believe that there will be some combat forces included in those options and in that recommendation. indeed, if i could i think i mentioned this to yesterday because people were talking about secretary gates' message to the ministers of defense that nato getting the job done right and then also about transition initiation and initiation of the responsible drawdown, to use the president's term, of surge forces in july. i think it is logical to talk both about getting the job done right as he did to his nato counterparts, and about beginning transition and
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commencing the responsible withdrawdown of surge forces. again, at a pace determined by conditions on the ground. those conditions that i will assess will clearly include an assessment of the afghan national security forces and their ability to do more, as we do less, as we thin out but don't hand off in accordance with transition principles. needless to say the security situation and whether they can, indeed, handle it, if it has been reduced to that point, and how they have grown in their capability, but we also must include as both of you noted governance and development. because those elements have a direct effect on the security situation. if governance is seen as legitimate in the eyes of the people, if it gains their support, and willing participation, then indeed obviously you are able to build on the hard fought security gains on the foundation of
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security that is essential but is not enough. and then beyond that, of course, the gradual development in the economic realm, in the provision of basic services with increasingly those services being provided by afghan rather than international organizations is also essential to that. so these are the components, again the very broad components, and we have quite a rigorous assessment criteria that we employ, but those are the big ideas, if you will, that form the core of our assessments. >> thank you. ranking member smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just two questions. focusing on that transition, getting to the point where afghans take over for all elements of security, governance, i think the struggle is we have laid out the arguments, and i think you laid them out well, about why it's important, what we are doing to get us to that point. but what we need i think to make
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the argument better is measurable signs of progress. what can we look to before that point when we are all gone? i mean we could just leave and see if they can figure it out, but i think we all would a-- we would all agree that's not good. what's measurable progress, the next few months, year, two, that shows here's evidence that they will be able to handle it? they will be able to take responsibility for security. and governsance. i think that's the biggest challenge in terms of the way the afghan structure is put up. what can you give us in terms of measurables, instead of just saying july, 24 -- 2014, 2011, here's we are to make that handoff? >> grate question. we often are asked out there when will the afghans step up to the plate in that kind of question? i think that's an unstandable and reasonable question.
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these questions often take place while we are in kabul with visitors. i will note quite often that in fact in the area they are located it is afghans who have assumed the lead in security tasks, in kabul, the greater kabul area, which includes some 1/5 to 1/4 of the entire country's population. somewhere around five million or so people. the face of security on the streets of kabul without question is the afghan police and a little further out it becomes the afghan national army. and every single night in kabul there are precision intelligence driven operations to capture, kill, arrest, because we have gone to a -- we, the afghans, have gone to a rule of law based detention system in the greater kabul area, for the most part. going after those organizations,
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taliban, i.m.u., and others trying to disrupt security there and have indeed periodically conducted sensational attacks. although the past nine, 10 months or so those periodic attacks notwithstanding have seen really quite good security by really any standard. in fact, president karzai a few months back was asking what the -- what was it that was leading to this? in my view what was it? it was the comprehensive approach but it was indeed afghan forces in the lead, disrupting these different cells that are trying to carry out attacks on the afghan people and afghan institutions. i think right there you have a very good example, essentially, of what life generally looks like. we'll see if that's among the areas in which transition may proceed when president karzai makes his announcement. but we have literally only got two -- basically two battalions,
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a little more than that, of isap norses there -- forces there, and they are largely stepped back already and what we call an operation overwatch stage even at this point. >> thank you. the other question is about why it is important to make it clear that we are at some point leaving. i know it's a deli cat, difficult balance because you can make -- delicate, difficult balance because you can make the one argument, we are leaving, you have to wait us out. on the other hand f. we don't make it clear, then we appear to be an occupying force. we strengthen the insurgency. we also create dependence in some different elements of afghan society. and the goal here isn't that the second we leave the other side wins. the goal here is as we said that we build up the strength of the afghan forces and the afghan government so when we leave the afghan people win. talk a little bit about why it's important to deliver that. >> it's a very important message
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that first of all it undercuts the taliban narrative of course that we intend to stay forever. that we want permanent bases. that we want to dominate the region or take afghanistan's mineral wealth, you name it. there's a number of different conspiracy theories out there. and this pokes a hole in all those. second, it does indeed impart a message of urgency. and i think we have to remember that president obama's speech, the whole july, 2011 issue, if you will, was intended to complement the message of enormous additional commitment on the first of december at west point, 2009, 30,000 extra forces, tripling the number of civilians, substantial additional funding request for afghan national security forces, and so on, that was complemented but we are not going to do this forever. 18 months from now, afghan forces are going to need to
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begin to step up to the plate as well. i think that message of urgency has resonated, frankly. i think it has made a difference. and secretary gates in discussing this whole issue with the sask a couple weeks ago i think quite effectively laid out on the one hand his normal resistence to timelines and so forth during iraq, but also his recognition of the value of, again, a message that can convey a sense of urgency to all of our partners, but specifically to our afghan partners so that there is not a sense of dependencecy that is infinite. >> if i may just add, as we begin this transition process, we are also placing great emphasis on discussing with the afghans what the nature of a long-term partnership might look like, because even as we begin
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the drawdown of our surge forces and eventually can envision a broader reduction in our military presence, we don't intend to leave afghanistan in the sense of pull up trucks, abandon, leave them to their own devices. we are as the president said from the gidge, we are making enduring -- beginning, we are making enduring commitment with afghanistan to achievement them. that's long-term security assistance, it's going to involve help in building their capacity, economic development, and so forth. we are very actively discussing the terms of that partnership even as we begin this transition process to reassure them of wur commitment. >> thank you very much, thapping you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mr. bartlett. >> general petraeus, a bit more than a weeks ago you graciously hosted our could he dell -- codel in kabul. you were very generous with your time and energy, sir. because of time and resources
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permitted, you gave us a longer and more thorough brief than could be afforded by your testimony here today. i have had more than ample opportunity to have my questions answered. i therefore will yield my time to our most junior member who is present here. congressman roby. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you so much, representative bartlett. i just want to tell you how much i appreciate your testimony here today and being with us. general petraeus, as the commander of our forces in afghanistan, what is your view on the advisibility of the house of representatives passing a resolution offered by representative kucinich that would call for the removal of all u.s. forces from afghanistan no later than december 31, 2011? and specifically how do you believe our troops would view such a measure? and how do you believe the taliban and al qaeda would view such a measure?
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>> to start with the latter elements, the taliban and al qaeda would trum pet this as a victory, success. needless to say it would completely undermine everything that our troopers have fought so much for and sacrificed so much for. ultimately, though, this is about our vital national security interests and as president obama has identified them, foremost among these is ensuring that al qaeda and other transnational extremists cannot re-establish sanctuaries such as they had in afghanistan under taliban rule when the 9/11 attacks were planned in afghanistan, the initial training of the attackers was carried out in afghanistan, before the attackers moved on to germany and then u.s. flight schools and then carried out their acts of terror.
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needless to say this would close the door on the very, very hard fought effort and a mission that i think is seeking to achieve a very, very important security objective of our country, as well as of our allies. again there are 48 contributing nations, including the u.s.. i think among the biggest alliances, certainly way beyond just nato, it's nato plus. isap contributing to nations. what it would do in the region would be really incalculable consequence as well. >> for our troops? >> well, when we have taken--in particular i think tough losses, i remember the first time this
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went -- when i was a division commander in iraq in 2003 and we had a horrible night. we had two blackhawk helicopters that collided. one was circling an operation, the other for some reason transited, and 17 great troopers were killed. in a single crash in a single night. and as you might imagine, this is all that a commander, all an organization can think about even after we had done the recovery in the middle of the night and everything else. and on the way out of the command post the next morning, we were trying to go through the motions of getting back to the normal battle rhythm because you have to drive on. you have to continue the mission. and there was a young private first class actually saw me, walking out of the hallway of the command post, and he literally put his arm around me and he said, you know, sir, that's 17 reasons to get this thing right. we have had well over 1,000
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reasons to get this thing right. and many thousands more whose lives have been changed forever because of grievous wounds. and again obviously this would not allow us to get this right. >> thank you so much. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. andrews. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, thank you for your service. general petraeus, thank you for your her rowoic -- heroic embrace of a couple major problems for this country and all you have done to solve them. i want to go babbling to mr. smith's question about the -- back to mr. smith's question about the metrics we should look at to determine on the ground conditions that would determine the pace at which we would withdraw. i notice on the chart that you gave us, page 16 of the document that's ansf capability in the field, these quality measures of
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police and afghan military readiness, are these going to play a central role in your determination of the onthe ground circumstances? >> they do already. and they certainly will. we look very closely at the capability of the forces. we try to make this as rigorous and absolutely forthright as we can. these are not measures of just quantitative items. in other words, it's not just because they have 80% or better of their equipment, does it work, this and that. it also includes subjective evaluations of leadership in the organizations and, frankly, their fighting capability. >> i notice that on both the police and army readiness measures, none of the units are the green or independent level that you are looking at. it does look like the trending is good. and the police units in may of 2010, 35 out of 293 units were
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at the effective advisors level. by february that was 96 out of 313. and the army, the similar comparison would have been a jump from 27 units out of 115 up to 52 out of 157. what do you think is going to happen to that pace in both the police and army, let's say in the nextcy,-month window, what with -- next six-month window, what can we expect? >> we certainly have every objective of increasing, again, the quality of the performance of these organizations. keep in mind that one reason that they are generally not seen as capable of independent activities is because the forces don't have the enablers that are necessary to do this. and that's, in fact, our effort with the afghan national security forces, shifting increasingly from building more infantry battalions or afghan
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national civil order police battalions, in other words combat forces, to building more combat support forces, artillries. >> i would assume -- if that works we might see exponential jump in readiness because as more leaders become more battle at the timed they can elevate the level performance of more units s. that right? >> i'm not sure i would share exponential. we'll see a steady increase in the development of these forces. again, the real challenge you just put your finger on, congressman. that's leadership. it's leader development. you can develop private soldiers. you can develop young policemen. but development of leaders who can command companies, battalions, brigades, and corpses in their structures just as in ours takes years and it takes not just training and experience on the battlefield, it literally takes education and professional military development. >> i
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where you're concerned about -- i am on the wrong page. you express your concern about underfunding our aid and state department efforts. describe for us what you think would happen if we made the error of underfunding those efforts as a follow-on to the sacrifices of the service members in uniform. >> well, again, it would deprive us of the ability to build on the hard-fought security gains. again, security is the foundation on which all else is built, and once you have it, though, you do have to build on it because it actually strengthens the foundation. this is not a linear, then confidence or what have you, although there's a little bit of that. there's literally a spiral effect where a little bit of
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progress in the security arena has progress in local governance which lets the markets reopen, people he tells you where the weapons are. >> upward spiral can succeed -- go in the downward spiral? >> it can enter a death spiral and that's what you are always seeking to avoid, needless to say. >> thank you very much for your time. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mr. thornberry. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate yalls efforts to put a silver lining on a dark cloud of the july withdrawal date. if i summarize your testimony, it is we are just getting the inputs right. we are making significant progress. that progress is fragile and reversible and we are going to leave in july no matter what. we are going to be careful about where we leave and how we leave and we're going to try not to pull the rug out from under anyone. but if i'm an afghan trying to
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figure out which side i am going to come down on or if i'm a taliban trying to pace our activities, i'm not sure i follow that logic but i understand the president said it and that's what's happening. but i worry about whether it undercuts our efforts there. general, i'd like to ask about corruption because we hear a lot about that but i was sdreegged in an article by "the american interest" in an article by lawrence rosen who basically argues the idea of corruption in a tribal society is fundamentally different from the way we view corruption. as a matter of fact, he says that for afghans to understand corruption as americans do, more or less entail their having to experience the whole web of social, economic concepts that we do. that is really asking too much.
