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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 8, 2014 11:00pm-1:01am EST

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it is cheaper and makes it happier than being in a nursing home. to be honest, it is not a major focus of the bill. that is something we need to keep working on. and the hard decisions have to i think it's going to be a challenge. >> i would like to ask about a potential access issue. somebody who works in primary care, i hear every day about the shortage of primary care physicians. in the billthing that addresses that, and how are we going to head that off? >> that's a concern about a lot of people. we had a shortage of primary care physicians before.
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we had a shortage after. 32 million changed. people added to the insurance rolls. you cannot add that many people without putting some strain on the system that is already strained. that is why the bill has a number of features to try to improve the number of primary care doctors. right now.ed school here is your choice. you could be a community doctor. you can make $100,000 a year, or you could be a dermatologist and work 35 hours a week. supposed tose kids do? we have a system that is out of and terms of the reimbursement we are putting in place for different types of doctors. until we get that in place we're really not going to deal with the primary care shortage in
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america. >> i want to ask a question about basic health. i know you have written something about how it moves poverty. of i am a health director for a travel health program. it's going to be difficult to pay the premium because it is a little too high, and it is that problem with reconciliation where they might get a tax bill, and the members are going to be mad. >> someone has read my work. thank you. the question was about something called the basic health plan. the way the bill works as we expand public insurance coverage, medicaid, up to 133% of the poverty line.
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above that level, until we get to 88,000 per family, there are tax credits, where you pay a certain amount of your income on a sliding scale and the government except the rest. one option is in the range of $30,000 to $45,000 for a family. in that range, states can say we will continue to make it free. the public under insurance program. we will pay doctors less. you can imagine doctors are not a huge fan of this. is it makes for it insurance more affordable for the remaining low income population. we just had the question about
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primary care doctors. primary care doctors are already because they are reimbursed so little. i think it is a state-by-state decision. some states like washington keep that.want to other states will have to consider it. i don't think it's the right answer. i think it will have to be decided on the state-by-state races. -- basis. >> one of the ways mitt romney tried to disavow what he was saying was the states rights inument, which is it worked massachusetts but not necessarily the rest of the nation. is there any reason it would not scale nationwide? >> no. [laughter]
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basically, mitt romney had a choice of three things he could have done. he could have said, i made a mistake. the other thing is, it was the right thing. he took the middle ground. he said a couple of disingenuous things. one is massachusetts didn't have to raise taxes. .hat is disingenuous it is pretty cheap to argue that. for he said it's not right the rest of the country, but he never said why. he just said it may not work for the rest of the country. that's not a reason. it does work for the rest of the country except for the fact you have to pay for it. >> in seattle we estimate there are probably about 8000 people
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who are homeless, some of them for reasons of their own refuse to apply for medicaid. program, what will happen to these people who refuse to get access to health insurance? i am a bigan tell, fan of the affordable care act, and i am glad for all the things it did, but it doesn't do everything. remaining problem remains the low income people are still on the margins of society. insuranceceived a 90% rate in massachusetts. those uninsured are mostly low income people who get free health insurance, and they just don't take it. these are people on the margins of society who don't understand, who don't comprehend the language barrier, and there is a huge role for outreach. there is a huge role of community outreach to continue to explain to people that the .ystem is there for them
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it can do so much more than if they wait until they are sick. we still need a lot of help to make sure people get into the system. >> i would like to thank the audience. it is a knowledgeable audience with great questions. one quick comment. we actually have got public education 120 years ago, and we have been fighting about it ever since. i think we are going to do the same thing with health care. we are going to try to improve it over time. i think that's an important thing to do. we are pointing out holes in the system. it's a structure. i would like to see them get better. i would like to thank you for a great presentation. [applause]
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thank you. >> thank you very much. thanks for having me. >> on tuesday economist gruber talked about the health care a -- and the state program health care law and state program. he will talk about how the law was written in order to pass. he will be joined by the administrator of the senators for medicare and medicaid services. i've coverage starts at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span three, and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. -- live coverage starts at 9:30 eastern on c-span 3. the, a discussion of ukraine russia conflict. then u.s. house members debate a
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bill to provide water for drought stricken california. later, climate change priorities. north carolina congressman david price looks at federal funding set to expire this thursday. doug collins discusses transparency in the health care law and the possible release of a report examining alleged use of torture i the cia, plus your phone calls, facebook comments, and tweets. plus your phone calls, facebook comments, and tweets. here are a few of the comments we recently received from our viewers. >> i am a fan of c-span. i want to compliment them on being able to bring together two different ideologies like they catohis morning from the
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institute and the immigration policy center. need moreu programming that way among people who can conduct themselves with a civil tone. i applaud you for that. ideology can be overcome to reach a common ground. there should be more programming to that effect. thank you for c-span. >> i listen to c-span on a regular basis. i find it to be very informative. it's a very good look at politicians and citizens can understand who we elect and what is being done in congress, because it seems to be congress is undecided or always fighting. it's important the citizens have so i appreciate
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c-span, and regardless of whether or not it is popular i wantinstream culture, you to know young people like me watch c-span on a daily basis to make sure i know what is happening in my country because i truly care. her,erican history to starting with the battle of little big horn. i just watched it in its entirety. it's priceless. so many people do not understand themselves, but if they watch american history, they could see and whyes and america we are such a great and wonderful nation of all the peoples in the world. >> continue to let us know what you think about the programs you are watching. us,is, e-mail us, -- call
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e-mail us, or you can send a tweet. join the conversation, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. at the ongoing conflict between russia and ukraine. the u.s. ambassador to ukraine spoke about the situation at the atlantic council. this is an hour. >> good afternoon, everyone. let me ask you to take your seats. if you have it turned off your cell phones, please do. i am the executive vice president at the council, and i am delighted to welcome you to a
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discussion with an exceptional frontline diplomat, u.s. ambassador to ukraine jeff pyatt. our conversation today is about the future of ukraine at an existential moment for the country. i would like to offer a special welcome to our distinguished speaker and audience watching online especially all of those in ukraine who tuned in to our live broadcast. i also want to welcome the ambassador of ukraine who is with us uh. the swedish ambassador as well and other distinguished colleagues. thanks for being with us. ambassador pyatt was sworn in in july of 2013. from the start he's been extraordinarily committed to supporting the ukrainian people's right to choose -- with an independent and secure ukraine. it was exactly three months before ukrainian students in kiev began their first rallies against the previous p's decisions to walk away from negotiations with the e.u. when the ambassador took the reigns. a year and a half later as the
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political and economic crisis in ukraine continues ambassador pyatt is steadfast in his pursuit both of american interests and his support of the ukrainian people. the atlantic council recognizes the importance of ukraine and also the implications of the crisis. ukraine is not just defending itself. it is on the front lines of defending the order that has delivered security and stability in europe since the end of the cold war. that's why back in february here at the council when it was widely scene as a domestic crisis as ukraine that we stood up what's become known as the ukraine and europe initiative. it is this initiative, the conversation is part of today. this initiative galvanizes support for an independent ukraine within secure borders whose people will determine tear own future. to advance it the council's work aims to strengthen security, preserve territorial integrity, advance democratic, economic and governance reforms.
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ambassador pyatt has beenen an ally in all of the council's efforts. i's an honor to have him in washington to speak this afternoon. today's discussion comes in the wake of another wave of russian escalation in eastern ukraine as well as the appointment of a reformist cabinet of ministers in kiev. i'm delighted that -- looking forward to ambassador pyatt's comments on the current events in ukraine and the ambassador's reflections on the trajectory of u.s. ukraine relations moving forward. without further ado i will tush the stage over to ambassador pyatt. after his remarks, the director of the council's dean of eurasia sent er john herbst will join himmer for a moderated conversation. i want to encourage you in the audience and online to contribute to the conversation by sharing your thoughts and submitting your questions via twitter using the hashtag ac ukraine. mr. ambassador, the podium is yours. [ applause ] >> thank you very much.
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thank you for the warm welcome. i want to start with a quick note of appreciation for the role the atlantic council played on the issues. certainly as i look back over my first year and a half in ukraine the breathtaking pace of change the country has gone through and the expectations that ukrainians have for the united states and european partners demand detailed and close attention to what's unfolding. certainly the role the atlantic council provided in offering an authoritative window on the political developments in ukraine is greatly valued. i know by everybody in the u.s. government. but i think also by our ukrainian partners. thank you for that. i hope you will keep at it.
