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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 8, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EST

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senator danes. >> thank you, madam chair. congratulations and ranking member cantwell, and thank you for holding this hearing. there has been an lot said already about jobs, economic growth, the environmental soundness of the keystone pipeline, energy independence, but i want to share what it means for the state of montana. the keystone pipeline enters the state of montana, the first tone it enters, -- how it enters that town -- town it enters, morgan, montana, a small little town. montana is 49th or 48th in some surveys in per-capita income in our country. i'll tell you, as i travel around the state in my pickup, you see that not everybody has a fly rod in their hand or is on the ski hill. there's a lot of folks who are struggling month to month to make ends meet. senior citizens, hardworking montanans. what this means for montana, first of all, it's 100,000 barrels a day of montana and north dakota oil that enters that pipeline in a small town
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called baker, montana. it's not just about canadian oil coming to the u.s. it's about north dakota and montana oil. second, as i was traveling one day to a rural co-op in glasgow, montana, there in my pickup, i show up in my jeans and my jacket, they told me that the keystone pipeline's approved electric rates for their co-op payers -- folk who is don't have a lot of money, thousands of montana families in eastern part of our state -- their rates will remain flat for the next ten years because of the keystone pipeline? why is that? because they will supply electricity to the pump stations in the pipeline. accused on pipeline is -- is the keystone pipeline not approved the electric rates for those hardworking montana families will go up 40% in the next ten years. it's $80 million a year in tax revenues for the state of montana and for these rural counties that desperately need infrastructure to pay for roads, for bridges, for teachers, for schools. so this is not just about the
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good arguments already made. i want to make sure we had perspective of what this means to hardworking montanans who are struggling literally month to month to make it work. madam german, i ask unanimous -- madam sherman, i asked unanimous consent to submit letters from montanans in support of the pipeline. one states they could receive up to $3 million for improvements to their roads and bridges alone. >> those will be included as part of the record. >> threee petroleum association of montana talks about how adequate pipeline capacity has been a problem at the bakken and to continue to allow this miracle of this made in america energy we need this infrastructure because that is what the keystone pipeline provides. i have letters from the eastern plains economic development corporation and the montana electric co-ops. >> those are will all be included. >> yield back my time. thank you. >> thank you. we'll turn now to senator manchin. and i, too, want to recognize these advertising -- three said
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passing over senator o's father just yesterday. she was due to join us at the committee, her first committee hearing here in the senate, and very sad day for her and her family and we want to acknowledge that and certainly offer our prayers. with that, i will turn to senator manchin. and then when senator manchin has concluded, i know that we have members that have other committee meetings that started at 11:00, and i'd like to know if we've got indulgence to perhaps move to any amendments that may be offered and move to take up the bill and at its conclusion, then, have an opportunity for members to provide additional comments. but i know that we're going to have some pressures on our time. with that, senator manchin. >> thank you very much. first of all, also my condolence
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s to senator capito and her family, which i have known most of my life. he was the only three-term governor we had in west virginia. he's definitely a force inway west virginia politics so, our heartfelt sorrow and condolences to them. and to you, madam chair, i congratulate you. we're all a product of our environment. i've been all over my state in west virginia, spoken to everybody at open meetings talked about the issues. i've not had one person come up to me, hardworking, most of all west virginians are hard working, come up to me and say i'm opposed to this. so even if i was opposed personally, i'm thinking i'm sick to by -- sent here by the people i represent. there's not one association that represents working americans not one association that represents working americans that's opposed to this. not one that i've heard from that says, ok, our organization is opposed. not one. so when you start looking at why are we here and who do we
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represent and whose voices are we speaking for. you would think that -- and i respect those who have difference of opinion because i know that that must be where your constituents lie, because i'm sure you're all communicating with them. i've always said we're entitled to our own opinion, we're just not entitled to our own facts. and the facts are this -- we purchased ♪ 7 million barrels of crude a day. 7 million. we're purchasing. this is not some fact mn some misnomer out there. it's a fact. and let me tell you where we're purchasing it from. and if that's what we're going to continue because we refuse to build this line -- and make no mistake about it, this line is already 40% constructed. the line will be built. this line will be built sooner or later. we're just delaying the inevitable. but with that being said, we buy 1.3 million barrels a day from saudi arabia. now, i'm not convinced that the resources and the tremendous wealth that saudi arabia has gotten from us is being used to
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the benefit of the united states of america or our citizens. i'm not convinced of that. next of all we buy 755,000 barrels a day of heavy crude from venezuela. from venezuela. i'm not convinced that their human rights and also the way they oppress their people is something that we condone. we have a chance to be dealing with a country who's our best trading partner. 35 states out of 50, number one trading. the best ally any country could ever have. and we have a chance to do more business with them. we already buy 2.5 million barrels a day from canada. we're already using this oil. and you know what, we're all benefitting from it. but we're being told right now that if we don't, i mean, if we don't build this line, that the prices -- if we build the line the price will go up. i've never -- i don't understand economics. i understand one thing.
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read security of our nation -- threee security of our nation depends on us having the ability to have control of our own destiny. and if you have your own energy source, i'm so proud to say to west virginia what we've contributed to this great country, we've had one of the first oil finds in the united states of america was in west virginia. we supplied basically most of the coal, most of the best metallurgical coal that's built the steel, that's built the ship that have defended the country. we've done it all. we're willing to continue to do the heavy lifting. and you know what, we have some of the biggest wind farms east of the mississippi. we're doing developing solar. we have an energy portfolio that encourages use of everything. we're for all energy policy. but by golly the facts are we need this oil and i'd rather buy it from canada than i would from venezuela, than from saudi arabia, than i would from russia. and we're buying oil from russia. crude. and when they say it's going to be shipped straight down and loaded on a ship, that is not factual.
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that will not happen, because we will have control of that. this heavy crude has to be mixed in order to ship it. if you were putting in a pipeline, basically it commingles and comes under american law. so if you want to prohibit any shipping of any petroleum product that is refined in american, stop exxonmobil, bp, stop them all because they all do it. you're shutting the whole system down. i mean, the economics are they are -- what they are. until we find let's say commercial hydrogen that changes our dependency on fossil, in a perfect world that's fine. i'm ready for it. we don't have it yet. and next of all, i will end on this, we have an opportunity to have a piece of legislation that we can have input. i've been here for four years. this will only be the third time they've had a chance in my career as a united states senator to have input on the bill. i agree 1,000% with senator cantwell that i believe that the canadian oil should be paid into
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the fossil oils and -- i mean into our oil spill liability trust fund. i believe that. it's a good piece of -- a good amendment. american steel. believe that. we could have a good piece of legislation that we could have 67, 70, 75 votes on, a good product when we get done because we have that opportunity up. we nevered a had it before. i'm excited about this. i would hope the people would look at the facts. we're entitled to know the facts even though we're also entitled to our own opinion. and right now my opinion is we should build this as quickly as possible because the american people need it and i want to quit depending on venezuela, saudi arabia, and russian oil. thank you. >> thank you, senator manchin. appreciate your leadership on this. and, again, the very keen reminder that this is not just the united states in an internal issue. this is clearly global, clearly a national security issue. i mentioned that we have members who need to be in other places
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but i also recognize that there are some of you who definitely want to make a comment before we take up any of the amendments, potential amendments or a vote. and so i would ask those of you who perhaps can wait a little bit, if you would be willing to defer and those that would like to make a statement -- i know, senator gardner, you have another committee that you are looking to move off to. if you feel that you need to jump ahead, i'm certainly willing to make that happen. i know senator hinrich, you might want to, to make a statement prior to amendments. so i would ask if there's any on either side that would like to do so at this time and we will certainly advance that. senator hinrich. >> i'll make a quick statement.
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then we can get moving along if that's ok. or i'll wait until after the vote. either one. >> i want to make sure that you have time to make your statement. >> i will make time. >> ok. i appreciate that. with that, then, and indulgence of the members ss who have not yet spoken, and thank you for allowing us to move to to the amendments, as we all know, we are here to consider the original bill to approve keystone xl pipeline. this was listed on the agenda, circulated to members on january 2nd. copies of the text and the agenda are on the dais in front of each member. last night senators portman and sanders filed some amendments. at this time, i would ask you, senator portman, if you want to offer your amendment at this time and speak to it.