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are we asking them too much on the anti-corruption piece of this? >> well, thanks, congressman. first, if i could very quickly comment on the july, 2011, i think you would be correct if it were not for the lisbon and the 2014 date that was agreed to add lisbon. that was very reassuring to the afghan people. there is no question that as we explained july, 2011, the concept of a message of urgency to complement the additional huge commitment of the united states and so forth that there was a residual doubt. but i remember going out into a small village in western afghanistan a week or so after returning from the lisbon summit where, of course, all the nato isap leaders agree that the goal would be afghan
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forces in the lead by the end of 2014 and indeed they were already talking about the concept of beyond 2014 with a nato and afghan and then u.s. and afghan strategic partnership agreement, discussions on which have now begun. and i was out there in this village. there's no electricity, there's no satellite dishes. there's very little of anything. crowd gathered around in the marketplace. and i thought i'd try to explain what a summit was and what took place at lisbon, a place far, far away and so forth. i started into this and said there was a big meeting held a week ago. he said, you mean the lisbon summit, general? and i said, yeah, did you hear about that? he said, of course, all afghans are politicians and we listen to bbc every night and said we were very reassured to hear the leaders talk about the end of 2014. so i think that again that as
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secretary gates explained there is something to a message of urgency. there is something to undercutting the taliban narrative of staying forever. but there's also something clear to a responsible conditions-based pace for drawdown. with respect to corruption, we are not, of course, trying to turn afghanistan into switzerland in a decade or less. there is a very realistic understanding of the conditions in tribal societies and in village by village, valley by valley in afghanistan. having said that, there is also a very clear understanding that what president karzai and we have agreed to call criminal patronage networks, these are individuals breaking the law in substantial ways, they enjoy a degree of political protection and patronage and they are not acting as individuals, they are networks, that these kinds of
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activities are a cancer that will undermine the very institutions to which we have to transition tasks and responsibility for transition to succeed. he is quite seized with this. mcmaster, one of our brightest army brigadier generals, is heading the task force and taking this on with our afghan partners. in the second or third briefing, president karzai on this, when we laid out to him the criminal patronage network which was eventually headed by the surgeon general of the afghan military, he fired the individual on the spot despite the individual having political protection, and then fired the entire chain of command of the afghan national army hospital as well. now, these are very tough issues. again, we are after what is in a sense good enough for afghanistan. again, not trying to apply a standard of a western industrialized democracy. but there are certain corrupt
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activities that do have to be dealt with, and in particular these that come up the rubric of criminal patronage networks are of huge importance. >> thank you. mrs. davis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and secretary and, of course, general petraeus, we appreciate your appearance here once again. and i don't know how many more appearances there are going to be. you have been a tremendous leader for us and i appreciate that. i want to turn back quickly to the question that mr. andrews asked about the capability -- afghan capability in the field by the chart that you provided and i, too, was looking for the independent and where that was. so you said that that does not include enablers. where does the --
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>> the -- the independence activity requires a sufficient level of afghan enablers so they can be independent, and the challenge right now is that in many cases, although the capabilities are building, but in many cases afghan units still depend fairly heavily on isap elements or contracts or other vehicles to ensure their logistics, maintenance and other various -- >> in order for that to move, in order tore that to change, on what they are dependent in terms of funding? >> the -- again, the u.s.-provided afghan security forces fund is far and away the bulk of the funding. now, certainly there are other major contributors. japan, for example, provides the salaries for afghan police. there is a -- another fund to which nato isaf countries contribute.
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but, again, it is the afghan security forces fund that is without question -- >> is that 20% to 24% cut which i believe is in the c.r. in h.r. 1, how does that affect it? >> when that hits, and, again, we project that would hit sometime in june, that would have an enormous effect, negative effect on our effort, needless to say. and it would undermine, it would undercut our efforts to develop the enablers because, again, we always had a progression that first you develop guys who can help you in the fight actually out there against the snurnlts and gradually you build the institutions, the ministries, the branch schools, staff colleges, leader development courses. by the way, literacy programs are featured very prominently. we finally bit the bullet saying having a soldier that can shoot and not read a serial number off a weapon is not the way to go. we do basic literacy now and we
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are way over 100,000 that have either been trained or in the process. >> can you provide a timeline then? getting the independence and moving that to that place even with the funding is -- sounds like a very ambitious undertaking. >> well, it's essential. we have to, again, ensure that afghan forces over time can support themselves both with combat service support and then the actual combat support. so artillery, mortars, they're developing helicopter fleets, fixed wing fleet. i cut it out of the narrative to just cut time but we occasionally say that this effort is so big and so complex and so challenging that it's like developing -- building the largest aircraft while in flight, while it's being designed and while it's being shot at. >> do you think, general, that's one of the reasons that the u.s. has grown so impatient
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with this effort that trying to get one's head around it is a very difficult thing to do? >> well, i think there are a number of reasons but, again, i think the biggest is that we have been at this for 10 years. unfortunately, as both the undersecretary and i explained, we've only been at it in the right way with the input having been gotten right for less than six months or so. just last fall. clearly as we were developing the inputs we were also seeking to produce outputs. >> if i could just add, you mentioned the potential cut for funding for the n.s.f. that the c.r. would involve. i think it would be devastating at this point not only in terms of building their further capability for independent operations but also this is the same funding that would support units that are critical in
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partnering so they hold real ground or expand the amount of ground they have in lead. so it would really complicate broader time lines just beyond the development of the n.s.f. so it is really, really crucial to keep that funding at appropriate levels. >> thank you, mr. jones. >> thank you, thank you, general petraeus, undersecretary, it's a pleasure to have you before us today. i have a couple of comments and then i will have a couple of questions. i pulled something from the 2014 withdraw. i want to read this to you. it says, "that is why we believe that beginning in fiscal year 2015 the u.s. can with minimal risk reducing army active duty in strength by 27,000 and the marine corps somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000. these projections assume that
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the number of troops in afghanistan would be significantly reduced by the end of 2014 in accordance with the president's strategy." so i assume from that that we're talking about 2014, 2015 with a large number of -- our military in afghanistan. just a couple of things -- i have camp lejeune in my district. i don't have a military background. but i listen to them very carefully i have a couple friends who are generals that are active duty. a couple that are retired. i'm not going to mention their names. it will not be fair so i am not going to do that, but recently i was down in jacksonville and spoke to a group and i said i know y'all probably would disagree with me but i want to get our troops out in a reason able time.
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so a marine of 31 years in the marine corps, retired as lieutenant colonel said, no, let me tell you. i talked to active duty marines , and many of them are just tired and want out. they don't see the end point. i'm getting to something else and then the question. so he said -- i said, well, could i use your name during a debate? he said, i'll give you a letter. and i'll just read a couple sentences and get toward an end because time is moving forward. it makes no differences if we are there for 40 years, the result will be the same. the war is costing the united states billions of dollars a month to wage and we will still continue to get more young americans killed. the afghans have no end state for us. i urge you to make a contact with all the current and newly elected members of congress and ask them to end this war and bring our young men and women home.
