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tv   Media Coverage of Lobbying  CSPAN  January 12, 2014 4:09am-5:17am EST

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flexibility, they would design and pursue innovative and effective ways to help those trapped in poverty. as we've seen, they could put in place programs that give those currently stuck in low-wage jobs access to a job training system. they could put in place relocation vouchers that will help the long-term unemployed move to areas with more jobs. they could remove the marriage penalties in safety net programs like medicaid. they could enact a nearly infinite number of other nimble and targeted reforms to address the needs of their people. allowing the states greater control doesn't mean washington gets to wash its hands of the problem. there will still be a role-play for the federal government. for example, we should pursue reforms that encourage and reward work. that is why i am developing legislation to replace the earned income tax credit with a federal wage enhancement for qualifying low-wage jobs.
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this would allow unemployed individuals to take a job paying 18,000 dollars a year, which on its own is not enough to make ends meet, but then they receive a federal enhancement to make the job a more enticing alternative to simply collecting unemployment insurance. unlike the earned income tax credit, my proposal would apply the same to singles as to married couples and families with children. it would be a preferable means of distributing benefits, since it would arrive in sync with a monthly or biweekly paycheck rather than a year-end lump-sum credit. it is a better way of supporting low-income workers than simply raising the minimum wage. an enhancement like this will have to be widely targeted so it avoids fraud or abuse, and the amount will depend on a range of factors. but we know that by supporting work over dependency, this will increase workforce participation, especially in struggling communities. that in turn will have numerous social, economic, and cultural
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benefits to areas hardest hit by the great recession and our recent economic challenges. ultimately, however, any reform effort would be incomplete if it failed to facilitate the ultimate wage enhancer, skills training for those in low-wage jobs. many people in these jobs don't have the time or money to pursue a traditional education. we can help them by bolstering and reinvigorating our nation's existing job-training system. while our workforce delivery system must be driven by states, the federal government can help address the shortage in many skilled labor jobs by creating more pathways toward obtaining those certification credentials, and by encouraging alternatives to the traditionally accredited college degree. unlike our current programs, targeted reforms such as these address the causes of opportunity and equality, not
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just the consequences. as a result, they will help move us closer to a day when widespread poverty is a memory. and equal opportunity is available to more people than ever before. this erosion of equal opportunities is among the greatest stresses to our exceptionalism as a nation, but it also provides us with an exciting and historic opportunity to help more people than ever achieve the american dream. the millions trapped in poverty and despair are a tremendous untapped resource for america. just think of what it would mean for our country to gain the full use of the talents and abilities of all people. they would develop new innovations to improve our lives, help build the next great american company. they would be doctors in our hospitals, scientist in our labs. customers for our businesses and partners in our investments. leaders in our government,
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pastors in our churches. we are a great country, despite the fact that we have over 40 million people stuck in poverty. imagine how much greater we would be if they were not. imagine how much greater we would be if the dreams and talents of over 40 million human beings were unleashed into our economy and into our lives. now, i haven't been in washington long, but i have been here long enough to know everything here gets analyzed through the lens of electoral politics. upward mobility and equal opportunity is not and should not be part of the issue. it is our unifying principle. it has always been a focus in my public service, going back to my days as a state representative. for me, this issue is deeply personal. i am a generation removed from poverty and despair.
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where would i be today if there had never been an america? what kind of futures would my children have of this was not a nation of opportunity? what if my father had been stuck working as a bar boy his whole life instead of making it to head bartender? what kind of like would i have now? in all likelihood, i too would be on the outside looking in, forever frustrated that because my parents had no power or no privilege i was unable to achieve my full potential. our status as a land of equal opportunity, it has made us a rich and powerful nation. but it has also transformed lives. it has given people like me the chance to grow up knowing that no dream was too big and no goal was out of my reach. the earliest memories are of my father and grandfather instilling in me that i could
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achieve any kind of life i wanted. even though they had humble beginnings themselves. now there are those trying to access those same opportunities. working in this very building, there are struggling parents trying to give their children what my parents gave me. within walking distance of this very place, there are children growing up like i did, with dreams just like mine. whether or not they get the chance to improve their lives will determine whether we remain a special country or become just like everybody else. for 50 years now, we have tried big government. yet too many people remain trapped and despair. now we must try a new way. one that addresses the things that are keeping some the people from the better life they want. the idea that everyone deserves a chance, that still binds us
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together as a people. despite our many challenges and our differences, this is still who we want to be. that is why i know, like those who came before us, we are going to solve this problem. because in the end i believe we will do what americans have always done, whatever it takes to keep america special. thank you for the chance to address you. [applause] >> we have time for a few questions and answers as well. if you are called on, please stand and introduce yourself. i would like to take the prerogative to ask the first question myself. you have been working not just on policy, but doing a lot and communities in florida, including miami. what are you doing in communities for people on the ground experiencing poverty?