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>> thank you, madam chair. i appreciate the opportunity to offer it. and congratulations to you. and just want to make the point that i'm strongly supporting the underlying bill. there's a study out there showing it's a $3 billion boost to the economy. and coming from ohio, i can see how that's possible because whether it's tubular product, made in ohio, steel pipes, or whether it's structural steel that's made in ohio or whether it's moderning equipment made in ohio or pumps or compressors made in ohio, keystone is about jobs and it's about jobs far outside of the states that are directly involved in the pipeline in states like ohio that will benefit. earlier senator widen talked about the importance of american steel and mentioned the fact we have some challenges on the trade front. we sure do. we had two big victories last year, one in february, one over the summer. we were able to get anti-dumping
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tariffs against countries unfairly trading their steel in this country. we have to continue to fight to be sure that american steelworkers are protected, and we'll do that. we have got to be sure that this steel is used in projects like this. so i'm interested in continuing to fight on that. i will respond further to senator widen by saying that i saw that he said he thought the ducks were going to score within the time it took him to talk. he talked for 6:15. i don't doubt that the ducks might score in that time period. i'm also confident that the buckeyes will score at least twice during that time period. >> twice! [laughter] >> so -- and we will have a little wager on it to see who's right. the amendment today, as you know, madam chair, is one you've worked on for a long time. it's a very simple amendment. senator manchin, by unanimous consent, if it's ok would like to join us to co-sponsor today and i appreciate him, if that's acceptable. it's an amendment that has to do with energy efficiency. we've talked a lot about producing today, and i'm a strong advocate of producing more as my colleague, senator
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alexander said years ago produce more, use less. that's a good philosophy. this committee has voted twice overwhelmingly to support energy efficiency measures in the previous couple congresses. i'm confident we will again based on your comments this morning, madam chair. this amendment is not the broader shaheen/portman legislation many are familiar with and have been involved with and supported. this is simply for provisions from that legislation but really important provisions all four of which have passed the house with overwhelming support. in fact, all the members here, senator cassidy, gardner, and danes supported the legislation. senator gardner was one of the authors of the legislation on the house side, is voluntary. there are no mandates. congressional budget office tells us these four provisions do not score. however, they are incredibly important. they have not only, you know passed the house but they have passed this committee and they have been on the floor before, we were not able to get them done previously because a few senators frankly objected. otherwise they would already be
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law in my view. add this amendment to the keystone effort. the first provision is one that is incredibly important to many of the members of this committee and the congress because it's a market-driven approach to aligning the interests of commercial buildings owners and their tenants. it is called tenants star. senator ayotte has taken the lead on that over the years. the second is timely and has to do with water heaters. senator hogan has taken the lead on this. here we have a department of energy regulation if we don't stop it now with actually make our country less energy efficient. and it is urgent because the manufacturers of these water heaters are saying if you don't act now we won't be able to continue to produce these water heaters. we have got hundreds of electric co-ops around the country that operate these voluntary programs that use these electric resistance water heaters to store energy at night and they do so to reduce energy demand during peak energy demand periods. so, you know, it's the kind of
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legislation that we ought to pass because unfortunately the regulation we got from d.o.e. establishes a new standard that undermines this program and again makes our country less energy efficient. that's probably why you're hearing from the rural electric co-ops who are very interested in getting this done as soon as possible. finally, there are two more provisions that half to do with making sure the largest energy user in the world practice what it preach, and that's the united states government. and this is two of the provisions that are out of the broader bill that we believe should be totally noncontroversial and, again, ensure that we are taking what we preach at the federal level and actually put it into place. it requires the federal agencies to coordinate, to develop an implementation strategy, best practices, measurement verification, and so on for the use of energy initiate technologies. there's a final fourth provisions that requires disclosure of energy usage data. and this again will be
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incredibly important to deal with this program of having such an inefficient federal government as it comes to the use of energy. so, as you can see, madam chair, these are important provisions . i think they're appropriate to be added to this legislation under the theory woeshd be -- we should be producing more, strongly in sup sport of keystone xl pipeline, but also using what we produce more efficiently in a commonsense way. i did receive a commitment this morning from you, madam chair, and i appreciate that, and also from our leadership that we would have the ability to offer this amendment on the floor. now, it's a special commitment and it's one that i appreciate, and in light of that, senator menanchion and i have decided to withdraw the amendment today from a vote. we do believe we had the votes on the committee to pass this, but we also in good faith want to move the process forward, let everybody get to their committees, but also ensure we do have an opportunity on the floor of the united states senate to talk about this broader issue of energy efficiency, to pass these provisions that senator shaheen and i support and others do on both sides of the aisle, get
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this done and be able to move forward on this very important underlying bill to ensure that we do have not just a stronger economy in this country but more energy independence and we have the opportunity to do so together. so, thank you, madam chair, and i don't know if senator manchin has any comments he'd like to add. >> senator manchin. >> well, senator portman, thank you for your leadership on this issue of energy efficiency. you and senator shaheen have been dogged in pursuing the larger bill over the course of several years now. you've had senator manchin's support. you have had my support. and i think for good reason. when you think about the energy portfolio that is strong and sensible, it's not just about increased production. it is about how we use our
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energy resources, whether they are our fossil-based fuels or whether they are our renewable energy resources. but how we utilize, how we access our energy, how efficient we are, how we are able to conserve. these are policies that we must constantly be addressing updating, and really innovating on, leading on. and what you have outlined in your legislation i think is good, strong legislation. and i would like to see us be able to advance that. the fact that you have taken the slimmed-down version that the house passed out, as you know, -- note, 375-36, pretty overwhelming in support. i think that says lot about it. the fact that you have taken out the cost aspects so that it is cost neutral. the fact that these are voluntary.
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the fact that, for instance, with the water heaters is a very time sensitive issue. april 16th is coming up pretty quickly. so i want to work with you and to all those that agree thooat this is an important, important provision to ensure that we are able to advance it through the congress. you do have my commitment to not only work with you to get a vote on the floor but an early vote on the floor. and i make that commitment to you because this is something, again, that we've been working on for a long period of time and i want to see that happen. so i appreciate the fact that you continue to pursue this and you have my word that i will work with you to see that we address these issues of energy efficiency that you have worked so hard to bring to the attention of this body.
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so i appreciate the fact that we will have an amendment process on the floor that is open and fulsome and that's not me as the chairman speaking to that, but that is what the majority leader has made very clear to me, very clear to those on the republican conference, that the opportunity for amendment will be open transparent, led by the committee as floor managers working through an amendment process that kind of takes us back to i guess the good old days. i don't know if they were good but they were definitely a few years back. and i want us to get back to that point, and i think that our republican leader does as well. so those of you who do have
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amendments, and i know many of my colleagues do on both sides of the aisle, and i think that's good, we should welcome that and welcome the process. it's healthy and it works. and i'm anxious for us to be able to get to that early next week. and with that, senator portman i thank you for raising this again, and look forward to the debate on the floor. senator sanders. >> thank you, madam chair. i have an amendment at the desk. very short amendment, about half a page, speaks for itself and i'll read it. but the bottom line is a very simple one. this is the energy committee at the united states congress and we have to make a very fundamental decision. do we agree with the international scientific community that climate change is real or do we not? differences of opinion. i happen to agree with the
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scientific community that climate change is real. some of the scientists are telling us if we do not substantially cut carbon emissions and transform our energy system, by the end of this century this planet could , be ten degrees fahrenheit warmer than it is right now. just think about the devastation that means not only to america but to countries all over the world, coastal communities. the department of defense tells us that one of their great concerns is that climate change, which leads to drought and flooding and international instability where desperate people are migrating for food, for water, and all of the international conflicts that that may bring about. that's what the department of defense tells us. we have insurance companies who tell us right now as a result of
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hurricane sandy and other extreme weather disturbances that the cost of insurance is soaring and that will have huge economic impacts. so what this amendment does is pretty simple, can't be more simple. here it is. it is the sense of congress that congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community and a growing number of top national security experts, economists, and others that, one, climate change is real, two, climate change is caused by human activity, three, climate change has already caused devastating problems in the united states and around the world, and four, it is imperative that the united states transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy. that's it. pretty straightforward. and with that, madam chair, i submit the amendment and ask for a vote on it.
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>> met in german, -- madam chairman, if i may speak to that, i like the first three. >> well, you got all four, joe. >> the fourth one's a killer bernie, and the fourth one basically says that you believe it's a north american problem and not a global problem. >> no. i believe it's an international. >> and basically we use less than one-eighth of the world's fossil fuel, and we're not acknowledging that basically the rest of the world is not going to follow suit because we're going to cripple ourself. we should be finding this the technology that uses the energy that we have in this country in a much cleaner fashion. we spend nothing -- that fourth amendment should basically -- be we invest technology to use the resources we have. i believe that we have a global problem. but i believe we need a global fix. you can't blame north america. it's all our problem. and we're going to sacrifice everything and cripple our economy and put a hindrance on the people in this country. and for that i can't support the amendment.