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in so many ways, the crisis that ukraine faces today is unprecedented in the history of the country. certainly the greatest challenge that ukraine has faced since achieving its independence. it's also a moment of great opportunity. i want to take a minute before we get to questions and answers to walk through a couple of the reasons that i remain hopeful about what's unfolding today in ukraine. the unpredictability of the environment is extraordinary. certainly as you look back over the past year, there are very few who predicted that president yanakovich would flee at the end of february, few who predicted the invasion of crimea, the russian strategy of hybrid warfare, the insertion of
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russian tanks, missiles, heavy equipment, and eventually at the end of the summer the tragic shoot-down of mh-17 and the insertion of literally thousands of are regular russian army troops who remain present to this day in smaller numbers but still with a decisive role in the command and control and support of the separatist forces. the resolution of this crisis in the donbas has consequences for the euro atlantic security system, for american interests in the region. just as important and indeed in some ways more important is what happens in the other 95% of ukraine. how the project is sustained and how this reformist cabinet is able to deliver on the very high expectation that is the ukrainian people today have laid out. if i look back on the year there are few who predicted when yanokovich fled on the 22nd of february you would have in the space of the subsequent months two democratic elections meeting international standards which would produce a new government
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with a strong pro european coalition and critically important a strong consensus on the essential requirement for reform. there are issues of ambition and personality that still have to be worked through. i think it is worth bearing in mind that at every critical juncture since the 21st of february, ukraine's political leaders and ukraine's democrats have managed to put aside their parochial interests and managed to focus on the long-term task of building a more democratic, just and european ukraine.
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i i think it is something to be celebrated and gives a reason for optimism about the future. as i have said publically in the past i am convinced that the greatest single risk factor facing ukraine today is business as usual. the good news is that both the president -- president poroshenko and the prime minister are aware of the imperative. there are others in the political system who may not yet be. if ukraine is to surpass this crisis the political class has to put aside habits of the past and focus on the ambitious program of reform embodied in the new coalition. so looking to the months ahead, what's going to determine the success or failure of ukraine's democratic revolution?
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i would like to offer a couple of suggestions about what to watch. again with the caveat that i noted at the top that it is very hard at this point to predict what's going to happen next in ukraine. a couple of leading indicators that i would recommend. i think first and foremost is the implementation of the governing coalition agreement that was agreed at the end of november before the final assignment of cabinet positions. it is an important document. incredibly wonky. interesting history. it began as the product of dmitri shimkiv and other policy advisers working around president poroshenko. it came to be the commonly owned product of the five political parties who are part of the governing coalition. it is important to understand how important that process was
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to identifying a road map that all the political parties would own and which all the political parties felt they could take back to their constituents. president poroshenko in putting this coalition agreement together was inspired by the example of some of his peers, other european leaders who suggested to him this kind of a road map would be helpful when it came time to get to the practical task of implementing reforms. it gives reason for optimism that this won't just be a document that sits on the shelf but turn into a practical road map for implementation of a reform agenda entailing changes in sectors like energy, justice and security. it's a robust document and a document that all of the parties
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take pride in. i think that's worth taking note of. how to move ahead on implementation. i would argue is something that only the ukrainians themselves can decide. it is not the position of anybody in the international community to say which element of this multi faceted reform agenda needs to come first. that said, let me suggest areas i believe will be critically important to the success of ukraine's democratic reform. fist and foremost i would point to energy. there is no sector more in need of reform or more central to the fate of ukrainian democracy than energy and energy rereforl.
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-- reform. it's been the sector that's drawn the most egregious corruption under multiple governments in ukraine's past. it's the sector that russia has used as a vector of influence over ukraine to limit ukraine's strategic choices. and it has been -- because of its poor management it has been a sector that's been a drag on economic growth and economic competitiveness. nafta gas alone takes a huge portion of ukraine's gross domestic product through the subsidies it requires. its losses are unacceptable. but it is not just about the gas sector. as we have seen this week with the electricity crisis across the board ukraine is in need of modernization, insertion of new technologies, and new practices. but the good news -- and i say this based on a very encouraging meeting i had on thursday with the new energy minister is that the government understands this and hases a strong partner in the united states.
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it has a strong partner in the european union whose ambassador joined me in the first call on the new minister. i would identify as a second priority the speedy implementation of the dramatic and important anti-corruption reforms that were promulgated in the last weeks of the previous rata. i don't need to tell thib in this room how pernicious the phenomenon of politically driven corruption has been in ukraine. it has sapped confidence in government. in many ways it was through to the mydon. although many demonstrators waved the flags of the european union, what they were most reacting to was the industrial scale corruption of the yanukovych government and the sense that yanukovych had taken instruments of the state and redirected them largely to his own personal financial advantage. so there is a political imperative to demonstrate to the ukrainian people the practices
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of the past would be changed. i know it won't be easy. i have had prom nant business people who have said, ambassador, you don't understand. every vote is influenced by different commercial interests. that's exactly the point. you have had a political system which in the past has been driven by these oligarchic politics. that's now changed. one of the most inspiring things in ukraine today is the emergence of a new yen radiation of political -- generation of political leaders. almost every one that came with a focus on achieving better governance and with rejection of the historic model of relations between the economy, business groups and the little bitle call process. -- little bitle a third area is constitutional reform. this is a process that began under the first government.
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groysman talked about wanting to follow the polish example of dramatic moves toward subsidiary, driving down to the local level, empowering mayors and governors and creating a system in which local government is much more accountable and also much better positioned to effect the affect the quality of daily life. this is as urgent as ever. i would note the critical technical advice provided by european partners like poland. it's clear listening to the ukrainian leaders that i have discussed the issue with that they aspire to build a european model -- on a european model of
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constitutional organization. something which will affect not only the political space and also the economic environment, these issues of corruption i flagged earlier. it's certainly something to watch. a couple of other leading indicators i would flag for the weeks ahead. one is the question of national unity. certainly i think one of the most inspiring things about living in ukraine over the past year has been to witness the extraordinary courage, resilience of the ukrainian people. their decisive wish to seize their own future. to change their destiny. and to build a country which is moving clearly in the direction
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of a more just society. there was a fairly obvious effort by the russian government to try to defeat that objective over the course of the spring. sowing a narrative division, spreading a false narrative that ukraine was a country on the cusp of civil war. i was reminded of how disconnected that narrative was from reality on friday. i was in harkiev along with rose gotmueller. i was last there, a reminder of how things have moved, in october of 2013 when i went with ambassador tomitski to meet julia tomoshenko in her hospital jail. it was remarkable to return, see flags everywhere, on the streets, draped over the statue. this is political tourists sent from russia at the beginning of to try to stir an uprising. this is one of the most inspiring aspects, certainly impressive aspects of what happened in ukraine is the
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emergence of a stronger national identity. the resolve to resist this false that are narrative of division. another bit of evidence in this regard can be found in leviv. you have seen strong efforts to reach out to the east, to donbass. the efforts for instance that the catholic university has made to bring students from eastern ukraine to lavi v to see they can speak russian. this kind of bridge building remains critically important, an element in the process of governance, an element in the way the government communicates and it has been. you can see it even in cities like slaviask which have been so affected by the war. i would not want to suggest in any way we are out of the woods in the donbass.
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both in terms of how the political crisis in the separatist-controlled areas unfolds, but also in terms of the reconstruction environment again in cities. which were occupied over the course of the summer. now looking to kiev for help with reconstruction but also look ing looking. they have clier rejected the option of civil war and division which the separatists, the russian proxies and russia itself tried to impose on them. the question remains, where will they fit into a united ukraine? how will that be reflected in governance? critically important as well in this regard is the role of the opposition bloc.
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it is important to note that the opposition bloc made clear their wish to participate this the process of reform, in the process of building a european ukraine. i had the opportunity to meet with former deputy prime minister boyco last week in his new capacity as leader of the opposition bloc faction in the rada. he was pleased about the opening but was looking for a voice in the process of governing in the radament rada. that's a challenge for all political forces as the opposition bloc and those who were part of the legacy party of regions try to figure out how to leave be hindhind the poisonous history of yanukovych and the damage he did. also to identify their role in a united ukraine.
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third leading indicator that i would commend to everyone's attention is the financial situation. yanukovych bequeathed to ukraine's new government a disastrous macro economic situation which prime minister yatsenyuk did a commendable job of managing. it is worth noting that the government has stuck to the terms of the imf agreement. it is notable and interesting as the prime minister point out that despite the decline in the ukrainian economy, the losses from the war in dune bass, overall tax revenue collection is up. it's a suggestion that the administration of government is beginning to improve.
