tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 2, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
commissioner i believe did the fcc also bring actions against at&t and do you have any sense of whether the factual grounds were the same? >> we did issued a notice of apparent liability for the so-called throttling and it is related to the same inessential bucket of facts. the rule however is a different and part of the reason why is the predicate for the action was lacking because the rules that were adopted and the guidance provided about the rule over the years as related to the rule suggests that wasn't a violation there. the rules were adopted in 2008 and emphasized we want to allow them to have a flexibility managing the network and then there's the regulating network
management among other ways by reducing the speed that certain customers who were high-bandwidth users. moreover they provide notices in the point-of-sale through e-mail and text and so forth and the agency simply ignored all that and find them $100 million this is a topic that is a sort of evergreen issue but is blooming in this issue because of the are in competition with each other to get headlines for the strict enforcement actions are going to have a progress incentives to look at the facts and bypass the law in pursuit of the claim of being the preeminent agency regulated in the space and i suspect that this is an example of the. >> i would like to get both of your reactions at this point for the activity that might be duplicated in some respects and that maybe could lead to some confusion down the road.
>> i think that the rules in this area are very much in flux when it comes to the privacy or the section 222 proprietary network information about look the writing is on the wall outside if you look at a decision that the agency needed they set a certain provider failed to adequately protect what it considered to be come a quote, personally identifiable information or pii is a broad category than the proprietary information which is what the authority is limited to. the agency said the jurisdiction over the category and said we have the discretion to find this small company $9 billion. but because we are very gracious we will limit up to $10 million. now i disagree with the assertion of jurisdiction over something we do not have the authority to do that in addition, the fact that it
raises a specter of uncertain enforcement liability and that is killer for those in the business world that are executed plan to line item we can't quantify but it's tough to deliver the cutting-edge services and products and in the environment. >> what is your reaction to that? is this going forward and is there a possibility for this to develop into the doctrinal confusion down the road? >> i think there is a potential for that and i will say that the ftc and the fcc have had jurisdiction in a lot of areas and a number of agencies and we have had a memorandum of understanding and we try to harmonize so for example you think about the do not call rule and we do that jointly and we have brought enforcement actions in from time to time and we have done some cases i think that
makes sense. where i really start to get concerned is the fact that what we should be looking at is where there is consumer harm that is occurring where no one is addressing it and no one has the tools to address it rather than saying you have addressed it pretty well but we want to get in the game, too may be using some tools that really are not well-suited. so commissioner coming you mentioned the fines. by contrast, we have to bring an enforcement action and meet the standard or the unfairness standard, and our ability so we do not get fined unless someone is violating the rule and most of the time we are not operating under the rule that is under the traditional authorities all we can get is consumer redress so
what we are looking for is how do we get consumers their money back? we can't go in and pull back a gigantic figure out of the air. sometimes they have debates about how do you calculate that accurately and we have a bureau of economists from over 100 to help us do that. but, they don't have that authority so i think for companies, is it may be given a little more regulatory certainty, some limits on what the liability may be. i also think that our deception statement and unfairness statement switch were developed in the early '80s have really withstood the test of time to have these ideas, to have these principles and have we decided something is deceptive and how do we decide it is unfair and doesn't have a benefit analysis built into it.
our authority to bring the data security cases to say if the company takes reasonable precautions to protect consumers sensitive information that we could challenge them under the theory on the questions they may have. the authority was challenged in the circuit and upheld in the case in windham hotels and the case fell forward on the merits of the question of whether they had the authority to challenge these actions under the unfairness has been upheld. so i think that when you are operating in an area where the guideposts are a lot more well-known and where the type of penalty that the company may be subject to the violates that as something that you can try to figure out and measure and again people may debate about it, that we are trying to say what the consumer army is and i think that allows for a lot more
regulatory uncertainty. i do have some concerns about having the two systems that may operate under very, very different approaches. >> just a quick comment on it. i agree with everything said and in addition it's not just the ftc and the fcc in the protection bureau, for example sometimes also wants a bite at the apple and in addition, the reclassification of the broadband internet service provider opens the door to state regulators also looking at the common carriers employing the full plan of the cohan of the including the enforcement contacts. so the possibility for the doctrinal confusion is multiplied in this environment. >> i want to and a few minutes gets to the best practices about how to sort of manage the jurisdictional overlap between the two agencies. but very quickly, have you mentioned the guideposts and one of the questions that i have is you noted that there is a common carrier exception to the ftc act
and that has been exploring in the case law. how does the ftc definition or the courts definition of what the commentary here is line up with the definition of what common carriage is an arduous to and where would we look for guidance on those? >> that is a good question and it's a little bit of an unresolved question or maybe to be resolved because the definition of what a common carrier is control the authority? my concern is the way this will be brought up and figure out creates a lot of challenges for the kind of traditional consumer protection enforcement so hard in california examined him said this is an activity-based standards not status based there
for everything i do is common carriage, so we've been able to challenge advertising in the building and things like that. but i do think the challenge will be as everybody who's a defendant says here is my new argument, why the definition of the common carrier and i should be a common carrier into kind of struck me that at an event to the chairman wheeler suggested that yes this is a conflict and the agencies can discuss it and we will figure it out but that isn't how this is going to come up. even if we all held hands and said we all agree, it's good to be decided quickly court and challenge the challenge as we try to wring our traditional consumer protection enforcement in this case. >> commissioner, do you have any thoughts on that?
who >> it is a serious problem and it's not just a matter of the fcc decreeing on february 26 of this year but any internet service provider is a common carrier there are legal hurdles to getting to that proposition so for example under section 332, congress has long said for over 20 years of serving wireless providers and companies cannot be classified as common carriers and not withstanding what they might say in the pool making there is a statutory bar that has to be surmounted and litigated and it's part of the overall net neutrality challenge but i would imagine if i if i'm a wireless provider, it would raise that as well. when you look at 332 they don't have the authority to reclassify. so yes, stay tuned. >> for broadband providers you may or may not be a common carrier and they may or may not be carrying under the fcc act. >> it is largely on the purpose which the government will be targeted.
