tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 13, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EST
s. it says discharging pollutant into a navigable stream, over time they have defined dirt as a pollutant and your backyard as a stream. and we now spend $100 million policing private property and i think we do so much to harass private property owners that we forgot about the stuff we're supposed to be doing the ohio river and the great lakes and the oceans. so there is a role for government in communal property, but we have gone way too far in what we have done to individuals. one quick example ken lucas put clean dirt on his own land to raise the elevation to sell lots in southern mississippi. he's been imprisoned for ten years. he was 70 when he went to jail. he's now 79 and still in prison for putting clean dirt on his own land. that is a crime and whoever put him in jail is the one who really ought to be in jail. >> one more question, then we better call. >> senator, i was just -- americans for limited government and they were making a libertarian case against tpa
that it was giving too much power to the president. do you agree with that? what is your view of this? >> i have mixed feelings. you're talking about the authority that is given for the trade agreements. and what is the tpa, the actual acronym -- >> trade promotional authority. >> trade promotional authority. there is an argument to be made by some on the separation of powers that by giving this authority to the president that you've taken power that should be the congress'. there is also i guess, another argument that these are really treaties and they ought to be actually done as treaties and they're not, they're done by simple majority. but i'm also a big believer in free trade, i think free trade is a good thing. so there have been libertarians or libertarian conservatives, my father included who voted against some of the trade deals because they felt like they gave up sovereignty to international bodies. i think it is a valid point. i have voted for the trade deals, though because like a lot of things in washington i weighed the good and the bad and i think the good of trade has
caused me to vote for things i think aren't perfect basically. i think the perfect way is that we would lessen our trade barriers and do that through the sovereignty of the congress. but unfortunately i think that what we have been offered to vote on is not exactly been that, but trade has helped people. trade helps even the poorest among us more than anybody else. i think the afternoon person who shops in a walmart type store or walmart, they're everywhere, saves $800 $900 a year because of free trade. >> let's thank senator rand paul. thank you. remarks from kentucky senator rand paul from earlier today and we are live right now from the heritage foundation where the conservative policy summit will continue this afternoon. up next, we'll show you a discussion on digital security and trade with comments from republican congressman matt salmon. we'll have that in just a
moment, live here on c-span3. congress is in session today. the senate is in a break for their weekly party lunches, back at 2:15 though. for more debate on the keystone xl pipeline. the house is debating a role for three bills dealing with financial regulations. you can see the house live on c-span and the senate on c-span2.
>> we're live from the heritage foundation where the conservative policy summit is continuing today. up next you'll see a discussion on digital security and trade. before that gets started, we'll show you comments from president obama. he spoke to reporters before meeting this morning with the bipartisan group of congressional leaders. this is just under five minutes. >> everybody all set? good. i want to welcome the congressional leadership here to the white house. harry reid is absent because he's still convalescing a little bit from the mishap in the gym, but i know he'll be back strong next week and i've had a chance to talk to him. i want to thank the speaker and leader mcconnell and dick durbin filling in for mr. reid and
nancy pelosi and all the leadership that is here today. first of all some of these folks i haven't seen, so i've had an opportunity to wish them happy new year. to the speaker, i just want to point out i said there are going to be some things we agree on, having a college football playoff is clearly something that we can agree on. i called for it. when i came into office i think it turned out pretty well, particularly for ohio. i want to congratulate the ohio state buckeyes for their outstanding victory and commend oregon as well for fielding a great team because their quarterback is from my original home state of hawaii. and i also want to just talk to all this leadership about how we can keep the progress going that we're seeing particularly in our economy. the latest job report indicates that the recovery continues to move in a robust fashion.
we now created 58 straight months of private sector job growth. about 11 million jobs created in the private sector, unemployment rates come down faster than any time in several decades. we now are seeing the strongest job growth overall as well as manufacturing since the 1990s. we are producing more energy than ever before deficit has been cut by two-thirds. and we're finally starting to see some movement last year in wages going up at a time when families were also enjoying some lower gas prices. we're in a position to make sure that 2015 is an even stronger year. and relative to our competitors, we are holding much better cards. the key is to work as a team to make sure we build on this progress. obviously there are
disagreements around the table on a whole range of issues, but there are also areas where we can agree. and that's where we're going to be focused. just to cite a few examples i've got a state of the union next week. one thing we'll be talking about is cybersecurity with the sony attacks that took place, with the twitter account that was hacked by islamists jihadist sympathizers yesterday, it just goes to show how much more work we need to do both public and private sector to strengthen our cybersecurity, to make sure that families' bank accounts are safe, to make sure our public infrastructure is safe. i talked to both the speaker as well as mitch mcconnell about this and i think we agree this is an area where we can work hard together get some legislation done, and make sure that we are much more effective in protecting the american people from these kinds of cyberattacks.
i think there will be opportunities for us to work together on trade, i think there will be opportunities for us to work together on simplifying the tax system and making sure everybody is paying their fair share. there will be opportunities for us to streamline government. it is more responsive. and on each of these issues i'm going to be listening to everybody around this table and i'm hopeful that with the spirit of cooperation and putting america first we can be in a position where at the end of the year we can look back and say we're that much better off than when we started the year. i want to thank everybody for being here. and i'm very much looking forward to not just this discussion, but real collaboration over the course of the next several months. all right? thank you very much. thank you, everybody. thank you.
president obama earlier today before that meeting with congressional leaders. this afternoon, the president will speak at the national cybersecurity and communications integration center in arlington, virginia. and once again, live at the conservative policy summit here in washington, d.c. up next, a discussion on digital security and trade. the main speaker congressman matt salmon of arizona. this is just getting started. >> -- the heritage foundation looks very fondly on. during this service, matt was named watchdog of the treasury for six consecutive years he earned taxpayer hero award from citizens against government waste. and he's remained a faithful -- he's remained faithful to a self-imposed term limit pledge
and retire his seat and now he's back. and what is really great about having congressman salmon back is he's kind of able to take a lot of these young guys and teach them how to organize and teach them how to be conservatives in congress and teach them what they need to be to be an effective legislator. we need a lot of that perspective right now because i think as conservatives we have an opportunity we have an opportunity in 2015 to pass the kinds of pieces of legislation that will influence the conversation in 2016. and that will result in a mandate in 2017. so that's what we're working towards right now. so, one of those pieces of legislation is one of the -- is what congressman salmon will talk about this morning or this afternoon. this bill would ensure that the american people would have the ability to communicate with one another electronically without the government listening in. it is a very basic but important idea.