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what is your experience? >> first of all, let me go back to when i first began to deal with the issues in 2004 and 2005 when i was in the florida legislature, on the path to becoming speaker of the house. we undertook a project called the 100 innovative ideas for florida's future. getting ideas from everyday people -- what would you do in our position? the number one answer was resign, but all kidding aside we learned about the needs out there that existed. from that, you start to have a better understanding of the diversity of causes keeping people from a better life. what i tried to continue to do is remain engaged in those communities by coming face to face with challenges. some i interact with on a personal level. some of you may have heard me talk about this. i am proud of what we achieved
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this year, but i was a coach on two of my former high school's football teams. you see the background of many kids we were coaching. these are challenging circumstances. children, many of whom are raised by grandmother's because they never met their father, and their mother is working two jobs, or might have a drug problem, might be in jail. these kids are in dangerous neighborhoods and sometimes lack access to positive role models other than what they might see on television. these kids are going to struggle to succeed. some of them will. but some of these kids face very significant obstacles to a better life. every year that goes by is a year you can't get back. let me address those things that are happening. unless something dramatic happens. you start to understand what intergenerational poverty is caused by. we also have the issue of people who cannot help themselves. the safety net has to be there for people in those circumstances. in miami-dade county we have
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many poor seniors who cannot be expected to go back and find jobs to support themselves. you have people who are disabled, people who have addictions they need to break. the issue is complex. you go to rural areas, particularly in the homestead area, and you have people dealing with poverty, but the causes and characteristics look different from what you may find in the inner-city urban areas. even inner-city urban poverty looks different in miami and jacksonville or tampa or other parts of the state. all these have to be dealt with in creative and innovative ways. the frustrations you often hear is we have no flexibility. we are forced to provide services within the constraints of government mandates and government requirements that you not allow us to tailor our programs to the individual, to the locality we are trying to serve. hence some of the problems. the other complaint you get is the extraordinary amount of paperwork involved every single year in accessing these funds in these programs. that is problematic as well.
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my biggest concern i have learned from is that we have antipoverty programs that help us to alleviate the pain of poverty, but they do not do nearly enough to help people overcome the causes of it, the things that are keeping them from getting ahead. unless we address the structural causes of poverty, we are never going to solve it and are never going to create the kind of upward mobility we want in our country which we expect from our nation. >> you were first. you are up. >> thank you very much. from "the washington post" >> my faith teaches me we have a biblical obligation to take care of those who are less fortunate. my country, whether we want to a knowledge or not, was founded on spiritual principles much more than political principles. the idea that every being was created equal by god and endowed with certain rights is founded on a certain spiritual principle. one of the rights is an equal opportunity to pursue happiness,
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as you individually define it. certainly plays a role in that regard. i think the spiritual component probably plays a greater role in me as a person in terms of my private philanthropy, how we dedicate the time and the blessings we have had. it plays a role that the government, but in fulfilling our spiritual obligation it should influence we do in government, but should particularly influence will be when our private lives. just because the government has a program to help those struggling, doesn't mean that outside of that particular individuals don't have that same obligation to also look for ways to serve. service to others, charity, this is a term that is often used, is a key component in living your faith. >> a washington team unity activist.
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you made a point about marriage and young children out of wedlock being a root cause of most of the things you see. we have something in d.c. that needs to be dealt with. we know. what about policies that would increase the amount of young people -- helping them grow families? in these public housing complexes in d.c., what policies can be put in place to help empower people? a drug dealer. someone who cooks crack cocaine, they could be a scientist. they braid hair, they cook food, they wash cars. how can we teach these people to
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be businessmen and businesswomen and grow? >> on your second point, when i talked about this issue, we often deal with this issue of a burden in our country. we have 50 million people in america struggling. certainly it is a burden on them. it is more than just a burden. human beings are not a liability. they are in asset. if we can unleash their potential, their god-given potential to help our country, it would enrich every single one of us. i have no doubt that stuck today somewhere with a lack of opportunity is the next brilliant scientist or innovator or someone who will improve our lives and essentially change the direction of our country. you ask me about marriage. it is a complex issue, largely societal one. where government can play a role, because much of the role has to come from individuals in society, but where government can play a role, make sure policies do not punish marriage. we have safety net programs that discourage marriage. medicaid is one example.
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you can lose medicaid if you get married. suddenly your income goes up and you have been disqualified. the other issue is that government is always a valid platform to talk about these things and create awareness about the importance that marriage phase in children and the well-being of families. the impact marriage has is the title, but it also has a practical impact. a married couple has two paychecks, an unmarried couple probably only has one. it is tough to get ahead with just one paycheck these days. there were instances where both my parents were working when we were growing up because they had to. if my mom or dad had to do it alone, things would have been different. the reason why it is so important to push these programs down to the state and local level is because it is there where the kind of innovative governmental policies can -- to the extent the government can have a role in promoting marriage and family formation -- it is there really where you would see that innovation. to think that washington, d.c.