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if any my comments will assist them in my effort. lieutenant colonel dennis adams. the retired general that i made mention to that i cannot tell you my name but i think you would know it if i could, i asked him after the comments came out by senator mccain and lieberman, general, what do you think about four more years, these are his thoughts -- i do not believe 40 more years will guarantee victory, whatever that is, so four will do nothing. then he made comments about lieutenant general john kelly's son being killed. the other point -- i won't have time to go through that so i will give you a chance to answer the questions. but in the latest poll that was released yesterday, i believe, by the "abc news"/"washington post" poll said 73% believes we should withdraw our troops from afghanistan this summer but
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only 0% thinks it will. they're right, it ain't going to happen. my point is i probably will not be sitting here in 2015. you might not be sitting at the panel in 2015. but if it would be a general or a madam secretary that will say to the congress in 2015, we just need two or three more years to train the afghans and to make sure that their government can withstand. give me your thoughts on three or four years from now having to say that, would you think we are making progress if we have to be there longer than 2014, 2015, or would you be honest with not you personally but the people sitting there, would they be honest with the congress and say, you know, 15, 16, 17 years, for god's sake, how much more can we take, how much more can we give, treasure
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and blood? >> well, first of all, congressman, let me just reassure you of something that i have told you and this body before, if i ever felt we couldn't achieve our objectives that i would be very forth right with my chain of command, with the president of the united states and with all of you. i believe the objectives are of enormous importance, as i stated earlier. you know, when the president asked me to deploy there on very short notice, this was only one possible answer to that. you know, i may not be at this stable, probably won't be in 2015, but i will tell you that my son is in uniform and lieutenant petraeus was in afghanistan and kept quiet and able to redeploy in september.
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we are very proud of what he did. he thinks he was doing something very important. i candidly -- i understand the impatience of the u.s. people. i am impatient. i remember one of my colleagues who came to iraq. we were about six months into the surge. it was the height of the violence. it was extraordinarily difficult, and she told me upfront, she said, general, you ought to know that i am a member of the out-of-iraq caucus. i said, congresswoman, so am i. but i just want us to get out under the right conditions, and i think that's what we're trying to do here, of course is to achieve our objectives, gradually to transition tasks to our afghan counterparts so that we can indeed handoff something to them that is sustainable and that avoids that country becoming the kind of country it was in the past.
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we tried the hands off approach. in the wake of charlie wilson's war, we got tired of it. we cut off all funding, and the results were what they were. i'm not sure that that is the right course of action in the future. >> thank you. mr. cooper. >> thank you, mr. chairman, madam secretary, general. appreciate you being here today. appreciate your excellent work. can you tell me about taliban recruiting and the al qaeda network and folks like that, to what extent are they augmenting their numbers, are they augmenting their capabilities? >> well, congressman, the bulk of the taliban are from -- within a relatively small radius, the fighters are within
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a small radius of their village, their valley. the leaders may come from other areas and, indeed, there is a recruiting of suicide bombers that does take place in some of the sanket wears in pakistan -- sakt wears in pakistan with the -- sanctuaries in pakistan. they are exor thing their troops to fight on by cell phone or h.f. radio. with the hakani network, there is recruiting taking place in north waziristan, although they are under considerable pressure from the counterterrorism campaign that is being conducted there. >> when i see a chart like the one on page 15 about afghan national security forces growth, how would you plot a chart showing taliban forces or
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hakani networks or other insurgents that our troops have to worry about? >> that's a hardly debated topic, and -- that's a hotly debated topic and we have a methodology for trying to determine the numbers of taliban, keeping in mind that, of course, it goes up and goes down based on fighting season, based on how things are going and so forth, recognizing that there's a fair amount of the population in afghanistan after 30 years of war that can adopt chameleon-like atributes as required to survive from day-to-day. the general assessment is that there's been somewhere around 25,000 taliban at their peak that may be active at a given time. there's no question but that there have been significant losses sustained by mid-level leaders and fighters in certain areas in particular. there's also no question that these are resilient
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organizations and they can find others to put into these positions, although there's been quite a replacement of taliban leaders in recent months in particular because of upset by senior leaders with the performance of those on the battlefield in afghanistan and also by some in some cases literally just having enough of it and volunteer tearly taking themselves -- voluntarily taking themselves out of the fight. >> so you say that the taliban is 25,000, their top ranks have been hurt. what would be the current troop levels or force levels, about 25,000? >> again, it's still early in the fighting season and, again, we'll see -- the way the methodology works is you literally build the organization as best you can and in an analytical way by identifying. we have pretty accurate tree diagrams, if you will, wire diagrams and link diagrams that show who the leaders are at
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various levels, who they work for and roughly how many fighters we assess that they have working for them. as you aggregate this for a particular district and province and then country that's how you get the estimate. i'm not sure we would say that we're at this point in this particular fighting season by any means. we still assess there's a fair amount of leaders who are either just coming back or preparing to come back. >> about how many people would be in the hakani network? >> let me actually take that one for the record, if i could, and i'll provide you the classified numbers of that and show you the structure of that organization. >> how about their fighting capabilities? >> that network is generally assessed to be, again, the most challenging, frankly. again, it's an organization that most also assessed -- certainly the senior leadership
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is very unlikely to reconcile. where there is on the other hand a reasonable prospect for reconciliation of mid level and below taliban levels in afghanistan and then the possibility of some of the more senior leaders breaking off and considering reconciliation. the fact is there are some former senior taliban government officials who recognize libya and in kabul and are occasionally seen as conduits by the national high peace council with those who are still active. >> i see my time has expired. thank you for your support, general. >> thank you for the troopers in that great state, especially the screaming eagles. >> thank you. mr. akin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to move forward a little bit and ask an optimistic question. let's say we move forward a number of years and you put together the structure and really afghanistan is looking
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pretty good. you got your local police going, the military and all. my first question is, then how capable are they to sustain something like that with the pakistan border with the way it is and the infusion of people coming across the border, how much of a stretch, do you think they can basically hold the border and maintain some level of civilization? >> well, obviously a lot will depend on what pakistan does over the years to help its neighbor to the west. the most influence in pakistan is by having it see that afghanistan is going to turn out reasonably well. that indeed the taliban, haqqani network will not prevail and therefore, indeed to reassess what relationships
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might exist with some of these organizations and whether it's time to deal with them a bit more on pakistani soil where they have sanctuaries knowing that the taliban have sustained losses because of the counterinsurgency campaign on what is the northern province and then the federally administered tribal areas knowing they recognize there is clearly more that needs to be done and that there are areas that need more attention. >> my answer is it depends a whole lot on pakistan? >> clearly what happens in afghanistan is related to what happens in pakistan but also vice versa. and really even more broadly regionally. i think you have to take into account the actions of iran, the actions of the central asian states and certainly india and then even beyond that, russia and others, are
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all very important actors in the regional context of this effort. >> but your point is a good example in afghanistan kind of sets a higher bar for some of the other countries as well? >> well, and it gives them reassurance as well. clearly the central asian states and all the way up to russia are concerned about the prospect of transnational extremism flowing out of afghanistan together with the flow of the illegal narcotics industry. that has enslaved populations, enormous segments of the population in iran as well as again in russia, europe and some of that makes its way to the united states. >> that was going to be my second question, general. the economy, i don't think of afghanistan as a very well-to-do economy, and it's made wealthy because of heroin and poppy. do you believe in phasing out that trade or do you try and
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eradicate it whenever you see drugs and how does that believe into the economic model to rebuild on the foundation of stability that you're trying to create? >> well, first of all, we should keep in mind there are literally trillions with an s on the end of dollars of minerals in the ground in afghanistan. now, you got to get them out of the ground with the human capital and capacity and transportation, everything else, to be able to exploit that for the good of the people of afghanistan. but there are small steps going forward in that prard. there are more tenders out there now for some of these different opportunities, and it's our hope that this will reach critical mass, really, and they will see an economic chain reaction take off at some point as companies realize the extraordinary potential that is there. in some cases with minerals that are in very short supply elsewhere in the world. so that's a very important
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component to this. the illegal narcotics industry is a concern for a number of reasons. one, it's enslaving parts of the population of not just afghanistan but more so many of its neighbors and way beyond that. the other is it's illegal. how can you have rule of law in a country if the major export crop is illegal? >> i just -- our time is getting a little close. my question is, just from a practical point of view, when you have people on the ground, do you see it burned and destroyed or how do you approach it? >> we first of all, if you deprive the little guy of his livelihood, you have just created more insurgents. so, number one, if there is eradication, afghan government-led eradication, because that's how it's done, and we might support it with an outer ring of security, but we make sure there is compensation so these individuals are not out completely. our target really is the big guys. it's the industry bosses and
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the labs and the large infrastructure that supports this industry that we go after and that's our focus. >> thank you, general. >> thank you, ms. sanchez. >> thank you, madam secretary. i have a couple of questions for you. we've been in afghanistan almost 10 years and lost over 4,000 lives and spent more than billions. we've spent money equipping and training the afghan national army. although we're training these soldiers, i don't see much progress with respect to stability or safety in the country because where i sit from, it almost seems like this war is ultimately about who can outlast whom. i think that we're sacrificing a lot of lives and wasting a lot of our resources over there. i would really like to ask the
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question that former chairman skelton asked last year and that is, what does success look like in afghanistan? >> well, thanks very much, congresswoman. success in afghanistan is a country that can secure and govern itself. and in so doing prevent the re-establishment of sanctuaries by al qaeda and like minded groups. clearly, success will include an enduring level of some international support. very different in character, very different in level, one would think, from that at the present, but, again, i think most countries -- you recently had the australian prime minister here. i think she addressed congress and talked about the importance of a commitment beyond 2014 given the recognition that afghanistan law is ultimately potentially very wealthy.
