tv Capital News Today CSPAN May 9, 2013 11:00pm-2:01am EDT
>> senator schumer. >> it's a good amendment. we want to be as accountable as we can be. the senator from ohio has made this one of the watch words of his career to precede not meant and improves the bill. >> the eyes have it -- i should note that we disclose to 17 amendments this morning. eight of them are republican amendments. we are maybe not rather rapidly. it's 12:30. i want time for senator grant to buy a very nice lunch for senator grassley. we will come back at 1:30. we stand recess. >> if we wait for him to buy our lunch, we are going to starve. [laughter] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> the senate judiciary committee began consideration more than 300 amendment to the gang at the immigration bill. the committee heard a total of 32 amendment on title i of the legislation. 21 amendments were adopted with only one passing bipartisan vote. the committee reconvenes on tuesday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
the constitution do not host an event operations at the facility. you can see the event with the former guantánamo chief prosecutor of life friday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> this department may be nearing the stage with a frequency of the crime and perception that there is tolerance of it could very well undermine our ability to affect the mission and retain the good people we need. that is unacceptable to meet and leaders of the institution and it should be unacceptable to have an associated with the united states military. when a cultural change for every service number is treated with dignity and respect.
>> senators mccain, levin, menem doesn't graham spoke about the ongoing conflict in syria, including illegal use of chemical weapons. earlier this week, senator menem has come a chairman the foreign relations announced a bill to provide training and non-blakely to the syrian opposition. this is 40 minutes. and >> today, mr. president, i and my colleagues are here concerning syria, the strategic cause of to be devastating not just for the people of security that vital american interests as today's "washington post" editorial make clear, nearly all of the terrible consequencesintd happen if we intervened in syria have happened because we have not. there's mounting evidence that chemical weapons have been used by the assad regime, as many of
our colleagues have noted, including senator feinstein, the chairman of the intelligence committee, president obama's red line on syria has been crossed. instead of act, the obama administration has called for additional evidence to be collected by u.n. investigators, who have not yet set foot in syria. and probably never will. in the absence of more robust action, it will not be longe longbottom until a-- it will not be long until assad uses chemical weapons again. by drawing a red line on chemical weapons, the president actually gave the assad regime a green light to use every other weapon in his arsenal with impunity. more than 70,000 syrians have been killed indiscriminately, with snipers, artillery, fighter jets and even ballistic missiles. according to a recent human
rights watch report, more than 3,300 civilians have been killed by assad's airstrikes alone since july 2012. at the same time iran and hezbollah is bill ago front. according to estimates that have been published in the media some believe there were no more than a few hundred fighters in syria last year. but today it is widely believed there could be thousands of extremist fighters inside of sear yavment they are gaining strength by the day because they are the best, most experienced fighters. they are well-funded and are providing humanitarian nance in the parts of syria where people need is most. at the same time, this conflict is having increasingly devastating consequences to the security and stability of our allies and partners in israel,
jordan, turkey, iraq, and lebanon much the situation has been characterized as a extension shall threat for lebanon where the government estimates that 1 million syrians have entered the country. 1 million syrians have entered the country of lebanon, which has a population of just over 4 million. similarly, over the past two years, more than 500,000 syrians have flooded into jordan, a country of just 6 million people. consider, for a moment, that in proportional terms this would be equivalent to 26 million refugees or the entire population of texas suddenly crossing our own borders. in short, syria is becoming a failed state in the heart of the middle east, overrun by thousands of al qaeda affiliated fighters with possibly tons of chemical weapons and poised to ignite a wider sectarian
conflict that could profoundly destablize the region. yesterday brought news that the administration plans to organize together with russia an international peace conference later this month to seek a negotiated settle to the war in syria. all of us -- all of us are in favor of such a political resolution to this conflict. no one wants to see this conflict turn into a fight to the death and total vickery for one side or -- and total victory for one side or the other. we all want to work towards a political settlement that forms as new government in syria reflective of the democratic aspirations of the syrian people. one of the lessons of the past two years is that such a negotiated settlement will not be possible in syria until the balance of power shifts nor decisively against i assad. until assad as well as his
iranian, hezbollah, and russian backers no longer believe they are winging, what incentive do they have to come to the table to make a deal? this is what two well-meaning united nations senior envoys have already learned. yes, syrian opposition forces are gaining strength and territory on the ground. but assad still has air power, a decisive factor in that climate and that terrain. ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, and host of other advanced weaponry, and he is using all of it. furthermore, today's news reports that russia has agreed to sell -- today's news reports, russia has agreed to sell an advanced air defense system to the assad regime should lead us once again -- ask us whether the path to peace in syria really runs through moscow. i know americans are war-weary,
eager to focus on our domestic and economic problems and not foreign affairs. i also know the situation in syria is complex, and there are no ideal options. but the basic choice we face is not complicated. do the costs of inaction outweigh the costs of actions? i believe they do. no one should think that the united states has to act alone, put boots on the ground, or destroy every syrian air defense system to make a difference for the better in syria. we have more limited option optt our disposal, including limited military options that can make a positive impact on this crisis. we could, for example, organize an overt and large-scale operation to train and arm well-vetted syrian opposition forces. a course of action that was recommended last year by president obama's entire national security team. i'm encouraged that senator
menendez, chairman of the foreign relations committee, has introduced legislation this week on this very issue and that he is speaking out about the need for more robust action in syria, including addressing assad's air power. several key leaders in our own military pointed out in system that the senate armed services committee over the past several months we have the capacity, we have the capacity to significantly weaken both the assad regime's air power and its increasing use of ballistic missiles which pose significant risks as delivery vehicles for chemical weapons. to address this threat, we should use our precision strike capabilities to target assad's aircraft and scud missile launchers on the ground without our pilots having to fly into the teeth of syria's air defenses. similar weapons could be used to selectively destroy artillery pieces and make assad's forces
think twice about remaining at their post. we could use the patriot missile batteries outside of syria to help protect safe zones inside of syria from assad's aerial bombing and missile attacks. would any of these options immediately end the conflict? probably not, but they could save innocent lives in syria. they could give the moderate opposition a better chance to succeed in marginalizing radical actors and eventually provide security and responsible governance in syria after assad falls. however, the longer we wait, the worse the situation gets and the tougher it will be to confront as we will inevitably be forced to do sooner or later. i'm encouraged that a consensus is emerging and many of our colleagues, democrats and republicans alike, share this view. i note, mr. president, the leadership of senator lee vin, the chairman of our armed services committee.
i joined in writing a letter to president obama urging him to take more active steps in syria. i also note the important voice senator bob casey has lent to this debate and that his op-ed printed last week in the huffington post titled act in syria which calls for consideration of more options including cruise missiles strikes to neutralize the syrian air force be included in the record. mr. president, let me conclude with one final thought for america. our interests are our values and our values are our interests. the moral dimension cannot be lost from our foreign policy. if ever a case should remind us of this, it is syria. leon weishalter captured this point powerfully in "the new republic" this week, and i quote -- "70,000 people have
died in the syrian war, most of them at the hands of their ruler. since this number has appeared in the papers for many months, the actual number must be much higher. the slaughter is unceasing, but the debate about american intervention is increasingly conducted in realist terms, the threat to american interests posed by jihadism in syria, the intrigues of iran and hezbollah, the rattling of israel, the ruination of jordan and lebanon and iraq. they are all good reasons for the president of the united states to act like the president of the united states. but wouldn't the prevention of ethnic cleansing and genocidal war be reason enough. is the death of scores and even hundreds of thousands and the displacement of millions less significant for american policy and less quickening?
the moral dimensions must be restored to our deliberations. the moral sting. or else obama, for all his talk about conscience, will have provided -- will have presided over a terrible mutilation of american discourse, the severance of conscience from action. two decades ago, i worked with democrats and republicans in congress to support president clinton as he led america to do the right thing in stopping mass atrocities in bosnia. the question for another president today and for all americans is whether we will again answer the desperate pleas for rescue that are made uniquely to us as the united states of america. thank you, mr. president. i would ask my friend -- i first
would ask both of my colleagues one question and then -- if it would be all right. there is news today that the secretary of state is convening -- wants to convene a conference including the russians in order to try to bring about a resolution. at the same time we read reports that the russians are selling syria the most advanced weapons. i guess i would ask my colleague from south carolina and then senator levin because i know he has a statement. mr. graham: well, that would be a big contradiction. i would just yield to senator levin to answer the question and make his opening statement. mr. levin: i thank, first of all, the senator from arizona for the leadership that he has taken on the question of syria and answer the question to the best of my ability at least it wouldn't be the first time that russia has taken an inconsistent position, and i am hoping that
the additional military pressure on assad, which we are all calling for this morning, would help put pressure on russia to understand if that military pressure is forthcoming that they should participate in the military -- in the political solution. i don't know that we can stop them as much as we would all wish to taking the inconsistent position that they have, but i believe and i think the senator from arizona would probably agree but he could speak for himself, obviously, that -- that if president obama does as we are urging him to do, which is find a way to put additional military pressure on assad, that that would be an important sign to russia that, okay, join in the solution. you have participated enough in the problem already. join in the solution. so i think they are inconsistent, but i think our goal of trying to get more military pressure on assad is very consistent with the idea
that maybe there will be a political solution, but if there is, it will be promoted by military pressure on assad and his understanding of that fact. mr. president, the worsening situation in syria and the snowballing plight of millions in the region requires a response. since nonviolent demonstrations demanding democratic change began in syria in march of 2011, bashar assad and his click of supporters have unleashed a massacre that have claimed the lives of at least 70,000 syrians. the region already suffers from a massive refugee population, it has sparked a civil war with a multitude of divergent ethnic groups and religious secretaries and placed a serious chemical weapons stockpile which is one of the world's largest at risk of falling into the hands of terrorist groups. despite the impact of this
horrific campaign, assad's commitment to continuing the fight appears unwavering. one must look no further than the increasingly indiscriminate tactics with which he conducts his campaign. in recent months, in addition to assad's possible use of chemical weapons, he has increased his reliance on air strikes, scud missiles, rockets, mortar shells and artillery to terrorize and to kill civilians. assad's ability to conduct this campaign hassen -- is enabled by two actors -- iran and russia. iran's financial, personnel and materiel support have been critical to ensuring assad's military remains operable and that the impact of defections is mitigated with reinforcements. russia supports the more serious, more advanced military weaponry, most notably air defense systems is critical to assad's continued ability to project power into areas of the country that he no longer controls. to add further complexity to the
situation, the al qaeda offshoot continues to spread its influence in some areas of syria. its presence is of concern and countering its spread needs to be a priority. it is also critical that we ensure that countries in the region that are seeking to force an end to the assad regime are not enabling and enhancing the capabilities of violent extremists that will ultimately turn their weapons on moderate syrians and on religious minorities in syria such as the syrian christians. the combination of these circumstances in syria demonstrates that the status quo is unacceptable and that time is not on our side. many officials in washington share this sentiment, but in the same breath remind us that the situation in syria is complex, volatile and asymmetric. syria's government institutions are crumbling which would create a dangerous vacuum. any action by the united states or the west, even if it's with our arab partners, risks
significant escalation, and that any security vacuum could be filled by islamist extremists. well, mr. president, i have supported and i will continue to support the president's contributions to provide humanitarian relief to the syrian people throughout the region as well as the additional assistance he has pledged to jordan to help with the devastating impact of this conflict on that country, but it is essential, mr. president, that the united states, working with our allies in the region, step up the military pressure on the assad regime. of course, doing so in a carefully thought out and regionally supported way. certainly, there are significant challenges to any plan of action in syria, but we not only have to figure out the consequences of any action. we also have to figure out the consequences of not taking additional actions. in my view, the facts on the ground today makes the consequences of inaction too great, and it is time for the
united states and our allies to use ways to alter the course of events in syria by increasing the military pressure on assad until he concedes that his current course is not sustainable. taking steps to add military pressure on assad will also provide backing to secretary kerry's efforts to bring the russians into the dialogue politically, which is aimed at leading to assad's departure, and i commend secretary kerry for his efforts to bring russia into that dialogue. at the same time, of course, we condemn russia's support for the assad regime, and i happen to feel very strongly that even though we are condemning and should condemn russia's support for the assad regime, it is still in our interests that russia participate in putting
pressure on assad politically to depart if secretary kerry can possibly do so. i have joined senator mccain recently in writing to president obama urging the president to consider supporting a number of efforts, including the creation by turkey of a safe zone inside of syria along its border, the employment of our patriot batteries closer to that border in order to protect populations in that safe zone and to neutralize any syrian planes that threaten it and also to provide weapons to vetted elements of the opposition in syria. these actions, raising the military pressure on assad, will send the critical message to assad that he is going to go one way or the other. the armed services committee, which i chair, recently held an open hearing on the situation in syria and the defense department's efforts to plan for a full range of possible options to respond to the contingencies
in syria. our committee is set to receive a classified briefing on sear cora next week, and i intend to raise these issues are our witnesses at that briefing, and i know that senator mccain and senator graham and others are also going to forcefully raise these issues with those witnesses at that briefing and to urge them to carry the message back to the administration that it is time to up the military pressure on assad. i thank the chair. i thank senator mccain and others who are participating in this discussion. and i also would ask unanimous consent, mr. president, i have five unanimous consent requests for committees to meet today during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders, and i would ask consent that the request be agreed to and that they be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: and i yield the floor.
mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i want to join with my distinguished colleagues here in our collective call for a greater engagement, and i start off as i always do in my years in congress between the house and the senate with two questions -- what is in the national interests of the united states, what is in the national security interests of the united states? and from those -- the answers to those two questions is in essence how i determine my views, my advocacy, my votes and the policies i want to pursue. and there are vital u.s. interests engaged in syria. first, of course, there is a humanitarian crisis, probably the most significant humanitarian crisis at this moment. 70,000 dead and climbing, 4 million displaced, and that is, of course, an urgent call. but beyond that, we have large
chemical weapons stockpiles that potentially can fall into the wrong hands. and some have, by a whole host of public reports, already been used against the syrian people. unless you believe that somehow the rebels have in their possession chemical weapons, then this largely has to be from assad. and he has used them, and i think once you use them, you are willing to use them even in greater quantities. and that is a real concern. the syrian state could collapse. that would leave a safe haven for terrorists, constitute ago new threat to the region. you already have al qaeda-affiliated groups. you have his hez. yo-- you havehezbollah. you have the rai iranian guard. you have the opportunity for a safe haven for terrorists, constituting a new threat to the region, with broader implications for our own security. the refugee crisis and sectarian
violence spread instability through the region. the king of jordan was here about two weeks ago and sat with our committee, and he made it very clear, this population has already increased by 20%. at the rate it is going, the population of jordan could double. that is not sustainable for the kingdom. this is one of the countries that has been one of our most significant and faithful allies, and a cruck stiff ally in the -- and a constructive ally in the region. we cannot afford fo for that aly to find itself in a position that which it could very well collapse. so we look all that, and finally, there could be no more strategic setback to iran, which is our -- this body has spoken collectively and in a bipartisan united fashion to stop its march towards nuclear weapons -- than to have the assad regime collapse. that would be a tremendous setback to iran and would cause a disruption in the terror
pipeline between iran and hezbollah in lebanon. so these are just some of the vital national security interests of the united states in changing the tide. now, under the present set of circumstances, assad believes that he is winning and for so long as he believes that he is winning, he will continue the during thcoursethat he is on. there has to be change in the tipping point here. after two years i believe that there are those in the opposition, rebels that we can and have thoroughly vetted, that we can assist in trying to change that tipping point. if you have a monopoly on air power and on artillery, then the realty is you won't see a change on the ground. so the legislation that i have introduced and in working with colleagues -- and am working with colleagues on, begins to move us in a beginning direction. it is to seek to arm thoroughly vetted elements of the syrian
opposition so that we can change the tipping point much it is to, of course, it into provide humanitarian assistance and at the same time work for the assistance of a transition fund to help those rebels that are already controlling parts of the civilian population, to help them add minute straight and prepare for the future. unless we change the dynamics on the ground, we will not have a change in the regime. and for so long as the regime can continue to bomb indiscriminately its citizens and if the reports, as we have seen it from various countries, including our own, suggest that assad has used chemical weapons against his own citizens, that is only an invitation to allow him to continue do it unless we act. and so i am willing to consider other options. i know moo my colleague, senator mccain, the very distinguished
senator had this field, is willing to consider those. i'm willing to consider those as well. but i think that finally we strengthen the hand of the administration and secretary kerry. we all want to see a politically, diplomatically achieved solution. but in the absence of change the calculus not only of assad but of his supporters that have propped him up to believe that he will -- unless they believe he will fall, i am not sure that we will changed the cal could you laws for the -- calculus for the political opportunity to take place. you think that these efforts strengthen the hand of the administration, creates a parallel track that if diplomacy fails, we have have an opportunity to pursue our vital flat interests and security interests and the humanitarian tragedy -- end the humanitarian tragedy and create the type of stability we want to see in the region. i appreciate my colleague briggy colleague bringing us together
on the floor. with that, i yield the floor. mr. mccain: i thank the distinguished chairman. and may i say, it's been a great pleasure for me to have the opportunity to serve on the foreign relations committee of which senator menendez is the chairman. his stewardship of that committee, i think, has been outstanding, and i appreciate the very articulate argument that the chairman just presented, including the strategic dimension of this whole issue, which sometimes in our -- i particularly, when you focus so much on the humanitarian side, that the strategic interests of the fall of bashar al-assad is something that adds another dimension. i thank the senator and chairman of the foreign relations committee. greenhouse gas emission greenhouse gas emissio-- mr. graham: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina.
mr. graham: i would like to note that the tide of war in syria changed today because of what's happening on the floor in the united states senate. that may be hard for people to understand, but i really don't think so. how do you change the tide of battle? you make it certain to the world that assad will go, and you provide hope to those who are fighting him that you will prevail. and i would suggest that a bipartisan consensus is forming in the united states senate, that now is time to do more not less when it comes to syria, including arming the rebels, the right rebels, the right opposition, with the right weapons, which will eventually change the tide of battle. to those who have been following this debate about syria, to those who have been in the fight trying to topple this regime, i cannot stress you to how
important today is in your cause. because when you get senator levin and senator menendez, two institutional, important figures because of their chairmanship, but also because of who they are and what they bring to every debate around national security, combined with senator mccain and others, you have turned the tide in washington. as to senator mccain, you have been talking in the most eloquent terms for at least a couple years about stopping this war in syria, ending the assad regime, and replacing it with something better. you have been right, as are usually are, but now is not the time to look backward; it is to look forward. i think an effort by the senate and the house to acknowledge that the tide of war needs to change and that we should be bolder in our support for the opposition is going to increase the likelihood of a peaceful
solution through diplomacy. the russians have to after today, if you know anything about american politics, the game has changed when it comes to assad. and this is a monumental sea change in terms of the war in syria, by having four united states senators who care about this speak out and say we will be more involved militarily. to the opposition, this is a great day for you. to assad, this seals your fate. now, what do we do and how do we do it? it won't all end tomorrow because of this colloquy tomorrow, but we're well on the wayed to ening this with regard. here's the choice clan the current regime which is evil to the core, you can fix the second once you can't fix the first. it's that simple to me. the sooner the war ends, the
better not forel saving people in syria for further slaughter but by preventing what would be an erosion of our national security interests in four areas perform this war goes six more months, a failed state will emerge in sear yavment it will be so fractured you can't put it back together again and the 6,000icaid-a associated fighters will grow this number and there will be a safe haven in syria like there was in afghanistan. that's not good for us. unlike afghanistan, there's enough chemical weapons in syria to kill thousands, if not millions, of americans and people who are our allies. i worry greatly not only that chemical weapons have been used in syria on the opposition by the regime but those same chemical weapons will be used in the future by radical islamists against us. the next bomb that goes off in america may have more than nails and glass in it. and the only reason millions of americans or thousands of
americans haven't been killed, hundreds of thousands by radical islamists, they just can't get the weapons to kill that many of us. they would, if he could this. and i've never seen a better opportunity for radical islamists to get ahold of weapons of mass destruction than i see in syria today. and every day that goes by, their opportunity acquire some of these weapons grows dramatically. if you ask me what i worry the most about in syria and why we should get involved is for that very reason p. if these weapons get compromised, they'll fall into the hands of the people who will use them against us and to believe otherwise would be incredibly naive. jordan, probably the most stabilizing figure in the mideast in these dangerous time, is the king of jordan. his country is being overrun by refugees. if it war goes on six more months, that's probably the end of thinks kingdom because it will create economic chaos and political instability. and he will be a victim of the
civil war in syria, which will have monumental consequences for our own national security. as we talk about syria and chemical weapons falling into islamist radicals' hands, if you think the ayatollahs in iran are trying to build a nuclear power plant at the bottom of the mountain, you're wrong. they're trying to build a nuclear weapon to ensure that you are survivable. and god only knows what they would do with nuclear technology. but if you believe what they say, they would wipe israel off the map and we would be next. so i tend to believe what they saivmensay. if you allow syria to continue to deteriorate and have a hands-off policy towards assad, then i think you're sending the worst possible significant mall to iran because, as senator levin said, the really only ally that iran has today is assad in sear yavment how can we convince the iranians we're really sear why about your nuclear program
when we're not serious about assad using chemical weapons against his own people. what a terrible signal to send. i would just we understand this thought: taker that this is goio pay great dividends, it will being helpful to the president. we can end this war sooner rather than later. no matter what there will be a second war in syria, unfortunately. that second war is going to be between radical islamists who want to turn syria into some kind of al qaeda-inspired state and the overwhelming majority of syrians who want to live a better life and be our friends, not ouren miss sm our enemies. this war will end the right way the sooner we get the first war over, the shorter the second war will be. i think we can bring this war to close without boots on the
ground. one last thought. as to the opposition, you would be helping your cause if you would let the world know that you don't want assad's chemical weapons, that the new syria will not be a state that wants weapons of mass destruction, that you would agree that these weapons should be creeled by the international community -- controlled by the international community and destroyed, that you would agree to an international force coming on the ground with your blessing the day after i assad false ando destroy them for all times. to senator mccain, i really appreciate your leadership for a couple years. but persistence does matter in politics and all things that are important. and i think your persis persists paying off. to senator menendez and senator levin, the way forward is pretty clear. to president obama, we want to be your ally, your supporter, we
want you to get more involved, not less. we realize it is hard, there are risks. as senator mccain said before, the risk of doing nothing or continuing on the track we're on is far greater than getting involved and ending the war sooner. mr. mccain: if i could ask one question of my colleague, i understand recently you made a trip to the middle east. and there's nothing like seeing the terrible consequences of war, and i understand you visited a refugee camp. maybe for the benefit of our colleagues you could take a minute to describe the horrible conditions that -- the things that people, i believe now over a million refugees have been subjected t to. mr. graham: it was one of the most compelling trips we ever made to the mideast. we went to turkey and a refugee camp in jordan. 40,000-somethine
now in jordanian schools. the burden on jordan is immense, but when you talk to people in the camps about what they have gone through and their loved ones have gone through, it is heart breaking. but just from a national security point of view, once you visit the camps, you understand what's at stake here. they tell you about radical islamists moving in. they want no part of them, but at the end of the day, they are having more influence because we're in the fight and you can do this without boots on the ground. the more chilling thing they tell us, senator mccain you have been echoing for a long time, they are telling us that their children are watching the united states, and like it or not, we have a reputation in the world that we can do almost anything. well, we can't do almost anything but we are seen as a force for good, and the people in syria are just beside themselves wondering where is
america. america to them is an idea. they want to be like us because it means freedom, economic opportunity. it means having a say about your children's future, and they are just dumfounded that we're not more involved given the stakes that exist in syria, and they tell us without any hesitation that the young people of syria will remember this moment. they will told this against us. i think i know what they are telling us. here's the good news. there is still time to act. it doesn't have to end that way. the conditions in syria are horrible. the refugee camps are beyond imagination. the u.n. is doing a great job. they are running out of money. jordan is about to fall if we don't stop this war. from a human point of view, senator mccain, we have got to get this war over and america needs to be seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem.
