tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN October 18, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
divisions. we see in the region the movement of the arab spring in different stages in different countries. the regime has certainly passed over talks of reform there. what you think is the viability for the new democracy movements in iran, given>> thank you cong. i thank you for your good wishes. i appreciate it. i think we were all heartened when we saw this emerge in iran some time ago and deeply saddened when we saw the tremendous repression to try to squash any ability of an opposition to form. at the same time, but we believe the aspirations of the iran and
people are to have the same freedoms that the rest of us do. in response to the question earlier today from the congressman, we have quite an extensive bram to try to ensure that information can reach the iranian people, that they have the technology with access to that information. there are other things we can do to be helpful in supporting the aspirations of the iranian people. we would be glad to give you more detail. >> thank you.
>> i have nothing to add. >> then i will turn to syria. there has been ongoing violence. secretary rice led an effort to vigorously. my question is, what is ever strategy moving forward? there has been progress made building international consensus. the question is, what are our next steps and what specifically do we need to do to work with china and russia to address their concerns? >> we have not stop to that effort. indeed, secretary cohen said earlier today, today the european union -- the commercial
bank of iran and i meant to say the commercial bank of syria. they designated the commercial bank, which is an important step. stopping petroleum between oil and gas between europe in this area of was quite crucial, because it is an important market. the european union which has greater ties to syria than the united states has had for some time probably can be more effective on the sanctions front than we can be, though we use the accountability act to fill out all that you have provided to us. today, head of the human rights commission, has indicated that there is a tremendous effort by the syrian government to persecute and kill all the citizens, and we are calling on
the international community to take urgent action to stop such things. we will see what the response is to that. >> specifically, i wanted to ask about our strategy dealing with russia and china, addressing their concerns. >> we have had continued conversations with them to try to address concerns. we need to proceed to mobilize those that are ready to act while we try to bring russia and china around. cohen.etary >> as we work with russia and china, we need to work with other countries that may look at this as an opportunity to get to the syrian market. india is another country we need to pay attention to it. we still have the opportunity
regarding the pre-existing executive orders, the one dealing with human rights violations, to identify individuals in syria that are outside of syria -- >> thank you. >>. for the u.s. to do something serious -- serious soul- searching about what further actions we can take to try to rein in the regime dictatorship and repression and a threat to other people and other regimes in that region. iran has murdered hundreds of
our own military personnel by providing shiite militias with ieds owered i edie's -- over the years. this has been going on for years. we should have responded with a very tough reaction the minute we found out that iran was providing these weapons to people killing american soldiers. we shrug it off. we have a certain level of sanctions that they can live with, because they have been living with it. then we have these people here with the mek. it has been labeled a terrorist organization, because they pose this regime. we do that in trying to have a
favor with this regime. how much does it take before we -- play with people that try to oppose them as criminals. the mek wants to establish a democracy there. we are giving them the idea that we are weak. how can we get anywhere in this world if we treat our friends as if they are our enemies and our enemies as if they are our friends. i agree with the frustration of mr. mack. we are at a point where it representative of our government cannot say we believe in regime
change with a mullah dictatorship that is building weapons undermine governments throughout the region and is engaged in hiring an assassin to commit an act of assassination here in our nation's capital. our government does not suggest that there should be a new regime there. of course that is seen as weakness. we are seen as weaklings. so what if we side emotionally with the people of syria? this administration had a tepid response to the brutal and murderous repression of their iranian people when they went into the streets to protest the stolen election. a stolen election means you have a group of people that are
superimposing power over others illegitimately. this is not a legitimate government. we cannot say we believe in reaching change. i can see why they were announcing that we were so weak that they could go into conspiracies to sellout bonds in our nation's capital. all of these years, we have are about. the mula's they have expressed their hatred toward the u.s. and their commitment in using a brutality and murder to achieve their ends. we cannot even take them off of the terrorist list and much less tell we support all of the ethnic groups and the the young inversions in iran who are struggling and risking their
lives against the mullahs. we have not provided any material support or weapons or ways in which they can impact their dictatorship and dictatorship -- their dictatorship and control in iran. shame on us. we are not taking the risk to say there should be a regime change in iran. shame on us. >> banks. >> let me say i have been impressed with the fact that we have an ambassador in damascus. on behalf of this administration, i say to my friend of california who put his life on the line to associate with opening up syria to a
democratic government. that is pretty bottom-line basics. there are many ways to express its views. not all of them are pounding here in congress. there are diplomatic ways and non-diplomatic ways. i think the witness given in damascus is very profound. it should be commended. i regret any implication of the registration with respect to its communications in syria. sometimes there are ways of trying to avoid a strengthening those forces that we do not want to strengthen. it would be easy for the united states to call for regime change in iran. my guess is it strengthens the
hands of the mullahs when they may be weakening, because there could be outside interference with domestic politics in iran. it is not easily traversed. as the ranking member said in his statement, no administration has been as forthright in taking on iran. using every level to do so. i would regret any implication to the contrary. it is not true. we can be impatient about progress and results. i am sure it is shared by the secretary of state and the president, but not because we are not trying at many different levels.
