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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 21, 2016 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT

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mr. king: let me ask a question of both of you. the chairman of the joint chiefs conveniently -- recently mentioned that he would like to see an update to goldwater nichols to account for the realtime need for the cocoms to be in communication with the president in the case of an emergency. e've been talking a lot about goldwater nichols with that coming up. what's your thoughts about the cocom with the chain of command, what do you see as the potential improvements to the goldwater-nichols organizational structure? general? i guess general applies to both of you. jen cap rot tee. mr. scaparrotti: goldwater nichols has produced the officer i am today and the force we have
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today that works well as a joint force. however, i do believe that given the change in our strategic environment, particularly in the last three or four years, that it is time to do a review. with reference to your specific question, i don't know that there's a need for the change. i report to the secretary of defense and if -- if confirmed i'll report to the secretary of defense and the president. but i think what we need in this environment is we also, and i think what general dunford was suggesting, is we need the ability to have agility in our decision making and deployment of assets. very few of these challenges today are limited to one cocom. there are multiregional, multifunctional, multidomain and challenge the structure we have today and our ability to be as agile as our challenges or adversaries are. mr. king: we have to be sure that allows our agility?
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mr. scaparrotti: yes. mr. king: general robinson? ms. are binson: the most important part of this is the agility and ability to work with each other. mr. king: my time is up. i hope you'll supply your thoughts, perhaps in writing, after the hearing because this is a topic of active consideration by the committee and having people of your experience and wisdom would be very 4e7ful -- helpful to us. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. inhofe: the questions i was going to ask were asked by senator graham. i would ask you, general scaparrotti, in your memory, in your history , in your service, have you ever seen a time when this country is more threatened than they are today? mr. scaparrotti: no, sir, i haven't. mr. inhofe: general robinson, all you have to do is repeat the performance you gave us and this do a great job in
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new position. i want to mention a few things to make sure, because i wasn't here until just now, to make sure they're in the record. first, due to the proliferation of technology, the number of countries possessing ballistic missile capability continues to increase, with countermeasure, greater range and accuracy. general mann testified last week, quote, nearly 30 countries possess ballistic missile capabilities with approximately 50 different variants of ballistic missiles and currently 13 new intermediate range and eight intercontinental ballistic missile ranges under development. since signing the iran deal, which was a disaster, iran has conducted at least three sets of tests on nuclear capability ballistic missiles. the lastest test had, quote, israel should be wiped off the earth, end quote, inscribed and had a range of up to 1,250
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miles. general vogel, sentcome commander testified that -- centcom commander testified that iran has been more aggressive since the nuclear deal, i think we understand that. en 9 february, james clapper assessed, quote, that north korea has taken initial steps toward fielding road mobile icbm. let me ask you, general robinson, we talked about this before. number one, do you think there should be a restructuring because there is some confusion as to who is in charge of homeland security. do you think some of the changes should be made? ms. robinson: i know, if confirmed as commander of northcom, that i'd work closely with the interagency, the department of homeland defense -- homeland security, if confirmed -- mr. inhofe: so you'd be in constant contact. ms. robinson: yes, sir.
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constant contact. mr. inhofe: in light of everything i said, are you confident in the intelligence we're getting on north korea's and iran's capability, ballistic missile capability? ms. robinson: given my recent experience, time i spent in the pacific and focused on north korea, i'm confident and comfortable with the intelligence we're getting. sir, i would have to come back to you about iran because i have not been focused there to give you an accurate answer, if confirmed. mr. inhofe: i've never been all that confident. it's a scary thing when we know all these things i mentioned, that's reality. that's today. general scaparrotti, let me ask you a question. i've been concerned for some me about the capabilities, a lot of our presence historically on our side are now kind of in a position with russia due to the fact that they control, russia and ireasonen -- iran between
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the two of them control the energy capabilities that we have in this country. now, we have passed the lifting the ban and unfortunately the ban was lifted at a time when the price of national gas is down so low it didn't have the results that we anticipated and we hoped would be there. but what is your thinking right now about the capability that we're going to have? how is this, lifting this ban going to help us in some of these areas that we'd like to be working with us as opposed to russia? mr. scaparrotti: we talked about the hybrid warfare russia practices they use all the instruments of power to influence our allies and particularly the use of energy. and it's to our benefit, i believe, to assist our allies in any way we can to relieve them of hat dependence as a form coercion. mr. inhofe: do you believe we
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should do everything we can? i believe you just said this in a different way to correct the situation, to be able to allow them to get their energy from us, that this is a great national security benefit we would have when that happens? mr. scaparrotti: i haven't delved into this but to me it's reasonable that if we provide energy to them it would assist both them and us in our security. my questions of have been answered. general scaparrotti, mr.erness talked to you about turkey. they are an important nato ally but i'd like you to talk about the complexities of dealing with turkey, given the internal politics of turkey, especially the kurds. kurds have been wonderful partners for the u.s. in the
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anti-isil mission in iraq, obviously and the kurdistan and iraq has traditionally had a pretty good relationship with turkey. but we've also found strong partners in the kurds in northern syria and that's created significant tensions with turkey. we can't abandon a strong anti-isil partner that has been very, very valiant as the kurds in northern syria have been, but by the same token, we need to manage the relationship with tur' so they'll step up on border control and help us in the anti-isil fight. how do you see your role in ucomm in trying to work with the turkish relationship so we can keep up the anti-isil fight, keep our partnership with the kurds alive and yet manage that important relationship with our nato ally? mr. scaparrotti: enge you outlined the challenges there very well. if confirmed, i'll build a close relationship with their military leadership and with my intent, their civilian leadership as
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well. they look at counterterrorism and they look at the p.k.k. as the threat. we talk counterterrorism and primarily we think isil. it's those dynamics that both of us have to realize our interests and find areas that commonly we can work together. and i think in turkey's case, there's areas where we can support them and encourage them to help us in the overall effort within the southeast flank of nato. you talked about goldwater nichols, i'm interested in the seam between northcom and southcom and we talked about this in the talk about drug traffic, some of that starts in mexico, but some of it starts elsewhere. whether it's drug trafficing or human trafficing or the my grant
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flows driven by violence in central america, that border between mexico and the countries to the south is really important. talk a little bit about the kind of working relationship that you would hope to form with the admiral on that bored en-- border between northcom and southcom? ms. robinson: me more we can push everything down toward that border, guatemala and belize, the less people will migrate across our southern border between us and mexico. the admiral and i are very good friends. if confirmed i know he and i will dialogue on a regular basis to work together to ensure that seam is as seamless as possible. it is incredibly important that we do that. and that we work together to support the mexican military in that -- in their efforts with that southern border. mr. kaine: thank you very much.
