tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN May 14, 2013 6:00am-7:01am EDT
and we want you to start rewarding or incentivizing managers. part of the proposed evaluation is how well the agency has reduced proper payments to recover overpayments. i think in 2010 we saw improper payments peak at $120 billion. a lot of money. we have seen the numbers drop over the last two years. so, i think that the reduction by my numbers is $13 billion over two years, so there is still a lot out there. at the same time we have seen iecovery of improper payments, think between $4 billion to $5 billion over the last year or so, but there is plenty of work still to do. i am going to ask you to think out loud for a moment about what more we can do to go after that $108 billion number. a lot of it is not even fraud,
it is just mistakes. >> i think that it is a very important issue and i think that you are right that while we have seen some real tangible progress from the important legislation that you and others have worked on in the past, the current level is unacceptable, unacceptably high, so we have to be committed to moving to do more. i guess when i think about how to do that, i think about two issues. one is technology and data, the other is evidence. so, on the side of technology and data, as i understand it a lot of the issues associated with improper payments are a function of not having effective data sharing between agencies to identify whether and when
payments should and should not be made, so i think there are opportunities to try to improve the way that we are s -- the way that we are sharing data through the use of technology. we have to be careful about protecting privacy in the process, but i think that is an opportunity. the other place, and this goes back to some of the conversations we were having about medicare, it is that i think the program integrity efforts that we have identified that beano are based in evidence -- that we know are based in evidence and can return several dollars, $8, $9 on returns, including things like in medicare, in social security, with respect to continuing disability reviews, and also at the irs, those are places where i think we know there is an opportunity and that we have evidence to back that up. so, we should think about how we
can do more in those spaces.a >> one of the initiatives that the doctor and i worked on in the last congress, the focus there was on saving money for medicare and medicaid. there was a situation for a number of years where dead-- doctors have provided medical services to folks who may be alive, but may not be. they may not be eligible for service. we see situations where we are paying enormous amounts of money in some cases for medical equipment. we are not using competition. we are finding out that if we do we could actually save some money, the doctor and i are reintroducing an updated
portion of that act, probably in the next week or two, certainly over the next month. is this something you have ever heard of? and if you have, any thoughts about how we might work together on this?i would welcome those thoughts. >> i have heard of it. i am not that familiar with the legislation. i would want to hold off and take a look at it before giving a formal response, but generally speaking it is an area where i am very interested and i understand that there is real potential so i would look forward to taking a look at that and look forward to the issue if confirmed. >> thank you. i want to talk about the government performance and results act. i do not know if you are at all familiar, but congress in 2010 updated the act thanks to the work of one of our former colleagues here. i think that former governor now senator mark warner was it was the kind of
issue that our republican colleagues on this committee are interested in, but it requires, as you know, different performance reviews. i wonder if you could just tell us if you see this particular approach as a useful tool in measuring performance. and what should be the role of omb in implementation? >> it is an incredibly valuable tool, because one of the things that i think is very important when we think about performance in the government is setting director burwell has said on numerous occasions that if we tried everything that worked, we would work it well. having a framework to set goals and priorities, using that as a
way to actually drive real accountability and cultural change within the agencies, that has got to be our objective. as you said, the framework allows us to do that. i think that one of the things that is important about that is the link between goal setting and accountability. so, i think that for example when i go on the website and pull up a goal and see the picture of the person at the agency, this is the senior level manager, the senior person accountable for executing on that goal. i think that is the kind of positive development that this framework allows, because ultimately it is moving from a compliance mentality to more of an accountability mentality and i think that is going to help
the results. the role that omb can play, my understanding is that omb plays an important role in setting the process across the agencies, then helping to make sure the agencies have the tools that they need to hit these accountability metrics. so, that is certainly a role that i think is going to become even more important over time and something i would want to prioritize myself if i was confirmed. >> it is not everyone who runs for the house or senate, or for president, who says i want to be a senator, representative, president or vice president because i want to make sure that we do our dead level best to use these laws to get things done and do more. not everyone wants to. figuring out the number of data centers we will have, and how much information we're one to-- how much information we are going to put up on a cloud.