i welcome both of our witnesses. what is our understanding of the relationship to the government of iran? and i pray for concise answers. i have a couple of more of want to get to it. >> i want to defer to my colleague. it is a very serious part and probably a stronger part of the albanian government into taking over a lot of the economic sector of the iranian government and also the director of all of the international terrorism.
>> i concur. >> i did. >> in light of that answer, we cannot treat this as an element that is probably separated from the ackman that is not a -- one government. [unintelligible] >> we have outlined in dissentient them in a number of instances and i would remind that iran has already designated sanctions and it is more profound than any other sanctions that we have. we have made a very clear declaration to the iranian government that the irgc are
very tangible directors with iran. we have also said in my opening statement as to intensify that activity, have been asking governments in reaction to the assassination attempt as well as previous behavior to not allow the forced to operate in their country. >> i want to point out since we are having these hearings that it has been premature and inappropriate to assign responsibility at this time to the government. it is perfectly appropriate given the relationship. i yield back. >> thank you so much. mr. rivera is recognized for five minutes.
>> it has always been the policy of this nation not to negotiate with terrorists. that is my thought. i do not know if you saw a story today. the u.s. offers a cubist what we did swap for americans. i will read it briefly. they wanted an exchange of the release of a prisoner that was american. the it was raised by bill richardson as well as by senior u.s. officials in a series of meetings with cuban officials. richardson traveled to cuba last month seeking the release of an american. he said the u.s. would be willing to consider other areas of interest to cuba. among them was removing cuba from the u.s. list of state-
sponsored terrorist and reducing spending on programs, other pressing u.s. companies to help clean up oil spills in plant offshore drilling. coastal exchanges and ending a program to make it easier for cuban medical personnel to defect to the united states. my question is a yes or no question. has anyone in the obama administration discussed the possibility of making any concessions or accommodations whatsoever to the terrorist castro dictatorship in exchange of the release of an american hostage, yes or no? >> what i can say is i can confirm that a meeting between u.s. officials in cubans did
take place as part of our effort to get alan gross,. i cannot comment on what was said in the meeting. i can say that we have laws and restrictions and we will obey and follow those laws and restrictions. [unintelligible] >> i can confirm that a meeting did take place. but i cannot comment on the content of that. >> i wanted on the record in public year. >> it was quite recent. >> i do not know.
>> you are the undersecretary for political affairs. when was this meeting? >> quite recent. >> who authorized bill richardson to make these offers? >> i do not know that anyone authorized gov. richardson to make such a trip or such a concession. >> who interfaced with bill richardson before he went to cuba in your administration? >> i do not know that anybody did. >> he had had conversations with the administration about his visit. theinterface with regarding his visit to cuba? >> i do not know the answer, but i will be glad to get it for you, congressman. >> who would have been responsible for these discussions, recent discussions with the castro dictatorship?
