tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 6, 2014 5:00pm-7:01pm EST
self identified conservative republican manager, told us the same thing. it is interesting that at gentlemen has never been brought before the committee. it started with him. yet republicans remain fixated on falsely accusing the white house attorney and it's a political -- and its political enemies in an attempt to reignite the partisan inquiry before the november elections. this is only one example of the larger pattern of unsubstantiated claims in two weeks ago chairman issa claimed that former secretary of state told leoninton panetta to stand down after the attacks in benghazi. " factashington post for --ass fact check four pinker gave this
ok's. this past monday chairman issa went on national television and repeated these claims. checker gave him four more pinocchio's. i cannot keep up with all of his pinocchio's. i understand house republicans have called it quits in terms of legislating any more this year. the result is that all they have left with our records and abusive investigation. this is a waste of resources and does nothing for the american people. we need to raise the minimum wage. we need to enhance the earned income tax credit. we need to ensure our citizens get health care. we need to do the work that the american people sent us to washington to do. now it gives me a privilege to introduce the chairman of the ways and means -- the ranking
member of the ways as means committee, does ways and means committee, mr. levin. let me try to place this in context. as you know, the ways and means had jurisdiction over this matter. from the inning it was clear what the republicans were after. evidence ofro political motivation. we have had five hearings in ways and means. $14 million has been spent by irs. evidence what is going on here, the political ofivation is not that anybody but the republicans. i remember the first hearing we
had. the chairman said there was a culture of cover-up. of this. zero evidence what is happening here is the republicans are determined to keep this issue of the irs alive as part of their twins strategy attacking health care and essentially claiming without any ,oundation political motivation trying to tie it to the white house. what happened yesterday -- and i elijah, the tape on it, i find it hard to believe except history of the chairman. what happened yesterday was this political strategy of the republicans -- and i want to say let one last thing. i have been told when asked by
some of you of the speaker what he thought, he said that the chairman was in his rights or something like that. that cannot be the protocol of this institution. issa inaw darrell action yesterday, i thought back of all my years here, and i think he has brought this to an unbearable crescendo. it has to stop. resolution was filed today. andpe it can be brought up, i hope the republicans will decide there is some waters' edge to politics. next will be another gentleman from michigan, the ranking member from judiciary, mr. conyers.
>> thank you. you are almost as nice and polite as elijah cummings himself. i appreciate that. merely to point out on the committee that i have been on longer than anybody else on the judiciary committee. it is beginning to show a little partisanship. and one of the things that is disturbing to me is that we get that are clearly going , that the senate probably has a stack of bills from the house judiciary, the senate judiciary committee, in which they point out that they have no intention of taking them
up. we keep sending them frequently tired, old bills, limiting abortion rights. ,ometimes bashing immigrants taking it easy on corporate polluters and other wrongdoers. evene are considering today another anti-regulatory bill that will force agencies to prioritize and speed -- prioritize speed over safety. that we cang discontinue this democracy and urge ouriness
discontinue obstructing the legislative ignoringnd sometimes the priorities of the american people. thank you. >> it is great to be here with my colleagues to talk about the serious issue. i think last fall during the 16-day government shut down, use all republicans suspend the mark ofeipt in the entire house representatives when they changed the rules in order to continue shutting down the government. what we saw yesterday was democracy being suspended in committees of the house of representatives. it was an incredible abuse of process, trying to shut down the ability of mr. cummings to make
thattatement, and we hope we are not going to see a continuation of this throughout the house of representatives. it is unfortunate because as result of the antics and abuse we saw from mr. issa, we are not able to focus on the things the american people want to be focused on. we were focused yesterday on -- in the budget committee, trying to talk about the proposals the president has put forward to create more jobs in the country, to expand opportunities to more people in the country him and yet on the floor of the house we were voting for the 50th time to end the affordable care act and in the oversight and government affairs committee we saw an effort to shut down the moxie in order -- democracy in order to try to protect his failing narrative that republicans have about this political conspiracy coming out of the white house.
they have not a shred of evidence. they're getting frustrated. instead of owning up to that failure, they are lashing out and engaging in abusive process. the last thing i want to say is with respect to the irs issues, what republicans are deadly afraid of is that the public will find out who is spending the millions and millions of dollars to try to influence elections around the country, what interests are trying to buy a congress that will help adopt policies to support those special interests. that goes to the core of the issue. this is not as republicans would have you believe about first amendment rights, the right to engage in political process. people can spend as much money in elections today as they want, period. the question is whether the public has a right to know who is financing those campaigns.
and for some reason republicans are really afraid of letting the public know who is trying to spend gobs and gobs of money to influence these elections. that is their core concern, and, again, as eight of the nine supreme court justices have said, transparency is important to accountability, and accountability is fundamental to our democracy. you see republicans simply trying to shut down and distant -- and suspend democracy in the house, and it is a sad day for the congress, and i now am pleased to introduce the terrific ranking member of the rules committee, louise slaughter. >> good morning. i am delighted to be here with my friends this morning. we have reached a boiling point. i want to say to you, because none of you are interested in what we are doing up here, that this is really an important e of work.
what is happened in this place week after week in the house is nothing short of legislative malpractice. the congress used to be the gold standard of legislatures. were doingng what we to make this the most incredible country on earth. now what are we doing? i want to give you numbers. i want to be reef. what happened yesterday to ranking member cummings -- this is the first time that the ranking members of gotten together to complain -- was so outrageous, demeaning, so awful in every respect that we just absolutely have reached the boiling point. to thepay any attention rolls, a powerful committee, i have been telling you for years here, that every week we are ofe the estimated cost
running the house of representatives in one week is $24 million. ok? the first 30 three times that we voted to kill the health care bill, it took 80 hours of legislative work and cost about $48 million. it has gone way beyond that now. what happened, you heard about the irs, was all the money that for nothing.nt because we do not do legislation that is intended to ever become law in this land, and i think secretly many of them are glad for that, because we come here, 435 of us are brought here every week to do what basically amounts to a press release. please pay some attention. the public needs to know. if you have a house of representatives that talks about nothing but cost, nothing but spending, it would take away food stamps, that thinks it is
immoral to help with an employment insurance, but is thrown away money on useless legislative processes that go nowhere, and they have wanted to. now, last election, 1.4 million democrat, more, dan for republicans -- than for in the house. that means half the population of the united states, their representatives, are not going to have amendments. whatever they may want on the bill is not going to be considered. you call that democracy? please think about what is happening here. we are going to come back next week and we are going to try again to humiliate the president of the united states.
to try to insinuate that the man is a law breaker. we have sunk to such a low when it comes to legislation. yesterday, and i want everyone of you to have a piece of it, we put in the record, 50 pieces of legislation crying out for attention. what we do the same thing over and over and over again. it has gotten to the point where we can stay home and somebody can just go in a room and put repeat on the record player and have it all over again. and furyl of sound meaning nothing. and they want it that way. sake, every week it is let's destroy the epa. all regulation is bad, they say. all of the things we have worked for all these years so you can breathe clean air, eat safe food, all that means absolutely
nothing. that is why we are here today. have got to get the public aroused so the public knows what is happening here. nothing. nothing. nothing. nothing. you're also brilliant and i never take my eyes off the news. i have not been able to read a book into debeers because i have to watch what you're doing all the time. they never say a word about it. unproductiveost congressmen in history and you go off in another direction. being wastedt is here week after week to make a political statement is costing us not only in terms of infrastructure, education, it is care, but what costing our self-respect and the way we look to the rest of the people in this world.