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thanks, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's been a great confirmation hearing. i appreciate both of you all's service and general robinson, as your service of 34 years, i know you're a resident of new hampshire. i'm not rushing you to retire but when you do, i hope you'll consider north carolina as a winter home. i lived in new hampshire, i guarantee the winters are better. but one quick question for you, the -- i want to go back, i sometimes think we lose sight of the fact of the number of victims that have been victims of narcoterrorism. mr. till liss: we're talking about the -- mr. tillis: we're talking about the opioid epidemic but we have to remember that hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. is i'm not going to go become and cover the landscape except to say it would be helpful for us to shed light on it. if you were to equate this to what we're dealing with in the middle east, we have a lot of
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specific targets that we could go after that we simply don't have the resources to go after. we know a lot of times where they're starting, where they're ending, and we simply do not have the resources to interdict as many as we could. first, do you agree with that? and what kinds of things can we do to step up our game there, not at the expense of other important priorities but this is a critical priority. this is killing more americans than just about any other terrorist activity going on today. ms. robinson: if confirmed, i think it's incredibly important for me to understand the border. i think it's incredibly important for me to walk the landscape and also if confirmed very early on too as i work that is to work with the agencies and interagency to understand the problems that you're just talking about. i know interdiction is important and i know getting after the networks is important. and so where is the interagency, where is d.h.s., where are law enforcement agencies trying to get after that for me to
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understand that and if confirmed to be able to support their activities. mr. tillis: i'm glad you recognize that working with the mexican military and much of the pressure on the northern border of mexico can be relieved by taking care of the challenge on the southern border of mexico. that can only come with good partner cooperation. so i appreciate your commitment to looking at that. it's -- to me it's one of the most pressing things we need to do in this hemisphere. general scaparrotti you mentioned earlier about stepping up partner relationships with europe. can you give me just a brief synopsis of the state of our partnerships in terms of their countries' specific efforts to budget and fund the things that we need to do to make it very clear to russia that this will not end well if they continue their aggression? and thirdly, just the general
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messaging within the region, the words that the countries are conveying to their people and to the region consistent with what you think our object i haves should be in that area. mr. scaparrotti: first, with respect to our partnerships, we have very strong allies in europe. i've served with many of them. as you know, they provided about a third of the force in afghanistan and suffered 1,000 casualties alongside of us. i think that's an indication of how good they can be and what we share. i do believe that as a part of the alliance and partners, we should meet our commitments and provide our fair share of the defense because we do, we are strong. >> do you feel they have work to do there? mr. scaparrotti: we do have work to do there. out of the alliance of 28, there's five that have % or more of g.d.p. and nine increased
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their spending. as you know from the wales summit and looking ahead to the next summit, that commitment is one thing we're focused on. in terms of communication, i feel confident to say that those on the eastern flank are communicating very seriously about the need for strength and defense in light of russia. mr. tillis: because of the proximity. mr. scaparrotti: to the south you have a different but just as important threat. one of the important things that, if confirmed, i need to do is recognize all our threats and help our allies to be unified. mr. tillis: in closing i want to associate myself with senator graham's comments and also just make the point because people watch these hearings and take a lot from them. i don't think there's any serious discussion among any member of congress that would suggest that anyone takes a --
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thinking a withdrawal from nato makes sense and the rhetoric in the political circles now should not be confused with anything that we would seriously consider. i find that unimaginable. thank you all. i look forward to supporting your confirmation. senator mccain: it was pointed out to us in a meeting that 9/11 was attack on the united states of america not a european country and they joined and over 1,000 of the young men and women that have come from those countries have been killed in action. when we talk about how much money that they haven't spent, we should keep the pressure on, i don't think we should forget that over 1,000 of their young, i think all young men, have given their lives because of an action that was taken against the united states of america e. -- of america.
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>> thank you, senator. i want to followup on senator kaine because i have been concerned also with the kurds, our support of the kurds, i know there are kurds and now the northern syrian kurds seem to be valiant fighters. mr. manchin: we don't seem to be second-guessing, are they going to turn on us, give our weapons to someone else who will use them against us. that's the only group i see we don't have that concern with. but looking at the turks are we not giving the support to the kurds that we could even more? and basically, do the iraqi kurds, are they still satisfied with the one state solution and having everything come through baghdad? or are they still what we understood was very frustrated with that?
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mr. scaparrotti: senator, i don't know the answer to that particular part of your question, the last part, about their satisfaction, if i could take that for the record. senator manchin: you can take that for the record. mr. manchin: if they're not getting support and rely on the dysfunction of baghdad right now, getting the goods they need and the arms they need to help us defend the terrorists, i think it would be a strain for us not to make sure they get it directly. mr. scaparrotti: they've been a reliant and one of the best combatants we've alied with in our fight in isil and syria. if confirmed i'll work closely with the combatant command, sent come and socm in support of this -- centcom and socom in support of that.
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manchin: i was in argentina, we were talking about the drugs coming thru argentina, have they made a commitment to help us fight the drug raid? ms. robinson: i don't know the answer to that right at the moment but what i can say is my relationship with admiral tid if confirmed to watch that and again to push things down as far as we can on the southern border. mr. manchin: you can't go any further south an argentina. if you can get that information, that would be helpful. our people were get nothing help at all, they were letting it
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come through. ms. robinson: yes, sir. mr. manchin: i think all of us agree we should be part of nato. the bottom line, the frustration is we know the sacrifices they have made and they've come to the aid in defending the united states but they still haven't made a commitment, the 2% of their g.d.p. but there's no quid pro quo, there's no penalty for that. do you believe that there's a way we can hold them more accountable? if they are not coming up to the 2%? mr. scaparrotti: i think that's a question, you know, for the alliance and north atlantic council to wrestle with. obviously if confirmed, i'll have the ability to give best military advice to the secretary general and the council and i, as i said, i do believe that within the alliance, the commitments that we make are very important for the strength of the alliance.
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mr. manchin: on the ballistic missile defense and most importantly with canada, i understand they're going to engage again, be involved in missile defense? ms. robinson: from what i've read they're in the process of talking about what they're going to do with that. if confirmed early on, i will engage with my canadian counterparts and my canadian chain of command and see where they're going. mr. manchin: if they do, would that reduce our systems to the north? or would they be reinforcing our efforts? ms. robinson: i don't have that information right now but if confirmed that's something i will look into early on. mr. manchin: i have one more, i think, real quick. russia, the whole thing, i think senator donnelly talked to you about the russia flyover.