>> it also seems to me the fcc left its level of this level of flexibility to broaden the definition beyond. so again, stay tuned. >> absolutely. among other things, section 706 of the telecommunications act if you believe the net neutrality gets the agency the authority to regulate everybody in the system not just internet service providers but the providers like her and facebook. and if the agency were to read the authority virtually everybody with an online presence could be considered subject to the regulations. >> and the the commissioner very quickly, do you know if there were any prohibitions at some point, common carriage with respect to broadband services for the ftc under the act and would have applied which collectively do the work that the ftc has already done in this space? >> at only applies
prospectively. so the post reclassification. >> so any existing consent orders that are out there would continue to work. and one of the things actually this also brings up kind of an interesting difference between the ftc and the fcc. so when we do the investigation of conduct, we can look back and say how long is this going on i think for the fcc, you have a strict statute of limitations. so some of the behavior we could look back for several years and have the continuing practice. the fcc, it is more limited. >> it depends though. for example, the agency pulled out examples that were a a decade old and justified the application of the title ii regulations and so it's depending on which is needed to pound the needle him in some
cases. stacks are you mentioned that the fcc is looking into or maybe looking into the privacy issues and i know that there was an announcement in the notice of the proposed rulemaking coming up potentially regarding the privacy rules under section 222. can you give a context for that and what principles might be guiding the agency's actions in that regard? >> the reclassification of the adoption of section 222 as one of those that will apply raises the question of privacy comes of section 222 imposes a duty on the carrier to protect what is known as the proprietary network information. i love the acronyms. >> we trip all the time. so, it involves things like what kind of services as does the
customer buy from a common carrier, what telephone numbers does the customer call and things like that. so, they have long had a duty on the telephone side to protect. those rules never previously applied to internet service providers and so they said we will not forbear section 222 but we will further for now for the application of the rules upon which section 222 has been based because a lot of internet service providers - this doesn't make sense we have the duty to abide but you're not telling us with the regulations are. so they said we will put out guidance. here's the guidance that came out three months ago so among other things the enforcement bureau intends to focus on whether broadband providers are
taking reasonable steps to comply with section 222 brother than focusing on the technical details. then it goes on to say the enforcement bureau intends they should employ the protections in line with the privacy policies and the core tenets of the basic privacy protections. now, i have met commissioners have served for over three years and also have the misfortune of being trained as a lawyer and i have no idea what this means. it makes absolutely no sense. and in the interim between today and when the agency adopts the privacy regulations under section 222 is a completely unclear how on earth the agency is going to consider these regulations. so it will be the core tenets of the actions and the actions like yours and at&t is going to be extremely aggressive in pursuit of the headlines and it's going to go after the conduct that
previously hadn't been sanctioned and i think that is a recipe for disaster. they are great to start a rulemaking this fall and the timing is uncertain. rules that will be adopted is uncertain, but the one thing is for sure that everybody is going to be left guessing for a long time. and you know what the rules of the road are. >> have you seen any appetite may be on your part to look to those tenets of privacy protection or to what the ftc has done historically? >> they do not have an expertise in this area. we have an expertise in this category but we don't have expertise in the very vast array of privacy issues that they are considering. the commissioner spoke eloquently about this. they've been wrestling another agency has been wrestling for a long time all of these privacy issues that arrive in a number of different contexts. we have been applying the regulations to the telephone companies and that's very important that it but that is a very narrow subset of all of the information that they might
consider to be private and so, it is a socially the wild west as far as the fcc is concerned when it comes to privacy and i have seen no indication we're going to import wholesale or retail from the privacy protections. i certainly hope that we do and that we have some sort of a foundational expertise that we can rely on. >> how do you view the potential for these privacy regulations and rules that maybe coming out to overlap with what has been done historically. >> that is a danger obviously for a couple of different reasons first because as i said earlier we don't necessarily have expertise in this area so you tend to think it might not apply those rules that they would've done based on its well-established precedent. second we might have a different take on a particular issue and if we are applying the same rules that might be blessed by the fcc were frowned upon or vice versa.
but it could take an entirely different view as well. so i think there is a risk, duplicated or distinct regulatory approaches. >> commissioner, did commissioner, did you have any reaction to the commissioners views on the possibility of the rules coming down? >> i certainly agree with all of the points that he raised and you are coming here looking for conflict. but anyway, one of the things that i think it's kind of a fundamental misperception in this area that is driving a lot of this is the idea that the unique window into the activity as a consumer compared to other parts of the system so i'm not sure that's right. so the idea that say i get on in
the morning before i go to work and then i check in at the stoplight, which i don't buy that way. [laughter] then i am at work and i check in on my desktop and that's from my employers into the late afternoon i get a coffee and i check in again so the idea that any one isp is getting this activity versus the website platform that i'm going to i think - i just don't think that the position really holds up because it may be that the platform has a full picture and maybe the network that follows me around has a full picture or it may be that the traffic was encrypted so they know where i'm going but they don't know what
my communication is or entails. so i think that really raises the kind of fundamental question again about whether it really makes sense versus everybody else in this ecosystem. i also think as a basic idea of regulation and good government is again our we taking companies that may be collecting similar information and doing similar things and treating them differently and does that make sense and is that going to affect investment down the road and innovation down the road and i will mention we are doing a workshop leader. i don't wonder if it is this year or next year but on the idea of the cross device tracking and looking at the bits and pieces that we are sharing
as we are moving from all of the multiple devices that we use in any given day. but that is a holistic way to look at and i am much more focused on how were the consumers really consuming the service is services and what are the possible harms and possible benefits looking at it in in their real-world way rather than coming down with the sort of artificial silos. >> thank you very much both of you. i think that we have definitely explored and established the overlap here with the potential for the overlap and there is also a potential for the possible doctrinal confusion or tension going forward. maybe what we can do to talk about the agency design and also a bit about maybe the best practices and think of the ways
you might be able to harmonize the activities. so i will start, commissioner, with you. use you said in the past that the ftc has an agency design that makes it a bit of a potentially superior enforcer for the dynamic industries. so would you mind elaborating on that position for a few minutes? >> as i mentioned we are primarily a law-enforcement agency we don't promulgate a lot of the regulations and i think one of the benefits of not acting in the space that is dynamic and fast moving is what we are looking at is harm come a harm to competition and to consumers and trying to target those problems and address those problems rather than a prescriptive rule to predict the future and say this is how the
technology is going to develop with a bunch of rules to say this is under this silo because all of our expectations have been upset in a good way for the past 30, 40 years so having a case by case approach is focused on harm and it has been very useful in this area so being in a law-enforcement agency also means we have an investigative staff and investment in the tools to bring these kind of actions to identify them and investigate them and it's very fact specific and case-by-case. we also have a policy in the function that i mentioned i think the fcc has one as well but that helps inform. i think the act is very flexible
and i think adaptable to changing technologies. i mentioned at the bureau of economics that is an important part of the analysis on the policy side and the enforcement side. so, i think that has been a useful institutional feature of the fcc that has helped us. i hope that the economics enforcement decision - there are a lot of similarities. we are a bipartisan agency. we have a similar structure and some of the tools are different. we get consumer redress i think primarily they get find that you are able to get redress in some way and we have different oversights by the commissioners on settlements in the and policies and everything has to be voted out.
we have to improve everything that the commissioners do so i think that helps keep a sort of political check and a little more tight rein on what some of the staff level decisions can be. >> as the fcc takes on a bit of an enforcement rule presumably, do you have any sort of general advice for your colleagues at the fcc in terms of how to approach the type of a role as an enforcer? >> i think the two things are first of all to focus on real harm that is occurring in the marketplace because it is very hard to predict the future and speculate and it is hard not only for the harm in the future but also to predict the market developments and products and maybe some sort of vague business model that will ameliorate that harm. so to get in and to try to solve
everything now for the future when we don't understand it i think is difficult. and to look at the traditional toolbox that says maybe we don't need a new rule if we can sue people for deception and antitrust laws we don't need to come up with a regulatory structure so i would say focus on harm and see what tools you already have in the toolbox. >> do you have any reaction to the commissioners comments in her guidance? >> i appreciate her experience and she knows better than most that it served american consumers for the better part of a century. as we work at this new space i would simply add to that in addition to the council she's offered that that humility is absolutely critical and they've enjoyed for many years that
independent agency precisely because of that expertise and i think we tend to undermine that respect when we make decisions that are based more on political calculations than what the law is and what the facts are and that tends to reduce popular support and the judicial support for the decisions we make and so obviously i would prefer in the policymaking function staying in the lanes to speak in doing what we do best which is promoting the deployment across the country to everyone who wants internet access and in the cases where the law permits it to promote competition. in those cases where the action is appropriate under the rules whatever whatever they might be i certainly think we have to end bracelet was increase what was said about the regulatory restoring it is important because we cannot know the future and we talk about the case i remember from 2001 i wished i'd brought the article that warns about to be time warner transaction.
