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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 13, 2016 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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just --t obama: >> just waiting for the nordic leaders to write. the white house chefs went foraging in true nordic style. hef showinghould -- c her plan for the dinner. the menu including american and nordic cooking traditions rather than the typical nordic dishes of salmon. the white house is preparing salt-cured ahi tuna. e withenison tartar truffle vinaigrette.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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we are just outside the white house this evening, a few minutes after 7:00, waiting to the nordic heads of state ride. again coming from denmark, finland, iceland, norway, and sweden, expecting them to be arriving here. we will bring you back here when they do. a look back today at the white house briefing and josh earnest
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talking a little bit about the summit that was held today. mr. earnest: good afternoon, everybody. happy friday. i do not have any announcements, so we can go straight to your questions. >> i am going to start with the letter -- [indiscernible]
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>> present arms.
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>> the guests of honor having arrived. later, we will be filming the toasts to the nordic leaders. earlier today, jack lew talk to reporter at a breakfast hosted by "the christian science
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monitor."
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mr. cook: ok, we're going to start right on time this morning. i am dave cook from "the monitor." thanks for coming. our guest today is treasury secretary jacob lew. his last visit here was in july 2015, and we appreciate his coming back before his trip next week to anchorage and then to the g-7 foreign ministers' meeting in japan. our guest flirted with a journalism career while he was the editor of the forest hills high school "beacon." he evidently thought better of it, and while in college caught the washington bug working for representatives bella abzug and joe moakley, earned a bachelor's degree at harvard and a law degree at georgetown. between 1979 and 1987, he learned politics from a master in his role as principal policy advisor for the house speaker tip o'neill. as a speak assistant to president clinton in 1993 and 1994, our guest played a key role in helping design americorps. he was later deputy director and then director of omb. between 1998 and 2001, when he led the clinton budget team, the
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united states government posted a surplus for three consecutive years. he was chief operating officer of new york university and then chief operating officer for two different citigroup business units before joining the obama administration in 2009 as deputy secretary of state for management and resources. he became omb director in november 2010, white house chief of staff in january 2012, and treasury secretary in february of 2013. thus endeth the biographical portion of the program. now on to the riveting mechanical details. as always, we are on the record here. please, no live blogging or tweeting. in short, no filing of any kind while the breakfast is under way to give us time to actually listen to what our guest says. the embargo ends when our guest stops speaking. to allow you to file before the market opening, we will stop at 9:20. to help you curb that relentless selfie urge, we will e-mail
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several pictures of the session to all the reporters here as the breakfast ends, and, as regular attendees know, if you would like to ask a question, please do the traditional thing and send me a subtle, nonthreatening signal, and i will happily call on as many reporters as we can get to in the time we have this morning with secretary lew. we are going to start off by offering our guest the opportunity to make some opening comments, and then we will move to questions around the table. thanks again for doing this, sir. appreciate it. mr. lew: thanks so much. thanks for having me this morning. i feel like i'm 90 years old after hearing that biography. i wanted to touch on two things just at the top and then go to questions. and i will start with domestic and then talk about the g-7 a bit. domestically, what i want to talk about is puerto rico. we have been working very hard to try and address the growing crisis in puerto rico. it is not a crisis of the future. it is a crisis of the present. i was there on monday, and i saw firsthand with some of you what is going on right now for about
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3 1/2 million americans who live in puerto rico. i mean, there are children's units where 2-week-old babies are waiting for dialysis because dialysis has to be ordered cash on delivery with wire transfers on a daily basis to keep supplies in the hospital. it is not a future crisis. it is a current crisis. we saw schools that start out in terrible condition where deferred maintenance is raising questions about basic safety. there is a solution. the solution is that puerto rico needs to restructure its debt. puerto rico does not have the ability to do that without legislative action, and we have been working on a bipartisan basis trying to reach agreement so that puerto rico can get the tools it needs to get its fiscal house in order, to have an oversight authority that makes sure that puerto rico stays on a fiscally sustainable path. time is very short. the conversations have been
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making progress, but they need to go from making progress to crossing the finish line, and that means that there needs to be a restructuring and it has to be a restructuring that works. it cannot be something that is just called a restructuring. let me shift, if i can, to the international and talk a bit about the meetings we are going to be having next week in sendai, japan. you know, it seems like every time we approach these meetings it's the right time for finance ministers around the world to be getting together. i think right now it is particularly so given the tremendous need to make sure that we all stay focused on growing global demand, using all the policy tools that we have to accomplish that and, equally, to refrain from the kinds of things that could be harmful to the global economy, things like exchange rate policies that are getting the world into a place where you go from market-determined exchange rates to competitive devaluation.
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we have strong agreement in shanghai where the g-20 countries agreed to refrain from competitive devaluation. it is very important that that be reiterated at the meeting we have with g-7 finance ministers. a number of important and timely issues, ranging from the vote in the united kingdom on brexit to resolution of the greek debt problems, terrorist financing, cyber security, and financial regulation. i look forward to another productive set of meetings, but, as i say, i think it is an important moment for finance ministers to check in with each other personally. why don't i stop there, and happy to go to questions. mr. cook: let me do two quick ones and then we will go around the table. i've got a list of folks i'll read as soon as i do mine. you made your trip to puerto rico, the second of this year, and obviously, you have spoken about it very strongly this morning. do you have any news to share
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with us this morning about progress in terms of getting something through congress before the july 1 deadline for their $2 billion payment? mr. lew: look, i think there is progress being made. i think that the discussions continue to go forward. you have democrats and republicans in congress trying to reach agreement, but you have a lot forces on the process that make it challenging. there are a lot of individual interests that are making their views very clearly known, and i keep stressing to all the decision-makers that this is only going to work as a solution if it is a solution that is in the public interest, if it is in the interest of 3 1/2 million americans who live in puerto rico, if it is in the interest of having a stable financial outcome. i believe that as possible. i do not want to say that we are 100% there because obviously the talks are still underway. our team has provided an enormous amount of technical input, and the leaders, particularly in the house on
