tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 16, 2016 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT
and frustrated is because their voices aren't being heard. they're afraid, they're losing representative government. and the country they have known and loved. over time presidents have come to legislate by executive order. over time courts have come to make laws from the bench. and we, congress, and our desire to avoid complexities and conflicts -- conflicts have ceded power in order to simplify the process of law making. so here we find ourselves again, in the age-old struggle, a contest that will determine whether we shape our dreams or whether others shape them for us. the people's house is the seat of representative democracy. no other institution has such power. because no other institution is as accountable to the people. presidents can veto, supreme courts can strike down, but
congress has the exclusive seat of law making power. not some guy in the basement of the labor department. we must assert that the people speaking through their elected representatives is the best way to keep us free and protect our liberty and to make sure the promise of america exists for the next generation. what you'll find throughout history is that not much has changed. the same historic reoccurring struggle between freedom and power that the abraham lincolns, the john quincy adams, the daniel websters all faced. it's the struggle between fulfilling the promise of america or breaking it. they knew the torch one day would be passed, where it resides with us. a daughter of a cherry farmer from kettle falls, washington. a nurse from tennessee. a businessman from texas. an air force chaplain from georgia.
an author from utah. a combat surgeon from ohio. it is about this generation's responsibility right now to cherish, to embrace, to protect the fragile, carefully crafted american promise that puts people in charge through their elected representatives. it's our call to put aside any personal ambition so the next generation can have their individual power protected, to freely pursue their version of the american dream. let's use the power of the purse to make government bureaucracy more accountable to the people and less arrogant, so the i.r.s. can't target free speech and the e.p.a. can't regulate mud puddles. let's do our job of reviewing, rethinking and possibly eliminating government programs that are running on auto pilot without oversight or authorization. so agencies like the v.a. operate their hospitals more like cleveland clinics.
let's hold unelected bureaucrats accountable when they interfere with the next innovative startup being created in a garage or with a scientist working to cure cancer in a lab. let's make agencies more transparent and closer to the people. a government that operates more like uber and amazon and less like the d.m.v. and most importantly let's give people a voice through their elected representatives so a 19th century institution can actually solve 21st century problems. so today i am grateful. i am grateful for the efforts of my colleagues, chairman bishop, chaffetz, goodlatte, rogers and sessions, who spent the last six months thinking through how the people's house can accomplish these goals on behalf of the men and women we represent. and i am inspired by my colleagues who have joined me this morning to answer the call from the people, to restore
their voices in government, and protect what our founders conceived. the most just system of government the world has ever seen. our dreams and aspirations belong to us, not the government. only we can push the heights of our imaginations, not the government. we know the power of our ideas, not the government. that is why freedom is so important. it isn't about political parties, personalities or power. it never has been. the about making certain the promise of america is never breached and knowing the only ones who can preserve it for the future and future generations are we the people. [applause] mr. goodlatte: i'm bob
goodlatte, chairman of the judiciary committee. the constitution is clear, it's the role of congress to make all laws. judiciary to interpret the laws, and the president to enforce the laws. this system was wisely set in place by our country's framers over 200 years ago because they knew firsthand that the concentration of power in the same hands was a threat to individual liberty and the rule of law. in recent decades, however, presidents of both parties have aggrandized their power and usurped congress to legislate from the oval office. this is not a republican or a democrat issue, it's an american issue. and touches the very core of our system of government. so today i am pleased to join with speaker ryan and conference chair mcmorris rodgers and my
other colleagues in unveiling our republican plan to re-establish the system of checks and balances created in the constitution by our founding fathers. to reassert congress' authority we need to start where the constitution starts. asserting congress' authority over law making. the very first sentence of the very first article of the united states constitution begins, all legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a congress of the united states. key pieces of our agenda include reforming the administrative procedure act, ending the chevron deference doctrine that currently gives bureaucrats the benefit of the doubt when they interrupt statutes. requiring full and fair disclosure of the administration's regulatory agenda, and reasserting that
congress is the ultimate decision maker, regardless of whether they occur by statute or regulation. fully half of the vetoes of this president has come of the congressional review act resolutios disapproving of his regulations. when the president to this degree is blocking the will of the people through their elected representatives, it is clear that congress, under article one, must strongly assert its constitutional powers. today's federal administrative state is an institution unforeseen by the framers of our constitution. it is rapidly mushrooming out of control. this overgrown bureaucracy is tipping our system of checks and balances away from the legislative and judicial branches and toward a stronger, emboldened and overreaching executive.
our republican plan takes commonsense steps to protect our system of checks and balances and preserve liberty as the framers intended. [applause] mr. chaffetz: hello. i'm jason chaffetz from utah. i really do appreciate the vibrant discussion we've had with our colleagues. i appreciate cathy mcmorris rogers, our conference chair, who has led us through this process, along with the speaker and majority leader. to really put forward a vision of where we should go and what we need to do. there's three things that i would like to just briefly touch on. this is truly the people's house. and if it's truly the people's house, we've got to maximize the sunlight. i believe sunlight is the best disinfectant and it allows people the access they need to their government.
they pay for it and we're here because of the people. to execute on that in today's modern world, i guess we'd call it crowd sourcing. if we're going to do our job, we have to make sure that they have the information at their finger tips. there are several ways we can do that. one is we have to strengthen the inspectors general. these are the nonpartisan folks, the career people who are able to get in and look under the hood. we have roughly 72 inspectors general that employ between 13,000 and 14,000 people. they have to have unfettered access to the executive branch and be able to follow through. you shouldn't be able to, for instance, just be able to quit your job as a federal employee and then the investigation's over. that happens time and time again. we need to strengthen the inspectors general. we also need to strengthen foia. we did pass out this week the senate version of the foia, the freedom of information act, proud to do that in a bipartisan way. in a good way. that bill is now on the way to the president's desk. i assume that the president will sign it.
but it is incumbent upon all of us to make sure that that promise is actually fulfilled. and then the other thing we have to do is strengthen subpoenas. the congress has the right to see documents to understand what the executive branch is doing. and we need to be able to strengthen the -- and expedite the process by which, when we issue a subpoena, it's not optional, folks. it's not an optional exercise. you come to congress and testify, you got to tell the truth, when you're issued a subpoena, you must comply. part of the game plan is to make sure that this is strengthened as well. thank you and it's an honor and privilege to serve and i look forward to serving with my colleagues to make sure that we can make this country the best it can possibly be. thank you. [applause] mr. bishop: i'm rob bishop, chairman of the resources committee. on behalf of the church group in washington who is denied their annual permit to have a picnic in a national park because the park land manager thought it would disturb the semblance and the serenity of the rest of the park, or the nevada family whose murdered son they were not allow
to search for the body until they came up with a $1 million bond to reimburse the park in case something happened, or the new mexico rancher who is denied a grazing permit because he gave a speech critical of the land agency, or the utah ranch who had to take out a water pond he built with his own money on his own land because it was attracting too much wildlife from federal lands who thought the drinking was good, or the female outbackers in wyoming who were photographed by b.l.m. as they were going to the bathroom as they were trying to come up with evidence of trespassing, or the senior citizens who are allowed to go into yellowstone in the lockdown because they'd already paid for the rooms but were locked into the hotel and couldn't see old faithful and then the armed guards as they're leave on the bus refused to allow them it take pictures because that would be recreating and they couldn't get off the bus for two hours, those are the people of why we're doing this. this is not simply a battle
between executive and legislative branch over power. this is an issue of what happens -- the executive agencies were designed to make decisions without dealing with that nasty concept of what people want or they need. congress on the other hand has to run every two years. which means we have to talk to people, we have to understand what they are talking about. that's the nexus of what this is all about. it's the effort to find a way of actually empowering people. we will, among other things, this is the first step of a lot of steps, make sure that every committee that authorizes, goes through a plan of re-authorizing, every organization, so we can look at what it does, and its powers -- we will self-police ourselves with this document so no longer will we get language that gets carte blanche to the agencies. we will establish what the parameters will be. we will put in language that will insist that there's coordination between the agencies and local governments, so locally elected officials by the people can have their voice also being heard. if we don't do this, if we don't insist that the rules and regulations have to be reviewed with us before they are implemented, not after, if we don't do that, people are going
to be harmed. and if we do do it, citizens are going to be empowered. that's the goal of this document. it is a better way. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. the great to be here to talk about our proposals for a better way in america. mr. rothfus: i'm keith rothfus. you're going hear it repeated today. every american high school student learns there are three branches to our government. legislative, executive, judicial. the legislature makes the law, the executive enforces the law and the judicial adjudicates disputes arising under the law. over the last number of decades there's been a dramatic shift in law making power away from the people's representatives to unelected bureaucrats. the proposals being presented here can't come soon enough. they can't come soon enough for the farmers, minors, consumers and power plant workers i represent in western pennsylvania. people like a dad i met last december, he has three kids,
aged 5, 3 and 1, he had a solid middle class job that he could take care of his family back in december. he lost that job. he was in the coal industry. and he wants to know why congress could not stop the regulations that stole his and his family's livelihood. his story is repeated by millions of americans who have been hurt by the so-called experts in washington who continue to churn out red tape without accountability. those americans want people from their area, their representatives, making the laws, not the bureaucrats who live in a far-off capital. this idea goes to the heart of self-government and what we're pursuing here today. 35 years ago president reagan said, quote, from time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule. that government by an elite group is superior to government by, for and of the people. well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, president reagan asked, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? it is past time for a return to self-government through the people's elected representatives.