you do not find many people who come here with the idea of doing those kinds of things. i know everyone is intense on-- i know everyone is intent on hammering down and getting rid of improper payments. a lot of people on this committee are. this is a committee that draws and attracts those kind of people, in some cases former governors, mayors, maybe attorney generals. earlier i spoke about the three things that i think are three components that i hear over and over again from people who are serious about debt reduction progress. right before balanced budgets during the clinton administration, revenues as a percentage of gdp, right around spending was also -- of right around 20%. spending was also around 20%. as the doctor suggested, it does not have to be based on the
rates if we respond. there are other ways to get the effective tax rate up, going through provisions and tax code that frankly do not make a lot of sense. the other thing that we need to do, coming back to this room, as democrats especially we need to keep this in mind, how do we get those results for less money in almost everything that we do? it is almost like a culture change. trying to move a culture of spending to a culture of thrift. it is hard for one committee to do that, and possible. even if you have a lot of people interested in this stuff. even if you work with omb it is hard to get that done. even just in the general accountability office across federal government.
what we try to do is alleged the effectiveness of our committee by poll -- by partnering with all the above. again, i say this is a shared responsibility, all hands on that. would you talk a bit about how you think your position, how omb can be maybe a better facilitator, a better partner in leveraging the activities? >> sure. i think that there are a couple of things that omb is particularly well positioned to do. the first is to invest in a relationship based on transparency and trust with this committee and the other actors that have a vital role to play in this process. i think that having a sense that we are working together to set the priorities that i was just referring to, that we are looking for opportunities to incorporate different points of view, i think thatrelationship e
effective in getting things done, as you say, when it is an effort that is going to require everyone together. the other thing that omb is well-positioned to do and it plays to their strengths, providing best practices and information across the agencies. so, whether it is on the i.t. side, doing things like portfolios, going into an agency and looking top to bottom at the type of technology improvements can be made, omb is in a position to cross fertilize and make sure the lessons learned from that particular intervention are actually available to the other agencies. i think that that's a, in a pragmatic way we need to make sure we are using that resource as effectively as possible, and we need input on how to do that
better. i think that the third area really is in helping to set the priorities for the federal government. the policy process that omb can oversee, the fact that the budget, that it -- that we are responsible for the budget framework as well, that is the opportunity to make sure they are fully integrated. when you are trying to identify these areas to make government more efficient, that they are reflected in the budget out there as well. i think that there are several opportunities where they should and can play a vital role, but i agree with your premise that at the end of the day to make real progress we all have to be working constructively and pragmatically together. again, if confirmed that is something i appreciate and would want to learn more about from you and others.
>> it can be enormously helpful, they have something called a someone asked me, what is the high-risk list? high risk is waste of taxpayer money. they have a lot of ideas about how we manage data and procure weapons systems, all kinds of things, handling federal property or don't. i call it this committees to do list. i would suggest that for omb it is not bad for the administration. again, it is so hard to get anything done around here.even if we agree on things. but if you have a particular set of policy initiatives that really could save a fair amount of money and the administration does not have it in their budget, with their high risk they say that these are things we need to do with committees in
the senate and house doing proper oversight, which includes matching up the behavior of federal agencies and so forth, highuring those against the --k from g.i. oh -- from fighting folks within the ranks of the inspector general and being outside of government groups, like citizens against government waste and other kinds of organizations, you can put them all together and get a real synergy going here. i think we're going to need that in a huge way if we're serious about deficit reduction. that is the third piece. i have people all the time to say to me -- i do not mind paying more taxes, but i do not want you to waste my money. if we realize that more revenue is part of the solution, i think beenould have demonstrably
able to say to folks, every day, i am not anxious to pay more in revenue, but if you do, do not waste that money. if we can convince clearly the people we are determined to work on that front as well, we help ourselves and the country in and. among the items on the high risk west, one of them deals with space. building space. we own hundreds of thousands of pieces of property around the country. some of them are well utilize, others are not. one of the things that troubles me, and it came up almost as soon as dr. colburn came to the committee, the way that we lease space for federal agencies to use, it would be more cost- effective to buy it. but if you buy it you have to pay for it out. without a capital budget you cannot write it off over time, you have to take it with lighter