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certainly is not in that situation right now. >> general, with respect to that, there's currently 47 countries who are in this coalition with respect to afghanistan. i know that we've gone from april of 2009 where we had 39,000 american troops there and we now have over 100,000 in afghanistan. but it seems to me like poland, 2,600 troops, and canada's 2,800 troops are scheduled to pull out before the end of this year. and italy and germany recently announced they will begin withdrawal. and president obama has committed when he did the surge that even though he grew the number of troops in afghanistan from 39,000 to over 100,000, that's almost doubling or tripling it, that he would start to withdraw in this year, also, and somehow we are at 2014. the other day -- i can't
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remember who, gates, or maybe the vice president said we would be in there with combat troops past 20 146789 we keep coming back to this fragile and reversible. we're making gains but it's fragile and reversible. how long do you think our allies stick with us? how much past 2014 will this take, in your opinion, conditions on the ground? because it seems to me we could be here in 2019 and we'd still be in the same place and you would be coming before us. maybe not you. maybe somebody else if you've had enough of this. fragile and reversible. what does that really mean, general? >> i could never have enough of this. first of all, again, canada actually is indeed going to move its combat forces out of the kandahar area. but it has plansed, as it has announced, to reinvest a
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substantial number of those in the train and equip mission. >> train and equip. train and equip. everybody wants to train and equip. we have spent a lot of money to train and equip. >> so these are critical trainers. and, again, if trainers are the key -- the ticket to transition, as the nato secretary general has stated, then it means a great deal if canada fills a substantial number of the 750 trainer shortfall that we currently do face. >> let me just ask you because i've run out of time here, corruption. i mean, i have been at this corruption thing for a while now and understand that -- in fact, it was just a long time -- an observer noted that it's no longer enough to say that it permeates the afghan state. corruption by and large is the afghan state. the afghan government does not
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so much serve the people as it preys on them. i have somebody who is close to you out there who's telling me everybody's on the take out there. >> well, actually, we'd welcome the brigadier general mcmaster to brief you. one of the initiatives i launched a couple months after taking command, he's working with the afghan staff of the national security council. he and i briefed president karzai three or four times. it was after one of those, as i mentioned, that president karzai on the spot fired the afghan surgeon general and hung with that despite some political support for that individual, despite the absolute failure in criminal activity and not meeting his sacred obligation to wounded warriors. so we would welcome, again, that opportunity or if he's back on mid tour leave or do a
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v.t.c. with you to lay out because there's a great deal of effort in that regard. there's also a considerable effort to determine that our money is not part of the problem. and as part of that we have debarred nine contractors, for example. there's dozens more than are under suspension to make sure that indeed if money is apple united nations, as the counterinsurgency guidance states, as the counter insurgency contracting guidance states, would get in the right hands. but we'd like the opportunity to lay that out for you. >> thank you, madam secretary, for your service and thank you, general, for your service to our country. >> thank you. >> mr. forbes. >> thank you, general, for being here. we know you are not just a good solettier, you are a great soldier. that's not just the fluff. that's factual. madam secretary, we know how hard you work and your heart is in the best interest of this country.
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general, you did mention the gains we had over the past decade are now fragile and reversible but we have the right inputs, we're headed in the right direction. but you know for the last decade everybody that sat where you sat had told us basically the same thing. we think we have it right. so we have to hope you right but realize the possibility maybe we're wrong. madam secretary, you also mentioned something that was accurate. you said, we lost our focus on afghanistan. but that can be a little misleading to some people who just hear it because it seems to suggest that maybe we went to sleep or we weren't paying attention. the reality is you know, and i know you said this before, is we can't focus everywhere. we have to pick our priorities and we have to focus and we moved our focus to iraq. we had a pretty successful situation. we came back to afghanistan. there are those that say based on our focus in afghanistan, we are now taking our focus off of other areas. some say south america.
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we see the rise of drug cartels there. and some say asia. we see the denials of the chinese where we still have no concept to deal with that. we're seeing an increase of modernization of the military in the chinese with cyberattacks but we don't seem to be focusing. we cut out our f-22's while we see russians increase theirs. we stopped focusing on jointness. we have ship repair shortfalls of $567 million. and some say we are risking a reduction in service life of our fleet. and many of us feel that our lack of focus on shipbuilding could cause the chinese navy to outnumber our navy. because both of you looked at this for so long, help me to articulate the priorities of why it is important that we
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continue that focus in afghanistan knowing all the things we're accomplishing in afghanistan, but why is it important we continue that focus even if it means taking our focus off the -- off some of these areas? and if so, how long can we afford to do that? >> let me just start out, and i know general petraeus wants to add -- i want to say we are focused on afghanistan because we do have vital interests at stake. the core goal of disrupting, dismantling al qaeda and defeating their safe haven is absolutely essential. we have to achieve that, not only in terms of where the bulk of al qaeda senior leadership reside but also looking to their affiliates around the world. and i would say we have not taken our focus off the broader war against al qaeda which is global in its dimension. it's not just in afghanistan and pakistan. but i would also tell you that secretary gates has very
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clearly announciated the strategy that says first and foremost we have to prevail in the wars we're in given what's at stake, but we also have to invest in preventing and deterring conflicts elsewhere and we have to prepare for the future. so i would assure you with the work that the air force and navy are doing that our technologyists are doing in terms of science, technology, research and development, we are focused on the problem like a laser and you can look at our investment streams to track that. you can look at the efficiencies effort that's pulled money out of unnecessary overhead and plowed it back into the shipbuilding program and elsewhere. so i would argue we haven't lost our focus on those other priorities but obviously we've got given the stakes involved, the lives on the line, we have to maintain a focus on afghanistan as well. >> first, congressman, i ask to
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go back to 2005 when i was asked to do an assessment on afghanistan during the second tour of iraq. and after doing that assessment at the request of the secretary of defense, i went back and briefed him in the pentagon, and this was when afghanistan was seen as the, quote, war we were winning. and i said, mr. secretary, with all due respect, this will be the longest campaign and the long war for all the following reasons and it had to do with the damage of 30 years of war, the lack of human capital, the lack of infrastructure, the illiteracy rates, all the issues that we've been grabbling with and i think have come -- grappling with. i know over two years ago when i took over central command and focused on afghanistan, i concluded we didn't have the inputs right. and i stated that at that time and i'm on the record at various times as having said that. therefore, the gains really are
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the gains of the past year. there may have been points along the way up until 2005, maybe a bit beyond that where we thought if things were headed in the right direction. but not recognizing the taliban were coming back, but our assessment certainly retrospectively would be that the taliban had the momentum in the country since at least 2005. there are areas in that country that we didn't realize until we went in and took them away from the taliban how long they'd been there and how much infrastructure they had established there. now, with respect to, again, taking the focus off other areas, as a former geographic combatant commander, i'd affirm that i think we can juggle more ball at a time. i think we can keep a lot of plates spinning at one time. we might feel like the guy at the circus who is racing around doing that but we certainly have that capability even as we rightly, as the secretary and undersecretary have noted, do
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everything that we can to win the wars we've got which is of enormous importance. again, why afghanistan? because it's the home to al qaeda's senior leadership. it has been for decades. it has to be disrupted, dismantled, defeated and it has some affiliates there with whom it has symbiotic relationships, some that want to be transnational extremists as well and can't allowed to become that. >> thank you, general. thank you, madam secretary. >> thank you. mr. larson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general petraeus, a few members about -- there are about 305 -- our goal is about 305,000 n.s.f. in afghanistan. for october of this year, it's 305.4, i think it's about it is. >> and we are short 750 trainers to get to that number. >> well, no. i wouldn't -- it's not quite a
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cause and effect. 750 in many cases are for expanding the training capacity that actually develops enablers. some of those are in that 305. some of those are in the projections beyond that. so i'm getting comments and other reports that some folks wants to push that to 378,000. if we're not there generally with -- to get to 305,000 with what we have, what's your assessment of getting to 378,000 anytime soon with what we don't have? >> well, i think we'll figure out how to do it at the end of the day, even though there's a necessity of diverting perhaps some additional u.s. forces, and they would be a mix of combat support and combat service support because we are increasingly do enablers, not just combat forces.
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>> right, >> perhaps hiring more combat trainers which is something we don't want to do. we want to draw those numbers down and then accelerate the so-called train the trainer, the afghan trainer program which is now starting to bear dividends. >> this isn't a isaf decision or nato -- >> well, the nato training mission afghanistan is an isaf organization but it is a duo-headed command, as is isaf, with the afghan security forces fund flowing to the combined security trained commission -- >> right. >> who is also the ntna commander. >> so has the move been made to move the 378,000? >> it has not. it was developed with the minister of interior, minister of defense of afghanistan was ultimately approved by president karzai. if is actually a recommendation of 352,000 as a floor, and if
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there are certain reforms that continue, because the afghans are very much working on reforms in the area of recruiting, retention and reduction of attrition as well as leader development and some other institutional development areas, if those continue then there are incentives. so if you're doing this well and go to 378,000 and that's what's gone forward. that has the endorsement of general madison, but it has recognition from all of us that there is a sustainability issue. >> right. >> and that is what policymakers have to grapple with. it's my responsibility to state it forthrightly. it is the job of others to determine whether those requirements are and what the long-term implications are. >> and right.