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the prime minister also points out at a macro economic level ukraine between january and november paid out about $11 billion in servicing various debts and took in about $9 billion. there is a cash flow challenge that the government faces. we are going to work with closely with the ipf with our european partners to support this government as it moves forward further down the reform pathway. and seeks to manage its way out of the economic difficulties created by yanukovych and exacerbated by russia's military actions. there is an imf delegation in kyiv as i speak. we'll remain in close touch with the imf and our european partners. i would note the critical role congress has played and i hope congress will continue to play as we seek to resource the american contribution to this effort at a amendmentmoment of unique opportunity when ukraine has begun to turn in a different direction. the situation is difficult but not insurmountable.
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there is a wide understanding among political leaders today that the country's survival depends on more honest politics and meaningful progress down the path of reform. we will support them as strongly as we can in that process. lastly, let me talk just a little bit about the question of defense and security sector assistance. as you will understand, i can't go beyond the statement that tony lincoln made in his senate confirmation recently regarding the status of lethal defensive assistance. i would emphasize the critical role that we already have played with the expansion of our security sector envelope up to $118 million with a commitment to do more.
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i would particularly highlight in this context the work that general breedlove and european command have done through our joint commission on defense and security cooperation which has partnered effectively with ukraine's military leadership and has developed a road map for security sector reform which is just as sweeping as what we have been talking about with ministries like energy and justice. and will be just as important over the long term in helping ukraine to restore the ability to defend its sovereign territory and to deal with the challenging security environment that unfortunately looks to be a part of ukrainian reality for the foreseeable future. last point and here i will close and turn over to ambassador
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herbst. as i was getting ready to go to dy kyiv in summer of 2013 i sat down with my predecessors and all said jeff, you have to deliver a speech about ukraine's unfulfilled potential. don't worry when it happensment open the drawer and on the left you will find the speech i gave and you won't have to change much. i don't think that's true anymore. in so many ways this is a different country. it is a different country in terms of the security environment. it is a different country in terms of the expectations of the ukrainian people. it's a different country in terms of the politicians which are placed in whom the public has placed their trust.
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it's a different country, i hope, in terms of the kind of partnership we will be able to build over the long term between the united states and ukraine. i tankhank you for the contributionses to building the new architecture and i look forward to hearing your questions. [ applause ] >> jeff, thank you very much for a superb presentation which focused on one of two critical issues in ukraine's future -- reform. it is important that you stressed this because, in fact, in washington, much more attention is being paid to the security problem. i will follow your lead and move on the reform side of the discussion. let me first start with an observation. you are absolutely right that ukraine's future will be determined not entirely but to a large extent by success in moving this reform agendament no matter what next step of
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aggression mr. putin decides to take. we have a very clear precedent for this. thanks to russian arms, two provinces of georgia are right now no longer in control of the government. despite that, because the president for all of his tendencies was a genuine reformer. the country is able to make serious and real progress. the same can be true in ukraine. that's why this is not just urgent for the prosperity and while being economically declined but of sovereignty and ultimate ly ultimately territorial integritiment i will turn it over to the audience. i think you're probably right. you also noteded one very important factor which is a negative. you quoted someone who said the votes in the rada reflect moneyed interests. so how do we make sure -- and i mean ukrainian authorities and people also its well wishers. how do we make sure those interests don't hijack the agenda.
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>> easy question to begin with. you put your finger on the resilience of the ukrainian society. it's been a source of inspiration to all of us who dropped dropped. it's important to note the coalition agreement was developed with input from ukrainian civil society in a way that would not be unfamiliar to washington. i think part of the answer to
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the question of how to break the oligarch politics nexus lies in the agenda of anti-corruption that the rada itself has implemented. part lies with the politicians themselves. it's important to note that this new cabinet. first of all the presence of the foreigners in the cabinet but really across the board is composed of individuals who have been known largely for tear probity. one of the first questions everybody asks about new ministers in key sectors is, is he corrupt, or is she corrupt or corruptible corruptible? that's a fundamental challenge. perhaps the fundamental challenge to the country today. it is important to ukraine's political health. it is important to ukraine's economic health.
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it's also important to our partnership with europe. because the task of building a new ukraine, building a new society is going to have to be resourced. the united states will do a part. europe will have to do a part. the iffies will have to do a part. all of us will invest only to the extent there ises a prospect of success which will not be feasible if it is seen that resources which are devoted are skimmed off to the aem bank accounts they went off to in the past. i think the rise of social media plays a role here. the scrutiny that ukrainian civil society itself is imposing. and, again, most importantly the expectations of the ukrainian people. this is so hard to capture in a speech or sitting in a conference room here in washington. the sense that the ukrainian
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people themselves have gone through a crucible moment and decided now is the time. >> i asked people to identify themselves once they are called on. anders? >> thank you very much. excellent. from the peterson institute. one word you didn't mention which is big with the ukrainian government. westerners, both europeans and americans speak about anti-corruption, thinking about police and courtment ukrainians say lustration, deregulation. reform as you did. how do you look at it? we often hear of an argument particularly from the council of europe that it is collective justice. we only accept the individual, the justice in the west. my argument is that the choice is between collective justice and no justice. the individual justice cannot function until the laws start to
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function. what's your rooek? >> important question. i will say a couple of quick things. first of all, most important is that this proceed in a manner consistent with the ukrainian constitution based on the rule of law. not based on selective prosecution or manipulation of the justice system. beyond that these are issues for the ukrainian people to work out. one of the exciting things about ukraine today is the sense of political awake withening. that began on the 22nd of oh february. the 23rd is when it came into session again. it's reclaiming the democratic future. these institutions have to now function based not on any council that comes from washington, berlin or brussels
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but based on what they choose. on this question the most important principles is it has to proceed in a manner consistent with the constitution and governed by the rule of law. >> thank you. >> department of state. we inspected embassy kiev before your arrival last year. >> it's a little different. john teft did leave you a positive legacy. you put energy at the top of the checklist. one of the things we heard when we were there is there was consideration being given to restarting reactors one, two, three at chernobyl. >> i have heard no discussion about chernobyl. nuclear issues loom large in
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ukraine. 50% of ukraine's electricity roughly comes from nuclear power. the largest nuclear power country in europe. has the largest nuclear complex in europe. there has been discussion about how to expand that complex. that's a very expensive proposition. billions of dollars. so it's not something that can be joined in a meaningful way in the next year or two. >> good afternoon. i don't want to hide what i was. i had my two terms in the parliament. i was on the foreign affairs
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committee. one of the members of of the parliament who were in favor of ukraine's membership in the european union. i'm not saying today, tomorrow but immediately when the membership criteria are met. my question is about nato. on the 30th of november you commissioned responsible for e.u. enlargement was in kiev. and i know that issues which were on his agenda were nato, ukraine's membership in nato, referendum on the membership in nato. my question is where the united states of america stands? what is your position on nato expansion taking into account
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all the circumstances you spoke about. thank you. >> important question . let me start by saying how much i valley lithuanian colleague. we have a close partnership. indeed, almost everything i do in ukraine is in coordination with either the very skilled e.u. ambassador or my other key european colleagues in sweden, lithuania, poland, germany, you can imagine. we tend to see eye to eye on almost everything. perhaps more than we agree with our respective capitals. i think all of us have a fairly clear conventional consensus about where things are heading. on the question of nato, united states policile is very clear. the open door will remain. the question of ukraine's nato membership is not to be decided in washington with, berlin, brussels or moscow. it is a question for the ukrainian people themselves to decide. that being said, i think it's very well understood by the
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ukrainian government that they are far from being ready for nato membership and that if ukraine people make the sovereign choice at some point in the future to seek nato membership they need to do so on the basis of a thoroughly reformed society. that's why i come back to the question of reform. that's the important question today. the one where the united states will focus our efforts. >> thank you. >> thank you. dana marshall with transnational strategy group. ambassador, my question is back to energy but not so much tuck lar but the gas side. prior ukrainian governments sought the importation of liquified natural gas requiring transit through the turkish straits. i wonder if in light of the new