note well, restoring congress' law making role through initiatives such as the reins act will not end regulations. if a member makes the wrong decision, the people can correct that at the ballot box. that's what self-government is all about. thank you. [applause] mr. hill: good morning. i'm french hill and i represent the second congressional district in arkansas. this is a day we get to remind ourselves that 50% of the words in the constitution relate to article one. clearly the founders considered the legislative branch the preeminent branch, the first
branch. and as james madison said in federalist 51, though, all three branches are in competition, and when one gets a little too ambitious, the others need to counter that ambition. and today's project is all about countering the ambition of the executive branch. as a businessman for over three decades from arkansas, i've seen firsthand the negative effects of an executive branch that bypasses congress to either propose their own rules or to enforce laws in ways that were not intended. all without input of the american people. one example i've seen recently is dumb founding to me and that's the waters of the united states rule. in arkansas it was enjoined with nine other states from being implemented. but implemented it is being by the coercive effect of federal representatives to make private landowners incorporate the wotus rule into everything they do now. even though it's not the law of
the land. that is federal overreach. in his last final state of the union address, the president made a point to characterize too much regulation out of washington is too burdensome on the american people. the wotus rule is an example of that which the law never intended micromanaging streams and ponds on private land in arkansas. these are the types of situations we need to tackle in this congress and as congress follows ours proposals today for a better way, we will successfully reassert our authority under article 1. i congratulate cathy mcmorris rodgers, proud to work on this project, and wish all the best for its success. [applause] mr. collins: good morning, i'm doug collins from georgia's ninth district. i come from the northeast georgia mountains and poultry is our biggest industry. we're the poultry capital of the world. it's a thriving sector, and we're striving to meet the
demands of america and the world. but somewhere in many cubicles across washington they determined that's not good enough, they're putting things in the way, putting costs and increasing the burden on our poultry industry. somewhere along the way the executive branch has forgotten it's their job to enforce the laws, not make the laws. if they would like to make the law, i encourage them to put their name on a ballot and run, not do it the wrong way. they seem to be more concerned with a political agenda than enforcing the law. osha, who is tasked with the basic health and safety of workers, a noble cause, is continuing putting into practice things like a wall-to-wall inspection of poultry plants. this isn't done for safety reasons but for a policy agenda. everyone can agree we need to ensure worker safety this does little for safety.
these inspections d do more harm than good because they simply slow down the facility, hindering them from doing what they're supposed to be doing. then also sometimes you have to smile. not because something is right but because something is so ludicrous. recently, the usda issued organic rules for comment. these rules were meant to have little to do with food safety and are meant to address consumer perception. according to these new rules, chickens need sizable outdoor space for enrichment activities. the pastoral image of chickens roaming around the yards is well and good in theory but in practice it's a costly change that would drive up costs to consumers and put grocery stores at a disadvantage. it is so amazing that i was asked, what would happen to chickens in cold weather states? would we have to give them jackets when they were outside? no one seems to know. the usda's policy also puts people at risk because it contradicts avian influenza
precautions we have put in place that would be devastating to our economy and our nation if we put our food source at risk. this is not simply about is congress better than the executive branch. it's about doing our job and doing it in the way the constitutional founders said to do it. when we all do our job the way we're supposed to, the people are protected, the people are served, and our country is stronger for it. thank you. [applause] mr. ratcliffe: my name is john ratcliffe, i represent the fourth congressional district of texas. the view i have of the american system of government is that every american is intended and meant to have a say. laws are developed and voted on by the people that are chosen. those are then interpreted by the courts and enforced as is by
the executive branch. but in recent decades, the executive branch and its bureaucratic agenciehave stepped far beyond the carefully designed balance of power, by creating rules and regulations that have the same impact as law but go far beyond the scope of any existing laws. to this point, it's no secret that texas will be particularly hard hit by the environmental protection agency's clean power plan. these regulations are anticipated to increase retail power prices in my home state by 16%.
and when family budgets are already stretched too thin, they cannot afford this rate hike. the local coal-fired power plants in my district have already announced that they simply can't afford to remain open if they're forced to comply. this means a loss of jobs, it eliminates an affordable source of energy for the folks back home, and it saddens me to see a circumvention of our constitution by a ballooning administrative state have such a crippling impact on the american people. that's why i introduced legislation to address this ongoing problem and why i'm now teaming up with my fellow defenders of the constitution here in the house to establish a strong plan aimed at restoring the balance of power that our founders intended. texans and people all across this country deserve to have their voice restored. they deserve a better way. after all, we're here to serve them. it's not the other way around. thank you. [applause]
mr. bishop: good morning, my name is mike bishop, i represent the eighth district in the state of michigan. i want to thank the task force, the chairman and members of the task force for their hard work on this important subject. and i want to say that the constitutional crisis that we're talking about today is really the primary reason why i decided to run for the united states congress. every year, unelected bureaucrats create thousands of onerous rules and regulations. that in many cases supplant years of existing legal precedent and have full effect of law. without ever being publicly debated, discussed, voted on, by a single elected official. and without any input from the very people that they will
directly impact. one specific example of the many is the department of labor's overtime rule. the rule doubles the salary threshold under which employees qualify for overtime. i'm concerned, members of the task force are concerned, and people we represent are concerned that this was pushed through without consideration of the obvious known and very negative consequences. not surprisingly the final rule will likely lead to fewer jobs, less workplace flexibility, and fewer opportunities to climb the ladder of success. it impacts everybody, from the individual to the small business owner to our abundance of outstanding colleges and universities that serve students across my state and across this country. to know the schools have to work, to worry about that -- a decision that was made miles away from them without any input, in many cases over their
objection, may force them to cut hours and raise tuition is not how the american system was meant to work. michiganians and the people across this country have a right to be concerned and frustrated, and they are. i'm uniquely aware of the concerns raised by parents across my district as a father of three. i'm -- i worry about every day the growing cost, skyrocketing cost of higher education, as do many of you. and in general the higher cost of living. and under no circumstances, no circumstances should any government agency be making it harder and more costly for families, parents, students, or people of any walk of life to realize their dreams. this rule i'm talking about right now is just one of many. and it's symptomatic of a far greater problem that's facing this country today.