>> i do not know the answer, but i will get it for you. >> you do not know who speaks to the cuban government on behalf of our government and the obama administration? >> i do not usually used as an excuse that i am brand new to this job, but in this case, i have to. i have only been on the job in less than a few weeks. i will get the answer for you and get it to you promptly. >> you recognize that cuba has been designated as a terrorist nation by our government? >> yes. >> this is outrageous that we would be negotiating with the terrorist regime to release an american hostage. negotiating with the same hostage takers that we have designated as terrorists. i yelled back. >> anke.
mr. sherman is recognized. >> a couple of opening comment. i agree that this attack demonstrates that iran perceives us as weak and not without good reason. we have a number of people in the audience with yellow t- shirts to remind us that 450 days ago, there was a declaration that the state it a permit should carry out the law. it is about time -- the legislative branch can be frustrating. the administration wants to enforce our terrorist laws with regard to iran. the only time they can be accused of going overboard is with an entity that is an anathema to the government. i want to focus on the airplanes that iran their
acquired in the 1970's. the set general election engines. they need repair and are unsafe. a number of our colleagues joined with me in a letter saying the plane should be grounded until i ran changes its policy, and we should not repair them. is it still the position of the state department that we should grant a license to repair these planes? >> i am going to de fer to secretary cohen. we feel that it may be in our responsibility for civilian air safety that we should not allow people to fly where people may die. >> it is our responsibility to
bring this to the attention to world aviation support. it is interesting that other unsafe planes being fixed. we will not pay to fix planes in africa or any other port part of the world. we do not mind their being unsafe planes, except where we -- these are civilian planes. a unified the purpose of today's hearing. these supposedly civilian planes are used to take weapons and the thugs from iran to syria to kill the syrian people. i would say that is contributing to the lack of safety for civilians. the state department once
again, regarding our sanctions are supportive of this license. the idea and that thousands of syrians can die at the hands of weapons and arabian thugs, that is okay, but we have to make sure that the planes that the thugs in use are safe. let me turn to another issue. we directed the state department to send in those firms to give iran the technology to suppress the internet. there is a chinese company that we have great concerns that is about to do that. recently having sold monitoring agreement in iran. the state department, consistent with its policy was ignoring the law and has refused to identify any item that would trigger this
provision. i know it has taken 450 days to deal with the court decision. any chance that the state department, the committee will pass or identify those items or equipment that can be sanctioned? >> we want to follow through on the law as it has been executed by you all and assigned by the president. i will come back with further information. i understand your concern. >> given the fact that iran is engaged in an act of war against the united states, you would think the state department could act a little bit more quickly. any chance he will sanction any multinational corporation under
the sanctions act except for those companies owned by iran themselves? >> there have been a number of sanctions. i will let the secretary speak to this issue. >> iran sanctions. can you identify one company not owned by iran is subject to sanctions regarding the oil sector? >> maybe we will leave that for discussion after the hearing is over. >> all welcome, ambassador. i would like you to walk me through this very troubling relationship we are having with iran. a list of options, starting with the most extreme the united states could take with iran and bring it down.
we are not talking about an act of war. enlighten me and the american public as to what options are out there. the most extreme is one that none of us want to see. the president has said in instances like this, we leave all options on the table. that is true here. none of us want or hope to go there. short of that, international isolation of the most extreme variety is probably, has the most impact on in the country. that means their inability to have economic means, their inability to operate in the world and move in the world and need to be recognized in the
world, their ability to function in the world. with the help of other acts that congress has passed an executive orders the president has put in place, we have the most robust set of sanctions on iran over the last three decades. it does not mean we have designated everyone that can be designated or sanctioned everyone that can be sanctioned nor got all of the world to do likewise. that is what we are attempting to do. if i may defer to my colleague to add to that. >> i agree with secretary sherman that what remains to be done is to increase the economic, commercial and human interaction with the outside world of iran. >> if i can stop you right there, what more would you want
to see done? obviously, it is not working to everyone's understanding. what needs to be done at this point? >> it is the policy of this administration to continue to increase and ratchet off pressure on iran in an effort to try to achieve the objective that secretary sherman laid out. we will continue to apply additional pressure on iran both unilaterally. >> is it sufficient? is it working according to what you envision? what more can be done can the united states do to encourage other countries to ration it up? >> we are working and have been working very hard to get these
sanctions on iran. the united states for many years has a complete embargo on iran. the rest of the world is not there yet. we are working with our colleagues, whether it is in europe or asia or around the world to internationalize or extend the isolation of iran. in response to the most recent episode revealed this week, using that to illustrate to our partners around the world, why it is they should take complementary action to isolate. >> ambassador sherman, you never had a very specific list of accomplishments to occur in the boycott of iran. you can boycott what you want to see added.