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government here, the presumptive cancellation of south stream and shall we call it fragile though concluded agreement between russia, ukraine with the e.u. brokerage in the past few weeks. how does this fit together. is the ukrainian government likely to be interested once again in that option? might they mount a diplomatic effort toin ankara and is turkey likely to accept that given all the other factors? >> a couple of different questions there. i will fall back on my remark about the hazards of the ukraine now. it's a strategic priority that the united states supports. over the short term, the best way to achieve that is through significant further growth and reverse flow. and there's been even in the past few months good news. the negotiations that the prime
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minister conducted with his slovak counterpart to get the slovak route significantly expanded. there is further headroom. further capacity therement ukraine has also gone on to other european commercial markets. so you have commercial contracts that have now been met with stout oil. for the foreseeable future, the short term , russia will be an important gas source for ukraine. the important thing is that it not be a monopoly gas source. that ukraine diversify sourcing to the extent that russia is just one other commercial supplier. taking place on the same terms as negotiations between gas prom in germany or any of the other customers. the question of lng is more politically complicated. it's something that the
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ukrainian government continues to talk about. it's not something i would see as delivering the kind of short term prospect of significant growth that we see for instance through the further expansion of reverse flow options or critically through the expansion of ukrainian domestic production. both more efficient use of existing wells and also new production under their production sharing agreements with shell, chevron and others. >> thank you. >> george? >> i'm a member of the atlantic council. mr. ambassador, thank you very much for coming here today. and presenting to the very enlightening talk that you did. i would like to follow on a question from my colleague here previously. about energy and crimea. what is our position -- what's the position of the united states relative to crimea and
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the reare rassertion of ukrainian sovereignty over crimea? it's confusing when we hear from the state department to the effect that one way for putin to have the sanctions released is to implement the minsk agreements but there is no mention of crimea. does that mean if the minsk agreements are implemented completely the sanctions would be rehoved and crimea would be allowed to remain russian or is there another set of requirements that aren't being articulated that maybe we should be aware of? this is particularly important not just in the light of the fact that this is ukrainian territory and needs to have
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sovereignty reasserted but crimean territorial waters contain huge amounts of hydro carbons. huge amounts on the order of those in the caspian sea. they represent energy independence, not just for ukraine but really for all of europe. if sovereignty is reasserted over those territorial waters. if not, then that just further enhances the position as an energy supplier. >> thank you, george. appreciate the opportunity to clarify. as far as the united states government is concerned crimea to include all of crimea 's ter toirl waters are ukraine. that policy has not and will not change. we are not going to recognize the invasion and illegal annexation of oh crimea. period, end of discussion. the question that you have referred to on sanctions is in
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the context of the additional more severe sanctions which were imposed by the united states and by europe late this summer in response to the intervention in donbass. these should be understood as separate baskets. vice president biden and others have been clear that for the united states, a prerequisite for discussing the relaxation is full implementation of the agreement to include the withdrawal of all russian fighters and heavy equipment, the restoration of control over the border monitored and the release of all prisoners. russia has not done any of those things. as recently as last week secretary kerry pointed out that since september 5, since the signature of the minsk agreement, hundreds of russian tanks and heavy military equipment items have moved into ukrainian territory. and we know that russian troops have remained in dune bass providing command and control to the separatist forces.
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so i think i would understand those conditions are connected to the sanctions which were imposed in donbass. we are not pursuing sanctions for their own sake. they are intended to encourage a change of russia's strategic calculation and a change in russia's activities. they were implemented in response to specific actions. those actions have to be reversed. >> thank you. john, then ariel. >> ambassador thank you for the efforts you and the embassy are making. my question has to do with the response to the putin regime's disinformation war. specifically the words putin has used in various speeches are
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like those hitler used in 1938. i don't recall that we are hammerering -- trying to point this out constantly to world opinion. he's declared war on ukraine but if he hasn't done it in what lawyers might define as a legally declared war. yet we seem -- he's invaded ukraine. you used the word invasion but the u.s. government doesn't want to use the word invasion to describe these hundreds of tanks and the soldiers who have died there. within two days of the shoot-down of the malaysian airliner one leading commentator practically named the russian unit that had done it yet the u.s. government seems reluctant to name the unit. i have no information.
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but i would be willing to bet we know precisely the russian unit that did it. you have mentioned you can't go beyond what tony bli this, kin said in confirmation hearings. we don't seem closer to providing the assistance ukraine needs. i would like to ask where are the efforts to respond energetically that the russian media are carrying out. i have spoken in the past on the ways in which russia has weaponized information as part of the campaign of special warfare, especially in the donbass. it is not a coincidence that the first thing the russian units did when they moved into key eastern ukrainian cities is pull down the ukrainian television and radio broadcasts. i'm told the units have digital pacs plugged into the stations to immediately switch over to russian stations. the russian strategy, it's
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important to recognize about the strategy of special warfare, the russian objective is not to win the argument, not to demonstrate truth. it is to confuse, create doubt and keep everybody off balance. that's why you had little green men in crimea. so everybody spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out are they russians or from somewhere else? who are these guys in slaviansk with rpgs and air peace radios. it is a strategy which rests on a tactic of misdirection which
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has an objective to sow division between the united states and european partners. and which has as an objective on the ground in ukraine to create fear. to create a sense of endangerment for russian speakersment i agree with you. it is a critically important issue. issue. to be frank, we in the u.s. government have only begun the process of thinking through how we need to respond to this but we are doing so. jointly with your neeneuropean partners. i was at an atlantic council event focused on this a couple of weeks ago. the fco has done tremendous work thinking about the implications of the strategy. the ukrainian government is struggling with the task of strategic communications. i would draw a strong distinction between propaganda and strat-comes. i think it is important not to go down the rabbit hole, not to fall into the trap of trying to meet meet.
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a consistent presentation of ukrainian government reality and ukrainian government intentions including as i alluded to ukrainian government intentions regarding eastern ukraine and the imperative of national unity. >> we have eight more minutes. i will take three questions. ariel here. there. in the back. >> ariel cohen, center for energy, natural resources and geo politics. i just came back from russia. in many conversations with the elites there is more than an under current. there is a message that ukraine will not survive this crisis. i do not know if our concerns about expanding the conflict zone all the way to odessa and the maldovan border will be justified.
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but taking what you were saying about the trying times for ukraine, what are the contingencies to the ex tend you can disclose them in ukraine and our contingencies to developments that go beyond donbass? do you think this was just an attempt to engage in strat-com operations and convey this message that they think ukraine will not survive that? or do you think something is really in preparation. >> let's take the other questions and then we will. right there. right there. >> thanks. thank you, ambassadors pyatt and herbst. local elections will be important to the decentralization process and to further renewal of the
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political class. i wonder what you are hearing about planning for local elections, if that's in the works yet. >> thank you. john behind you. >> john gunderson, national defense university. i was counsel general in ukraine -- after independence. i would like to sort of push you on the one that i know is very delicate to discuss and that's security issues. two factors i think we should think about. one is russian thinking. i know we don't predicate policy. looking at another way of how we look at russia, the heads of the russian military were all young lieutenants in afghanistan. mostly.
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the thing they fear most is an insurgency. a vietnam complex in afghanistan complex. the sense then of having to think about a strong ukrainian military factors into russian thinking. so i would like you to address the concept or answer what the arguments would be against giving lethal defensive equipment, the type of things they give to sovereign states such as egypt or pakistan. not quite friendly allies. what is the argument against giving defensive lethal aid to ukraine? thank you. >> the last question over there. >> two points. first one from your comments, as well from the comments that have been heard today here as well as as the world discussion. it's not crisis in ukraine. it is war. it is a russian aggression against ukraine.