we need everyone to know what's going on. we do our part and we go through the motions but jefferson's weual is not a part of what are doing here. abraham lincoln's adage can be proved again once more. you can fool some of the people all the time. a strong press paying attention to the government helps us not to do that. thank you very much. >> question. said thatay, you chairman issa disrespected you and now you're calling on him to apologizing and now they're saying it is your conduct and you should be apologizing. >> i said it was not going to get caught up in the issue of much ofct because i see
this as a distraction. that's what i said. know, if i apologize, i apologize for the fact that the chairman could have yesterday from theproffer attorney and failed to do so. good have you information. i apologize for the committee not addressing issues that the american people wanted to address, like the target credit card fiasco. mortgage lenders who have admitted that they have failed the american people. hospitals, most of which in the united states have a shortage of life-saving drugs. these are the kinds of issues that we ought to be dealing with , yet we hold 25 hearings on the affordable care act.
i don't want to get caught up in that. this is not the first time, by the way, that chairman issa has shut mike's down. -- shut mic's down. my point in the committee yesterday was we have to have a quorum in these committees and you cannot set out the minority party. in other words, basically what happened yesterday is the chairman wanted to hold a downng and then shut it before the democrats could have one syllable. there is absolutely something wrong with that picture and i would hope that speaker boehner would not want that situation. i cannot even imagine one of my colleagues if they were a chairperson denying and shutting down a microphone. i just cannot imagine it and i
meant what i said. it is un-american, unfair, and i reminded chairman issa that each of my colleagues on the democratic side are elected by 700,000 people and they deserve a voice. that, again, chairman issa had been negotiating with the attorney for ms. lerner and did not include us in that process by the way. apparently there were some attorney was the agreeing to do a proffer and for some reason the chairman shut that down and did not accept it. what my efforts were was to simply getting to the point of getting a proffer from the attorney so the attorney would tell us what he would have said or what she would have said if she would have answer the questions, that's all. he shut me down because he did not want to hear what i was
saying or what he thought i would say. it's un-american. i'm sorry. slaughter, youve mentioned they're saying the president is a viewing his executive authority. how are you planning to respond? >> at the rules committee, we get these worked over bills and sometimes i think they find them in a basement room somewhere down here. an awful lot of us had no committee process whatsoever and often we are called in before an emergency meeting to do something. it is simply part of what the message they're are trying to get to the base. while they are doing that, they can do that in their own time. the infrastructure in this country is falling apart that's what they're going to do, bring back those old bills. the constant her ringing of the president, i read an article the other day but how can he be
feckless, trembling, and imperial at a same time? maybe the wizard of oz could accomplish that but it is just part of the denigration of the presidency and i think it does us all a great deal of harm as well as the charade here that passes for a legislature. ask aould like to question to mr. cummings about lois lerner. says talking about potentially moving forward with the charge of contempt. i'm wondering if he has spoken to you at all about that. if he does go ahead and move to hold her in contempt, what will be the response from the >> one of the things that came up yesterday that we found out while chairman issa was asking the questions of ms. lerner was that apparently there had been negotiations and talks between she, the chairman, and her attorney.
they have asked for a postponement. that is what we found out yesterday. it sounded like she was willing to come forward in one week. reason, the chairman would not grant that postponement. is he afraid of what she might say? i'm not sure. as far as content is concerned, all along, keep in mind, what happened is her attorney from shevery beginning said that was going to assert the fifth. she came in, made a statement, asserted the fifth. because she made that statement, she claimed that she had waived it. again, i think her attend -- intention was to assert the fifth and our experts have told us that she did not waive that right. we do not think she waived her fifth amendment rights. i'm going to stand up for the constitution. i think when someone's attorney
has told them, when they have said it, it shows intent. i think we should not "ecessarily be in a "gotcha situation when it comes to anyone's rights. >> to have a senior irs official taking the fifth amendment because she will not answer questions. what she hashear to say which is why i asked for the proffer. >> you are fighting over her taking the fifth. >> no, no. fewacticed law for quite a years. when it comes to the constitution, we all, you and everyone in this room have a right against self-incrimination -- period. in theus can assert that appropriate forum. once that is asserted, she has a right to do that.
you may argue with that one way or another. i wish she would testify. not the same time, as i said to my committee, i respect the constitution. without the constitution, i would not be standing here. >> can you talk more about the formal response to this? there was a resolution or something that was filed. >> the privilege resolution was filed because of the egregious violation of the house rules and the abuse of process by chairman issa. if the house of representatives is going to function as it should in a democracy, people have to abide by the rules. the rules are enshrined to ensure a process and make sure that all of the people's fuels arerepresented and when you
violating those rules you are violating this. in order to keep this in order to protect democratic process, it is really important to hold them accountable. you asked the earlier question about legislation. i would just point out that there are some republican members of the house that think the president exceeded his authority when he was sworn in as president of the united states and they have never accepted the fact that he is president of the united states and there are some members here who do not accept the fact that this is supposed to be a democratic institution, the people's house. the majority has to play by the rules in order to protect democracy and what you saw was an incredible violation of those rules. >> have you and chairman issa
spoken directly one-on-one? >> i will tell you this. a number of republican members on our committee have, and said to me, i apologize. you should not have been treated that way. a number of republicans on our committee, all right? thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] going to gete are
another jobs report and as is expected to be disappointing again. the truth is americans do not need a new report to tell them what they already know. this is not what an economic recovery feels like. under this president we have a new normal, slow growth, stagnant wages. should settlewe for this. there are things that we can do right now, more energy production, a more simple tax code. how about less red tape just to name a few. the president released his budget and showed us his big ideas -- higher spending, higher in theand another hike minimum wage. as a former small business owner found someone who has worked on this issue for a long time, you just have to shake your head. wage erasesminimum
jobs and that was confirmed. at least 500,000 jobs would be as oneaybe as many million. what americans are asking is where the jobs are. it would almost make it harder for them to find one. it makes no sense at all. of the things that weighs down this economy is the health care a lot. anotherwhy we passed targeted strike on the law with nearly 30 democrats voting with us. this is about providing fairness for all giving families the same mandates that big businesses are getting. the truth is you cannot fix this law. it needs to be torn up by its roots. you may be tired of hearing about this but as long as this law is around and making things worse, we are going to keep fighting. finally, i would like to touch on the situation in the ukraine. heard me call president
clinton aside and that's because he is. he is counting on the united dotes to sit back and whatever he wants. i support the limited sanctions outlined to freeze some assets and block u.s. he says. it is a welcome first step in we remain committed to give president as many tools as needed to put president clinton russia from prevent infringing on the sovereignty of any of their neighbors. the president justified the actions by congress and emergency and frankly i agree. if it is truly a national the secretary should expedite the approval of american natural gas exports. they have an energy stranglehold along much of europe and have been using it to their advantage and there is a growing consensus that ending this de facto ban
would help our economy as well and help our allies in europe. i think it is time to act and i hope the president does. yesterday, the congressional black caucus has called on you to remove chairman myself from his edition as chair? continuation of a previous hearing in the issue here is our effort to try to get irstruth of abuse by the that some in the administration agree with. i think the chairman was within his rights to adjourn the committee when he did. any serioushad discussions about going to
challenge what the president has done independently? >> the issue here is one of standing. clear thatill be which isave standing overreach and abuse thing their power as the executive branch. i do you believe chairman said is actually serving the purpose of house republicans with this kind of behavior? we are not talking about lois lerner pleading the fifth and talking about his conduct. >> what do you think the situation in ukraine will accomplish? >> the loan guarantee package is expected to move today and i expect we will see quick action in the senate on that issue as well. we are continuing to work on a
package of sanctions with our counterparts in the senate and frankly with the white house to try to give the president tools that he might employ that would strengthen his hand in dealing with this very difficult problem. >> do you think they will convince mr. putin to do something else other than what he has already been doing? >> the best thing we can do is work with the administration and strengthen their hand to deal with what a very difficult situation. >> am wondering what makes you optimistic in accomplishing anything in a bipartisan fashion before the election given there is no outline or anything like that. >> if you look at the fact of became together on a budget agreement, raise the debt limit, working together on this problem, you can go down and look at the word and congress. we are going to end up doing a highway bill.