what additional results would you want to see to put in your testimony of things you are working on but have not achieved a result on yet? >> what we would like to see every other country in the world take the kind of action that we have to isolate iran. we have begun to see that happen and we think more can be done and over weeks and months before i got this job at a more accelerated pace, we had spoken from the president on down -- every capital in the world has been touched to say this is one more proof point in why you should take immediate action to
condemn this act but also to keep any cuts from operating in your country and looking at all sanctions. >> before we adjourn, i neglected to point out the pictures that we have in the committee room. i think they summarize the clear threat that the syrian and iranian regime pose to u.s. national security to our interests and allies and the threat they pose to their own people as we can see there. they should serve as a call to action to compel those regimes now to end their pursuit of nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons, advancement of programs, state sponsorship of global terrorism and violations of the basic human rights of its citizens. we need a single focus u.s. approach that identifies these
regimes for what they are and stop legitimizing iran by holding on to the hope that its leaders will be subdued into doing the right thing through engagement or by offering them concessions or incentives and the time is now. we all agree if we are going to shut these regimes, the time is now. i think the ambassador and secretary for being here. but look forward to further discussion on u.s. legislation and crippling sanctions. the meeting is adjourned. hos[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] 2011] >> on "washington journal" this morning, a look at the occupy wall street protest.
richard trumka will take your questions about labor rolls in next year's election. we will talk about how drugs are approved by the fda. our guest is the ceo of a pharmaceutical company based in san francisco. "washington journal" is live on c-span every day at 7:00 eastern. several live events to tell you about today. the homeland committee looks at the defenses against by a terrorism threats. that is at 10:00 a.m. eastern. also, the treasury secretary will testify on capitol hill about the effect of the small business jobs at last year. and ben bernanke speaks regarding federal reserve bank
of boston conference. that is at 1:15 p.m.. >> i am a proud businessman. the opposition have attempted to picture me as an opponent of liberalism. i fought for the reforms of theodore roosevelt and woodrow wilson. that is before they adopted and distorted the words a liberal. >> he was a member of the democratic party for several years. he switched when he sought and won the republican nomination for president. although he lost the election, he left his mark in political history. he became a foreign ambassador for his former opponent, roosevelt. there is a new weekly series,
"the contenders" live on friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. >> the head of the federal vacations' commission has new guidelines in what is it being known when wireless customers exceed their plan limits and accrued substantial charges. this is about 25 minutes. >> thank you for being here. i had the privilege of attending the memorial service yesterday
for steve jobs in california. a theme that comes from his life is his focus on products that bring benefits to people. real benefits to people. that have a real positive effect on our economy. maybe above all else, products and services that delight people. this is at the heart of what we are announcing today we continue to delight every american that uses them. communications technology for those of you that have heard me and us are essential to our
economic recovery. communication technologies are also at the core of consumer products you use every day by hundreds of millions of americans and every one of those consumers deserve to be treated fairly. empowering consumers with the tools and information they need to navigate the rapidly changing technology landscape has been one of the federal top -- one of the top priorities for the federal communications commission. we are trying to crack down on mystery thieves on phone bills. we have armed consumers with interactive tools like broadband speed tests, which weapon used more than 1 million times so far. we are closed to transforming the universal service fund to
bring massive benefits to consumers. building on these pro consumer efforts, last year, we identified a going problem called bill shot. we have a solution which led to today's victory to more than 200 million wireless consumers. the solution will give consumers the information they need to save money on their monthly wireless bill. consistent with the efforts, these actions harness technology to empower consumers and ensure that consumers get a fair shake not bill shocked. what is bill shot? it is when wireless subscribers see a sudden unexpected increase in their bill. such as when they are charged for unknowingly exceeding plan limits for voice, text, or data
or get hit with an expected the national roaming charges. many americans received unexpected cell phone charges on their bill. tens of millions of people are affected nationwide. at a forum highlighting the problem, many were shocked by over $34,000 for a telephone bill of one person visiting his sister -- chris sister in haiti after the earthquake. in manhattan 18,000 bill after his free day of downloads expired without warning. after that we heard from people riding in saying it happened to us as well. a business executive described how he had charges despite