it is in our communications with one another, loved ones, family friends, colleagues, that we share our ideas and passions, and in so doing form those associations inside that make up civil society. government big enough to put a chill on these kinds of communications by listening in is a very dangerous thing to the health of the nation. so we're going to talk about this morning is how this legislation would -- would relate to that. please join me in welcoming matt sam tonight podium. >> you know, the fourth amendment to the constitution is such an important issue that my republican counterparts or my republican supporters in arizona just had their organizing meeting, the maricopa county republican party maricopa is the largest county in arizona where phoenix is and one of the
bylaws they adopted when we organized was actually that members who are elected to congress and state legislatures across the country are to be reminded how important the fourth amendment to the constitution is. and i'm one of these guys that is very very mistrusting of government. always have been. believing that government always looking for an opportunity to further its interests at the exclusion or harm of the regular people. and then i'm thinking about how sometimes law enforcement, you know, there is a quote on my office wall that my wife sentenceled stenciled for me. it is a quote that says -- benjamin franklin those who are willing to trade their freedom for security will probably lose both and deserve neither. that is -- that's on my wall in my office and i look at it every day when i wake up. but as i was driving over here, with my staff, i'm thinking, you
know, how our law enforcement people are so gung ho to do their job and everything, and when we're driving here there is this young man standing up on a wall right by the western side of the capital with his pants and his underwear down mooning the world and this girl was taking his picture and the d.c. police are -- the capital police are about 25 feet away. and they weren't doing anything about it. i'm, like, wow maybe i ought to change my speech. this was quite an eyeful, i'll tell you. and i was mixed emotions about whether i should take a picture or not for posterity, not for positive tearierer posterior, for posterity. i did not take a picture. last year i introduced the a bill on the heels of the irs establishing a policy regarding the 180 day rule that if an e-mail had been out there for 180 days that they didn't need a warrant, that they could go in and inspect these kinds of
e-mails without having to go through the judicial process. and so anyway my bill takes the necessary steps to make sure that that 180 day rule is sent off into the oblivion. that it illuminates the 180 day rule, strikes that rule and requires a warrant to access any and all electronic communication held within an electronic storage. it also requires a search warrant, requires a government to provide the customer with a copy of the warrant within ten days if they are a law enforcement agency, and three days if it is another government agency such as our beloved friends at the irs. it requires disclosure of all customer records and it outlines the details of how and what information they have had to go in and secure so that we have some transparency and we know exactly what they're using that information for and that it is for the purposes that they say
they're using it for. and then finally, it requires the gao government accounting office to issue a report that includes an analysis and evaluation of all of the customer communication and records that they have warranted -- gotten through warrant so that we know that they're doing exactly what they say they're going to do. i know that with what happened recently with sony and the hacking of their system and some of the cyberwarfare that has gone on by russia, now north korea, and others, that a lot of the big government types try to use this as, you know as an excuse to come in and usurp more and more and more authority. and while i do want security just as much as the next person, i want to make sure that we do it within the confines of our constitution. whether it is dealing with sispa, whether it is dealing
with the patriot act, which, by the way, i was one of the people that worked with justin and others to try to get the patriot act redrafted. interestingly enough, last year, we were able to get a rewrite of the patriot act that i think satisfied our needs and it came out of judiciary unanimously and then what happened is the leadership changed it around to something none of us could vote for. after it already came out of the judiciary committee unanimously, and guys like, you know rhonda santa, myself justin supported it, they changed it to be something we couldn't support. and so you know, with all of the calamity and the terrible things that happened across our world, there is a rush to go in and i think do things the wrong way. i think that we can have our cake and eat it too. that's what our founding fathers envisioned, a free society and after all, if we give away our freedom to protect our freedom what is it worth? we have got -- i think we have to fight the fight and do
everything we can with vigilance. we all want for the bad guys to be apprehended but by the same token, we're not willing to trade away our freedom for a secure or false security. so i really appreciate the opportunity to be here today. i was hoping to be part of the panel, but i don't know if they did this on purpose, me being the conspiracy theorist i am. but we have votes in a couple of minutes. i have to get back to the hill. hopefully that young man has his pants up by the time i go back. anyway, thank you very much. it is a thrill to be here. >> thank you congressman. you all will notice that our schedule this afternoon may be a little bit moved around because there are lots of votes this afternoon, suddenly popping up. i would right now what we do is i would like to invite walter lowman up here he's going to moderate a panel and we'll broaden it beyond just this topic.
and but i would invite walter up here and the fellow panelists and walter, you can lead the panel. thank you. >> all right, good afternoon. hope you'll forgive me for being as efficient as possible with this panel. we don't have a lot of time. i'm not going to waste much time with overarching thoughts and long introductions of our panelists. what we wanted to do is just get right to several issues that are major priorities of the heritage foundation. one in the trade field claude barfield will speak about tpa and tpp and any other trade issue he wants to hit on. heritage has long been strong supporter of free trade and free trade agreements.
rupert hammond-chambers is here. he'll talk about taiwan, another major interest of heritage over 30 years since the founding of our asian studies center. rupert is president of the u.s./taiwan business council. claude is resident scholar at aei, a frequent partner of ours. and collaborator. and then david inserra who is also with heritage he's a research associate for homeland security and cybersecurity issues, he's going to talk about visa waver, but also is available to answer any questions you might have about our positions on the issues that representative salmon just discussed. so with that, let me turn it over to claude to get us started. each panelist will speak about five, seven minutes and then get to some q&a discussion. >> i'll stop you midsentence. thank you, walter. thank the heritage for inviting me back to the heritage
foundation. seven minutes and i want to just talk about the trade agenda this year. two points you'll -- you'll remember before i get into a little bit of leads. hopefully not too many. one thing to note is that 2015 could very well be a banner year for trade. in terms of trade agreements and trade policy in the united states. there is the transpacific partnership coming to agreement with 11 other nations in the pacific. which is close to the end and we'll know one way or the other in the next months couple of months. there is the agreement which is much less farther along with europe. and then in the wto, the world trade organization there are two sector agreements, one on information technology and one on services which i have a fair chance of coming to fruition i think, sometime during 2015. you will forget that even though the doe high round has crashed
the wto is quietly moving around in other areas. so that there say lot on the plate. i should say i don't think with the u.s./european there is any chance at all that it will be finished this year. and we can talk more about that. but i think it will move along. it is a large agenda. largest agenda since the early 1990s when we had the nafta agreement and followed by a big agreement in the world that created the world trade organization with the uruguay round. so that really was -- is on the plate. the second thing that i should note turning to the politics of trade and this would cause some -- causes me heartburn a little bit and certainly causes in this audience, it is not a bad thing, actually in terms of trade policy whatever we think about president obama and the democratic administration, it is not a bad thing to have a democratic president who is in favor of trade agreements whatever his checkered background on trade policy, but
now fully committed to tpp and to the u.s./european and the wto rounds. that on the one hand with a republican congress on the other. the difference being that if you look back to the bush years, the democrats were so adamantly opposed to anything that the president did, and there was something about bush himself maybe and other questions of foreign policy that would have been true with any i think republican president. there is a chance, i think that obama will pull in a small segment of his party because he is the president and he is in favor of this. we'll come back to in in questions. now, the thing i forgot to mention that has got to trigger all of this is the -- sorry, the congressman had to leave, would have been interesting to see what he had to say about this the congress now has to give the president so-called trade promotion authority to kick things off. and i'm not going to go into detail about this. a grant of authority going back to the nixon administration
which came about because our trading partners said look, we need some assurance if we put our bottom line on the trade agreement, that you will -- the congress will agree to it. whatever the president says agrees to it or something timely. congress had not agreed to several things the kennedy administration had put forward and in other cases, they had just doddled and done nothing. what the congress did and continued through time is pass a -- i'm come back to what this is, it is not a regular piece of legislation, passed new rules that the congress told the president that will we -- we will give you instructions and we want you to follow them. if you do follow them, we'll promise you a vote within 90 days of the time this comes up to us up or down, without amendment. that has been true since then. i know just in passing that some conservatives and i think -- i was telling walter, i think
there is conservative groups meeting today worried about the grant of authority to the president. i'm not going to go into detail. for those worried, consider yourselves quite conservative, this has come up before. and i remember in 2002, ancient as a , goi am going to robert bork to write pieces about why this -- as far as they were concerned was not too great a grant of authority to the president. i'll leave it at that. the only other thing i want to talk about for a few minutes -- a couple of minutes is the tpp. the transpacific partnership. as i said, it is in the final stages, one way or the other of negotiations. serious negotiations began in 2010. since then we had 23 24, i lost count, actually of actual negotiating rounds if you will. 11 nations besides the united states. the tpp has been called a -- the first -- 21st century agreement.