it's snowballed in recent years. it's time for a better way. it's time for us to enforce the constitution. article 1, section 1, and section 8 of the united states constitution affirms the role of congress very specifically, very directly, and unambiguously. it is responsible alone to legislate and pass laws. it couldn't be any more clearer. that's exactly what the frames framers of the constitution intended, to avert the style of government that they left, to protect the american people from a top heavy and tyrannical government. i'm proud to be part of this task force and i'm proud to be part of its mission. together we are going to give the voices back to the people that we represent and restore the powers of the constitution as our founding fathers
intended. thank you. [applause] >> it's great to be with you this morning. mr. wenstrup: i'm brad wenstrup, i represent ohio's second district. our constitution is not broken, it's not an outdated document that's to be ignored in this century. it was carefully and deliberately crafted based on a guiding principle of we the people that set limits on the government, not the other way around for the government to set limits on us. our founding fathers laid out a specific framework for our federal government that was balanced on three separate but equal branches to ensure that we the people were heard and properly represented. but now we're at a point in our history where a largely unconstitutional fourth branch of government has taken root. it's an unelected bureaucracy.
and the sprawling network of federal departments and agencies is churning out rules and regulations at an unprecedented pace. these rules carry the force of law but have never been voted on by the people's representatives. so what happened to we the people. that's the question we have to ask. in ohio's second district, i'm hard pressed to find anyone who hasn't felt the effects of our bureaucracy, especially when it comes to businesses. for example, take sealcorp industries in my district. thanks to the recent overtime rule they're facing a quarter million dollars in compliance costs. for them that means little growth, higher product prices, and for many of their employees, that means a demotion from a salaried position to hourly positions. what we have seen is an executive branch that issues orders they say they don't have the authority to issue but do it anyway. we see a department of justice that decides which laws they want to enforce and which hay hich ones they don't.
we see a supreme court that changes laws rather than sending them back to congress to be changed. and of course we see agencies that carry the rule of law. ladies and gentlemen, if we truly want to put america on a better way, we need to restore the constitutional balance and put legislative power back where it belongs, in the hands of we the people, and that would be your hands. thank you very much. [applause] mr. flores: good morning, i'm bill flores, i represent the 17th district of texas. i'm also honored to serve as chair of the republican study committee. hard working american families are frustrated and they're angry with the government oh overreach coming out of unelected, unaccountable, out of control washington bureaucrats. and today we're putting forth our plan, a better way to restore constitutional authority. in 2012, the waco tea party contacted me to express concern about invasive informational requests regarding their application to become a 501-c-4
organization. the information the i.r.s. was seeking would have been logistically and financially impossible to fulfill in the very short time period that the i.r.s. gave them to comply. and this was after an extended period that the i.r.s. set on their application. our investigation revealed that the i.r.s. was inappropriately targeting conservative groups like the waco tea party all across the country. i.r.s. bureaucrats led by lois lerner were abusing their power by putting politics and ideology above the law to threaten the freedoms and the liberties of hardworking americans. this is unacceptable. the federal government must be held accountable to follow the law and to adhere to the constitution. we have a duty to restore
america's trust in their federal government. today house republicans are leading the charge to protect hardworking americans against government harassment by reining in unaccountable, out of control federal bureaucrats. again, we owe it to our constituents to follow the wisdom of our nation's founders to restore congress' constitutional authority by implementing a better way. thank you. [applause] mr. byrne: my name is bradley byrne and i represent the gulf coast of alabama. in the gulf of mexico we have a fish called the gulf red snapper. fun to catch, great to eat. we're blessed to have plenty of gulf red snapper out there. and for most of my life we've been able to go out there on a summer weekend day and go catch some snapper. now you're limited to two per day but you can catch enough snapper, it's good eating, you
don't have to worry about just having two. for most of my life you could do it all summer long. recently, the last several years a federal agency calls the national marine fisheries service has come forward and said we're going to start limiting your snapper season to nine days. this year that snapper season was interrupted by a tropical storm in the gulf of mexico. so let me tell you this federal agency has decided to take away from people that live on the gulf coast something we've done for years. now they do it because they say there are not enough fish out there. why do they say that? because our scientists at the universities of the gulf coast say there are plenty out there. here's why this agency says that. because when they go to count these fish, they count them on sandy bottom. they don't count the fish on reefs. the gulf red snapper is a reef fish. if you go and try to find the gulf red snapper somewhere other than a reef, you won't find a red snapper.
now we have brought this to the attention of the scientists that work for this agency and they say we can't figure out how to count them on reefs. but the scientists at the lesser funded state universities find them very easily and have shared their techniques with them and still this federal agency won't do it. here's the kicker. this federal agency receives $900 million. and it's an agency that has not been authorized by congress since 2000. there is a better way. there's a rule of the house of representatives that says we are not supposed to appropriate money to unauthorized agencies. now, authorization is not just some superficial process we go through. it gives congress and the congress is the representative of the people of the country, an opportunity to provide real oversight to what agencies are doing and not doing.
so if we provide that sort of oversight if we give the authorization process exactly the sort of attention it should get, then we can start reining in agencies doing things that they shouldn't be doing and making sure that agencies that have appropriate jurisdiction, that they do their jobs and do it right. if we do that in the case of the national marine fisheries service, then we'll be able to restore an industry on the gulf coast, an industry of charter boats and people that supply things to people that go fish, we can restore that industry. but more importantly, we restore the liberty of the american people to fish in their waters. and yeah, maybe we'll also catch a few fish. there's a better way. thank you. [applause] mr. newhouse: good morning, i'm congressman dan newhouse from
washington state's fourth district. i'd like to applaud speaker ryan, conference chair cathy mcmorris and work with my colleagues to restore constitutional principles in our government. i'm proud to be part of asserting the people's voice at a time of executive overreach, when americans are frustrated with not being heard. the founders designed our system of government to be balanced. they reserved legislative authority to the people's representatives in congress. not unelected officials of countless federal agencies. in my own state of washington, we are seeing firsthand the
effects of agencies pushing their own agendas that go against the will of the people through their elected representatives, in this case, the e.p.a. awarded tax dollars for an anti-farm advocacy program attacking the agricultural industry in direct violation of the law. this kind of government sponsored abuse feeds a cycle of distrust and it shows what happens when the lack of federal government accountability. today, congress is stepping in to say enough. americans want to know that we will rein in these kinds of executive branch abuses. and exercise our oversight and law making authority granted by the constitution. we commit to a better way. to restoring the rule of law and the separation of powers that are meant to keep the people in charge and their voices heard. thank you. [applause]
mr. rogers: good morning, my name is al rogers, i represent kentucky's fifth congressional district and chair the house's committee. the key to reclaiming the power of the have purse. our founding fathers spelled it out in the constitution, quote, no money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law. end quote. james madison described this power of the purse as, quote, the most complete and effectual way to obtain a redress of every grievance and to carry into effect every just and salutary measure. this is why it's critical for the congress to retain and
tighten its power over federal appropriations. it's one of the most basic duties we have as congresspeople and one of our greatest responsibilities. so how do we bring back this power into the hands of the people? first, congress must pass all appropriations bills annually. anything less cedes authority to the executive branch, undermining the principles of our constitution. both the house and the senate must undertake internal reforms to remove any obstacles to passing these bills, including the 60 vote hurdle in the senate. whatever happened to rule by the majority? next, we must address our nation's real spending problem, uncontrollable, automatic,
skyrocketing, mandatory spending. that makes up 2/3 of our federal budget. that can be done through overhauling the budget process to allow congress to more effectively control spending on mandatory programs. third, agencies and bureaucrats must be held accountable if they spend any dollar not specifically directed by congress. such actions are violations of federal law and must be treated as such. this also means bring manage outside agencies within the congressional appropriations and oversight process. finally, we should aggressively and strategically use the tools that we already have, including limiting and conditioning funds,
to enforce congressional intent. the recommendations of this task force will help reclaim the constitutional power of the purse. it'll make sure that elected representatives who are accountable to their people and who know the needs of their districts the best are the ones to determine how federal funds are spent, not unelected bureaucrats. these recommendations will help improve the way congress functions. give the american people a more control -- give the american people more control over their tax dollars, and ultimately form a more perfect union as our founding fathers intended because the founding fathers saw this as the better way. thank you. [applause] mr. stewart: good morning, i'm congressman chris stewart, i represent the most beautiful district in the country, utah's