it would have been on break up a the monopoly over instant messaging and that is coming in and blocking that transition. similarly i remember an article in 2006 talking about how myspace had a monopoly in the social media marketplace and the agency didn't come in and try to investigate or otherwise regulate that we would see the online marketplace. describe these examples now. the question for the agency going forward is and just in this particular case but what is the effect of the decision going forward? any enforcement action can send a chilling signal to the industry to move away from certain business plans that could promote consumer welfare and instead focused on what is safe and what is a safe night be to pay the treasury and fcc case where the consumers.
but it might not be what is is right alternately for the long-term health of the marketplace and that's certainly the approach going forward. >> it sounds like it has had implications based on how they proceed. >> is absolutely coded to the extent that they are applied. it doesn't have anything to do with privacy. >> reflecting everybody else in the ecosystem that could have a potential to create distortions. >> do you see room for the process of the perspective that might be able to address some of
these issues and could you give us your top view? >> i would ask the congress to give me three in one, that would be very helpful. but obviously this is something that would get bipartisan support from everybody. >> more seriously they need to focus on the concrete guidance to the private sector whether it is in the form of rules that are specific and. it is in the law with what is prohibited and what is not. additionally we need to be quicker and responsive and that means setting more internal guidelines for ourselves quite often things like applications review and considerations for over a decade without anyone ever addressing us because we have no internal deadline for acting on them.
it's something that we should incorporate and regulations. a lot of times the agency is left with rules on the book from the analog because we don't have an obligation to revisit them from time to time. one of the first votes in 2012 was on the elimination of the regulations first drafted by the telegraph division in 1936 it's been on the books forever and no one ever said is this really necessary and so i'm on the other things we have a had a congressional mandate to engage that is a biannual review to determine which are necessary and which are not. historically that has been the staff work and part of my job was to recommendations that would go nowhere and we should think that a meaningful exercise
and update the regulations for the digital age. i did say being more transparent to the outside world, the commissioner allows the members of congress cannot know what the subpoena or whatever it is for how the agency is doing across the variety of metrics and how many consumer complaints are pending and what is the meantime for responding to the consumer complaints and what is the disposition and any complaint so that's why i proposed creating the dashboard similar to things the state government has. we can see how the fcc is doing and the fact that online spotlight is being shined it could be more in the dispatch so those are just a few of the ideas. i think regardless of the affiliation would make the agency more responsive and more productive. thank you very much. when we are talking about the agency designed to both of you are there things you might consider changing about the ftc, it has been our focus in terms
of the agency design changes that are there things you might change about the ftc and lessons that can be imported? >> i think that you have a much better neighbor. [laughter] >> that is one area that we will disagree. [laughter] >> dot so a couple things i think that while certainly getting rid of the common carrier exemption would be at the top of my list and that is something congress would have to do. i think that the commissioner mentioned this is something that is talked about a lot is for the good government how much you need transparency, predictability and fairness and i do think that the ftc has been transparent in a lot of things it does but there have been recent action the ftc has taken on the unfair method of the competition policy statements that i dissented on and one of the reasons i dissented had to do with process.
we should have gotten more input on that. i think we should have had a better process internally to discuss that. i know that the fcc has scheduled monthly meetings and at the ftc could do something like that that would be beneficial. i think for both agencies one of the challenges - this was put into effect for all the reasons that has had some deleterious effects which is the sunshine act. it's difficult for the commissioners to get together and talk among themselves. what happens is you end up with the staff talking to each other and they are all fine and wonderful people but it can sometimes be a little bit of a game of telephone. where the message gets a little bit garbled as it goes through the series of different advisors. so, i would suggest some changes
might be beneficial for all commissions across the area. >> what specifically does it require? >> it is basically a quorum of commissioners for getting together to discuss a policy or issue so we can get together and say how large the nationals doing and people's retirement parties and things like that. but unless we have a formal meeting to discuss a policy that may lead to enforcement action or decision by the agency, we can't have informal discussions. we have to get together. there are then it's into the secretary is there and there's all kinds of careful administrative barriers set up around that.
as long as there is not if there was a matter. two of them would be sufficient so that would be a problem, but we generally can do one-on-one discussions but we can't get all around the table and work something out unless it is a very formal meeting and which is again why i suggest that maybe it would be better to have some more of those formal meetings. >> commissioner, the sunshine issue is something that cuts across the agencies that affects the fcc as well. you have any additional thoughts on the design changes? >> certainly the problem that we have the same problems that the commissioner will have and is described and i just think it makes the agency decision-making so much more. can you imagine just to bring it to another example imagine the key minaj and miley cyrus
couldn't address each other directly. [laughter] >> i do think it makes the agency decision - it also impedes the also impedes the ability of the commissioner to be more collegial. it is rare outside of the monthly meetings that three or more of us get together and i have to think that over the long run it tends to minimize the ability of people to reach across the partisan divide and forge alliances. can you imagine if members of congress had certain restrictions, it would be even worse if they couldn't talk to each other person-to-person command that is certainly something that i would hope to change. there are a number of additional ideas that i have endorsed previously, for example the amount of reporting requirements that we have. the agency spent a tremendous amount of time mandated by congress that nobody ever reads. for example, i put out a statement to the orbit act.
15 years ago we were told that the fcc needed to prioritize the satellite industry. they told us you need to report annually on whether you privatized it. it was privatized in 2001 and we are reporting 16 years later on how we privatized it. complete waste of time and resources. so just imagine all of those reports if we could shrink them down to their essence. what does congress need to know to discharge the fact-finding mission and legislative function. so the congress is now considering the consolidated reporting act but sales through the house of representatives twice i believe now under consideration by the senate. that would help a lot in terms of streamlining the resources. are there in number of reforms that we can take into the discussion that would be worthwhile and again, one of the process reforms that i go to commission a local champion are partisan ideas. whenever i guess i gets to meet with the representatives of both parties, they would nod their head and say that makes sense we should do something like that
and i would hope over the long run we would bring a lot of these agencies more up-to-date in how they operate. >> thank you very much for your comments on this. we are running a little bit short on time so what we will do is i have one additional question and then we are going to turn it over to the audience for questions. so, my final question is a number of people or some people have criticized industry-specific or focused regulatory bodies as potentially right for the regulatory capture by the industries. as with other people push back and note that you need an expertise and understanding in the industry to be able to efficiently regulate. generally, what would your reaction be to god and do you think there is a possibility of having to agencies in a particular space that could have some effect on the? >> that is a good question.
with respect to the regulatory capture, obviously this is a theoretical problem that the public choice theory has long identified. in my experience isn't so much the regular great capture so much as the government deciding which ones a particular marketplace to be structured into taking the regulatory actions in order to make it so. and whether it is preemptively telling certain companies don't even bother merging or we will require this wish list of conditions to the agencies saying we are going to adopt these industry rules in order to make sure companies have a fair chance to compete to the wounded are dangerous phrase to those of you that championed the bigotry humility, i think that is much more of an issue than the regulatory capture. but i would say based on my interactions with my current colleagues and those that i had the privilege of serving with previously, none of them have been captured by any particular company or segment of the industry.