from a national security point of view, syria is going to become a nightmare for the whole world, including the united states. mr. mccain: i thank my colleague. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to include in the record a piece by senator casey called time to act in syria. it was in the huffington post, "washington post" editorial entitled repercussions of inaction, "wall street journal" article u.s. has warned planned syria arms sale, and finally a syria arms sale, and finally a
>> the situation in afghanistan and 78 and 79 was just how different it was from what we face today. many things are radically different. there are no radical leftist parties or secular parties at afghanistan today. that has all been pretty much wiped out but in the 1970s those were the powerful forces in afghanistan. the president from some of -- from much of the 70s was a secularist modernizer not unlike the shove iran. the calmness began trying to remodel society according to their own design in a quick they ran aground with that. the whole country rose up against them and that is what the soviets had to come in. what is amazing is the way that
invasion and the almost on ending civil war that has followed compounded by the u.s. intervention in 2001 and after has completely wiped out the old afghanistan that we saw in the 60s and 70's. >> defense secretary chuck hagel recently traveled to the middle east. thursday he spoke to the washington institute for near east policy about what he learned. this is 40 minutes. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you. thank you. i am grateful marty for your generous contribution and also
you're very observant commentary on sequestration. there are certain privileges to this job and one is i do have fairly good travel accommodations and i'm always grateful for that. i want to thank rob and the board and each of you who are and have been part of this institution which i am very familiar with and have them over many years during my days in the senate. i often would ask for advice from many of you who are here tonight and always tell you that advice in every way. i want to also acknowledge those here tonight who marty noted in the audience who have served the united states government in
important capacities and for their service and what they continue to do ,-com,-com ma thank you. also the ambassador is here tonight and those individuals representing their countries and those individuals who continue to make contributions to helping make a better world, which after all is really the assignment and the objective for all of us and it is the objective for every institution that cares about man. for all of that i am particularly grateful that you would have a currently employed secretary of defense. i shall pass on your regards to gates and panetta. [laughter] i think leon is probably with the pope at this very moment having some wine in italy. i don't know. [laughter] fortunately he has a good sense
of humor and he won't be offended by that. [laughter] i actually do talk to them often and bob gates and others who have served in this job and as for their advice as i do for so many people who have devoted their lives over the years to our country and the security of this country. so thank you all and truly thank you for the privilege in sharing my time with you tonight. for nearly 30 years the washington institute for poor policy is help united states government better understand and respond to bid policy challenges focusing on the middle east. at head of my recent trip to the region my team and i benefited greatly. we benefited greatly from the consultations with dennis ross and others and now that i have returned it has been noted here
tonight, and it just seems appropriate that i take advantage of this opportunity to share some of my perspectives from that trip. and in particular, the astounding challenges that face u.s. strategic interests and our allies together. i have been to every country in the middle east a number of times over the years except iran. and like all trips, you are supposed to be much enhanced and enlightened. that is, if you keep your radar turned on, and your transmitter shut down low and you listen. and i did a lot of listening on
this trip in particular because it was my first trip representing the united states of america as secretary of defense. i have long had an interest in the middle east and its rich and complicated history, its vibrant cultures and complex policies. it came to me not through academics, travel or "national geographic" magazine but rather through an abrupt intrusion in my life june 1967. you all recall what happened in june of 1967, the six-day war and when that six day war broke out, i was taking army bracing -- basic training at ft. hood texas. this region in the world which i knew nothing about burst into my world in a very sudden way particularly when our drill sergeant at ft. bliss suggested half the recruits there in the
barracks would be going to either vietnam or a place called the gaza strip golan heights in the west bank. i didn't know much about any of those places. i didn't know anything about it but i knew they probably weren't good places to be. [laughter] the knowledge that you probably would be going to war in some far-off land it does give paying attention to new meaning. i still recall sergeant asking, what do you like hagel? do you like dry heat or hot and humid? [laughter] well i got the hot and humid. for the next few days we follow the news closely. both radio and tv. no one knew whether this was the beginning of another world conflict.
suddenly, as we all recall, that war was over but not really, but not really. yet even as her focus returned to vietnam it was clear that religious, ethnic geopolitical unrest in the middle east would be at opal security challenge for many years to come. that reality inescapable today is the region continues to undergo a period of rising turmoil that has uprooted an old border entrance -- for better or worse. changes come with and precedences speed on a scale not witnessed in the region since the revolution of the 1950s. it began with citizens peacefully demanding their most basic universal rights. it has been made more complex and violent by the explosive
convergence of terry and complex, economic disparity, human rights technology and struggles over identity and borders. robert kaplan recently wrote in the most appropriate image of the present-day middle east is a medieval map where frontiers are not clearly and precisely defined. what he called in his words a world of fake and overlapping shadows. this tumultuous landscape presents a new set of security challenges for united states and our allies. syria's civil war stockpiling chemical weapons and advanced chemical weapons at risk. the escalation of violence threatens to spill across the borders. iran support for the assad regime and lebanese hezbollah, its destabilidestabili zing activities in the persian gulf and is her ambitions all pose a
clear threat to the united states, israel and the nations of the cooperation council and the wider world. meanwhile even as al qaeda has been substantially weakened in recent years, affiliated new terrorist groups are seeking new foothold in the region. president obama has been very clear that america's national security interests in the middle east include the security of israel, supporting our allies, fighting terrorism, preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, pursuing middle east peace, playing a stabilizing role with our regional partners and working to support democratic transitions in yemen, north africa, egypt and syria. the department of defense helps protect u.s. interests through our military presence in these regions. our defense cooperation and our
work to enhance the military capabilities of our allies. each of these aspects of our defense strategy in the middle east was the focus of my trip to the region which included and has been noted, israel jordan and saudi arabia egypt and the united arab emirates. israel is america's closest friend and ally in the middle east. during a series of meetings in tel aviv jerusalem with a former washington institute fellow, as you know minister of defense shalom was a fellow at this institute. he went into some detail telling me about it. [laughter] i met with president perez and prime minister to netanyahu. in all those meetings i spend a good amount of time with mr. -- minister your womb who i had not met before.
i knew ehud a rock well but minister johan and i personally clicked. i liked him very much. i have high regard and value his advice and we have talked to a number of times since and he will be back here. i think next month. so that relationship is one that i value and i am much appreciative of how that came out. personal relationships as you well know to matter. it doesn't change the world necessarily but he can. without that in human relationships, its varied difficult to ever advance a common interest. you all know that. in those meetings i can date our
continued commitment to enhancing defense cooperation with israel. which i think you all know has reached unprecedented levels. one of the core principles of u.s.-israel security cooperation is america's commitment to maintain israel's military engine. its capacity to defeat any threat or combination of threats, state or nonstate actors. as emphasized during a trip to israel as a sovereign nation. like all sovereign nations it has the right to defend itself. the department of defense works closely with the ministry of defense to develop advanced capabilities that israel need to defend its people and its interests. one current example among many is our close cooperation on rocket and missile defense efforts including iron out, and ariel. ..
the strike fighter program, this new capabilities package will significantly upgrade their qualitative military edge. israel's security is further enhanced by america's defense cooperation with our other regional partners. in my consultations i emphasized that strong u.s. security relationships with arab nations including particularly egypt and jordan and our partners in the
gulf are not only in american strategic interest, they're also in the security interest. among the most important of these relationships is the defense partnership with egypt. i military to military relationship played an important stabilizing role. during my visit to cairo i met with president more cn minister of defense. their i affirm that america's continued commitment to our to departure and to express our continued desire in working together, to work together to achieve common security objectives. these include countering violent extremism, ensuring the security of the gives borders in the sinai region, maintaining the camp david peace treaty with israel and supporting the democratic transition of egypt. president morrissey and the minister underscored their commitment to the camp david
peace treaty and to improving cooperation on border security in the sinai. the president's defense is working with the egyptians to help them improve their capabilities to deal with these challenges and counter-terrorism we are also making clear that progress on political and economic fronts will help ensure that egypt maintains u.s. support. this is particularly important given congressional concerns. as they work to employment political and economic reform there will find the strong partner in the united states. that has been underscored by president obama and secretary carry. the kingdom of jordan is another very key u.s. partner in the region. jordan is facing its own set of political, economic and security
challenges, including its border with syria. in my visit i reassured the jordanians that the united states continues to stay committed to the stability of jordan and the deepening our close defense cooperation and joint contingency planning with the jordanian military. hundreds of department of defense personnel working alongside their jordanian counterparts to enhance the border security and counter chemical weapons debilities. as president obama has said, we are also supporting the efforts of king abdullah to pursue efforts with jordan. as in israel, the civil war in syria was the focus of my discussions. as you all know, the conflict is intensifying. the possibilities of state fragmentation are increasing, as are the risks of extremism and proliferation.