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ould our ships, were we in the right to shoot down if we desired to do so with their ggression? mr. scaparrotti: not knowing the complete circumstances i can't answer that. mr. manchin: turkey has taken action on russia before rks and i think russia understands that turkey would continue to take action. i think there's a concern that we won't and they were wanting to see how far we would go and i'm not advocating that we should have shot the plane down but i understood that secretary kerry described it as a reckless, provocative and dangerous act. and he was not wrong in saying the u.s. ship would have been justified to shoot down the russian plane. mr. scaparrotti: i don't have the detailed information to make that call. it is absolutely reckless, unjustified and very dangerous when you've got our operations
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oing on as well. mr. manchin: is russia just pushing the envelope to test the western resolve or the united states' resolve? mr. scaparrotti: i think they're pushing the envelope in terms of you are resolve and in terms of international norms and nternational law, purposely. mr. manchin: thank you, mr. chairman. >> let me follow up on that. general scaparrotti, do you think we need to establish, announce and implement more robust r.o.e.'s, particularly with regard to our navy? this isn't the first time that it seems r.o.e.'s were very weak. obviously we had navy sailors taken hostage by iranians in the gulf. what do we need to do here to bolster this and send a message that we're going to act more forcefully?
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mr. scaparrotti: sir, i think, and i'm not sure that r.o.e.'s forces are operating under at this present time, i mean the exact rules of engagement but if you look at our rules of engagement generally, joint staff rules of engagement, they always have the right of self-defense and to act in self-defense system of i'm confident that they knew that and if it was a security concern that our commanders know they have that right and can take that step. i think more what i would say to you is, is that they have to have the guidance of the chain of command in order to know, understand and fully have confidence that they can take steps in specific scenarios. >> if confirmed, will you take a look at that issue, our r.o.e.'s leading to these behaviors in the baltic sea and the gulf? mr. scaparrotti: yes, sir.
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mr. sullivan: both of you have enormous areas of responsibilities, one place where you overlap is the arctic. we've had discussions much more growing strategic importance in terms of shipping lanes, in terms of resources, and in terms of russian military buildup, snap exercises that we saw tens of thousands of russian forces twice last year. one of the concerns i have and i just passed out something that's reflected in the chart is the -- in order to address some of the challenges we have cocom operational seams in the arctic, orthcom is for the arctic, and pacom controls most of the forces. i want to ask one hypothetical. we talk about this, hypothetically if russia decided to deny access to vital u.s.
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international shipping in the region, which is growing tremendously which combatant commander would respond to that threat? mr. scaparrotti: this get into the issue we talked about earlier about most of our threats today are across the boundaries of cocoms. if it were in u.s. ucom's area, i would take the lead and the others would primarily be in support of that. mr. sullivan: but if it were shipping in the bexarring strait, it's kind of in your area, but not really, kind of in your area, general robinson, but not really. we had an amendment that addressed this, had the secretary of defense to focus on the operational seams with regard to putting together a arctic strategy. if confirmed, working with admiral harris and pacom will you focus on trying to address this cocom operational seam that
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can be worked through but seems to be a challenged. ms. robinson: if confirmed, i commit to you i will focus on the arctic. it is a complex place, it's becoming much more congested, and i will focus on understanding comprehensively what that is along with admiral harris and come back to you and talk about what should we do. mr. all van: general scaparrotti? mr. scaparrotti: i will. mr. sullivan: the ndaa last year focused on the secretary of defense. because of these issues and growing threat, being required to develop an arctic strategy and new operational plans that reflect the new situation in the arctic, if confirmed, will you work with o.s.d. to make sure that those requirements from the ongress are fulfilled?
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ms. robinson: yes, sir, i commit to you to come back and talk about what i learn. mr. scaparrotti: yes, sir, i will. mr. sullivan: i think a lot of us are supportive of that but a lot of the focus as you mentioned is in the east. fwiven what we talked about here, do you believe that that e.r.i. should have a focus? it's not just east but certainly in the north where some of our allies and friends have very significant concerns about russian threats and aggression. mr. scaparrotti: yes, sir, i think that e.r.i. needs to look at the entire threat. and the entire threat as well as it needs to be joined in -- joint in nature. there are other areas we need to look at, if confirmed i will look at as i move forward. mr. sullivan: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> congratulations to you both on your nominations and general are binson, your landmark nomination. hope to see a speedy confirmation of you both. general scaparrotti, i want to return to a subject a few senators have addressed, russian aircraft flying by first one of our ships and then one of our aircraft. iknow -- i know you're not aware of all the circumstances to specify a response but does activity like that call for some kind of response? mr. cotton: yes, sir, it does. it endangers our crew members, our ships, and does require response of some type. mr. cotton: is that because with no response it emboldens putin russia to probe further? mr. scaparrotti: i think they need to understand what's acceptable. we're flying and sailing in international waters in the baltic and we have every right to do system of mr. cotton: need that response be symmetrical?