as a speaking for myself, it was captured by my kids, the chiefs and a karaoke machine. [laughter] but no one else. nothing else was in the public interest to enforce my decision. >> any reactions or thoughts? >> one of the things that i have seen is when you have the government playing such an in-depth role in the structuring of the industries that are deciding who is allowed and who is not allowed and under what cool, it is a ripe opportunity so you get in and say there is a big problem here and you better have the rules be really strict on this part of the market. i'm in the other part of the market so don't put those rules on me. so i do think that the more the
government is orchestrating the market, the more incentives there are for companies to get in and try to. it keeps up the little guys and so that is a problem that we see in a lot of the industries. its things like professional licensing and other areas like that so i do think that the more in-depth role government plays, the more opportunity and the more pay authors for the companies to do this. and i also do want to say that i appreciate the commission are talking about the bigotry to nobody that is a favorite topic of mine, and i think it is something that we should all keep in mind as we are going to grapple with these important issues that we have to be
careful about our buddy to predict things. >> really quickly i can't tell you how many of these we have a party that will say i'm all in favor of a free market. in this case though - something will happen if you do not regulate or conversely the flipside is you need to set aside x. y. and z. because otherwise i won't have a chance to compete compete and i will go out of business and people will lose their jobs and consumers will be with worse off. as somebody that here's this on a repeated basis it is so critical to come in with a consistent philosophy that you are not into favor any particular company or segment of the industry because as said that "-open-double-quote a special pleading and arbitrage and that is one of the reasons not to be hyperbolic about it that americans have lost faith in government because they think it's only the connected corporations and lobbyists that will get regulatory favors that benefit them while the consumers with large are left in the cold
and that is something we have to guard against every agency. >> thank you for such thoughtful remarks and i think at this point we will turn over to the audience for questions. we have microphones that will be circulating. if you would please wait until a microphone reaches you before asking your question and then identify your name and affiliation. >> no nicki minaj questions please. [laughter] >> what i've gotten out of this is that president obama indicated he wanted the commission to act and the commissioned and crossed the rubicon and act and that has created a lot of known unknowns in terms of who is in charge. we will have another presidential election and there is a possibility that the white house could change to the other party. if there was a president with a different point of view and a chair man with a different point
of view can the commission go back across the rubicon and say we made a mistake or is that something that can only have been legislatively and if it did do that or if it decides it is not a good idea would've the best thing being not acting or to simply not push the envelope and provide guidance with a minimal impact in the clarifications made to what the rules are. >> that is a good question. there's a number of ways the regulations can be referred. one is for the courts to validate and second congress could pass legislation that would get rid of the rules and a third the agency could revisit the question so for the third so long as these requirements are in the administrative procedure act is no reason the agency couldn't come back and say okay we think we made a wrong decision certainly the supreme
court several years ago opened up the door to future commissions or agencies making a determination so long as there is a reasonable expectation for changing its mind. one of the problems is however determined as amount of capital sitting on the sidelines or the fact that regulations are in place now companies are restructuring business plans because they have to so fast forward even if the agency were to come back to this issue you have to wonder how much capital has been diverted and how much is wasted, how many consumers are worse off as a result? >> can you elaborate on the
potential challenges that you just mentioned particularly with the idea if the fcc exists to manage the scarce airwaves and the scarcity doesn't really seem to be an issue here. >> direct to their owner to basic categories first procedurally so under the administrative procedure act the argument is the agency never t. dot title to proposal. the proposal was different from the title to regulations. it is after the president made his announcement in november 2014 at 14 that the agency was reportedly considering title ii and they never did anything subsequent to the announcement to make title ii. there was never a public comments over the notice in the rulemaking of the rulemaking
perspective i think and a lot of other people think that there are some issues the court would have to wrestle with. there were huge number of issues where the companies and that they are trade associations everything from 330 to which was the provider that says certain providers cannot be classified as common carriers but in some of the core questions does this constitute telecommunication services? it's very specific when i click on a link on my screen whether or not the transmission of the information and a quarter of the network is something that meets the statutory definition of the telecom service. there is a bunch of issues like that that the court will have to wrestle with. >> right here, please. >> my name is sharon.
a quick question because i talked to small-business owners researching the net neutrality on this issue. with an overlap to create these rules and regulations and offer the enforcement you've got companies that can't afford legal assistance. you also have other agencies i'm going to use the tsa for example they come up with regulations and when you create the law create a regulation it's hard to change it. i spent ten minutes arguing about bringing my watermelon on a plane and i was talking to the lawyers the next day at a conference and it turns out once the regulations are in place, it's hard to pull them back. they came up with a drawback to get rid of it but we are talking about people's businesses, their livelihoods. and so those have to get along but you can't get along because we can't work together because of the sunshine act. it's fascinating and i'm grateful that we can have comments about what we are doing to interact with the small-business community. of all industries because as people say one regulator is to
scare some and two is terrified. you raised a very good point. one of the things we tried to do is outreach to small businesses, small startups. i got silicon valley and things like that. a lot of times when they are starting these new innovative products, they are not thinking about the consumer privacy. they are not thinking about how to all work together so i think it's important for us to get out and use the information. we are there gathering information. so we have consumer education materials on the fcc website. but it does bring to mind an area where i recently did dissent from my colleagues in the case called know me and was a startup company that offered a service to retailers about tracking consumer cell phones to
show where consumers went. but it didn't say who it was. they just wanted to know if some of the key named and they spent five minutes in the men's department and the ladies department and then left. one of the things that i thought they did was hold them to the highest standard of liability when they had not actually harmed many consumers. they've given a global opt out of the website if they didn't want this type of collection or tracking to happen. they said then you can go to the retailers. well it turned out that the retailers were not operating on that, but consumers have opted out of a much higher rate on the website and they normally opt out. so, i dissented in and force the action because there wasn't any indication that there was any consumer harm. so, not only do we need to get to the small-business guidance, we also don't need to come down on them like a ton of bricks if
they make a mistake that they didn't rectify because what happens if there isn't any consumer car and they were not doing it to get a benefit for themselves and it was just an oversight, we are discouraging them from even making these promises and from even trying to give consumers extra choices. so i think it is kind of a dual approach we need to get out and give them information that also in our enforcement action to use our prosecutorial discretion not to try to hold some small company that didn't cause any harm to some sort of age or cutting and standard. >> with me just after a cookie that the small-business aspect of this is important. i agree with everything the commissioner has said. there are 4,462 internet service providers in the united states. the majority of them are relatively small. when you talk to people that the president neutrality to peel away the layers of the onion, they are concerned about the blocking content and the fact
that they want more choices. they want more competition with better prices and faster speeds and that is part of the reason that they are so complex by the regulation is because ironically enough, squeeze out the smaller competitors and one of the industries championed over the last three years has been the wireless internet service provider. these are the small wireless companies that provide an alternative to the cable company and the telephone company. the others that use the unlicensed spectrum are sometimes literally a mom and and pops and pops trained together in the infrastructure into the areas to provide an alternative where there might otherwise not be any. we have seen evidence now under the perjury of a lot of the smaller are holding back on investment because of the uncertainty. i think of the broadband in virginia that is reducing its investment, slowing down the network upgrades to 20% and because of the regulations.
i think of a lot of others that told us we don't have the money to hire an attorney and accountant so in order to do so we are not going to expand beyond the current coverage area. this is in the record now that the court is considering. i think it is unfortunate that instead of focusing on promoting more broadband competition, we have sensed that the entire market .-full-stop these heavy-handed economic regulations on everybody which ironically enough as the commissioner said only that big players are going to be able to comply with. so mark my words five years from now we will be back at the table and people that told us about the rules we will have enough choices where we are and we only have the big cable company or telephone company and we will have to point to these rules and instill all of these other would-be competitors and ask them where were you in the broadband competition in our grasp. >> sir.