you tend to focus on the things that we disagree on around here. 80%-90% of what the congress does every way is done in a bipartisan fashion, as it should be. >> what you think of the military sexual assault bill? >> the house and senate have both acted on this issue. i frankly think the agreement that was struck in the house and in the defense authorization bill strikes the correct balance. i frankly do not see any reason at this point for any further action to be taken. >> the d.c. city council voted to decriminalize marijuana of one ounce or less. do you think congress should use its unique authority to block that from becoming law? >> the committees of jurisdiction are looking into this issue and i will wait for their report.
longe republicans have talked about entitlement reform and tax reform that take priorities. lot mored give you a leverage to act on them. which do you think is a bigger priority -- tax reform or entitlement reform? >> that's like asking if i like chocolate or vanilla ice cream. listen. i like ice cream. [laughter] i won both of them done. if we're going to begin to solve the problems we have in our country, we cannot then the money that we do not have and we have a tax collections system that is too complicated that virtually everyone has to have a -- preparer do their reforms the returns. we need to do both of these things. >> there is a special election going on in florida next tuesday. some of the voters down there
are saying his message of a full repeal of obama care is a mistake. the speciales election, will it change republican strategy on obama care? >> not at all. thanks. oh, all right. you need a haircut. >> you're right. you said darrell issa was within his rights. do you approve? are you going to remove him as chair? >> he is the chairman. he has done in effect a job as chairman. i support him. unwillingnt obama is to make tough choices but in a few recent incidents involving the military: issue -- cola issue, there has been backtracking on reforms.
what do you say to conservatives who are criticizing you for docking those tough choices? >> a flood insurance bill is being implemented in a way contrary to the law. i think what the house passed and what i expect the senate to workable law as opposed to what i believe was becoming very unworkable. when it comes to civilian and military issues, there is a big issue. looking a commission into all of the military pay and retiree issues. i think it's wise to wait on the report of the commission before we take further action. thank you.
>> elsewhere on capitol hill today, treasury secretary jack lew testifying about the president's 2015 budget request also talking about the president's response to the russian military intervention in ukraine. here's a look. let me say aegin, few words about the situation in ukraine. president obama has explained violate steps taken to ukraine's territorial integrity as a breach of international law. he signed an executive order to on actionsanctions that harm the territorial integrity of ukraine. this executive order will allow to be mostion us
involved in stabilizing ukraine including the military intervention in crimea. sanctions build upon previous actions that united states has taken that the same time, the president has said we are prepared to work with all parties to de-escalate and call on the congress to take the do so. to it is in our best interest to have a stable ukraine. as they prepare for elections, it is critical we work to support economic stability. i have spoken with ukrainian prime minister a number of times and he has said they are ready to adopt a vital economic reforms. we have been working closely to develop an assistance package to help the ukrainian government and return toages economic growth. as part of this effort, the united states has developed a
package of bilateral assistance focusing on the most pressing needs including $1 billion in loan guarantee and imf quota legislation which would support the ability to lend additional resources and continue resources at a critical time. it is important to note that for every one dollar the u.s. contributes, other countries provide for dollars more. at the time when the u.s. is at the forefront urging the fund to play an active first responder role in ukraine, it is imperative to secure passages of imf legislation now to show support and preserve the leading and individual voice in that institution. i want to be clear. we continue to focus on the central objective which is expanding opportunity for all americans. >> more about the ukraine
tonight on c-span with remarks from the president from house speaker john boehner. debate on2, legislation to combat sexual assault in the military and on c-span 3, dan pfeiffer. founder of the american conservative union and former president of the national rifle association and a conversation with joy he read of the reid report on msnbc. washington journal live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. right now, a conversation from this morning's "washington journal" on changes from the sat. host: let's begin with why the sats changing its rules, and what will be the changes? guest: sure. so good morning, everybody. one will be changing the writing
portion from the current situation where students are given a statement of philosophy and they respond to it to instead they will be analyzing a written passage and have to cite evidence in it. to cite evidence in it. other changes are making the math more specific on just a few suspect -- subjects, not every possible subject. and eliminating the penalty for wrong answers on multiple-choice and trying to change the aboutlary words to less what people call sat words, which nobody uses, and more about words people actually use. the sat has been criticized over the years as a test of people strategize, and what they are trying to do is make it closer to what goes on in high schools. the sat has also faced stronger competition in recent years. it is to be the dominant admissions test. now more high school seniors take the act that the sat. -- the acd has been seen
as closer to the high school curriculum and the sat is trying to do that as well. host: who has been taking the sat and who do they want to take the sat -- who do they want more of, what type of student do they want to take the sat in the richer -- in the future? guest: many colleges require students to take either the sat or the act. this is when you are going to most colleges, although an increasing number of colleges don't require it. act has historically been strongest in the midwest. the sat is strong is probably in new england. now both are offered everywhere. there is competition throughout the country for individual students and also for states that use the test as a minute -- as a way to measure their progress in achieving certain goals.
what will these changes mean for how students prepare for the sat? guest: the board hopes it will make us less about being coached. of thee quite critical test prep industry. what they want it to be is that the best way to prepare is to take rigorous high school courses. the sat has historically been coachable and the concern is that that has given a graded vantage to wealthier students -- great advantage to wealthier students. host: why give free prep? guest: they are trying to undo that advantage for the wealthy. for many years the college board denied it was much advantage to test prep. they shifted and admit that it helps and they say that if it helps, they want everyone to be able to get test prep. says and the prep industry
they have been critical of it. what is the industry like and how much money are we talking about? about ae are talking lot of money -- also suppliers, from small to big, very expensive, less expensive. the reality is that this costs money and if you are a low income kid, he may not have that money and you may rely on a nonprofit group. the industry is not worried about all about this. business goes up whenever the college board changes the sat, because people .et nervous about the changes you can expect your test prep writer to define pretty much no matter what the college board does. host: how much money does it cost apparent to go to one of these companies to prep their kid -- guest: oh, it can be 100s of ash hundreds of dollars, can be thousands of dollars. remember -- it can be hundreds of dollars, it can be thousands
of dollars. this ranges from computer programs and classes to intense one-on-one tutoring time after time after time. there is some debate about how much the various services provide, there is probably some hosting, but if you have enough money you can hire somebody to work with your kid every day. host: we want our viewers to weigh in with their experience with the sat and react the these rule changes. the lines, we are dividing them by parents and students. host: scott jaschick, what types of colleges look at the sat? guest: lots of colleges. generally the most competitive colleges, and many less competitive colleges don't. but a trend in recent years has been for colleges, even
competitive colleges, to go test optional. this is a big concern of the college board. these colleges let students decide whether or not to submit scores. many students will look at what the average score is and decide whether to cement based on whether they are above or below -- to submit based on whether they are above or below. historically, low income students have done less well than upper-income students. years,cally, in recent black and latino students on average do not do as well as white and asian students. going test-optional tends to result in increases in applications from lacking the gene of students. host: what has been -- black and latino students. host: what has been the reaction from sat folks? guest: the college board is trying to make the sat more t, so they cannot exactly criticize that but they are saying that they have been that way all along. what is the college board?