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>> further discussion. senator hogan? >> thank you, madam chairman. i understand that senator sanders wants to make a statement in regard to global warming, but specifically relative to the legislation at hand, the state department conducted three draft environmental impact statements and two final environmental impact statements and found that this project will have no significant environmental impact and that in fact if you do not build the pipeline, either this oil would be piped to china where you would have higher emissions than without the keystone pipeline because you'd have to transport that oil by a tanker across the ocean to china where it would be refined in refineries that have higher emissions than our refineries. at the same time, we'd have to continue to tank in oil akosz the ocean from places like the middle east or places like as senator manchin pointed out,
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venezuela. the other possibility or likelihood would be that the oil would have to be railed to refineries, and that would take 1,400 railcars a day, creating not only more green house gas emissions but also more congestion on the railroad and greater risk of accidents, so that the -- now, again, back to senator manchin's statement about the facts rather than our opinion, this is information from the environmental impact statement. five of them -- again, three draft and two finals so that nobody challenges when we say there were five of them -- those are the facts in the statement. no significant environmental impact related to this project. and, in fact, higher green house gas emissions without the pipeline than with it. that was the findings of the obama administration's state department. over six years of study. we are now, of course, in the seventh year of this approval process that some people feel
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has somehow been rushed, but i wanted to make sure that was of record. >> madam chair, briefly? >> senator sanders. >> at another time and place maybe senator hoven and i will have a debate on what he said. but if you read the resolution as it happens, the words keystone pipeline is not in it. what it does say, where senator manchin is in disagreement but it says it, it is imperative that the united states transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy. that is what is in the amendment. >> madam chairman. >> senator alexander. i wonder if i might ask a question of clarification of the sponsor. >> certainly. >> i would ask the senator from vermont whether within his definition of the kind of energy system he, on point four, that he hopes to transform our country to -- whether that includes nuclear power, which today produces 60% of our carbon
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free electricity. >> senator sanders? >> i have serious concerns about nuclear power. find it hard to understand how people want new nuclear power plants when they will be the most expensive form of new electricity production in the country, far more expensive than wind and solar. and also wanting new nuclear power plants at a time we don't know how to get rid of the very substantial waste that we have right now. so to answer my friend senator alexander, my hope is that over a period of time we will phase >> thank you, madam chair. >> i do think that this will be part of the bigger and broader debate that we will be able to have when the measure reaches the floor. it's my hope we will be able to
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move the out of committee very shortly here. but the questions that are presented about the future of nuclear, the future of our energy systems, are what this process should be generating is full, good discussion on that. i will be opposing senator sanders' amendment in anticipation of the upcoming debate on the floor. as has been pointed out here the measure that's in front of us is the authorization of construction of pipeline infrastructure, the keystone xl, a project that in my view -- and i think the view of certainly all on this side and several others on the other side -- is important to our energy's infrastructure system and how we work to build that out.
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i don't think it's any breaking news here today, but i do believe that our climate is changing. i have said that. i don't agree that all the changes are necessarily due solely to human activity. i've come from a state where we can see the change. i'd welcome all of my colleagues one day to join me in alaska on a walking tour of what we call the permafrost tunnel, basically a tunnel bored straight back into the bank of a hill in fairbanks, pretty much in the interior part of the state where it is truly a walk back in time 30,000 years, where through the ice lenses that you see that you can touch, that you can smell in
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this tunnel, in this cave, you can see what has happened over the course of thousands -- tens of thousands of years. and our climate changes. our climate clearly changes. and as the chair of the committee, i want to focus on what i consider to be those reasonable steps to address what we're seeing with climate. and senator portman's initiative on energy efficiency again is one part of what you deal with. you use your energy resources responsibly, efficiently -- i want to have what i've referred to as a no-regrets policy here. i don't want to be in a situation where we are taxing our way out of our current energy supply.
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i come from a state where we pay some of the highest energy costs in the nation. alaska and hawaii. again, your noncontiguous states suffer mightily. the people in our states suffer a great deal because of our energy costs. so i have no interest in doing anything that's going to increase our costs. but i do know that we can do better when it comes to efficiency, when it comes to a no-regrets policy, when it comes to providing a greater focus on a cleaner energy supply, and i look forward to that. and i think if we can focus on that, on making all forms of energy more affordable, we can find that common ground there. and i look forward to doing just that. i saw senator manchin -- i want to make sure because, senator manchin, you had an opportunity to take a point. i want to make sure there's -- senator cantwell. >> i could say one thing just so
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the clarity of everybody -- and i think members know this, but the reason why we didn't encourage members to have a full mark-up process here today is, first of all, we weren't sure we'd finish before the 5:00 vote on monday when we're going to vote on the motion to proceed to the rule 14 version of this bill, and usually in committee debate you debate a bill and then you pass it out and hope and pray that you get time on the floor. in this case, we are going to have time on the floor monday. so, anyway, just a point, if somebody thinks that -- why aren't we having more amendments, we are going to have lots of amendments on the floor. >> senator manchin. >> madam chairman, i'd like to amend the amendment. >> if you would like to speak to it. >> climate change caws human
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activity, climate change has caused devastating problems throughout the world. i also believe it's imperative the united states invest in research and development for clean fossil technology, and that would like to be the replacement of the fourth art of the amendment to senator sanders placed and have a vote on it. >> senator sanders? >> i would make that the fifth one of the amendment but i would not -- if you want to make that the fifth one, joe, that would be good. but i think it's terribly important that we make the statement right now that the united states lead the world, we transform our energy system, you're absolutely right, we need to invest. absolutely. want to make that the fifth one? >> no. i want to replace wit the fourth. >> well, i would certainly disagree with that. >> does the senator choose to withdraw his proposed amendment? >> i'd like to have a vote on it, ma'am. the amendment to the amendment. if i can have a vote on that. >> any chance those guys would go for an and/or? >> yeah.
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>> the important point is, if i may, madam chair. >> well, i want to -- i want to -- i want to make sure that we understand what senator manchin is doing. we don't have anything -- we don't have anything in writing. just kind of speaking -- >> basically all i'm asking for in the fourth part of senator sanders' amendment says it is imperative that the united states transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and towards energy efficiency and sustainable energy. it's almost imperative that we do taht. $8 billion is sitting in the department of energy. i want that money invested. we're moving this direction, but we don't have the fuel of the
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>> you are striking number four? >> it is imperative that the united states invest in research and development for clean fossil technology. >> and that is not accepted by the sponsor of the amendment. >> may the parliamentarian or the clerk can give me some advice here. i do not want to replace the fourth point. that is terribly important. i would amend senator manchin's amendment to point number five. >> i do not believe, senator sanders, you can amend his amendment to your amendment. >> i tried. >> i understand that. but if i understand senator
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manchin's amendment it would be to strike the language in section four and replaced with -- i am not good with having it on the fly. i want to make sure that members understand what we are dealing with. it is my recommendation that we not advance any of the amendments, whether it is senator sanders or your proposed -- >> i am just asking for an amendment to the amendment. since we are going to be voting on senator sanders amendment. >> i believe i understand, but i am not prepared to have a vote on your amendment to his amendment until we see in writing what is -- >> madam chair, i would like to table book discussions.
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i would move that we table both amendments. >> >> ok. there's a motion -- >> i would -- madam chair, i would second. i think this is an important conversation. i think we should have prepared amendments in writing and we should have this conversation on the floor and have the debate around what that right policy is on the floor. >> there is a motion to table and that motion is not debatable. the question is on the motion to table. all those in favor indicate by saying aye. >> aye. >> all those opposed. >> no. >> no. >> madam chair, i'd ask for a roll call vote on that. >> ok. there is a roll call vote. >> madam chair, can you clarify -- clarification if we may? if this roll call vote would
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pass, do i get a vote on my amendment? >> no. both amendments -- the amendment of -- >> i'm sorry. if we defeat this roll call vote, i'm sorry, at that point in time, the senators -- we will be voting on senator sanders' amendment -- >> if senator hoven's motion to table is successful, there is no further discussion on either. >> correct. but if it is not tabled, we both get a vote. >> further opportunity. >> ok. this is a motion to table the sanders amendment as well as senator manchin's amendment to the sanders amendment. >> ms. murkowski. >> aye.
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>> mr. barrasso. >> aye. >> mr. risch. >> aye. >> mr. collielee. >> aye. >> mr. flay. mr. danes. >> aye. >> mr. cassidy. >> aye. >> mr. gardner. >> aye. >> mr. portman. >> mr. portman is aye by proxy. >> mr. hoven. >> aye. >> mr. alexander. >> aye. >> ms. cantwell. >> no. >> excuse me. miss capito. [ inaudible ]. >> aye by proxy. >> ms. cantwell. >> no. >> mr. widen. >> no by proxy. >> mr. sanders. >> no. >> ms. stamina. >> no. >> mr. franken. >> no. >> mr. manchin. >> no. >> mr.
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heimer. >> aye. >> mr. king. >> no. >> ms. warren. >> no. >> mr. flay is aye by proxy. >> and mr. flake, aye by proxy. on this vote -- on this vote, -- on this vote, the ayes are 13 and the nos are 9. >> so the motion to table is agreed to. >> right. the motion is agreed to. >> and we will have an opportunity obviously for further discussion on senator sanders' amendment and perhaps senator manchin's as well.