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both sides, are engaged. i believe it is a good-faith conversation. i do believe that there is an understanding that there is a crisis in puerto rico, and i hope that that is successful. what i know is the only way to solve the problem is for congress to act. so the time is now, and the stakes are quite high. mr. cook: let me ask you one other -- it won't surprise you -- it will veer into trump land -- you asked -- you said that it's -- the finance ministers should refrain from the kind of things that could be harmful. how much have you heard from your fellow ministers and or how much do you expect to hear about comments regarding renegotiating the u.s. debt and economic downturn, holding down the value of the dollar, or printing dollars to avoid defaulting on the debt? mr. lew: so i'm not going to comment on the political debate. one of the attributes of being treasury secretary is you do not engage in politics. one of the things you do as
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treasury secretary is spend a lot of time making sure that we have the deepest, most liquid markets in the world, that our treasuries are the definition of safety. and that is something i have devoted the last three-plus years of my time to doing. it is what i will continue to do. i think the rush to safety when you see it in markets goes to dollars. dollars are the definition of safety. we have spent hundreds of years building that reputation, and it is an important element of our economic and national security. mr. cook: we are going to go now to a reporter from bloomberg, sam fleming of the "financial times," kevin hall of "mcclatchy," heather scott of market news, jackie needham of "the hill," zack warmbrodt of politico, jon sopel of bbc, john gizzi from newsmax, and don lee from the "l.a. times," and laura barron-lopez of huff post, to start. >> hi. you are heading to china next month for the strategic dialogue for the economic relationship, and i would like to ask, against
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the backdrop of slowing global growth, china's increasing clout, and the u.s.' slight pivot toward a harder line toward china, what are the challenges you think the u.s. faces in regards to this relationship over the course of the next year? mr. lew: i think that the u.s.-china relationship -- i will limit myself to discussing the economic relationship -- but the u.s.-china economic relationship is one of the most important economic relationships in the world. we are the two largest economies in the world. the global economy will do well if we do well. it will suffer if we suffer. we have made clear in our dealings with china that they have to take steps that are good for china, but also good for the global economy, that there is a responsibility that comes with being one of the two largest economies in the world. i think we have made progress in the economic discussions, but we have a lot more progress to make. i believe that the chinese
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economic policymakers understand quite clearly what they need to do to have a strong economic path for the future. i think their challenges, not surprisingly, are political, not analytic. they know that having excess capacity that is distorting both chinese and global markets is not a sustainable economic path. on the other hand, they also have the challenge of how do you reduce that capacity and manage the human consequence of millions of jobs being lost. i am encouraged by the fact that the economic policy experts there are not doing it because they think we want them to do it, they are pushing it because they believe it is in china's economic interest. i do not take enough comfort to stop pressing because i think these are hard -- china is in the middle of one of the most
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difficult economic transitions that any country has ever gone through. to stay on the course of reform, to stay on the course of opening to market pressures, both in terms of exchange rates and goods and services, is going to be very hard. i think that we have to continue to press as we meet at the strategic and economic dialogue and in other settings, and, you know, we have made progress, we will continue to make more, but it's going to require ongoing engagement. mr. cook: we are going to go to sam fleming from the "financial times." >> good morning. a couple of questions, if i may. one interpretation -- mr. cook: let's start with one just until we get around, and then have a followup, maybe. go ahead. >> one interpretation being put on donald trump's comments about the dollar is that he no longer believes in a strong dollar policy and would move to a more competitive approach on currency. would that be the wrong path, and does that make it harder for you in your dialogue with other ministers when you have a presidential candidate making these kinds of comments? mr. lew: i speak for the
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administration based on the administration, based on the policy of this administration, echoing policies that have been consistent u.s. policies for quite a long time. you know, i think that we have watched over the last couple years where the u.s. economy's relative strength compared to other economies has led to a stronger dollar. the answer is for other economies to strengthen. it's for regions like europe, countries like china and japan to take the steps that they need to take to have their economies producing enough demand and enough economic activity so that the exchange rates naturally equilibrate through market mechanisms. we have urged -- and "urged" is a soft word -- we have exhorted countries to adhere to the commitments that we have made in the g-7 and the g-20, because if other countries start moving
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towards competitive devaluation, it will start a chain reaction, and if country a does it, country b will do it, country c will do it, and pretty soon you are in a battle over shares of a shrinking global pie. that will not help the global economy. it will not help the u.s. economy. i believe that message has been very much embraced at the g-7 and the g-20. really, since 2013, we have had strong agreements, and we have seen countries keep their agreements. we have also been very clear that if we see countries deviate from the agreements, it would be a very damaging thing and it is something that would do real harm to the global economy and to relations. so that's the position we have taken. it's the position we are taking. and as i said earlier, i'm not going to comment on any political things. >> do you want to do a followup before we go ahead, go to the
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next -- >> if i would, that would be great. it was actually more specifically on japan, if that is possible, and currency policies. clearly, you gave a very strong signal to the japanese at the imf spring meetings that markets were orderly and that it was not an appropriate time for them to be intervening. do you think that message has been heard, and what will your message be at the g-7 meetings on the same topic of the yen-dollar situation? mr. lew: you know, i addressed the issue just a few weeks ago. my view has not changed. i think that the challenge in japan is a deeper economic challenge. japan needs to bring all of its policy tools to bear. they have had a long period of economic challenge, either negative growth or flat growth. and part of the problem is they have not brought to bear all the tools, fiscal policy, monetary
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policy, and structural reform. they have used the tools, but have not done them in a coordinated way. you know, we have urged japan over the years to try to bring those efforts together. i think it is reflected in the policies that prime minister abe has announced in the three arrows. we have seen alternately more emphasis on one arrow than another, but an awful lot of emphasis has been on the monetary arrow. fiscal policy, you know, they have real challenges. they have a deficit -- a debt of roughly 200% of gdp. on the other hand, if they put the brakes on fiscal policy too soon, it will have a very negative impact, and they need to have a medium- and long-term approach to bringing their debt under control, but not to bring on short-term economic decline. structural reform is an area that has been very slow to make progress. one of the major elements of structural reform is really contained in the tpp, the
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pacific partnership, where they would undertake reform of their agriculture sector as part of their tpp commitments. i think it is one of the reasons why it is so important to maintain our unity in pressing forward on having the implementation of the agreement, but japan needs to do it for its own sake. they cannot just rely on one of the levers. they need to use all of them. so my view on japan has remained the same. >> kevin hall from mcclatchy. >> i was prepared to ask several questions -- [indiscernible] the two-pronged question about the panama papers and what keeps you up at night, separate from that. on the panama papers, why did you choose -- or, more broadly, beneficial ownership -- why did you choose not to support the existing legislation on the hill that is there, that goes -- most people think goes deeper than what yours does, and who is going to carry it, your water, on the hill, who is going to push this new obama proposal on the hill?