the humanitarian situation is worsening. the situation is complex and combustible. the united states has a leading international community in organizing in applying sanctions and is the largest provider of humanitarian assistance. earlier today in rome they have authorized an additional $100 million in humanitarian aid for the syrian people. this brings the total monetary an assistance package to nearly $510 million. we have given nonlethal assistance to the syrian opposition, including the armed opposition, and that support is going. the u.s. military has been involved in delivering the supplies and planning. we are also urging russia and china to do more to help resolve this conflict because it is also clearly in their interest the
end of war. as you know, secretary carol was in russia this week meeting with russian leaders on this serious situation as well as other bilateral interests. coming out of those meetings the secretary and russian foreign minister announce they will seek to convene an international commerce with representatives of the syrian government and the opposition to determine how to employment's a political transition in syria. using the full range of tools the united states will continue to work toward achieving our goal of ending the violence and helping the syrian people transition to a post a saw authority which will help restore stability, peace, and hope for all syrian people. that goal is shared by our allies in the region, not only those bordering syria, but also are partners in the gulf. during the course of my discussions in maria, of a
doubly, concerns over the iranian support for the regime, destabilizing activities, and its nuclear program were at the top of the agenda. the united states will continue to lead diplomatic efforts and international economic sanctions to pressure the abandon of the pursuit of nuclear weapons and meeting their international obligations. there is a presidential election next month. no one can predict with any certainty if that might affect the future direction of iranian policies. as you all know, president obama has made it clear, very clear that our policy is to prevent iran from the chin in a clear weapon. he has taken no option of the table to ensure that have come. i stress that point during my discussion in the gulf. a key element of our efforts to counter iranian threats is building a cooperative defense network, raising the military
capabilities of our partners in the gulf who share our commitment to regional security and our concerns about the violence and extremism on the arabian peninsula. while in saudi arabia i finalized agreements to provide their air forces with access to significant new capabilities. saudi arabia is committed to purchasing all 84 boeing f-15 fighter aircraft the report a landmark sell in 2010. moving ahead with 25 f-16 falcons which will further enhance their ability to participate in coalition operations as libya and afghanistan have made important contributions and it will continue to make important contributions.
along with other common efforts with states and the areas such as missile defense this new arrangement ensures record dating effectively against other shared security challenges. land tnc. improving the ability of our forces to work seamlessly the international countermeasure exercise which began this week in the persian gulf and hosted by the u.s. fleet. a robust u.s. military presence has been a priority for the apartment, even as a number of u.s. troops in the region have decreased to as the end of the iraqi war. even though that has been the case, we have made a determined effort to position high and air missile defense and naval assets to deter iranian aggression and respond to other contingencies
such as f2 to fighters, ballistic missile defense ships and sophisticated radars. mine countermeasure assets and advanced intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. we have maintained a significant u.s. army presence in kuwait. even as we put our presence on a more sustainable, long-term footing, our capabilities in the region will far exceed those that were in place september september 11th 2001. our defense relationships are also much stronger and far more robust and sophisticated. the department of defense is adjusting its global footprint and activities. we are doing this because we must adapt to declining defense budgets at home. but the president's defense strategic guidance makes very clear that the middle east remains a top priority and that we will remain prepared to deal
with the full range of threats to our interest, our allies interest at this time of uncertainty and turmoil. each nation in the region is different and facing different combinations of threats and challenges. but these are regional challenges. all regional challenges i described tonight, whether it is a nuclear challenge posed by iran, dangerous instability in syria, or the continuing threat of terrorist groups, all regional threats. these common challenges must be met through the force coalitions of common interest which include israel and other allies in the region. our common thread woven into the medleys fabric is that the most enduring and effective solutions to the challenges facing the region are political, not military. america's role in the middle east is to continue to help
influence in shape the course of events using to promote -- diplomatic, economic, humanitarian, intelligence command security tools and coordination with all of our allies. more than 45 years after i first learned about the gaza strip and the west bank as a young army recruit, i found myself surveying this terrain a board and ibf helicopter alongside another old soldier, israeli minister defense. as we toured the region i thought about what is possible, what is possible that these democratic transitions in the middle east can succeed. and if a sustainable and comprehensive peace is ultimately achieved, that brings new possibilities, new possibilities to an old reason.
the old order in the middle east is disappearing. what will replace it remains unknown. there will continue to be instability. there will continue to be instability in the region as this process plays out, and we all must adjust accordingly. but the best hope for long-term stability lies some countries like egypt and libya, syria making transitions to democratic rule. these transitions need to be supported by institutions and legal frameworks. these institutions and legal frameworks respect to human life and liberties and dignity and tolerance and property for all citizens. to assist these nations in achieving these goals the united states will remain engaged in helping shape the new order. but we must engage wisely. this will require a clear
understanding of our national interest, of limitations and appreciation for the complexities of the unpredictable contradictory yet hopeful redoubled thank you. thank you. [applause] >> mr. secretary, thank you very much for that deepen comprehensive assessment, evaluation from a trip, and observations of middle east security today. i have the -- i have the privilege of being allowed to ask you a couple of questions before i know you have to depart . i no there are at least 300 people the wish that they share my responsibility. as long as i don't get one.
mr. secretary, i first want ask you a question about syria. there is at least one phrase that did not appear in your text and, perhaps appropriately so. that is the phrase redline. i would be grateful if you could give us your sense of where we are on assessing the violation of the president's red line, but more generally on the idea of red lines themselves and the appropriateness of using them to define yards beyond which people should not go and behavior is that we are trying to prevent. >> is that all? >> that is all. >> first, as you know, i am no longer a united states senator,
so i can say anything as irresponsibly as i would like. [laughter] >> i will pay a price for that. >> let me see if i can work my way through that. you surely don't expect me to publicly question anybody's use of red lines. in a very serious response because it is a serious question . the president has been a rather clear on this point. we take all of this, and i have noted in my comments, very seriously, the use of chemical weapons. he has said to my have said, secretary carey has said, we continue to assess and collaborate with our intelligence agencies and other
intelligence agencies on the question whether, wind, who and all the other relevant questions that have to be satisfied before any options are exercised that the president to has. i think it's fair to say that we are all was a debate. there is always the reality, and you accept that there may be consequences. unintended consequences may come from that. there are also consequences and unintended consequences that come from an action. so we continue to dwell very seriously on what happened and
when and all of the other questions that must be asked by responsible leaders. and i think the president is always seeing whether it is syria or any other international matter or any matter, a president has a responsibility commensurately i have some responsibility for the options that i give him through this defense department and whenever the advice he asked for for me. i take that seriously. we know we're talking about and that we are dealing with the facts. and that may not be a good enough answer or a good answer, but right now that is the most honest and certainly the. >> thank you. kaynine ask for anything more the most honest answer. thank you. i just want to ask one question. i think everyone was quite
pleased to hear you restate american policy, that you and the president has stated on many occasions about the need to prevent the obtaining of a nuclear weapon. we have been working in many different route to five rounds, diplomatic, economic sanctions and making sure that there is a credible threat to alternatives that they know about. i want to connect the third point with your comment toward the end of your remarks about sequestration and limitations. we have had to withdraw a second carrier from the gulf. i want to ask you to discuss with us the difficulties in the balancing of trying to deal with the limitations in the sequestration and the cuts at the same time as we need to project credible threats, project our power and our commitment to an adversary.
>> let me answer it this way. it is an important question. and it is one that the president deals with the my deal with them secretary carry deals with every day because in life, in this job, when you are the most powerful country in the world, there are many audiences out there. there are friendly audiences and then there are not so friendly audiences. and those who don't wish as well pay attention just like the people who support this. so what you say in how you say it and recognition of the transparency of our system college head of the annuity would trade, budget limitations, there are all out there for people to see. now, that said, we would go back a little bit your first question on syria as i answer your question on the capabilities.
and so i mentioned in my speech that secretary carey was in russia carried he and minister announced an agreement to go forward on the basis of our common interest on dealing with syria, the region, the use of chemical weapons. bring that up as an example. i also mention this in a broader way. great powers use all of their tools. it is not just 11 carriers and carrier battle groups. those are elements, important elements for protecting one's interest in working with one's allies. i also talked about building up regional, common interests and our allies to protect their
interests as we help them protect their own interest. no nation, i don't think in the world we are in an where'er going, going to be powerful enough to fix every problem themselves. it is too big, the problems, the challenges are too complicated. and even if we had twice the budget we have now you could not fix all the problems. that leaves most of us to believe that these alliances are absolutely critical. you multiplied your force ability with alliances. everyone knows that. the capability of those alliances is critical to that. the syrian example of what we're doing and what secretary perry is doing in the president is doing and others, trying to
build those coalitions to deal, as i know, with iran, syria is now, the humanitarian devastation that is occurring has to be factored into this. jordan in particular is tolerable on this, and we are working with jordan, as i said, but these are all working toward a common interest of our common goals. and as i said, an original way and i also noted that each specific. specifically to your question about budget limitations to protect our security interest and be able to fulfill our commitments, to help protect our allies to my noted in an inventory what our priorities were in the middle east. i started with the security of israel. the second point i made was our allies.
counter-terrorism and so on. we have the capabilities required, bottom-line. as secretary of defense, i can tell you that. i will tell you that. it is an honest response. if i did not think we have the capabilities of we were not going to have them because of the budget of just as we are making, i would have no choice but to go to the congress and the president and say. now, does that mean we are having to adjust? absolutely it does. it does mean that we have to adjust. and we are adjusting. we're having to make some tough choices. those tough choices are based on the prioritization, first of our national security interest. there are a lot of things we can do without. no one likes to have budget cuts . but our security interests are paramount. our budget this year, our baseline budget that i presented
to the congress, the president's budget was $527 billion base line. the defense department. on top of that, another account called the overseas contingency operation which we have not yet come in with that. my comptroller would be very unhappy about my announcing it tonight because we're still working with windy on this. but it is a significant amount of money on top of the baseline budget. we can protect the interests of this country with that budget. it still make the adjustments that we have to make and do the things that the american people expect us to do, our allies expect us to do. we are committed to doing. >> ladies and gentlemen, please join me in thanking secretary of defense chuck hagel. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much. [applause]
>> thank you very much. >> coming up on the c-span2, the senate judiciary committee marks up immigration legislation. in a meeting of the president's nominee to head the epa. later, senator bernie sanders talks about issues facing the u.s. postal service. c-span wrote to the white house is a new hampshire. governor speaks at a new hampshire republican state senate fund-raiser live from manchester. and live at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a kentucky senator rand paul speaks to the iowa republican party lincoln day dinner in cedar rapids. >> post september 11 the whole lot more people cared about
national security issues than was the case before. and so all of a sudden there was a market for former cia folks, former defense intelligence agency's, former national security agencies that use -- all of those guys who are used up riding in the shadows. they saw market for their services as commentators, but writers. so there was this somewhat uncomfortable, you know, kind of interaction between the agencies and these usually former employees. and at the time, i felt the waterborne was something that we needed to do. as time has passed and as september 11th has, you know, moved farther and farther back into history, i think have changed on mind. i think that water boarding a spotless and the member should not be in the business of doing. >> what you say that now? >> because we are americans. we are better than that. >> this is a guy who, i think by
all accounts meant well, served his country well by most accounts for 15 years in some very dangerous situations. he risked his life to take on al qaeda in pakistan and take on terrorism before that. and he is going off to prison for 30 months. leading his and family behind. >> this weekend sky scenas feature story, from spy to source to convict. sunday on c-span. >> thursday the senate judiciary committee began consideration of more than 300 amendments to the gang of the immigration bill. to many members vary widely on whether comprehensive immigration legislation is the way for it or if the bill should be broken into smaller parts. up next, committee members opening statements.