what do they do? guest: it is an association of colleges and educators to provide not only the sat program but the advanced placement, ap program, and they do a lot of efforts to encourage more , toents to go to college plan, to save money for college, promoting the idea that education is important. host: and what did they say yesterday about the announcement? guest: well, they made the announcement, they are the sat. host: right, and what did they say, why did they hold his news conference? guest: they announced more than a year ago that they were planning a revision of the sat, news --y specifics were while the specifics were news from the idea that they were doing and u.s. city was something they said they were going to do to they have been losing market share and they have been criticized. isy maintain that there test the best test out there, but
they are acknowledging some of the criticisms. one of the big criticisms of the writing test currently, when you are just using your own feelings or reactions to a statement, facts don't matter. you can sit the much complete nonsense and if it is well-written by the rules -- you can say pretty much complete nonsense and if it is woven by the rules you will get a good score. this bothers a lot of educators and writing instructors and the new president of the college board. he is acknowledging that that didn't work and they want to do it better. host: when will these rules go into place? guest: 2016. host: why then? guest: it takes a long time from going from the theoretical idea changes to having the changes. the college board and the sat and everybody in the standardized testing business do a lot of what is called the litigant -- what is called validity testing to make sure that questions work and yield the desired results, the questions don't confuse people. they don't want people to do poorly because the question isn't well understood.
there's a lot of testing of the test before it is actually used. this is particularly challenging when you are instituting big changes. the first grade is group of students that will be taking this new test? guest: it depends when you take the sat, because many students take the sat a different times. but it would be are you taking the sat in 2016? if you are a high school junior or senior right now, you are taking the old sat, or the current sat, i should say. confusion,ds to the because many students might hear something about changes and it won't actually affect them. host: you said that the college board is losing market share. what did you mean by that? guest: the act, more students take the act is that the sat.
this has been the last 2 years. before that the sat was dominant. host: what about profitability? is it profitable, the tests for the college board? guest: i couldn't tell you exactly how profitable. yes, very profitable. basically, the revenue from testing supports all bunch of college board activities -- a whole bunch of college board activities pretty yes, they make a lot of money off of testing, and the college board is not unique. everybody in the testing industry makes a lot of money off of testing. scott ofthe former president the national rifle association and the host, joy reid, from m snbc.
you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. right-click c-span, we bring public affair that's from washington directly to you putting him in the room at congressional hearings, white house events, and offering complete gavel-to-gavel coverage of the u.s. house is a public service of private industry. andted by the industry funded by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. >> the senate foreign relations committee today held a hearing on the syrian civil war. deputy secretary of state william burns testified along with an assistant secretary and the director the national counterterrorism center. they were asked about the russian military intervention in ukraine. bob menendez chairs the hearing. >> this hearing will come to
order. let me thank deputy secretary of state byrnes for coming while this was planned well before the , weent state of events appreciate you still being here today. as well as the panel for being here to provide their own from the increasingly violent spillover from the conflict in this area and to hear about the implication of russia's military intervention in the ukraine. note, it will be taking place at 11:20 a.m. we may have to recess briefly. it is just one vote and then coming back. i'm sure the deputy secretary would be happy for us to cast that vote.
of thenter year three syrian crisis, headlines coming out of the region are no longer limited to the violence within syria but the increasing spread across the borders especially into lebanon and iraq. the great concern is the proliferation of al qaeda splinter groups and fueling the increased violence offering opportunities to gain a foothold in local communities. it opens the door for the iranian sponsored terrorist network to justify their bolstering assad regime in terrorizing the states. the spillover is a dangerous and troubling. in lebanon, there has been an alarming uptick in high-profile bombings many claimed by the al qaeda groups and hezbollah protecting the lebanese
shia communities. it is becomingt increasingly violent and increasingly sectarian. the committee wanted to rivet our attention. ukraine is the 800 pound gorilla at the moment and we cannot thate it nor can we ignore this is a common element in countries. this is not 21st-century statement ship it 19th-century gamesmanship. under the mantle for years understanding that it was not just with the government corrupt leaders but for the very future of their independent nation.
we need a policy that checks and theters russia's intent and policy that it'd here's to no law, no international law or commitments they have made personally. the concern is for the ukraine and tomorrow it could be georgia or mal though the, two waiting to finalize the association agreement with the european union, a process that the ukraine was engaged in to the displeasure of the russian government. i welcome the administration's expeditious response to the situation in ukraine and the pledge of assistance in the form of loan guarantees which we planned to endorse and legislation next week and today's executive order restricting visas, blocking property under u.s. jurisdiction in preventing american companies from doing business with any
individual or entity identified by the administration that threatens the peace, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of ukraine or contributes to the misappropriation of state assets or purports to assert a governmental authority over any part of ukraine without authorization from the ukrainian government in kiev. u.s. tol allow the target those directly responsible for the crimean crisis and will further put putin and his allies on notice. we are prepared to condemn the five this action and provide the president with further authority to respond to the situation as it develops. -- we are prepared to condemn this action. i believe that this time he has miscalculated and i certainly believe it is essential that we do not blink. the unity of purpose displayed at the un security council by the european union and the chief
seven nations in support of the ukrainian autonomy and in opposition demonstrates the world's outrage and serves as a call to action. with that, i would be happy to recognize the ranking republican senator corker for his remarks. >> thank you for having this committee and allowing it to evolve from syria to ukraine because of the current events. i want to thank all of you for public service and wanting to be here. you do not necessarily decide what the policy is but you carry it out. i just want to say that i could not be more disappointed in where we are and syria. it's kind of amazing how prognosticators here on this dias, and around the world stated what was going to happen to syria overtime if we did not change the balance on
the ground. unfortunately, that's exactly what has happened. a regionaled into conflict destabilizing other countries. whereda is on the rise directors of national intelligence and others are saying this is becoming a threat to the homeland but also a threat to the entire region. you can witness that on the violencehis incredible as the chairman just mentioned in lebanon. we did so on a 15-3 vote to arm and support the vetted ,pposition and unfortunately the administration never came around to doing the thing they stated publicly that they would do and it never has done it.
obviously what happened in geneva two is what everyone did. the authorization for the use of force and yet the president did not really make a case for it but, obviously, it jumped in russia's lap to help us out with the situation and help with chemical weapons. since then, another for a thousand people have been killed. know if they care if it was through chemical weapons or barrel bombs indiscriminately dropped on civilians. it is a disaster of great proportions. it is certainly a failure on our relativemany other's to foreign policy and it is destabilizing the region and they could not be more
disappointed. the two are related, as the chairman mentioned. i don't know if we could say i think the permissivene environment we have created through this reset, thinking someone likeg that putin reacts to warmth and charm when he really reacts to weakness, and he has seen in our foreign-policy efforts over the course of this last year. whatnnot make a case that happened in crimea would not have happened, but he has not felt that there would be much of a pushback from us. i am thankful today that, again, there are some steps being taken . we stand ready to enable the administration to adapt more forcefully. we had a great meeting yesterday. i could not be more disappointed
that we are where we are. i think our credibility very much has been on the line, is on the line, and i do think us unified and very strong reaction and approach over a long time, not short term, is important relative to russia right now and us regaining that credibility. i thank you for being here. i know you will talk about syria. i hope you will explain more fully what you think these sanctions that have been announced this morning are about. that will be helpful to us over the next few days come in doing something that is complementary to those efforts. thank you. >> thank you, senator corker. we will start off with deputy secretary burns, who has some first-hand experience.