>> thanks. first on behalf of the federal communications journal i would like to thank the two of you for an excellent issue that came out that i would urge you to read. [laughter] >> thank you. shameless plug. [laughter] >> in terms of the privacy, thank you for coming to the event a couple of weeks ago on this. it seems to me that there are two policy problems that are coming out of the privacy debate. on the one hand, we have a massive regulatory where you will have the anti-regulation or the one segment of the ecosystem of the fcc. and then you've got the post-regulation on everybody else. even though the functional equivalent raises two policy problems i would like to comment on. as we start thinking about the internet of things, we are still in a very early stage of developing the framework. how do we do that generally?
and it would seem that we would want to have a flexible industrywide solution to that. my first question is how how do you develop an industrywide solution when one segment of the industry is under the heavy hand of government it seems it is difficult. the second thing is, and this goes to something that you just mentioned, commissioner, is that the internet is becoming more commoditized. because a lot of it is coming up with market forces but it's also resulting in the net neutrality rules where you are not allowed to differentiate yourself. so the price competition goes up and goes down and the intent goes down and competition rises. it seems to me that this policy along with a lot of other things represents another example of trying to transfer the profits from the core to the edge. so, these are two direct result of this asymmetrical regime and i was wondering if you could comment on it, please. >> why don't i take the first part - okay so talking about the
privacy approach, and as we are moving into this new area of things and everything being sort of interconnected, the fcc did an internet of things report earlier this year that i concurred and i had a few concerns about. one of the good things i thought we did there is we didn't come off with an internet of things specific legislative recognition. we said let's see what happens in to see how and see how that develops. one of the things on which i differed with my colleagues was i recommended that we start taking a hard look at the previous transformation practice principles approach that noted the choice and access that was very focused on the collection of information and moved much more towards a user harms-based approach and i think that is a way forward to a focus on harm
because that's where we should be bringing our regulatory focus. again, consistent with the principal regulatory and other fees it is hard to predict the future, let's focus on what the harms are. so, i would say that could be a unified approach across the two agencies if we had a similar approach at least that would help minimize some of the disparities that you've identified if we had some underwent strict regime and you're not allowed to use this information and others that also affects the type of services that people can often detect in the business models that can be developed so i would very much recommend that we think about moving towards what information is being used in a way that harms consumers and put our energy there. >> i would add on top of that the potential for the distortion here is great and i would and i would i was an outsized the online video marketplace where we have seen some disturbing portends that the fcc will regulate certain segments of the market and to the exclusion of
i agree with maureen ohlhausen the differing legal regimes have deleterious effect on the market place. same with the privacy. i think differing regimes would have quite an affective when pointed out earlier, it is predicated on the modernization of information which is considered quite private. >> looks like we are unfortunately out of time. we could consider discussing this all afternoon. let's give a round of our -- around applause to our guests ahit pai. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
>> quick reminder that if you missed any of this discussion on open internet rules and jurisdiction and control of the internet it should be available on our web site any moment now, you can watch at c-span.org, check the c-span video library. coming up at 7:00 eastern live on c-span2, a republican and democratic pollsters talk about the 2016 presidential election. chuck todd, host of meet the press, moderates from george washington university at 7:00 eastern. >> e-cigarette chair feature of booktv is our all day coverage of book fairs and festivals from across the country with top nonfiction authors. here is our schedule. beginning this weekend we are live from the fifteenth annual national book festival from our nation's capital. in september we are in new york for the brooklyn book festival featuring its tenth year.
the southern festival of books in nashville, the weekend after that we are live from austin for the texas book festival in new the end of the month we will cover two book festivals on the same weekend. from our nation's heartland the wisconsin book festival in madison and on the east coast the boston book festival. at the start of november in portland, ore. for word stock. followed by the national book awards in new york city and the end of november we are live for the eighteenth year in a row from florida for the miami book fair international. that is a few of the fairs and festivals on c-span2's booktv. >> the c-span cities toward looking at cable affiliates visiting cities across the country. this week we are joined by charter communications to learn about history and literary life of brand junction, colorado, the mining of some minerals have long-term importance in this
part of colorado. >> in mesa county outside grand junction we are surrounded by a rock and we find a lot of dinosaur bones and fossils' and that has intrigued scientists for a long time but the other thing we find is a mineral, a rock called charnidite which contains iridium which helped to fight cancer, it contains vanadium which is used to strengthen steel. during the buildup to world war ii and during world war ii it was of extreme value. it also contains uranium which as we know is one of the best sources for atomic power and atomic weapons. >> colorado congressman wayne aspinol was responsible through water legislation. >> he fought the battle to
reserve water for western colorado. by making sure we got our fair share. how did he do that? beginning in his state career and going on to his federal career he climbed the ladder of seniority and was able to exercise more power than you might normally have, certainly in the united states congress, where he was able to make sure colorado and western colorado would be treated fairly in any division of water. his first major success was the passage of the colorado river storage project in 1956. >> see all of our programs from grand junction saturday at 7:00 eastern on booktv. and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-spanat
40. >> barbara mikulski became the 30 fourthsenator to stop resolution disapproving the iran nuclear agreement. a statement detailing how she reached her decision, she said no deal is perfect especially one negotiated with the iranian regime. called the accord the best option possible to block iran from having a nuclear bomb. for these reasons i will vote in favor of the deal. in a letter delivered to congress today john kerry called israel's security sacrosanct, billions of dollars the u.s. has provided the jewish state for missile defense and other security assistance. the letter was sent as he defended the iran deal in philadelphia during the speech. he warned of the consequences if it does not go through. >> because of our strength, because of the power of our banks, all we americans have to do if congress objects this plan is returned to the bargaining table, cut out our chests and
demand a better deal. i heard one critics say he would use sanctions to give iran a choice between having an economy or having a nuclear program. folks, that is a very touchy sound bite. but it has no basis in any reality. dick said i was in charge of the senate foreign relations committee when the nation came together across party lines to enact round after round of economic sanctions against iran but remember, even the toughest restrictions didn't stop iran's nuclear program from speeding ahead. from a couple hundred centrifuges to 5,000 to 19,000. we have already been there. this agreement, those who vote no will not be able to tell you how many centrifuges iran will have next year or the year after. if it is approves, we will be able to tell you exactly what
the limits on iran's program will be. the fact is it wasn't either sanctions or threats that actually stopped and finally stopped the expansion of iran's nuclear activities. the sanctions brought people to the table but it was the start of the negotiating process and negotiations themselves recently concluded in vienna and that actually stopped it. only with those negotiations iran begin to get rid of that stockpile of 20% enriched uranium. only with those negotiations did it stop installing more centrifuges and cs advancing the iraq reactor. only then did it could be more forthcoming about iaea and breaking the deadlock. just apply your common sense. what do you think will happen if
we say to iran now forgets it. the deal is off, let's go back to square one. all of our negotiating partners are ready to go forward, how will they react? what happens to the multilateral sanctions regime that brought iran to the bargaining table in the first place? the answer is pretty simple, the answer is straightforward, not only will we lose the momentum we have built up in pressing iran to limit its nuclear activity, we will almost surely start moving in the opposite direction. >> officials in iran and characteristically made the speech available live to citizens in that country when it happened to earlier today. you can see the entire speech tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. otherwise the senate will vote when lawmakers return to capitol hill next week.