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will design a program that works just as well as washington, d.c. as it doesn't does in topeka, kansas, i think we are fooling ourselves. the federal government is not structured for that kind of thinking. i think the answer to that problem, innovative policies that will help address it, will come from your level, not from mine. but i do think government has a role to play in incentivizing that to help make that possible. >> thank you. on several occasions in your remarks you mentioned the broad and growing economy. isn't that the difference between how private sector creates jobs and the government creates jobs? wealth creation, which is another word for profit. creating sustainable jobs.
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whereas government programs are largely transfer payments. they may alleviate the short-term concern but they need to be sustained by continued income flow. they don't sustain themselves the way wealth creation does. if that is true, then what -- these the solutions to encourage people to focus on growth. not just jobs, but economic growth? if you can do that, then you can have sustainable jobs, and that requires an understanding and appreciation for the role of the profit in job creation rather than income distribution. >> in my comments i said the only way to solve this problem is to do two things. number one, foster a vibrant free enterprise economy that
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creates these jobs, and number two, address issues keeping americans from accessing these jobs. that is where i talked about the debt and things of these nature, because they do have an impact. you bring up a very important point. it is important remind ourselves of how jobs are created. it is not a competition formula. basically, someone who has money or access to money decides to risk it, to start a new business or grow existing one. the idea works, and they start hiring people and make a profit and decide to take the profit they have made and reinvested back into the business to make it grow and create more jobs. that is for you create private-sector jobs. why did my dad have a job as a bartender? because somebody had access to money and opened a hotel. other americans had enough money left in their pockets to take a vacation to miami beach or las vegas. they are interrelated. now we have governmental policies that make that harder. why? because if you reinvest the
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profit in another country you pay less taxes because of our corporate tax rate. if you are a big corporation or a large multinational, you may not like the large rules and regulations but if you really want to deal with them you can hire people to navigate that. if you are somebody trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom of your home, you cannot afford to hire a lobbying firm, accounting firm, and a law firm to navigate that. it just never happens. hence you see where government action becomes an impediment. the last thing we have not done enough of is look at the impact the national debt is having on economic growth. people realize the debt will eventually lead to massive increases in taxes or disruptive changes in government, and discourages them about making long-term investments. when you are not making long-term investments in the future of your business, you will not be treating jobs and opportunities for others.
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doing all that is quickly important. by itself, it is not enough. we have to take the second step. the second step is that is great for the economy to create jobs, but we do not have the people for those skills because those jobs require a higher level of education than ever before. if you are a 35-year-old single mom trying to raise a kid and working full time you just can't leave your kids behind and go to college for four years. we have to figure out a way to deliver skills and technical capabilities to that person so they can improve their lives. not by minimum wage, but by getting a degree that allows them to find a job that pays 4, 5 times what they were making. we have to do both. we can't just do one or the other. >> fast-forward a year from now.
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by washington standards -- how would we measure the success of what you are posing today in terms of legislation, reform -- how do we assess? >> start working on implement in things. the first phase is to convince people that this approach, i think the first step is to convince people that we are not dealing with the right problem. we are not dealing with the right problem, even as early as tomorrow the president will give another speech on inequality. he focuses on inequality of income, which is an issue. but the bigger issue is inequality of opportunity. as i said in my speech, of course the cashier at a fast food chain makes less than the ceo, but the fundamental problem, is that person stuck in the job the rest of their lives, or are they getting the opportunity to get better pay?
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the primary impediment, and i mentioned a number of them, one of the primary impediments is they do not have skills allowing access to better-paying jobs. the other impediment is the economy may not be producing enough. we are not treating the causes of poverty. we are only treating the pain caused by poverty. that is a valid thing. if you are only feeling the pain, the symptoms of poverty, you're not dealing with the causes, you're not going to cure it. that is with the current programs don't do. the second phase is convincing people we need to act on it. that this is a critical issue. something that threatens our exceptionalism as a nation. if we can do that entry coalitions that extend beyond party lines, that will be important to restarting this conversation. i honestly believe, not only is this a critical issue to keep america special, it is in issue that provides a tremendous opportunity to grow
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exponentially in ways that we perhaps cannot even envision. when you think that there are 40 million people out there that right now do not have full access to the american promise, what would our country look like if they did? it would be phenomenal. a huge, untapped potential that we have. first phase is convincing people this is important enough to be revolutionary about. >> can you provide more details on this flex fund? what federal programs do you see going into that? >> we are beginning to prep the details of it. it is originated by an economist who did a great job. now we are turning it into a piece of legislation. we are going to be introducing the legislation. that is exactly what we are looking at right now. which programs would fit in, how the money would be transferred, how you would deliver benefits.