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secretary flournoy, i don't think that you are -- i don't think the administration's talking enough about the long-term relationship that we will have in afghanistan. only in recent memory, there's only one country we've been involved with that we then left alone and that was afghanistan. i think it's important to put this stra teamic relationship in context. i want you to talk a little bit about specifically what this administration and what the karzai administration believes would be the elements of a relationship that sees a decreasing military footprint and an increase in diplomatic and economic footprint. talking to people at home is get out of afghanistan. the response is, do you mean literally? the united states of america doesn't have a relationship with afghanistan at all? we need to tell folks we are
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not saying that. no one is saying that, but there is a relationship that we are going to have with afghanistan that is strategic. could you give us in 26 seconds the -- what those details mott like look and perhaps the chairman would be kind enough to give you something. >> i think as we begin the transition process and cutting the drawdown, i think it's important to clarify publicly and with the afghans what a strategic partnership entails, what this commitment involves. i think first of all you could expect a security corporation or an assistance component, a long-term commitment to helping the n.s.f. continue to grow and develop and build a capability. there will be an economic dimension. what kind of trade relations, what kind of economic assistance, what kind of collaboration on that front. there will be a political and diplomatic component, a people-to-people component. if you look at the strategic
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framework agreement that we came up with in iraq as a model, it's that kind of thing, laying out the elements of a commitment on both sides to a multifaceted interaction between the two countries over time. >> the chair exercises great forebarnes but if members want to -- forebearance but if the members want to prepare their remarks, i will recognize members for those that are sitting here trying to ask questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will try to conform to the standard. it will be difficult. first of all, secretary flournoy, i want to thank you for your message on behalf of the administration and you restated it and that is we are not abandoning afghanistan, that there's an enduring partnership, strategic partnership that i interpret
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that we will stop terrorism there to protect american families at home. i find this reassuring to the people of afghanistan. i know that it's appreciated by our allies and our troops serving there, and i hope it's a warning to our enemies around the world that we will not abandon the people of afghanistan. general petraeus, it's an honor to be back with you. i always like to point out that i'm very grateful personally. i've had two sons serve under your command in afghanistan. i'm very grateful my former national guard unit, the 218th brigade, they are proud they were there. 1,600 troops, the largest deployment of troops since world war ii in afghanistan to help build the afghan army and police. and you trained our new general, bob livingston, very well. we're very grateful. i know your success in iraq as
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the co-chair of the victory in iraq caucus, i appreciate the success of the surge and then i appreciate the president accepting your recommendations for surge in afghanistan. and in my most recent visit there, i was so grateful to come back to the house floor and point out that the success of the surge is truly to encourage the people of afghanistan. their police and their army units. you've gained 70,000 more police and army personnel with great leaders like general wardock. and the american people need to know that this is also assisting with literacy, marksmanship. this is real world progress. with that, my question really is related to our longtime ally, pakistan. sadly, the country has been under assault by national disasters. what is the status of our military relationship with our
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longtime ally? >> well, first of all, congressman, the people of south carolina shouldn't be -- should be very proud of their brigade, the 218th. it's good to see the commander of centcom and now see him become a.g. of the state. with regard to pakistan, it clearly has endured enumerable challenges in recent years. terrible natural disasters. the spread of the taliban pakistani that forced the administration two years ago. very tough fighting, very impressive counterinsurgency operations in which the pakistanis have lost thousands of soldiers and also thousands of civilians. the fact is that the cooperation between pakistan, the afghan forces and isaf forces has never been better. we have had a number of
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meetings literally just within the last couple of months to coordinate operations where pakistan is continuing its offensive against the tiriqi -pal stan-pakistani. we will continue that on the afghan side of the border. there is no gains that pakistan has made against the tiriqi-pal stanny and some affiliates but there is also no question about the very worrying developments in terms of extremist developments with the asass nation of the -- assassination of the commander. and more recently the assassination of the minister of minorities. the pakistanis, i've had many conversations with their army leadership, that more needs to be done against groups that
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reside in very air yuss in pakistan, in north waziristan, in balugistan, that are causing challenges for their neighbors in afghanistan while also being fair to recognize that the pakistanis would rightly state that they have put a lot of short sticks into a lot of hornets' nests in recent years and they absolutely have to consolidate some of their gains and solidify their gains and build on them before they can take on major new fights. nonetheless, there is a clear recognition among all of the importance of their doing that at an appropriate moment and indeed the u.s. relationship with them which has i think it's fair to say a sustained degree of retention in recent weeks, in particular, as a result of the case involving
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the state department employee but hopefully we can move forward, take the rear-view mirror off the bus and help the relationship. >> thank you. >> we will have one more. ms. bordallo, and then we will call a five-minute recess and then we will begin with mr. turner. ms. bordallo. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. madam secretary and general petraeus, it's -- thank you for appearing today. it's nice to see you again. to begin, representing guam, the closest neighbor of japan, i wish to extend our prayers and condolences to the people of japan and that they may recover from this horrendous disaster. i have, as you both know, traveled extensively on codels through afghanistan and central asia. since 2003, i might add, where i met you, general.
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and i have seen success. i want to make -- place that in the record. just three weeks ago i traveled with the wilson codel. and i thank you, general, for the very informative brief that he gave us. now, my first question is for the secretary. i believe one of the keys to advancing democracy in afghanistan is to educate the women. madam secretary, you touch on this in your testimony briefly in the formation of the afghan consultative peace jirga. my question to you, what our measures are our coalition forces involved in to advance women's rights? >> there are a number of u.s. policies and programs designed to secure and enhance the role of women in afghan society.
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there are a number of state department programs, usaid programs. every time secretary clinton goes, she gave us great prominence to these. in terms of the isaf forces, and i know general petraeus will want to speak to this, one of the innovation that's occurred is using our own female soldiers, marines, other troopers in female engagement teams, the lioness program where they are able to go into afghan villages and access and engage half the population that otherwise would be off-limits to us. and so they are working face to face with afghan women at the local level trying to ensure their voice is heard, to ensure they are part of the process of transforming an area from insecurity to security and in terms of being participants in the broader governance and so forth.
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so that's happening at that local level all the time. >> thank you. thank you. madam secretary, i'd also -- >> maybe i can add on that. >> i am going to get to you, general. i have another question to you, general, but i will get to you. i tend to -- i was with speaker pelosi on a codel and it was strictly meeting women in the military and in the afghan government. they are very vocal and they spoke about security. that was the main thing. they wanted the u.s. to provide security for them so they can go out. and teach and meet with the afghan people. general, to what extent, if any, must corruption behavior those in government in afghanistan must be countered in order to support stability? what exactly is needed for president karzai in order for corruption in the afghan system to be countered successfully? during a dinner with ambassador iken berry on this recent --
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>> we are going to break away from this house armed services committee. you can continue to watch on one item on the legislative agenda today, a bill ending a federal program in which the government helps buy, developed foreclosed homes. votes expected throughout the afternoon. tomorrow in the house, a bill that would propose to defund national public radio and also look for possible war powers resolution on afghanistan as proposed by representative den us kucinich. now -- dennis kucinich. now live here on c-span live to the house floor. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning made possible by the national captioning
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institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.] the speaker pro tempore: the -- the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father coughlin. chaplain coughlin: come and help us, lord our god. those wounded, returning from war, are not afraid to submit themselves to physicians. in this humility, they live patience and offer you alone the glory. by their being faithful to the course outlined for them, they learn that it takes many small steps to make full recovery. in the same light, o lord, grant this nation patience.
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give this representative government wise discernment and courageous action to excise whatever poisons the whole system while preserving each healthy member. as we pray today, we ask your -- you, divine physician to bless, sustain, and reward the navy medical team that cares for members, staff, and guests here on capitol hill. with them, may we give full measure as we serve in your holy name. amen. the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. pitts. mr. pitts: i ask the guests in the gallery to join nuss saying the pledge of allegiance.
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indivisible, with liberty and justice for all pledge indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker: the chair will entertain up to 15-minute one-minute requests on each side. for what purpose does the gentleman from west virginia rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mckinley: thank you, mr. speaker. in 1987 president ronald reagan declared march as national disabilities month. he called upon our nation to provide encouragement and opportunities to help persons with developmental disabilities, lead productive and fulfilling lives. there are currently over seven million americans who experience developmental disabilities. disabilities have no
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boundaries. they can cut across all lines of racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic backgrounds and can occur in any family. as an individual with significant hearing disabilities and a grandfather of a child with special needs, i am very familiar with the hardships of overcoming obstacles of difficulties. my grandson, maxwell, has charged syndrome, and it deals with intense developmental and medical challenges every day of his life. he is a true inspiration to our family and our community. during developmental disabilities awareness month i encourage us to learn about the people in our community who have developmental disabilities and to recognize that all of us have talents and abilities, that we can offer to make -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. mckinley: thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california rise?
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the gentlelady from california. for what purpose does the gentlelady rise? ms. bass: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. bass: i rise in strong opposition to the majority's spending plan that will cost jobs and threaten our economic recovery. republicans have held the majority for 111 weeks now and we have yet to see a jobs plan. instead of focusing on jobs, which is the number one priority of americans, the majority is pushing spending cut that destroy thousands of jobs. mr. speaker, the majority is ignoring the warnings from economists that say the sharp cuts they propose would guarantee major job losses in the public and private sectors. the economic policy institute shows that the majority's plan would destroy more than 800,000 jobs. mark zandi, john mccain's former economic advisor, puts the job loss figure at 700,000. no matter who is right, the
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number is far too high. mr. speaker, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle don't particularly like public employees, but we do need to ask just who are these public employees. just one example is the staff at the tsunami warning center. under the majority's plan, the national weather center, the agency that houses the tsunami center that issued alerts after friday's earthquake, and there was significant damage in california after the tsunami -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. ms. bass: would result in a cost of $126 million. thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? mr. pitts: to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. pitts: we know that gas to fuel jet planes come from oil. president obama realizes this. in fact, his advisors have considered opening up the strategic petroleum reserve in
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order to stabilize supply. but if we are willing to open up this emergency supply, then why are we not taking advantage of the natural reserves that we have throughout our nation? following b.p.'s careless action in the gulf, six deep-water drilling rigs left for shores, some even to egypt. deep-water drilling will continue but off foreign shores. america will continue to need oil but it will increasingly come from foreign nations. rather than reducing our dependens on foreign fossil fuels, the actions of this administration are increasing them. with instability in the middle east, our gas prices naturally rise. let's open our natural reserves off our shores and throughout our country. let's create energy jobs here and stabilize the price of gasoline in the united states. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from rhode island rise?