buying in international plan before the trip. these are large examples. there are many examples. these amounts of money make a real difference to americans trying to get through these difficult times. the conclusion from our work was clear. bill shot is a real consumer problem that needs to be fixed. there are ways to do this inexpensively using technology that is widely available. more specifically what we said is to treat consumers fairly, wireless companies should take three steps. send a voice or text alerts to notify consumers when they approach in the region monthly plan limits for those -- voice, data and text over edges. send alerts when consumers are about to encourage international
roaming charges not covered by their plan. send alerts in advance for international plans. and clearly discussed -- disclose the tools available so they can monitor usage balances. this is important, because we are in a time of health the education of consumers when it comes to these new services. they are learning how mb translate into how many website you download and videos you download. they do not know that yet. finding ways to help consumers understand what mb r and what it means is important. in addition those were the goals we set out for how we wanted to
see consumers interact in this area coming given the documentation of problems. i am pleased to be here today representing the wireless industry. we are announcing that we are taking a major step to solve the problem of bill choc and the wireless industry will take those three steps to treat consumers fairly. they are moving forward with the solutions we identified. this is important. these alerts will be offered for free and automatically with no customer up in required. the code of conduct will be revised to reflect these basic obligations and ensure that consumers receive the alerts and notifications they need. the carriers are committed to moving expeditiously as possible to change their systems and
implement these alerts. i am grateful to the wireless industry for stepping up and the consumers union for helping to ensure the commitments will protect and empower consumers. from the start, the goal was to change practices to benefit consumers. we have achieved that goal. moving forward, the fcc will take a verified approach, because the wireless industry has taken these steps to help consumers avoid bill shot -- we will be closely monitoring these to make sure all carriers provide the necessary information to[unintelligible] your action to date shows we can achieve goals and ensure that
consumers are treated fairly. in the near future, we hope to score another victory for wireless consumers to voluntary incentive options to make sure that even as global demand goes up, we can have an invisible infrastructure that will help keep calls and connections from getting trapped in prices from skyrocketing. we think the consumer's union for their leadership role in a bringing this to our attention. national surveys look at the scope of the problem. we appreciate the laser-like focus to make sure that we achieve real benefits for real consumers. thank you for this. thanks also to all the participants that contributed to their ideas. i want to acknowledge and thank our friends in congress that have taken an interest in this issue and demonstrated real
leadership and commitment on many issues. legislation was introduced on this subject. to the other members and the house energy and commerce committee on behalf of consumers. i am sure they will continue to monitor this area. thanks to the sec staff who have worked so hard on this issue with a constant focus on doing the right thing for the american public, including those in my office. as well as the staff and the government appears bureau. at least two of our leaders. in these challenging economic times, even a small unexpected see -- fee on europe bill at the
end of the month can make a big difference. i look forward to making all -- working with all stakeholders to make sure we have a rising economy to benefit all americans and have empower consumers that are treated fairly every day. thank you. [applause] >> good morning and thank you to the chairman. thank you for joining us today. thank you to the brookings institute for allowing us to use your facilities. it is greatly appreciated. i hope some of you were able to join us on the west coast. it was a successful event. it is a place for people to go to talk about wireless, what is happening now, and what we anticipate for tomorrow. we have had a number of exhibitors and many products and
services provided for consumers and businesses. everything from health k -- health care to education and energy. no question that the united states has the world's most innovative wireless industry. we have the hottest selling devices purse. we have more users than any other country. we now have a more wireless connections in the united states than we have citizens. our members compete against each other on coverage, to speak, to customer service. while members compete aggressively against each other for every customer, there is something that we agree on as an industry. one of which is we need more spectrum. you have heard me talk about that already. there is a baseline framework for serving consumers that we think should be part of every providers wireless offering. that is why we adopted our