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need we fly by one of their ships or aircraft? or could it be asymmetrical, showing up on the shore of ukraine. mr. scaparrotti: i say we should keep everything on the table. mr. cotton: and vladimir putin needs to understand it is a response. mr. scaparrotti: yes. mr. cotton: i want to talk about something we talked about in your role in korea. cluster munitions that have a rate below %. what's your understanding of how many cluster munitions in inventory today fail to comply with that policy? mr. scaparrotti: i couldn't answer that accurately. my experience with the munitions that i have in korea that i would lose just about all of them, of my clustering munitions for use that i have stockpiled today. mr. cotton: what is the department of defense's current policy or plan to address this
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problem? mr. scaparrotti: today there are studies ongoing and some assets available that in the future, with programs of purchase that could begin to replace those. some of those munitions don't have the same lethality as those we have today, particularly against armor. and presently for those that are not just -- that are not envisioned but assets we know -- munitions we know we could build, we don't have a plan that replaces them in the numbers we need. i would say that's true in korea because i'm very aware of what our requirements are. mr. cotton: is one of those solutions air busting so-called traditional gum bombs and using them near targets? mr. scaparrotti: that's an option. mr. cotton: would it be the option that lacks lethality? mr. scaparrotti: if you were to
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use unitary munitions to replace a cluster munition you have to fire three to five munitions in place of one. so just logistically it creates a problem as well. we need to develop effective cluster munitions that meet the law and my recommendations would be that in the interim we retain cluster munitions we have today. mr. cotton: are you aware of any u.s. 46 produced solution to this problem? -- u.s.-produced solution to his problem? mr. scaparrotti: i'd like to take that for the record. i'm aware of some solutions but when you say u.s. produced, i'm not sure who is working on those pructs i'm aware of, so it's probably best i take that so i can answer in a classified form as well. mr. cotton: and the most famous concern on the border between north korea and south korea, given russia's probing
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throughout eastern europe and the middle east, how important is this issue for you in the new job after confirmation? mr. scaparrotti: it's very important. i would point out that russia has used cluster munitions in the ukraine themselves. with great effect. mr. cotton: thank you. vladimir putin and others cite their cal grievances for activity in ukraine. the collapse of the warsaw pact, collapse of the soviet union and the end of the historically soviet dominated areas. do you think that's a fair account of what's happened in the post-cold war era? mr. scaparrotti: if i'm following you, i would say that putin, i can't say it's clear but i believe that putin's view is that, that russia is being
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constrained by the international norms, international norms established by the west, predominantly the u.s. it's from that view that he has, i think, set out deliberately to challenge those norms, to disrupt our international order, globally, wherever he has that opportunity. mr. cotton: given that countries like poland, latvia, estonia and others have chosen freely to join nato, do you think there's any truth to his claims that these are lands traditionally oriented toward the east? mr. scaparrotti: he certainly claims that but as you know, we believe, and many of these countries desire, to be a sovereign nation and make their own choice as to the type of government they have. that's what we've supported as part of our values. mr. cotton: and a final point he
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makes about nato expansion is this is aggressive toward russian and could threaten their territory integrity. has nato been investing in large scale armaments that would launch a massive invasion of russia? mr. scaparrotti: no, sir. as you know, nato, for nearly 20 years, reached out to russia. with the idea that they could become part of the security that nato provides to all of europe as a partner. and they refused that at this point. mr. cotton: and to look at it from the other direction, has russia been building tank ditches on its board we are nato or mouffing in other kinds of massive defensive weaponry to forestall the supposed nato invasion of russia? mr. scaparrotti: their modernization of forces is significant. it's developing credible capability that we've seen on display with their first out of
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area deployment into syria, for instance. and the weapons systems they deployed there. finally if you look at the area access or denial, those areas that they've established, i think there's ample evidence of that. mr. cotton: based on their wordsical record, putin's about the west may be disinformation. mr. mccain: they said they russian paratist activity in ukraine. do you agree with that assessment? mr. scaparrotti: the indications i've seen, i believe that's true. mr. mccain: do you believe we should be providing defensive weapons to ukraine?
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mr. scaparrotti: i believe we should provide the weaponry that we believe they need to defend their sovereignty and that they're capable of using. mr. mccain: do you think their need and could use javelin? mr. scaparrotti: i think there's requirement for an anti-tank weapon like javelin in their situation. mr. mccain: thank you. general, i hope that you will give some urgency to the issue that you and i discussed earlier and that is concerning the troop strength numbers. all these things take plan, take executioning and now we're look at a couple of months from now. so i hope you make that a very high priority. general robinson, i'm glad you're going to go down to the border. you'll find this time of year it starts getting very warm there. and you'll also find that it's very hard on the personnel.
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sometimes to sit in a vehicle on the border next to a fence in 115 degree heat. that efficiency declines rather rapidly. and that's why we have to emphasize technology. i hope that at your first opportunity you'll go see secretary johnson and so that we can better coordinate our activities on the border with secretary johnson. the answer to this whether it be the epidemic of manufactured heroin or whether it be people or whether it be the possibility of a terrorist, which increases coming across our southern border, can only be defeated by technology. we need to have the ability to detect those tunnels. the israelis, i understand, have that capability.
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and capability exists. e're not going to stop the tunnels and they are myriad, believe me, over the years. just by observing. we have to have the kind of technology which exists. i also believe that it's very important that we understand that a lot of this manufactured heroin is coming across our ports of entry, not necessarily by the traditional ways, because small amounts can be concealed. and again, that is technology. so we have with the rise of isis, we have an additional, now, threat on our southern border and that is the threat of terrorists coming across and so your involvement with full is ct to c that
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dramatically increased. i hope you understand we have the threat of terrorism and we so have a flood of manufactured heroin and we also have a flood of children who come from the three central american countries and also put enormous strains on our capabilities on the border. one program that i -- amongst others i hope you look at is guard units from states all over america have come to arizona to train. unarmed by providing manpower and capabilities that are much needed. so i would say obviously we need -- you need to go to the border but i would like to see close coordination between you and the secretary o homeland security so that we can use the best talents that we have.
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have no doubt that this is a crisis in the neevet and the midwest -- northeast and the midwest, not to mention the threat of terrorists coming across our border. if those threats are true, and i believe they are, then your involvement is greater than it has been in the past. senator king, did you want to -- senator blumen thall. -- blumenthal. mr. blumenthal: i want to emphasize how important senator mccain's comments are to all of us engaged actively in our state in this war against an epidemic. it's a public health hurricane that's sweeping our country. and affecting the quality of people who are available to you, our military, doing your job responsibly innd
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recruiting new men and women to join your forces. his public health hurricane is undermining the recruiting effort insoferse as it diminishes the quality of people insoferse it diminishes the quality of -- inso far as it diminishes the quality. i released last week a call to action with 23 specific recommendations focusing on health care, on law enforcement, on overprescribing of painkillers, on a variety of areas where i think the nation needs to do more and do it better. and in my public comments i talked about the interdiction challenge. and it's not within the ability of states to do but it has to be part of our national mission,
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every bit as vital to our national defense as any of the other missions that you have. 10 i just want to say what my colleagues have said. i'm not the first but i want to emphasize the point that senator mccain has just made so eloquently. i want to go to another topic that you have also been asked about, general scaparrotti. i am very concerned about our submarines, undersea warfare capability force. i know you're very much aware of it, have been asked about it. the continued building of our virginia class at the rate of two a year, at some point will collide financially with the ohio replacement program. in my view we need to continue building those two virginia class submarines every year. "the new york times" story that's been mentioned to you in the course of this morning is only the latest evidence of the