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there has to be some level of accountability from states to ensure the programs are delivering on what the money is being given for. that is what we are working on developing, those details of what it would look like. by and large, it would take your existing funding, your levels of funding that you have, and transfer them to a single agency who would then fund innovative or grounds of the state level meant to address what is going on each of those states individually. you would do it in the revenue-neutral way. the first idea is not to save money, though we think it will save money in the long term. you will turn more recipients into taxpayers. you will get more people out of poverty and become active members of our economy. you will see that not just in a reduction of expenditures in these programs, but they will become vibrant participants in the economy, customers and business partners and taxpayers, all things that provide not just a better life, but everyone a better life. >> the current debate here, one
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of the issues is food stamps. the proposal is to cut back on food stamps. >> at the end of the day, i would envision that maybe one of the programs transferred to the state level, because perhaps they best deliver that. i would say to you that these programs have a utility. in the past i have said that. there is a worthy place for the safety net. it is hard to go to school and acquire skills if you are not eating. they serve utility, but they are incomplete. they are dealing with a symptom of poverty, hunger, but don't help you deal with the cause, a lack of skill attainment or other implements in the way. anytime we can find ways to go after inefficiencies or even worse, fraud, things of that nature, we should examine that. but if we were to transfer these to the state level and allow them the flexibility to design a way to deliver food assistance to individuals through creative and innovative programs that meet the real demand in
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individual localities, i think that debate would no longer be necessary. >> ladies and gentlemen, we have come to the end about time. i would like to thank the american enterprise institute, thank all you for coming today and doing your part for our shared movement to help those in need. please join me in thanking senator marco rubio. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> hi, everybody.ht national
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yesterday we learned in 2013 our
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businesses created 2.2 million new jobs, including 87,000 last month. our implement rate -- our employment rate is the lowest it has been since 2008. our manufacturing and housing sectors are rebounding. our energy, technology tom and auto sectors are booming thanks in part to the affordable care act, healthcare cdosts eat up less of our economy. we have cut our deficit by more than half. of theto the hard work american people, our economy is growing stronger. we know we have more work to do together. our success is the country depends on more than the success of our broader economy, it depends on the success of the american people. it depends on your ability to make ends meet, provide for your family.
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and with hard work, feel like you can get ahead. we have to keep our economy growing and make sure more americans have the opportunity to share and that growth. bid to keep creating jobs to create more opportunity and make sure those jobs off the wages and benefits that let you rebuild security. we have more kids to educate and families to get covered by health insurance and an immigration system defects fix. we have to make sure this recovery leaves no one behind. this will be a year of action. i will keep doing everything i can to create new jobs and new opportunities or american families. own, andress, or on my with everyone willing to play actionart, that should begin by extending unemployment insurance. this vital economic lifeline helps people support their families why they look for a new job. it advance responsibility in
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return but requiring they prove that they are actively looking for work. before the holidays, republicans and holiday -- democrats let the expire. it would hurt 14 million americans if this does not get fixed. we took the first steps to making this right earlier this week, but congress needs to finish the job. more than one million americans will feel a little hope right away if they do. working folks are looking for this stable, secure jobs that went overseas in the past couple of decades so next week i will join companies and colleges and take action to boost manufacturing. business owners are ready to play their part and hire more workers and so next week i will be joined by college presidents as we lay out specific steps to let more young people go to college and graduate with the skills they need.