>> we can begin consideration of an immigration bill by voting on amendments this morning. i recognize the ranking member for his opening remarks. i had intended to call on senator shimmer for the first and the other sponsors circulated last week to protect the underlying bill. if adopted the bills further amendment, even though everybody has spoken to dozens of times about this on the floor and tv and everything else, senator grassley tells me that some still want to speak. we will give everybody a performance. i would hope that if people don't feel they have to repeat over and over again will they have already said a dozen times, we can get to work on marking of the bill. hundreds of amendments have been
filed and posts in the committee website. i hope there will consider which of their amendments they intend to offer. so we will keep on going as many days as is necessary. we consider the sponsors, star with amendments filed. the beginning sections of the bill. move on to amendments filed at the first part of the bill, border security and opening to public in venice that today so we now have to come back again tomorrow or later. and i see i have used to love my formats. i would now yield to senator grassley. back again for senator grassley. during this committee's markup of the immigration reform bill, i am going to invoke the themes of the president outlined that day that he pledged to the american people that transparency and the rule of law will be touchstones of his
presidency. atlanta as many questions throughout this process. i want to help the american people understand what is in this 860 page bill. i want to discuss the details and understand the thinking of the authors with regard to many provisions. i want to know how the bill does not repeat mistakes that we have made in the past. now want to know how will benefit generations for years to come, and i want to know how the bill preserves the rule of law. since we only do comprehensive immigration reform about once every 25 years or at least successfully sell, we have to get it right. as the authors of 744 hope, a bill must insure that the reform is successful so that we don't have to revisit this issue again . the bill before us has some of the same concepts of the 1986
immigration reform and control act. title two of that act provides a legalization program. instead of calling in a registered provisional immigrants status, the 1986 bill allowed the undocumented population to come forward and register with the government for what was termed temporary resident status. a person had to prove they resided in the united states prior to january 1st 1982 and had to remain physically present in the united states until they adjust to a permanent resident status. like the bill before us, the 1986 law required individuals to learn english but allow people to meet the requirements simply by taking a class. like the bill before us to mothers and temporary status were authorized to travel and work. any information in one supplication would be considered confidential and could not render a person removable.
applicants had to pay a fee, and there were no numerical limits. there were we documentation requirements and allowed for sworn affidavits. there were waivers on the ground of an admissibility. there was a provision that required the attorney general to give people here illegally within opporunity to apply for legal status if apprehended during the application time, nor could people be deported during this time. to top it all off, like the bill before us, the government was to undertake a campaign to disseminate information about the legalization program. now, this ought to sound very familiar. the sponsors of the bill want americans to believe that people wait in our 13 years until citizens it is granted. they say will be tough and expensive. it will be easier to just go home and go through the process. i disagree with that sales pitch.
unfortunately, this bill looks too much like the 1986 bill which failed to take care of the problems where not try to solve. falls short of what i want to see a strong immigration reform bill. you will hear me say many times that we should not make the same mistake we made 1986. you hear me say many times that we want to move ahead with the bill that does it right this time as the authors of the bill said in the preamble to the things. we will have several amendments that will improve the bill. for instance, have an amendment told the administration accountable for how it will spend the seven and a half billion dollars. i am going to take as much time as i can because i am the ranking member. the other people were going to be elected to formats. >> i limit myself. >> i let myself to two men spirit and a you said all these things. take of the matter to of you want. >> thank you very much.
have an amendment to hold the administration accountable for how they spend seven and half billion dollars in taxpayer money. an amendment to improve the new grant programs created by legislation. other amendments to limit who can take advantage of the generous legalization program in the main and the ability for some to apply will removing proceedings. i will offer amendment that and does provisions that we can current law. i don't think we should be weakening current law. i will offer amendments to strengthen existing visa programs. what is hard to swallow is a provision on paste and that triggers in the bill that kicks of legalization a week. proceeding to the application of registered provisional
immigrants status. if we pass the bill as is there will be no pressure on the a ministration or future administrations or even those of us in congress. there will be no pushed by legalization advocates to get that job done. need to work together to secure the border first. people don't trust the enforcement of the law. that is why is important that congress led to state -- legislate in the delegate. there are hundreds of provisions this follows in the footsteps of the health care reform bill. learning a lesson every day it is ben three years since the bill passed. the executive branch has begun to develop the exchange. but it is just not moving along.
we can't let the same thing happen with this bill. on my last page and will make this statement. this bill is complex. anyone of us can read 900 pages, but it is another thing to understand and to know the consequences of such an undertaking. this bill intersects with the jurisdiction of several other congressional committees. i have a list of provisions here that we amend 52 other laws, including the national environmental policy act, the foreign services act, the united states housing act, the military select service act, the fair labor standards act, the national science foundation act, just to name a few. and so, mr. chairman, i can see that by our getting into the jurisdiction of these other committees, that this judicial committee is obviously going to be the most powerful committee in the united states senate. i yield the floor. >> thank you.
as a courtesy i allowed the ranking member to take twice as long as will be given to anyone else. did you want to say anything? >> i will pass. thank you. >> center schumer. >> thank you. and the first, let me thank you for being -- giving us the time and showing great as we move forward on this legislation. the group of eight of us, four of whom are on this committee along with senator feinstein and center -- >> hadj. >> and center hatch, we spent a great deal of time on this legislation. and we believe it is sound, balanced, a sturdy ship that we will now begin a voyage of. we believe we have taken all the considerations into account, and
we have come up with a fair bill where no one gets everything that they want to, but at the end of the day it will mean a dramatic improvement for the american economy, the american people, and will make our immigration policy much more in sync with what is good for jobs in america. founded on a fundamental premise that americans will support common-sense solutions to of future immigration and the 11 million who are living here in the shadows. only if, only if they are convinced that there will not be future waves of illegal integration in this country. this bill is far and away the strongest bill that has been put together that has a chance of passing in terms of stopping
future flows of the legal immigration. just on the border alone senator mccain and i had an amendment a few months ago that -- a few years ago rather than spend about 600 to 800 million on the board and effectiveness went up from 68 to 82. we spent much more than that. as much as six nap billion dollars. the order will -- the border will effectively be closed lee lee with these expenditures and the way that it will be done. we take future immigration and make sure that we deal with the industries that desperately need help. bill will move 400 engineers as part of the map to vancouver because canadian immigration policy to allow the people to come there and our policy didn't and they could not give workers year. at the same time, in new york state the leading cabbage gore
did not plan to thousands of acres of cabbage this year because he could not get people to pick the crops. we will change our policy so that people who are needed to help our economy grow and finally come into this country. at the same time, we will note that when families are divided, the humane thing to do is bring those families back together. and because we so dramatically stop the flow of illegal immigration, we can do both. and we do and do it fairly. we know our present system is broken. we know the status quo is unacceptable. but we also know that there are many who will want to kill this bill. i would ask my colleagues, if you don't agree with everything,
no one does, the constructive. we are open to changes. don't make an effort to kill the bill that is the best hope for immigration reform, i believe, that we have and this country. frankly the best hope celebrate the partisan gridlock that has strangled the senate, congress amended country. >> up to four minutes. i want to first thank the gang of eight for being willing to take this on. i respect their efforts. this marked up is the start of a long process. i encourage tunnel in this committee in the full senate, with the house as well. hundreds of pages long and hundreds of amendments have already been circulated. the only other current senator who has chaired this committee, i know that you have a big task ahead you, mr. chairman. i commend the bipartisan group of senators who have developed the bill we begin marking up today. no one should expect a simple
solution to such a complex set of problems, but i believe that the goals should be serious and effective legislation that can be broadly supported, not only by congress, but also by the american people. i cannot speculate at this early stage of the likelihood of success, but i believe is possible and will do whatever i can to help reach that goal. mr. chairman, you and i work for years on tour reform legislation . that process data with a bill many sighs controversial and ended with solid legislation that passed the senate 89-9. i hope to suffer will not take nearly as long, but the pass and bill's outcome gives me hope for the task before us now. let me mention a few areas to which i will be paying particular attention in the weeks ahead. there are number of areas and i don't have time to mention. the first is improving the process for allowing individuals he now introduce.
so far as 26 bipartisan co-sponsors including traditional committee members. could make those on marble for many employers. in fact the second area involves workers in the agricultural sector in our economy. leading the effort to see what can be ascribed is that compromise. in the area, the best legislation in the world is of little value unless it is seriously and properly implemented and seriously enforced. we have experienced -- negative
experience, but experience all the same. we will shirk our duty and fail the american people if we repeat the mistakes of the past. circulating amendments on those issues. the collection of taxes and a determination of social security benefits. i look forward to working with my colleagues here to address these critical issues. my belief that this process can succeed will motivate my participation. there are serious disagreements about of principles and policy in achieving real and meaningful legislation which will require addressing the concerns and priorities of conservatives as well as liberals, republicans,
democrats, the house as well as the senate. we should never leave that of the equation. we have that perspective and keep it with us as we move forward, i do believe that we can succeed. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the senator from utah. having chaired. >> no. it was on. >> i did not mean to interrupt. >> the senator from utah having chaired this committee knows how difficult it is. i appreciate his cooperation. >> we appreciate your chairmanship. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the main points around this table tell the story. we are a nation of immigrants, crews all the rest of this. the good news is that in our background there was someone, parent or grandparent or even before that who had the courage to pick up and come to this great nation and look for an opportunity for a better life.