what people mean by that is that for the first time much of the trade negotiation is not the things that happened on the boarder, tariffs or taxes, things of that nature, but actually barriers to trade and investment that are inside a nation's border. the kinds of things that stop -- that stop a lawyer in the united states from working in japan or construction projects because of different rules and regulations. and the aim is not to totally mesh them together, but to have some sort of mutual recognition and lower actual barriers and discrimination. it is covering such things as the rules for state owned enterprises. public monopolies health and safety regulations international property services regulation. i mentioned i think construction lawyers, telecommunications, banking, finance, that kind of thing. so that is the key to it. but there this is another side and this gets me to the other point i want to make about how
negotiations run out. you have a lot of 20th century issues with the united states pushing with australia and japan and others. but also some very important what we would call 20th century issues that the united states is going to step up -- have to step up if this comes to conclusion. such things as textiles and clothing and shoes and sugar. old issues. and what a number of the countries, smaller countries in asia the vietnams, peru and chile are saying, okay we may be willing in the end to go with what you're pushing us internally, but we need you to compromise on the issues that have been around that you've been refused to -- you refused to compromise before. so it is that -- without getting into more detail now, it is that -- that juxtaposition that really which is really the core of the negotiations. i think that there is a good chance that the congress will pass tpa.
they're working now on a bipartisan bill, actually, put together last year, when senator bachus was chairman of the finance committee before he went to china. i think there is -- there are discussions going on that seem to be fruitful between the senate republicans and senate republicans and senator widen who was the -- would have been the incoming chairman had the democrats won. from when we see, widen is only interested in transparency enforcement issues and may be able to make compromises. one final thing in terms of the politics here, democrats versus the republicans, and i should say in passing, what the republicans would hope to get would be they need democratic votes to get maybe a fifth or a third of the senate democrats or maybe more if you look at history and then to get maybe 20% of house democrats. that is -- house democrats are much more, if not protectionist, at least skeptical of trade agreements than senate
democrats. so there is -- the hope you will get that. i think the one thing that the republicans are going to have to swallow and hatch is key here because he detests this legislation is some kind of trade adjustment assistance, assistance to workers who allegedly have been put out of work by trade agreements. this is a terrible program. it doesn't really help anybody. and hatch has known this. i think he signaled that well, in order to get the tpp, i may swallow that. one final point, the tpp is more than a trade agreement. this could be true with any trade agreement. true with europe too. the tpp has become the symbol of the u.s. pivot to asia. as scholars here at heritage and scholars at the aei pointed out, the military part of this is -- the security part of this is woefully lacking. we cannot live up to the commitments as what is on the
table right now. the tpp has more than even when it was started become the symbol of u.s. leadership in asia and if it goes down it will be -- repercussions far beyond economics but into our military security and diplomatic relations with asia and the chinese are standing in the wings with an alternative regional agreement, which is an intraasian agreement that does not include the united states. >> thank you. let me just make one very quick point. our position here at heritage we're waiting to see what is in the tpa before we say very much about it. and similar goes for tpp. very supportive of the concept and have said so multiple times. we actually want to see what is this it before we pass judgment on it. but trade adjustment assistance, if it is in the tpa, actually in the bill i think it will be a
huge problem for us and for many other -- >> a separate bill. >> that's where i think most people assume it is going to come out not where they're starting. hopefully folks on the hill will hear that message as they have before. and not force proponents to vote against such a -- such a terrible agreement. rupert? >> thank you. started my stop watch so i don't get on walter's bad side. my name is rupert hammond-chambers, as you can hear i'm from south carolina. >> that's southern. >> right. scottish by birth, american by choice. i'm the privilege of talking a wee bit about taiwan policy, but i'll start with china policy. not for a moment because i believe that taiwan policy is a subset of china policy. nor should it ever be.
in fact, we get into significant issues quite frankly in our relations with taiwan and more broadly our interests in the asia pacific region when we make taiwan policy a subset of china policy. but i would like to make a couple of observations about the state of china policy at the moment. a great deal of high level engagement takes place with the chinese and we have very little to show for it. when we do have headlines and scratch the surface a wee bit, typically you find they lack substance. problems fester with little end in sight. and i happen to believe that our relationship with the chinese is adrift. there is no response to china's increasing assertiveness in the region. china is thus able to salami slice their way through changes facts on the ground whether they be disputes over islands, eezs or other areas of disagreement.
on regional and global security issues, where we would look for the chinese to cooperate with us, where we would have shared interests, we find that chinese invisible. in fact, we often find them supporting those end takes like the dprk, the russians and ukraine, iran, isis. we find the chinese to put it charitiably unhelpful. we have very little response to the clamp down on the human freedoms in china. that's out of my running lane but worth observing this notion. as we look at china policy now, it is adrift. i personally am pushed to point to that personal persons within the administration who are in charge at the moment of china policy. one of the united states most important relationships, i'm not saying -- i'll not going to add to get right. i think that's -- that's not the
right expectation to create. but nevertheless, little creativity and on the other side of it i worry greatly about insufficient efforts with friends and allies to leverage opportunities on the back of chinese intimidation and chinese policy. and that leads me in to taiwan for a second. just want to talk a wee bit about taiwan sales, most contentious, high level issue, stuff you might see on the front page of the journal or the post. and then a wee bit, i'll pull on the thread that the claude very kindly teed up, which is tpp. taiwan arms sales is an essential component of america's security strategy in the region. and was embedded in the taiwan relations act which was passed in 1979. and calls upon the united states to assist and support taiwan in its legitimate defense needs. and i think mostly we have done a pretty good job. but things have got dodgy quite
frankly as chinese power and assertiveness has cast a longer shadow. and as i noted up front we have managed to paint ourselves in a corner from time to time where we seem to bend over backwards to acquiesce to chinese positions on issues as opposed to representing the interests of our country unabashedly. at the moment, we are looking at a period in which taiwan arm sales have been on hold. i like the word frozen. i know it is more contentious but nevertheless, it has been over three years since we had an arms sale. and while the administration is presently working on a package for release at the end of this year it will include updated secondhand equipment replacement munitions is the term that is used for munitions that taiwan already has significant items like taiwan submarines -- taiwan's requirement for new submarines and taiwan's requirement for replacement fighters for its
aging f-5s and french mirages remain unaddressed. we have thankfully got some important support in congress for these programs. and i like to refer to taiwan arm sales as bare knuckle boxing. not because i've ever done any literally, but in respect to participating in it here in d.c., it really is a blood sport. and i would point to 2011 and senator cornyn's pressure on the obama administration at that juncture and his negotiation with then secretary of state mrs. clinton on what ultimately turned out to be the september 2011 f-16 upgrade program. that, to me frankly is the way that more contentious issues are addressed with taiwan arm sales at this! at this juncture. but we continue to argue that congress plays an essential role indeed a role embedded in
u.s. law to promote the security relationship between the u.s. and taiwan and most importantly politically and materially to advocate on behalf of arm sales to taiwan. just one minute on tpp. as claude, i absolutely associate myself with claude's comments, as i always try and do. claude makes the point -- >> dangerous. >> dangerous i know. claude makes the point about the centrality of the transpacific partnership and u.s. interests in asia. for asian countries, and those -- we deal with asian countries on a daily basis, trade is at the center of their interests. they think about trade when they think about engaging the united states. and that is at the center more broadly of security. that can be broadened out and include defense issues, capacity building, other things but trade is at the core. the transpacific partnership is at the core of expectation with our regional allies at this
time. and as claude absolutely nailed it if we don't pass it it is going to have a significant strategic impact beyond any economic and any economic interest on the interests of our country and the region we have to get this over the line. when it comes to the more parochial issue, we have to get taiwan part of that. taiwan outside of the transpacific partnership is economically marginalized. those in it if it is in it it has an opportunity to participate on a level playing field, grow its economy engage its trading partners as i said on a level playing field. outside, it is a strategic threat to taiwan's economic well-being. a taiwan increasingly in china's economic orbit and increasingly marginalized from ours is destabilizing and that's a threat to peace and security in the taiwan strait and in asia. i'll leave it there. thank you. >> great, thank you. rupert