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mr. cicilline: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. cicilline: we celebrate the festivity of st. joseph. the feast of st. joseph is celebrated widely among italian americans, including my family, and many others across my home state of rhode island. it's an opportunity to recall the many contributions of italian americans to our country and to think about the patron saint of the family. this began five centuries ago with the journeys. italian americans represent some of the country's and the world's foremost innovators in science, business, science, politics and government, arts and culture. in celebrating the many milestones of the italian american heritage on this feast of st. joseph, we recognize the lives and rich history of italian americans. i yield back the balance of my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan rise? >> i rise to request a moment to address the house and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> i rise today to honor a young man named wes leonard in west michigan and a community that rallied around that family. wes was a star basketball player who after winning a basketball game, the final shot of the game on march 3, collapsed and passed away a short while later. that was an undefeated season for the blackhawks and they went on three days later to start their first playoff game. they had won four additional games, and i was struck by -- at the visitation for his family by the rival teams that showed up in their letter jackets to come and honor and pay respects to wes, his family and the team that he led. mr. huizenga: this team played
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admirably throughout their final games. and on monday this one came to an end. but a true mark of character is how they respond to adversity. mr. speaker, these young men truly are of character. mr. speaker, i ask that we rise today and honor wes, the team, the fans that supported them and that they accept condolences on my behalf and the behalf of so many others who have asked, as i have been wearing this ribbon, to pass those condolences on to the community, to his family. we thank wes for his leadership and all that he has done for his community. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from hawaii rise? the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. hirono: mr. speaker, i grew up in japan where earthquake preparedness is part of life, but none could prepare the nation for the natural disasters that occurred on friday.
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while my mother had successfully contacted our relatives in japan, many families haven't been able to find or contact their loved ones. thousands of victims are in shelters. many are still missing. the death toll continues to rise. tsunami is a japanese word that the world understands. we saw the water sweeping across farmlands, wiping out everything in their path. gaman is a word that says strength and endurance. they do not stand alone. people from all over the world have sent messages of support and donations continue. in the midst of the tragedy, -- hawaii and japan's ties are strength. the hawaii blood bank is coordinating a national drive. the chamber of commerce are among many helping.
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i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana rise? mr. fleming: i ask unanimous consent to speak to the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. fleming: thank you, mr. speaker. we in louisiana had to suffer through the b.p. spill which is bad enough. but look what the president has done to us since. first he placed the moratorium on offshore drilling, killing thousands of louisiana jobs. then, the president was held in contempt of court for not issuing permits. and now we have two token permits created when gas prices are headed to $4 a gallon. on top of that, we have a tax on coal, domestic oil. finally, secretary chu told us higher prices may be a good thing. perhaps we are discovering
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president obama's real agenda, and that is constrange fossil fuel production to make prices go higher so alternative energy sources, which aren't really cutting it in the marketplace, will appear more competitive. i the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey rise? mr. sires: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. sires: mr. speaker, the republican -- the republicans have had control of this chamber for 11 weeks now and still there are no plans to create jobs or spur our economic recovery. instead of tackling unemployment, my republican colleagues are again targeting vital programs designed to keep families in their homes. the republicans are proposing to terminate the home affordable modification program which provides critical mortgage modifications to deserving homeowners who are facing devastating foreclosures. to date, more than 600,000 homeowners have received a mortgage modification. and tens of thousands of
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americans are joining their ranks each month. the republicans also want to helping states and cities hit by the housing crisis by purchase foreclosed homes and protect the value of our communities. my home state of new jersey is slated to receive $11.5 million through this program. mr. speaker, this is funding that my constituents need to help redevelop our communities, create jobs and grow our local economies. i urge my colleagues to stop cutting programs and focus legislation on creating jobs and bring our economy around. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from the virgin islands rise? mrs. christensen: to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. christensen: no more short-term resolutions. we should not make cuts in this fiscal year. is no one listening? these shorter and longer c.r.'s will make our economy worse and not create jobs. these cuts will destroy the progress we have made.
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yesterday, the republican majority cut wildfire suppression by $200 million. oklahoma, are you hearing this? flood prevention, are you hearing that, new jersey? police. programs that protect our food supply. good for salmonella and e. coli but not for the american people. it's enough that republicans deny greenhouse gases, h.r. 1 and 48 cut funds from e.p.a. programs that keep our air clean and our water safe. are we creating jobs? no. are we making a dent in the deficit? no. are we hurting families? yes. don't stop the recovery our people need. listen to the experts, extend the c.r. at 2010 levels. no more cuts this year. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. moran: the republicans' budget will endanger american lives while it destroys jobs. it will increase americans' likelihood from getting sick
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from unsafe meat and poultry. fewer police will make our streets less safe. the chances of curing cancer, parkinson's and alzheimer's disease are all seriously diminished. most of the cuts target poor people. hundreds of program cuts will also endanger all of our lives. we've thrown hundreds of programs into a dump truck the republicans call h.r. 1 bound for the trash compactor. let's reach in, though, and look at just one of those, meat inspection. the law requires the federal inspector to be present at all 6,000 slaughterhouses and packing plants across the country but this republican budget's 19% cut will require 8,600 such inspectors to be furloughed for 22 days which means that packing plants like hormel, may have to lay off thousands of people for that period of time. why do this when federal inspectors stop 9 1/2 million pounds of poisoned meat just last year alone and 71 recalls?
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let's derail the dump truck called h.r. 1. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota rise? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> we've all been here since january, dutifully collecting paychecks, but no relief for the american public. it's straining our national security forces and making difficult choices for our reserve commanders to plan ahead. it's putting political ideology above job creation and facts. my republican friends have often told me what they thought the election meant and what the american people were saying. mr. walz: they weren't saying, we want you to go to washington and put party above america. we want you to play chicken with america's future. we want you to help the c.e.o.'s and blame the middle class. we want you to hold countless hearings that do nothing except
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divide american and we want you to point fingers at the other side and blame them even though you run the house. i think they might have been saying, be leaders, compromise for the goofed the country and get america working again. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan rise? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. our homeowners need help right now and i'm asking them to provide something they don't have when they're facing foreclosure. it's time. time to find more income. time to find another buyer to pay off the mortgage. most importantly, time and leverage to negotiate with their lender and mortgage holder who typically keeps losing the paperwork until the homeowner runs out of time.
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i'm asking this congress to freeze all foreclosures for homeowners who deserve it, for homeowners who can afford to maintain their property because that's the best way to stabilize our economy and save family homes. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from maryland rise? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. edwards: mr. speaker, i rise today, i'm really concerned about the continuing resolution we passed yesterday. with over a billion cuts to one of the most important federal agencies noaa, our weather and natural disaster folks. so some people think of noaa and think it only impacts the coastal states so cuts to it wouldn't affect them or their
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families. but every time we get the day's weather, we use noaa technology. every time we get alerts for tornadoes or earth quablings, it's noaa's technology. in the wake of the tsunami in japan, we passed a measure to hamper our own ability to detect tsunamis. currently, 30% of the tsunami detection systems are nonoperational and think cuts we made yesterday put us in jeopardy. in the pacific ocean, in the atlantic and in the gulf, we're all in jeopardy because of the cuts yesterday and noaa won't have an opportunity to repair them and destroy them -- and restore them, degrading the quality of our warning. this is senseless and it's time for the american people to speak out about this senseless policy. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york rise? >> to address the house for one
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minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. clarke: i rise in support of those in the middle class. today we are debating two bill which is if passed will leave americans with no federal support to save their homes, with no federal support and the worsening of the foreclosure crisis which in effect is a body blow that will leave millions of americans who are struggling to find jobs even more vulnerable to losing their homes. we are now in the 11th week of the 112th congress and the majority has yet to bring a single jobs bill to the floor for a vote. instead, they've proposed a long-term continuing resolution that would eliminate 700,000 jobs while at the same time protecting tax cuts for multimillionaires and billionaires, the so-called job creators.