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later this month, i will host ceos at the white house. month, at my the state of the union address, i will mobilize the country around the national mission of making sure our economy offers everyone who works hard a fair shot at opportunity and success. as americans, that is what we should expect, and everything -- and never it -- and after everything you have done in hard work and sacrifice, that is what you deserve. thanks. have a great weekend. >> hello. i am the united states senator from mississippi. the beginning of the new year is a time when many americans decide to make positive changes in their lives. it can be a time we decide to adopt healthier lifestyles or take a fresh look at the family budget. unfortunately, as this year begins, many people are worried
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about how the so-called affordable care act also known as obamacare is affecting both their health and personal finances. republicans in the senate think we should repeal or defund the program because of its cost and complexity. the affordable care act was supposed to be fully operational by january of this year but here we are two weeks into 2014 and the administration continues to struggle to implement the laws. the law is not living up to the promises made by its supporters feared it is questionable whether the law will be its fundamental purpose to significantly expand health coverage. 5 million americans have been kicked out of the health plans that they liked and were promised they could keep. some of my constituents have discovered that the new insurance could cost twice as
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much as they have been paying. many others are being denied access to doctors with whom they were perfectly happy with. the administration's enrollment numbers do not paint a pretty picture. they don't tell us how many of the enrollees have luck -- have lost existing coverage and were forced into the exchanges and the numbers do not tell us whether applicants have actually paid their premiums and received coverage. ampleis ample rebirth -- reason to be skeptical that those numbers will improve. if the law cannot keep its most basic promise, it should be repealed. we have introduced legislation to do just that. we should go back to the drawing that and grab common sense will work better for all americans without spending billions of taxpayer dollars to support these failing policies. in the spirit of the new year, we should resolve to help make
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our health-car
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good morning. this hearing will come to order. let me welcome our panelists, all of whom are as deeply troubled as all of us are by the situation in south sudan. the reason for this being the first hearing of this committee of the new year is the hope that our attention can send a message to all parties in the sudan that a ceasefire, a continuing ceasefire, a political solution
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: : save lives. we have many questions about the direction in which this young nation is headed and the greater implications of the conflict and i hope our panelists will provide us with deeper insights into the situation on the ground which i might add in a different context underscores the importance of congress moving quickly on embassy security with our embassy in juba, operating at severely reduced capacity as a result of the violence. looking back, the united states government and members of this committee were hopeful that when we strongly supported south sudan's independence in 2011. after decades of war with the sudan niece government, the people of south sudan voted in favor of self determination and the chance to include an inclusi inclusive, democratic and
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prosperous society. they were united in that goal. now over 1,000 people have been killed, more than 194,000 have been displaced and human tirn conditions will surely deteriorate as access to conflict areas diminishes. i think we can all agree that it is absolutely necessary that to avoid a downward spiral into further ethnic violence and chaos, all armed elements must cease hostilities immediately. a continuation of violence will only jeopardize future u.s. engagement and further u.s. assistance. having said that, there is some sign for hope and reason for some optimism. i commend the enter governmental authority for development and or african leaders for successfully arranging negotiations in ethiopia and i commend president kiir and former vice president machar for sending delegations to talk in addidas ab back ba. at the end of the day there's only one option.
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let me reiterate secretary kerry's remarks, all parties must make serious efforts to seek an inclusive political sugs. today's panelists are here to help us better understand the road and the broader implications of the current crisis. we hope to gain insight into the nature of the rebellion, are the units cohesive, are they fragmented? how much does machar -- control does he have over rebel forces? i would hope our panelists can provide answers to the basic questions before us. what is the danger of the violence spiraling out of control, what are the most immediate humanitarian needs? what can the united states do to play a role towards the long and -- short-term and long-term reconciliation and what should that reconciliation look like. with that let me turn to senator corker for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you both of you in the second panel for being with us here today. we thank you very much for that. as it's an understatement, i
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guess, to say south sudan is at a critical juncture today. our ambassadors there with beefed up security and not much in the way of other staff members. 30 month ago i guess there were real expectations about the future solve south sudan. we're seeing the difference between a rebel movement and a government. i think we all understand it was that movement that united the country and now that that has been achieved, things are dissipating. unfortunate unfortunately, due to the lack of good leadership is dissipating, but very quickly it could dissipate along sectarian lines that could harden and make the conflict even more difficult to overcome. so khartoum is obviously benefiting from this. we are seen as the de facto back stop. we have a long history there and people expect us to be that de facto back stop. and while uganda, ethiopia and
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kenya are playing important roles and obviously south sudan is very important to china, this is a place where obviously people expect us to make a difference. in addition to the conflict that we have there that's on going that is causing murders and the kinds of things that we hate to see taking place in any country, we also realize that the institutional framework there is a morass and is going to take incredible effort over a longer period of time. i do look forward to hearing the administration's point of view today. i know they share the sense of urgency that we all have regarding this conflict ending and us moving on to another phase there. i do look forward to hearing your comments as to where we as a nation should go from here relative to south sudan. so thank you for being here. thank you, mr. chairman, for having the hearing. >> thank you, senator corker.