last month president obama explained the nuclear deal with iran in that speech at american university and urged congress to approve or reject the deal as the most important fallen -- foreign policy decision since the 2003 vote authorizing the invasion of iraq. in courage them to shut out the malaise and back the deal. the president's speech is about an hour. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. very pleased, have a seat, thank you very much. apologize for the slight delay. even presidents have problems with toner. it is a great honor to be back at american university which has prepared generations of young
people for service in public life. i want to thank president kerwin and the american university family for hosting us here today. 52 years ago, president kennedy, at the height of the cold war, addressed this same university on the subject of peace. the berlin wall had just been built. the soviet union had tested the most powerful weapons ever developed. china was on the verge of acquiring a nuclear bomb. less than 20 years after the end of world war ii, the prospect of nuclear war was all too real. with all of the threats the we face today it is hard to
appreciate how much more dangerous the world was at that time. in light of these mounting threats, a number of strategists in the united states argue that we have to take military action against the soviets to hasten what they saw as inevitable confrontation. but the young president offered a different mission. strength, in his view, included powerful armed forces and a willingness to stand up for our values around the world but he rejected the prevailing attitude among some foreign policy circles that equated security with a perpetual war footing. instead he promised strong, principled american leadership on behalf of what he calls
practical and attainable peace. peace based not on a sudden revolution in human nature, but on a gradual evolution in human institutions. on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements. such wisdom would help guide our states through the most perilous moments in human history. with kennedy at the helm the cuban missile crisis was resolved peacefully. under democratic and republican presidents new agreements were forged. a non-proliferation treaty that prohibited nations from acquiring nuclear weapons while allowing them to access peaceful nuclear energy. the s.a.l.t and s.t.a.r.t treaties which bound the united states and the soviet union's
arms control. not every conflict was converted. but the world avoided nuclear catastrophe and we created the time and space to win the cold war without firing a shot at the soviets. the agreement now reached between the international community and the islamic republic of iran builds on this tradition of small, principled diplomacy. after two years of negotiations we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. it cuts off all of iran's pathways to a bomb. it contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program. as was true in previous treaties
it does not resolve all the problems. certainly doesn't resolve all our problems with iran. it does not ensure a warning to between our two countries. but it achieves one of our most critical security objectives. as such, it is of very good deal. today i want to speak to you about this deal and the most consequential foreign policy debate that our country has had since the invasion of iraq. as congress decides whether to support this historic diplomatic breakthrough or blocks it over the vast majority of the world. between now and the congressional vote in september you are going to hear a lot of arguments against this deal backed by tens of billions of dollars in advertising.
if the rhetoric in these ads and the accompanying commentary sounds familiar it should. many of the same people who argued for the war in iraq are now making the case against the iran nuclear deal. when i ran for president eight years ago as a candidate who opposed the decision to go to war in iraq, i said that americans didn't just have to end that war. we had to end the mind set that got us there in the first place. it was a mind set characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy. a mindset that put a premium on unilateral u.s. action over the painstaking work of building international consensus. a mindset that exaggerated
threats beyond what the intelligence supported. leaders did not level with the american people about the costs of war in assisting the we could easily impose our will on a part of the world with a profoundly different culture and history. and of course those calling for war labeled themselves strong and decisive while dismissing those who disagreed as weak, even appeasers of a malevolent adversary. more than a decade later we still live with the consequences of the decision to invade iraq. our troops achieved every mission they were given but thousands of lives were lost. tens of thousands wounded.
that doesn't count the lives lost among the iraqis. near the cotillion dollars was spent. today iraq remains gripped by sectarian conflict and the emergence of al qaeda in iraq has evolve into isis. and ironically a single greatest beneficiary in the region of that work was the islamic republic of iran which saw its strategic position strengthened by the removal of its longstanding enemy, saddam hussein. i raise this because now more than ever we need clear thinking in our foreign policy. i raise this history because it bears directly on how we respond to the iranian nuclear program. that program has been around for
decades dating back to the shot's efforts with u.s. support in the 1960s and 70s to develop nuclear power. the theocracy that overthrew the shah exhilarated the program after the iran/iraq war in the 1980s when saddam hussein used chemical weapons to brutal effect nuclear program advanced, when the bush administration took office iran had no centrifuges. the machines necessary to produce material for a bomb. that were spinning to enrich uranium but despite repeated warnings from the united states government, by the time i took office iran had installed several thousand centrifuges and showed no inclination to slow, much less halt its program.
among u.s. policymakers there has never been disagreement on the danger posed by an iranian nuclear bomb. democrats and republicans alike recognized the world's most unstable reason, turn every crisis into a potential nuclear showdown. it would emboldened terrorist groups like hezbollah, pose an unacceptable risk to israel which iranian leaders repeatedly threatened to destroy. more broadly it could unravel the global commitments to non-proliferation world has done so much to defend. the question then is not whether to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but how. even before taking office i made clear that iran would not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon on my watch.
it has been my policy throughout my presidency to keep all options including possible military options on the table to achieve that objective. but i have also made clear my preference for a peaceful, diplomatic resolution of the issue. not just because of the cost of war but because the negotiated agreement offered a more affective, verifiable and durable resolution. in 2009 we let the iranians know that the diplomatic path was available. iran failed to take that path. our intelligence community exposed the existence of a covert nuclear facility. some have argued that iran's in transients should the futility of negotiations. in fact it was our very
willingness to negotiate that helped america rallied the world to our cause and secure international participation in an unprecedented framework of commercial and financial sanctions. keep in mind, unilateral u.s. sanctions against iran had been in place for decades but failed to pressure iran to the negotiating table. what made our new approach more effective was our ability to draw upon u.n. security council resolutions combining strong enforcement with voluntary agreements from nations like china and india, japan and south korea to reduce their purchases of iranian oil as well as the imposition by our european allies of the total oil embargo. winning the global buy in was not easy. i know. i was there. in some cases our partners lost
billions of dollars in trade because of their decision to cooperate. we were able to convince from that absent a diplomatic resolution the result could be war with major disruptions to the global economy and even greater instability in the middle east. in other words, it was diplomacy, a hard, painstaking diplomacy, not saber rattling, not tough talk, that ratcheted up the pressure on iraq. with the world unified beside us, iran's economy contracted and remains smaller today than it would otherwise have been. no doubt this are joy played a role in iran's 2018 elections. when the iranian people elected a new government that promised
to improve the economy to engage with the world, a window had cracked open. iran came back to the nuclear talks. after a series of negotiations iran agreed with the international community to end interim deal. it rolled back iran's stockpile of 20% enriched uranium and froze the progress of its program so that the united states, china, russia, the united kingdom, germany, france and european union could negotiate a comprehensive deal without the fear that iran might be stalling for time. let me pause here just to remind everybody that win the interim deal was announced, critics, the same critics we are hearing from
now, called it a historic mistake. they insisted iran would ignore its obligations, warned the sanctions would unravel, word that it would receive a windfall to support terrorism. the critics were wrong. the progress of iran's nuclear program was halted for the first time in a decade. the stockpile of dangerous materials was reduced. the deployment of its intense centrifuges was stopped. inspections did increase. there was no flood of money into iran and the architecture of the international sanctions remained in place. the interim deal worked so well that the same people who criticized it so fiercely cite it as an excuse not to support
the broader accord. think about that. it was once proclaimed as a historic mistake is now held up as a success and a reason to not signed a comprehensive deal. so keep that in mind when you assess the credibility of the arguments being made against diplomacy today. despite the criticism we moved ahead to negotiate a more lasting comprehensive deal. diplomats led by secretary of state john kerry kept our coalition united, our nuclear experts including one of the best in the world, secretary of energy ernie moniz worked tirelessly on the details. in july we reached a comprehensive plan of action that meet our objectives. iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon and while iran, like any party to the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty is allowed to act on peaceful nuclear energy, the agreement strictly defined the manner in which its nuclear program can proceed. ensuring all pathways to a bomb are cut off. it cannot acquire plutonium, the core of its heavy water reactor will be pulled out and replaced with one that will not produce plutonium for a weapon. the spent fuel from the reactor will be shipped out of the country and iran will not build any new heavy water reactors for at least 15 years. iran will also not be able to acquire the enriched uranium that could be used for a bomb. as soon as this deal is implemented iran will remove two thirds of its centrifuges. for the next decade iran will not enrich uranium with its more