rupert, we had rupert to talk about taiwan but i should point out getting korea eventually into the tpp is another priority at least of ours and outside of your world in some respect. >> thank you walter. so to put a twist on the trade theme we have got going on today, i'll be discussing the visa waver program what the benefits and the concerns for the program are and i'll conclude with the next steps forward. first, what is the visa waver program? the vwp allows members of other can countries to visit the u.s. without a visa for 90 days for business or pleasure. they must meet several criteria. first, a country has to have a nonimmigrant visa refusal rate of no more than 3%. what that means is the percentage of applicants who are -- applications rejected from a given country can't exceed 3%. second, a country must issue its residents with secure machine readable biometric passports. thirdly, the country must also
present no discernible security threat to u.s. law enforcement or national security. currently 38 countries are participating in vwp with chile being the most recent addition to the program. these nations have also agreed to various stipulations and obligations to join the visa waver program. they must share intelligence with the u.s. on known or suspected terrorists exchange biographic biometric and criminal data with the united states share information on lost and stolen passports, provide u.s. citizens with the reciprocal ability to travel to that country without a visa. these features all greatly enhance security by providing u.s. law enforcement and security agencies with more information and intelligence with which to look for potential threats. the visa waver program also helps the state department focus its limited consular and visa resources on countries and0 individuals about which less is
known and who could be greater security threats to the united states. furthermore, the visa waver program is not without security and screening procedures of its own. every traveler to the united states from a vwp country must be prescreened through the electronic system for travel, authorization or esta which checks various databases for information about the person's eligibility to travel to the united states, and whether he or she is a known security risk. at any point during the ticketing or travel process a u.s. official can prevent an individual from entering the us if they're deem to be a security risk or ineligible to the enter the united states. in terms of benefits, more information sharing, better airport security abroad and being able to better focus our finite consular resources. these improve u.s. security. second, vwp has huge economic benefits. vwp makes trade and tourism easier. visitors to the united states increase by 36% between 2002 and
2013. 40% of all visitors during that time came through the visa waver program. it is a huge program for trade and travel. lastly, the visa waver program is also important to a foreign policy and public diplomacy, allowing individuals to visit the united states so that they can improve their understanding of our country and our culture. this can only benefit the united states. it is also a huge boon in our public relations with other foreign and friendly governments. there are concerns with vwp and specifically concerns center around european passport holders joining isis, the foreign fighter problem and the fear that these fighters will abuse the visa waver program to come to the united states and attack us here. making the issue worse there was a 2012 gao study that found that many of the countries that were a part of the program were not sharing information as they were required to do. at the time, heritage wrote that it was time to hold these can countries accountable if they weren't sharing information.
since then however information sharing has dramatically improved. the congressional research service issued a report in the beginning of 2014 which found that nearly all countries were sharing nearly all the information as they were required to do. more recent conversations i had with officials indicated that all nations are now sharing information. some nations are working on automated certain aspects of that sharing. so vwp is promoting security through these information sharing arrangements by canceling suspending or crippling the program, the u.s. would likely have less information available to it with which to make visa decision and watch out for potential threats. so what should the u.s. do going forward? first of all, the u.s. should always be looking for ways to enhance information sharing arrangements and prove the type of information we get from esta applications and expand our ability to screen individuals and connect the intelligence dots. these types of improvements don't have to -- can be made
within the existing vwp framework. doesn't require we cripple or cancel a program. indeed, dhs just made some changes a couple of months ago when it expanded the type of information that it now requests on esta forms it can better cross check the data against known information. second, the united states should also be looking to judiciously expand the visa waver program. the more friends and allies that are contributing information on potential terrorist threats, the better able we are to prevent the individuals from ever entering the united states. the visa waver program would also allow us to better focus our finite consular resources. the way to make this expansion happen would be to replace the visa refusal rate which i mentioned earlier, with the visa overstay rate or use some combination there of. it is the amount of people from a given country that overstay their visa a more accurate metric and we should be using that instead. it is worth mentioning that the visa waver program and its reform and expansion have gotten
caught up on the contentious immigration debate. there is no reason to hold visa waver program reform and expansion hostage to more contentious elements of immigration reform. congress should consider vwp on its own merits, not on the merits of amnesty. with its many benefits, the visa waver program is more valuable than ever. the threat of isis is real and the u.s. should be using all the intelligence tools at its disposal to stop den to stopand find the terrorists. we should look into improving and expanding the program. thank you, all. >> great, thank you. thank you. thanks. we actually ended with four minutes for questions. so any questions? one thing i wanted to ask rupert, maybe just to put a finer point on his points about
taiwan arm sales specifically what can we do to press the administration on making the sale? what can congress do? it is such an executive prerogative to whether or not to do these things. and if they're not so inclined it is hard to know where to go. what can we do to force this? >> thank you for the question. what worked in the past again, blunt force trauma, holding the consideration of congressional holds and key defense or state department officials who have oversight of taiwan policy, we have opportunities within hearings you know in the early part of next month there is an opportunity for the committee to question him in detail on the present state of the obama administration's arms sales
policy toward taiwan. the consideration of key hearings is another area in which congress can can play an important role. and just finally also, i happen to be one of the more worrying trends at the moment is the u.s./china relationship. it fits my point about process over result, right? that we're vested in an open ended process but to what end? we see that time and time again. iran is probably another example of that. is another example of that. but the ex-change that the administration seems to have made is we're in the going to do arms sales, so we support an ally and friend in the region with material, defense systems and weapons that it needs this in essence pitch up these headlines and this open ended process. and so anyway, my point here is
there say possibility that congress can link ongoing funding in legislations such as the ndaa for mill to mill programs to a commitment from the secretary of defense to congress that asserts that the above armed sales steps have been taken and congress can be specific. f-16s for taiwan. submarines for taiwan. x program y program, inclusion in win pack, these sorts of things. >> okay. i'm going to use every second that we have here. so i wanted to ask claude something. i think the only -- the only place where there is any sort of daylight between us on trade and tpp and tpa is i think we care about all the same issues in the negotiations, et cetera. i think you're maybe slightly more confident those issues are on the right track to getting resolved the right way. none of us really have much access to what is going on in the negotiations. i'm hopeful that they're headed the right way, but sort of
remains skeptical and wait until we see the agreement. what do you think the two or three big issues are in either of the tpa or the tpp that will need to be resolved in a satisfactory way in order to move forward on the agreement? >> with tpa i think this is not going to happen, both the administration and republicans have been very responsible about one of the key things in -- is unfortunately some of the free trade community has gotten involved in this, is whether or not the -- you put in tpa very draconian measures about currency. that you have to intervene. that will blow the negotiations up. at this -- this late date, and secondly, not going to tail here, but economists are all over the map on what you would use as criteria. that's one thing. i think one of the things on tpa that is -- and tpp that is talked about, i don't think it is going to be an issue or if it were an issue, it would -- that is the provisions on labor and
the environment. what you can do on labor and the environment. my -- everything i have heard is that we may not be entirely happy with the agreement made between the bush administration and the democrats in congress in 2007 so-called may 10th agreement, but that's the language. republicans have accepted that language, say at the time i opposed it. but they have accepted it and i think if they go beyond it that would really screw things up. on the tpp, people ask me that question, it is very hard to answer that question. i don't think there is one issue or set of issues, you know, state owned enterprises or, you know, health and safety or intellectual property which is a really -- which is a -- draws a lot of lightning, i think the key is the package. the package for the united states the package for japan, the package for vietnam but you got to be able every country has
got to be -- to have at least a chance to go back and say to its constituents and whether they're -- they don't -- they're not democratic constituents, small d in vietnam, or really democratic voters in australia and new zealand and the united states. you've got to be able to say look, we think we really got a lot out of this. we think on balance to the congress and to the american people, this is really a good deal economically for the united states. in order to get that we had to give up the following things. but we're prepared to defend the totality of the agreement on the basis of the compromises we made. the obama administration is no different from the bush administration or early in the clinton administration or the first bush administration. every administration has got to make those calculations, which right now the tppp, they are in the final stages of making. what can we get here and what can you sell back there. >> great. thank you. we're going to leave it there and invite tim back up to take the program to the next step.