in my case it was a mother who was brought to america at the age of two from lithuania. today her son serves in the united states senate. that is my story. as my family story, but it is an american story. we are a nation of immigrants, immigrants that have made us what we are today. they have given us the diversity that in many sectors of the world is unthinkable but which makes us a strong, vibrant leader in the world. having said that, we know the history of immigration in this country has not always been positive. we have welcomed the workers to build the transcontinental railroad, and then we excluded certain groups and said, we don't want any of you and our country. if you look at the history and congress of this legislation back and forth, there have been some noble chapters and some ignoble chapters as well. we know this today. our immigration system is broken the laws that we have cannot
serve as well, and this is our chance in this hearing room to write an immigration bill for the 21st century, for america and its future, for the last four months have been actively involved in a bipartisan group to do that. it is the most diverse political group that you can imagine, but we have come together, reached agreement and compromised and and that think we have come up with a gift or product. we produced it, brought it forward for the public to review. weeks ago and let me credit the chairman of the committee. he has said to us, we will bring this work product to the senate judiciary committee for a full hearing. it was over, more than 20 witnesses who were brought in, for and against this measure. now we have literally hundreds of the minister consider. this is as open and democratic as a process as anyone could ask for and is the right thing to do , for an issue that is so
significant to the future of this nation. we are not only passed with coming up with an immigration law for america and the 21st century, we are tasked as senators on both sides of the aisle to prove that the democratic process still works on capitol hill. there are some here who have already decided they will vote against this measure no matter what it says. that is there right, but there are others to come here with the constructive you to make this a better and stronger bill. we encourage their work product. you wanted to come forward. our bill is not perfect. as i have said, the only perfect law ever written was carried on a mountain enclave tablets by senator moses. all the rest of our efforts are subject to amendment and improvement, and that is what we are about today. there are millions of people across america who are counting on us, counting on us to give them a future, to give them the same opportunity that our
parents and grandparents had and to do it in an orderly and legal way. i am proud that we are undertaking this task. we should focus on edge of the most important things that may come from this congress in this year. thank you. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me first say that an extraordinary process, you have indicated, discuss this important legislation in detail, and that thank you for that. first, what do americans really low and immigration? well, we believe in it. that addition of nearly 1 million people, more than nation in the world. we are proud of that, being a nation of immigrants. almost as many of into the country in recent years illegally and legally, and that has caused great concern. americans are not happy about
that. people in this country are good and decent and understand and have compassion for those who are here, even those here illegally. they have pled with polaris, and sometimes demanded that their government in the lawlessness and for the creation of a lawful system, rational system that admits not too few and not too many, a rational system that serves the national interest, one with clear roads that are enforced. i certainly support that kind of reform. wrestling with these issues is what we are about today. the sponsors of the legislation say this bill needs that -- meet that goal, it does not. i noticed even senator arubia yesterday issued a statement with a lot of changes that he believes are necessary. it was crafted in secret, essentially by a series of interest groups and too little concern, and my opinion, with the express for the impact this
use legislation and the increases in it would have on struggling and hurled it -- hurting american workers and families with our unemployment, i need job growth, unprecedented numbers of workers who have given up and dropped out of the labor force. we must be focusing more i'm getting jobs for lawful immigrants in our country and americans. wages are not even keeping up with inflation, and that has been true for quite a long time. we should be hearing in-depth from shares, police, and immigration officers about how we can make the legal system work. just today mr. chairman i would offer for the record and ask for consent to my letter from law enforcement officers and ice officers concerning the reforms and holes that are in this legislation. exceedingly important. the sponsors told us there would be enforcement first. this legislation provides immediate amnesty and weekends
in force requirements. it weakens their requirements on the books in many areas. we are told there would be a fence. no offense your requirement. we were told there would be a biometric entry exit system as the september 11th commission has called for. not happened yet. this bill undermines the requirement. we're told there will be church requirements on amnesty. the amnesty is immediate and open to those with multiple misdemeanor convictions, gang affiliations, criminal records, without a guarantee, there is no guarantee of the future enforcement which is so important. we are told there would be the toughest security measures in history, but the border security provisions actually weakened current law, changing 100 percent operational control to effective control of only three of the nine border
sectors. currently it weakens the interior enforcement. removal or denial of entry can be waived for reasons as vegas' charge of, public interest and effect. you're ready. two seconds left. mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to speak. i would just say, we need to work hard on this legislation. the sponsors of support the vision that is attractive, but the legislation does not achieve that vision. >> a number of the senators on this committee and members in both parties have met with me about their concerns. of course, i am always open to meet with anybody. in fact, i am staying here this weekend to work on this bill. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i look around this hearing today and see some many people from some many countries. i think about how this has made our country great. i think of my own relatives, my
dad's family coming from slovenia looking -- working in the mines in northern minnesota. i'm liz bernstein from switzerland, starting a cheese factory in wisconsin. these are our relatives. everyone watching this hearing today has their own stories, and we must continue that america's greatness by getting this bill done. this is also testing bipartisanship and the congress. a group pastor is the come together to work on this bill, and a number of us on this committee, including senator hatch and myself, have worked together on a number of very important pieces of this bill and amendments. we are a country of immigrants. ninety of our fortune 500 companies were formed by entrance. 200 of our fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or kids of immigrants. 30 percent of u.s. nobel laureates were immigrants. think of those numbers and think of our future as we make sure that we keep the door open. that is what this bill does.
it has much needed security measures, establishes a pathway to earn the citizenship. it contains the dream act. it has provisions that senator hatch and i worked on to make sure that we allow in our engineers and scientists. think about our situation. a limited basis for sports players. in minnesota we love hockey. we are proud of the fact we have hockey players from all over the world. we should be doing the same with our engineers and scientists. we don't have enough doctors in this country right now. we want to educate more doctors, but we have rural areas and inner cities that are underserved. there is an important provision in this bill that i put together with the number of other centers that allow doctors to finish their residencies in this country and not have to go back to their home country to finish their residencies. this is an exciting bill. it is a great opportunity for our country to move forward, and i want to thank the chairman for
working on this. i also want to know that we had a hearing in our joint economic committee on the senate chair this week. and we had a great attendance at the hearing. the focus of the hearing was on the economic consequences of this bill. we heard from a diverse group of witnesses, including grover norquist to came to testify for the bill. he talked about how this actually brings the debt down in the long term because of the economic opportunity that it creates for this country. we heard testimony in this committee from former republican head of the congressional budget office, douglas holtz egan who talked about how immigration reform would decrease the debt by over two and a half trillion over the next decade. these are republican, conservative, economists and people who have studied this issue for a long time. we see this economic a virginity. coming from the state that brought the world everything from the pacemaker to the post
it note to my can tell you that i want the next paste make -- pacemaker and posted net to be made in this country by our workers including native-born workers and people who have had the courage to come here from other countries, get an education and decide to contribute to the productivity of america. that is what this bill is about. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we obviously all bring a run in experiences to this discussion. my congratulations to the gang of eight whether constructive work. now is the time for others to weigh in an album of the process allows all those to contribute. i think it is notable that we have 43 new senators in the senate says the last time we took out comprehensive immigration into dozens seven. there are a lot of people who know a lot about this topic and a lot of people who are engaging
in the subject to, perhaps, i knew perry people come to america for many different reasons. of course, as we are sometimes painfully reminded, not everyone cause with the intentions. the vast majority of immigrants, both legal and illegal, come because they want to make a better life for themselves and the country's. america is a welcoming nation that rewards hard work in the on to the moral spirit. the spirit and work ethic is alive and well in taxes were we continue to grow the economy and that jobs. in texas we welcome hard-working people who are willing to take a risk and start a business, people who start with nothing and lift themselves up and help the families of a better life. our conversation is core. we must never forget that. it is about the mexican-american landowners and ranchers in the rio grande valley, many of whom called the border region their home.
his other works as a hostess when she is off from college. gifted young technologist from china who was to be the next michael dell or andy grove. it is about dreams and success stories but also about heart ache in tragedy. the family of illegal immigrants terrorized by violent street gangs to refuse to call the police out of year that their encounters with law enforcement could lead to deportation. a young woman from nicaragua who plays a cut -- pays a coyote thousand dollars. these are uncomfortable and emotional issues. we cannot ignore them. this is a debate that cannot be guided by a motion alone. this debate is about our most deeply held values. one of those is respect for the
in the fact that a third of my constituents and their crews are hispanic, who've been the benefits of our immigration system and you've added immeasurably to our stay. this legislation makes a number of positive improvements, but there are areas that need to be improved even more, so i look forward to the robust discussion than i trust given the size and scope of this bill that shall continue the committee's tradition of an open and robust debate. >> i appreciate that and one of the things we did for the first time on the bill of this significance in the senate. every single amendment posted
online in advance of the markup and i know if it's a that matter means about the borders on state is seen as i remember my family lived for a while in el paso and i thought a lot of top order. i walked across it several times within and saw the lines and the diversity of everything from vehicles to people, so i visited the border with the family members several times in texas. senator whitehouse, the did you wish to see something come serve quite >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wanted to congratulate you on the process we have appearing now has been very fair and a really balance between those that are very eager to get to work on this bill and those who want to make sure their
procedural rights are protected. you've done a very good job. clearly not satisfy everybody, but there's people who don't want to go to this bill. you've done a very good job and i'm delighted to move forward and have nothing to add other than looking forward to work on the amendments. >> thank you very much. senator lee. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. we all agree that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. i support fundamental immigration reform and i'm encouraged both houses of congress are willing to consider this this year. i believe we have an opportunity to make progress on a number of necessary and long overdue reforms but overhauling our immigration system is that simple it happen overnight. this is because we don't face one big immigration problem.
our immigration system is a complex problem with dozens of interconnected parts and pieces and some reforms must be completed before others can even begin. certain preliminary measures are further reforms. for example, we simply won't understand how best to address the problem of our population until our borders are actually securely know who is overstayed their visas. that's why it's somewhat futile to make decisions about later stages before the foundation or even in place. trying to solve every problem that once is the surest way to avoid fixing anything very well. good policy does not flow from massive doses seek to resolve every issue in a single sweep in piece of legislation. we are in the immigration mess we face today because a single comprehensive bill in 1986 didn't come close to fixing problems 27 years ago. despite good intentions come in many ways the bill made it a
thing sawyers and the american people deserve better. serious effort reform have to be considered and implemented in stages over the course of years. that's why it's a very sensible incremental approach. republicans and democrats share common ground on immediate issues like border security, employment verification, visa reform, guestworker programs and has skilled immigration to make it a enact reforms in the service immediately. such concrete incremental progress should be sacrificed it to me as we try to address every challenge upon or seek to resolve the most intractable problems first. we are not hijacked meaningful progress on commonsense preliminary measures are linking to subsequent work in just one. i appreciate the effort is who work hard to develop the proposal would begin to market today, but i believe success in
achieving goals and identify and legislation must endure a series of incremental reforms that ensure the foundational pieces that border security and an effective system are implemented properly. the long-standing disconnect between immigration policy and enforcement has created distress the federal government will or even can keep promises. for decades congress has legislated order and michael immigration policy is only a ministrations of both parties fail later to implement them. many conservatives are eager to enact fundamental immigration reform so long as reforms begin with the secure border and a renewed commitment to enforce our immigration laws. this bill doesn't do quite enough to establish and give spread discussion to the department of homeland security to make unreviewable determinations and security goals. according to one the bill
includes exemptions and the administration used to relax enforcement measures without oversight in congress. the border security checkers may be if the legislation provides for legalization and a path to citizenship. this is why such comprehensive reform is so controversial. it rejects step-by-step reforms and refuses an opportunity to assess and approve the initial fixes before further reforms proceed. i look for to the processing make in the legislation. >> thank you, senator lee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've said this before i think the guys this is such a complex problem for so many moving parts that we do need a comprehensive plan in order to address that taking this piece now won't
work. i'm looking forward to starting work on this bill. i several bipartisan amendment they plan to offer to help minnesota small businesses and small children and families. let's start this process. thank you. >> thank you very much, senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and they could begin by thanking the members of the king of a2 who have worked very hard on a complex issue and a pretty great deal of time and energy into addressing not and i appreciate that effort and we are now having this process to address a broken immigration system. virtually everyone agrees the system we have now spoken. i very much hope what we embark on will prove to be a real markup and will be a process to improve this bill.
the majority has the goods on this committee to vote down every minority amendment or virtually every minority amendment if it so chooses. i hope the majority does not take that approach. we've seen that approach in prior instances and that is not an approach that in my view leads to passing a bill. let me be clear. i want commonsense immigration reform reform to pass. i think the american people wanted to pass, but they want to pass in a way that fixes the problem and i am hopeful the majority on this committee will work as i trust it will in good faith to improve this bill and consider and then rents that would make real changes. i've introduced three types of
amendments that in my view are important for improving this bill. the first of may consider a set of amendments address is border security and in my view, the bill has grave problems when it comes to border security. as currently drafted, the bill is essentially a plan for the department of homeland security and contains toothless metrics, which in my judgment would render a virtual certainty that if this bill were passed a few years time, we'd have more hearings discussing why the border is still not secure and illegal immigration remains. i've introduced amendments to put real teeth in the border security element. i hope this committee will give those amendments serious consideration. secondly, i've introduced a pair of amendments to improve legal
immigration. in my view, the best elements are the elements dealing with illegal immigration and we should improve and streamline legal immigration. i've introduced one and then it to double the cab of legal immigration from 675,000 to 1.3 million. another to take the high-tech pieces coming and an increase by 500% from 65,000 to 325,000. i think we need to remain a nation that welcomes and embraces legal immigrants and in both regards, my amendments go further to improving legal immigration and as the gang of eight. finally, i have introduced amendments to remove the pathway to citizenship for those here illegally and make them ineligible for means tested government benefits.