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and then on the what keeps you up at night, the front page of "the new york times" today talks about swift, the second breach of the swift code, the swift system, rather. were you aware of this? how concerning is it? and hedge funds losses are also piling up. how much does that trouble you -- mr. cook: that's three. >> three related questions. mr. lew: so let me start with the question about beneficial ownership. you know, we have, i believe, been one of the leaders in the world in making strides towards transparency in tax and beneficial ownership issues. we passed faca with congress and created a standard globally for the sharing of tax information so we could get at the question of tax evasion that is associated with the concern over beneficial ownership. countries around the world are adopting that standard. we actually need more legislation in the united states
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in order for us to be able to exchange information fully, so we have gone from being the leader to now needing to take steps to make sure we can take the meaningful next step to make that regime most effective. on beneficial ownership, we issued rules last week which, using authorities that we have under existing law, do a great deal to give us the ability to get more information on who the ultimate owners of various things are. on the legislative front, it is not a new proposal. we have been proposing legislation for some time. we very much want to work with congress to come up with an approach that will have bipartisan support, and enact it, because there's limits to what we can do using administrative authority. and i hope that the focus on this issue, which is not new for treasury and it's not new for the administration, but is somewhat expanded in terms of global discussion, creates an opportunity for us to make progress on that issue, even
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this year. you know, i am asked what keeps me up at night, and i have to say, given the days i lead, i sleep at night. so i never can answer that question in its literal form. i think we live in a world with considerable tail risks, and that is why you see, i think, volatility in so many moments in the markets. i think it is a mistake to focus exclusively on risks, because i think that if you look at the base case, the base case is pretty strong. it's the u.s. economy is doing well. the global economy is continuing to grow. and we cannot define the risks as the base case. on the question of cyber security, we have focused on cyber security very closely. treasury is the lead agency in the financial sector.
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we work closely with industry in coordinating with the department of homeland security and other federal agencies as issues arise. we share information and get our hands around it. i am not going to not comment on any specific matter that is under investigation. [indiscernible] mr. lew: i am just not going to comment on any specific matter that is under investigation except to say that when i meet with ceo's, you know, it is telling that for myself and for them, this is one of the issues that we are on a daily basis aware of what is going on in the areas of our responsibility. that was probably not the case 10 years ago. i think this has reached a level where it is an issue that leaders of organizations have to focus on, and that is a message that gets down deep into the organizations, that when you have an issue, you have to resolve it. you can build your defenses up to a point, but you also have to have an ability to manage, because financial institutions like so many others are faced with thousands and thousands of challenges every day.
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when one gets through, you need to fix it and make it harder the next time. but we have to keep up with it. we do need to make sure that information sharing is in a place where when a problem occurs, it is surfaced and shared so that others do not have the same exposure and so that you get to the root cause as quickly as possible. mr. cook: heather scott of market news. >> thank you. you mentioned that you want to see the g-20 -- or g-7 reaffirm its commitment to avoid competitive devaluations. this is something you said before, including -- mr. lew: we have achieved it, actually, at the last two meetings. >> correct. you said it before, because you mentioned it here in washington after the imf meetings. but you said it needs to be reaffirmed, which indicates you're concerned about possible slippage or -- in that commitment. what is the level of concern that the economic problems might lead to? mr. lew: look, i think that
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meetings are not just about communiques. meetings are about having frank conversations by the people who make these decisions. and in shanghai, there were two elements to the agreement. one was strong language agreeing to refrain from competitive devaluation. the second was an agreement to communicate so that there would be no surprises amongst the g-20 countries. it is very important, because there can be no miscues and missed signals, and there are legitimate concerns that many g-7 and g-20 countries have about their own domestic economies. and we have been clear since the agreement reached in 2013 that domestic tools that are used for domestic purposes, like our quantitative easing, are different than exchange rate targeting to gain competitive advantage. and that is just a very important conversation to keep fresh, because economic conditions do not remain static,
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the pressures are not the same from month to month and year to year. but the concern to have a stable global economy in a system where we are working together to try and increase growth and grow demand and not taking actions that will have a contrary effect is very important, because when we have around the table the key finance ministers and central bankers of the largest economies of the world, the decisions we make actually have an impact. >> thank you -- [indiscernble] drawing in the markets, that that might be a real risk -- mr. lew: you know, i have been focused on this for the last 3 1/2 years. you can fill in the blank as to where the concern is based on what current events are. but it is a deep conviction. you know, one of the things that was part of passing the trade promotion authority in the house was giving us new authority to expand our foreign exchange
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report to look at the kind of leading indicators of what might be concerns in terms of currency practices. we put out our first report. it did not find that any country had crossed all of the lines. but it put some kind of yellow lights up there which have caused a lot of, i think, constructive international discussion. i suspect i will have conversations about that. mr. cook: vicky needham from "the hill." >> just a quick followup on what dave asked you earlier. are you optimistic about this puerto rico bill going through the house since it kind of keeps getting delayed? and, two, how are things going with the financial services industry on the tpp provision that they have trouble with? are you optimistic that tpp will still get through this year in congress despite all the political rhetoric? mr. lew: so i think the substance is more important than the schedule as long as it gets done in time on puerto rico. i think rather than have a bill
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that there's not agreement on a day earlier, it is better to wait a day and try to reach agreement. so i would not confuse delaying a day with lack of progress. sometimes a delay can be a sign of progress if you're getting close to something. what the jury is still out on is whether we will get to that point where we can all agree that there is a restructuring package that will work. our standard has been quite clear and quite simple. there has to be enough of the credit in the restructuring for the restructuring to work, and the mechanism has to be clear and certain enough that it will work. and there's a lot of technical detail behind it. but that is what we are struggling to achieve. there are a lot of stakeholders out there who do not want to have their debt part of the conversation. if they succeed in pulling their credit out, it might be called restructuring, but there's not enough on the table to effect a restructuring that works. so that is what this is really about, and it is not nothing unusual. i am not shocked that there are
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individual stakeholders who want to have a provision that protects their interests. but if those interests get protected, 3 1/2 million american citizens in puerto rico will not have an economic future. and that is what this is about. we have to make sure this is in the public interest, not just in some private interest. that restructuring is not a radical idea. restructuring used to be considered a conservative idea. it is a way to avoid bailouts. it is a way for the people who have taken risks to bear the burden of their own risks. puerto rico is an unusual spot because as a territory it does not have access to any orderly restructuring process. the alternative to an orderly restructuring is a chaotic unwinding. that will hurt puerto rico, but it will also create risks. we have not had a chaotic unwinding of a municipality or a sovereign entity in the united states in a very long time. that is more of a risk to the kind of confidence markets than
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a restructuring is, because a restructuring will create confidence if there is a clear and sustainable path forward. so that is what we are trying to achieve. i do believe we're making progress. i do believe that there's a shared understanding that it is urgent. we're not yet at the point where everybody is together. hopefully, we will continue to make progress even over the next days. time is of the essence because july 1, there is $2 billion of debt that comes due. and between now and then, the pain will increase in terms of day-to-day life in puerto rico, but come july 1, that will be a default of tremendous size. getting at credit with a character that is constitutionally protected, which will force the commonwealth to make very dire cuts. if this gets to the point where they cannot pay their police and fire, you will ratchet it to a whole new level of crisis. i did not get your second question -- mr. cook: tpp -- she wanted to ask about tpp -- mr. lew: can i take a minute on
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that? so -- mr. cook: sure, and especially where you have both hillary clinton and trump saying negative things about it. mr. lew: on the data localization provision, which is what you are really asking about, let me start by kind of just defining why it is challenging, but i believe there is a pathway forward. there are two competing positive objectives that i believe we share with, certainly, the regulators and most of the financial industry. one is data localization as a general principle is something we oppose because it is a nontariff barrier to try to create local jobs by having server farms in your country. in the financial services sector, there is a real need for domestic regulators to have access to information in real-time. and that is something that the industry recognizes and regulators feel very strongly about. there has been a history of where it has been a problem for
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regulators to get at data when they need it, even during our financial crisis. the challenge here is how to find a balance where regulators have the information they need when they need it, and you cannot have frivolous claims of the need for data localization just in order to create a nontariff barrier. i believe there is a path forward. i have been working closely with the regulators. i have been working closely with the industry. you know, this is not a case of a radical difference of objective. it is just hard because it is technically a complicated area. and regulators i think appropriately are concerned that we not open up a space where in the next financial crisis they do not have access to the data that they need when they need it. so we are working toward a solution and making real progress, and, you know, i do not believe it will ultimately be an issue that is an obstacle to making progress on tpp, which i believe we will get done this year. mr. cook: zack warmbrodt from
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politico. >> thank you. could you talk about how the united states is going to allow more investment in iran without allowing dollar clearing? and do you want to respond to the hsbc legal officers' op-ed in "the journal" yesterday saying they plan to do no new business in iran? mr. lew: i think the policy of the u.s. government has been very clear. we have worked across the u.s. government to put the maximum pressure on iran for a long time to come to the table, to negotiate a resolution of the nuclear issues, and to get iran to step away from developing a nuclear weapon and to close all the pathways. we achieved that in the negotiations, and the purpose of sanctions is you put sanctions in place to get an outcome -- in this case, the nuclear agreement -- and then you have to remove the sanctions, or else there is no incentive for sanctions to produce the policy outcome that you are looking for. we have been very clear. i have been very clear.