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the question is why many u.s. officials, sometimes in colluding you prefer to use the term crisis instead of using the more correct and appropriate term, aggression and war. and why not use it from today at least? second, three days ago there was the 20th anniversary of the budapest memorandum. ukraine is a little bit bitter feeling about this. don't you think the mechanisms of the budapest memorandum could be used at this moment? for example, in consultations provided by article vi or in other ways? >> all right. last one right there. then you have 30 seconds for each, jeff. >> thank you. eir news. as much assistance as ukraine might need now from the united states and allies abroad the reality is
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the u.s. policy in the ukraine has nothing to do with ukraine. >> a question, not a statement. >> with destabilizing russia. i'm sure you listened to president putin's remarks at the bicameral address a couple of days ago when he warned -- >> you have 15 seconds. >> he warned the international community that the last people to come after russia to destroy them were crushed and that was hitler. similarly, germany, there is a letter circulating in germany signed by schroederer making reference to rithitler saying they were crushed. my question is how is starting a third world war with russia in the interest of ukraine or the united states, how is this improving the security situation in the world? >> ok. i will do lightning round on these. let me start with ariel's hypothetical. i guess what i
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would focus on is first of all the critical importance of the negotiations which are taking place in minsk, hopefully this week. another round of contact group negotiations. this goes to john's question. this is a crisis which ises not going to be resolved on the battle field. it will be resolved through diplomacy. yes, the united states has an interest in helping ukraine to develop the capacity to defend its sovereign territory. we'll continue to do so. we have devoted $118 million to that purpose so far this year. but the end game will be played in the court of diplomacy and the best vehicle for achieving that is full implementation of the minsk agreement which was signed onto on the fifth of september. regarding laura's point on local elections, we just don't know yet. ukraine has been in a very rapid
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period of ohelectoral politics. i think at this point -- and i will be interested in what the expert s advise, what the ukrainian political leaders decide. but i would argue having watched this unfold that the important thing is to move ahead on constitutional reform the deputy prime minister launched to figure out who is going to drive the process in the new government now that groysman has takenen over as speaker. then have that process proceed the conduct of the local elections so people know what are the packages of powers which they are going to be assigning through the local elections. so that's my view on where we stand today. on the budapest memorandum, it is not a coincidence that rose gotmueller was in kiev on the 20th anniversary of the budapest memorandum. we are proud of the partnership
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with ukraine. i would point out ukraine is a global leader. ukraine's role in president obama's nuclear security summit was one of the most important of any country. it is a country which has made the right choices on nuclear disarmament and the world is a safer place as a result of the choices ukraine has made. it is important that we do all we can to up uphold and help ukraine to defend its own territorial integrity. that's why president obama has led the international effort in imposing a cost on russia for its violation of ukraine's ter toirl integrity. that's why we have worked as hard as we have on the sanctions regime. which is intended to affect russia's calculation. on the question of russia, i would note i have been clear on the record from the days of my confirmation we think over the
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long term russia should see this as a win-win proposition which is anchored in european institutions with access to european markets should represent an economic community for companies. president poroshenko head a free trade zone in the donbass region. while ukraine moves ahead on the european choice so that company this is the donbass region would be able to provide a bridging role between the european space, the largest space in the world and the eurasian space. that kind of win-win calculation has been absent from the kind of language from moscow. we hope we can get to that point. >> terrific discussion. thank you for coming. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated. c-span, house members debate a bill to provide water for california. and the world bank president talks about climate change priorities. week'sdiscussion on this congressional agenda and a approaching federal deadline. >> secretary of state john kerry testifies on tuesday about combating ices and possible new authorization for the use of military force. you consist testimony before the foreign relations committee at -- 3..m. on c-span creek --the house elect come pity committee on benghazi hears about the attack.
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witnesses include assistant secretary of state greg starr and state department inspector general steve lenox. our coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. report week, political -- reporters talk about being on the campaign trail with mitch mcconnell. >> he had plans of four years in 2010 rightd after he saw what happened and the republican primary for rand paul. rand paul beat macconnell's handpicked guy in their primary. at that point, o'connell relies i have to recalibrate everything i know about republican primary started to make changes as he hired a key staff and started to build this very sophisticated, knowing it would be the most typical race in his campaign.
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>> they knew they would spend a andof money on technology they watched the obama campaign in 2008 and 2012 and harry reid's reelection and knew they needed to go to the race where he beat the democrats by six points. he was going to have the latest technology. buildd, he was going to the most -- best campaign ever. he probably got -- he probably got there. c-span.nday night on to mark 10 years, we are airing year aream from each starting december 22 at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> monday, the u.s. house debated a bill to change water allocation during california's legs dropped it would give the state central agricultural more water. the president would veto the bill. the hour-long debate from the
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house floor. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i rise in strong support of h.r. 5781, the california emergency ought relief act of 2014, as introduced by our colleague from california, mr. valadao. today the house meets once again to provide a solution to the ongoing water crisis in california. the house has been on record twice to provide solutions, and here we are and we must act again. although this bill is different from the two prior attempts and reflects significant bipartisan progress towards enacting a solution, we must provide relief, even if it's short-term relief, before this congress adjourns. it is unacceptable for us to give up when californians are starving and their communities are literally drying up. like california, my central washington district is heavily dependent on irgaited water to support our local economy and our agriculture industry.
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i understand the importance of having a stable, reliable water source, and i also understand the economic devastation that is caused when the water supply is shut off. particularly when the shutoff is avoidable. california is in an emergency situation. for years, san joaquin valley farmers have been fighting against federal regulations and environmental lawsuits that have diverted water supplies in order to help a three-inch fish. in 2009, there was a deliberate diversion of over 300 billion -- mr. speaker, that's b with a b, gallons of water away from farmers. and mr. speaker, let me equate that. 300 billion gallons of water is nearly a million acre-feet of water. what's an acre-feet? an acre-foot is -- an acre-foot of water for one year, that's 12 inches of water for a year that was diverted from these farmers. as a result, thousands of farm workers lost their jobs,
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unemployment reached 40% in some communities and thousands of acres of fertile farmland dried up. the same thing is happening today. as chairman of the house natural resources committee, i've traveled to fresno, california, twice and seen the effects of natural and man-made drought firsthand. we held multiple hearings and heard the pleas of communities that simply want the water turned back on and their livelihoods restored. we've seen farmers who normally to feed the nation be sent wait in line at the food barnings and in some cases, mr. speaker, being served carrots imported from china. i want to stress this crisis does not impact california but has a rimming effect across the entire nation. california's san joaquin valley is the salad bowl of the nation. food grows where water flows. when there is no water, our food supplies suffers resulting in higher food prices across
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the country, higher unemployment and increased reliance on foreign food sources. unlike the last time this body acted on this issue, the senate did pass its version of a bill in june of this year. i commend senator feinstein for her efforts to pass this short-term bill. however, since the bills were so different in their scope, those interested in a productive conversation to bridge the differences have negotiated in good faith for the last six months. and we got very close to a resolution, but more time was necessary on agreeing to a long-term bill. in the interim, the measure before us today reflects much of what the senate passed earlier this year and agreed to in our negotiations to bring some short-term water supply relief to many of those communities in need. this bill simply allows us to capture some water from storms in this and the next water year and improve data quality when
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it comes to the existing biological opinions on smelt and salmon. it also protects those communities in the north who are from heavily -- who are from relatively abundant water areas. the entire bill, mr. speaker, sun sets in september, 2016, to allow more time to negotiate a longer term solution that would not only help california but other states in the west as well. now, this bill is not perfect, but it's a short-term bridge based on productive negotiations between those who want sensible solutions to the california water crisis. this bill, while very limited in scope, helps protect the jobs and economic livelihood of farm families and workers in communities that are in dire need of water. the people of the san joaquin valley cannot wait any longer for congress to act. as the title of this bill suggests, it is truly an emergency for many and time is
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running out. those communities facing massive unemployment deserve nothing less. now, mr. speaker, i commend my colleagues for the last two congresses for working together to get this solution -- get us an answer to this solution. this is the latest iteration of that and i want to commend them. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlelady from california is recognized. mrs. napolitano: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. napolitano: mr. speaker, congressman valadao's h.r. 5781, the california emergency drought relief act of 2014, is northern california c.b.p. drought relief that isn't a california death relief act. it was introduced last week without hearings, without markups, without consultation with the house democrats and without any consultation or input from local water agencies, state agencies, cities and/or tribes. this bill is being rushed to the floor without input of
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critical california leaders throughout the state. it focuses primarily on providing more bay delta water to central valley farmers at the expense of other users. this bill would require mandatory increases in pumping to central valley agriculture, which could forge water managers throughout the state to cut water deliveries to southern california to other urban water users and, of course, to fisheries which -- this could also lead to less fresh water in the delta, higher levels of salt and contamination in the water being pumped down to southern california. the white house states, the president will veto this bill because, and i quote, it fails to equitablely address critical elements of california's complex water challenges. and the bill appears to include a number of potentially conflicting mandates which can cause confusion and undermine environmental laws, also making it right for future litigation. senator boxer opposes the bill