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increase emphasis of our adversaries on undersea warfare capability, not just the russians but the chinese. i think in the course of that, article 1 of the comments from one of our military leaders is that we are back to in a sense the cold war competition undersea. i would like to know your views general robinson, if you want to commend you're welcome to, on whether this program continuing our building of two virginia class submarines every year with the highway replacement are important, in fact, vital to our national defense. mr. scaparrotti: yes, senator. i defer the numbers, etc., to the services responsible for that, but i can say personally
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that i think that we have dominance undersea today, that it is our asymmetric advantage, and that it's very important that we continue to maintain that advantage, playly in light of the challenges as you noted. i think that both of those improvements to our submarine classes are necessary. ms. robinson: i would just echo what general scaparrotti said. mr. blumenthal: i know i've heard it said from that very place, from others, general know that you share the view strongly that we should have an asymmetric superiority in this area but i think the specifics are very important. it's not enough to just
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generalize about it. i hope that when you say you'll defer, you bring both of you -- you bring, both of you, a lifelong expertise and experience to these views that i think are very, very important for our civilian leaders. ms. robinson: i probably then misspoke. i agree with general scaparrotti said. i apologize if i said i defer. mr. blumenthal: he said he deferred. what i'm asking, very bluntly, is that you not defer. i know that's also easily, more easily said than done. but i have such respect for both of your views that i hope our civilian leaders hear them and i hope that you will emphasize that this asymmetric advantage n undersea warfare is vital to
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our future so i think i talked enough. i defer to you, general robinson and general scaparrotti. mr. scaparrotti: if i can be clear, what i meant by that is, it's really a service decision, but i assure you that if confirmed, i will be clear in my advice and needs to the c.n.o. with respect to those programs. and particularly after i have a close look, if confirmed, as the ucom commander at my needs there mr. blumen thaul: i appreciate your views. thank you very much. thank you for your service to our nation. have very briefly, general scaparrotti, talking about the submarine, undersea capability. i was in iceland and struck by what a strategic place, one of the most strategic place on
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earth. i hope that that might be an area that you will be in active consideration of further of reinvig ration of that capability subject to working with the people of iceland. mr. king: but it sits right astride the green bayland-iceland-u.k. gap and t's, as i say -- greenland-iceland-u.k. gap and it's, as i say, the facility is amazing and i think it would be one that we would do well to do some concentrating on. mr. scaparrotti: i agree with your concern and agree with the importance of the location and our capabilities in that gap hat you described. mr. mccain: i look forward to moving your no, ma'am neighs
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through the united states senate. this hearing is adjourned. mr. scaparrotti: thank you, chairman. ms. robinson: thank you, chairman. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016]
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>> "the washington post" reporting that while in london today, f.b.i. director james comey suggested the bureau paid more than $1 million to access the iphone belongs to one of the san bernardino attackers. he said, more than i'll make in the remainder of my jobs, which is seven years and four months. it's the first time the bureau has offered a possible price tag for unlocking the iphone of the man who, along with his wife, killed 14 people in the december 2 attack. the r.n.c. rules committee met for an hour today in hollywood, florida and did not make changes to the rules for how a
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presidential nominee is chosen in a contested convention. we'll have that meeting for you at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span, followed by florida governor rick scott's remarks to the delegates. >> madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united tates -- [cheers and applause] >> now, agriculture sec he tear
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tom vilsack sits down to talk about the shombs hunger and food insecurity that affect many american families. he also discusses the economic impact of hunger, child nutrition and the challenges facing rural communities. from the brookings institution, this is an hour and 20 minutes. >> good morning. i'm bob reuben and my seoul assignment is to welcome -- and my sole assignment is to welcome all of you to the discussion of food security. having said that, let me make two comments. number one, the hamilton project began about 10 years ago, and our purposes from the beginning were support policy development around the country, and to
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promote seriousness of purpose in policy tie log. i think those purposes, policy development and most particularly seriousness of purpose in policy dialogue, have become ever more important as the policy -- as what gos for policy dialogue in our country, has desened ever more into ideology, politics, and partisanship. our commitment is to try to do our little part in keeping alive that seriousness of purpose. secondly, from the begin, our bedrock objectives with respect to policy have been growth, broad based participation in the benefits of growth, economic security, and it is our view that they are interdent and they can reinforce each other. in that context, food insecurity in this, the richest country in the world, is not only morally wrong, but it is also a serious
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impediment to economic growth. sufficient nutrition is a requisite for productivity, for productive engagement in the work force, and therefore for realizing the full productivity potential of our economy. and when food insecurity affects children, which as you'll see in the hamilton project's fact which is we hand out as you came in, is happening far too frequently in this country. we're reducing the prospects of our my for decades ahead as well as, as i said earlier, being involved with a morally outrageous situation for this, the richest country in the world. today's discussion is about the startling number of people who are still experiencing food insecurity in america today. the supplemental nutrition assistance program, snap, which is designed, as you well know,
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to address this issue, and recommended policy changes to make that program more effective. t me recognize diane j johnsonbach, head of the project, on leave from northwestern university to direct our project. kristen mcintosh, managing director of the hamilton project. and ryan dunn, the managing director of the hamilton project, for the work they have den in developing logistics for we will g. begin with the discussion and discussing the hamilton fact sheet which i mentioned before which i think you will find interesting and deeply troubling in terms of the food insecurity and then we'll turn to an exchange between tom vilsack,
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the outstanding secretary of agriculture, who both terms of president obama's administration and the former governor of ohio so. used to think and bob green stein, founder and bob is the unusual person who is a advocate for policies to help the poor and budget analyst and i got to know bob during the clinton administration and this guy cares about the poor and the pragmatics of our budget and serious with dealing with both. thank them for joining ugs. he program is yours.
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>> i would like to welcome you to the conversation on food insecurity and policies to alleviate it. and extent of the problem and some potential solutions and this comes from the document we released, 12 facts released by the hamilton project. in 2014, one in seven households were food insecure. they had difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of resources. 15 million children or one in five children live in these households. in 2014, one in 20 household, meeping they suffered one or more periods in the year in which the food intake were reduced. as you can see in the charts
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here, the rate of food insecurity chirns and adults and remain elevated today. in every state, a higher share of children than adults. as you can see from this map, one in 10 children live in these household. in nine states, the share is one in four. let me tell you about the characteristics. the vast majority of households are working household. reported one ed food earner. these food insecure households are headed by a married couple than by a single mother. household with a teenager are
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likely to suffer. what many parents know is true. teenagers eat more and cost more to feed. it's true. spending on food increases when there is a teenager in the house. and do not increase. snap benefits do not change and they are less likely to participate. this as up to higher rates to food insecurity among households with teenagers. the snapshot view that i started with masked the problem. when we compare households that are food insecure to the share this year or last year, the project estimates 40% were food insecure across the two-year
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period. please note even temporary food insecurity may cause lasting impacts on children. troubling, the greatest is in the higher income. and households that are more than twice the poverty line that is more than $48,000 of a family of four. this is above the reach of snap and high school meals. another third of them have one and two times the poverty line. in the light green, very low insecurity status when families experience hungers, shown in the light green is concentrated among the very poor. a safety net can alleviate these problems.