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senator sanders, did you have a second amendment that you wished to -- >> that's ok for now. thank you. >> ok. with that, there were no additional amendments that were filed last night. i would ask the members if there are any other amendments to be considered at this time. seeing none, i appreciate that. i know that that will not be the end of the amendments. i think we're just kind of setting the stage for what we will have in front of us next week. i look forward to that. so we are now on the original bill. is there any further discussion? i know there were some members that still had not yet had an opportunity to speak. >> madam chair, will there be opportunity to speak after the vote? >> yes, there will. >> i see people packing up. >> there will be an opportunity for you, senator king, and others as well after the vote. >> thank you. >> so with no further discussion on it, the question is on reporting agenda item number 1 an original bill to approve the keystone xl pipeline.
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the clerk will call the roll. >> aye. >> mr. barrasso? >> aye. >> mr. rich? >> aye. >> mr. lee? >> aye. >> mr. flake? >> aye. >> mr. gaines? >> aye. >> mr. cassidy? >> aye. >> mr. gardner? >> aye. >> mr. hovn? >> aye. >> mr. alexander. >> aye. >> aye by proxy. >> miss cameron? >> no. >> mr. wyden. >> no by proxy. >> mr. sanders. >> no. >> no, by proxy. >> mr. franken? >> no. >> mr. manchin? >> aye. >> mr. heinrich? >> no. >> mr. king? >> no. >> ms. warren? >> no.
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>> on this vote, the ayes are 13. and the nos are nine. and the bill is reported. >> the bill is reported. i thank members for that. i know that there are several of you who have not yet had an opportunity to speak and would like to welcome your comments at this point in time. and again, apologize that we don't have the full committee here to hear your comments but know that they are equally important and considered. >> madame chair, i just want to make the point, we will be filing minority reports to the bill.
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we intend to file minority views. we'll have three days with which to file them. >> i appreciate that. i think we left with, i believe it was senator heinrich, who is up next. >> thank you, madame chair. and let me start, as well, by saying congratulations. i think we proved at the end of the last congress that we can get some things done around here. and i'm very much looking forward to working with you in this congress on a whole range of issues. i want to start by addressing, i guess, what i would call the issue of misplaced priorities here. and why a foreign tar sands project is the very first topic that the senate will consider this year. now, we know from the eis this was -- >> senator? >> yes. >> in deference to you, i want to make sure that others are able to hear your comments. we've still got a lot of chatter in the back room. i would ask someone to tell
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everyone to pipe down. >> i would thank you for your concern. you know, we know from the eis that this pipeline will provide just 35 to 50 permanent jobs. well, possibly offsetting our own domestic oil production and jobs in oil-producing states like my own. the american people expect our focus right now to be aimed at creating new high-quality living wage jobs. our economy is finally growing. u.s. employers added 321,000 jobs in november, the best gain in almost three years. and while we argue about 35 to 50 permanent jobs, potentially generated from the keystone's tar sands pipeline, more than 18,000 new clean energy jobs were announced in the third quarter of 2014 alone. one transition line that will soon cross my state and senator flake's can produce as many
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permanent jobs as three keystone pipelines. my fear is that by making tar sands the linchpin of american energy policy, we are literally locking ourselves into a policy. that fully embraces energy imports and extremely high levels of relative carbon pollution for as long as 50 years. all at a time when we should have a national policy focused on domestic production and ever cleaner fuel sources. this debate is not about pipeline. it is really about market signals. a vote to approve keystone sends the signal that carbon pollution and climate change are not serious economic concerns.
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even the dirtiest fuels like tar sands are a good place to invest capital. the state department calculated that the incremental carbon pollution from the tar sands pipeline would be as much as putting up to 5.7 million additional cars on the road every year. for 50 years. a vote against the tar sands project sends the signal that our government is finally taking the science of climate change and risk analysis seriously. and that the smarter investments are on low carbon and sustainable fuels of the future. we have a small and closing window to avoid economically disastrous climate impacts. my vote against this tar sands project reflects that reality. we can't afford to look back ward. but through american ingenuity we can slow the impacts of climate change, and we can unleash the full potential of home grown clean energy while creating good american jobs. we have the technology, we have the resources.
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but we must ensure that our commitment matches the challenges that we face today. and i hope that this committee will begin to seize the opportunities that a forward-looking american energy policy can create. thank you, madame chair. >> thank you, senator heinrich. i look forward to working with you on different issues, as well. welcome to the committee. >> thank you very much, madame chair. and ranking member. i want to thank you, madame chair for acknowledging the unique positions of both alaska and hawaii as noncontiguous states. and i'm looking forward to excuse me, leadership from you and our ranking member in a multitasked, bipartisan way to pass legislation from this committee that will benefit the american people. so i'm very glad to be joining this committee. turning to the keystone pipeline bill today, each time that similar bills have been raised i have opposed them, both as a member of the u.s. house and in
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the senate, just now. the keystone pipeline is a massive project. it would run all the way from canada through the u.s. to the gulf coast. that's nearly 900 miles across the very center of our country. along that route are hundreds of communities that are home to millions of people. these communities rely on the surrounding land for clean water. they also rely on the land for grazing, cattle and other economic activities. approving this pipeline would change the way that many people along the route live permanently. the people and communities of nebraska share these concerns. that's why it is -- as it currently stands, there is no legally approved path through that state. we owe it to the people and communities in this region to follow the process that's been set in law to proceed. and that is the presidential review process. that way we can ensure that all of the concerns a project of
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this size can be addressed. this bill short circuits that process. and that's my first objection to this bill. my second objection concerns a substance of the keystone xl project, which allows for more development and extraction of tar sands. extracting oil this way is dirty and destructive. in fact, tar sands oil is one of the most carbon intensive energy sources known to man. why does this matter? because 97% of a scientific community is clear, climate change is a threat, and pumping carbon into the atmosphere drives climate change. we are already pumping too much carbon into the atmosphere. the observatory has tracked carbon since 1958. this is the longest running carbon tracker in the world. in april of last year, the meter read over 400 parts per million. that is the highest carbon reading in history.
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climate changes impacting our community in many ways. the defense department's 2014 climate adaption road map lays out the stakes pretty clearly, and i quote from that report. among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. rising global temperatures changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger poverty, and conflict. they will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic diseases, disputes over refugees and resources and destruction by natural disasters and regions across the globe. end quote. the military's leading on addressing climate change by reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and investing in energy efficiency. and in doing so, the military is
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supporting new innovations and creating jobs. we should follow the military's lead. congress should be spending time debating how to advance clean energy initiatives and innovations and create new jobs. not micromanaging one project for one company. this bill short circuits the presidential review process. development of the tar sands will speed up climate change and impact jobs, it will spew carbon into our atmosphere. and our communities for the long-term. for these reasons, i will continue to oppose this bill. thank you, madame chair. >> senator king? >> thank you, madame chair, i look forward to working with you on a matter of issues. madame chair, i find this a peculiar bill. i don't know if i've ever recalled seeing a bill in any legislature that starts with the name of a particular company that's the beneficiary.
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transcanada keystone pipeline lp may construct, connect, operate and maintain the pipeline. i thought i was running for the united states senate, not the united states building planning board. this is a construction permit being issued to a private company and a foreign one at that. i just find that a very strange procedure for the congress to do. we're supposed to be establishing policy here, not issuing building permits to individual companies, you know why not write a bill to give money to apple computer. and let's talk about what this bill really does. there's a lot of talk about well, the tar sands are going to be extracted anyway. it's going to happen anyway. well, i'm not so sure about that. particularly because the way the world has changed in the last six months in terms of the price of oil. the drastic fall in the price of oil raises questions about the economic viability of the extraction of this particular oil. and this bill is a $17 to $20
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subsidy to the extraction of tar sands oil. that's how much cheaper it will make it to get that oil to market as opposed to other means, particularly rail. this is a bill that provides a -- doesn't provide a subsidy, it facilitates or allows what amounts to a transportation subsidy to a group of oil producers in a foreign country in order to extract some of the dirtiest oil in the world. what are the benefits of the bill? jobs. the estimate i understand is 4,000 construction jobs in order to do this project. and i don't sneeze at construction jobs. they're important everywhere in the country. but i think it needs to be put into context. in the last month, the month of november that we have records, this country added 20,000 construction jobs. we added 20,000 jobs just within the month of november and this
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project is talking about 4,000 jobs over the course of two years. they're important jobs, absolutely, but let's put them in the context of the overall national economy. permanent jobs, 35. i tell people that, and they just -- their jaw drops because of all of the talk about this project and all the jobs it's going to produce. 35 permanent jobs. a new mcdonald's in fargo, north dakota, would add more than 35 jobs. so let's not talk about this as some kind of massive job program for this country. the number of permanent jobs is very, very limited. so what are the benefits? energy security. the world has changed. american oil production has surged in the last five years. gas and renewables have surged. we are very close to energy independence. in some so months we are.