while we wait, this is from today's "washington journal." >> chief deputy whip talking about the democratic agenda for the 114th congress. let's talk about house action this week. on the floor is going to be that spending bill for the homeland security department. what do you make of what the republicans are trying to do here? how many democrats do you think will vote for it, against it? >> none. i mean, first of all, the homeland security bill is really not about homeland security. it's really a continuation of the attack against any effort that the president is making on immigration reform. and what the republicans have done on this is dodged dealing with immigration reform. because the bill is all about unraveling every executive action the president took. leaving, really pushing us back
from where we are on the immigration issue. and sending a bill they know won't pass to the senate. and it won't pass because a lot of the senate republicans know that we have to pass an immigration reform bill. so what they've done is put together a bill that has no chance of passing with the republican-controlled senate. never getting a signature from the president. so the date of the confrontation they're going to have is postponed and the confrontation with senate republicans. >> our previous guest congressman bill flores was saying, he was predicting that there will be some house democrats that vote for this piece of legislation. you help count the votes. you're saying none. >> i, you know there may be a few, but it won't be much. but what i'm -- here's what i'm saying is this is a strategy that's about the republicans in the house essentially appeasing the most ardent anti-immigration folks within their conference. so they know this bill won't get through the senate.
it'll get through the house. i don't know whether it'll be a few democrats who do vote for it or not. but it's not about funding. because this is funding in name. but it literally unravels everything the president did. and keep in mind that the senate passed a strong bipartisan immigration reform bill. there's a lot of contentious issues in what we should do on immigration. but we've got to do something. and the president took actions because the house last year failed to take any action whatsoever. so the bottom line, i find this a bad step because it's not the house republicans who we need to work with coming together on something that moves us forward. >> how will house democrats respond? how will you counter on the floor? >> well, we're saying that we have to get something done. we're ready to work with the senate bipartisan bill that legislation was pretty good. it was passed, you know, as people like john mccain playing a leading role. and they just get it we've got to do something on this that's
going to make a difference for america. >> in addition to your role as chief deputy -- we also serve on the oversight and government reform committee. >> tom cotton has been a strong conservative since his arrival in the house last congress. he's been an outspoken advocate for conservative policy proposals at home, while claiming ground is an articulate hawk on security challenges abroad. his skepticism of the president's posture toward iran his strong support for america's relationship with israel and his leadership on renewing america's strength and leadership overseas have identified him as an emergeing leader in a movement. more importantly his personal experience as a combat infantry officer with completed combat tours in iraq and afghanistan have informed him on very real and personal level the nature of our enemies overseas. i think one thing i actually think is pretty important to note here we're very excited. we're very excited when we found out that he was coming to the senate.
as you may have read some clips about his race. and one of the things i kept seeing recurring in some of these clips was some grumbling. some grumbling. there's one quote from a gop consultant who complained his voting record looked like a heritage action score card. and they were grumbling about it because they felt like he was putting himself in unnecessary political peril and made it harder for them to win a seat. but what has been so wonderful to see has been how senator cotton was able to go home to his constituents and articulate why he voted against $1 trillion farm bill in an ag-heavy state. and how his constituents who care about ag embraced him and saw through a lot of the smoke screens that his opponent wanted to put up. he took a lot of hard votes. but he proved that when you take hard votes in washington, the
american people are more than willing to listen to you when you go home and articulate why you stood on principle. and then they'll rally to your side. for that reason, we're pretty pumped to have him around because he proves the point we've all been trying to make. and then last but not least, he's also a heritage intern, former heritage intern. so one of our most distinguished interns, i would say the most distinguished intern. so congratulations. please join me in welcoming senator cotton. appreciate it. >> thank you. and thank you all for the kind welcome. thank you for the generous introduction. i appreciate the opportunity to be with you today to discuss a grave and continuing threat to america's national security. iran's quest to become a nuclear power. a new congress and a new majority was just sworn in. for many that are heady and new times. but america's national security
interests don't change with new congresses or new majorities. it is the duty of leaders in both parties to protect these interests always. for this reason, congress will soon step up in one form or another and pass new iran sanctions legislation. but we must not forget that legislation is not an end in itself. sanctions are merely a means to stop iran from becoming or obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities. it's not enough to stop iran from getting the bomb. they must never be allowed to possess nuclear weapons capabilities of any kind. to understand why, we must remember who iran is. what's at stake with respect to our policy towards iran and why president obama's policy has failed to protect our interests.
first, let's make no mistake about the nature of the regime we're dealing with. iran is a radical islamist tyrannical regime. upon coming to power among the first actions was to invade sovereign american territory. our embassy in tehran and to hold americans hostage for over a year. an act of war for which it has never fully answered. the iranian constitution states that iran's army and the revolutionary guard core quote will be responsible for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad and god's way. that is extending the sovereignty of god's law throughout the world. end quote. perhaps more than our own leadership, the ayatollahs have kept faith with their constitution. iran has been killing americans for over 35 years. in 1983 iran helped finance and direct the bombings of the u.s. embassy and marine barracks in beirut, killing hundreds of military, diplomatic and intelligence personnel.
in violation of all civilized norms, iran which resulted in the death of a navy diver. iran has been implicated in the 1996 tower bombings, which killed 19 americans stationed in saudi arabia at the time. more recently, and more personally for me, iran is responsible for the killing and maiming of thousands of american troops in iraq and in afghan afghanistan afghanistan. during my tour in baghdad, iran supplied the most advanced and most lethal roadside bombs being used against coalition forces. my soldiers and i knew that iranian supplied bombs were the one thing that our armored vehicles couldn't withstand. all we could do was hope it wasn't our day to hit one. my platoon was lucky, but too many others were not. and to this day, president obama's negotiating partner
continues to collaborate in afghanistan to kill american forces. of course, iran conducts many of these operations against america and our allies through terrorist proxies as iran remains the worst state sponsor of terrorism in the world. according to president obama's own state department. iran is a lead financier and arm supplier to hamas, hezbollah and palestinian islamic jihad. terrorist organization dedicated to destroying israel. iran has supported opposition islamists in yemen, and iran has thousands of fighters on the ground today to prop up bashar al assad's regime in syria. iran likes to boast it's joined the fight against the islamic state, it's done so only to protect assad and threatened to attack u.s. forces currently fighting in iraq if they were to target the assad regime. iran also holds hostage to this day with impunity multiple
american citizens. robert levison has been held hostage nearly eight years the longest hostage in american history. the pastor who created the grave sin in the eyes of the ayatollahs of converting from islam to christianity today suffers in a notorious iranian prison for preaching the gospel of jesus. a decorated american marine and veteran of iraq was arrested in iran while visiting his family there. and jason resion was detained months ago for the apparent crime of committing journalism. speaking of the press much of the civilized world watched in horror last week as islamist terrorists murdered journalists at "charlie hebdo." let's not forget that iran made it fashionable to target for death in the name of islam the
practitioners of a free press and free speech. when they published in 1988, it was iran's supreme leader who issued a law calling for the killing of him and his publishers. think about that for a moment. head of state put a bounty for murder on the head of a celebrated and prominent author. the loyal successor and current leader has reiterated this bounty. that this outlaw regime is now a negotiating partner of the united states. this catalog of iran's crimes against the united states and the civilized world, and that was only a sampling demands a policy of strength and courage towards iran. but president obama's policy has been marked by weakness and appeasement. of course then senator obama foreshadowed this policy in the 2008 campaign. saying that he would meet
without precondition. here are his words. we're willing to talk about certain assurances in the context of them showing some good faith. i think it's important for us to send a signal that we are not hell bent on regime change just for the sake of regime change. but expect changes in behavior. and there are both carrots and sticks available to them for those changes in behavior. regrettably, president obama quickly followed through on his promise not to pursue regime change in 2009. just months into his presidency the iranian people rose up in protest against rigged elections in what became known as the grain resolution. president obama should've met publicly with iranian dissidents. and along with regional alies assisted the pro-freedom elements in the opposition movement. instead, he stood idly by as regime thugs rounded up and tortured many freedom-loving iranians. president obama thus lost his
first best chance to stop the ayatollah's nuclear aggression. this failure started an all carrot and no stick policy toward iran. president obama was dragged kicking and screaming by congress toward tighter sanctions against iran. like a love struck teenager he has sent four secret letters to ayatollah unreturned. president obama sought a meeting with iran's second rate leader. president rohani during the united nations' general assembly. and rouhani stiffed him. and then accepted a phone call with rouhani. the first contact between our countries' presidents in 35 years. for which the u.s. received nothing in return. the so-called joint plan of