in my view, if those provisions are insisted upon in the majority has the votes to insist on provision, it is likely to scuttle the bill and voted down. i hope the stakeholders who want this bill to the past will be interested in amendment to craft a bill that will pass and i look forward to working with committee members in that process. >> thank you. every member has a chance to bring up amendments they want. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is a truly historic opportunity in the nation is watching to see if we have the body, a canadian senate can deal and the phone open and robust debate with one of our most important and challenging issues as many other senators have said to find a nation of immigrants and where our history has been positive at times and deeply negative at times and i look
forward to an open and public and transparent debate and painful to the chairman for taking us into the beginning of the america where there will be hundreds of amendments considered and adopted or disposed of. to the point is made, i look forward to voting for several women as today. i think they're amendments that protect and improve on the bill and this is exactly the fair and open process which did people expect of us. this bill addresses the most critical shortcomings of our badly broken immigration system and i'm deeply thankful to the commanders of the bipartisan working group that is labored so hard to make such significant progress in the legislation. am i a short time i've been privileged to meet with people of another state of of delaware who's been affected and profoundly say what is wrong about our current immigration system and we have an opportunity here if we would both easy to to make tremendous
progress has many other advanced where is totally unacceptable. too many people live in the shadows, too many families broken by her current immigration system. too many people cannot participate fully in its promise and opportunity. to me the best with higher education funded by taxpayers are forced onto other countries to compete against the best ideas in part to often and how it's enforced bears no resemblance to the most fundamental values. now is the time i look forward to finding ways together to strengthen this bill and i'm confident when we are finished, this legislation will make our country stronger, boost our economy commission of the nation we can work together and both end illegal immigration into the united states and deal who
mainly come fairly and responsibly with the terrible impact on families and communities in our current immigration system. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator flake. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me say this is how the senate work. legislation has been crafted in a long, arduous process that came there sufficient time for people to read and offer amendments. more than 300 amendment were filed and in my view the vast majority are to make the bill better and a lot of the legislation already peters the work of many in this are or were part of the candidate is senator hatch. senator klobuchar another's talked with others around this
table to make sure the legislation acid is introduced bear the mark of many around the senate and that convinced it will be improved in the process and as many have said, maybe if we can do this we can help in other areas as well. we can all work together. i want to say i'm pleased to be part of the process and i'm convinced will have a better product at the end of this mark a family started with. so i think all of you for participating. >> thank you, senator. senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senator coons is ready. the nation is watching, but believe the world is watching what we do here today. the world is watching because we're the greatest nation in the history of the world and our system of immigration is broken
and unworthy of the greatest nation in the history of the world and i want to thank senators who have given us this draft. senator schumer and senator durbin of this committee and the others who participated with great courage that i hope our committee will match, the courage they've demonstrated a sustained that immigrants do every day when they come to this country, that might get it when he was 17 years old, coming with nothing more than a shirt on his back, knowing no english. everyone of us has a story like that one. every single member of this committee, everyone understood as the story they can recount. we are a nation of immigrants and our diversity us strong.
when i'm down or discouraged i go to immigration and nationalization ceremonies held on friday in federal court room and anybody who hasn't done it recently got to do it and i hope we can capture the spirit in these proceedings to pay combination of wedding ceremonies, graduations, family birthdays. people come with tears their eyes, neighbors and friends along with them because this is one of the great moments in their lives. what i tell them it's thank you for becoming american and taking a test that most americans could not pass. i hope we can match their courage ignace proceedings. people wanting to become americans because they want to add strength and value to greatest nation on earth and they do. then he closed by saying we
haven't historic opportunity, but it's also fragile and fleeting opportunity. if not now, when? probably not for a generation will be performed this broken immigration system and the provisions we've been given in mr. haft are interlocking, mutually dependent and mutually supportive. they are a construct that has attracted rare consensus and i hope we can build on none. just a close, to address the concerns senator cruz has raised. what we do here ought to be completely bipartisan. in fact, nonpartisan because there's nothing republican or democrat about immigrant coming to this country seeking freedom, opportunity and the tremendous
future this country holds for each event. thank you. >> thank you very, very much. >> my mac doesn't seem to be working. thank you, mr. chairman for your leadership and the tremendous work they put on this bill into law the others who work on this and continue to work on this measure. guess we are a nation of immigrants and they all have stories to tell good senator klobuchar, blumenthal, klobuchar , my mother brought me in my two brothers to this country. i am an immigrant. she did this and raise three by herself because they believe they could have better lives in this country called america. as we go forward always remembering immigrants are human beings with families.
they can't hear the success of immigrants in the country as the success of immigrants and their families. so i look forward to going forward and coming up with common sense, humane immigration reform said that, for example, i know we are joined by filipino world war ii veterans who are waiting decades to be rejoined with their children. that's the reform we need an out forward to going forward with all of you. aloha. >> thank you very much. senator graham was not here earlier unable yielded to foreign minister senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. , to thank you from the help you've been to get this moving forward to senator grassley and colleagues on my side. this is a david and waiting for. we will have a spirited debate. hopefully we can make the bill
better about immigration. my dad's side came from scotland as part of trying to keep the family tradition alive. the bottom line is we all come from somewhere, mustard native american. but having said that, that doesn't mean everybody came, they want to. we've got disorder and chaos and a couple things about immigration reform. senator sessions and i agree on some thing. no guestworker should get a job at the extent of an american worker. we have low skilled labor and being displaced is important to me. but you have 11 million illegal immigrants coming to america.
most of them are not canadian for a reason. that is a stable country in the stable economy to come to myrtle beach and assuming i go home. the people who come from very poor and corrupt countries to understand, but we can't continue this practice. they come to work. substantively this bill on the e-verify side will do more to control illegal employment, hiring the political immigrants than any ideas seen in a long time. the combination of border security will make it harder to come illegally, but the key is if you can't hear you can't find a job because he's got a way to control illegal hiring and under the spell you get a chance to find out who's illegal and not. you look at them heavily to your business.
i think it allows businesses access to legal labor pain a fair wage. i don't expect to live to be 100 peewee fight to to reform energy and exploit resources and environmentally sensitive way and to expand the energy footprint in america and what have to do that they killed by reform entitlements and the tax code. if we have an immigration reform, were not going to grow. the 18 to 49 euros demographic is flat and not because nativeborn population is not growing fast enough. that means legal immigration has to be made available. this bill creates legal immigration system where we choose to come space and economic needs of the country a fundamental reshaping of
immigration. immigration doesn't need to be reformed. we accomplish that substantively. this will present a third way. and 1986, we gave amnesty, but we have 11,000,310. having the go access to labor. they'll have a chance to comment on our terms, not theirs. they have to wait a while time, learn language, get back at the line. that's what they should do and that is a practical way to do it. at the end of the day, there's good people out of this group and people won't make it. we've got to move on as a nation. i'm proud we are back at the table to solve an immigration problem. i'm happy this day has arrived. >> thank you very much for your work on this.
senator durbin reminded me faster off area and those who served with senator kennedy know who she was to kennedy's key staffer in the last immigration bill. so those of us who have the opportunity to request had remember that. senator feinstein has not spoken before us. >> just a couple, mr. chairman. for those of us sitting at the table, and this is the only chance we have to reform is a very broken system and bring a lot of people who worked very hard in this country out of the shadows and for most of us, is probably about the most important piece of legislation that will come out of the committee. i want to see thank you to those who worked on it and thank you to senator hatch who helped with the ad jobs part of it and senator schumer. i have one can turn in i want to
express it. senator kyl and i work to get full funding to pay counties for detention and prison payments. over the use of federal participation has just dropped it more and more responsibility has fallen to the local governments and that is a fact. yesterday was visited by the leadership of los angeles county he was concerned that we do here, not transfer costs onto the states in the counties. los angeles has 1.1 million in documented in the total population and its members here know there's no federal benefits that a comp any of this bill for 15 years and that includes
temporary assistance for needy families, supplemental security income from the full scope medicaid everybody would be a knowledgeable for 15 years. senator schumer assures me there would be no transfer of these benefit on local jurisdictions. i just think we need to be very conscious of this because her stately california that is certainly more and documented and i think most border states don't want to see. so i have his assurance that it's not going to happen with that in mind. so thank you, mr. chairman for that opportunity. >> thank you very much. i appreciate the comments on both sides.
>> now for the amendment aye senator schumer new york. >> well, thank you, mr. chairman. i offer this on behalf of the sponsors of the bill myself, senator durbin, senator stepdad stepdad -- as myself, senator durbin, senator graham and senator flake. this is very simple. it is a complete substitute to as 744 in line to senator grassley's request. i thought it was very appropriate we try to have the final language after we make
technical corrections available. sadly though he a week ago tuesday when people offer to men and, they would offer to the bill was not as you know in many bills reduce the so-called managers are sponsors at the same time. so that's what it does. it tactical. it fixes legal citations, technical adjustments and make several import clarifications, which i want to make clear. it clarifies the visit of surcharges to pay for the cost of legislation and clarifies the surcharges included in the bill don't sound that an immense the merit-based point system to church at $1500 surcharge for green cards to pay for the bill. it clarifies aliens who have advanced degrees in science, take knowledge he come engineering and math. and for the green card cats and biomedical sciences are included
in the list of stem seals and provides video conference verification of remote workers under the e-verify system. all the amendments of this committee are key to the sponsors commitment. ask unanimous consent that it'd be accepted. >> satoru grassley, first of all let me explain that because so many questions here and obviously if i was going to ask obvious questions, it would be seen as a stall. so i'm going to ask some questions that i pick and choose that i think are most important. i think to make a statement nobody has to answer, but i want to bring up the issue we sent several questions to secretary napolitano as a result of the hearing they had with her.
we haven't received any answers to those in i don't expect anyone to speak for her. i think we're entitled to those answers as we know the administration's position on the legislation. senator schumer, if i ask if these questions or anybody else that wants to answer, i am trying to make the point these are technical, but we are going to quibble over that one word. i want to make a point and a question of why and how did you decide to live for $100 million of implementation in the original bill to $1 billion implementation now. if fans added one s-sierra isn't a technical change. >> okay yes. for the time we came up with our bill, our watchword is to have his pay for itself. in other words, which are not
want to the koranic cost to taxpayers, treasury or anybody else. it will be the cost of administering the e-verify program in the exit and entry visa program, cost of strength today the border and just administering the new immigrants who will be coming here. they want to make sure that is paid for an obviously not an easy equation. the amount of money needed we consulted the cbo. we consulted with the appropriations committee. we consulted with tax committees and other relevant. the recently changed the numbers to make sure they balance. >> i've got five questions on the trust fund, but i will only ask two. was a trust fund repay up to $7.5 million to the u.s. treasury?