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and some of the people supporting this bill are talking about another bill to allow oil exports. we either need this oil desperately from canada for our energy security, or we have too much oil and we want to be allowed to export it. which is it? and i just think the argument about that. we have to have this oil for our energy security. doesn't pass a straight face test, particularly when the advocates for this bill are also advocating exporting oil from the united states. will this oil go to the united states? it seems to me it's a striking coincidence that the pipeline ends in a port. where is this oil going to go? and i'll have a chance to discuss this on the floor. will the proponents accept an amendment saying this can't be exported. if this is for u.s. national
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energy security, they ought to accept an amendment that says the oil has to stay in the united states. otherwise we're just a transit point for oil going offshore. climate change is real. i carry a card around in my pocket. i'll be glad to share it with my colleague from north dakota that talks about, it's climate change in a nutshell. for the last million years carbon dioxide, the atmosphere has bounced between 170 and 300 parts per million. it's gone to 400. the last time it was at 400 was 3 million years ago and the oceans were 60 feet higher. and on the other side of the card is the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature. over the last million years. this is a serious problem that we're ignoring right now. and my problem with this bill is, i don't think it's going to destroy the environment, i also don't think it's going to boost
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the american economy. but it's symbolic and it's a turning point. it's an inflexion point. do we want -- and you started the hearing by saying the world is watching. and indeed, they are. and the world is going to say, is america serious about moving to different forms of energy? or are we just back in the same old fossil fuel economy? and i believe it has to be a transition. i don't think we can go immediately from fossil fuels to renewables. we're not there yet. it does have to be a transition. i think, frankly, the transition fuel, however, is natural gas, which is much cleaner than oil. the great hymn from the 19th century. there comes a moment for every man and nation to decide. i believe the exact words are to every man and nation, this comes a moment to decide. and i think that's the moment we're at right now, and it's telling the world are we going to be talking about a transition to a cleaner energy future looking forward, or are we going
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to look back to a fossil fuel past that has left us to a very dangerous history. so i intend to vote no on this bill because i can't figure out where the benefit to the united states is. thank you. >> and i look forward to what i know we will have, a very spirited debate on the floor about these issues. and, again, this is what this committee is designed to do. to bring these points forward to debate them, to come to compromise where compromise is available. and otherwise to advance positions and we're setting out to do that today. i'd like to wrap up on this side with senator warren and then if senator hoeven you have any final comments you might want to add before the ranking member and i wrap up. senator warren. >> thank you very much, madame
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chairwoman. and also, congratulations on the new post. i'm very much looking forward to working with you on energy issues and with our ranking member cantwell. you know, we've heard a lot about -- today about some of the problems with the legislative proposal to force the construction of the keystone xl pipeline. i want to know why the pipeline is the very first number one item on the agenda in the new congress. is this about jobs? the number of jobs is disputed. but most estimates put it at a few thousand or less. what if we focused on highways instead of pipelines. we urgently need to pass a permanent highway bill. the american association of state highway and transportation officials says it will create 8 million jobs over the next four years if we could pass a highway bill.
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we could put people to work in good jobs and fix crumbling roads and bridges. so is the pipeline about lowering america's energy costs? evidently not. even its supporters admit much of the oil in the pipeline would be exported for use outside the united states. it's not about jobs, it's not about energy. why is this bill so urgent? the answer is money. money and power. the pipeline might not do much for the american people, but it is worth a whole lot to the canadian oil industry. since 2009, transcanada has spent almost $7 million in lobbying expenses related to keystone, so much money industry wide is being spent that a political science professor at the university of kansas previously described the keystone xl bill as, quote, a lobbyist support act.
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now transcanada wants what they paid for. who does this new congress work for? foreign oil companies or the american people? today, their first priority is to advance a pipeline that means a whole lot to lobbyists and a whole lot to a giant foreign oil company. but we know that this pipeline runs terrible environmental risks. and it just won't do much to help the american people. i didn't come here to do favors for transcanada. republican leaders may disagree, but i'll be voting no on this. >> senator hoeven? >> well, just several comments. we'll have opportunity to have this debate on the floor, which is great. that's the whole point. the issue was brought up, you know, why is this the first bill we're going to. not only because it is important
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infrastructure to move oil transcanada's not an oil company, they're a transportation company, they'll move oil for a variety of companies. but that's the whole point. to have this debate and everybody gets to bring up the point, have the debate, get a vote. but that's the idea. it's not just this issue. it's getting to what we call regular order, open amendment process and open debate. and i hope that can foster more bipartisanship on this measure and on other legislation. because we'll have this debate on the floor. people will have their opportunity to bring forward amendments. we'll debate those amendments we'll vote on them if you get 60 votes, they pass and get included. and that's how it's supposed to work on the senate floor. so it is a bigger issue than just this bill. it is about returning to regular order and an open amendment process. and i want to thank our leadership, both senator mcconnell, our leaders, our leader on this energy committee, senator murkowski for their willingness to do that.
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i believe that's how the senate is supposed to work. and in terms of who do we work for? we work for the american people. and in poll after poll, 2/3 want this project done. so there's a lot of opportunities to try to, you know, position this certain ways as to who it's for and so forth. but if you ask the american people, by a margin of 2-1 consistently over years, they've said they want it. and last i checked, that's who we work for. and as far as a turning point, i'm listening to some of these arguments, and they've got to be music to opec's ears. some of these arguments are going to guarantee that we continue to import oil from the middle east. and i'm pretty sure that's not what americans want. and any other alternative type of energy that any member of this committee or anyone else wants to bring up, go do it. this legislation doesn't stop one of those ideas. go do it. but the reality is, if you
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understand economics, economics come into play. and opec and other countries are going to continue to manage this oil price so that things work for them, not us. so i believe we need to compete when it comes to oil and gas and we're doing it. and that's why prices are down at the pump. and the american consumer is benefitting to the tune of billions of dollars because of that right now. but we can't do it without the infrastructure. and the construction jobs that go into building this pipeline are good jobs just like the construction jobs in a highway bill. i don't know how you can say construction jobs on a highway bill are good, but these aren't. virtually every labor union in the country supports this project. so i respect everybody's point of view. i look forward to the debate. i want to remind the members that the state department after six years of study continues to say it has no significant
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environmental impact. i understand they want to debate other issues. that's fine, we can do that. and i'm sure that we will do that. but that's just the point. we're going to get that opportunity, aren't we? and it's long overdue. and so, again, my sincere thanks to the chairman and to the ranking member who has been helpful in this process. and i know we'll work on many other pieces of legislation, some in which we agree and some we don't. i look forward to productive debate on the senate floor. >> thank you, senator hoeven. and thank you, all. i do think it's important as we begin this new congress. the issue of the day, the week perhaps, i don't know, maybe the month, i don't know. is energy. because when you think about our
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nation's economy, when you think about our ability to engage in commerce of any kind, when you recognize energy plays in making this all happen, it's basic stuff. i go back to my book, energy 2020, the cover of this pamphlet is the world at night. the globe at night as seen from space. and when you look at the dark parts on the globe, the places where there's no electricity where people are living a
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lifestyle we would not enjoy, it is because of a lack of energy. not access or affordability. and it is a subject that when people are sitting in their homes as they're talking with their families about those issues, those concerns that worry them some of the most basic needs to keep warm. energy is pretty basic. and again, as i mentioned, i can distill it to one bumper sticker. energy is good. but how we responsibly access it, how we utilize it, how we develop it in a way that benefits all is part of our challenge. i think it is an exciting one to
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begin the new year. and i'm very pleased to be able to work with all of you in the areas that are so important to us. i would like to give the final word to our ranking member and truly thank her for her willingness to work together to find common ground on some issues where i think we know that we have some perhaps philosophical divide. we have heard that reflected in this committee this morning. and i think it was a good barometer about some of the things we take up. and it makes our jobs more challenging in how we ensure
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that members of our committee feel heard and feel that they have been a participant in this process. so i thank you, senator cantwell, and i'm looking forward to working together with you. >> well, thank you, senator murkowski. and i can say one thing. i'm sure you and i are never going to forget this week. [laughter] and an opening of new energy committee effort. i will just close by saying, you know, when i first came to the united states senate in 2001 the very, very, very first piece of legislation that i had to deal with was new regulation on natural gas pipelines. because we had an explosion in washington that killed young children playing by the pipeline. so i learned at that moment how important the citing process the security issues, the maintenance of those pipelines and we're talking about something different, natural gas than the tar sands. but i learned how important all these issues are and the gaps in
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our regulatory oversight in public scrutiny of these he -- issues are sometimes lost in the organizations that the public doesn't even know or understand. so to me, i think it's time for the united states of america to update and make sure that we all understand whose responsibilities these are. and in issues like the tar sands, not paying into the oil spill trust fund, make sure the tar sands pays into the liability trust fund. but the bottom line is we are usurping a state authority here on a very important public interest security, safety and environmental issues. and i think my colleagues said it best. we have no right as a congress to be trying to dictate for a private interest. the usurption of those rights to be decided in the state of nebraska. i'm sure we will continue this debate.