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in 2012, after adjusting, we find that snap lifts people out of poverty. this impact is -- the impact and the child tax credit. researchers are starting to understand the magnitude of the importance of these programs especially on the long-term well-being of children. in a study, my co-authors followed children when snap was originally introduced as part of the war on poverty. because the program was rolled out, over a long period of time, we could compare children living in the same state and access to the program and trace the impact across the children's life span. we find that children who had access to the then food stamp
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program were 18 percentage points were likely to graduate. women, healthier and in particular saw improvements from the program with the increase including employment, earnings and related measures. we argue that snap should be thought as an investment in children and not merely chart. there are many things we can improve to support our program. i look forward to the conversation that will explore some of these. for example, there are many children who are food insecure and eligible for school programs and snap and are not participating. for so have evidence
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example, it has been known that food insecurity status spikes when school is not in session. the department of agriculture fielded a pilot program with research design to test how dirnl summer feeding benefits would impact. the results are important and they are large. 6 monthly food voucher. and the household will fall behind on major expenses like housing or umets. and skip a trip to the doctor. so now that the stage is set, invite our guests
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to the stage. a quick housekeeping note is under your chairs you will find note cards and at the end we will open it up to questions and projects. we will have people up and down the aisle and then we'll hand them to the moderator and he'll ask the questions. so secretary, and bob, welcome. [applause] ob:
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>> good morning everybody, i want to thank hamilton for having a forum on this very important topic. mr. secretary, i want to degrade in. i would like to start by asking you a little bit about what you see is the role of the secretary of agriculture with respect to these programs and these issues? let me give a little preference. i remember when i came to washington in the early 1970's, the secretary of agriculture was earl butts. i had the honor of serving in the carter administration, and the secretary was a terrific guy. but during the 0-plus years i
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have followed this, the pattern has been with the secretary is immersed in agriculture policy and for most secretaries the food programs are secondary or aside. bob was different in that regard, but you, mr. secretary, for me, you have broken the role, i have never seen a secretary of agriculture for whom food assistance, security, insecurity has been essential as it has been for you. could you talk a little bit about how you see the department and you as the secretary the importance of these programs and the issue of food insecurity. ville vills there is a personal reason and policy reason and i started life out in an orphanage and one thing you know you are
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well fed or not well fed. when i was adopted, i was a very well fed child. in the orphanage i was taken care of. and there are kids who are struggling, rural poverty is higher than you would specialty, one out of four rural kids lives in an impoverished homes. we have to take care of folks. it's a large part of our budget and we want to make sure it is functioning the way it should. and unfortunately, these programs come under attack and et mischaracterized and people who benefited are demonized and it's my responsibility that the american public who understands these benefits and why and the
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families who are roving snap. combob alluded to the fact that this is bg building a productive economy. hungry kids aren't going to be learning as well as they should.
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>> eligible for the reduced school meals. could you talk a little bit about the emphasis you have placed on improving access. secretary vilsack: when we started this process we looked at how the states were add ministering the program. this is a partnership between the federal government and
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states' government. some states did a better job than others and we saw some states where the participation rate was in the low 15% and eligible people in a state were not getting the benefits and the consequences were dire. so we started a concerted effort to make sure people understood their responsibility to make it easy for people to apply, make it easy for people to understand their benefits. we started to provide information in spanish, multiple languages and we saw over time with some pressure over some individual governors that we saw a spike from 72% overall participation to 85%. the one place we have not figured out where to crack the nut is in our senior citizens and the participation rate is
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41% and how seniors perceive this program and how difficult we have made it for seniors. the reality is we don't need to be checking income level of seniors on a regular basis because the fact is if you are 85 years old you are patrolly living on a social security check and a small retirement income and that's not going to change. we are looking to make it easier for seniors to get into the program and get that number up and we will have success off the next nine months and the administration will see the importance on this. the school lunch program, a lot of school districts have kids coming from impoverished neighborhoods and we have a burden for kids to get free and reduced lunch. we expect that a second grader
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will take an application and will take it and give it to their parents and disclose information that may be hard for them to disclose how low their income is. and the second grader has to remember to give it to the teacher and they can determine whether or not that particular youngster is free and reduced lunch. that doesn't happen as frequently as it should. but if you are in a school district that has poor families, why go through those that process. we are now seeing over 18,000 schools, millions of kids that otherwise would not have received assistance are receiving assistance but also in child care septemberers. 90,000 are benefiting from community eligibility.
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it is important tool to make sure the kids to get the tools they need. bob: i would like to get to community eligibility. but turning back for a little bit to snap, so you and i and bob were talking before the event started about the disagree of sin civil in the country among about other things government and its ability to help. so, i remember back in the late 1960's, when teams of doctors went into the deep south and appalachia and found mall nutrition akin to some of those of third world countries and medical researchers went back in e late 1970's after in the
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intervening decade after we had a food stamp program and the researchers said something to the effect of where before we saw large numbers of children with sunken eyes, swollen bellies and the food programs and they had this line that stayed food stamps length thens the limbs of our people and and it is fact number eight in your report, you talk about the ong-term effects, even leading not just in education but employment and earnings in adulthood and the latest data shows that snap helps about five million children each year.
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that's about tied with the income cliled credit and more than anything else than social security and more children social out than even non- security. nol program does more than snap. so how do we -- i don't think this is widely understood. we hear the attacks. the program is a hammock. wrs, dime an your work indicates the reverse, it improves kids' life chances rather than trapping them inal hammock. what do we do to better communicate these important findings? secretary vilsack: making sure that americans understand who is
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receiving snap. there is a tendency to think that those who are receiving snap are gaming the system. they are children, senior citizens and working men and women and they have a different attitude. first, educate people who actually receives snap. and making sure they understand this is a supplemental nutrition program. and there is not that much in the benefit of a family of four to buy their groceries for a month and how we calculate the benefits for snap and we base it on a food plan and it hasn't been adjusted and if we did examine it we would find the benefit is inadequate for the
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purpose of the program. we need to point out that the benefits that this program has. as we look at agriculture and low commodity prices, more people can by more food. over 90% of snap benefits are redeemed in 30 days. people are able to buy more. and people have to process more, truck more, truck more, sell more. all of those are jobs and we have to make sure they have to understand the economic benefits to the community as a whole. one of the things i say, we take our stability for granted. yes, we have partisan differences and get pretty passionate but we are a stable
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nation. we don't have many, many, many hungry people and food insecure folks and sometime in that month they may be hungry but we don't have deep hunger in countries that have deep satisfaction. this provides stability. marketing these programs, talking about it, not being defensive about it and going into farm buyer oofer meetings and explain to agricultural lieders, the benefits and to themselves as a way they understand that there is a significant benefit. kids on snap have better health outcomes. we want to see a transition from a sick care. so there is an opportunity also
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to talk about the opportunity that snap has on improved healthout comes. there are a multiple way of marketing this program and making sure that it's not really a welfare program, per se. it's a program to make sure that every one of our kids and considers and the folks who are working hard have enough to basically keep themselves going.