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because it could ignite the water wires by overriding critical state and federal protections of all of california. -- some er, i have the of the opposition, one of them is sacramento bee has come out opposing the bill because, and i quote, any legislation affecting california water policy deserves a full hearing with input from the varied interests in northern california and the central valley and the south. we must, mr. speaker, work on a bipartisan manner to address this drought crisis for the whole state and certainly not in secret and behind closed doors. i have introduced h.r. 5363, the water in 21st century act, and representative huffman has introduced h.r. 4239, which could provide drought relief to all california with this water conservation program, the water recycling projects, its
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groundwater improvement operations and stormwater capture solutions, including desalination, title 16. house democrat proposals have been excluded from this bill, h.r. 5781. all past attempt -- there have been past attempts in past congresses to pass certainly some of the pro-- legislation being posed today and it's failed but, mr. speaker, i would like to insert for the record statements of opposition to this bill from the white house, from senator boxer, the soorkt bee, american rivers, the league of conservation voters, natural resources defense council, the sierra club, the nature concertain sembansy, golden gate salmon association, golden gate fisherman association, just to name a few and, mr. chairman, i urge us not to pass this. i would like to reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is
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recognized. mr. hastings: i'm pleased to yield to the author of the previous bill, mr. valadao from california, for four minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for four minutes. mr. valadao: thank you, chairman hastings. i appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of my legislation. since taking office, ensuring the central valley has reliable access to clean, high quality water has been my number one priority. my constituents are suffering through a drought and they've suffered more these last few years because of the laws that are in place today. we've got regulations that require that we basically send water that should be going to communities, to homes, to farms that create jobs and grow food, that water's being diverted out into the ocean, all in the name of a fish. we've got so many different people living in this valley, from farm workers to farmers to business owners, all different types of folks that represent this and thises that affected every single one of -- this has affected every single one of them. it's affected everybody down to their regular daily lives. when you think about how simple
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it is for someone to turn on the faucet and be able to take water and put it in their coffee pot in the morning, that's what we're talking about today. we've had wells go dry, we've got communities in my district today that are literally watching -- in the process of looking to drill four, five, sometimes six wells just to get enough water into the household. it's something that's very frustrating. what this piece of legislation is is a very simple patch. it's a short-term bill. like the chairman mentioned, the bill expires at the end of september next year or when the governor decides the drought declaration is over. the bill is simple. it's very specific that it does keep in place all protections of the endangered species act, the biological opinions and others that have been put in place to protect the environment but this gives a little bit more flexibility to those agencies to allow some pumping to help these poor communities. we've got people in food lines today. we've got people who are trying to feed their families. trying to earn an honest day's wage and this is hurting those
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people. the people my friends across the aisle always claim to want to help the most. this is a simple, very small piece of legislation. the majority was introduced by a democrat in the senate. with just a few provisions that were changed. this isn't a surprise. legislation that we passed out of the house, a lot more complicated, a lot more comprehensive and covers shoot, and it creates a long-term solution. but this is a short-term solution that helps provide some security. and the bill helps all of californians, especially those south of the delta, including those in southern california, because there's about 20 million californians that rely on water from northern california. so across the board this is a piece of legislation that helps all people in california be successful, feed their families and take care of their daily lives. it's something that i feel is very reasonable. we work across the aisle as much as we can. we've worked on this issue for six months now but it's a complicated issue and we have a lot of outside interests that want to see this prevented. it is all again over a few bad
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laws that need to be changed and all we're asking today is for a short-term fix, give us enough time to give these people a little bit of breathing room, a little bit of freshwater for their houses and something that can really, truly make a difference in their lives and they're trying to stop it and it truly is sad. we're here at the last possible minute. the most important aspect of this bill, and the reason why it's so important that we pass it today, is if we don't get something done this week we have to wait for the next congress. the next congress starts in january. from there we've got to wait a few more weeks before bill gets introduced, passed and goes through the process again and we start all over. in that time we will miss out on all the rain that could possibly -- we are in a drought but we did have some rain last week. we could have some more rain in the next two weeks, maybe a month. that's an opportunity we will be wasting if we don't take care of this legislation today and get this passed. so i thank you for the opportunity and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from california is recognized. mrs. napolitano: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to yield five minutes to my colleague from northern
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california, mr. miller. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mrs. napolitano: and may i add that i'm very thankful for his many years of service to this house and the nation, especially the state of california, on water issues. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for five minutes. mr. miller: i thank the gentlewoman for her remarks and i thank the gentlewoman for yielding me this time. once again we find ourselves in a situation where a group of people in the central valley, a small number of farmers in the central valley, have decided that they can't have it their way, they're just going to roll over the process. so now we're confronted with a piece of legislation that was in fact, much of it was withdrawn by a senator from california because it became apparent to all of the interests in the state, there were no public hearings, there was no public participation, it was a very narrow group of people sitting in the back room of the capitol of the united states, drafting legislation, where essentially everybody except the people in that room take a hit. the people in the room get a benefit. but how do they get the benefit?
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because they extract more water than you can currently extract and still keep the state hole -- whole. they extract more water from a vibrant commercial fishing industry. that's why the senators in oregon, that's why the pacific fishries association is against this legislation. this is a fishing industry that's worth hundreds of millions of dollars and they're at risk if you operate under this legislation. because this legislation overrides what the state agencies, what the governor, what the federal agencies, what the secretary of interior did this last time. when we got two surprise storms in march of this year, we went back to the drawing table and we figured out how we could get more water out of this system, to help these farmers in the central valley. that was a good-faith effort. that was done within the law. now what they want to do is eviscerate that law, take away those safeguards, and say, we're going to take any additional water out of this system. and when they take that additional water out of the system, they take that additional water out of the
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water quality of hundreds of thousands of people who drink the water from the delta and rely on the freshwater supply. we're quite aware of what happens in these dry years and if you keep turning the punches on, those people are going to -- pumps on, those people are going to start suffering, those districts are going to take saltwater out of the delta. they take it at the expense of the delta farmers who pumped water into the delta. that water will become saltier and saltier and they won't be able to plant their crops. everybody in this state is paying a price for this drought. but now in the 11thth hour of this congress, this -- 11th hour of this congress, these group of farmers have decided they're going to do it this way. we've seen this before. we've worked year after year to get agreement and when they can't get their way, they go off to a private meeting, they draft legislation and that collapses all those talks and then we start over again. this is about the third or fourth time we've been here, because it's their way or the highway. and they absolutely expect that
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they can take water. these are people who have a contract, right? they have a contract that is variable because they have the lowest water rights in the state. and so what they're trying to do is to say, we get to get in line in front of everybody else in the state in exercising their water rights. the fact of the matter is, the fact of the matter is, we understand exactly what this is going to do. said why the newspapers this bill deserves to die. this bill deserves to die. and i want to praise senator boxer for alerting the members. they talked about working across the aisle. they worked across the aisle. but not with members of the house delegation who represent this impacted area, who stand to lose these jobs, who stand to lose millions of dollars of economic activity. this isn't a suggestion. i'm suggesting things are right for the people in the central valley or right for the people in the city. our whole state is suffering from a drought. but now this is an 11th hour
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attempt to say, we don't like the way you're coming together to do this, we're going to take ours first. this is contrary to what the state legislature did on a bipartisan basis and with the participation of legislators from the central valley, from southern california, from the imperial valley, from northern california. this is contrary to what the state and federal agencies did to try and work out and to get additional water, as we did in march. this is contrary, this is contrary to what the state legislature said about these being co-equal values. you have to protect the northern delta region, the origins of this water, and you have to try to have a sustainable water delivery to southern california. the legislature again on a bipartisan basis agreed to that. then on the other issue, overwhelmingly state legislators voted to put a bond to try to deal with the drought. a rather remarkable issue, with
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the support of the governor. legislators in southern california, from the central valley, and from northern california voted to put it on the ballot. and the public across the state, democrats and republicans and independents, from every region of the state voted overwhelmingly to support the bond issue. and now in the 11th hour this small group of people think that they can come and turn those expressions of state legislative intent, of state law, of federal law, of state environmental quality laws -- mrs. napolitano: i yield the gentleman five more minutes. mr. miller: we cannot let this happen. this is a suggestion that somehow there's free water floating around out in that system and somebody's denying it. all of the water in this current system, especially in this drought, is for purposes. to try to maintain a great pacific coast salmon run that is tens and tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity. from the mouth of san francisco bay almost to santa barbara and