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the nuclear sanctions were lifted on implementation day because iran complied and we complied. we make an agreement, we keep an agreement. that is critically important. we have gone around the world to make clear what that means, what sanctions have been lifted, and what that permits. it is not our job to tell businesses what business decision to make. but it is our job to make sure they understand what the risks of sanctions are and what they are not. now, iran obviously continues to be subject to sanctions for other reasons. they are subject to sanctions for their support of terrorism, for their regional destabilization, for their human rights practices, and those are very important issues. we have continued to designate entities under that even in the last several weeks. that doesn't mean there is not a space where the lifting of the nuclear sanctions opens the possibility for firms to do business. that is the message we are conveying.
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there are different rules for u.s. firms than there are for international firms because we have an embargo and other countries do not have an embargo. and it is understandably a complicated terrain. i believe that, you know, we have to keep our part of the bargain in the iran deal as long as iran keeps its part of the bargain, and i think we have to be clear in communicating that, but firms have to make their own decisions as to what level of risk they are willing to take and who they are prepared to do business with. mr. cook: we're going to go next to jon sopel from the bbc. >> can i ask you, your assessment of brexit and whether you think it could tip the u.k. economy into recession, and what headwinds it might produce for the global economy and the u.s. economy. mr. lew: you know, i have been clear in my comments over the last few months. the president was very clear in his comments recently when he was in the united kingdom. it is a decision for the people
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of the united kingdom to make, but our evaluation is that it is both economically and in terms of geopolitical stability in the best interests of europe and the united states and the kind of global stability for the u.k. to stay in. we are talking a few minutes ago about the tail risks that are in the world. many of those tail risks are not economic. many of them are geopolitical. europe being stable and strong is a source of strength. europe being more challenged and threatened is a source of anxiety. one can get specific about what the economic consequences are. i know that her majesty's treasury has put out some analysis that i have looked at that suggests on a household basis there is substantial risk,
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in that there will be shrinkage in u.k. economy. whether that drives you from growth to recession, i do not know. but we all in roles like mine look to try to grow economies and grow household income and to avoid policies that shrink economies and shrink household income. so it seems to me to have a powerful message there. the future of a negotiation like ttip offers a lot of benefit to europe and the u.k. i think there is a host of reasons why, from economic to geopolitical considerations, it is better for the outcome to be the u.k. staying in. but again, it is a decision the people of the u.k. have to make. mr. cook: john gizzi from newsmax for our next -- >> thank you, dave. mr. secretary, i know you said the secretary does not get involved in politics, he stays away. so would it probably be a waste of a question to ask how the
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credit markets and central banks internationally would react to a donald trump election? mr. lew: well, now you are in two areas i do not comment on. >> that is what i thought. but give it a try. mr. cook: a sneaky way to get a third question. go ahead. >> third, ok. the other question i did want to ask was, you talked about the u.s. economy, the global economy growing, and yet the simple way of asking questions, why aren't americans shopping more? macy's has had a 60% drop in retail, as you probably have read, and americans are simply not shopping and purchasing right now. why, and will this change? mr. lew: well, first of all, i do not think that is an accurate description of the u.s. consumer. we have seen from the beginning
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of this year a strong u.s. consumer. we have seen very strong automobile sales. we have seen strong retail sales. i am not going to comment on firm-by-firm earnings, but while we have been sitting here, retail sales numbers come out, we will see what the latest numbers are. but the trend in retail sales has generally been quite positive. the u.s. economy is 85% consumer driven. the consumer is driving the growth against pretty substantive international headwinds in terms of demand that is weak. so i actually think that both in the united states and globally the description of the u.s. consumer as weak is not correct. you know, there are different experiences in different sectors and firm-by-firm experiences based on their businesses. i am not going to comment on that. but i do not think that that is an accurate portrayal of where the u.s. consumer is. >> don lee from the "l.a. times." >> the administration and your department in particular have issued a number of administrative actions, regulations -- [indiscernible] including protection --
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mr. lew: i can't quite hear you. >> i wonder if there are more, especially consumer protection regulations that you would be rolling out and what kind of legacy the administration would have on terms of defending consumer protection? and then, if i may, mr. secretary, on puerto rico, i wonder if you have concerns about the rescue package, what implications or what precedent that it may have for a state like illinois, which is in dire financial straits? mr. lew: in terms of consumer protections, there are many parts of the government that address that, but we are particularly focused on at treasury is the consumer financial protection bureau how important the work that it does is. there was not an agency before the creation of cfpb that watched out for consumer interests the way cfpb does. if you get a mortgage today and
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you see the documents that go along with that mortgage, people can read them and understand them. they could not before. there are practices that contributed to the financial crisis that may not have happened if people understood what they were buying and what they were committing to. i think the cfpb in so many areas has done important work, and not just that it has done important work, it has done work that has been widely seen as constructive by both consumer and even business groups, that i find somewhat perplexing and confusing the attacks on the cfpb that continue. we will continue to defend the work that is done there and the agency and resist attempts to roll back something that we think has just been incredibly important, and i think director cordray has done an extraordinary job establishing the cfpb with a high standard of quality of work and outcomes that make a difference in a way that actually, when you talk to
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people in business privately, they are pretty impressed by. in terms of puerto rico and the precedents, i do not believe that there is a risk of this being something that triggers the kind of reaction that some of the very deceptive advertising has created fears of. first of all, the markets understand that puerto rico is different than other municipal credits. the spreads for puerto rico credit have not been spilling over into other issues. in the municipal market, credits are looked at really within the four corners of the risk that investors are considering. as far as whether this is a precedent for states, the legislation is territorial legislation. it does not apply to states. the territories are exempt from our current restructuring laws because of a provision that
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frankly has no legislative history, that it is hard to get an explanation of why. and i think that the lack of a restructuring authority in puerto rico is something that has to be fixed. if you are a governor, you have quite a lot of tools at your disposal to solve a debt problem and an economic problem. a territory by virtue of its size and the scope of options available is fundamentally different. it has a status that is unique, and at the moment it is neither fish nor fowl. it does have the tools that a state has. it does not have the tools that his city has. if congress does not respond and give puerto rico the ability to restructure its debt, the only alternative it has is a chaotic unwinding, and then question of a bailout will be presented, and i do not see any support for a bailout, which means the only solution in puerto rico is orderly restructuring.