second district. i believe our founding fathers got it right. i believe they were inspired when they set up three branches of government, one to create the law, one to enforce the law, and one to review the enforcement of that law. they set up a presidency, not a king. and they never intended that our federal regulators would rule over us rather than serve the people. unfortunately, some of these executive orders and these rules have become muddled in recent decades. the executive branch pushes out rules and regulations and executive orders that have the same force as a law but without the input of the american people. and these excessive rules and regulations hurt hard working american families. let me say that again. these excessive rules and regulations hurt hardworking american families. my district in utah is a great
example of that. we have four national parks, two national monuments, millions of acres of beautiful scenery. that millions of americans come to enjoy every year. but because of some of these excessive rules and regulations it's made it impossible for those outfitters and guides, because of a mandate requiring a minimum wage, many of them are going to close. and it's going to hurt americans who want to enjoy the great american west because they're not going to have that option any longer. this increase in minimum wage will force many of these recreational outfitters and guides to close their doors. let me read you a letter from one such constituent. we want to retain our commitment to the public lands. however the costs of compliance created by this rule that it affects our business. we may have to cease running trips in national parks. what a tragedy that would be. if we actually close access or
make it more difficult for americans to come and enjoy these beautiful places. this is just one example. and there are many more that we could talk about. repeated stories across utah, across our country where rules and regulations passed as has been stated here many times, without accountable, do serious harm. and that's why i join with my colleagues in this effort to reclaim the power of article 1 in the constitution. i'll say it again, our founding fathers got it right. there is supposed to be a balance of power. the president and federal regulators have claimed power that they simply constitutionally do not have. it's time for the american people to reclaim that power. article 1, the intent of the constitution, freedom, the people, that's what this is about today. so i'm pleased to be here. thank you for giving me this opportunity. [applause]
mr. franks: it is a good morning. we are privileged to be in a place like this. i'm trent franks, i have the privilege of serving as chairman of the constitution committee. i'm especially gratified to cathy mcmorris rodgers and those who help her for this invitation an for this gathering. the united states constitution is the greatest manmade charter for human government in all of human history. it does not memorialize the rights of government as do most constitutions. rather, it proclaims and safeguards the rights of the individual and limits government. it specifically guarantees the rights of life, liberty, and property, of which each individual cannot be deprived without due process of law. and from that foundation has
extrapolated the most powerful, the freest, and most noble nation known to man. our oath of office, sworn before almighty god by members of congress, to support and defend the constitution, sacredly binds each of us to that noble task. yet certain rules and practices of congress, unconstitutional executive orders and legislating from the bench have become a mortal threat to the constitution. it has indeed threatened our article 1 powers of the purse. no one could possibly and more exquisitely articulate it than did congressman hal rogers this morning. accordingly, may we all both be inspired and admonished by the words of the great daniel webster when he said, hold on, my friends, to the constitution and to the republic for which it stands.
for miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years may never happen again. so hold on to the constitution. for should the constitution fall there will be anarchy throughout the world. i hope this will be a morning when all members of congress will be deeply reminded of our sacred oath to the constitution and each of us will recognize the treasure that it represents to the entire human family. thank you. [applause] mr. sessions: good morning, pete sessions, representing the 32nd congressional district of texas, chairman of the house rules committee. when i came to washington, i came to be a part of a grand experiment, of constitutional government that i considered to be a responsibility of balance, combined with responsibility to live with and for the united states constitution.
you have heard today members of our body who are bringing together the ideas that they hear not just back home but really the pulse of a nation. we believe that the american dream is in question. we believe that the american dream should be reevaluated because what made america great should also be what makes us greater in the future. making government work for people is what we should be for. we not only look at the constitution as the guiding force but we want that balance and responsibility. for nearly four months we have been working as a team. ideas put forth by speaker ryan made flesh in working by congresswoman cathy mcmorris rodgers, our conference chair. we've been working for four months on recommendations, by listening to our members, by taking advice from people back
home, and understanding that if we work together as a team, we can be successful. our mission is to restore balance among the branches of government exactly as our founding fathers intended. by reasserting the unique constitutional role of congress. we believe that we must, as part of our responsibility, live up to our responsibility. said another way, we are here to say we are upping our game. to do the things that are within our, not just responsibility, but within the context of what the american people expect. each two years we put our name on the ballot, each two years we go and define not only what we stand for but the hopes and dreams of a grateful nation as
we move forward. you have heard our members speak clearly about the things which must take place and i will tell you as chairman of the house rules committee, it is my job to work with our members to make sure that these ideas are put into law, that they are put into bills that can be understood by the american people with not only great intent, but purpose to make this great nation even better. you see, we believe there is a better way. [applause] mrs. black: good morning, i'm diane black, i represent the sixth congressional district of tennessee, and i'm honored to be here with my colleagues today to talk about a better way, to give the power back to the people's house and therefore to the american people. almost every day i hear from tennesseans who come to me in frustration because their lives and their livelihoods are being
impacted by a government rule. cobbled together behind closed doors, away from public view, by bureaucrats they can't even speak to on the phone let alone vote for. in fact this month, my office met with mayor dale reagan from clay county, tennessee. he manages a rural sparsely populated county that was already struggling in the economy and now they're going to get hit once again by the department of labor's overtime rule. mayor reagan tells me that this rule threatens to drain the county's education budget buzz it implements a new overtime pay schedule for nearly every teacher they employ. i cannot overstate how upset they were that they had no say as this rule came to be. and i told them, i'm a as frustrated as you are because the constitution says that we in
congress should write the laws. yet for the past few decades, bureaucratic agencies have been legislating with regulations and rules that have the same force of law. this is just unacceptable. instead of trying to stop bad rules once they've been announced, we in the people's house and as a result the constituents we serve, should be a part of the process from the very beginning. and that's what today is about. offering a better way to restore our constitutional separation of powers and to reform our rule making process so that the american people, folks like mayor reagan and the people of clay county have a voice through their elected representative. thank you. [applause] mr. ryan: i'd like to start by thanking cathy mcmorris rodgers and the members of our tasks for
force for this very impressive work on this most significant work on our better way agenda. i thought i'd close by quoting one of the greatest supreme court justices, antonin scalia. he once asked, why do you think america is such a free country? what is it in our constitution that makes us what we are? well, most of us would probably say the bill of right the freedom of speech, freedom of press, right to bear arms, and true enough in those rights are very special. but justice scalia went on if you think a bill of rights is what sets us apart, you're crazy. every banana republic in the world has a bill of rights. even the soviet union had a bill of rights, he pointed out. and it promised a lot more than ours does. but there's a reason we don't remember the ussr as a bastion of liberty. because that bill of rights was just, quote, just words on paper. close quote.
as justice scalia said. what truly makes america free, he argued, is the separation of powers. those amendments to the constitution may enumerate our rights, but it is the separation of powers that protects those rights, that secures those rights. our country makes sure that no one person exercises too much power. i'm talking about the fact that we elect most of our representatives every two years. the fact that both houses of congress have to pass a bill before it becomes law. the fact that congress is elected separately from the president. that means a lot of people a lot of different people, they have to agree for a bill to become a law. that means disagreement, it means debate, it means compromise, and in the end it means good government. i also think it's very telling that when justice scalia talked
about the separation of powers, he barely even mentioned the court, and he sat on it. maybe what he was trying to tell us is this. we can't rely on the court alone to protect our rights. because if you have to file a lawsuit, guess what? it's already too late. your rights have already been violated. being free doesn't mean you can get damages. being free means you don't have to worry about your rights being violated in the first place. that's why we need the other branches of government. especially the legislative branch to remain strong, so they can defend our rights when another branch attacks them. that is what will secure our rights in the here and in the now. and that is why we are here today.