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let me introduce our panelists. linda thomas greenfield, assistant secretary of state for african affairs. we appreciate her work in her former role as well as this role and to be here today. nancy lynd befrg, from the democracy conflict humanitarian affairs at usaid. your full statements will be included in the record. we'd ask you to synthesize those to five minutes. madam secretary, we'll call upon you first. >> thank you. chairman menendez, ranking member corker, members of the senate foreign relations committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. i know the subject before us is one in which you and other members of congress are deeply concerned and that you deeply care about the situation in sudan. i regret that ambassador booth,
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our special envoy is unavailable to testify before you today as we have him working to get the peace process under way. mr. chairman, ranking member corker, three years ago today -- and it is really important that it was three years ago today -- this is the anniversary of south sudan's independence, on january 9, 2011, the people of south sudan voted in overwhelming numbers for independence from the republic of sudan. after decades of war, they were peacefully and joyfully voting for separation and for a new future. then senator kerry, my new boss was there to witness that historic moment. the united states played a critical role in getting the world's youngest nation on the map. today tragically the world's youngest country and undoubtedly one of the most fragile democracies is in danger of shattering. the united nations has report
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that more than a thousand people have died, over 240,000 have fled their homes including a number of refugees in neighboring countries. political rivalries have taken on ethnic dimensions. atrocities are being committed. men, women and children are caught in the crossfire. this is not the future for which the people of sudan voted three years ago. south sudan's crisis began less than a month ago on december 15 with a political struggle that escalated into broader violence. however, the fighting began -- as the fighting began, a few things became crystal clear. first, neither the united states nor the international community or continue nens the armed over throw of a democratically elected government. second, hostilities must stop. any and all hostility directed
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at civilian populations must end. those responsible must be held accountable. third, this crisis will not be solved on the battlefield. we have made that point over and over again. although fighting started less than one month ago, the roots of this conflict are much deeper. resolution can only come through immediate dialogue between the two sides and a broader reconciliati reconciliation. finally all parties must permit immediate humanitarian access to those in needs, to the tens of thousands south sudanese men, women and children who are the real victims of this violence. the united states has engaged in an all-out diplomatic effort to end the fighting with engagement by secretary kerry, national security adviser susan rice and other high-ranking officials with president kiir and former vice president machar as well as with the heads of state, foreign ministers and neighboring countries around the world.
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we have galvanized support to end hostilities and open a broader dialogue between the two sides with calls for accountability for atrocities and which sought to secure the release of political detainees now being held in juba. but while we need a political settlement among the fighting parties, the meade what security situation remains critical. particularly for the thousands of internally displaced civilians who have sought protection in the u.n. compounds. this must be addressed. as the crisis began to unfold, we proposed and security council unanimously adopted a resolution nearly doubling the size of the contingent. in turn we're now actively encouraging member states to provide additional troops and police units to the u.n. mission including through the transfer of contingents from other missions in the region. as my colleague assistant administrator lindbergh will discuss, we have committed an
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additional $50 million in emergency humanitarian assistance. the president's special envoy to sudan and south sudan, ambassador don booth who as i noted could not be here today to testify because he is in ethiopia, he's been in the region since december 22nd. he has been working around the clock. he has med repeatedly with president kiir and other officials. he's had lengthy discussions with rhee ak machar and he's sat down with local religious leaders and civil society members to help find a solution. this is an all-out effort on our part. given our special history with south sudan, we're working closely with south sudan's neighbors through the east africa enter governmental authority on development who are spearheading the mediation efforts. a special summit on south sudan was held just 12 days after the conflict began. the ethiopian minister and
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kenyan general are the two negotiators on the side of egad who are leading this effort. south sudan's neighbors are also providing asylum to the new refugees. these negotiations offer the best hope for south sudan and the region. an agreement to end hostilities will provide much needed time and space for dialogue to begin on the core political and governance issues that are the root of this crisis. both sides must recognize that there can be no military solution. we've made clear to the rebels that we will not recognize a violent overthrow of a democratically elected government. at the same time we made clear to the government that they must open political space to allow for greater inclusion. the united states strongly believes that the political prisoners currently held in juba must be released. and each day that the conflict
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continues, the risk of an all-out civil war grows as ethnic tensions and more civilians are killed, injured or forced to flee. the humanitarian situation grows more dire and those who have remained on the sidelines are pulled into the conflict. let me conclude by saying i'm greatly concerned that the crisis in south sudan has the potential to escalate even further. while we do not know the scale of atrocities that have been committed thus far, there's clear evidence that there are targeted killings taking place. dinkas are asking nair, nair are killing dinkas. countless civilians, women and children have become victims of of the rebel forces. each violent act threatens to return south sudan to the violence and destruction that south sudanese voted to end when they voted for independence in 2011. in addition to calling for an end to the violence,