advanced centrifuges. iran will not enrich uranium at previously undisclosed facility that is buried deep underground for at least 15 years. iran will get rid of 90% of its stockpile of enriched uranium which is currently in a for up to ten nuclear bombs for the next 15 years. even after those 15 years have passed, iran will never have a right to use a peaceful program as cover to pursue a weapon. hand in fact this deal shuts off the type of covert half iran pursued in the past. there will be 24/7 monitoring of iran's key nuclear facilities. four decades, inspectors will have access to iran's nuclear supply chain from the uranium mines and mills where they get raw materials to the centrifuge production facilities where they make machines, and understand
what this is so important. for iran to cheat, it has to build a lot more than just one building or a covert facility, it would need a secret source for every single aspect of its program. no nation in history has been able to pull off such subterfuge when subject to such rigorous inspections. under the terms of the deal inspectors will have the permanent ability to inspect any suspicious sites in iran. and finally iran has powerful incentives to keep its commitments. before getting sanctions relief, iran has to take significant concrete steps like removing centrifuges and getting rid of its stockpile. if iran violates the agreement over the next decade, all of the sanctions snap back into place. we won't need the support of
democratic presidents, support it. i've had to make a lot of tough calls as president, but whether or not this deal is good for american security is not one of those calls. it's not even close. unfortunately, we're living through a time in american politics where every foreign policy decision is viewed through a partisan prism, evaluated by headline-grabbing sound bites. and so before the ink was even dry on this deal, before congress even read it, a majority of republicans declared their virulent opposition. lobbyists and pundits were suddenly transformed into arm-chair nuclear scientists, disputing the assessments of experts like secretary moniz,
challenging his findings, offering multiple, and sometimes contradictory, arguments about why congress should reject this deal. but if you repeat these arguments long enough, they can get some traction. so let me address just a few of the arguments that have been made so far in opposition to this deal. first, there are those who say the inspections are not strong enough because inspectors can't go anywhere in iran at any time with no notice. well, here's the truth. inspectors will be allowed daily access to iran's key nuclear sites. if there is a reason for inspecting a suspicious, undeclared site anywhere in iran, inspectors will get that access, even if iran objects.
this access can be with as little as 24 hours' notice. and while the process for resolving a dispute about access can take up to 24 days, once we've identified a site that raises suspicion, we will be watching it continuously until inspectors get in. and by the way, nuclear material isn't something you hide in the closet. it can leave a trace for years. the bottom line is, if iran cheats, we can catch them, and we will. second, there are those who argue that the deal isn't strong enough because some of the limitations on iran's civilian nuclear program expire in 15 years. let me repeat, the prohibition on iran having a nuclear weapon is permanent. the ban on weapons-related
research is permanent. inspections are permanent. it is true that some of the limitations regarding iran's peaceful program last only 15 years. but that's how arms control agreements work. the first salt treaty with the soviet union lasted five years. the first start treaty lasted 15 years. and in our current situation, if 15 or 20 years from now, iran tries to build a bomb, this deal ensures that the united states will have better tools to detect it, a stronger basis under international law to respond, and the same options available to stop a weapons program as we have today, including, if necessary, military options. on the other hand, without this deal, the scenarios that critics warn about happening in 15 years could happen six months from
now. by killing this deal, congress would not merely pave iran's pathway to a bomb, it would accelerate it. third, a number of critics say the deal isn't worth it because iran will get billions of dollars in sanctions relief. now, let's be clear. the international sanctions were put in place precisely to get iran to agree to constraints on its program. that's the point of sanctions. any negotiated agreement with iran would involve sanctions relief. so an argument against sanctions relief is effectively an argument against any diplomatic resolution of this issue. it is true that if iran lives up to its commitments, it will gain access to roughly $56 billion of
its own money, revenue frozen overseas by other countries. but the notion that this will be a game-changer, with all this money funneled into iran's pernicious activities, misses the reality of iran's current situation. partly because of our sanctions, the iranian government has over half a trillion dollars in urgent requirements, from funding pensions and salaries, to paying for crumbling infrastructure. iran's leaders have raised the expectations of their people that sanctions relief will improve their lives. even a repressive regime like iran's cannot completely ignore those expectations. and that's why our best analysts expect the bulk of this revenue to go into spending that improves the economy and benefits the lives of the iranian people. now, this is not to say that
sanctions relief will provide no benefit to iran's military. let's stipulate that some of that money will flow to activities that we object to. we have no illusions about the iranian government, or the significance of the revolutionary guard and the quds force. iran supports terrorist organizations like hezbollah. it supports proxy groups that threaten our interests and the interests of our allies, including proxy groups who killed our troops in iraq. they try to destabilize our gulf partners. but iran has been engaged in these activities for decades. they engaged in them before sanctions and while sanctions were in place. in fact, iran even engaged in
these activities in the middle of the iran-iraq war, a war that cost them nearly a million lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. the truth is that iran has always found a way to fund these efforts, and whatever benefit iran may claim from sanctions relief pales in comparison to the danger it could pose with a nuclear weapon. moreover, there's no scenario where sanctions relief turns iran into the region's dominant power. iran's defense budget is eight times smaller than the combined budget of our gulf allies. their conventional capabilities will never compare with israel's, and our commitment to israel's qualitative military edge helps guarantee that. over the last several years, iran has had to spend billions
of dollars to support its only ally in the arab world, bashar al-assad, even as he's lost control of huge chunks of his country. and hezbollah has suffered significant blows on the same battlefield. and iran, like the rest of the region, is being forced to respond to the threat of isil in iraq. so contrary to the alarmists who claim that iran is on the brink of taking over the middle east, or even the world, iran will remain a regional power with its own set of challenges. the ruling regime is dangerous and it is repressive. we will continue to have sanctions in place on iran's support for terrorism and violation of human rights. we will continue to insist upon the release of americans detained unjustly. we will have a lot of differences with the iranian regime.
but if we're serious about confronting iran's destabilizing activities, it is hard to imagine a worse approach than blocking this deal. instead, we need to check the behavior that we're concerned about directly, by helping our allies in the region strengthen their own capabilities to counter a cyber-attack or a ballistic missile, by improving the interdiction of weapons shipments that go to groups like hezbollah, by training our allies' special forces so that they can more effectively respond to situations like yemen. all these capabilities will make a difference. we will be in a stronger position to implement them with this deal. and, by the way, such a strategy also helps us effectively confront the immediate and lethal threat posed by isil.
now, the final criticism, this sort of a catch-all that you may hear, is the notion that there's a better deal to be had. we should get a better deal, that's repeated over and over again. it's a bad deal, need a better deal, one that relies on vague promises of toughness, and, more recently, the argument that we can apply a broader and indefinite set of sanctions to squeeze the iranian regime harder. those making this argument are either ignorant of iranian society, or they're just not being straight with the american people. sanctions alone are not going to
force iran to completely dismantle all vestiges of its nuclear infrastructure, even those aspects that are consistent with peaceful programs. that oftentimes is what the critics are calling a better deal. neither the iranian government, or the iranian opposition, or the iranian people would agree to what they would view as a total surrender of their sovereignty. moreover, our closest allies in europe, or in asia, much less china or russia, certainly are not going to agree to enforce existing sanctions for another 5, 10, 15 years according to the dictates of the u.s. congress. because their willingness to support sanctions in the first place was based on iran ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
it was not based on the belief that iran cannot have peaceful nuclear power. and it certainly wasn't based on a desire for regime change in iran. as a result, those who say we can just walk away from this deal and maintain sanctions are selling a fantasy. instead of strengthening our position as some have suggested, congress's rejection would almost certainly result in multilateral sanctions unraveling. if, as has also been suggested, we tried to maintain unilateral sanctions, beefen them up, we would be standing alone. we cannot dictate the foreign, economic and energy policies of every major power in the world.