consumer code. that is the reason we are here today. i am pleased to announce that once again our consumer code is evolving to meet consumer needs. last week in san diego, the board of directors voted to add a new wireless consumer usage notification guideline to our code. as a result, wireless providers will be sending free alerts to their subscribers to help them manage their usage and avoid unexpected lower charges for data, voice, messaging, and international roaming. consumers will not need to sign up for the free alert for each of those service areas. more than 300 million u.s. wireless customers will be protected against potential billing surprises by the industry's effort to help subscribers manage their usage. participating providers will offer their customers
notifications for data, voice, messaging, and international roman by october 17, 2012 and all of the service alerts by april 17, 2013. many of our members offered several other account management tools. as part of the guidelines, we will clearly inconspicuously disclose these tools and services to continue to help consumers better manage their usage. we appreciate commissioners and consumers and government affairs bureau and each of their respective staffs that provide valuable insight into the usage notification violence. i have been this position since 2003. you have heard many of us talk about the concerns of excessive government regulation, especially since we have such a
significant impact on our economy. recognizing the directive from president obama to avoid unnecessary -- unnecessary and costly regulation. we worked with the industry on these guidelines that will honor his into the commission's mandate to serve and protect consumers while avoiding costly regulations. the announcement today shows there is a different way to get things done in this city. we also thank 18 for supporting our new guidelines. on behalf of the wireless industry, we are proud to provide our customers with free alerts to help manage unexpected overture charges. it is my pleasure to welcome a guest to speak. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. consumer reports has consistently found that consumers are experiencing bill shot as a result of bridgett charges they are unaware of. we have heard of many consumers about the heavy toll of a finding charges on their bills which can be up to $1,000. as a result, we have been pushing for reform to crack down on this problem. we are encouraged that they will offer free alerts to help consumers with bill shop. we urge them not to wait 12 months and challenge each company to do it as soon as possible.
many are providing certain alert and verizon is also providing alert for a fee. it is important to move now, because many consumers cannot afford of riches in this tough economy. we will work together with the fcc on a website that will shine in light on the industry's compliance with this code of conduct. we will ensure that compliance continues. ultimately, this is about helping people protect the pocketbook. we appreciate their effort to do right by consumers. we challenge the rest of the industry to follow suit. thank you. [applause] >> i thank you all. this concludes the program.
[unintelligible] >> it applies to cta members. >> what will the sec do and what can they do? >> if there is no compliance, we will take appropriate action. neither of us think that it will happen. the commitment here is to do a win-win for the company and the consumers. we will see that it is carried out. [unintelligible]
>> i do not understand where the sec has authority to take action. >> there is noncompliance for these commitments. we will take appropriate action. there is no upside to not following through on this. >> we have had a consumer code in place for eight years. we started when i first came to ctia. we do not attend there will be in compliance issues with this petition -- particular addition anyway. >> you have to ask the members involved with legislation. we are confident that the steps that we wanted the industry to take for consumers will be taken.
we are calling for implementation of these guidelines. they meet the needs that serve consumers. we will focus our attention on working helping to make sure it happens in provided this portal that will make visible the rate of progress. it is a win-win for everyone. [unintelligible] >> it is not easy to do or simple to notify customers in four different areas of those kinds of alerts. it is not easy to do, especially when we are talking about over 300 million people in this country. the system has to be changed. the chairman, we came to an agreement on how long it would
be reasonable. we announced that there was an agreement we had made a to introduce -- to attach three rechargers. i think it will employ -- be implemented before the deadline. we have the deadline in place to make sure all carriers are moving forward with this. >> i think what we will see is with how this is being implemented, including the open and transparent website, i think we will see competition among carriers on the basis of providing the best service to consumers to come back to the steve jobs idea. we will see more competition from characters to delight consumers in every aspect of what they do, including how the charges work and whether the
alerts meet the needs that consumers have. this topic has been set on an excellent course. i am optimistic about the rollout that we will see. thank you very much. [unintelligible] >> in a few moments, we will take your calls and comments live on "washington journal." at 10 eastern, the treasury secretary will testify on capitol hill about the jobs act. and ben bernanke speaks on a conference at the federal reserve bank of boston. that is live at 1:15 pm eastern. in about 45 minutes, we will look at the occupied wall street