our problem is not so much that the presidency under both parties keeps breaking the rules, though it clearly does. our problem is that congress, under both parties, keeps forfeiting the game. yielding the executive branch. giving the president a blank check. not even bothering to read the fine print in some cases. and as our members just told us, as we just heard a beautiful articulation of our cause, this means more than just out of control spending. it means more chaos at the border. it means not being able to live out your faith. it means not being free. that's why this plan is so important. in fact, i would argue this is the most important part of our agenda. because we won't be able to fix our safety net, we won't be able to rebuild our military or pare back the red tape until we put the people back into the
driver's seat. it's not enough to have an efficient or effective government. we want a free government. one of the most important principles that unites all of us as americans, that makes this a popular and inspiring nation is that we are a historically self-determining people. historically with a government by consent. that's what unites us. that's what makes us free. that's what makes us the beacon of hope in the world. we must reclaim and conserve this principle. we want a competent america where all of us are free. that's something that i think all of us can agree on. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016]
gun ownership. also, the -- for the human tohts campaign will be on discuss the concerns his organization has on hate crimes against the gay community. the future of afghanistan and the war against the taliban. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal. join the discussion. 50 is not say that the new 30, and 60 is not the new 40, 60 is the new 60. it is ok. people ought to own their age and we should not be talking about people over 50 as the timeframe of decline. the aarp ceo is talking about the health and financial
challenges that older americans face. she is also the author of the book "disrupt aging." >> the fastest-growing segment of the country is people over 85 and of 100. and so these programs will put in place life expectancy over 67 or 68. not only are there more people in the system, but they are living longer. so we have to be able to work with these programs and make meaningful adjustments that is going to allow people to live dignity giddy -- with for a longer time. announcer: sunday night at 8:00 eastern on q and a. obama and vice president biden traveled to orlando today to meet with families killed in the mass shooting at the pulse nightclub. while there, he talked to the press about gun laws in the fight to defeat isis. this is 20 minutes.
the america that we have seen. this afternoon, the vice president and i had the opportunity to meet with many of the families here. as you might imagine, their grief is beyond description. through their pain and through their tears, they told us about the joy that their loved ones had brought to their lives. they talked about their sons or their daughters, so many young people in their 20's and 30's. so many students who were focused on the future. one young woman was just 18 years old. another, said her father, was a happy girl with so many dreams. there were siblings there talking about their brothers and
their sisters, and how they were role models that they looked up to. there were husbands and wives who had taken a solemn vow, fathers and mothers who gave their full heart to their children. these families could be our families. in fact, they are our family. they're part of the american family. and today, the vice president and i told them on behalf of the american people, that our hearts are broken too, and that we stand with you. and that we are here for you. and that we are remembering those who you loved so deeply. as a nation, we've also been inspired by the courage of those
who risk their lives and cared for others. partners whose last moment was -- whose last moments were spent shielding each other, the mother who gave her life to save her son. the former marine whose quick thinking saved dozens of lives. joe and i had the chance to thank mayor dyer, chief all whoeriff demings, have responded in heroic ways, the outstanding police and first responders who were able to, through their professionalism and quick response, rescue so many people. we also owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all the doctors and all the nurses who have worked day and night to treat the injured, save lives and prevent even more anguish.
as one of the doctors here said, after the worst of humanity reared its ugly head, the best of humanity came roaring back. let me get that quote more precisely. after the worst of humanity reared its evil head, the best of humanity came roaring back. now, if we're honest with ourselves, if, in fact, we want to show the best of our humanity, then we're all going to have to work together at every level of government, across political lines, to do more to stop killers who want to terrorize us. we will continue to be relentless against terrorist groups like isil and al-qaeda. we are going to destroy them.
we are going disrupt their networks and their financing and the flow of fighters in and out of war theaters. we're going to disrupt their propaganda that poisons so many minds around the world. we're going to do all that. our resolve is clear. but given the fact that the last two terrorist attacks were on our soil, orlando and san bernardino, were homegrown, carried out, it appears, not by external plotters, not by vast networks or sophisticated cells, but by deranged individuals
coerced by the hateful propaganda they had seen over the internet. and were going to do more to prevent -- we are going to do more to prevent these kinds of events from occurring. it's going to take more than just our military. it's going to require more than just our intelligence team. s. as good as they are -- as dedicated as they are, as focused as they are if you have , lone wolf attacks like this has to the minds of a disturbed -- hatched in the minds of a disturbed person, then we're going to take different kinds of steps in order to prevent something like this from happening. those who were killed here were gunned down by a single killer with a powerful assault weapon.
the motives of this killer may have been different than the mass shooters in aurora or newtown. but the instruments of death were so similar. and now, another 49 innocent people are dead. another 53 are injured. some are still fighting for their lives. some will have wounds that will last a lifetime. we can't anticipate or catch every single deranged person that may wish to do harm, his -- harm to his neighbors or his friends or coworkers or strangers. but we can do something about the amount of damage that they do.
unfortunately, our politics have conspired to make it as easy as or just for a terrorist a disturbed individual like those in aurora and newtown. to buy extraordinarily powerful weapons, and they can do so legally. so today, once again, as has been true too many times before, i held and hugged grieving family members and parents, and they asked, why does this keep happening? and they pleaded that we do more to stop the carnage. they don't care about the politics. neither do i.
neither does joe. and neither should any parent out here. who is thinking about their kids being not in the wrong place, but in places where kids are supposed to be. this debate needs to change. it's outgrown the old political stalemates. the notion that the answer to this tragedy would be to make sure that more people in a nightclub are similarly armed to the killer defies common sense. those who defend the easy accessibility of assault weapons should meet these families and explain why that makes sense.
they should meet with the newtown families. some of him, joe saw yesterday -- some of whom, joe psy yesterday whose children would , now be finishing fifth grade. why do you think our liberties requires these repeated tragedies? that is not the meaning of liberty. i'm pleased to hear that the senate will hold votes on preventing individuals with possible terrorist ties from buying guns, including assault weapons. i truly hope that senators rise to the moment and do the right thing. i hope that senators who voted no on background checks after newtown have a change of heart. and then, i hope to house does the right thing and helps end the plague of violence that these weapons of war inflict on so many young lives.
i've said this before, we will not be able to stop every tragedy. we can't wipe away hatred and evil from every heart in this world. but we can, we can stop some tragedies. we can save some lives. we can reduce the impact of a terrorist attack if we're smart. and if we don't act, we will keep seeing more massacres like this, because we'll be choosing to allow them to happen. we will have said, we don't care enough to do something about it.
here in orlando, we are reminded not only of our obligations as a country to be resolute against terrorism. only theminded of not need for us to implement smarter policies to prevent mass shootings. we are also reminded of what unites us as americans and that what unites us is stronger that -- then the hate -- than the hate of those who target us. for so many people here who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, the pulse nightclub has always been a safe haven a , place to sing and dance, and most importantly, to be who you truly are. including for so many people
whose families are originally from puerto rico. sunday morning, that sanctuary was violated in the worst way imaginable. so whatever the motivations of the killer, whatever influences led him down the path of violence and terror, whatever propaganda he was consuming from isil and al-qaeda, this was an act of terrorism, but it was also an act on hate. this was an attack on the lgbt community. americans were targeted because we're a country that has learned to welcome everyone no matter who you are or who you love. and hatred towards people ,ecause of sexual orientation regardless of where it comes from, it's a betrayal of what's best in us. joe and i were talking on the
way over here. you can't break up the world into us and them and denigrate and express hatred towards groups because of the color of their skin or their faith or their sexual orientation. and not feed something very dangerous in this world. so if there was ever a moment for all of us to reflect and reaffirm our most basic beliefs that everybody counts and even everybody has dignity, now's the time. it's a good time for all of us to reflect on how we treat each other. and to insist on respect and equality for every human being.