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i do not believe there is a governor in this country who would voluntary step in to the kind of oversight and challenges that is involved in what puerto rico will go through if this legislation, when this legislation is passed, you know, because they have a different kind of tax base, they have a kind of spending base. because they have a different kind of tax base, they have a kind of spending base. mr. cook: we've got about eight minutes left -- mr. lew: and excuse me, puerto rico is unique in terms of the amount of debt it has and the extent of the insolvency. mr. cook: got about eight minutes left. we're going to go to laura barron-lopez of huffington post. >> hi, thank you. going back to iran for a second, they suggested that u.s. primary sanctions have prevented them from accessing frozen assets, and i am just wondering is there any consideration of granting them access to u-turn transactions to address that? mr. lew: yeah, we have not given any daylight on this question of u-turns. i think you have to distinguish
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u-turns from foreign banks doing business in dollars. the dollar is the world's reserve currency. financial transactions in financial institutions around the world take place in dollars. that is very different than a u-turn where our financial system is part of the transaction. and i think some of the opponents of the iran deal have tried to conflate the two. you know, as long as the dollar is the reserve currency of the world, it will be used in financial systems other than the united states. that is really different than opening the u.s. financial system. mr. cook: david lawder from reuters. >> thanks, dave. i just want to come back to the swift network. is the swift network safe? has the treasury tested it and you find that it is secure? also, on the g-7, a lot of these countries are having very much difficulty with china's imports from china right now. a lot of their overcapacity is
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coming to their shores, including ours. what sort of message will the g-7 have for china, given that china really will not be at the table. mr. lew: i am not comment on any of the specific investigations that are going on now regarding the cyber issues other than to say that every time there is an incident, it is taken very seriously by all of the relevant authorities, and there's no exception here. in terms of china and its impact on markets, we obviously have conversations in different groups at different times. we are going to be meeting at the g-7 next week. just a couple of weeks later, we will be in china for our strategic and economic dialogue, and later in the summer in july, will be back in china for another g-20 meeting. we will have many occasions over the next several months to continue this conversation in appropriate settings. you know, i think that the impact of china on the global economy has different ramifications depending on what
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your economy is doing. if you are an emerging market, the impact is largely the slowing of demand for commodities. if you are a manufacturing economy, it is a question of whether chinese economic conditions are distorting global markets like steel. i think there's a pretty broad concern that china's overcapacity in things like steel and aluminum is distorting global markets. that's why there has been so much focus in bilateral conversations with china on the need to continue the reform program and to put in place policies that will start to shrink the excess capacity. and in the week after that g-20 meeting in shanghai, china had a meeting of its national people's congress where they unveiled policies that would shrink their excess capacity. the challenge now is to
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implement those policies and to do it in a way that is effective. they will have to worry about the human impact, you know, just as when we talk about trade policies, we talk about things like trade adjustment assistance. they will have to take some measures to cushion the blow for workers, but it cannot be by propping up industries that are producing excess capacity or it will backfire. now, they have to take the steps in their system, which is complicated, because the state- owned enterprises and the local governments and the social structure are all closely connected. but it is not all that complicated. if they do not reduce excess capacity, they won't stop distorting global markets. mr. cook: we're going to go next to ian talley of "the wall street journal."
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>> thank you. there has been some disagreement, it seems, between tokyo and washington over the yen's movement. you have said it is orderly. tokyo has said it is disorderly. "disorderly" is the appropriate term for intervention under the g-7 agreement. do you think if tokyo were to intervene now, would it be an inappropriate intervention? would it be competitive devaluation? and, secondly, on greece and its debt, the imf has been pushing for a credible program that adds up. is there risk that a compromise between germany and athens could breach this credibility exercise, not getting enough debt relief, not having credible exercises on a fiscal policy? is the u.s. going to support only a credible exercise? mr. lew: i think on the question of exchange rate policy, we have been crystal clear about our views, and, more importantly, we have strong agreements in the
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g-7 and the g-20. japan is a signatory to those understandings. they have kept their commitments. it is important for all countries who make commitments in the g-7 and g-20 to keep them, and we will continue to have discussions. it is important, as i said earlier, that one of the things we agreed to was to consult with each other so there would be no surprises. on the question of greece, i believe that debt relief is a critically important part of the conversation. the time for that is now. it should not be put off. greece is enacting legislation to implement very difficult provisions of the program that they agreed to. they have more steps to take. i have made it clear to greece
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that they need to continue to take the steps that they have committed to. but i have very much indicated to all of the parties that we believe that debt relief is necessary. i think the imf has been advocating a number of things, both in terms of the need for debt relief, but also they have argued that the targets for savings are too high, that you have a tension here where some of the europeans are looking for very high savings, resisting debt relief, and in that world it is a hard problem to solve. there will have to be some give in these conversations. i think that there is a space where the parties could agree. there is some optimistic news coming out of conversations that happened at the finance ministers' meetings this week, but, frankly, one of the topics that i will be talking to people about on the sidelines of the g-7 meeting next week is exactly where they are, because one of the things we have made clear is that it is just not going to be a good thing for the global economy or for geopolitical stability for there to be a repeat of the kind of dramatic crisis that we have seen in greece in the past.