we also are pleased to have with ofthe assistant secretary defense in international let,rity affairs, derek chol as well as matt olsen. be your statements will included in the record. i ask you to summarize in five minutes, to go over the gravity of the situation. i know members want to engage in a conversation with you about their issues and concerns. with that, you are recognize. >> thank you, chairman mennen endez. i am pleased to be joined by matt and derek. before i address the issue of extreme as, let me do an assessment to developments in ukraine, as you request. inreat deal is at stake
ukraine. less than 48 hours ago in kiev, not far from the shrine of the fallen, secretary kerry made clear america's deep amendment to ukraine lost sovereignty. ukraine's integrity, and to make sure that the people of ukraine make their choices about their future. that is a drug conviction for the united states. on my visit last week i was moved by the bravery and selflessness of ukrainians and impressed by the commitment of the new interim government to a stable democratic ukraine with good relations with its neighbors, including russia. while we worked as a port ukraine -- work to support ukraine's -=- is aa's intervention violation of its obligations, and no amount of posturing can
obscure that. government hasim shown admirable restraint in the face of massive provocation. they need and deserve our strong support. obama, secretary kerry, and the administration have been working hard to build urgent international backing for ukraine, counter pressure toinst russia, and a path de-escalation escalation. ash entity has four elements, and we look forward to working with the congress. asediate support for ukraine it deals with enormous economic forlenges as it prepares elections in may. on tuesday secretary kerry announced our intent to seek a one billion dollar loan guarantee. that will be part of a major effort to build a strong economic support package for ukraine as it undertakes reform. that effort includes the imf and
e.u., which laid out its packages today. the prime minister and his colleagues understand ukrainian government has for -- to forget -- difficult choices to make. ukrainian potential has never been matched by its business economic leadership, and now is the time for it to get it house in order. second, deterring further encroachment are unique ukrainian territory and pressing for an end to the occupation of crimea. the president has led a broad international condemnation of the intervention with strong unified statements from the g7 and nato as well as the e.u. we are sending international observers from the osce to eastern ukraine to bear witness to what is happening and make clear minorities are not at
risk. this was never a credible claim by russia, nor a credible retakes for intervention. we are making clear there are costs for what russia has already done and working with partners to make sure that the costs will increase significantly if intervention expands. today the president signed an executive order authorizing sanctions including asset freezes and travel bans on individuals and entities, responsible for activities, threatening the peace and sovereignty of ukraine, contributing to the misappropriation of state assets purported, or the exercise of authority without authorization from the ukrainian government in kiev. this will be used in a flexible way to designate those most directly involved in destabilizing ukraine. ins date department put place -- the state department put researches on a number of
officials. we look at every aspect of our relationship with russia from suspension of appropriations and the g-8 summit to pausing key elements in our dialogue. third, bolstering ukraine's neighbors. we moved to reinforce the treaty commitments to our allies. we are taking concrete steps to support nato partners to intensify joint training with aviation attachment in poland and enhance participation in policing notions in the baltic. fourth, secretary kerry is working to de-escalate the crisis to restore ukraine's sovereignty. dialoguet direct between kiev and moscow, facilitated by an international group. as the president and secretary terry have emphasized, we do not seek confrontation with russia. it is in their interest to have a healthy relationship.
the will for that exists among ukraine's new leaders, but cannot happen if russia continues down its current irresponsible path. that will only bring greater isolation and mounting costs for russia. our strategy needs to be steady and determined, mindful of what is at stake for ukrainians and international norms. we need to be mindful of the strengths of the united states and its partners and the real weaknesses sometimes obscured by russian luster. most of all president newton underestimates the commitment of ukrainians across the country to sovereignty and independence and to writing their own future. underestimate the power of resolute counter pressure using all the nonmilitary means at our disposal, working with allies, and leaving the door open to deep escalation and diplomacy -- two de-escalation and diplomacy. let me turn to the levant.
the turbulence of the past three years has many rooots. this is a region in which too many people for too many years have been denied them, the ruthless reaction of some regimes, and the actions of violent regimes to exploit chaos. nowhere have these trends converged than in syria. the conflict has become a magnet for foreign fighters, many affiliated with terrorist groups around the world. represent ars long-term threat to u.s. national security interests. from the other side, assad has recruited thousands of fighters to defend a regime with active iranian support. the grinding syrian civil war is now an incubator of extremism on both sides of the sectarian divide. we face a number of risks to our
interests as a result. the risk to the homeland from lobal groups who seek to find long-term safe havens, the risk to israel and other partners from the rise of iranian backed extremist groups, especially hezbollah, and the risk to this easier -- to the syrian people. these are enormous challenges. the recorder a steady american strategy, aimed at isolating extremists and bolstering moderates inside syria and amongst our partners. i will highlight our strategy. first, we work to isolate terrorist networks in syria. that means stepping up efforts with government to stem the flow of fighters into styria and cutting off financing and weapons. it means stepping up efforts to strengthen the moderate opposition without which our
grass toward a negotiated transition of leadership through the geneva process or any other effort is impossible. strengthened moderate forces are critical to accelerate the demise of the assad regime and to help syrians build a counterweight to extremists who threaten the present and post-assad future of the region. none of this is easy, but the stakes are high. we are pushing hard against iranian financing and support to its proxy groups in syria and elsewhere. are working with partners in the gulf to curb financing flows to extremists. we are increasing cooperation with the and intensifying efforts to strengthen the capacity of other endangered neighbors. in jordan, we are further enhancing the capacity of the jordanian armed forces to please its borders and evening intelligence on threats. to stagger the border and -- the
burden of refugees has put a strain on syria's resources. i could think of no better investment in regional stability and our efforts in jordan. in lebanon we support the lebanese armed forces to deter spillover, at her the border with syria, and help alter the government's policy of disassociation from the conflict. the formation of a new cabinet provides a renewed opportunity for the united states to engage and the secretary confirm our commitment to lebanon's security and economic security. are writing information sharing to combat the rising threat from isio
while pressing iraqi leaders to pursue a comprehensive strategy to isolate extremists in anbar. that was one of the main purposes of my last visit to baghdad. closeeciate the consultation we have had with you and other members of the committee on these issues. effortsupporting global to ease the humanitarian crisis in syria to the 1.7 only in dollars we have contributed. beyond the levant, we continue to work with elf partners to enhance security cooperation and support sound economic element in transitioning countries. this will be an important focus for the president's visit to saudi arabia next month. the rise of extremism in provides a -- --
ease the humanitarian crisis, and help keep our partners like jordan defend against spillover. thank you for your focus on these highly important issues and we look forward to continuing to work with you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i would like to take in one more set of testimony, then recess briefly for the vote. >> mr. chairman, members of the committee, i appreciate the opportunity speak about security threats in the middle east and how our policy addresses these challenges. i will keep my comments brief. said extremism poses threats to the people of the middle east, the stability of our partners, and u.s. national security interests. strategyhy our events is centered on cooperating with partners. the historic transformation of the region we witnessed during the last three years our first
the united states both opportunities and challenges as we work to address our core security interests. to combat al qaeda and its movements, second, to confront external aggression directed at allies, third, to ensure the flow of energy from the region, and prevent the development and use of weapons of mass destruction. as u.s. military forces have withdrawn from iraq, we are addressing questions about our intentions over the long term. ourork hard to sustain military capabilities in the region. enduringd states has security interests in the region, and we remain committed to the security of our allies. he have a presence of more than 35,000% now in around the arabian gulf, and a review that the department released several days ago reaffirms this commitment, and despite budget pressures we will maintain a
robust force posture in the region. i would like to touch on some examples of how we are working to improve the military capabilities of our partners, focusing on iraq them a lebanon, and jordan. in iraq, along with state department, we have been advising the government to defeat isio, which must include a political solution that involve all the people of iraq. while there forces have proven competent, the sturdy situation they faced there is very serious. iraqis have gaps in their ability to defend against external threats. we remain committed to working with the iraqi government to develop its military and security abilities. as this committee knows iraqis are are asking to acquire key capabilities as soon as possible. we appreciate the quick decision to proceed with that missile notification associated with
this request. iraqis paid 250 million dollars toward this supply, and we have been able to supply rockets and ammunition. articles arts but it arrived in the next few weeks. we appreciate your support to move forward with the sale and lease of apache helicopters. lebanon, we have used the lebanese armed forces as a critical component of their long-term stability and development. securitystant to their forces, one billion dollars in assistance since 2005, strengthens lebanese capacity and support its mission to secure its orders. we work to maintain strong ties between lebanese and u.s. andcers and officials, lebanon has the fourth-largest program in the world. we are promoting institutional reforms to a defense institution reform initiative, an effort to support security sector reform.