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from the mouth of san francisco bay almost to the washington-oregon border. so this impacts across state lines and the economy that that generates. the economy that generates and the hospitality industry, the tourism industry, the economy it generates in the delta. yes, there's been cutbacks. we've all had cutbacks. all of us. but now you just don't get to go take your neighbor's water. you don't get to go do that. so as we try and try again and with these storms, i assume there's going to be a renewal of the effort that was successful, it was successful for the central valley, it was successful for the biological pains, it was successful for the delta farmer and yet we moved additional water that we hasn't anticipated and now with these storms, hopefully we'll be able to do the same things. but to write into the wall that all of that water must always
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be moved, as long as this law is in place, is absolutely contrary to the interest of the rest of the state of california. whether in northern california or the central valley or southern california. that's how we tried to move this policy forward. it's a much better policy today than it has been in the past. but we have got to have this open hearing, we've got to let us discuss this morning all of the members of the california delegation, among all of those who represent the taxpayers of this nation. the idea that you can just go into a room in the 11th hour because you know the sessions end -- session's ending and say, we have greater merit than anybody else, we're going to change this law, that's not the democratic process. that's not the proper representation of the people we represent in the state of california. and it's absolutely contrary to what the state government has done and accomplished, what they've done and accomplished together with the federal agencies, to try and make this work, recognizing the incredible hardship that every
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region in our state is under. the state is investing billions of dollars, the private sector is investing billions of dollars to try to make us more water efficient, to try to capture more water. to anticipate building dams. all of these things are being done. but the idea that you can just come in and say, well, you know what, we're tired with the process, we're imparent, -- impatient, even though we just voted for the bond issue, we're going to take our water now. and you do the best you can. you do the best you can if that's your drinking water. you do the best you can if that's the water you farm with. you just do the best you can. if it's too salty and raises health concerns, if it's too salty and you can't grow your crops, that's tough. because we're coming in line first. we're going to step in front of everyone else. and i think that that's -- what you're going to ignite here with the pass and of this bill is you're going to take us all
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back in time, as senator boxer pointed out, this just reignites the california water wars. and it's something we tried and tried to move away from and we've made progress. i appreciate that those who were impatient, that those who think somehow they're given a greater right than in fact they are to water, that they believe now they can just take it from their neighbor, they can just take it from their neighbor, that's an unacceptable process. that's why senator feinstein withdrew these negotiations, said she would come back next year and go through regular order and have the hearings that the people in california are entitled to, that the state of california is entitled to, and those of us who represent very desperate parts of the state will be able to participate and have that kind of hearing and understand how california together, california together cannot only solve the current problem in terms of impacts, but also prepare the state for what most people tell
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us will be a series of droughts by changing the manner in which we manage water. and everybody has to put into that pot. this is somebody just reaching into the pot and saying, i'm taking mine first and you do whatever you want because we've changed the laws of the state, we've changed the laws of this nation, we've overridden the biological opinions from the courts, we've overridden the basic environmental laws of the state and the nation. so we're going to get ours first and you do the best you can after that. those ramifications ripple across billions of dollars in our economy. just as this drought has rippled across billions of dollars in our economy because of the hardships in agriculture, some of the hardships, the shortens of seasons in fishing. i would urge my colleagues not support this legislation and demand that we have an open process and we don't cave in to the same group of people who have been trying to do this for 50 years. thank you very much. . the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek
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recognition? mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i'm proud to yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. mcclintock: mr. speaker, california's regulatory drought was causing enormous economic damage and human hardship long before the historic natural drought that's now stricken the state and through all of those years, the house has passed legislation repeatedly to address it. finally, after years of inaction, the senate produced a modest measure to provide very limited flexibility for water managers to deal with it. this bill largely reflects those provisions. it's a temporary stopgap measure that suspends no environmental laws and no regulations. it simply tasks federal water managers to conserve our water for beneficial human use to the maximum extent possible once allstate and federal environmental and water -- all
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state and federal environmental and water laws -- and the bill explicitly requires all environmental laws and regulations to be adhered to. all the house added to the senate bill is provisions to strengthen water rights for areas of origin by adding federal protection over these rights. during the worst drought in california's history, we continue to release billions of gallons of water from our dams just to adjust river temperatures for the fish. sadly, this bill doesn't even affect this wasteful practice. but during the next year and a half, it does give limited flexibility to water managers within these laws, and that's important because we're getting some rainfall this season and once all of the environmental laws have been fulfilled we desperately need to store what surplus remains for what could be another very dry year. to take that surplus, above and beyond what's needed to meet all of our environmental mandates and dump it into the pacific ocean, as my colleagues
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on the left suggests we should do, is nothing short of lunacy. the fact that this very modest bill has evoked such aper plexy from the left shows just how extreme and out of touch they've become. i wish this bill did much more but it's a start. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized. mrs. napolitano: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to yield three minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. costa. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for three minutes. mr. costa: good afternoon, mr. chairman. i'd like to thank the ranking member for allowing me to speak. h.r. 5781. lk about mr. speaker, we'll be here again until congress acts for increased operational flexibility for california's water projects. the american geophysical union released a report last week, according to some of the measures they are taking that the 2012-2014 drought affecting california is the worst in
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1,200 years. that's 1,200 years. the 2014 drought is responsible for part of the greatest absolute reduction to water availability to agriculture that we have ever seen. but we can operate the projects differently for different outcomes. the water modeling experts in the area i represent have indicated to me that without additional authority to move water and unless california receives 150% of its normal average rainfall this year, which is unlikely, the water allocation in both the east side and west side of the san joaquin valley will be zero, zero. last year it was zero. next year it will be zero. but urban waters in the bay area and southern california, they will get water. the fish, they will get water. but the folks on the east and west side of the san joaquin valley will get a zero water allocation unless we exceed 150% of normal. i'd like the house to think about that. we're talking about two years without surface water that forms the basis of the economy of the region. the results is immediate impact
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to farm workers and their families, to farmers and to the farm communities. this isn't some discussion about precedent. this is about people's lives and their livelihoods which are at stake. economists at uc-davis estimated that the economy lost $.2 billion in economic out-- $2. billion in economic output because of this. the loss of surface water supplies for the valley means that farmers are forced to turned to groundwater and they're overdrafting that groundwater in substantial manner. this is a crisis. the situation this year has been devastating, and if we do nothing next year it will become catastrophic. h.r. 5781's not perfect, nor is it a bill that will solve all of california's problems. water problems. we still need to fix a broken water system. however, it's a bill that will provide for 18 months the flexibility for the movement of water which is now not being moved. and it does so responsibly by
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preserving the secretary's discretion to reduce pumping, to prevent additional harm to endangered species. it does not amend the endangered species act. it does not change the biological opinions and it does nothing to move water rights in front of someone else, as the previous speaker said. it has a sunset on it. there will be debate about our ways to assist in drought recovery. i urge for my colleagues to support this legislation. it will help the san joaquin valley. it will help all of california get by during the devastating affects that this drought is having. it's not a panacea, and, yes, we need to work together. igniting water wars, gee, i don't think they ever subsided. there still are differences. the historic difference in water is -- mr. hastings: i yield the gentleman an additional minute. mr. costa: thank you, mr. chairman. the fault lines on water in california, everybody on this
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floor knows they are deep and they are historic and they have existed for decades. it's because we have this broken water system. we have a water system designed for 20 million people. we now have 38 million people. provide water for the people, for the environment and to maintain the agriculture of which we are the largest agriculture state, we need to work. we need to work together. there was some comments about the secret meetings. gee, if this has been a secret, as we've been working together for eight months now, it's one of the worst kept secrets in washington this year, i think. the fact is this provides us a modicum of relief. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation, but we need to do much more. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i'm very pleased to yield one minute to the distinguished majority leader for the -- from the state of california and particularly bakersfield, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for one minute.
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mr. mccarthy: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank the distinguished chairman for his service to this house and to this country. you'll be greatly missed. mr. speaker, i also want to thank those that have worked so diligently on this bill, congressman david valadao. he understands the need, and we're not here today because we haven't thought we might have this problem. i have sat and stood in this well before with congressman devin nunes looking ahead, trying to be prepared so we can have water throughout california. looking for government creating a drought when we still have rain and snow pact. do you realize four years ago we had 170% of snowpack but only 80% of the water was allocated to come down through the valley? the valley.