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you know, particularly at a time when you are approaching a vote in the u.k. on brexit, it would be a very unfortunate moment to have another round of high-wire negotiations on greece. all the parties have said that they believe this can be resolved in may. i have yet to see where that point of agreement is, but, obviously, i hope next week to -- that we see the signs of progress there. mr. cook: we are at the time we agreed to stop. i want to apologize to colleagues who did not get a question, and i want to thank you, mr. secretary, for taking the time to do this. we really appreciate it. mr. lew: thank you. good to be with you. mr. cook: hope you come back. thank you, sir. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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x we will have more on puerto rico's debt crisis on this week's newsmakers with our guest congressman rob bishop during the national -- natural resources committee which is drafting a debt relief bill. here's a preview. >> you have tried several different versions of legislation to try to leave the territory with $7 billion in debt. is this something you think that you can get past? yeah, all the versions that have been out there that people are
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referencing, the fundamental issue has already -- always been the same. there needs to be some way of providing security so there will be an oversight board that will go down there, work with the government to come up with a plan in which they will get their financial house in order, they will be able to pay off their debt and then they will work with the creditors who, by and large want to save puerto rico. they want to get their money back so they will be able to come up with that plan. the board will have the ability of making sure that plan is adhered to and follow through. that gives the security to the creditors so they can stay involved and they may have some readjustments or restructuring of the debts they have, most of it will be voluntary. we can get some kind of financial order going forward. that is based on precedent. it has been done in the past. i'm confident it will work here. the basic concept of what we want to do has been agreed to by everyone that is a player's i think regardless of what the final version is, that basic
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structure will be there. something -- you have had a lot of opposition from different sides and it has been not to the central structure of the bill but to smaller parts. creditors are concerned they will not be a priority. democrats in congress are concerned about a couple of provisions involving lowering minimum wage for younger workers. what compromises have you made to some of these people who are concerned about this bill and do you think that your final version will be able to make it through congress? each was a copper mice. the common bond is the underlying assumptions that there will be no bailout, they will not be government money going down there, taxpayers will be held harmless but everyone will get paid. the investors will get paid whether it is pensions or the
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generalhe ones that are obligation bonds, all those will propertyhole and rights will be respected and the constitution of puerto rico will be respected at the same time. all those things have not changed and that will be the basis of what is going on. mexican watch the rest of the interview this sunday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. eastern time here on c-span. "q&a."sunday night on on the american involvement in the spanish civil war in the late 1930's. >> this coup attempt happened in spain when all over the country, right-wing army officers tried to seize power and in parts of the country succeeded in seizing power in 1936. it sent a shout wave -- shockwave of alarm throughout
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the world. here was a major company -- country in europe, the right wing military quickly backed by hitler and mussolini who sent arms, airplanes, tanks, tankers and miscellany sent 80,000 ground troops, here was the spanish right making a grab for power and people all over the world felt it out to be resisted. it is not here, where? otherwise we are next. click sunday night at eight eastern and pacific. the leaders of five nordic countries, iceland, norway, sweden, denmark, and finland are in washington, d.c. for meetings with president obama. here is the scene as they arrived at the white house earlier this evening for state dinner. we will bring you more from the dinner later tonight on c-span.
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[indistinct conversations] [indistinct conversations]
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[indistinct conversations] reefingis daily press josh earnest discussed the reason white house director on -- directive on transgender students in public schools and answered questions about the zika virus and syrian refugees. this is one hour 20 minutes. ernest: happy friday. glad it is finally here. i do not have any announcements
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to begin so we can go straight to your questions. >> thank you. letter onrt with the transgender and bathrooms in schools. there was -- [indiscernible] called the letter blackmail and the district is doing everything -- she said this is about to divide the country and [indiscernible] ernest: this is about electing a right-wing radio host to a state wide elected office. let's just walk through the fact here. the first is this is a guidance issued by the apartment of education and the department of justice. in response to a request for
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information from school administrators. the national association of secondary school principals put forward a specific formal request to the department of education about how to create the kind of respectful, inclusive environment that school administrators across the country are seeking to maintain. these principles are interested in making sure they are acting consistent with the law. they sought guidance because you're not interested in a political argument. they are interested in practical suggestions about how they can confront this challenge they face every day. so let's just be clear about what is included in the guidance. it is not at additional requirements to the applicable law. the guidance does not require any student to use shared
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facilities when schools make alternate arrangements but what the framework does provide his advice for how school administrators can protect the dignity and safety of every student under their charge and that advice includes practical, tangible, real-world suggestions have tol administrators do with this issue. politicalt rely on arguments that are framed as a solution to a problem that nobody can prove exists. they actually have to deal with the responsibilities that they ,ave to promote an inclusive respectful environment for all of their students and with the department of education has issued today is specific, tangible, real-world advice and
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suggestions to school administrators across the country about how exactly they can do that. it seems as though the administration is trying to paint this as a major civil rights issue. it is not just pragmatic everyday guidance. [indiscernible] ernest: ms. lunch was talking about with the department announced with regard to a specific law state -- passed by the state of california. this does not add any additional requirements to any school district or state under the applicable law. this is in response to extensive requests for guidance and for advice that have been put forward by school administrators and teachers and
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in some cases, even parents who are seeking practical solutions to this challenge and the challenge here is not to isolate anybody, it is not to disseminate against anybody, it is not to make anybody unsafe, it is to ensure that our schools are is inclusive and respectful and safe as they can possibly be. that is why the guidance we put forward includes tangible, specific suggestions for how they can be achieved. let me give you one example. there are some school district across the country that have sought to enhance the privacy of their students by making relatively minor changes to shared use facilities. in some cases that means just putting up curtains so people have more privacy when they are changing their clothes or taking shared in what had been use facilities. that is something that benefits all students and that is what we are looking for, solutions that protect the safety and dignity
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of every single student in the school. schools -- if schools do not follow this there is a threat that they could lose funding. stronglyt: it is my held belief and i am pretty sure i'm going to be right that the schoolsrest majority of and school districts administrators across the country will welcome this guidance and will increment it -- implement it. for those who do not there is a process to reasoning concerns any may have and there is established process for that and we will go through it. the vast majority of schools and school administrators will incorporate this advice is the confront the challenge of ensuring that they are promoting safeind of respectful, learning environment that can ensure the success of all of their students.