-- you have to take it right up front, a $1 billion complex in the first year. that is a hard thing to do. can you talk with us a little bit about that idea? the idea of long-term lease as opposed to paying something out right and how we deal with the scoring? the incentives are all wrong. in a lot of cases it would be more cost-effective to buy than to lease long term. can you talk to us about those incentives and what, if anything, we can do? >> i think there is a real -- a real opportunity in better managing the federal footprint. and i think there is an opportunity to actually generate savings, deficit reduction, but also to operate our federal facilities more ficientlan
effectively. i think that the way to go about it is to think about how to create more tools to effectively manage this large footprint that we have. the issue that you mentioned is one of those tools. there are other tools that we should look at. are there ways that agencies can swap facilities when that would be an economic improvement for both agencies? i know that there is an initiative that has been undertaken to basically have pay go in an agency that says you cannot expand if you have not actually look at whether there are places where you need to consolidate. i think that that is an effective forcing mechanism as well. you put together these pieces, you look at what other pieces are out there, it will be those types of pieces together that will get us to a more efficient
outcome, a more efficient management of the federal footprint. so, i think it is a real opportunity and i think it is one that, if confirmed, i would want to work with you and your staff. to make sure that i fully understand exactly what types of tools will be the most effective. i agree completely that we need more tools in the toolkit to go at this problem and there is a real opportunity there. >> maybe one last question, usually i do this at a hearing with a number of witnesses where i am trying to develop consensus on a particular issue. we did that last week on improper payments and how to reduce them. i wanted to ask you a closing statement. not a long one, just a short one, but maybe some things you would like to emphasize that she
-- that you did not have a chance to put into your original statement. think about that, if you will. the job of government, with respect to job creation, people sometimes think, senators sometimes think that they create jobs, that government and presidents create jobs, but we do is create a nurturing environment for job creation. work force, regulation, access to capital. about seven to 8 million jobs in the country rely on a comprehensive postal service. we have been wrestling for a couple of years now to try to get it right. first-class mail is way down. we still need a postal service, but do you have any thoughts on how to move us toward a vibrant and sustainable system where we can maybe maintain unique distribution that we have and
generate more revenues and be more innovative? any thoughts you have on postal performance? addressed this summer. the hope is that we will be able to find common ground. in the senate and in the house, and with the administration. >> i think it is an important area to find common ground, because as you say this is a vital service provided to americans, but also as currently structured it is unsustainable. if left unaddressed it is going to wind up being a heart problem -- being a harder problem to solve, one that could potentially be a larger liability down the road for taxpayers. i think that this is a moment to try to take a very serious look -- at reform. the president's budget has put forward an approach to reform. i know that others have thought very deeply about what the right approach to do that is. so, i do not have a particular
magic formula in that respect, but i do think that the right way to go about this issue is to look for the areas of common ground and try to build a consensus that if addressed now and in a sensible way, this will be easier. it will never be easy, but in a sense it will be easier now than if we leave it for down the if you are confirmed, one of the first things that we .ill try to hammer out if you have a brief closing statement you would like to offer? we are all ears. >> first of all, thank you for this hearing and, again, the opportunity to speak with you and senator levin.
i look forward to speaking with other members of the committee. i guess in addition to what i have said, i would just say that i understand that we face very serious challenges as a country. economic challenges and fiscal challenges. but i am also very energized by the opportunity ahead and the potential opportunity, if confirmed for this role at omb. in addition to the opportunity to work with a second-to-none professional staff at omb, the opportunity to be part of a pragmatic group, as you say, of people turning to this committee and other stakeholders to you have identified who are actually just trying to identify where they can find good ideas and how we can move forward to show the american people that we can be effective stewards of taxpayer dollars and operate their government more efficiently, that is something that is extremely exciting for me. again, i am very humbled and
honored to be here, thank you for your time. >> thank you for your time, your willingness to take this on, and i would like to thank your parents for raising you and your sister, heather? to be so smart. to have good values, a good work ethic, we are grateful for your willingness to share with us. there is a sacrifice in these kinds of things. not just on his part, but on yours as well, and i am deeply, deeply grateful. if confirmed look forward to working with you closely going forward. i will close with the words that i used earlier, a big part of what we need to do is find out what works and do more of that. it is not the responsibility of any one person.
not mine, not yours, not sylvia, not omb, it is everybody's responsibility. will see if we cannot continue the progress we are making and giving this country -- getting this country moving right, getting us moving in the right direction. to get you on the job and working to continue that progress. the hearing record will remain open until the close of business tomorrow, may 14,@6:00 p.m. emma for submission of statements and questions for the record. have you had a chance to meet with members of the committee? i have had a chance to meet with some of them, yes.