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i'm hoping for the energy committee overall that we get off of this very quickly and on to a larger discussion about a broad energy strategy that we can work on together. i really do have great deal of hope for your leadership in this committee and the fact that this committee, you know, while i do think we have very different committees, i mean, very different members on our side and very different members on your side, i think in general this committee has been about regional focuses and bringing those regional focuses. not so much r & d politics. about the regions we represent. hopefully we can move forward on a larger job producing energy bill and work together very soon. thank you very much and we'll look forward to this discussion on the floor. >> thank you. and before i gavel out.
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i thought it was appropriate today. it is of simchian heritage. and senator cantwell will know they are from the pacific northwest my grandfather received this from someone who had left canada to come to alaska. and this has been something that has been on my father's desk since the time that i can remember. and i'm not quite sure what they would have called it. but i thought given the discussion today about transboundary issues that something of this descent should mark the beginning of this energy committee and hopefully a good and strong presence in the
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year. with that, we're adjourned. >> once again congress is debating the keystone axle pipeline. we are joined by laura lopez who covers environmental issues. why is the keystone bill one of the first ones to come in congress? who is leading the effort in the house? >> keystone is the first bill to come up because after the midterms last year senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said it was the first item he wanted to send to president obama, although there will likely be a veto. republicans want to push the president on this.
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they have the votes to pass it through congress. in the house, the bill is cosponsored by a number of republicans, including representative upton. they are scheduled to vote on the bill on friday. >> it was one of the last issues they dealt with in the 113th. somewhere around 30 democrats supporting it the last time around. is anything different in terms of democratic votes in the house? >> i would not really say there is anything different in the house when it comes to the democrats that will vote for or against the bill. the ones that are opposed to it in the house are sticking to that line. the ones such as peter defazio who are not on board with this bill and never have been do not plan on changing their votes at all. >> last time around, the white house, there were electoral considerations with the midterms coming up.
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they do not issue a veto threat. what did they object to in this keystone bill? >> the reason they issued the veto threat is because they feel the circumvents the ongoing process and this is an administrative review. the president is the one who has the authority to say whether the pipeline is in the best interest of the nation because across the border from the canada into the u.s. they are also upset because there is ongoing litigation in the breast, and they want that result before the state issues its final recommendation to the president. >> you cover the markup on the bill with the headline the senate panel advances the keystone bill 13-9. john hoeven on the pipeline saying, it has gone through the process or six years and is still not in the process.
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americans won world war ii in a short amount of time. he said the keystone veto threat was not the way democracy works. would you say it was a bipartisan debate? >> there was actually only one democrat in the committee that voted for the bill. that was senator manchin, who is also a cosponsor. there are a number of democrats on the bill. there is a total of nine behind it. six that are cosponsors. only one of them is on the committee the senate energy committee you were talking about. the rest of the democrats posted against the measure. >> i guess it is too far down the road to look at it, but assuming it passes the house and senate, lands on the president's desk, and he vetoes the bill will they have the votes to override it? >> it is a tricky one. right now, with all the
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democrats the senators say support the bill, there are 63 behind passing the keystone xl bill and sending it to the president's desk. that means they have a filibuster-proof majority. but it will be a hard push to get it to 67. even if that does not happen, they do not have the votes. >> laura lopez, for the hill. you can read more at the thank you for the update. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> at a briefing thursday, john boehner criticized president obama is a veto threats of republican bills, including the keystone pipeline. this is 10 minutes. >> good morning. good to see you all.
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welcome to the new american congress. this week, the house is passing common sense job bills that provide a obvious bipartisan starting point for both parties. these measures would also provide president obama a chance to begin the final years of his presidency by taking some steps to build a stronger economy. unfortunately, the president has been taking steps towards more confrontation. rather than bipartisan cooperation on jobs. earlier in the week, literally as we were taking our old of office -- oaht of office, the white house threatened to veto two of these bills. the president turned his back on the american people's priorities. today, the president is in phoenix talking about the economy, which we all know could
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be doing better. he will not be far from the phoenix va facility, the epicenter of the scandal where dozens of veterans died while waiting for basic care. last year, the senate took some positive steps in the right direction, but the system is still broken and needs to be fundamentally transformed in a way that puts the needs of veterans before the needs of bureaucracy. we are telling the president to offer a long-term vision of reforming sticks -- systemic problems at the va. we have yet to see it. we have yet to see an authorization of military force to defeat terrorist enemies from this white house. i remind the president that historically the commander in chief has identified the need for military force written new authorization for the course, scented to the hill, and typically worked to build
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bipartisan support for such a resolution. once again, i would urge him to do so. when he does, republicans will be ready to work with him to get it approved. finally, the house will soon take action aimed at stopping the president's you nor -- unilateral action with comes to immigration. it is a gravely serious matter. the president's unilateral actions were an affront to our system of government. the american people do not support. their representatives cannot let it stand. i said it, and i meant it. yes? >> gas taxes are historically low. is this the right time to consider increasing the gas tax? >> i have never voted to raise the gas tax. funding a highway bill is weekly
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-- radically import. we will have to work our way through it. >> what is your timeline? how long are you willing to wait before you and senator mcconnell do it yourself? >> i have been pretty clear. last fall and again today. the white house, typically, will ask for the use of military worse and a right to resolution. i hope the white house will move weekly. >> what if they don't? >> we will see. >> is that you never voted for an increase in gas tax. it does not sound like you are ruling out the possibility of a it in a tax reform deal. >> the democrats have total -- had total control of the congress and could not find the votes to raise the gas tax. >> with the decrease in the income tax? >> there are a lot of people
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with a lot of ideas. we have to find a way to deal with america's crumbling infrastructure. we need to do it in a long-term program that is funded. >> said immigration is a priority. is a wise time putting the budget of the homeland security department at risk? the head of the department said it would pose a real risk to have a continuing solution without any sort -- certainty. >> i do not believe the funding is at risk. what is at risk is the rule of law and the sanctity of america's constitution. the president has taken actions beyond the scope of his ability. and congress cannot just sit here and look the other way. we have to take action, and we will >>. >> could you imagine something
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like this happening after 9/11? could you imagine the homeland for security budget being up for debate a day after something like that happened? >> the issue is not about funding the department of homeland security. members of congress support funding the department. we cannot continue to allow the president to go around the congress and around the law and take unilateral action like he has. >> you talked about veto threats. is that really an obstruction from the democrats? is that truly democratic obstruction? >> the president at a minimum, could have waited a few hours. maybe waited a few days. we were taking our oath of
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office when he issued veto threats. come on. >> 25 members of your congress voted against you. there is a lot of opposition. why is there such fervent opposition to your speakership? >> i have given some thought to this, as you might imagine. [laughter] >> the american people are very frustrated. struggling economy. they are frustrated that they do not think washington is listening. they want action. i talked to americans everyday. to my constituents every day. this frustration that is out there, they need to take it out on somebody. they take it out on the president, out on me. they comes with the territory. >> you're one of the most conservative members of the last 20 years. >> i am the eight most conservative voting record in the congress. it does pay me to be described
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as "mindless." [laughter] >> what pains me the most is when they described me as "the establishment." i am the most antiestablishment speaker we have ever had. who is the guy that believes in regular order? me. who believes in allowing more members to participate? me. i am pretty comfortable in my own skin. i am going to do my best to show all of our members, democrats and republicans and those members who voted against me, that i am up to the job. >> on immigration, if this does not get 60 votes in the senate will you never pass a bill that doesn't include some sort of
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provision on that? >> the house will work its will. once the house works his will, the senate will work its will. we can take the senate bill -- there are a lot of options available to us. when we pass our bill, we will see what the senate can do you. >> will you allow open rule on the homeland security bill? on the issue of immigration? >> i do not know what the rules committee will decide. i have my doubts. but it will be a truly open rule. >> you said yesterday that you know this man, have defended him publicly.
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>> i'm not familiar with his votes in the past in any way shape, or form. yes, ma'am? >> what about the vetoes that came down -- has there been any effort by you or the white house to have any conversation about these bills or discussions that might lead to an agreement? >> well, as you know, the leaders of both parties, both houses will be down at the white house next week to meet with the president. i would imagine there would be some discussion about this. >> mr. speaker, right after the speaker's vote -- yesterday talking about having a family discussion to figure out what you were going to do, some of your allies and members want action taken. some don't. have you made a decision what you're going to do about this and how you'll unify this going forward? >> i have not. my focus is on the american people's priorities.