in order to even try to do that, we would have to sanction, for example, some of the world's largest banks. we'd have to cut off countries like china from the american financial system. and since they happen to be major purchasers of our debt, such actions could trigger severe disruptions in our own economy and, by the way, raise questions internationally about the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency. that's part of the reason why many of the previous unilateral sanctions were waived. what's more likely to happen, should congress reject this deal, is that iran would end up with some form of sanctions relief without having to accept any of the constraints or
inspections required by this deal. so in that sense, the critics are right. walk away from this agreement and you will get a better deal for iran. [applause] now, because more sanctions won't produce the results that the critics want, we have to be honest. congressional rejection of this deal leaves any u.s. administration that is absolutely committed to preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one option, another war in the middle east. i say this not to be provocative. i am stating a fact. without this deal, iran will be in a position, however tough our
rhetoric may be, to steadily advance its capabilities. its breakout time, which is already fairly small, could shrink to near zero. does anyone really doubt that the same voices now raised against this deal will be demanding that whoever is president bomb those nuclear facilities? and as someone who does firmly believe that iran must not get a nuclear weapon, and who has wrestled with this issue since the beginning of my presidency, i can tell you that alternatives to military action will have been exhausted once we reject a hard-won diplomatic solution that the world almost unanimously supports. so let's not mince words. the choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war, maybe not tomorrow,
maybe not three months from now, but soon. and here's the irony. as i said before, military action would be far less effective than this deal in preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. that's not just my supposition. every estimate, including those from israeli analysts, suggest military action would only set back iran's program by a few years at best, which is a fraction of the limitations imposed by this deal. it would likely guarantee that inspectors are kicked out of iran. it is probable that it would drive iran's program deeper underground. it would certainly destroy the international unity that we've spent so many years building.
now, there are some opponents, i have to give them credit, there are opponents of this deal who accept the choice of war. in fact, they argue that surgical strikes against iran's facilities will be quick and painless. but if we've learned anything from the last decade, it's that wars in general and wars in the middle east in particular are anything but simple. [applause] the only certainty in war is human suffering, uncertain costs, unintended consequences. we can also be sure that the americans who bear the heaviest burden are the less than 1% of us, the outstanding men and
women who serve in uniform, and not those of us who send them to war. as commander-in-chief, i have not shied away from using force when necessary. i have ordered tens of thousands of young americans into combat. i have sat by their bedside sometimes when they come home. i've ordered military action in seven countries. there are times when force is necessary, and if iran does not abide by this deal, it's possible that we don't have an alternative. but how can we in good conscience justify war before we've tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives, that has been agreed to by iran, that is supported by
the rest of the world, and that preserves our options if the deal falls short? how could we justify that to our troops? how could we justify that to the world or to future generations? in the end, that should be a lesson that we've learned from over a decade of war. on the front end, ask tough questions. subject our own assumptions to evidence and analysis. resist the conventional wisdomom and the drumbeat of war. worry less about being labeled weak, worry more about getting it right. i recognize that resorting to force may be tempting in the face of the rhetoric and behavior that emanates from parts of iran. it is offensive.
it is incendiary. we do take it seriously. but superpowers should not act impulsively in response to taunts, or even provocations that can be addressed short of war. just because iranian hardliners chant death to america does not mean that that's what all iranians believe. [applause] in fact, it's those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. it's those hardliners chanting death to america who have been most opposed to the deal. they're making common cause with the republican caucus. [laughter] [applause]
the majority of the iranian people have powerful incentives to urge their government to move in a different, less provocative direction, incentives that are strengthened by this deal. we should offer them that chance. we should give them that opportunity. it's not guaranteed to succeed. but if they take it, that would be good for iran, it would be good for the united states. it would be good for a region that has known too much conflict. it would be good for the world. and if iran does not move in that direction, if iran violates this deal, we will have ample ability to respond. the agreements pursued by kennedy and reagan with the soviet union, those agreements, those treaties involved america
accepting significant constraints on our arsenal. as such, they were riskier. this agreement involves no such constraints. the defense budget of the united states is more than $600 billion. to repeat, iran's is about $15 billion. our military remains the ultimate backstop to any security agreement that we make. i have stated that iran will never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. i have done what is necessary to make sure our military options are real. and i have no doubt that any president who follows me will take the same position. so let me sum up here. when we carefully examine the arguments against this deal,
none of them stand up to scrutiny. that may be why the rhetoric on the other side is so strident. i suppose some of it can be ascribed to knee-jerk partisanship that has become all too familiar, rhetoric that renders every decision that's made a disaster, a surrender, you're aiding terrorists, you're endangering freedom. on the other hand, i do think it's important to acknowledge another, more understandable motivation behind the opposition to this deal, or at least skepticism to this deal, and that is a sincere affinity for our friend and ally, israel, an affinity that, as someone who has been a stalwart friend to israel throughout my career, i deeply share.
when the israeli government is opposed to something, people in the united states take notice. and they should. no one can blame israelis for having a deep skepticism about any dealings with a government like iran's, which includes leaders who have denied the holocaust, embrace an ideology of anti-semitism, facilitate the flow of rockets that are arrayed on israel's borders, are pointed at tel aviv. in such a dangerous neighborhood, israel has to be vigilant, and it rightly insists that it cannot depend on any other country, even its great friend the united states, for its own security. so we have to take seriously concerns in israel.
but the fact is, partly due to american military and intelligence assistance, which my administration has provided at unprecedented levels, israel can defend itself against any conventional danger, whether from iran directly or from its proxies. on the other hand, a nuclear-armed iran changes that equation. and that's why this deal ultimately must be judged by what it achieves on the central goal of preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. this deal does exactly that. i say this as someone who has done more than any other president to strengthen israel's security. and i have made clear to the israeli government that we are prepared to discuss how we can deepen that cooperation even
further. already we've held talks with israel on concluding another 10-year plan for u.s. security assistance to israel. we can enhance support for areas like missile defense, information sharing, interdiction, all to help meet israel's pressing security needs, and to provide a hedge against any additional activities that iran may engage in as a consequence of sanctions relief. but i have also listened to the israeli security establishment, which warned of the danger posed by a nuclear-armed iran for decades. in fact, they helped develop many of the ideas that ultimately led to this deal. so to friends of israel, and to the israeli people, i say this, a nuclear-armed iran is far more dangerous to israel, to america, and to the world than
an iran that benefits from sanctions relief. i recognize that prime minister netanyahu disagrees, disagrees strongly. i do not doubt his sincerity. but i believe he is wrong. i believe the facts support this deal. i believe they are in america's interest and israel's interest. and as president of the united states, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally. i do not believe that would be the right thing to do for the united states. i do not believe it would be the right thing to do for israel.
[applause] over the last couple weeks, i have repeatedly challenged anyone opposed to this deal to put forward a better, plausible alternative. i have yet to hear one. what i've heard instead are the same types of arguments that we heard in the run-up to the iraq war, iran cannot be dealt with diplomatically, we can take military strikes without significant consequences, we shouldn't worry about what the rest of the world thinks, because once we act, everyone will fall in line, tougher talk, more military threats will force iran into submission, we can get