we have to end discrimination and violence against our brothers and sisters who are in the lgbt community here at home , and around the world. especially in countries where they are routinely prosecuted. we have to challenge the oppression of women, wherever it occurs here or overseas. there's only us, america. -- americans. here in orlando, the men and women taken from us, those who loved them, we see some of the true character of this country, the best of humanity coming roaring back with love and the compassion and the fierce resolve that will carry us through, not just through this atrocity but through whatever , difficult times may confront
us. it's our pluralism and our respect for each other, including a young man who said to a young friend, he was super proud to be latino. it's the patriotism of an army reservist who is simply known as an officer. it is our community, the outpouring of love so many across the country have shown to our fellow americans who are lgbt. a display of solidarity that might have been unimaginable even a few years ago. out of this darkest of moments that gives us hope. , seeing people reflect, seeing people's best instincts come out , maybe in some cases, minds and hearts change. but it is our strength and our
resilience. the same determination of a man who died here who traveled the world mindful of the risks as a gay man, but who spoke for all of us when he said, we are not going to be afraid. may we all find that same strength in our own lives. may we all find that same wisdom in how we treat one another. may god bless all who we lost here in orlando. may come for their families, may he heal the wounded. may he bring some solace to those whose hearts have been broken. may he give us resolve to do what's necessary to reduce the hatred of this world.
to curve the violence. may he watch over this country that we call home. thank you very much, everybody. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] tv" has 48"book hours of books and authors every weekend. your programs coming up this weekend. on saturday night at 8:00 eastern, from book expo america, the annual trade show in chicago. kareem abdul-jabbar discusses his forthcoming book, writing to the wall, about the social landscape, on sunday at 2:30 p.m. eastern, a roundtable about double trumps the book, the art of the deal, published in 1987.
a book critic for the washington post, senior writer for politico, and a senior writer or the wall street journal panel this. and afterwards, medical science officer talks about his book, isis, i history. he is interviewed by the author of mecca and main street, muslim life in america after 9/11. >> this spectacular attack of isis was a result of the creeping sectarianism, deepening sectarianism, the civil war in the arab the east, -- in the arab east. in the decision that the arab spring, the peaceful collective action, could change the existing order. announcer: go to "book tv -- booktv.org for the complete schedule. >> after the surrender at
states facednited a decade of challenges. policies instituted had a lasting impact on american history. this saturday starting at 1:00 eastern, "american history tv" on c-span3 is live from gettysburg college in gettysburg, pennsylvania for the annual civil war institute summer conference as authors, historians, and professors examine topics that confronted the newly unified countries such as free peoples, refugee camps with abigail cooper. reconstruction in the north with of americanfessor history. and that post civil war career of ulysses s. grant. also hear conversations on the return of the confederate veteran and the origins of the lost cause. the annual civil war institute summer conference, live all day
saturday beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3's "american history tv." for the complete state -- schedule, go to c-span.org. cia director john brennan testified at an open hearing of the senate intelligence committee today. operations cia around the world. he discussed the fight against isis in libya and other counterterrorism efforts. he also outlined issues the next president will need to address, including cyber security. this is an hour and 45 minutes.
>> i would like to welcome our witness today, central intelligence agency director john brennan. john, you appropriately note in your opening statement that this hearing takes place against a backdrop of a heinous act of violence, perpetrated by a troubled and evil person. the committee has been insistent and contacts with the fbi since early morning hours sunday. it has provided a great deal of information on the status of the investigation. i know your team along with the community partners are also working to determine if the killer had any connections to a foreign terrorist group like iffel -- isil. let me thank your officers for what they do and the long hours they are likely putting in to understand this tragedy while
also focusing on the wide range of threats facing our nation. as director, i know your organization understands the threat posed by isil, and there has been much public discussion about progress, the u.s.-led coalition made to contain isil geographically, to degrade its finance and media operations, and to remove fighters from the battlefield. however, while progress may have been made against those goals, you know in your statement that our efforts have not reduced the groups terrorism capability and global reach. that assessment is significant. i want to take this moment to speak not only to you, but also to the american people. we live in an open society, one that values freedoms and diversities.
we must take the fight to them. we must attack them where they raise money, where they plan, where they retrieved, and -- where they recruit, and we must deny them a safe haven. we cannot negotiate with extremists that siegelman to kill, and i don't think we will. the not willing to accept events of san bernardino and orlando as the new normal. nor should anyone. we should be able to live securely in a free society, and i think we will. and we are not alone. our friends in europe, asia, and across the world should be able to go to sporting events, concerts, dance clubs, and experience life with their families in safety.
we will unite as a nation and as a coalition to confront eiffel and deny them safe haven. and deny them safe haven. we can only do so with a realistic and well-timed strategy. and frankly, we have to own it and embrace it. now is not the time to pay lip service to these threats. the sooner as a nation, the sooner we as a nation realize that there is only one path to make at this juncture, the sil'sr we will destroy i capabilities and ensure the safety of our nation. i don't make these comments lightly, and we will highlight during your testimony these threats and others to our nation. before i turned to the chairman, i would ask you to relay something from your organization. our thanks and our appreciation for their work. your officers work in the shadows, often in austere and
dangerous environments. day in and day out, to keep us safe. their selfless dedication to their fellow citizens should be commended, and we are in debt for that service. mr. director, i thank you for being here today, and i know turned to the vice-chairman for any comments she may have. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and i don't want to repeat anything you said. he said it very well. i am very strongly with it. i would like to talk about a slightly different dimension. i think it is becoming apparent that the tragedy of the last weekend in orlando highlights one of the great difficulties this nation faces with the rise of the islamic state. this enemy is there different from past adversaries like al not onlycause isil seeks to control territory in several countries but is taking
advantage of technology and social media to recruit fighters and inspire terrorist attacks far from the battlefield. trend, it concerns me greatly. according to the president and the fbi director, the killer in orlando was inspired at a minimum, influenced by online terrorist material. similar online, excuse me, propaganda, played important roles in the shooting and san bernardino, chattanooga, garland, texas, as well as fort hood, texas and other attacks. so director brendan, i have you can assure this committee and the american people, because this is an opportunity to do so, that the cia is doing everything in its power to understand how these foreign organizations work and operate. i think such knowledge is essential to help holocene
makers shape laws and -- help policymakers shape laws and stop them from incessantly preying on at risk individuals and radicalizing them to conduct such heinous crimes. that data onto ask the understanding on the extent and reach of isil and the applications for those of us here at home and for our friends and allies overseas. i think there has been some important progress lately, and it is important to show that progress with the people. on tuesday, the president publicly listed some of the senior leaders of eiffel who who have -- of isil been killed, and i think that is welcome news. would like the cia assessment on whether the 13,000 coalition airstrikes against isil have been effective, and what sorts of targets and
setbacks have been to isil's efforts. we know iraqi forces have surrounded fallujah. iraqi forces recently liberated the strategic town and broke the isil siege of hadesa. has lost half the territory it once controlled in iraq. it continues to lose ground in syria as well. a coalition of global forces is pressuring the key town of mons eeg, which will hopefully cut smuggling routes into turkey and put pressure on the capital of raqqa. i think it would be helpful for america to understand whether the anti-isil coalitions the united states has put together is making progress. if so, how and where.