in jordan, we are deeply committed to maintaining a strong defense partnership. i'm posting a jordanian chief of defense at the pentagon. the entire team for a series of meetings. secretary said, we have no better defense partner van jordan. this assistance help us build capacity of the jordanian armed forces, enhances their border security to mama and supports military education and training. withovided the government $300 million in funds for a year. we have a joint exercise program. in response to the crisis in syria we have military forces in jordan. in addition we provide equipment that will supplement jordanian border security programs and
improve the capability of the military to detect illegal attempts to cross the border and attempt to smuggle wmd along the border. through these efforts in iraq, lebanon, jordan, elsewhere, the department of defense is focused on building the capacity of our partners to fight extremism and support u.s. national security interests. we remain committed to continue to work with this committee and the congress on these issues. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. what we are going to do is i am going to have the committee go into recess, cast one vote, the chair will come back. i would urge those to come back as well. we will hear from director olsen and then proceed to questions. the committee will be in recess subject to the call of the chair. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
the hearing will come back to order. apologies to our witnesses. director olsen? >> thank you. it was a year ago i talked about threats in north africa, so i appreciate the opportunity to be here again and talk about the threats we face in love aunt -- levant. i am pleased to be here with our partners. terroriste to face threats to the united states and to our interests overseas in parts of south asia and the middle east and africa. the current conflict in syria and the regional instability in levant standout to me as areas
of concern. i think is important considering syria in context of mobile terrorist movement. in the face of what has been sustained, counterterrorism pressure, poor al qaeda has adapted by becoming more decentralized and shifting away from the large-scale plotting that was a simple fight in the attacks of september 11. al qaeda has modified its tax to ask and looked to conduct attacks that do not require the same degree of resources and training and command and control. today we face a wider array of threats and a greater variety of locations across the middle east and around the world. in comparison to the al qaeda plots that emanated from the tribal areas of pakistan a few years ago, these smaller and less sophisticated plots are more difficult for us to detect and disrupt, and that is putting greater pressure on us to work closely with our partners at the
table, across the federal government, around the world. turning to syria, searing has become the preeminent location for al qaeda-aligned groups to recruit and train and equip what is now a growing number of extremists. some of whom seek to conduct external attacks. in addition, iran and hezbollah as you put it out, are committed to defending the assad regime, training, pro-regime iraqi militants and putting their person on the country. from a terrorism perspective, the most concerning the moment is al qaeda has declared syria is most critical front and has called for extremists to fight against the regime in syria. what we have seen is that thousands of fighters from around the world including hundreds from the west have traveled to syria and many of them have joined with
established terrorist groups in syria. this raises are concerned that radicalized individuals with battlefield excretes and return to their home country to commit violence at their own initiative or participate in al qaeda-direct plots aimed at western targets outside syria. what we have seen is a coalescence in syria of al qaeda veterans from afghanistan and pakistan, as well as extremists from other hotspots. wide extremists ring a range of skills as well as experience and are able to exploit what has become a permissive environment from which to talk and train. theting to lebanon, one of continuing effects of the conflict will be the instability in lebanon in the upcoming year. i travel to lebanon and jordan recently and the impacts of the continuing conflict in syria continue to be of great concern to officials in their region. hezbollah admitted last bring it is fighting the syrian regime
and has framed the war as self-defense. the group is sending capable fighters and support for , and iran militia com is using iraqi shia groups to counter operations. it is actively supporting the assad regime and is driving sunni attacks and violence. the factors contributing to instability in lebanon are exacerbated by the protected conflict in syria. i will turn to erect. what we have witnessed there is a resurgence by the islamic aqi, for iraq and levant, which has a group of extremists that have a steady flow of fighters to syria. last year attacks returned to their peak levels from what we saw in 2007 and 2008. at the end of last year the
group was averaging one suicide attack per day. the situation in falluja is is concerning. hundreds of fighters have joined the ranks of former insurgent groups. is threat posed by isio growing, not diminishing. in the time ahead we will work with our colleagues from state and defense to aid the iraqi government's counterterrorism efforts. last point i make is in light of the large fighter component in the syrian crisis, we work together every piece of information we can about the identities of these individuals. we play a role in supporting efforts to watch list individuals and our efforts support the broader aviation and border screening efforts of our and the at fbi
department of homeland security, and we attempt to track the trouble of these individuals from syria. as the conflict continues, these patterns will be a continued area of the highest priority for us. i want to assure you we are focused on the threat environment in this part of the world and are working to identify and disrupt threats to the u.s. into our personnel serving in these areas. we will continue to support our re-up by analyzing threat information, sharing that information with partners across the government, and on behalf of ctc, >> and women at nt i appreciate being here. let me start. while we are, focused on the ukraine, i wonder whether the administration is of the view, as some of us are,
that the international norms that you talked about in your opening statement and a challenge to international norms and how we respond to that is critically important, far beyond even the ukraine. and i weredin talking yesterday about the consequences of how we respond when other countries like china looks and sees what we are going to do and they consider the ir options in the south china sea. earth korea, in terms of their weaponization, those in the africa and congo are consider whether they owing to continue to arm. as we negotiate with iran, at the same time iran is in the vigorouslyomoting terrorism. that yout seems to me
need to say what you mean and mean what you say. do wet respect, understand that this is a challenge in the immediacy about ukraine, but it is also a broader challenge as it relates to the message that we in our western -- we and our western allies send globally. >> thank you. i agree fully with your point. there is a great hill that is at stake in ukraine today. it is about ukrainians and their ability to make their own choices. it is about europe and eurasia. it is also about the wider consequences that you just described. it is very important for the united states to make clear, as you said, that we will put actions behind our words about
our concerns about what has happened, about the airport -- the importance about abiding by international norms, not only by ukraine, but given wider stakes that are involved. it is also important that we work closely with our allies and partners to reinforce the same point, and that is what we have been spending a lot of time doing in the recent days and we will continue to. theith reference to ukrainian situation, i know the secretary, secretary kerry and his european counterparts, met with russian foreign minister in paris yesterday. the russians will not speak directly to the ukrainians. as to the envision willingness of russia to find a diplomatic exit here, and what are the necessary ingredients to de-escalate the crisis?