>> british prime minister david cameron is in the u.s. this week. "washington journal" begins at the top of the hour. we will discuss how tea party members to sponsor the scrutiny and the senate judiciary committee continues work on the immigration and border security bill, live at 10:00 eastern. an the senate judiciary committee will continue debating and voting on amendments to the so-called gang of eight immigration bill this morning. live coverage begins at 10:00 eastern on c-span. later in the morning on c-span three, a group of republican house members will talk about their opposition to the senate immigration measure. live coverage at 11:00 eastern.
president obama was asked about last yours benghazi attacks on the consulate and targeting of political conservative groups by the irs. this news conference with the british prime minister is 30 minutes. >> good morning, everybody. please have a seat. to all your mom -- to all the moms out there, i hope you had a wonderful mother's day. it is always my pleasure to prime minister david cameron. there was a lot of attention marchhow i took david to madness last year. we went to ohio, and a year later we have to consensus -- we don'to admit that i understand cricket, he still doesn't understand basketball.
we are rooted in shared interests and shared values, and it is indispensable to global security and prosperity. but as we have seen, again recently, it is also a partnership of the heart. here in the united states, we joined in morning the passing of baroness margaret thatcher. after the bombings in boston, we americans were grateful for the support of friends from around the world, particularly those across the atlantic. in a moment of silence, the race was dedicated to boston. david will be visiting to pay tribute to the victims and first responders. i want to thank you. our two people stand as one. david is here as he prepares to host the g8 next month. i appreciate him updating me on the agenda as it takes shape. the summit will be another opportunity to sustain the
global economic recovery with a focus on growth and creating jobs for our people. michelle and i are looking forward to visiting northern ireland. i know it will be a great success under david's fine leadership. we discussed moving on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership. our extensive trade with the uk is essential. it supports more than 13 million jobs. i want to thank david for his strong support in building on those ties. i look forward to negotiations with the eu in the coming months. i believe we have a real opportunity to cut tariffs, open jobs, and make all of our economies more competitive. with regard to global security, we reviewed our progress in afghanistan were our troops
continue to serve with extraordinary courage alongside each other. i want to commend david for his efforts to encourage greater dialogue between afghanistan and pakistan which is critical to regional security. as planned, afghan forces will as planned, afghan forces will take the lead across the country soon. u.s., british, and coalition forces will move into a support role. our troops will continue to come home and the war will and by the end of next year. we work with our partners to make sure that afghanistan is never a haven for terrorists. given our commitment to the middle east peace, i updated david on our efforts and the importance of moving towards negotiations. we reaffirm our support for democratic transitions in the middle east and north africa, including the economic reforms that have to go along with political reforms. of course, we discussed syria and the appalling violence being inflicted on the syrian people. together, we are going to
continue our efforts to increase pressure on the assad regine to provide humanitarian aid to the long-suffering syrian people, to strengthen the opposition, and to prepare for a democratic syria without a sorrow shot -- assad. that includes bringing together people in the regime to agree on a transitional body which would allow a transfer of power from a sought this governing body. meanwhile, -- from assad to this governing body. we discussed iran where we agree to keep pressure on tehran for its continued failure to follow nuclear regulations. finally, we are reaffirming our
commitment to global development, specifically we are encouraged by the ambitious reforms underway at the global fund to fight aids and malaria where both of our nations are stepping up our efforts. david has made it clear that the g8 summit will be another opportunity to make progress. david, thank i very much as always for your leadership and partnership -- thank you very much as always for your leadership and partnership. it is clear we face a demanding agenda, but at the history of our people show anything it is that we persevere, as one of those on london runners said at the marathon -- we will keep running and keep on doing this. that is the spirit and confidence and resolve that we will continue to draw on as we work together to meet these challenges. david, thank you very much and welcome. >> thank you for the warm we it is great to be back here in the white house. thank you for all you said about
margaret hatcher. it was a pleasure to welcome so many americans to her funeral in the uk i absolutely echo what you say about the appalling outrage in boston. i look forward to going there to pay my tribute to the people and their courage. we will always stand with you in the fight against terrorism. thank you for the remarks about the cricket and the basketball. i have not made much progress. i made a bit of progress on baseball. i read a book about it this year. maybe next time we will go on that one. it is good to be back for the first time since the american people returned you to office. as you said, the relationship between britain and the united states is a partnership without paradox. day in and day out across the world, our diplomats and intelligence agencies work together. our businesses trade with each other. in afghanistan, our armed forces are defending the stability that will keep us safer.