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we've got an economy improving a bit but most americans aren't seeing it. so we're going to stay focused on the american peoples priorities this family conversation will continue, and we'll come to some resolution in the days and weeks ahead. thanks. >> the u.s. house takes up their version of the keystone xl pipeline discussion. over in the senate a procedural vote on the senate's keystone legislation is set for monday with debate on amendments to the bill as soon as wednesday. next on c-span advocates for lifting sanctions against cuba trade hold a news conference. then congressman jim hines of connecticut discusses the democratic agenda in the 114th congress. after that, another chance to
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see the senate energy and natural resources committee markup of the keystone xl pipeline bill. >> on the next "washington journal" congressman tom cole talks about tax and budget issues being taken up in the new congress and the challenge to speaker boehner. then congressman keith ellison of minnesota, cochair of the progressive caucus on his legislation to bolster the dodd-frank financial regulations. "washington journal" live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span when we take your calls and comments on facebook and twitter. >> friday a workshop on lobbying strategies and the regulatory process. we'll be live from the american university public affairs institute for a forum featuring faculty and professional lobbyists at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3.
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>> friends, colleagues, countrymen, especially the people of ohio's eighth congressional district, thank you for sending me here and let's today welcome all of the new members and all of their families to what we all know to be a truly historic day. [applause] >> today is an important day for our country. many senators took the oath this afternoon. 13 for the first time. and a new republican majority accepted its new responsibility. we recognize the enormity of the task before us. we know a lot of hard work awaits. we know many important opportunities await as well. >> follow the gop-led congress and see the new members. the best access is on c-span television c-span radio, and new congress, best access. on c-span.
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next advocates for ending the u.s. trade embargo with cuba hold a news conference. speakers include agriculture secretary tom vilsack missouri governor jay nixon, and members of congress. the u.s. agriculture coalition for cuba hosted this event at the national press club. it's an hour and 20 minutes. >> well, it's cold outside but it's warm in here. so good afternoon and welcome to the public launch of the u.s. agriculture coalition for cuba. i'm devary bouger vorweck chair of usacc, representing a broad cross section of the agriculture community. our current membership, and it's growing, is listed in the charter we just released a few minutes ago. we are excited to introduce our members and our mission to you today. we are especially pleased to see such a robust turnout.
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we believe this is indicative of not only the policy imperative but moral imperative in front of us as an industry and as a country. we are especially pleased to see such important bipartisan support expressed here today. we are appreciative secretary vilsack and senator klobuchar senator moran, and the rest of our guests for your presence here today and governor nixon we appreciate you flying in from your home state of missouri just for the launch. participation from respected leaders such as yourself is representative of what our coalition believes is the general sentiment of the u.s. congress. in addition, we understand that the majority of americans support lifting the embargo on cuba. that support has only been
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growing since the president's announcement on december 17. the usacc is not the first group to support change in the relationship with cuba. we are joining a chorus of voices from across america. there are many groups and some of them are here today that have been at this for a long time. of note is the voice of the u.s. business community, the u.s. chamber of commerce who administers the u.s.-cuba working group and who has led -- who led a historical delegation to cuba in may, 2014, to assess the changing business climate. the chamber has had a public position for a long time for many years supporting the end to the embargo. the vice president of the americas program is leading the chamber effort and is here with us today. the usacc is an outgrowth of a history of support to change the status quo with the u.s.-cuba policy. our industry has long supported
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liberalizing trade and travel with cuba. the u.s. agricultural community was instrumental in the year 2000 in opening humanitarian channels so that we could have free flow of u.s. food products and agriculture products to cuba. through the formation of usacc we are reenergized. we are reenergized to establish cuba as a market for u.s. food and agriculture products and as an industry we are reenergized to advance the end of the embargo. the sanctions are harmful to the cuban citizens and harmful to our country. we would like to offer high quality, affordable, safe food to the cuban citizens. 54 years of unilateral sanctions is an experiment that has gone on far too long. it is a failed policy and it is time that we offer our two countries a better option. commercial engagement can and will promote positive change beyond the isolationism that
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plagues -- that currently plagues our relationship. our coalition will achieve our purpose by advancing constructive dialogue here in the united states on u.s.-cuba policy. we will actively engage to end the embargo. we will work with key stakeholders to build momentum that drives historical change. we will take public platforms and explain the moral imperative of liberalizing trade between the two countries. trade is a tried and true policy that creates opportunity for citizens on both sides. open markets work to engage the economy, allow for development of entrepreneurs, empower businesses, raise income, and lead to a higher standard of living. it is a choice between freedom or not. we recognize the past difficulties between our governments and we can learn from it. but what we know we can collectively own is the future of u.s. cuba relations.
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we truly understand that refreshing relations between our countries is about peace and prosperity for our citizens and for the latin american region. at this point i would like to introduce the usacc vice chair paul johnson to make a few comments. paul has been dedicated to this issue for quite sometime. paul? >> good afternoon. my name is paul johnson. i'm the executive director of the illinois cuba working group and the vice chair of the usacc. in the past 20 years, i've either lived worked, or studied in cuba and have found that after 50 years of embargo there is a powerful movement for normalizing trade with cuba coming from the grass roots. particularly farmers who believe in putting people first and politics second. farmers from california to minnesota, kansas to alabama
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virginia to iowa support normalizing trade with cuba. in illinois together with the illinois soybean growers association we unanimously passed a resolution in the state general assembly calling for improved trade relations with cuba proving that this issue has bipartisan support. we believe that improved trade strengthens lives by bringing economic opportunities to the 11 million cubans. we want to expand into new markets and be competitive. we recognize that competition from brazil, the eu, canada, or china won't fade just because we re-enter the cuban market. over the next few months we will work with congress to help shape the policy that makes our products competitive which will ultimately add jobs for farmers, local elevators truck drivers, port workers, financial service providers and small business trade companies around the united states. making our products competitive requires reducing cuban costs
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by providing u.s. exporters with financial credit, export credits, direct banking, and back hauls which will reduce our logistical costs. in order to have back hauls we need true trade -- import and export -- where we can export what we do most efficiently and import what cuba produces swell. in conclusion, the embargo has not served the interests of the united states or cuban citizens for over a half century. we believe that economic development is freedom. we look forward to working with both d.c. and havana to create more stable agricultural and commercial relations. our message is that u.s. strength and cuban sovereignty is more powerful than u.s.-cuba embargo.
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>> if you feel inclibed to clap you're more than -- inclined to clap you're more than welcome. at this point it is quite an honor to introduce you mr. secretary, and thank you for your leadership. when the announcement came out on december 17 i believe you were in chicago at the time but you were the first to mention the importance of this announcement to the u.s. agriculture community. so please, with no further ado the secretary of agriculture. [applause] >> thanks. thank you very much. it's certainly an honor to be here with my good friend, governor nixon, who hails from the heartland as i do. good afternoon to all. i'm certainly pleased to be here this afternoon at the launch of the u.s. agriculture coalition for cuba. i want to thank the national press club for making today's event possible. i'm honored to be here today among so many of the nation's agriculture leaders who are advancing the interests of
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american agriculture here and abroad. particularly as we look back on 2014 and in fact the last six years, the efforts of the leaders in this room and others have shown real results for american farmers and ranchers. farm exports topped $152.5 billion in the past fiscal year, which is a record high. it's part of the best six years we've seen in agricultural exports in the history of the country. the new farm bill has been implemented in record time and contains strong investments to continue the tools that support american agriculture, allowing farmers and ranchers to continue to profit. today we gather to discuss an expanded opportunity for american agriculture. for our farmers and our ranchers. allowing them to do business and to expand business opportunities in a country just 90 miles from our border -- cuba.
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the policy changes which were announced by president obama in mid december broke what a failed approach that had isolated us from the rest of the hemisphere and isolated ordinary cubans from the outside world. the president's changes are aimed at giving cuban citizens new opportunities to gain greater control over their own lives. they also help to expand significantly opportunities for america's farmers and ranchers to sell goods in cuba. we're removing technical barriers between u.s. and cuban companies and creating a far more efficient, less burdensome opportunity for cuba to buy u.s. agricultural products. these policy changes will help make our products far more price competitive. they'll expand choices for cuban shoppers at grocery stores and create a new customer base for america's farmers and ranchers.