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not just feeds california, not just feeds the nation but feeds the world. when the valley does not get water, the prices of food goes up to all. but you know what's even more important? those that go out of work. i watched many elected officials come to this well and talk about unemployment. unemployment's below 6%. let me tell you what unemployment is throughout the valley today. there are some cities that have unemployment. number one factor, water. so what is the world look like today even though not just this congress, the congress before it moved legislation to deal with this issue? we are now at a 1,200-year drought. 1,200. much longer than the entire
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life of this nation. so if we're at this time, why do we bring this bill before us? i think we should have honesty in this bill. this is not the bill i would write. this is not the bill i would bring forward. this is a bipartisan bill where people on both sides of the aisle sat down, and we said we need a temporary bill that lives within these means. so do we change endangered species? no, we do not. what does this bill do? it says in the rainy season, when the floodwaters are high, can we not move water down through the valley? that's what this bill does. it also gives the safeguard that the fish are harmed to stop. does this bill go on forever? no. it goes on the length to september or to the length of what the governor has declared within the drought. now, i know government cannot
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make it rain, but government can stop the government policies that pick fish over people. government can prepare ahead of time that if we're going to have a rainy season coming that we allow the water to have the best use of where it goes, that it protects the fish while at the time allocates water to the valley so everyone wins in the process. that's why it was bipartisan. that's why we sat together. that's why it's temporary. that's why this bill is brought before us today. i'd like to thank everybody on both sides of the aisle that worked for it, but what's unfortunate, some people will say things that it's not. the most important thing we should do in this house is make sure fairness is provided. i think the greatest fairness that should be provided is being prepared for when water
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comes. but what's more even important, looking at the faces of the 30% unemployed, looking at the faces throughout that valley and saying it does not have to be that way. government can make a difference if both sides would work together as we craft this bill and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentlelady from california is recognized. mrs. napolitano: mr. speaker, how much time do i have or both sides have? noip -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california has 13 1/2 minutes and the gentleman from washington has 17 1/2 minutes. mrs. napolitano: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to yield to the gentleman from oregon, the ranking member of the natural resources committee, mr. defazio, three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. defazio: i thank the gentlelady. now, why would an oregonian insert himself into the perpetual water wars in california? well, first off, this bill has had no leargs.
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as you can see from the debate -- has had no hearings. as you can see from the debate on the floor here, disagreement over the potential impact of this legislation. and that is not just critical to californians, it's critical to oregonians. i have a letter here from the pacific fishery management council. they believe that this could have a hugely detrimental impact on some species which compose about 80% of the california fishery and about 50% of the fishery in oregon. we went through this before, about a decade ago where there were inadequate outflows, there were problems with the forage fish, the smell, and the returning salmon and we had a season that was closed for two years. put, you know, many, many oregonians out of work and an impact beyond the commercial fishery and those coastal communities was on the
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recreational fishery. cost us hundreds of millions of dollars. we got a couple million dollars in federal relief, and the experts, the pacific fisheries management council and their lawyers have read this bill, believe it does change the management of the water in ways that are detrimental and would void the biological opinion and would probably put us back into another couple of no fishing years a few years down the road given the cycle of salmon. particularly section 103-d-2 and section 103-c. now, i heard on the floor, despite no hearing has been held, the bill just burbled up recently, that on one side they're saying, no, don't worry. it will not have a detrimental environmental impact and if it does, well, we'll stop doing it. but i just looked at that section of the bill and it doesn't quite say that definitively. in fact, it changes the standards and it says, well, additional negative -- if
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additional negative impacts might have, then the secretary could suspend some of the provisions of this bill. not exactly certainty. and we need some certainty here for our fisheries. we've been hurting for years. last year we had a good year thankfully. we're still dealing with buybacks because of reducing the size of fleets from past problems. year in, year out. i just got the terms of that adjusted in the ndaa. they had a payday loan from the federal government. now we got a reasonable loan from the federal government. the government didn't pay for their buyback. heck, in the northeast they had pay for a couple of buybacks. now we'll jeopardize the fleet one, two, three years out because we won't have the return. . so this is a bad idea to do in the waning days of a congress, to bring forward a bill which is controversial, over which there's disagreement over the actual language in the
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provisions of the bill and which my experts, the pacific fisheries management council, said would be detrimental and would cause those problems. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i'm very pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. nunes, author of the original bill that passed distribute long-term bill that passed in the congress. two minutes for mr. nunes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. nunnelee: thank you, mr. speaker -- mr. nunes: thank you, mr. speaker. listening to the rhetoric from the other side, i'm reminded about the old saying from the soviet union. if you tell a lie long enough, eventually people will believe you. there's hardly anything coming from the other side of the aisle that's even remotely close to the truth. i don't have enough time to go through it all, but let me just hit the high points. number one, let's start with the facts on the table. most of the population in california lives in the -- greater san francisco bay area or los angeles. where most of the democrats represent. which is the home of the 1% in california.
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the poor people that they continue to make more poor are my constituents because they've taken their water and dumped our water out into the ocean. meanwhile, let's take the example of san francisco in the greater bay area. they get their water not only from the delta but also because the united states congress passed legislation in the early part of the last century that allows water to be piped over from yosemite national park directly over to the bay area. this is our water. this water should be going to the valley. they've given up none of that. you have a member who's been here for 40-some years who made the claim that some people are reaching in and taking their water. well, no. it's the opposite. once again, if you tell a lie long enough, i guess you think eventually people will agree with you or believe you. this is about san francisco and los angeles getting all of their water, never giving up
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one drop and they've taken the water from our communities. as the majority leader said, we have communities that continue to suffer, 20%, 30%, 40% unemployment, while the 1% on the coast say nothing, do nothing, they complain about, they get big subsidies to their salmon fishery buddieses and the environmental -- buddies and the environmental community. we have other people on the side of the aisle who made their whole careers making millions of dollars bringing lawsuits against the farms. that remain disclosed in the dark today. to, mr. speaker, we need to get the truth out on the table here. can i have one additional minute? mr. hastings: i yield the gentleman one additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for an additional minute. mr. nunes: so, what we are here for now is, we've been working diligently with senator feinstein and senator boxer, but you have one of the senators deciding that she didn't want to come up with a solution. we got the bill from being permanent down to just an 18-month temporary bill.
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we have flood waters today that are not being pumped, that historically were pumped. we have communities that are completely out of water. 100% out of water. yet the 1%, they don't care. i've heard a lot about the 1% around this place. the rhetoric from the other side, that rhetoric represents the 1%. we represent the people that are unemployed. because of their 1% policies. so, mr. speaker, i hope that we can get back to the truth, if we can get this bill passed it gives the senate an opportunity to amend the bill, send it back in the waning days of this congress. if they cannot, then we have to start back in january with new legislation. but in the meantime, people are out of work, cities are out of water, towns are out of water, rural homents -- homes are out of water, schools are out of water, churches are out of water because the folks on the other side of the aisle spent
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40 years taking water away and keeping it for themselves. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from california is recognized. mrs. napolitano: thank you, mr. speaker. i've heard an impassioned speech but it's not our water, it's california's water. i now yield three minutes to the gentleman from california, the ranking member of the agriculture appropriationses subcommittee, mr. farr. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for three minutes. mr. farr: thank you very much for yielding. this is always a difficult issue. it's a california issue. i want to point out that the california delegation's not evenly split on this. it's unevenly split. and the reason is, the gentleman just talked about what he called facts. his points of what he was making are not true. as the ranking member indicated, the chair, she indicated that this is public water. public water that is transported in the state by publicly financed canals, both by the federal government and by the state government. this is water that is supposed to balance for all californians. it's all publicly owned and
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distributed, mostly to the private sectser -- sector. we have a drought. everybody knows this. it's a disaster. the president declared it that. and what we ought to be doing in congress is paying for that disaster like we pay for every other disaster that's here. this bill doesn't do it. i was a co-author of the original bill. but i'm not co-sponsoring this one and i'm not supporting this one because what this does is not deal with the problem of getting money to california to build the infrastructure that we need for offstream storage and stuff like that. what it does is just corrupt a balanced system. we have been through droughts and there have been flexible releases this year. we solved it. but to put it in law i think is very harmful. it's going to cause more lawsuits, more dissention and we're back to, as senator boxer indicated, we're back to square one and not being able to find resolution. you argue that we're the leading ag state.
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i'm the leading ag county. $4. billion worth of agriculture. we don't get a drop of this water. we find our own water in our own county. and frankly we're reducing the amount of use in agriculture tremendously by drip irrigation and other forms of agricultural use. o i think that the danger here is in the last minute of this congress we're taking a bill that is extremely controversial and trying to pass it in the last minute, when we really need to resolve this thing so it's a balance for all of california, not just a few. and i think this is very harmful for our state and i hope that those who are not from california will oppose the bill. thank you very much. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm very pleased to yield one minute to the gentleman from illinois, mr. davis, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized for one minute. mr. davis: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, chairman hastings, and a special thanks to my friend and colleague, mr. valadao, for introducing this legislation.
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why is somebody from illinois standing on the floor of the house to talk about a bill that affects california? this chart says it all. california crops, 99% of the elements, 99% of the figs go down this chart and you can see how it impacts every single family that i represent in central illinois. 800,000 people in my congressional district. go buy these products in our stores. and the cost of not doing something to affect this historic drought is costing them and their families more to eat these products. healthy products that come from the central valley of california. when you have over 800,000 acre feet of water being released, freshwater being released into the ocean, that is enough water for 800,000 families to use for a year. we're simply asking for flexibility that


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