i would be to isil, interested in hearing on other global threats to the united states and the challenges you believe we face, in particular, i think all of us are concerned about the recent behavior of north korea, the aggressiveness in russia, china's actions in the south china sea, and the instability in north africa in particular. i thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing, and i really look forward to the discussion. ,r. burr: thank you vice-chairman. mr. director, we are joined by a lot of directors -- a lot of members. they don't care what diane and i say. ms. feinstein: speak for yourself. [laughter] mr. burr: they will be here quickly. we again thank you for being here. we thank you for what the agency does day in and day out, and the floor is now yours. mr. brennan: thank you very much
chairman burr and vice president feinstein. inviting me to speak about the central intelligence agency, an agency bet i am enormously proud to apart of. i am privileged every day to lead the when -- men and women of cia. we work around the world, often in difficult and dangerous situations to keep the country strong and free and fellow citizens safe and secure. our hearing today takes place against the backdrop of a pain -- heinous act of wanton violence in orlando, florida last week. we join people mourning the loss of their loved ones killed in the attack. we extend our best which is -- our best wishes for their recovery. this defines us as a nation. in light of events in orlando, i would like to take this opportunity to offer the assessment of the terrorist
attack, especially from the so-called islamic state of live thought, or -- islam and isil. , or the group appears to be a vision.from its several people are trending in the right direction. isil has lost large stretches of territory in syria and iraq. financial operations have been squeezed, and has struggled to replenish ranks of fighters, in part because fewer foreign fighters are now able to travel to.. moreover, the report suggests growing numbers are becoming disillusioned with the group and are eager to follow in the footsteps of members who have already defected. the anti-isil coalition is taking steps to exploit these vulnerabilities. there are efforts underway to represent -- rescue cities like
fallujah. we are also assisting in the battlefield. last month for example, a u.s. airstrike killed influential isil leaders. however, is a largely cohesive enemy, and the group will adjust its strategy and tactics in an effort to regain momentum. in the coming months, we can expect it to probe the front lines of adversaries on the auto on theeaknesses, -- battlefield weaknesses, to find enemies inside iraq and syria. the complication of territorial kerala isil will rely on tactics -- on guerrilla tactics. a city stream of attacks from baghdad to damascus represents the group's ability to penetrate
deep inside enemy strongholds. based on to the battlefield, isil's finances are taking a hit. they have cut costs and reallocated funds. adapting to the coalitions effort. it continues to generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue or month, primarily from taxation in areas and controls and crude oil sales on the black market inside syria and iraq. unfortunately, despite progress against isil on the battlefield, efforts have not reduced the capability and global reach. the resources needed for terrorism are very modest, and the group would have to sever heavier losses on territory, manpower, and money for the current capacity to decline significantly. moreover, the foreign branches and global networks could help preserve the capacity for terrorism regardless of events in iraq and syria.
in fact, as the pressure mounts on isil, we think it will intensify the global campaign to maintain its dominance on the global terrorism agenda. since at least 2014, isil has been working to build an apparatus to direct and inspire attacks against foreign enemies, resulting in hundreds of casualties. the most prominent example are the attacks in paris and brussels, which we assessed were directed by issa leadership. we judged that ice all is trying deploysil is trying to more attacks. they have large groups of fighters that could service operatives in the west. -- serve as operatives in the west. includes legitimate wreckage -- as we have seen in orlando, san bernardino, and elsewhere, iso-is attending to -- isil is attending to gain people that
have no connection to the group. they urge followers to conduct attacks in their home countries they were unable to travel to syria and iraq. isthe same time, isil pulsating its global growth into a more active global organization. a branch in libya is probably the most developed and the most dangerous. we assess and airstrike would influence its attack into africa and europe. meanwhile, isil's sinai branch in egypt is the most capable group in all of egypt. it focuses attacks on the egyptian military and government targets, but has also targeted tourists, as we so with the downing of a russian passenger jet. other branches worldwide have struggled to gain traction. the yemen ranch for instance has been riddled with factionalism.
the afghanistan branch has struggled to maintain cohesion, in part because of competition with the taliban. on the propaganda front, the coalition is working to counter isil's propaganda machine. isil lauds its own military efforts and portrays the caliphate as is driving a -- as a thriving state, despite setbacks globally. it releases a multitude of products on various prop forms including social media, mobile applications, and hardcopy media. usesroup primarily twitter, telegram, and tumblr. --relies on a global work of network of sympathizers to spread these messages. in sum, isil remains a formidable adversary, but the united states and our global partners have succeeded in putting the group on the defensive, forcing it to devote more time and energy to try to hold territory and vital
infrastructure inside syria and iraq. though this will be a long and difficult fight, there's broad agreement in the international community on the seriousness of the threat and on the need to meet it collectively and decisively. it also dominates my conversations with my intelligence and security counterparts globally worldwide. i frequently engage with them about what we need to do together in terms of information sharing, joint operational activity, and being able to complement our respective strengths and capabilities to destroy isil thoroughly. as you will know, cia is not just a counterterrorism agency. we are a comprehensive service with a global charter. and we are called upon to address the full range of 21st century threats. and as i often tell young officers at cia i have never , seen a time when our country faced such a wide variety of threats to our national security. if you run your fingers along almost any portion of the map from asia-pacific to europe to north africa, you'll quickly
find a flashpoint with global implications. china is extending its military and taking over the south china sea. russia is expanding its nuclear weapons program. russia is threatening its neighbors and reasserting itself on the global stage. then there's the cyber domain where states and other actors are threatening financial systems, interpretation networks and other things inside government and out. i particularly appreciate the work of this committee to try to come to grips and address the cyber threats we face as a nation. in the face of these many daunting challenges, our nation depends upon cia and intelligence community partners to help keep our country strong and secure. indeed in today's volatile and complex world, policymakers depend on cia more than ever for intelligence, insight, and options. if we are to me the cuts -- national security challenges that confront us we must , constantly adapt and innovate. that's why we announced a comprehensive effort last year to modernize our agency for the future.
since launching our modernization effort a few months ago, we have taken important steps to make sure we modernize to the time. we still have work to do, and in some respects we always will. that's because modernization is about more than lines and boxes on an organizational chart, it is also about a mindset. to innovate constantly to keep up with an ever changing world. a key part of this is a commitment to making our work force as diverse as the world we cover. just last week, the office of the director of national intelligence issued a report showing that the intelligence community is significantly less diverse than the rest of the federal work force. there is report that forces us in the intelligence community to confront some hard truths about who we are and how we are performing our mission. cia recently unveiled a landmark effort to make sure that our backgrounds, perspectives, the nation we work so hard to defend. this is both a moral and a mission imperative. i truly believe that the
business case for diversity is is stronger for cia than it is for any other organization in the u.s. government. diversity gives us the cultural understanding we need to operate in any country in the world, it the intelligence we need to work. i want to thank the cia and trinity partners we have worked with through the course of the year, and i look forward to addressing your questions. thank you. mr. burr: mr. director, thank you for that testimony. we will do five-minute rounds based on seniority. mr. director you lead an organization with a unique insight in the global events with unprecedented access to the entire world and highly trained officers that preside -- possess a wide range of talents and skills. to the extent that you can discuss in this setting, do you
believe that you have all the authorities you need to accomplish your mission? senator, i believe we have a great deal of authorities, and very important and solemn authorities, and we try to do it to the best of our ability. the one area when i look to the future that concerns me is in that digital domain which is why we set up a fifth directorate, the first time in 50 years. so we're able to understand the implications, the vulnerabilities, and the opportunities that that digital domain represents. as i know this committee and others here in the congress are grappling with the issue about the role of government in that digital domain, law enforcement, intelligence, and security organizations, i do wonder whether or not we as a government have the ability to be able to monitor that domain from the standpoint of identifying those threats to our national security that we need just the way we have within the physical domain, the maritime domain, the aviation domain, the
consensus about how the government has an obligation to protect its citizens in those various domains. the digital domain is a new domain. it is the new frontier. and i do not believe our legal frameworks, as well as our organizational structures, and our capabilities are yet at the point of being able to deal with the challenges in the digital domain that we need to have in the future. so this is the one area that i encourage the committee, the congress, this administration, next administration, to continue to work on, particularly as this country is going to be part of the internet of things where virtually every type of electronic and mobile device is going to be connected to this internet. that interconnectedness gives us tremendous convenience in our lives, but it also creates inherent vulnerabilities that our adversaries, whether nation states or individual actors or
groups will take advantage of. , that's the area i'm concerned about, the authority of the fbi need to be looked at. mr. burr: we are extremely engaged in that fight, and we hope we can continue to make progress in understanding what the structure should be in the future. you note in your opening statement that the cia is not just a counterterrorism agency but an intelligence service with a global charter. do you believe your organization focuses too much of its time and resources on the terrorist threat? mr. brennan: i think as this committee knows very well, the terrorist threat has been large since dawn 11. it has presented a threat not just your interest worldwide but to our beloved homeland, which is why the cia has been called upon to lead this fight and too defeat the terrorist organizations abroad so they cannot carry out their wanton, depraved acts here in our homeland. the cia has multiple missions.