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cuba imports about 80% of its food, which means that there is significant economic potential for our producers. it is a $1.7 billion market. our rice growers, our wheat growers, our corn growers soy producers, poultry and pork and beef producers all have opportunity in this new day. historically agricultural products have been one of the few goods allowed to be exported to cuba under the long-standing u.s. embargo. our producers have taken advantage of that opportunity to the extent that they've been able to. haven't recent years been less competitive compared to our foreign competitors particularly the eu? policy changes announced by the president are significant. he has done what he can do to address some of the barriers that exist to expanded agricultural exports to cuba. there are still legislative
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hurdles to cross. the president and this administration look forward to engaging with congress in an honest and serious debate about what we can do to produce and promote positive change in cuba. that's where america's great farmers and ranchers come into play. throughout history it has been agriculture that has served as a bridge to foster cooperation understanding, and an exchange of ideas among people. the founding members of the u.s. agricultural coalition for cuba have been engaged in cuba and with cuba for many years. hosting trade missions to cuba and serving as ambassadors for our brand of agriculture. i have no doubt agriculture will play an extraordinarily important role in conversations to come as we expand our relationship with the cuban people in the years to come. let me add as a personal note it was roughly 50 years or so ago that a soviet leader came
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to my home state of iowa. during the course of his opportunity and his visit to the u.s. he had an opportunity to see the extraordinary power of american agriculture. i think it convince him -- convinced him the soviet union was in a losing proposition. i have no doubt that as we expand opportunity to introduce american products to the cuban market cubans will begin to ask some serious questions about their system, why they can't produce the great diversity the enormous opportunities that agriculture presents. it's an interesting conversation. it's a conversation long overdue. i'm certainly pleased that the coalition is going to help foster continued conversation. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, secretary vilsack.
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on december 17 when the announcement was made by the president, one of the first calls i received as chair of the u.s. agriculture coalition on cuba was from governor nexton's office. how can i help? how can he help? how can he lead? and so today you have with you a governor who is willing to lead. we're very much looking forward, governor, to your message on the importance of the trade relationship and on your plan for your leadership and how you plan to build the bipartisan support among other governors to make sure that we're telling the story here in washington. thank you. >> good afternoon. specifically i want to thank secretary vilsack for his leadership on these issues. he has been very helpful to governors and others through the last few years on this one in particular. he and i and other governors have had opportunities and former governors.
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traveling with me today is our head of agriculture richard ford ayes. that's not by accident. we are excited and glad to be with this bipartisan group of senators representing agriculture and business leaders and i am very proud to be here representing missouri and agriculture states across the country who stand ready to seize this tremendous opportunity to strengthen our farm families, grow our economy, and create jobs for expanded trade with cuba. let me give you our perspective from the heartland. from missouri's farmers and ranchers are truly feeding clothing, and fueling the world. in 2013 as a state we exported more than $2.2 billion in agricultural products around the globe. we're also if not the most diverse, arguably the most diverse agricultural state. we're in the top 10 states for
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exports of corn, soybeans, cotton, cattle chickens, hogs, and turkeys as far as rice production we are moving up quickly as one of the top rice producers and exporters also. over the past six years, i have seen a tremendous demand for these products and the direct economic benefits such trade can have on the families and communities in our state and in states around our country. we have been to china brazil, taiwan europe, korea, and quebec. signing trade agreements to sell over $10 billion additional of mizz oury products in these countries. a significant portion of the trade agreements we've entered into and are now executing have been foreign province to our state. direct state-to-state matters dealing with the governors, leaders in those areas. i want to tell you our
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compatriots on that side are just as excited as we are at the subnational level. it is the place where a significant amount of trade gets done and no sector is stronger than the agriculture sector. so given the opportunity to compete, missouri farmers and ranchers and american farmers and ranchers feel we can win against anyone. we know the more goods we sell overseas the more good jobs we create back home. pretty simple. when it comes to cuba, we are not on a level playing field. because of current sanctions american producers can only interact with cuba through a complicated process that greatly limits our ability to sell goods, stifles our ability to create more jobs, and prevents us from bringing more dollars home to the u.s.a. meanwhile, other countries are stepping up to fill the void and taking advantage of america's limited role. for example, brazil alone has quadrupled its exports to cuba.
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quadrupled. we are prepared to compete in that zone given a level playing field for sure. folks, in a competitive world we cannot ignore 11 million customers 90 miles from our country. this is a trade competition that u.s. farmers should be winning and are prepared to win. the fine folks in the show me state are ready to step up and lead the way. cuba needs products we produce. corn soybeans, rice, pork, beef poultry, and other products. we are going to be leaning forward in a significant way to try to do the best we can to be the first state along with others and i'm working with other governors to make sure we're not the only one as we work together to -- all we need is really an open door. and the innovative, hard working farm families will do the rest. we got the products. we got the technology. we can do it. i respectfully, me as well as others i've had a chance to talk to, call on members of
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congress to support our farmers, support the free market, and support this outstanding opportunity to strengthen our economy right here at home. now is the time for congress to follow through and remove these financial restrictions. lift the embargo and do away with the self-imposed barriers holding us back. this is an extremely bipartisan issue. i am very glad to see the bipartisan support here from both the senate and the house. rest well assured it is also extremely bipartisan among governors in our country. we have presented, been presented with an historic opportunity. we must not and will not let it pass us by. thank you for the opportunity to speak not only on behalf of my state but for governors across the state as we are ready to compete to open up, expand markets, and grow our economy. thank you. [applause]
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>> like any good event we have to roll with the punches. though your agenda aside. we'll get to it holistically but because of the arrival of our elected officials we may go a bit out of order. i hope you're comfortable that. our next guest is a democrat from california, sam farr. he's from the 20th district. congressman farr, what you may not know, is that i actually hail from your district. i grew up in gonzalez, california was educated at the public school of gonzalez high school, and what i know about you is you have been a strong leader for agriculture and it's absolutely fitting we would have you here today to speak on behalf of the u.s. agriculture coalition for cuba. it is my great honor, sir.
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>> theaning you very much. well if i leave office, you may see somebody qualified to run for it. [laughter] >> i'm very excited you're having this press conference and by what's happening. i think this is going to be one of the great modern events of america. we have for the first time torn down our iron wall. and the iron wall that i've been -- had the privilege of visiting cuba about six or seven times and i'll never -- one of the most memorable moments was that all night dinners with fidel castro. they never started until 11:00 or 12:00 at night and it was just a monologue but it was interesting because we had the california rice growers association and california chicken council and the wine growers, wine growers giving him wonderful california wine which he insisted could not be as good as spanish wine.
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because that's what they had in cuba. i traveled all over this wonderful island, largest island in the caribbean with constituents who have sister city policies. i've been to the international conferences on drug trade where i was with our coast guard who had to wear a civilian uniform in the american mission there, and asked me to come as a member of congress because the united states just wasn't present and we should be because all our allies on the drug trade in the western hemisphere and europe were there and america was missing. over and over again the -- america has been missing from this. and missing in so many ways because we have, with the embargos we've put on -- that congress put on and clinton
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signed into law, it just put all these restrictions on anybody who wants to just be a legitimate honest, innocent player and let's find out and discover. let's see if we can negotiate. there's all these bars against it which president clinton, i praise the boldness with which he made this really, you know, essentially did everything in his power to lift the restrictions as you have against cuba. the governor is absolutely right that we'll have to change the law and lift some of the restrictions. i don't think it's going to be easy. it is going to be very difficult and i think the politics will emulate from the agricultural states. i think it's governors that have been with their delegations to cuba that have seen first hand that there's an opportunity for market here, for our state to not only send out products but to send our
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intellectual capacity, send our technical wherewithal, send our students send our constituency, just develop what is normally the opportunities that are -- that exist when you can travel freely. it's not going to be easy. cuba i think is going to be more overwhelmed than we are. i think our politics will be difficult. i think their politics internally and their social system to essentially create a free enterprise market in cuba, although they need it, they need it most of all in food, cuba is a well educated country. it's a people that have a can-do at tude. they really like americans. they love americans. despite these embarringos that have made it so difficult for their lifestyle. what i see is that -- and they live in poverty. i was a peace corps volunteer in colombia, south america
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living in a very poor barrio without water and lights and power and learned the culture of poverty. as we know it without access to education, without access to healthcare, without access to water and lights and power and a safe place to sleep is -- that's not the problem in cuba. it's not a culture of poverty. it's a culture of hunger. they do not have the food, they can't produce it on the island. their economy is in shambles. their purchasing power is very weak. they just cannot buy and grow the food. they know what they want. one of the interesting things about fidel castro is that when he asked the head of our chicken federation in california, well what is the content of the food you feed your chickens? he says, well i'm the lobbyist. he says i really don't know what food. how can you represent an organization that sells chickens without knowing what they eat? and he went down and listed what brazil fed their chickens
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and then why they were buying chickens from brazil. but the point of it is they know what they need. they just can't get access. we haven't allowed them to get access because we've got all these financial prohibitions against spending money there using the dollar using a credit card, of trading. have to pay for it in dollars in advance before the product even leaves the united states. that's not done in any other trade negotiation in the world. the other thing that's shameful is that every other country in this hemisphere has diplomatic and trade relations with cuba. every one of them. i went with president obama to a summit and there wasn't a president of the caribbean islands or nations or latin american nations that didn't chastise t


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