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humanitarian access, dialogue and release of political prisoners in juba, the united states is exploring the possibility of appropriate pressures against individuals on both sides who interfere with peace and reconciliation in south sudan and those who are responsible for committing serious human rights abuses. let me thank you again forgiving us the opportunity to speak before you today. let me thank you for your commitment to the people of sudan and also your support for our efforts in the region. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. administrator sdm. >> thank you, chairman menendez, ranking member corker, members of the senate foreign relations committee, thank you very much for holding the hearing today and inviting me to testify. and thank you, also, for your on going support for our work around the world which continues to save millions and millions of lives. the u.s. government including many of you has been a strong
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supporter of the people of south sudan through the decades, through civil war, the comprehensive peace agreement and since independence of 2011. we're all deeply, deeply alarmed by the horrific violence that hell threatens this struggle. as my colleague noted, today is the third anniversary of independence in which 99% of the people voted to form the world's youngest nation. the outbreak of hostilities on december 15th has since erupted into heavy fighting across seven of south sudan's ten states. the fighting is the result of longstanding deeply rooted grievances in a fragile new state that has nas yent institutions that are not yet able to deliver justice or services to its people. coupled with this unresolved power struggle this has united tensions along ethnic lines and we're seeing a renewed and vicious cycle of killing. as this new fighting creates
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urgent new sets of humanitarian needs, it also significantly complicates our ability to meet the extensive needs that already existed across south sudan, one of the poorest nations on werth. an estimated 40% of the country's 4.4 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance before the recent violence. this is the result of two decades of civil war, communal violence t recurring floods and droughts, plus the influx of over 2,000 refugees into south sudan from southern court fan and blue nile states since 2011. the lack of roads, the pervasive underdevelopment that already made south sudan one of the most logistically difficult environments further complicates our work today. there are seasonal rains that routinely cut off access to entire regions for months at a time. our challenge today is twofold,
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both respond to the immediate hostility-driven needs as well as finding ways to continue our longstanding work that seeks to assist nearly half the population already in need. the united states remains deeply committed to the people of susan and today, just a few more words on what is a rapidly changing situation and our humanitarian response. so in the few weeks since the fighting erupted, the violence has already claimed the lives of more than a thousand people and, as of today, we've seen 270,000 people driven from their homes. of those 60,000 have been forced to seek protection in the eight peacekeeping bases of the local u.n. missions which are located in maj our towns around the country. almost 39,000 have sought refuge in neighboring uganda, ethiopia and kenya which are straining the reception capacities at key border crossings.
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the town of bohr is a strategic gateway to south sudan's capital. it's caught in a desperate tug of war. it's born the brunt of the violence in looting. we're hearing graphic reports of unburied bodies along the roads. more than 80,000 people have fled bohr to make a treacherous journey across the white nile river to seek shelter where relief agencies found people living under the hot sun with very short supplies of water, food, medical assistance. parents are making difficult choices of whether to separate from their children so they can pay for their safe passage out of a dangerous area. the new fighting is accelerating development. just yesterday we heard new reports of several thousand displaced people in numerous sites including a newly discovered group of 30,000 displaced south sudanese in jong lay state.
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people continue to flee the shifting lines of control and the on going violence. our humanitarian response is immensely complicated by the difficult and i have chaotic conditions. the nile river which is typically a major supply conduit, has been off limits for weeks because barges have been commandeered for hostile purposes. we currently have ample stockpiles of key supplies that have previously been pre positioned around the countries as a part of our normal response effort. it's the security conditions that are impeding the movement of those supplies and disrupting supply chains. u.s. aid stood up a disaster assistance team in nairobi as well as a response management team in washington shortly after the violence began and we've been working with partners to support the urgent new programs as well as seek to plan for the upcoming rainy season. the good news is that in the middle of this crisis there's deep humanitarian expertise.
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on january 3rd we announced additional $50 million in addition to our on going humanitarian commitment of $318 million for 2013 and 2014. the new funding will help us do a multisector humanitarian response operation, support the displaced, family reunification and most importantly, additional logistical capacity. we have especially prioritized additional support for flights that enabled the u.n. to regularly reach seven of the unmissed compounds now with urgent food and supplies. we just received compensation that three u.n. flights reached bohr as well that previously we were not able to reach. today the u.n. reports have reached 167,000 people in the bases and in the new settlements
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with urgent relief. immediate, unconditional and full access for humanitarian assistance throughout south sudan is of urgent and utmost importance. humanitarian workers, both international and south sudanese are currently working at great personal risk, and they must have safe passage to reach those in need. we need to ensure not only that we reach those who lives have just been upended by new violence, but also to begin to reply? advance of the april rains or risk an even greater crisis with rising hunger through the country. pressing for humanitarian access is a key and urgent part of the on going negotiations for peace. the south sudanese leaders have the ability to ease the suffering of their people. the united states remeans stead fast in our decades-long commitment to the people of sudan and most of all we thank you for your on going support, your commitment and your attention to this new crisis. thank you. >> thank you.