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>> chairman robert talked about measure, at one point he mentioned, $1 trillion. are you prepared to talk about whether $1.1 trillion is enough a? fight the debt -- zik mr. earnest: i don't want to speak on chairman rogers' should putut we forward our funding request for what is necessary to do everything possible to protect the american people from the zika virus. time wasted, and you saw that from the graphic we earlier this week, as the weather warms up,
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as the mosquito population grows, the risk to pregnant women and their babies all across the country's grows. time forlong past people like chairman rogers. he is the chairman of the appropriations committee. when our health professionals say they need resources to help the american people, they're looking to chairman rogers to see what he is doing. here we are three months after our proposal that he comes forward with a much smaller one, that is inconsistent with of our public health officials. from also inconsistent input from republican and democratic governors across the country. they said they need urgent congressional action to provide forces to keep americans safe. proposal is put forward, i would encourage the chairman to consult with governors who are responsible for the safety of the citizens of their stay, and the public health professionals who are
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taking a look at this. and, understanding what can be done and should be done to ensure the security and the safety of the american people, and particularly, pregnant women and their babies. >> does the administration have any understanding of who was responsible for his death, and what impact this may have? certainlyt: i have seen reports that mustafa burr dean was killed in syria. we noted the fact that preparations are underway for his funeral. hezbollah's top military commander in june of 2011. the lebanon charged him with the 2005 attack that killed former prime minister leary. 2012, the u.s.of had sanctions against hezbollah
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leaders, including him. expose, and expose the indiscriminate terrorist acts. we have noted that the syrian regime and hezbollah have a long military alliance. hezbollah leaders have weapons fromuted iran into lebanon. dhe interplay between the assa regime and hezbollah has been well chronicled. we have heard reports of his death, we cannot independently confirm them. is,thing that i can confirm there were no u.s. or coalition in the area where he was reported to be killed.
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but i cannot further confirm their reports. [indiscernible] the arnest: the of -- assad regime relies heavily on hezbollah for the chaos within syria. what hezbollahom has carried out. it is hard for me to draw any firm conclusions about the operational impact this would have. but the concerns we previously ipressed about hezbollah ourk are consistent with theing efforts to reduce
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violence in syria, and get all of the parties to abide by the cease-fire. those are our priorities, because we want political solutions inside the chaos in syria. >> how concern is the administration about legal challenges? you said the vast majority of schools will implement the guidance, but if they do not, what happens to them? will you follow up with them, and punish them? there is an established process for schools in the department of education to discuss the guidance they have been provided. reiterate, and this is important for those interested in the legal aspect of this -- there is no
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additional requirement, that under the applicable law, is being imposed on students. despite political opponents of the administration. desire, on theng part of some politicians, to try and score some cheap political by presenting a solution to a problem they cannot prove exists. what the administration has tried to do is provide, at the request of school administrators, practical, real-world advice they can use in their school communities to address this challenge. that is the practical offering the we have put forward here. it is a lot different than the argument that others are making. for example, is the texas attorney general suggesting that station be practical to
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a law-enforcement officer outside of every public bathroom in an educational facility, and check people's birth certificates on the way in? that is not somewhat a practical application to me. and it does not sound like small government, to me. that something government intrusion, to me. what exactly is the practical argument or suggestion that they are making? they have somet sharp political arguments that years of morning drive time radio in houston. but school of ministers don't have the benefit of just talking. they have a functional responsibility to protect the safety and dignity of every student at their school. the vast majority of schools ministers take that responsibility quite seriously. they will welcome the
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guidance of the department of education today. >> a lot of times when a or directive comes from a federal agency, it is per trade as a white house action. could you address what this --nsgender bathroom issue how unitarian is the executive -- is the white house and obama administration's anonymous, for all intents and purposes? mr. earnest: this is the department of the -- responsibility of the department of education. they have to consider this for schools all across the country. it is the responsibility of the department of education, but you would expect the white house to be responsible for coordinating decisions made by policies. ofthe white house was aware
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the policy deliberations that have been underway for quite some time. this is thely, responsibility and function of the department of education. they're the ones who received requests from schools all across the country, and they're the ones putting forward guidance for how schools can deal with this particular situation. >> what is the rationale the administration has come to? mr. earnest: i am happy to be overruled by an attorney that you can consult after this, but let me try. my understanding is that title is about preventing sex discrimination in public institutions. areidea that individuals discriminated against because of their gender identity is the basis for the guidance that we are putting forward.
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nobody should be discriminated against because of who they are. is, rules should apply to everybody equally. that is the basis of this guidance. that every student should have to facilities that every access to.nt has nobody should be discriminated against because of who they are. that is the basis for this guidance. that is also why we say, no student is forced to use shared facilities. if there are alternate facilities available, made available by administrators, then every student should have access to those, as well. >> why shouldn't local communities be making these very intimate decisions? how does the federal government know what is best in so many different communities where there are different cultural sensitivities?
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why is this not a local matter? mr. earnest: it is a local matter, that is exactly the position of the obama administration. we are providing specific suggestions based on examples of that we have collected from across the country. the guidance it presents is not additional under the applicable law. it does not provide any obligation for a student to use a shared facility. rather, what it does is, we have consulted with schools all and surfaceduntry, good suggestions. in some cases, even best practices, for addressing the situation. guidance,e essence of the essence of the coordinating role that the department of education plays. at the same time, there is a long history of the federal government plane important role in making sure people are not disseminated against.
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>> regarding the health care law, what is the difference? how does this apply to the transgender community specifically now? mr. earnest: this is a good example of what i was just talking about. part of theew rule, limitation of the affordable care act, that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, age, or disability. and it ensures that individuals with limited english proficiency can access language assistance with their health care. again, a responsibility of the federal government, and this has been true throughout our nation's history, ensuring that people are not discriminated against. this is true in health care, as well. true of any potential sex discrimination, but is also
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relevant to discrimination targeted at people because of perceived, because of disabilities, because someone is pregnant, does not speak english very well. we believe people should be treated the same and afforded the same opportunities regardless of these individual characteristics. how are transgender issues different? was there an identifiable problem out there that required this? broaderest: it is much than just applying to the transgender community. but the transgender community is included. in the same way we want to prevent discrimination against pregnant women, we want to make preventing discrimination against transgender women and people who don't speak english very well,
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or people who do not -- people who have a specific disability. we want to make sure transgender men are not discriminated against, either. towhat about access transition drugs and medications and services? was that something be in ministration was concerned about, in terms of refining this rule? the wayest: in terms of it has an impact on individual refer care decisions, i you to health and human services for answering that question. look, the idea behind this specific rule is to event discrimination against a wide range of groups. there are reports of immigration raids. -- there isinton the belief that the
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administration will conduct huge s, rounding up specific numbers of people across the in significant numbers. is that true, or is something different happening now? mr. earnest: this is an excellent question. we are talking about dhs enforcement actions. there are limitations to what i can say, but let me understand you -- help you understand the policy dhs is implementing. the first, something secretary johnson himself has said, the operations that are underway are merely the continuation of operations that were announced in january and in march. those operations are conducted under the rubric under the guidance that president obama and secretary johnson put in place in november of 2014.
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that is guidance that made a priority of individuals who are current -- convicted criminals, a threat to public safety, or individuals apprehended after crossing the border after january 1 of 2014. our priorities are people who pose a threat to the community, convicted criminals, or who have only recently crossed the border. those priorities remain in place , and are followed even as these operations continue. let me say two more things. if first, no one is removed they have an ongoing, pending claim or appeal for asylum or some other form of relief. people are given access to due process. that is a foundational role for all of this. the only people who are the targets of these operations are those who are subject to an order by an immigration court for removal.