action with iran was signed in geneva just over a year ago. matters have gotten worse since then. they now been extended twice giving more concessions with little show in return. despite secretary of state john kerry saying september of 2013 that a deal could be reached in 3 to 6 months. now, secretary kerry sings a different tune. backtracked saying recently, quote, this takes time the stakes are high, the issues are complicated and technical, and each decision affects other decisions. meanwhile, u.s. negotiators have surrendered repeatedly to iran's demands con seeding a right to enrich uranium, allowing iran to keep the plutonium producing reactor. permitting research and
development. excludeing the military dimensions of iran's nuclear program and its ballistic missile program from the scope of the negotiations. in return for all of these concessions to iran, the u.s. has given and will give billions of dollars in sanctions relief. what's wrong with this picture of negotiations? ? the u.s. won't impose new sanctions on iran and will allow it to develop threshold and nuclear capabilities. while iran won't assemble a bomb until 2017. but the world cannot accept iran as a nuclear threshold state. and the consequences of a nuclear iran are clear. first, we should put nothing past this rogue state. including a direct strike on the
little satan azisrael, or the great satan, united states. of course, sunni arab states like saudi arabia egypt and the uae likely will not countenance such a radical imbalance of power with their shia persian rival. they would likely seek weapons of their own and have the means to acquire them. once that happens, becomes all the more likely. not to mention the risk of radical islamist revolution in an unstable nuclear region. the consequences, quite literally are apocalyptic. future generations may therefore view what happened in geneva as we have viewed eded munich for the last 74 years. what made this moment worse though, the west appeased hitler
at munich out of fear and weakness. president obama capitulated at geneva even though the united states was in a position of strength. one can only imagine the thinking behind this grievous, historic mistake. we thus need a shift in policy toward iran. to a clear-eyed and hard-nosed policy of strength based on america's interest and the threat posed by iran. first, the goal of our policy must be clear. regime change in iran. we cannot and will not be safe as long as islamist despots rule in iran. it should be to support regime opponents and promote a constitutional government at peace with the united states, israel and the world. this is so because of the nature of iran's regime is what makes its pursuit of nuclear weapons capability so dangerous in the first place. few people worry that france is
a nuclear state. or that japan is a nuclear threshold state. why? because france and japan are peaceful constitutional regimes who pose little threat to their neighbors and the broader world. iran's regime poses a threat not primarily because of its actions but because of its nature and the first principles on which it acts. second the united states should cease all appeasement, conciliation and concessions towards iran starting with the sham nuclear negotiations. certain voices call for congressional restraint urging congress not to act now lest iran walk away from the negotiating table undermining the fabled yet always absent moderates in iran. but, the end of these negotiations isn't an unintended consequence of congressional action. it is very much an intended consequence, a feature, not a bug, so to speak.
third, congressional action should start with crippling new sanctions against iran these sanctions should be immediate. they should not be contingent on further negotiations with iran. on the contrary, iran is achieving through slow motion all that it might want in a final deal exporting the obama administration's desperation to keep the negotiations alive and for a deal. any deal. it's time for the responsible adults in both parties of congress to stop this farce. risking our national security to secure a presidential legacy is an unacceptable compromise. the particulars of new sanctions can be seen in the bipartisan nuclear iran prevention act which passed the house in 2013 with 400 votes. that legislation targeted whole sectors of iran's economy, particularly it's oil and gas and banking sectors. like wise senators kirk and menendez are working on
legislation that will crack down on the oil industry which continues to violate limits on the volume of oil sold. the proposals would also require president obama to certify that iran doesn't finance terrorist groups that have attacked americans. and would prevent iran from maintaining low level nuclear enrichment capabilities. all these terms are much stricter than the current proposed framework of negotiations with iran. fourth we should stop minimizing the possibility of military action against iran. the credible threat of force only strengthens our other tools of national power, diplomatic, economic, financial. no one should ever take lightly the prospect of military action. i certainly do not. only those who have not tasted war's bitter cup would wish another sip. but, the surest way to preserve the peace and to prevent war is to be prepared for war.
and we must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to stop iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities. president obama should make it utterly clear that iran is not immune from military strikes and that the united states has the capabilities to severely set back iran's nuclear program because we do. unfortunately, this president's promises of military action have rung hollow since he blinked and refused to enforce his own red line against syria in 2013. thus, it may be up to the congress to restore the credible threat of force against iran. and congress can do that. not only by imposing new sanctions but also by offering to transfer advanced weapons, like surplus b-52 bombers and 30,000 pound bunker busting bombs to israel. perhaps israel already has the capabilities to retard iran's nuclear program. i leave this assessment in the capable hands of the government of israel.
but a congressional offer, whether or not accepted can remove any doubts in the mind of iran's ayatollahs. finally, our policy should make clear there's only one acceptable outcome to the nuclear showdown with iran. complete unconditional nuclear disarmament, verification by u.s. and western officials, along the lines of disarmament by south africa and libya. lesser terms will not fully protect america from the threat posed by a nuclear iran. which raises one final important point. president obama has shown no intent to change his dangerous course. to shift his policy of conciliation and peace through weakness. on the contrary, he started negotiations without congressional input and apparently intends to avoid senate ratification of any final agreement. if he ever reaches one.
this would be of a peace with his amnesty decree, selective enforcement of obamacare and his swap of five taliban commanders detained at guantanamo bay for an american soldier without congressional notification. but any unilateral agreement with iran might be his worst abuse yet of his executive power and our constitutional system of checks and balances. the founders specifically required senate notification of such agreements to protect americans from rash unwise, executive action. perhaps taken more to secure a legacy than to secure america's interests. congress should therefore insist as our new leadership has that we will vote on any final nuclear agreement with iran while our president believes he can go it alone to negotiate this deal. ultimately only congress has the constitutional power to permanently lift sanctions on iran. and if the president believes he can go it alone with iran, the
congress should act to prevent him from doing so. indeed, might even go so far as legislating that any deal found unacceptable would be undone and void at the start of a new administration. in late 1936, churchill made a long speech on the years of british appeasement in the face of german rearmament. churchill observed quote, the error of procrastination of half measures of soothing and baffling expedience of delays is coming to a close. in its place we're entering a period of consequences. so too, with us today. as iran continues its progress towards nuclear weapons capability as its economy rebounds from earlier sanctions, as its regional influence waxes and president obama's tenure wanes, our choices will be clarified and the consequences along with them. let us not join our ancestors in being asked by future
generations why didn't they do something? thank you all. i appreciate your time. i wish i could stay for questions, but i have to go back for hearings on this very matter. appreciate it. >> that was great. thank you very much. okay. i would like to invite our panel up now to have a discussion about this. bruce clinger is our senior research fellow in northeast asia here at the heritage foundation. jim phillips is a senior research fellow from middle eastern affairs here at heritage. and ana is a research associate in latin america here at the heritage foundation. i'll turn it over to bruce to moderate the panel. >> all right. well, thank you very much. we're here to talk about three rogue regimes whose motto might be opportunity for none and favoritism for just a few. and we're to cover three rogue regimes
regimes. iran, cuba and north korea in about 25 minutes. so brace yourselves. we're going to talk quickly. and it'll be sort of like the audience having to run down a buffet line as three chefs pelt you with what we think are the most important things or the best-tasting things. but the good news is you always can come back for more. we'll hang around during the break and you can talk to us or look at the papers that i think have been left out on the table outside. what i want to do is try to debunk quickly a few of the myths about the north korea sanctions. the first is that the u.s. and other nations face a policy choice between sanctions and diplomacy. and, really, both of those along with the other instruments of national power should be used in an integrated, comprehensive manner you don't rely on any one tool. and diplomacy and sanctions are really two sides of the same coin. as frederick the great said diplomacy without arms is like
music without instruments. you need all of them. the second myth is that sanctions can't affect an isolated country like north korea. well, even the most isolated regime or terrorist group or criminal group its money has to cross borders at some point. in suitcases full of cash, which is suspicious and inefficient, or digitally. and because of the centrality of the u.s. dollar to the international financial system, the vast majority some say 95% of all international transactions are done denominated in dollars. and that means they have to go through a u.s. bank which is regulated by the u.s. treasury department. if it's denominated in dollars, it goes through new york. and because of that it allows the u.s. to regulate and oversee any account, including correspondent accounts of oversees entities.