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>> maximum food stamp level with
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no other disposable income equals with that terroristy food program. and then if you have some program, the benefits are reduced. that food plan was designed many decades ago when the norm was that mothers stayed at home. lot 's based on buying a of ingredients and cooking food from scratch. we expect poor mothers to work, but we have a food plan in place that assumes they don't. i think you have a paper, hamilton has commissioned looking at this that you will be releasing on may 23. event and hamilton
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is going to look at this. when we look at the snap program, we are struck at how enormously responsive it was in the great recession. i was startled when i looked at the figures of how much less poverty bib measured that counts snap, how much less it rose and the deepest recession since the great depression and when you dig into the numbers the enormous response of snap had a lot to do with that. we have national benefit standards before 1971. we had some states cutting people off the program when their incomes reached 50% of the poverty line. this is a lead-in.
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delate, an increasing speaker ryap is welcomed. we ought to have a delate. but he called an opportunity grant that would take 11 programs including snap and allow states to merge them into ne big funding stream. but a state that has a fixed dollar amount and money wouldn't have to be used on food assistance but used for a broad ray of and there wouldn't be recession, you were a governor for two terms. i would be interested in your
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sense, would this be a big move is it a nam program or step backward in the wrong direction. secretary vilsack: he has never been a governor. when you have a block grant. it basically will fund your priorities, not necessarily the nation's needs. and part of my skepticism is this it emnates from the program. that's another thing, there are limbtations on how much ksh how long people can receive snap. and the limitations are quite severe. you have to be working or receiving training or education or limited to three months to
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benefits every 36 months. we give states 100% federal money. last year it was delrgs 320 million. and your job is to take that money and connect the work opportunities and improve the economy, jobs are being created, you link the jobs that are being created with the snap beneficiaries and work their way out of snap. you would think that every conservative governor would say, this is great. st year, $92 million was unspent by governors. this is 100% money. this isn't requiring a match. this is 100% money. and 892 million of it was unspent and you have governors saying we need to get these
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people working. i have deep concerns about precisely what is going to happen. how they are going to be utilized and i will tell you if you ever were to block grant this program, you would not have the satisfaction to get money to 85 participation raret and you would not have it nd you would have some serious consequences for the block grant. t would be used for the pelt idea. i'm all for trying new things. we put $200 million to say to governors if you want to be, apply for this money and if you come up with a great idea we
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will put more money. we have 10 states participating and we'll see what they come up with. block granting these programs and my governor colleagues will not be happy, but do not tell me that states are going to use that appropriately. people talk about the laboratories of democracy. nd there is people that forget about that. but federal dollars. and there is often not the credit that the federal government should get in investing in these innovations. i'm leery about block grants. i haven't seen governors step up. in 2009, there were state a
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little over 50% of people were receiving, that particular administration did not care enough to make sure they did not make sure that the bureaucracy was getting it out, did not care enough toll simplify the process . i'm skeptical. >> if you take the temporary assist sans for the block grant that was established in 1996, in the law, tasscor purposes is employment child care and cash assistance for poor families. if you look the data, only 50% of tanf dollars. the other 50% has gone to other states and states were able to
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take the federal dollars and substitute for previous dollars and the dollars can go wherever you want. secretary vilsack: or you provide administrative expenses. there are a multitude of budget games you can play. and there is a partnership between very freng and we review what the states are doing, we make them make them adjust and change their programs. if you block grant this money you are going to lose control of it. bob: you anticipated my next question, could we talk for a moment about the work demonstrations and in particular, the requirement that you mentioned for people aged
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18-50 moo aren't dissibled. there is an interesting history. when the 1996 welfare law was being written and the final bill had been put together by the republican congress and when it got to the house floor an amendment was offered that had not been anticipated. and the amendment was one to say or these people 18-50 couldn't only get snap three years and the ealt's lead sponsor and said this is not a harsh provision. they will be offered a work slot. a place in an actual job and
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only those who don't dake it will be limited to three yoors. i was watching this. you look at the amendment and there were no work amendments. and the program had all these work slots and never do. ob may remember -- i rer i remember president clint object's chief of staff and leon has been mr. food stamps and leon was saying, this is the mouse troubling provision because people who want to work who search for a job and cannot find one are cut off after three months. so i guess our task is how do we have work opportunities for
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people, not just cutoffs and you are trying to work in partnership with the states in these demonstration projects. secretary vilsack: it is well and good you are going to find work. but if you work in a rural community that is isolated and don't have a public transportation system and you don't have a functioning automobile or vehicle and there are no jobs being created in your small town. how do you help that person out. or returning veteran and dealing with having spridgesed the horrors of war, how do you work throw that and still be able to be employed or a single mom and child care issues and can't find
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child care. you would love to work and want to be self life independent but child careind decent or can't afford it. we are trying to figure out what the barriers are so we do what with peopledone and that can and should be working, providing them skills and have skills that are marketable. so we are looking at ways in which states want to be innovative and we are willing to look at that. maybe paying for child care, voucher or whatever. some proceedings in which we ere overcosming the barrier.
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>> in the house there was intense and partisan debate over these work issues in the snap program. but the bright note was that ultimately in conference there was bipartisan agreement and support for the $200 million demonstration project and after i was enacted, mr. secretary, remember a conversation you said we are going to let flowers bloom and let conservative
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solutions. the the issue isn't the ideology but hat works and how it informs future policy. secretary vilsack: we took another nine states and linked them up. we have 19 states that are working trying to figure out ways to do this better. and we should then say we are happy to give you this 100% nun andgive you the 50-50 money use these resources. that's the right way to reduce snap numbers. if people were reducing in the
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numbers, the easiest way to increase the minimum wage. and you are going to put them in a different category and need less nap or no snap at all. if you are reducing the snap numbers, why haven't we debating d why are we have that conversation. bob: but it relates, i would love to see us at some point at subsidized jobs program. they are mostly part in the recovery act. and there were 2350,000 job slots who couldn't get hired. republican governors qur as enthusiastic. governor haley supported and in
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the brookings report, there was a bipartisan representation to look at a subsidized jobs program. jobs and wages are the way. secretary vilsack: and we should ask ourselves. are their ways in which we could modernize. but at the end of the day. but reducing snap numbers by creating standards in terms of people's access to jobs and not taking full advantage and states issue.her nutrition true and the new standards and many states left money on the fail in term of vet program as well. and goes back to the block
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issue. if they don't like a program or don't agree with a program how can you trust them with a block grant. ob: let's turn to child knew trishon. disappointing development this morning. yesterday, the chair of the subcommittee of the house that as jurisdiction released a bill. the senate, the senate ag committee negotiated a bill, it's not a bill, a bipartisan compromise but it's a step forward and it's bipartisan. and i hope we get there. did you the bill that was released yesterday just looking at it this morning, you talked earlier about community ell gibblet. people on my staff who know these numbers looked at it and
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tell me that the draft bill or the bill just introduced would take community eligibility, a program under which schools in igh poverty areas ask launch save the money on the paperwork and where we always miss some kids where you have to do the paperwork. this bill would reduce from 18,000 to and 7,000 schools that are doing eligibility and doing it. there are three million kids in those schools. i was disappointed. i don't know if you had a chance to look at the bill viltsvills everyone who is paying deaningszose not like that provision from the school nutrition administration to
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vocates for better child nutrition, no one likes that provision and everyone sees that program that reduces the administrative burden of schools at a time they would like to edirect the resources or figuring out ways they can provide healthier snacks. that is not a very good provision and i can't imagine it would be part of a final bill and if it were, i would encourage the president to look at the bill. i don't think the president is interested in having hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of kizz disenfranchised from a program that is designed to help them to have adequate nutrition.