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the question remains, what is the majority proposing to incentivize and encourage job creation? where are the jobs? mr. speaker, the american people are waiting for the majority to stop the recalcitrant assault on the middle class and those aspiring to be in the middle class and work in a bipartisan way to do what we are all tissue what we all were elect elected to do, to work for them, not against them. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from texas rise? ms. jackson lee: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. jackson lee: i know we're not supposed to remind us of our history. i won't be long but if you recall some eight years prior to the present administration, day after day after day, our budget was simply imploded with millions, trillions of dollars going into the war in iraq. so here we are. someone wants to blame the american recovery and investment act. well let me explain to you, we
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were in double digit unemployment. look where we are today, going up and not down. in terms of job creation. and going down in terms of unemployment. the economy was sick and it is coming back. but what do our colleagues want to do? pass c.r.'s that every economist says is the wrong direction to go in 2011. it's like you started out with $150 during the household expenses that you have, you had that money to pay for the expenses of that month and all of a sudden somebody came and said, you know what, i'm taking $75 away from you so you don't have that money to pay your expenses and guess what, you're in the hole. why are you cutting budgets in 2011? why are you cutting 16,000 law enforcement jobs? why are you cutting 800,000 jobs? why cutting 800 border patrol jobs? this is the wrong direction to go. we need a real budget, adults need to come to the table and work together. i yield back.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado rise? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. polis: i rise today in recognition -- i rise today of westminster, colorado. it is framed by the natural beauty of the nearby rocky mountains. its scenic and convenient setting is located between the economic hubs of denver and boulder which attracted many residents and businesses to the city. settlers from the east first came to the area in the 1870's. it used to be known as the village of harris and was founded as the town of westminster april 4,1911. it is notable in the front range urban area for its long-term commitment to the preservation of open space spaces. it's received numerous awards for sustainable development and quality of life. the miles after trails oprovide public access for outdoor
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recreation activities that are so important to colorado residents. i congratulate the people of westminster on 100 years of progress and prosperity and look forward to what their future holds for this important, forward-looking colorado city. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from new york rise? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you very much. we have now gone 11 weeks and still there hasn't been any action in committee or on this house floor on anything resembling a jobs plan from our friends in the majority. in fact, we've seen just the opposite. economists are estimating that the initial action here, just the initial action is estimating 800,000 jobs will be lost under their first plan. and many more over the course of the rest of the issue. mr. hinchey: hundreds of new york head start teachers will be fired and many other teachers will be fired across
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america, thousands more. thousands of my constituents won't be able to find jobs because of cuts to the work force investment act that will close job centers throughout new york and thousands of others, hundreds of thousands of others closed in other states all across america. and jobs in the hudson valley's growing solar energy industry will be hurt, just as it will be cut across america. after 11 week it's clear the republicans don't just have a no jobs agenda, they haven't an anti-jobs agenda. and new yorkers and millions of others across america will pay the price for their badded -- for their bad policies. the speaker pro tempore: the 1kwre89's time has expired. -- the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> i ask unanimous consent that it be made in order at any time to consider house concurrent resolution 28 in the house if called up by the chair of the
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committee on foreign affairs or her designee, that the concurrent resolution be considered as read, that the previous question be considered as ordered on the concurrent resolution without intervening motion, except, number one, one hour of debate controlled by representative kucinich of ohio or his designee and number two, one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on foreign affairs and that section 7 of the war powers resolution not apply to the concurrent resolution. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> thank you, mr. speaker. by direction of the committee on rules i call up house resolution 170 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: house calendar 18, resolution 170, resolved that at any time after the adoption
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of this resolution the speaker may declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill h.r. 839 to amend the emergency economic stabilization act of 2008 to terminate the authority of the secretary of the treasury to provide new assistance under the home affordable modification program while preserving assistance to homeowners who were already extended an offer to participate in the program either on a trial or permanent basis. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. general debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on financial services. after general debate, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. it shall be in order to consider as an original bill the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the committee on financial services now printed in the bill.
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the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. all points of order against the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. no amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in part a of the committee on rules accompanying this resolution. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divide and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to the command for the division of the question in the house or committee of the whole. all points of order against such amendments are waived. at the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment, the committee shall rise and report the bill to the house with such amendments as may have been adopted. any member may demand a separate vote in the house on any amendment adopted by the committee of the whole to the
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bill or the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. section 2, at any time after the adoption of this resolution, the speaker may, pursuant to clause 2b of rule 18, declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill h.r. 861, rescind the third round of funding for the neighborhood stabilization program and to terminate the program. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived, general debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on financial services. after general debate, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. it shall be in order to consider as an original bill under the five-minute rule the amendment in the nature of a
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substitute rex mended by the committee on financial services now printed in the bill. the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. all points of order against the committee amendment in a nature of a substitute are waived. no amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in part b of the report of the committee on rules accompanying this resolution. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report except those numbered 9 and 10 may be offered only en bloc. may be offered by a member designated in the report, snal be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment and shall not be subject to a demand for division for question in the house or in the committee of the whole. all points of order against such amendment are waived. at the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the committee shall rise and report the bill to the house with such amendments as
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may have been adopted. any member may demand a separate vote in the house on any amendment adopted in the committee of the whole to the bill or to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for one hour. mr. sessions: thank you, mr. speaker. for purpose of debate only i yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman, my friend from colorado, mr. polis, pending which i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. sessions: during consideration of this resolution all time is yielded for purpose of debate only. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks . the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: house resolution 170 provides for a structured rule designed by the rules
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committee for consideration of h.r. 861 and h.r. 839. this rule allows the amendments submitted to the rules committee to be made in order as long as they were not subject to a point of order and were germane to the underlying text of h.r. 861 and h.r. 839. this rule provides for debate and amendment opportunities for members of the minority and the majority to change the legislative text of the underlying bill. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of this rule and the two underlying bills. the first piece of legislation, the neighborhood stabilization program termination act was introduced by my friend from california, gary miller, on march 1, 2011, and went through committee markup in the financial services committee last week on march 9. the second bill, h.r. 839, the
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home affordable mortgage protection -- program termination act was introduced by my dear friend from north carolina, the gentleman, mr. mchenry, on february 28, and marked up last week as well. both of these bills went through regular order which allowed members from both sides of the aisle the opportunity to offer amendments in the financial services committee and in the rules committee yesterday. the chairman of the rules committee, david dreier, has once again provided members of this body a transparent and accountable structure under the rule that we are discussing today. allowing members from both sides of this body to offer amendments and both sides to join in debate of the underlying legislation. mr. speaker, last fall republicans pledged to the american people that we would stop the wasteful spending and put americans back to work.
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these two bills that we are discussing today continue to roll back the abuse of taxpayer funds that diminishment -- funds, the diminishment of jobs, and proper government responsibility without any balance in the housing sector. by the way, mr. speaker, we also said that we would make sure that we went through regular order and would allow members time to read the bills. that is what republicans bring forth to the floor today as we debate these two important aspects that have gone through regular order through the financial services committee. h.r. 861, the n.s.p. termination act, terminates the neighborhood stability program and recrinds $1 billion --
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recinds $1 billion from the dodd-frank bill from last year. this is three rounds of funding from this program. eligible users for the funds include emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire, develop, redevelop or demolished foreclosed homes. this doesn't stop or helps people getting through foreclosures. it allows lenders to fix up the houses to sell while returning not one cent of the $7 billion back to the american taxpayer. the n.s.p. has done little to get to the root causes of the foreclosures. in fact, the n.s.p. continues to extend and further exacerbate the current housing downturn. this program represents a costly bailout for lenders,
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servicers and real estate speculators who made risky bets on the housing market all at the expense of the american taxpayer and our debt. while putting billions of taxpayer dollars at risk, we should understand that this is a program -- two programs that must be halted. there should be an appropriate accountability and reporting, and this program lacks both. this is just another two examples as following up of what we did last week with two other examples of the democrats' solution of throwing money at a problem rather than something that would work and be cost-effective. taxpayers from all over this nation are struggling with their mortgage payments, keeping their jobs and providing for their families. allowing for a stable economy,
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a future and reining in government spending by eliminating wasteful government spending will provide for more transparency and government accountability across economic markets. that is why we are eliminating these two programs today on the floor of the house of representatives. let's be honest about this. republicans are here to try and save jobs that are on the chopping block from what wasteful government spending has done for us the last four years of democrat control. today, republicans are on the floor to stop wasteful government spending which says directly to the taxpayers, we don't want 40 cents out of every dollar that we spend to be put on a credit card, a future debt, that our children and our future will be put at risk from by mortgaging our future. republicans are not going to allow that.
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that is why we are on the floor of the house of representatives. that is why we will encourage every member of this body, republican or democrat, to make tough decisions today about not just today but about our future. the second bill under this rule today, h.r. 839, rescrinds the home affordable modification program, known as hamp. this is another unnecessary program that wastes billions of dollars. terminating this program will prevent the use of $29 billion of tarp funds. $29 billion of tarp funds we do not think should be spent. hamp was established in february of 2009 with the goal of assisting with loan modification up to four million homeowners. over the life this program only
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521,306 loans have been permanently modified, and the redefault rate for these loans is very high. so what we started with trying to help four million people, thus far we only have 521,000, but it comes at a high cost to the taxpayer. only 840 million of the $29 billion of this earmark has been used. only $840 million of the $29 billion has been spent. we need the money back. we need the money back because this is a case where the program actually made matters worse for many of the homeowners who were seeking to participate, and the government is pushing a program which harms these homeowners. the program creates is perverse incentive for borrowers to deliberately and willfully stop making their mortgage payments
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in the hope that they can get a government loan to reduce their payments. so a program that the government actually encourages people to quit making payments, which still adds up, it harms their credit rating and adds a further, what i think is an unfair circumstance, circumstance to where the government is pushing we're here to help you when in fact not knowing the rules of the game and whether a homeowner will even be able to qualify, waiting months to then find out, whoops, sorry, you didn't qualify, now you need to continue to do what you're doing. a false hope, mr. speaker. "the washington times," which is a great newspaper here in washington, published an article on march 1 of this year. on this program that stated that in perhaps hundreds of thousands of cases homeowners are far worse off after hamp
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than they were before being talked into and getting involved with the program. borrowers are typically not told all the potential consequences of falling behind on their mortgages. they're simply told, there's a government plan out there to help you, when in fact they fall behind on their mortgages, services have repeatedly lost documentation and provided false information to home borrowers who were in need of assistance and good discussion with them about how they pay their bills instead of trying to talk them into a government program. in some instances, even pushing individuals into default that could have continued making their payments. in a report from the inspector general of tarp to secretary of the treasury geithner on march 25, 2010 that is one year ago, he notes that, and i quote,
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several aspects of the hamp design make it particularly vulnerable to redefaults. it is time to pull the plug. that is why republicans are on the floor today to say straight up, we need to look at what is not working, we need to look at the $29 billion that has been spent on this program, and we need to be honest with ourself, as has been noted in newspapers across the country. what the democrats have done, this administration, this house has done have been adversaryial to helping people who needed assistance. and today we could save the taxpayers $28 billion that has not been spent from this program. continued government intervention and questionable use of taxpayer dollars only prolongs our current economic crisis and ensures that the housing market will simply continue to struggle.