and you can find them. the british bank was fined $2 billion for money laundering, including with iran. a french bank faced fines of $9 billion, and the assets can be seized under the u.s. patriot act. and also even perhaps most importantly, any entity that is found to be a money laundering concern is precluded from engaging in the u.s. financial system. that's like a financial scarlet letter and no one will want to deal with you. a third myth is that north korea is the most heavily sanctioned country in the world. you see that in virtually every media article. it's simply not true. the u.s., eu and u.n. imposed stronger sanctions and targeted financial measures on iran more than north korea. and that's one of the reasons tehran came back to the negotiating table. the u.s. itself has unilaterally has more entities on the sanctions list from the balkans cuba, iran, berma, zimbabwe than north korea entities.
we have three times as many zimbabwe entities as north korean entities. fourth, there's nothing more the u.s. can do on north korea. again, you'll see that often in the media. and, again, that's not true. the u.s. has a number of existing laws and regulations that we've simply not applied as firmly towards north korea as we have to other nations. president obama the former assistant secretary of state for east asia et cetera et cetera have all said there are other measures that were contemplating. and yet we wait a year or more after some of these statements. a fifth sanction, a fifth myth. sanctions doents work on north korea. well, they do. we have an extensive program in 2005 against a macau bank where in conjunction with the u.s. treasury department announcing it as a money laundering concern, there were a number of private meetings with u.s. officials throughout asia with
the businesses and banks. it led to over two dozen entities no longer willing to do business with north korea. north korea negotiator told a white house official you finally found a way to hurt us. and the obama administration came in office saying it was a huge mistake for the bush administration to have removed those sanctions which we did in trying to improve the atmosphere for nuclear negotiations. and the obama administration said they're trying to recreate the pressure that the u.s. had in 2005. what are some of these things we can do? that the u.s. can do under existing law? we can put north korea back on the state sponsors of terrorism list. we can designate them as a primary money laundering concern as we have iran, berma and ukraine. we can formally charge them as a currency counterfeit. we can impose human rights related sanctions on them as we already have on zimbabwe and congo. the presidents are on a u.s.
sanctions list because of human rights violations. and yet, 11 months after a u.n. commission concluded that north korea had committed crimes against humanity because of their widespread systemic human rights violations, the u.s. has done nothing on north korean human rights. and, actually the list goes on. so what i would say in conclusion is, i would leave you with a question. is why would the u.s. hesitate to impose the same measures on north korea that we've already applied on other measures, on other countries for far less egregious violations. so thank you very much. i'm going to turn it over to ana to talk about cuba. >> yeah. so a great way of understanding the president's new dangerous policy toward cuba, these weakening of sanctions is really to look at the past and the previous administrations have done, particularly the carter and clinton administration and how the cuban government has responded aggressively. and then we have to look at the present. see how sanctions have been
weakened and not so much weakened and see the unilateral concessions that have been granted toward the castro regime and how that's going to end up undermining our national security and our interests in seeing a free and democratic cuba. so carter reestablished diplomatic relations with the castro regime in '77. and he was pursuing going further than creating a section of interest and allowing them to create a reciprocal section of interests. one the cuban government launched forces in over 12 dozen countries, over a dozen countries in africa. what they called liberation movements. and then clinton in '94 and '95 wanted to create better conditions for improving relations because every president thinks that they can be the one to improve relations with the casto regime, which is they just obviously didn't, right? they created this perception of
weakness and any weakness is provocative. the regime responded with the rescue flights in 1996, three americans were killed and one u.s. resident was killed in international waters. this is when congress responded with the act, also known as the cuban liberty and democracy act. this now put the embargo and international angsts completely under the purview of congress. now you need congressional authorization to lift the embargo. right, and you also have a strengthening of international sanctions. so now moving forward to the president's new policy. so he has now create edd and demanded nothing of the castro regime. despite the fact that cuba needs to release all political prisoners, needs to allow for the establishment of labor unions, right, needs to create a
free and fair cuba, obviously not in their interest. the president has now after 18 months of secret negotiations in which they did not involve the state department, all conducted out of the white house and the white house, the nfc admits to this has decided to do three things to normalize relations. cuba can now have -- the castro regime can have an ambassador in the united states. they have now essentially been absolved of over half a century of aggression towards the united states and towards its own people and towards the aggression they fostered throughout africa and latin america. president obama has gone even as far as calling raul castro president. calling him president castro. this is someone never elected. someone who the only reason why he's in power is because he's the younger brother of fidel castro. another individual who has never been elected. so president obama's now also expanding the ability for americans to travel as tourism. before, there was, it's extremely difficult for an american to travel to travel to
cuba. me as a cuban american, it was difficult for me, before, you can only go once every three years. now that's just been completely obliterated for cuban americans and for americans it's going to be extremely easy for them to travel, as well. what people need to realize and i don't think the president's making public is that the military controls the tourism industry from top to bottom. from the hotel you're staying at, from the rum you're drinking, the cigars you're smoking, that's all controlled by the military and that's all additional revenue going to the military. and another area that's been weakened is remittences. so cuban americans would send to the island about 3 billion annually in remittences. and this was when the cap was at $500 per quarter and remittences that were sent. the cuban government taxes that at 20%. that $3 billion, 20% is taxed right up front. then another 20% is taxed once that's converted from u.s. currency to the local currency.