>> mr. chairman, the essence i think of any ds political process is direct dialogue between the ukrainian government and the russian government, which is aimed at restoration of ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. the russian government has expressed concerns about ethnic minorities, russian-speaking minorities in eastern ukraine, and in crimea. we believe as the secretary and the president made clear that those are unfounded. there is no evidence for any persecution of those minorities. there are ways of addressing that concern, directly with the government in kiev and also through organizations like the osce, which is why we're are supporting the sending of to crimearom the osce to try to establish what the facts are. essence of said, the any kind of diplomatic off ramp
has to be direct dialogue between the ukrainian government and the russians. >> they reject that, and obviously there's a purposeless -- purpose for russians trying to undermine the legitimacy of the president's -- of the ukrainian government in a series s tonternational forum make the argument. my concern is at some point, from my own perspective, as much seek to de-escalate this, we have seen this picture before. we have seen what president georgia and other parts. we see what he is doing in the crimea. house serious do we believe is his desire to go beyond crimea and into eastern ukraine? predict,difficult to
and we are doing everything we can with our partners to make clear the costs of any such move. as i said we are trying to monitors ince eastern ukraine to beat back the false accusation that there is persecution of ethnic minorities going on there. the new ukrainian government has done a good job of making clear the concern about citizens across the country. i think we need to continue to push those lines of effort, and also make clear as we did today the actions that the president has taken that there are costs and to build counter pressure against what the russians have already done in making clear that there will be costs if they escalate further. >> i hope we are organizing as
much as possible the international community doing possible response because otherwise putin's calculations will take him as far as he thinks he can get away with. let me turn quickly to syria. i heard what you said, but i question whether or not we are committed to truth -- to change the battlefield equation because unless, as this committee voted a while go to arm the syrian moderate rebels, nothing will change in assad's equation or russia and their patronizing of assad for him to feel that he has to do anything but continue to hang in there and try to win a war of attrition. to robustly are we ready engage in helping to change that battlefield equation, even though it is a lot harder now than it was then, and listening to all the threats of the
the threats the director talked about, i do not see we will get in a position where we have anything with the potential of a failed state and the consequences that that means to our national security in addition to the bloodshed that is eating shed every day -- that is being shed every day in syria. >> there are huge and growing risks in syria and in the spillover of syria's violence into the wider region. we are looking at further ways in which we can support the moderate opposition, and we are also trying to intensify cooperation with other backers of the moderate opposition. the saudi minister of interior was in washington recently, and i i think we have improved cooperation with some of the other backers to ensure both they get the support they need, but also that extremists are denied the flow of arms that are
enabling them to increase their strength. part of it is what we do, hard of it is what we can work with our partners to do. >> i get a sense we are not as robust as we should be am a and unless we are we are not going to change the equation in syria which means we are in for a world of hurt as we move forward. in this regard, this committee gave the president the authorization for the use of force, which i think was a critical lament of his ability to at least pursue the chemical weapons issues that syria possesses, but they have missed two deadlines are a. i see a report where they are accelerating without actually doing anything. say --onsequential to how convinced are we that we are the commitment of
syrians as it relates to getting rid of their chemical weapons stash? >> the foot dragging of the syrian regime has been deeply frustrating, and the last few weeks, there has been an increase in movement in the right direction. i the beginning of next week i understand about 35% of their chemical materials will have been removed from syria. i think it is possible to meet the 30th of june deadline that has been set for removal and instruction, but we are going to have to keep wishing very hard to ensure that this process continues. accelerateden some movement in recent weeks, but i do not think we can take that for granted. we need to keep pushing hard. >> we need to keep pushing, and we need to suggest that our violating not
deadlines. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i hope i'm not being redundant, but i want to talk about syria -- >> you're never redundant. >> thank you. know ityrian issue, i sounds like the chairman and you had a little discussion about work youppreciate the are doing in counterterrorism and what our defense is doing relative to some of the regional threats that we have that did not need to exist, but they now do because of our inaction and others'. what are we doing to expect in -- what are we doing to expect to change the equation in the ground in serious not as become what it is? i note secretary. -- i know secretary kerry was on
the verge of announcing something. we keep hearing that. we have private conversations with others. there is no allen's change that we are seeing. what is it that -- there is no allen's change that we are seeing. what is it that is causing assad to negotiate his leadership away from syria? said, reality, as you without change in assad's calculation and change on the balance on the ground, it is impossible you will see the dramatic progress, whether in geneva or anyplace else. at waysooking actively where we can step up our own support for the moderate opposition, which is had it's more -- which has had more of challenges in the last years. we are working more effectively with our partners. >> are we thinking about lethal support, when we have people dropping barrel bombs?
are we thinking about doing something to diminish their ability to do that? there have been debates about , having actualt military training, adding actual military -- not our boots on the ground, but getting weaponry to moderates? are we still looking at that? >> we are still looking at a range of options, some of which i cannot really discuss in this kind of a setting, but we understand the urgency of the situation. all of us understand what is at stake here, not just for syria, -- for its eberhard and its neighborhood. we are looking for what we can do and what our partners can do or effectively to support the moderate opposition and begin to try to change realities on the ground. >> you understand we have been now.ng this for years
and since we first began hearing this, i would guess 100,000 people have died since we first began hearing this. what is it within the administration right now that keeps the administration from really wanting to put something forth? ps we have the partnershi that we have had in the me region -- we have had in the region? things have changed. i think the options that were a nott option a year ago are as great today, they just are not because of the extremists that have moved in the region. who are our partners now in this effort, and what is it that you think it's the administration from wanting to change that allen's -- balance on the
ground? are we better off because the extremists are worse off? i would like an exploitation because we have been hearing this, 100,000 people ago we were hearing this. convinced that assad is a magnet not only for foreign fighters and extremism, but as long as he he remains the civil war will continue to get worse. i do not think our resolve has changed a bit on that. there is more we can do with our partners. i mention saudis earlier. the president will go to saudi arabia at the end of march. we have worked effectively with jordanians, and king abdulla met with you recently to discuss his plans, and we are intensifying our cooperation with jordan as well. this is going to require and all
of the above effort, looking at what we can do, but what more our partners can do, recognizing the urgency of the situation. ofi want to say it is none the above. there is limited activity that gets discussed in other settings. i was just in saudi arabia not long ago, and i can tell you they are one frustrated group of saying we're going to do something and not doing anything. they obviously went outside the umbrella. there has been some backlash there, i understand, but it is very disappointing to year after year, i hundred thousand people later, to continue to hear the same thing but yet no action be taken, and i know the situation is much worse. on russia has there been any discussion? i know people on both sides of
the aisle have discussed energy issues, and we will talk about sanctions, we will have some economic or leaf hopefully coming next week. is there discussion right now andt how our energy policy additional pressure that might be placed on russia by moving weekly with that, not again, waiting a year, but moving quickly with changes on how we deal with some of our energy issues that might put additional economic pressure on russia? >> senator, as you and members of the committee know very well, i think the revolution and the transformation of the global energy market gives the united states a great deal of strategic leverage we did not have before, and i think creates opportunities for us to help the europeans loosened their dependence on russian gas. , think over the long term gives us strategic access that can be very important in foreign policy.
i think we need to be very conscious of that as we look ahead. that in conscious about terms of what it means for our relative strengths and russia's relative weaknesses as you look out over the next few years. yeah, people are looking very carefully at that as an element of a broader strategy. >> most of the people who look at this issue, like the things we could have done in syria a year ago, and things would not be the way they are today, people look at this energy issue and i think they say, if we wait a year or two to announce some things, it will not have the impact that it has today. i hope we do not go to the same process in looking at energy as we have in syria. i will close with this. my time is up. i think our foreign-policy credibility is close to shot at this time. events that have
happened over this last year i think have weakened us substantially. i know you are implementers, and i am not jerking this and you. all -- and i am not directly this at you. supportow is i think we the diplomatic activities that are taking place there. any of us are concerned about the interim deal being the final deal or having a series of rolling interim deals. has beenay that russia our partner in all of these things, and i think us rushing to some agreement that again is not one that is substantial enough will shoot all credibility that we have relative to foreign-policy issues. i would just urge you -- i would urge the state department, those that are negotiating to please pause. let's make sure that what we do there is something of long-term significance that batters, and let's -- that matters, and let's
appear not to be rushing into a deal just to make a deal. i thank you for your service. you veryairman, thank much for holding this hearing. secretary burns, it is always a pleasure to have you before this committee. manyor corker and i share policy objectives, including policies in syria and the ukraine. i disagree with your assessment. i think this administration with leadership in dealing with some extremely challenging problems around the world. it is important that we work as closely as we can together, and i want to talk about ukraine specifically. we have talked about this before, but i want to underscore how dangerous this situation is and how russia is violating not just one, at numerous international obligations.