in the economic race, our businesses are doing more than $17 billion of trade across the atlantic every month of every year. in a changing world, our nations share resolve to stand up for democracy, enterprise, and freedom. we discussed many issues today, as the president has said. but me highlight 3 -- the economy, the g8 thomas and syria. -- g8, and syria. this means dealing with data, restoring stability, getting our economy growing, and seizing opportunities to grow our economies. president obama and i both championed a free trade deal between the european union and the united states. there is a real chance to get the process marched in time for the g8. the next five weeks are crucial. to realize the huge benefits this a deal could bring will take ambition and political will.
it is worth the effort. it could be worth up to 10 billion pounds per year. we discussed the g8 summit in some details. when we meet on the shores five weeks from today, i hope we have ambitious action for economic growth. we need to make sure everyone shares in the benefits of this not just. in the developing world to. -- in the developing world, too. we need to make sure that all companies pay their taxes properly and enable citizens to hold their governments. today, we have agreed to tackle the scourge of tax evasion. we need a new mechanism to track
where multinationals make their money and where they pay their taxes so we can stop those who are manipulating the system unfairly. finally, we discussed the brutal conflict in syria. 18,000 dead. 5 million people forced from their homes. syria's history is being written in the blood of her people and it is happening on our watch. the world urgently needs to come together to bring mckinley to an killing to an end. none of us have any interest in seeing more lives lost -- to bring the killing two and and -- to an end. none of us have any interest in seeing more lives lost. we have an urgent window of opportunity before the worst fears are realized. there is no more urgent international task than this.we syriansget
to the table to a national government that could win the consent of all the syrian people. there will be no political progress unless the opposition is able to withstand the onslaught. we will also increase our efforts to support and shape the moderate opposition. britain is pushing for more flexibility in the eu arms embargo and we will double support to the syrian opposition in the coming year. armored vehicles, body armor, and power generators are helping councils govern the areas they liberate. they are dealing with the influx of refugees. they are caring for trauma injuries. syrian families need clean water and access to food and shelter. there is now, i believe, common ground that whatever our differences, we have the same name -- a stable, inclusive, and peaceful syria free from the scourge of extremism.
we now need to get on and do everything we can to make it happen. thank you once again for your warm welcome and our talks today. >> thank you. we have time for a couple of questions. we will start with julie. >> thank you, mr. president. i wanted to ask about the irs and benghazi. when did you first learn that the irs was targeting conservative political groups? do you feel that the irs has betrayed the public trust? what should the action be? benghazi, e-mails show that that state department seems to be more closely involved with the talking points than first acknowledged. do you think the white house misled its public in shaping the talking points? or do you maintain the assertion that the talking points were not meant to downplay terrorism?
if the eu arms embargo lapses, are you encouraging president obama to take the same steps? >> lets me take the irs situation first. i first learned about from from the same news reports that i think most people learned about this. i think it was on friday. and, this is pretty straightforward. if, in fact, irs personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that is outrageous. there is no place for it. they have to be held fully accountable because the irs as an independent agency requires absolute integrity to rid people have to have confidence that they are applying it in a
nonpartisan way -- the laws in a nonpartisan way. you should feel that way regardless of party. i do not care if you are a democrat or a republican. at some point, there will be a republican administration. at some point there will be democratic ones. either way, you do not want the irs ever being perceived to be biased in any -- and anything less than neutral in terms of how they operate. this is something that i think people are properly concerned about. the ig is conducting its investigation. i will not comment on their specific findings prematurely, but i can tell you that if you have got to the irs operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous. it is contrary to our traditions.