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let me start off with you, secretary greenfield. what evidence is there to suggestion there are underlying -- and i want to talk about that floepg this first question. but what evidence suggests that the events that triggered the crisis were a coup attempt by former vice president rhee yap machar. >> thank you for that question. i think we have looked at the situation that has been an ongoing political situation in south sudan for almost a year. there were internal dynamics within the svlm and -- i'm sorry, the spla that started with rhee yack machar being put out of -- voted out of his vice
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presidential position. and what we have heard through many sources, all public, was that there was a fight that occurred at the party convention that took place on the 15th of december, and that that led to the on going conflict. we have not seen any evidence that this was a coup attempt, but it certainly was the result of a huge political riff between rhee yack machar and the president. >> so how do you view machar's decision to take part in an armed rebellion against the government of south sudan? >> i think it is an armed rebellion against the government of south sudan and it is -- it started as a result of the political riff. we think they should resolve this through political talks, through negotiations and not through war. what happened on december 15th
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was we understand an attack henri yack machar's home, that he then left juba, and the armed conflict resulted after that. >> are we advocates of expanding the peace process? we're all focused obviously on the urgency of the moment and the attempt to create a ceasefire and save lives. but the long-term prospects here seem to me to impart fundamentally be hope by expanding the peace process and including -- in other words, a quick and what some might describe, quick and dirty, resolution of power sharing tweechb the powers that exist isn't going to bring the long-term stability that we
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seek. are we advocates of expanding the peace process and creating a more inclusive broad range set of participants? >> absolutely, sir. we do not believe this is going to end with the cessation of hostilities, that what must follow the i understand of a conflict is a very, very organized political dialogue that will lay out the grievances of the various parties so those grievances can be taken into account and plans can be made for the next election. we think it's absolutely important that the 11 detainees held in juba be released so they can participate in that political dialogue and bring to the table issues that they have that they did not -- they're not part of the conflict, but they do have political grievances, and it's important that those grievances be addressed by the current government. >> are we collecting evidence of
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atrocities? >> absolutely. >> i hope not only are we vigorously not only collecting evidence of atrocities but we send clear messages that we will find ways to punish those who commit them? >> yes, sir. we have sent that message to all sides. i hinted at that message in my remarks today. but they have both heard it from am boss door booth and they are hearing it from others in the region. we were pleased to hear that the au peace and security commission has also looked at establishing a commission of inquiry and others in the region are as well. we are trying to bolster the u.n.'s human rights monitoring capabilities so that again we can collect the information we need. at the same time we want to prevent atrocitieatrocities.
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so part of our efforts to get the u.n. forces built up was to get enough troops on the ground so that they can provide protection for the population. >> that's my next question. the u.n. peacekeepers that are providing security to tens of thousands of south sudanese in the unmiss camps is incredible important. what, if anything, are we doing to insist in this effort to protect these people, the vast majority of whom are women and children? >> we have -- we went immediately to the security council and supported the efforts of the security council to increase the unmill contingent by 5500. and we have been working around the clock on the phone with leaders in the region as well as outside the region to contribute to those numbers. nepal has provided additional troops. bangladesh has provided
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additional troops. we have a commitment from ghana to redeploy some of their troops from unochi as well as provide new contingents. >> what do you suppose the ability of unmiss? >> it's challenging. >> i know it's challenging. i don't mean to pressure, but quantify challenging. >> they don't have enough troops on the ground to do this. this is why we want to help them build up those troop numbers. >> administrator, let me ask you two quick questions. one is the 50 million is welcome under the crisis. but looking at the nature of this crisis, how long do you think it will take you? what are you doing to work with others to join in assistance? you mentioned flights arriving. what about these reports of child soldiers firing upon flights? are children being used in this
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regard? >> the $50 million is in addition to what was already a large pipeline of humanitarian assistance. we have employed all of our flexibility to enable existing partners to redirect portions of their existing programs to meet these new needs. the world food program, for example, has been able to redirect some of their food. we have something called a rapid response fund that we've had since 2011 that is built to be able to respond to the many different crises that have erupted in south sudan including floods and droughts. so for right now we have a good pipeline to help us deal with the existing crisis. we have also worked closely with our other donor allies, and there is a new action plan that the u.n. has put out that has already gotten significant resource from the u.k., from norway and a few of the other donors who have long been key
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supporters of south sudan. so we have a solid partnership with others who are stepping forward with resources as well. on the flights, the reports that we've received about the firing of one of the flights was that it was potentially an error of communications. there have been no -- not further incidents of flights where getting into most of the unmiss compounds. the big problem is getting into bohr where we were not getting support from the south sudanese government. that was changed yesterday when we got reports of two flights going into bohr. our hope is that will now be a regular occurrence and allow us to get supplies into that compound. >> do you have information of the children being used as soldiers? >> we're hearing reports of child soldiers. we don't have confirmation of how many. that is one of the many issues
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of great concern in this rising violence. >> senator corker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, again, both for being here and for your work on behalf of our country. the talks that are taking place this week, do we have the right people at the table? >> you mean on the -- >> from the opposing sides? >> the government has sent a very strong delegation, and we were very pleased with that. on the rhee yack machar side he requested the 11 detainees be part of his delegation. he has a delegation on the ground. his full delegation is not there. so i do think it is a good team there. they are able to speak with to authority for both

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