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also,eople who have exhausted any potential claims that they have for humanitarian relief. the last thing, dhs enforcement what ialso follow understand is to be long-standing guidance that ensures the operations are not conducted in sensitive places. these are not conducted in schools, hospitals, or places of worship. >> is there no reason to fear that the number of deportations now, because there is a specific operation that is underway different from what is normally going on? what he described is that the operations going on now is a continuation of those previously announced. i think we would anticipate that the deportation numbers would continue to go up. this administration is serious about enforcing the law. i know our political opponents do not like to it knowledge that
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fact. but we have made clear how we will use law enforcement resources to enhance our border security, to enhance the security of borders around the country. we will enforce our laws. this is something president obama is committed to. we will have more resources to do that if republicans and the house of representatives had not brought comprehensive reform legislation, which included border security. that todaynjoy because house republicans blocked the passage of the legislation. objecting the people to this are speaking to secretary clinton and senator sanders, who i would not think you would consider opponents. president obama is interested in enforcing the law.
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>> i had a couple questions on the gender guidelines put out last night. given that north carolina's house bill 2 is a part of this, and is headed to the court, why does the white house feel the need to put out this directive? is responsivehis to requests we have received all across the country, from school administrators and parents, and others. to the not a response ongoing legal dispute related to hb2. this is a response to requests the department of education has received from people all across the country. >> doesn't suggest you are putting the white house on the scale? clearrnest: we have been about the need to keep enforcement action separate from political interference.
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this is not enforcement action. this is a policy decision made by the department of education. and yes, the white house was appropriately involved in coordinating the policy decision. ultimately, it is the responsibility of the department of education to make policy decisions and communicated to the schools and administrators all across the country. notably, it is not enforcement action. it does not add a requirement to the applicable law, and it does not impose requirements on students for the use of shared facilities. you mentioned lieutenant -- underscores the risk of hiring a right-wing radio host. house, whenhe white the supreme court ruled on how much ofriage, this is political consideration
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in these guidelines? mr. earnest: as i pointed out before, the guidelines contain practical advice and suggestions for school and ministers across the country, that have to deal with this challenge inside their communities. they do not have the luxury of relying on political arguments that are an attempt to score that proposents, to address a solution to a problem that does not actually exist. these are school of ministers trying to do the right thing. they are trying to promote dignity and security for the students in their schools. what the department of education has put forward our practical suggestions for how exactly they can do that, consistent with the law. >> it has been hailed by a number of organizations [indiscernible] i'm not surprised
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to hear people say we should not discriminate against people because of who they are, i think most americans agree with that notion. that is part of why i anticipate that school at miss traders across the country will welcome the guidance. -- administrators across the country will welcome the guidance. they recognize that they have a challenge they have to deal with. frankly, they do not have the axury of participating in partisan argument with a radio host. for the responsible doing and he and safety of the students under their care. they need useful tools for considering a range of options they can use to do exactly that. little to do with politics, except for our critics, who want to make this entirely about politics. this administration is interested in providing workable, practical solutions to
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school administrators, who are trying to provide for the safety and dignity of the students under their care. is it the intention of the administration but the guidance toter be seen as a threat deny federal funds to school districts that do not comply with the policy decision, as interpreted by doe and the doj? mr. earnest: no, they should not view it that way. they should view it as a guidance, a framework for dealing with a very straightforward challenge. how do school administrators all thats the country ensure they are protecting both the safety and dignity of every single student at the school? it is as simple as that. what the department of education has done, is drawn on their own internal expertise, and the creative solutions that have
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been implement it by school administers all across the country, to put all that good information in one place and provide practical advice to school administrators who are trying to solve this problem. that is a good thing. what is undeniably true, is the foundation of this guidance, the principle that people should not be discriminated against just because of who they are. administrators do not have a glamorous job. who feel individuals quite passionate about their work, see it as a calling. they're preparing the next generation of americans to succeed. they want to create a learning environment where every student can feel safe and included. where every student can feel respected. that is what the vast majority of school and ministers are interested in.
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will use thisity guidance, carefully consider the suggestions put forth by the department of education, and put forward a solution that works in their communities. that is the way this should work. may see the guidance letter as an implied threat of the loss of federal funds. titlethe provisions of nine, schools that receive federal funds are obligated to comply with the provisions are state affords under the guidance letter. importance: there is know why theto guidance is being issued. it is clear what we are interested in, here. the department of interest -- wants to provide guidance to school administrators, trying to do the right thing. they want to prevent people from being discriminated against and make sure every student in their
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school has their safety and dignity protected. >> do you have further guidance on the -- legislation? aboutrnest: the bill world war ii air force veterans? i don't believe we have received that from congress yet. that ande tracking will keep you posted on that. but the president does intend to sign it. do you know why the president asked for ave burial for these women without legislation? know ifest: i do not his authority as commander-in-chief could've been used for that purpose. but we do welcome bipartisan legislation from congress, to make the exercise of that authority unnecessary.
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[indiscernible] yesterday you said that as a result of review, [indiscernible] re: sending a mixed message? no, i do not think it is a mixed message. this guidance put forth by the department of education does not impose any new requirements. it is guidance issued to school administrators and districts all across the country. the conversation we have been having has been centered on the state of north carolina. and what impact of their law
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on their compliance with the civil rights act. was related to specific legislation that was passed almost literally in the dark of night by legislation that met at a one-day session to pass the bill. it was signed the same day by the governor. the rebuke from business leaders in north carolina and business leaders contemplating doing business in north carolina, has been forceful. thes an indication that legislation that was passed by the state legislature was much broader than something that would apply in educational settings. the settings are quite different. illustrate how consistent and forceful this administration has been about
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fighting against the idea that people can be discriminated against because of who they are. that is a principal the president feels strongly about, and preventing discrimination and treating people fairly is a guide anciple that does lot of the policy that is made by the obama administration. but the enforcement action was the decision of attorneys at the department of justice. that was not influenced by white house officials. notification distributed by the department of education today was not an enforcement action, it was a policy decision that included white house involvement. it was the roman responsibility of the department of education. >> but the major component was
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that transgender students in north carolina are prevented from using the restroom based on gender identity. even if schools choose not to follow the guidance that is put out, they will not suffer a loss of federal funds? the way this works, if there are schools, and i think they will be in the minority, if there are schools that come forward and indicate they do not intend to be in compliance with the guidance, there is an established process for litigating those differences with the department of education. is an established process for this, we do not have to invent one. to make suree plan there is no loss of federal funds for north carolina at this time, in conjunction with the announcement

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