people have to be held accountable and it has got to be fixed. so, we will wait and see what exactly all the details and the facts are. i will not tolerate it and make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this. with respect to benghazi, we have now seen this argument that has been made by some folks, primarily up on capitol hill for months now. and i have just got to say, here is what we know. americans died. in benghazi. what we also know is clearly they were not in a position where they were adequately protected. the day after it happened, i acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism. what i pledged to the american
people was that we would find out what happened and make sure that it did not happen again and make sure that we held accountable those who perpetrated this terrible crime. that is exactly what we have been trying to do. over the last several months, there was a review board headed by two distinguished americans. they investigated every element of this. what they discovered was some pretty harsh judgments in terms of how we had worked to protect consulates and embassies around the world. they give us a whole series of recommendations. those recommendations are being implemented as we speak. the whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout his process has been a sideshow. -- this process has been a
sideshow. what we have been very clear throughout is that immediately after this happened, we were not clear who exactly caied it out, how it had occurred, what the motivations were. it happened at the same time as we have seen attacks on u.s. embassies in cairo as a consequence of this film. and nobody understood exactly what was taking place during the course of those first few days. the e-mails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees. they reviewed them several months ago. they concluded that, in fact, there was nothing a file in terms of the process we had used foul in terms of the process we had used. suddenly, three days ago this
gets spun up as if there is something new to the story. there is nothing there. keep in mind, by the way, these so-called talking points that were prepared for susan rice 5, 6 days after the event occurred, pretty much matched the assessments that i was receiving at that time in my presidential daily briefing. and, keep in mind, that two to three days after susan rice appeared on the sunday shows using these talking points, which had been the source of all of this contrary, i sent out the head of our national counterterrorism center, matt olson, up to capitol hill and specifically said it was an act of terrorism and that extremist elements inside of libya had been involved in it.
so, if this was some effort on our part to try to downplay what had happened or tamp it down, that would be a pretty odd thing that we days later we end up putting up all the information that, in fact, has now served as the basis for everybody recognizing that this was a terrorist attack and that it may have included elements that were planned by extremists inside of libya. who executes some sort of cover- up or effort to tamp things down for three days? the whole thing defies logic. the fact that this keeps on getting turned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations. we have had folks who have challenged hillary clinton's integrity, susan rice's integrity, mike mullen'sen mine is challenged by these same
folks. they have used it for fundraising and, frankly, you know, if anybody out there wants to actually focus on how we make sure something like this does not happen again, i am happy to get their advice and information and counsel. but to the fact of the matter is that these four americans, as i said right when it happened, were people that i sent into the field. i have been very clear about taking responsibility for the fact that we are not able -- were not able to prevent their deaths. we are doing everything we can to make sure we prevent it in part because there are still diplomats around the world who are in very dangerous, it difficult situations. we do not have time to be playing these games in washington. what are we doing to protect them?
that is not easy. it will require tough judgment and calls. there are a bunch of diplomat who know they are in harm's way. the british have to deal with the same thing. we have a whole bunch of people who consistently say i am willing to step up. i am willing to put myself in harm's way. i think this mission is important in terms of advancing our interest around the globe. we dishonor them when we turn this into a political circus. what happened was tragic. it was carried out by extremists inside of libya. we are out there trying to hunt down the folks that carried this out of me want to make sure we
fix the system so it does not happen again. >> on the issue of opposition in syria, we have not made the decision to arm opposition groups. we have amended the eu arms embargo and that we can get technical advice and assistance. that is what we are doing. we are continuing to look at the embargo and seeing if we need to make further change in order to facilitate our work. i do believe there is more we can do in order to shake them, in order to work with them. to those who doubt that, if we do not help the syrian opposition who we recognize as being legitimate, if we do not work with that part of the opposition which not be surprised if the extremist elements grow.
i think being engaged is the right approach. >> bbc. you are talking here today about a new eu/u.s. trade deal. members are talking about leaving the european union. what is your message to those pushing for an early referendum? if there were a referendum tomorrow, how would you vote? >> you told david cameron that you wanted a strong u.k. and a strong eu. how concerned are you that members are contemplating withdrawal? on syria, what gives you any confidence that the russians are going to help you on this?