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the market needs to find its own footing free of government intervention and manipulation by this government so that we can get on with a full recovery. the deficit is expected to reach a record under president obama using his numbers, $1,650,000,000 this year while our national debt is well over $14 trillion. mr. speaker, the u.s. and its citizens cannot afford to spend billions of taxpayer dollars that will not be repaid and it ends up in many instances harming the people it was intended to help. job creation is the most effective foreclosure prevention tool. job losses rather than unsustained mortgage terms are now the driving force behind foreclosures and mortgage defaults. eliminating these programs will save not only taxpayer dollars but encourage more responsible
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government spending by the federal government. so, mr. speaker, no surprise to you, i encourage a yes vote on the rule and a yes vote on the underlying legislation. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. mr. polis: mr. speaker, here we are again at a time when americans are calling for more jobs to improve the economy and my republican colleagues want to pass legislation that doesn't create a single job and will hurt the middle class by further destabilizing our housing markets. this week we take up two more bills to continue to weaken our housing markets and abandon families working hard struggling to stay in their homes showing my friends on the other side of the aisle continue to put partisan politics ahead of creating jobs and growing the economy. yesterday in rules committee, when we had several member there is from both sides testifying, the question was asked, are we in a housing crisis?
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everybody there agreed and i think most of my cleels -- colleagues on the other side of the aisle agree, we are in a housing crisis. so the question is what should be the response? this response is what we have. my colleague from dallas said the current program hamp lacks accountability. the answer to that should be to create accountability, we are talking about repeal without replace, ending rather than mending. if there is a housing crisis, and i believe my colleagues agree there is, it call farce public policy response. rather than talk about what we shouldn't do, we should talk about what we should do. we are leaving nothing in the wake if this proposal moves forward. at a time when we begin to show signs of strong, sustained growth, we immediate to do everything we can to put people back to work and create jobs and yet instead here we have legislation after legislation that will increase burdens on
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already struggling middle class families. rather than improving and building upon or even replacing programs that keep families in their home, the republicans have chosen to eliminate these four programs that keep families in their home with no plan to strengthen the housing market or help the families that would quite literally be left on the street as a result. h.r. 839 will eliminate one of the last lifelines available to many homeowners. according to treasury secretary geithner, ending the hamp program would cause a huge amount of damage to a fragile housing market and leave hundreds and hundreds of thousands, if not millions of americans, without the chance to take advantage of a mortgage modification that would allow them to stay in a home they can afford. now, we could go into how we got into this mess in the first place and we all know, mr. speaker, that there's plenty of blame to go around. yes, people who got in over their heads with mortgages they
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couldn't afford deserve some blame. so does the broker that shouldn't have sold them on that mortgage, so does the bank that underwrote that mortgage so does wall street for packaging those mortgages and creating derivative products and so does the government for being asleep at the regulatory switch. there's plenty of blame to go around. when the bankers needed help, they came to the government an the government helped them. when the regulators needed help, they came to the government and we passed financial regulatory reform last year. the people most affected, the people that literally risk being tossed out on the street he rely on these programs to help them. how in good conscience can this congress even consider bailing out wall street and bankers and not helping mainstream america stay in their homes. yes, there's plenty of blame to go around and many people facing this situation, barely able to make their mortgage, they're not being rewarded for their bad decision. they would rather spend half as much under the house, but what
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we can do to help them is the least we can do as a country to acknowledge that yes, personal responsibility and blame doesn't just fall on their shoulders. my republic mr. -- republican cheeks will argue this is a failed government program and this program hasn't helped the three million to four million homeowners originally prompted but what they fail to mention is hamp has helped stabilize the housing market and helped over a million families. it's not three or four million and our side would be open to improving this program, whether it's the accountability, the scale after of the program, whether it's replacing it with another program to help those who are barely able to make their mortgage payment. but this would eliminate the tool that's kept half a million american families in their homes. there's no doubt many on the other side of the aisle are calling this program a waste of taxpayer money. according to the c.b.o., the average cost for to the assist
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a home one her in shaverp $13,000. it's a small price and a sound investment a smaller cost than the $60,000 it's been estimated it costs fannie, freddie and banks to foreclose on a home. $13,000 to keep from having a home foreclosed, allowing the family to live there and go to work, or $60,000 to foreclose on the home and leave the family on the streets. if an individual shows they can't stay current, they are removed from hamp. and those who have had the trial modifications canceled on 5.1% have been foreclosed on, only 14.9% are at all in the foreclosure process. mr. speaker, the hamp program keeps families in their homes. mortgages that have been modified have a sustainability rate of 85%. yes we can do better.
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we would love to bring this program or others to keep three million or four million in their home. but what the bill before us does is repeal one of the only tools we have to help keep american families in their homes. i understand the program hasn't reached the initial projecks that the administration put forward but there's no question, talking to some of the families that this program benefited, that it does work for them. with our help, the treasury can continue to take steps to improve the effectiveness of the program and increase compliance pr banks and borrowers. mr. speaker, h.r. 861 would rightly be titled the illegal trade commercial real estate act. the majority seeks to undermine the efforts of our nation's mayors, city councils and real estate developers to ensure that areas remain safely in control of those who do damage to communities. this is a critical program to help reform our communities. the neighborhood stabilization program, which i remind my
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colleagues wasest tablied and signed into law by president bush, was designed to turn a crisis into an opportunity. in 2008, almost $4 billion was appropriated to help 307 state and local agencies acquire, rehabilitate and sell abandoned and foreclosed properties, exactly hi what is most noo needed now not only to revitalize our blighted areas but to help keep the crisis from getting worse. every dime in this program not spent by the sunset of the program will already, under statute be returned to treasury. by creating a meck anymore for communities to acquire, rehabilitate and sell back to the private market abandoned and blighted properties we give local governments a powerful tool for economic growth and fighting crime and keeping our communities safe. in the midst of our ongoing liquidity crisis where many developers are having a tough time finding financing for many of their prime prompts, it's a matter of public safety that we
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continue this vehicle by which blighted properties are returned to being productive economic engines, particularly in our nation's most troubled neighborhoods. i also want to point out the program isn't limited to commercial property. in my district, in adams county colorado, which was devastated by the wave of foreclosures, we used it to revitalize residential neighborhoods. the neighborhood stabilization program allows lowlow call governments to build communities with home reha pill billation, and down payment -- rerehabilitation assistance and down payment assistance. with this help, many have been able to find and keep a home. investment has been magnified by private investment, city investment and county investment. i think most people in the country a gree there is a housing crisis. yes there is plenty of blame to go around. yes we need a public policy response. these programs aren't perfect,
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we hope to work in a bipartisan way with our colleagues across the aisle on improving these programs, coming up with new market oriented programs to help end the crisis in real estate but the answer is not to simply repeal one of the only instruments that we have to keep families in air home with only the vaguest of assurances that someday, somehow, congress might think of a better plan. i reserve the plans of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. sessions: i appreciate the gentleman's comments about us being here on the floor in a bipartisan way with the bill that went through regular order with an opportunity for any member that would choose, that has any ideas that are germane to the issue and that fall within the rules to be included. you're going to see where there are a bunch of amendments today. mr. speaker, the conversation the gentleman and i were having , it should further extend and that is the common sense that is related to why we are on the
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floor today. the discussion about whether we should make it better or simply repeal it. i would quote from the i.g. of the tarp fund in his report to secretary geithner. i quote. although in the final analysis it is up to the policy makes in the administration and congress to determine whether it's worth spending tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on a program that is assumed at its outset to fail ultimately for 40% of the participants, several aspects of hamp design make it particularly vulnerable to redefaults. i think the i.g. has said it best when any objective person looked at what the democrat congress passed, they would see that it was -- have to question whether it was worth spending tens of billions of dollars on
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a program at the outset we should have known would fail for 40% of the participants. i think that's good reason to say common sense should say let's stop the plan, not continue it. mr. speaker, at this time i'd like to yield four minutes to the gentlewoman, the chairwoman of the financial services housing committee, the gentlewoman from illinois, mrs. biggert. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for four minutes. mrs. biggert: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i rise in support of house resolution 170, the rule for consideration of h.r. 861. the neighborhood stabilization program n.s.p., termination act and the home affordable act, hamp, termination act. it would rescind n.s.p. and rescind $1 billion that would be sfent to continue this troubled program. in total, congress has spent $7 billion for n.s.p. and instead
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of stabilizing neighborhoods or helping people whose mortgages are under water, the program allows lenders and servicers to offload their bad investments onto taxpayers and delay market recovery. even more disturbing is that critics warn that n.s.p. creates incentives for banks and other lenders to foreclose on troubled borrowers, worsening the crisis and kicking families olt of their homes. this program is not about helping homeowners. they have already lost their house to foreclosure. they are not involved in this. this is for help for lenders and bankers to take the money and build more homes through the counties, through the states, through not for profits, and then to sell these homes and reap the benefits of the money. there is no place in this bill
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that tells where that money goes. it probably is in a slush fund. the g.a.o., the inspector general for h.u.d. and other auditors have noted that the program is plagued with problems including lax reporting requirements and poor accountability. there is little evidence to suggest that the funds spent through n.s.p. are producing cost effective results. finally the program lacks any requirement that remaining funds are returned to taxpayers when a sponsored property is sold. instead the money is treated like a fund, somewhere, never to be returned. the other bill approved by our committee is h.r. 839. this bill would terminate hamp, which has become the poster child for failed foreclosure mitigation programs. according to the c.b.o. this bill would save $1.4 billion over 10 years. announced by the obama
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administration in february of twipe, the hamp program to date has spent $840 -- i'll say that depen, $840 million out of $30 billion in tarp funds that were set aside for the program. for this extraordinary investment, the administration predicted up to four million homeowners would receive help. instead, only 580,000 homeowners received mortgage modifications. a failure to meet expecting as is the least of the program's troubles. of those promised help, 740,000 homeowners have had their modifications canceled in many cases, these homeowners were strung along on false hope only to end up in worse financial straits that if t
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