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>> you say i could recommend a signature on but we have a process to get there. secretary vilsack: the senate worked hard. they did listen to one another and find a way to increase our summer feeding program. but that's a program that is equally important. ids are in school for 180 days and during that period of time, unless we have more aggressive programs there are many kids who are food insecure. >> we should vote. if you look at this, dramatic results, the results are amatic on the degree with is
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enhanced nutrition benefits. the data on the degree to which irrelevant helps on the food security program is dramatic. mr. secretary, you haveal terrific review. could you talk about that. secretary vilsack: i'm proud of the fact that we have improved of the number of meals served from the summer of 2009 to last summer. we are serving half a million more kids than we did in 2009. that's the good news. million20 million to 21 kids. we are probablely feeding four million children. from is a significant delta between the school day and the summer months. we need to provide parents and
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children this e.b.t. card that they could use. a debit card to purchase additional food. why is it important to have this prament? there are many people who don't live near a summer site. they may be living in an area where it is difficult to get to where the program is operating. this would give families the opportunity to purchase additional foods so their skids kids are better fed. that would allow us over the next 10 years to increase the number of children we would be covering to get to the 20 million kids to having access to food. the president's budget proposes this 10-year ramp-up. we would see an additional
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million kids receiving benefits of the president's program. >> one note. yes, this is the final budget of president obama. and a proposal like your rebus, key proposal isn't going to happen this year. but i can't remember -- it's en a long time that has many interesting, important, new proposals to deal with poverty as this budget does and from the poverty standpoint i'm hoping people see it as the stand point and they look a at a number of ur proposals and as starting points when they think about developing the next budget. secretary vilsack: this is a president who relied on these
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same programs. so the question, you would have to have to congress is, what future president are you going , living in a . ral area so the reality is there are millions of kids and we know if they don't eat right during the summer, they aren't prepared to begin school in august and september and they will be a step or two behind. if they are a step or two behind. they wont doll very well. and eventually they drop out. and we end up then feeding these people three meals a day called a prison. it makes nore sense to short change our kids. it is in our long-term interest
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and they them to mean are going to succeed. the fact that we have 17 million kids today in the summer who struggle to find adequate nutrition, morally unacceptable. >> we are going to go tore questions and answers to the audience. [laughter] before we do, one more question, clearly, these programs are critically important and by the same token, we can't -- not only can we eliminate poverty but food insecurity you through the
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food a justment programs. you you mentioned child care. you are the white house rural counsel. you look at issues affecting particularly low-income families and rural areas across the country. could you talk to us about hunger food insecurity, poverty, from a larger rural perspective and the kinds of things you would like to see the policy makers move towards from that perspective. are rural. y: 85% when you add to of that to the fact that one out of five kids lives in poverty, we need to be focused on making those numbers improve. i advise these numbers and the
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rural council would be an appropriate applause to look at creative ways to deal with this. we have an effort which is focused on child poverty and identified 10 communities in the country that are looking at a two-generational approach to poverty. and child care and early childhood opportunities, but actually taking all of the programs and focusing on the the family and dealing with mom, dad and child. and doing this in 10 different ways of how to utilize programs. this program is designed to make sure we do a better job of educating people about the availability of programs. we find in rural communities they may not be aware of the
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communities that are in place nor do they have the sophistication in working through the federal maze to take advantage. so we are focusing on place-based nirblettives. we are taking all of our mission areas. and go down to these poor areas and we link up and 1,500 partners and say how can we help. 190,000 investments and $1236 million and how to access these programs. one thing this country needs to do, you have to have a rebuild the rural economy. and it has been innovative. when i was born in 1950, 120 million farmers.
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and the you look at it at it, the reality we didn't complement that agricultural economy with other economies that would allow people to do well. we are doing well. we have conservation and ecosystem, and biosystem economies and trying to rebuild and if you create jobs and more market opportunities for small and mid-sized operations, you will see more opportunity andless pressure on cities. and i any you will see less need for the programs we are talking about here. you have to have a strategy and direct the resources in support of that strategy until this administration -- i'm not sure we had a defined, focused on the
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very important part called rural america. i will give you one statistic about rural america. 15% of america's population, 35% to 40% is military. if you want young men and women serving the military, you want to pay attention, those young and men come from rural america. these kids are going to move and they may or may not be willing to serve our country. and i will say people in my party have not spoken as effectively as i think they need to do in those rural areas. bob: go to a number of interesting questions from the
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audience. first, how have you workt to reduce the historic significance a with snap participation? secretary vilsack: educating people through a variety of methods, who is receiving snap and talking about the economic benefits and talking about the jobs. the second thing, we have tried to integrate the snap families swoo the general flow. the card we talked about before has allowed us to move ai way from the food stamp and you may not be away that you are in line. and we tried to cre create for those folks to participate. we expanded farmers' markets and take the card to increase the
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availability of healthy fruits and wedges for snap families. and so, part of it is is better integration and better education about who is receiving snap. bob: the e.b.t. card is very important through decades and decades. you had to pull out your coupeon book and everybody could see you doing that. the card looks like any other debit card and it's hard for me to imagine what if the level of significance ma had stayed the same as it was particularly when we had food stamp coupons. 45 million benefiting. not that we are all the way there but there has been a significant reduction.
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secretary vilsack: i think so and if we would do a better job with our senior citizens and you would see who is benefiting >> the next question is really interesting. results in lowap income wage suppression? it leads to employers paying workers lower wages? secretary vilsack: i am not there are aelieve significant number of people who sit in the back room of their operation and do a calculation. i think if there is any wage suppression, it is primarily unintentional. not an intentional decision-making process.


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