>> on the issue of the referendum, there's not going to be a referendum tomorrow. it will give the british public and entirely false choice between the status quo which i do not think is acceptable. i want to see britain's relationship in prove. i do not think this is the choice the british public wants or deserve. everything i do is guided by a very simple principle. what is in the national interest of britain's tax is it appeared that will make our country's more prosperous that will help our businesses? we will push for this transatlantic trade deal. is it in our interest to reform the union to make it more open or competitive and to improve the place within the european union tax it is achievable.
the currency is driving change for that single currency. i believe britain is quite entitled to ask for and get changes. is it in britain's national interest want to have achieved those changes to consult the british public in a fall on referendum. i believe it is. this is absolutely right. it has strong support around the country. this is what i am going to do. you ask a question what are the signs of russian engagement. i had very good talks on friday.
we had a very frank conversation. we have approached this and some extent do approach it in a different way. i have been vocal in supporting the syrian opposition in saying assad has to go. he is not legitimate. i continue to say that. president putin has taken a different view. it is in our interest at the end of this there is a democratic syria, that there is a stable neighborhood and that we do not encourage the growth of violent extremism. i think the russian president and myself can see that the current trajectory of how things going is not in anybody's interest. there is is a major diplomatic effort which we are all together leaving. it is bringing the parties to the table to bring a transition at the top so we can make the change the country needs.
>> with respect to the relationship between the u.k. and the eu, we have a special relationship with the united kingdom. we believe that our capacity with the united kingdom that is robust, out are looking and engage with the world is hugely important to our own interests as well as the world. the u.k.'s participation is an expression of its role in the world. ultimately the people of the u.k. have to make decisions for themselves.
i will say that you probably want to see if you can fix what is broken in a very important relationship before you break off. it makes some sense to me. i know david has been very active in seeking some reforms internal to the eu. those are tough negotiations. you had a lot of company -- you have a lot involved. so long as we have not yet evaluated how successful those reforms will be. i would be interested in seeing a whether or not those are successful before rendering a final judgment. i want to emphasize these are issues for people of the united kingdom to make a decision about.
not ours. i think david said it very well. if you look objectively the entire world community has an interest in seeing a syria that is not engaged in sectarian war in which the syrian people are not being slaughtered, that is an island of peace as opposed to an outpost for extremists. that is not just true for the united states or great britain or countries like jordan and turkey that border syrian. it is true for russia. i am pleased to hear that david had a very constructive conversation with president putin shortly after. i have spoken to him several times on this topic.
our basic argument is that as a leader on the world stage, russia has an interest as well as an obligation to try to resolve this issue and a way that can lead to the outcome we would all like to see over the long term. i do not think it is any secret there remained lingering suspicions between russia and other members of the g-8 or west. it has been several decades since russia transformed itself. some of those suspicions still exists. part of what my goal has been is try to break down some of those
suspicions and objectively at the situation. if we can broker a peaceful political transition that lead to assad's departure but a state in syria that is still in tact that accommodate the interests of all the ethnic groups inside of syria and that end the bloodshed, that will not just be good for us. that will be good for everybody. we will be very persistent in trying to make that happen. i am not promising that it will be successful. sometimes once the furies had been unleashed in a situation it is very hard to put things back together. there are going to be enormous
challenges in getting a credible process going even if russia is involved. we have so many other countries like iran and hezbollah that have been involved. we have organizations that are essentially affiliated to al qaeda add that have another agenda beyond just getting rid of assad. all of that is a combustible mix. it is worth the effort. we are always more successful in any global upper room we have a strong friend and partner like great britain by our side and strong leadership by prime minister david cameron. thank you very much, everybody. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
>> washington journal begins in a moment. we will take your calls, e- mails and tweets and look at the day's news. the senate judiciary committee will hold a hearing on the gang of eight this morning. legislative work begins that 2. helping track down violent criminals. in a 45 minutes, the majority related ton efforts gender and compensation. founder also. co- ruger.todd
host: "washington post" report this morning that two officers were involved in investigating conservative groups, making clear that the effort reached beyond the branch in cincinnati. the means committee announced yesterday they will hold a hearing on friday on the irs investigation. president obama told agencies yesterday -- he called the benghazi investigation inside show. what is your take on the president's comment and the impact of this on washington?