coreare violating the osce principles, the 1994 budapest memorandum, the 1997 ukraine-russia bilateral treaty, charter, the mechanisms that govern military relations and arms control, and i could go on to list many other international agreements that are clearly being violated by russia and ukraine. ukraine has shown remarkable restraint, and i commend them to understand -- to put the spotlight on who is the villain here, and it is clearly russia. to deal has a mechanism with it. they have observers. ukraine has asked those observers to go to crimea so we can have objective accounts,
because it is clear to the world that russia's justification here does not exist for what they are doing. mr. chairman, it is very interesting that those observers have been denied entrance into crimea by people dressed up as military, unidentified. clearly we know who is responsible for those denied tales. representatives were typically -- temporarily blocked leaving a hotel and cry media -- in crimea. u.s. special envoy was accosted by unidentified gunmen. i could go on and on and on about how russia is denying the international institutions that are available in order to deal access, only accelerating this problem. this is an issue that goes well beyond ukraine and russia. from the western balkans to the south chinese see, we have
territorial issues in which we worry about military force being used rather than direct bilateral discussions. so i am proud that the united states has taken a strong position on this, our president has taken a strong position. the executive order is the right course. we have to do more, as you acknowledged. here is the challenge. what is the e.u. doing? what is the united nations doing? we have not heard the strong unified voice that we would -- we were hoping to see around the world to demand that russia get out of ukraine, allow ukraine to be able to run its own internal affairs. where are we with the u.n., with the other international organizations, the e.u.? >> thank you. there is an eu summit that is
going on right now to my and we, the president, secretary kerry, have been in close touch with the eu leaders. >> are there steps that have been taken on the executive order? >> they have taken some steps with ukrainian individuals, and they are considering today as we meet here a range of other steps. i believe that the eu leaders understand what is at stake here. >> i understand the executive order goes beyond just ukrainians? the euor, but i believe is considering a range of other steps that you can take. i agree with you, acting as part of a broad international coalition on issues like this is likely to have more significant effect on russian behavior. we will continue to do everything we can working with partners and the eq to make clear that costs not only what russia has already done, but the
increasingly significant costs of any further escalation. -- iieve eu understand it believe eu leaders understand that. osce has moved quickly to organize observers in eastern ukraine. they have run into difficulties in crimea. we will percent as hard as we can because it is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate the falsity of some of the claims that russian leaders have made about what is andg on in eastern ukraine the false accusations about persecution of ethnic russian minorities there. council, wecurity will continue to keep a focus on the issue as well. everyl use international fora we can to build practical pressure on russia to sustain ukraine's territorial sovereignty. >> thank you.
>> senator johnson? >> secretary burns, can you tell me exactly how the administration views russia? i would like to think russia is the friendly rival as opposed to an unfriendly adversary. what is the viewpoint of the administration right now toward russia? russia isionship writ a competition -- with russia is a company that one. there some areas were we have been able to work together in recent years. afghanistan is one example. it has been true in some other areas as well. there are also areas of obvious difference. mostobviously and seriously in ukraine now, but it has been true in parts of russia's neighborhood. georgia has been mentioned, and we continue to have concerns about human rights abuses in russia. the honest answer is our relationship is a mix of areas of obvious difference and in
some cases competition and some areas where we objectively can work together. right now i think we are in a difficult period in our relationship in -- with russia because of russian behavior. >> in afghanistan, there's more corporation, and then you look at syria. when you look at them as partners, do you think they are operating with the u.s. in that faith, or are they duplicitous? more duplicity in syria? >> on serial we have been frustrated by large dimensions of russian behavior and actions. on the chemical weapons issue we have worked together and made some progress toward the chemicalon of assad's weapons stockpile which is objectively a good thing for syria and the region. in other areas, we have been e,ustrated by the reluctanc,
the unwillingness of the russian government to push the assad regime and to recognize what is at stake for the whole region. afghanistan, russia has played a role in facilitating to the northern network the provision of supplies to the coalition effort, which again is in a hard-nosed way in russia's interest because it does not have the interest in a spillover from afghanistan. >> and editorial said the administration is using its foreign policy on a fantasy. they changed that in the printed version. have the events in the crimea and ukraine, is the administration looking more realistically, long term? goodnator, i have spent a bit of my own career working in russia and working on russian relations, and i have always
tried to be realistic about where there are areas of corporation, -- cooperation, trying to take advantage of that. i think over the long haul, we need to be mindful of our strengths and the strengths of the united states and our partners and the dilemmas that russia is going to face over the long term. >> iver people say that russia's move in crimea signals a certain level of richness -- weakness on the part of russia. it looks like a strong move to me. talk about strengths. russia's strength to do what it did? why do they think they could do that with impunity? >> given the russian strength of military --n >> is it their oil? >> the russian economy is
largely dependent on hydrocarbons -- >> is it safe to say hi oil prices, which is sometimes trayvon by chaos -- which is sometimes driven by chaos in the middle east, does that give them strength? >> high energy prices have fueled their growth in recent years, but that growth has tapered off. mentioned earlier, if you look at the way in which the global energy market is being transformed by the shale technology revolution, over the long haul those strengths of russia are going to diminish, and russia has not taken advantage of the opportunity in the last decade to diversify -- >> getting to the point i wanted to. to sayirman said we need what we mean and mean what we say. is this administration going to
start looking at russia with their eyes wide open, understanding the brute force, the lawlessness, the duplicity of russia, and are we going to start laying in a ratcheted level of strategy, of increasing the sanctions cannot increasing the costs if putin continues to this, or will we provide an off ramp and then hope for the best again? orwe have a well thought out are we going to develop a well thought out strategy to understanding the real realities of the situation now? >> i think we have our eyes wide open about the realities you have just described. as a guide to outline in my opening comments, i think we are developing a very careful systematic strategy for dealing with those realities and promoting american interests and values. >> thank you. >> thank you. thank you for being here at a
very challenging time in the world. sure whether this is best directed to you, deputy t,cretary burns, or mr. cholle but i know ukraine is not a member of nato. meetingse been some within our nato allies to assess the situation in ukraine. may takeume that nato a more assertive posture with respect to what is happening there, either rhetorically or some other ways, that symbolically might to just -- that symbolically might suggest support ukraine? and also some actions we might take with nato to engage their support in the current situation? >> senator, let me start and
then i will turn to derek. we have taken a number of practical steps. we have an aviation detachment in poland. we are looking to expand cooperation through that attachment. inre is a nato operation the baltics. we are looking to enhance the contributions we are making their. they are not just symbolic, but practical, that make clear the commitment of the united states and allies to partners who have concerns right now. >> if i could add, the north atlantic council that nato has been in continuing this readings over the last week on this issue, a beacon go, i was with the secretary hagel in brussels where we participated in a meeting that was turned together with very short notice to and thethis crisis,
deputy defense minister of ukraine was there. at each of these junctures, nato has released a statement of support for the ukrainian people. as the deputy mentioned, the baltic air policing mission, secretary hagel announced that the u.s., which is currently managing that operation -- we f-15s.d four we will add additional f-15s. they will participate in the nato air policing mission. that is reassuring. lies are made nervous by the events in ukraine and what russia has been doing. how those speak to on