we have the human and technical, the all force analytic mission to provide policymakers in congress with the insights they need. we have the counterintelligence mission to make sure we can protect ourselves from adversaries trying to steal our secrets. we also have a covert action mission which involves the paramilitary dimension, and given our roots in the services in world war ii since our birth , in 1947, every administration has taken advantage of cia's tremendous abilities in that paramilitary covert action realm. as we fight in yemen and iraq and other places, the cia's give abilities in this area will be increasingly called upon in the future. i also would add one other component to those missions and that's on the liaison front. our partners. we need to make sure we develop the partnership we need to leverage their capabilities,
because as good as cia is we're , not able to confront all these angles globally. we need to develop the professionalism of other services and make sure they're able to fulfill their obligations of intelligence obligate -- organizations, and they are not subject to the whims of corrupt political masters who are going to try to use them for their own political agendas. so as we develop these partnerships, we're trying to develop their professionalism as well. mr. burr: last question you've , been at the helm of the c.i.a. for roughly three years now. the world has changed or medically during those three short years. while this is not the appropriate venue to go into great detail on sources and methods, it's a good opportunity for you to speak to the american people and educate them about the caa and humanize what is a very opaque organization, to most. how has your view of the cia as an organization changed in the last three years? mr. burr: well, mr. chairman.
thank you. in your opening remarks, you talked about how the cia officers work in the shadows and without the accolades they deserve. i first raised my hand and swore allegiance to this country in august in 1980 as a young cia officer. i worked for 25 years. during those 25 years and subsequent years, to include the have had thehat i pleasure and honor to lead the cia i am always impressed with , the expertise, the capabilities, the dedication of americans from every state in this union who come to cia recognizing that they're going , to be maligned unfairly because of the misrepresentations of their work but they recognize that the work , they do is absolutely essential to keep their families, their neighbors, they friends, their fellow citizens safe. so i truly believe that the agency is core and essential to keeping this country safe and secure from the growing threats
we face around the globe, and coming back to cia and being able to spend every day with cia officers i am just amazed at , what it is that they're willing to do on behalf of their country. i presided over annual memorial ceremony last month in cia's lobby from front of our wall of honor where 117 stars grace that wall, representing cia men and women who have given their lives to this country. they do it, again, without seeking praise, public acclamation, but they do it silently, at great sacrifice to themselves and their families. so i am honored to be part of this organization. mr. burr: thank you, director. vice-chairman. ms. feinstein: thanks, mr. chairman. i hope to get in three questions director. ,the first is, and listening to remarks -- your remarks, which i think were a lot of broad strokes and very interesting, i
wanted to ask you about a couple of things that you said. you said that libya is the most dangerous country and the sinai the most active. you mentioned military and governmental targets. could you explain a little bit more about that, please? mr. brennan: i talked about libya as being the country where there's the most dangerous branch of isil outside of syria and iraq. they have several thousands of individuals who have pledged allegiance to isil. they now control a portion of the libyan coast around the city of sert. where they're able to train, develop, and to consolidate their position inside of libya as well as to use libya as the potential springboard for carrying out operations abroad. they've attracted a number of individuals from african countries, inside of libya, and therefore i am concerned about the growth of libya as another area that could serve as a basis for isil to carry out attacks
inside of europe and in other locations. that is very concerning. particularly since libya is right across from europe and the mediterranean, the refugee flows going there. there's a group within the sinai, isil, it used to be an egyptian terrorist group, which was basically consumed by isil and that group pledged , allegiance to isolate. they already had capability. they had individuals trained and ready to carry out attacks. and we do attribute the downing of that russian airliner to this group that was able to get on board that aircraft and ied -- an ied and to bring it down. so the great concern about how isil has been able to rapidly develop capabilities in other countries -- in some areas, they were able to co-opt and acquire groups that were already in existence. nigeria is another country where boko haram is now the islamic
state of west africa, where you have several thousands of individuals who are also on the march, waving the isil banner. i was just out in singapore last week, where i talked to my asian counterparts, concerned about what we might see in soviet asia -- in southeast asia as various terrorist organizations there are increasing their interaction and connections with isil. so this is a global challenge. the numbers of isil fighters now far exceeds what al qaeda had at its height. they are talking about tens of thousands of individuals. ms. feinstein: can you estimate the number? mr. burr: -- mr. brennan: in syria and iraq, we estimate it is between 18,000 and 22,000 fighters down , significantly from our estimates last year, where we estimated they might have had as many as 33,000 or so fighters. in libya, the numbers range from 5000 to 8000.
in egypt there are several , hundred, if not over 1,000, hard-core fighters. inside of the sinai that are a combination of individuals who were formerly of that group and others who have joined. in yemen, you have several hundreds. in afghanistan and pakistan, it's in the hundreds. so the numbers are significant. in iraq, syria, in libya, in nigeria, you probably have maybe 7000 or so. again, there are hard core fighters. there are adherents, there are logistics specialists, facilitators and others. but the numbers are significant. ms. feinstein: i want to get in one other thing. you said they proselytize by using twitter, telegram, and tumblr, that those are the most used. explain a little bit, you see i fight this huge personal privacy that any, you have to keep everything private.
and yet, when you have the electronic world being used as the propaganda mechanism to fuel the lone wolf, to goad on the lone wolf, to -- i use the word inspire the lone wolf, for the united states, that's a big security problem. how, what do you recommend from an intelligence point of view -- i know it's on the spot. but we're trying to discuss a bill on encryption, using court orders to ask companies to cooperate in cases of national security as well as major, major crime. and it's just very difficult. and yet, we see this propaganda. i read those magazines. i see what's happening. and the enormous frustration, it's not like you go to a library and find something in the stacks.
this is a few clips. and -- clicks, and you pull up all this material. what do you think the responsibility of the technical sector should be? mr. brennan: will senator, i think you have put your finger on two major issues here. one is that you're absolutely right, isil has made extensive and sophisticated use of the various technological innovations that we have witnessed over the past decade, taking full advantage of social media. a large part of the isil cadre are young individuals who have grown up, whether it be in the middle east, europe or other , places in an era of great technological development. and so using these mediums come , naturally to them, and they gravitate toward them. but they also are very aware of what mediums provide them the greatest security and the greatest protection from
government insight and oversight of that. and they recognize that a lot of these apps provide them the ability to communicate with encryption and also provide impediments to governments to be able to gain access to content of their information. so i will harken back to what i said earlier. i do believe that this committee and others really need to continue to have the discussion that is going to be a national discussion about the appropriate role for the government in an area where the private sector owns and operates the worldwide internet. and we know that the internet does not respect sovereign borders. so it's not just a question of what the united states is able to do. its what the norm and standards are going to be across the globe. i do not believe that there is a national consensus right now, even within the congress or the executive branch, about what that appropriate role is for law enforcement, for intelligence agencies, in terms of being able to have the basis and the
foundation to be able to protect their fellow citizens from what can happen in that digital domain, whether it's with the propagation of propaganda that these organizations are involved in, or whether or not they're actually directing and training and inciting individuals, but also the vulnerability of our critical infrastructure as well as our way of life here to disabling and destructive mall where -- malware that can be deployed by nation states that have the capability and intent is something we need to come to grips with. we don't want to face the equivalent of 9/11 in the cyber domain. it's an important and worthwhile debate, and there are arguments on all sides about what the government's role should be, but when i think about the government's inability to be able to follow up on a court order and warrant that grants the government access to some device that holds a lot
of documents or information that could be inculpatory or excellent tory about -- excul patory to provide information about an attack there's , something the government has to come to grips with in terms of what is the authority, responsibility, and role of the government in making sure that this country is kept safe from those who want to do us harm using that digital domain. mr. burr: senator coats. >> director, you talked about the territorial gains that we had in both iraq and in syria. intelligenceto get assessment agencies assessment in hat it would look like syria, what the challenges are
shows.t the intelligence it's a mixed cocktail of opposition groups and so forth. is defeated, what are we facing? face re we continuing to in syria whether assad stays or whether he goes. is going to be significant questions raised as what we're going to be facing. there's maybe some people coming to the conclusion isise have to do is defeat in syria and in iraq and then will be fine. we know that they pha it is an to a number of other nations. what is syria going to look like and when that happens and what kind of challenges are we have. to >> you're absolutely right. syria is a cocktail of actors whichr of