>> yes. it will have more money than that. it will certainly repay the 7.5 billion, absolutely. >> i want to make a statement and let you counterweight. i don't think there is nothing here that gives congress the ability to track the money and i'll take the language host the executive rich accountable for the money is authorized to spend. >> mr. senator grassley, and may you feel that way the poverty limit it to make sure there's better tracking and it's our intention to accept that when you offer it. >> okay. i think a very important change here that takes a lot of explanation and i don't mean you should take a lot of time to do it, but we need to know on the parental rights provision that are part of the tech will change
allows the state to terminate parental rights of a removed parent into a u.s. citizen child if the parent is unfit or unwilling to be a parent of the child. it appears technical when i require states to locate parents who may be in detention in addition to those who may have been removed from the country. let me ask for things all at once. for the states consulted on the provision? the responsibility but the state have and what the state welfare employees have new burdens of notifying people in detention about their intention to terminate parental rights? >> the purposes this. when somebody is supported, sometimes they are deported because the asked if committed may be criminal. of course they are but here, they beat their kids. we don't want them to have
rights in that case. on the other hand, they are deported for other reasons and parental rights should not be extinguished it would make that distinction here. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. we did consult the state for doing this. if you have suggestions, we are open to them. this is hardly an immutable section that cannot be changed in the pardon for notifications will be on the federal government. >> maybe senator feinstein would want to join in this regard to the blue card. i need to know why this provision -- let me say what i think the language does. it appears the blue card up account are obviously more than technical according to summary sent from senator schumer's office, the new change allows people outside the united states to apply for a blue card.
why was this added? is this a legalization program for people here and people removed her departed and our dependence treated? >> as i understand what was that it images candidly celebrate now is that each to a visa holder is eligible for the blue card. the current contract program the adverse wage rate applies to that has been a real problem for farmers. these contract workers come in annually and work it generally groups. so they would be eligible for blue card status. i want to take a look at that and i will, senator. >> will they be eligible for the blue card status after they left the country? >> that's a good question.
this is not my intent. i just thought it. >> follow up on that later. >> i agree with the group of eight that they put merit-based into this bill and the tech: i met compromises this considerably. it appears the substitute makes changes with regard to this merit-based system. the underlying bill said he thought an rpi status may be granted a merit raise the immigration visa. get on page 268 it says the individuals are not eligible. i would like to explain that change had been someone explain what the point is to this change with regard to english
proficiency? >> a merit pay system, which was largely put together by senator graham above everybody else is for new immigrants. so when the rpi people want to apply for a green card and sometimes obviously they will play, they do not go through the system. thus if that clarifies. >> i would note on ms. -- i would note that traditionally the sponsors of an amendment are allowed, just to amend the amendment and of course the soap then. is there any objection to the
sponsors amendment after amendment? >> just reserving the right to object, i would like to ask a few questions. you've added about 30 new pages to this. i think senator grassley has touched on some of the tech go details. i wonder, senator schumer, if you're prepared to tell us this time with the new legal flow of immigrants will be into the country, how much it will be increased, but we will see over 10 years because members of this committee and others have heard expressed publicly a concern we don't impact adversely the work, salaries and job opportunities of legal precedents in american hurting at this time. can you give us a statement of the numbers come your best judgment about the numbers will be? >> first, this is a concern he
made. one point has been lost in the debate. we are not dealing with this in the abstract. but compared to the present situation if we do nothing. the question that to me is relevant and most americans assemble. it is not how many people does your pill that in. it is how does the bill compares we do nothing? everyone is decrying the present system because one of the people across the border of the cold and dark bill as i said, the focus is to set up future foes of illegal immigration. i was glad to see if i call from texas wants to do about them they give a terms of border patrol and everything else. i must meet record in the right direction. >> we could do that without adding additional legal flow.
>> i await your amendment and what we do with people not here illegally now. if you believe they should be so deported or whatever else. >> they are going to be here. under this bill it's true many of the 11 million people here are going to get a green card. it is naïve to ignore the fact these people are already here. most americans recognize that right now. to say this is adding to immigrants is simply not a logical response. it's an emotional response because every year on legal immigrants come in in addition to the ones here. unless the goal is to deport, which i don't believe you're suggesting, isn't it better to have the people already here subject to labor laws so they can be exploited, registered
with the government, doing what they're supposed to do, pay taxes and other things. that's the premise of our bill and if history produces the green card backlogs. i can come those people are coming, even if we do nothing. our bill reforms are legal immigration system, making up our here towards work, high school democrats, which is something you told me support. last year 70% of our family base. 14% unemployment base. our bill changes that significantly. we get closer to 50/50 by eliminating the category of immigration law that would make room for families already waiting to be united quickly and move to a merit pay system. it is not this bill is allowing many people to come into this country that would've calm.
the reader coming under law or not under law that what we do is rationalize the system. i would argue to you that this argument that there were 20 million new people under this bill ignores the fact there's lots of millions in the country illegally if we don't have a bill. >> it is hard to calculate and by eliminating the so-called cloud, which basically is the cab placed on the number of family-based migration people who comment. this will be moved forward and some of the new will be removed entirely. having those that doubt, you have a new flow of people that come in under that. so you will see an increase in numbers about 4.5 million.
los angeles times was founded under the legal entry into the country. you've got a 50% increase in not, which would be 15 million could be more. >> another 15 is about 30 million people. this is not given legal status in the next 10 years and should we be concerned about the future foes we have such a large number of people being advanced. >> there is some simple math here. you're adding a living alien. they are already here. >> try to answer your question, senator levin.
>> i read my bicycle on brooklyn early in the morning. i see people on street corners or some kind of truck comes and says i'll tell you $10 of your work okay. they compete with americans who wouldn't accept $10 a day to work in those jobs. they are competing right now and i argue below is a scale much more than if registered a work in an ethical way. we do allow family unification. many of those people would be allowed to be unified under present law. fair i say to my colleagues, you don't know if the economy goes well here and badly in mexico and we do nothing, the number of illegal immigrants will increase and be far beyond its abilities. my main point here is this. the system is broken.
the american people have given us a mandate to fix it. fix it in a rational way to simply point to who we allow to her care and who we allow to come here does not take into account who would be coming here and be allowed to work here if we continue to do nothing, which just about everyone of each political stripe is unacceptable. your comprehensive immigration bill and how you deal with the 11 million people here with the people whose families are torn apart. what is your solution? i know you're critical and i respect that. the status quo will also continue drives the numbers add up and i would argue away less friendly to the american economy and less friendly to the right thing to do for families and present law. >> your most articulate and able and you know i respect you
greatly. but look, it is not going to be helpful for american workers when 11 million are legalized. they'll then bill to take virtually any job in the marketplace. many are because early: didn't come here for lawful you're not able to take the best jobs. but then they will compete for those we've got millions of americans unemployed. we've got a huge incredible number of people dropping out of the workforce. wages have not kept up with inflation and i believe he's got not only a situation in your bill that legalizes a large number which airflow can increase. this adds even more to the contrary and polls show the american people believe in immigration, but if anything numbers that to be reduced, not
increased on top of the amnesty in this bill. i worried about workers. the more discreet package of legislative proposal separately, a step-by-step proposal would be better. do you dispute the fact we would probably legalize over 30 million in the next 10 years quick >> essay due. >> can ask a friendly question of schumer? >> of course. normally something like this would be done routinely. maybe we should just call the roll on the amendment. go ahead. >> senator schumer referred to the presumably reference to section 1102, which in fact our reading is it just increases customs officers, not border
patrol agents and would like to get a clarification on this point. >> excuse me. they are already at 21,000. the numbers have gone way, way. we need other things to do this. this is the customs officers to process the people. >> billows both because we do not specify out of the $3 billion but should be used for. on the good advice who share southwestern borders as you do thought it would be better to leave it to the experts as to which would greatly stop the flow. in some places you need more agents, other places you don't. >> thank you for the clarification. >> if there's nothing else, we could call the roll. the clerk will call the roll.
today i hope we can adopt and block. let me just take a moment to explain them. the first is to prohibit order crossing fees has broad bipartisan support i think. sunder cornyn for the financial burden on our border communities, senator graham top of the do canadians to come down to myrtle beach. as most members know my parents are french canadian and came to vermont. my wife was born in vermont, learn to speak english when she was four or five years old. but on the north of puerto rico of puerto rico back and forth all the time. families visiting families, bad days visiting relatives.
it is a major part of our economy and in our state of vermont to send most northern border states in a position of ac, he told to go back and forth makes no sense. by the same token, the southern border is the same thing. the first amendment center cornyn i worked on. the second one is on my work on the senator grassley reporting to the senate and house judiciary. scared the supportive trust fund. the next one is senator sessions 36 expand the functions of dhs and next is the cornyn six reporting requirements. the next one to the oversight commission for dhs status report
the next standards for immigration custody. grant program operations soundgarden. maritime assets for dhs to build a road 24 clarifying the role of the dhs amend that. so there are five democratic, six republicans now. they added that called a. >> could you give us the numbers? >> i just did. >> there's people that want to speak on this. >> i go to senator grassley. >> senator feinstein asked again for the numbers.
feinstein six, feinstein seven, feinstein eight and her run of 24. >> i have a question on your mind that because as i understand it would prevent federal government from collecting border crossing fees for pedestrians or passenger vehicles. our fees such as the sine to establish so we know who is entering the country and whether you take apart? a second question i would ask you, does it apply to passenger vehicles used in commerce? >> now, my feeling is we're spending enough on fees and taxes already as americans to protect our border. this is basically a tool that tells her customs agents, our
border people who become toll collectors instead of law enforcement. anybody who lives in a border state does the number of communities connect did. to tell people who pay a fee going back and forth makes no sense. >> mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, thank you for introducing the leahy event. which would prohibit the department for a border crossing fees to give people an idea of the size and scope of over talking about through the radio, texas and the lan port of entry, 1.7 alien tracks at that port of entry and hundreds of thousands of individuals. mexico is our third largest
trading partner and we need to make sure our borders not only our secure, but we shouldn't discourage unnecessary fees of the department is contemplating the constituents along the border appropriately so. there are better ways to infrastructure and i appreciate that. i appreciate the opportunity to cosponsor kind and number six in addition to that he won. >> i appreciate with senator cornyn said we worked closely together on this. 24 assess modified. similarly, go ahead you >> thank you, mr. chairman. lines seven and eight of the
amendment made clear it also prohibits any study from being connected with regard to why that's important. >> the reason i put that in the obama administration and the budget had proposed a study to lead to the imposition. i just don't want to open that door at all. the idea of having a feed i totally disagree with the administration on this. the idea of having a tollbooth on our borders, our nation of all nations to do this on our northern and southern borders where we have had such a relationship is senator cornyn just talked about on the southern border as they now live in an hour's drive from our northern border. i just don't want to open this
door or have them waste money on planning something that frankly i feel the majority of republicans and democrats in the congress would oppose. >> mr. chairman, i agree with you. let me just say i'm concerned about reports of grant money being used for activities not related to border security for a whole bunch of other things to use money for. i like to see accountability provisions and ensure the grant monies are used as intended under this program. i hope we take that into consideration as a concern of mine. >> senator sessions. >> i appreciate the amendment similar to mine and has one provision that is the same that would be out the rest of