at $3 billion annually, that's over $700 million in profit they're making. imagine now from $500 that's been quadrupled to $2,000 every quarter. now we need to multiply 700 million by four. that's hard currency going into the hands of the regime. what incentive do they have to change now? absolutely none. we have given a dying regime a lifeline, right? to continue their aggressiveness towards us and towards the cuban people. two days after obama made his announcement, raul castro stood in front of the national assembly in full military garb stating that cuba from now on despite the new relationship with the united states will remain a communist country and will never change. cuba will never see democracy. now we need to look at this in terms of what are the broader implications? what's going to be the future of u.s. cuban relations if this regime is accountable to no one? we've put no conditions on these negotiations. they have nothing to be responsible for. and what's going to be the future of democracy on the
island? congress needs to make sure that state department programming, that we continue supporting the peaceful opposition the democratic opposition on the island. and it appears to be that congress -- i'm sorry, the state department is reorienting their democracy promotion programs to suit these normalization measures, right? so then we also need to look at what are the implications for future negotiations with rogue regimes like north korea and iran? if all of this was conducted in secret. if we granted these wide sweeping overtures. we just gave them a gift basket of goodies, what are they going to do with iran and north korea? so with that i pass it on to jim. >> i'd like to say a few words about iranian sanctions. this year the long-running negotiations with iran on the nuclear issue are expected to come to a climax one way or the other. i think congress can play a very helpful role in crafting sanctions that would not only enhance u.s. bargaining leverage but also deter iran from pulling
a diplomatic rope a dope by stretching out negotiations while it continues to advance its nuclear program. from the beginning, the obama administration, i think, has failed to grasp the essential nature of the iran's islamist dictatorship. in his inaugural speech, the president proclaimed that to iran and other dictatorships that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fists. this engagement policy i think reflected a very naive and wishful thinking. the administration failed to understand that the unpopular regime in iran could not unclench its fist over its own people without risking being overthrown. and this became clear in june 2009 when the opposition green movement occur traited protests against the regime which were brutally suppressed. the white house missed the
opportunity to stand with and support the iranian people. it preferred to ignore the green movement in a vain effort to strike a deal over the heads of its own repressed people. and it failed to understand that the hostile ideological motivation of the regime which sees itself not as a typical country, but as the vanguard of a global islamist revolution. anti-americanism is part of the ideological dna. and that's why it calls the u.s. the great satan and continues to stage demonstrations in which their supporters chant death to america. the administration, unfortunately, has treated iran like just another country and offers to reward the regime by allowing it to rejoin the international community. but that's the last thing that iran dictators want. because they've invested so heavily in their self-proclaimed
leadership of the global islamic resolution that a genuine reconciliation with the u.s. and the west would spark an ideological crisis that could undermine its own legitimacy. the supreme leader ayatollah has warned and continues to warn against a velvet revolution. islamist totalitarians by nature reject compromise. and instead, iran has sought sanctions relief in the negotiations without compromising its ability to eventually build a nuclear weapon. the supreme leader's red lines have made it clear that iran will no not dismantle the infrastructure. in fact, it demands the right to build more centrifuges which would further reduce the time it needs to stage a nuclear
breakout. iran is slow walking the negotiations, which already have missed two deadlines in july and november. and actually iran's been negotiating in some form or other since 2002. so if you count all those failed negotiations there's reason to suspect that these negotiations are not going to ultimately go too well. iran continues to stall on concessions, convinced it will get a better deal. meanwhile, the administration is bending over backwards to get a deal it hopes will burnish its legacy. sensitive areas including accepting uranium enrichment, which was banned by multiple security council resolutions. retreated from demands on iran closing its elicit nuclear facilities. and it's backed away from demanding full iranian
cooperation with the ongoing ia/ea investigation into the military dimensions of its program. in exchange for symbolic and incremental concessions that can be withdrawn as it has many times in the past. one of the biggest mistakes the administration made was in prematurely relaxing economic sanctions against iran, which undermined its own bargaining leverage. sanctions are the only reason that iran came to the table in the first place. and many of them were !h5wf6m"ñ over the objections of the administration. thanks to sanctions relief, iran has increased its oil exports from 1 million barrels a day before the november 13 2013 interim agreement to about 1.4 million barrels a day this past november. that -- and that has added about $10 billion to iran's annual oil
revenues revenues. the iranian economy grew an estimated 4.6% at the beginning in the first quarter of iran's calendar year. and this is the first time it's grown after shrinking the last two years under sanctions. the bottom line is that this has reduced the incentives of tehran to negotiate in good faith and increased its willingness to engage in open-ended diplomacy while continuing to advance its nuclear program through research and development. congress can help to remedy the situation by putting in place sanctions that would be imposed if iran violates the interim agreement or fails to negotiate an acceptable final agreement within a reasonable amount of time. there's strong bipartisan support for a tougher negotiating policy and a likely vehicle for expressing the support is the kirk menendez bill which would ratchet up sanctions on iran's oil exports
and strategic sectors of the iranian economy if it violates the interim accord or drags its feet further on the agreement. harry reid in the last congress blocked consideration of this bill last year but the senate banking committee is expected to approve a version of it soon. congress should weigh in on any proposed nuclear deal. the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, senator corker reportedly is working with senator lindsey graham to draft legislation that would require the president to submit any deal to congress within three days. congress would hold hearings and have an additional 15 days to vote on the agreement. congress also should exercise its oversight powers and hold hearings to make sure that the administration continues to
prosecute sanctions violators. if the u.s. starts going limp on these sanctions, other countries are sure to follow. finally, congress can also play a role in educating the public about the nature of the iranian regime and the long record of violating the human rights of its own people while functioning as the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism. after all, it's the nature of the iranian regime and the threat it poses that makes the iran nuclear issue such an important one. and let me just -- >> thank you. we sort of ran around the world very quickly or at least the rogue regime part of it. we have a few minutes for questions, although, i've been told we have a hard stop at the end. so if anyone wants to raise their hand and please wait for a microphone. right down here, sir.
>> given that i agree with each of the foreign policy goals, say in cuba or iran or north korea or zimbabwe or the balkans, i -- i challenge the notion that sanctions are the effective remedy. i wonder if any of you can point to an instance when sanctions have actually changed behavior of a regime and accomplished our foreign policy objectives. we've created ofaq, devoted to imposing and enforcing these sanctions. imposes billions of dollars of regulatory burden on u.s. industry. i wonder whether sanctions, in fact, are the proper remedy to these foreign policy problems. >> i'll take a crack. as i try to point out in the
beginning, it's not an either/or. it should be used in conjunction. one wouldn't necessarily point to any one tool of u.s. foreign policy as the tool which brought it about. the south african apartheid regime was, i think, heavily influenced by official and nongovernment and private sanctions. and also, there's targeted financial measures, which is what goes after the criminals, not the people themselves. i point out, you know, targeted financial measures or sanctions more broadly really have a number of objectives. i'd say there are five objectives. one is upholding u.s. law. and if we don't uphold or defend our laws then they're meaningless. two, would be you're imposing a penalty or cost on those that violate u.s. law. and, again, that's targeted financial measures as opposed to sanctions. three, you're trying to constrain the inflow of prohibited items into a country
like north korea, including financing from their e lisillicit activities. trying to reduce the proliferation of prohibited items. and five the most difficult along with the tools of national power, you're trying to alter their behavior, modify their behavior. in north korea's case getting them to abide by their signatures on eight or more international agreements and not to have nuclear weapons. so i think it's -- we need to look at it more broadly in context of a broader sanctions. broader foreign policy. all right. down here. in front. >> i reject the expression that i hear all the time in the news. i've heard it here today that obama is building his legacy. in doing all these different things he's doing. things that go against the best interests of the united states and its people.
and it disheartens me to hear people use that term. he is very whole heartedly determinedly pursuing policies that are hurting this country. i would not call it building a legacy. i would say hurting america. more linguistically appropriate way to say that. but words have consequences. and by saying that we build an excuse for him. we misrepresent his intentions to the people of america. and for this country to change and to get on the correct path, we must be well aware of what we are facing from leadership as well as from without. >> well, i would agree with that. i would agree with that and i think we were using shorthand. because i would agree the real danger is in iran is that his
>> a bit of a scheduling change here. if folks can take their conversations outside. thank you, we're going to keep going. we have a little bit of a scheduling change here. i want to make note of it for you. what we're going to do because there have been more votes called this afternoon in the house of representatives. we're going to take all four of our house of representative speakers and move and compress their speaking slots over the next hour. a 3:15 slot and a 3:30 slot. and we'll finish with a conversation about the issues. and the issues that we're now moving into. religious freedom, marriage, life. okay. we're three legs of the stool organization here. and we're very excited about some of the ideas that we have to talk about right now. i'm going to introduce to you mark meadows who is one of our great friends here at the heritage foundation. he is no longer a freshman of congress.
he came in in 2012. and now he's a seasoned vet. and since coming into congress, he's immediately taken to the conservative movement and has been always willing to be a leader for us in all the things we're working on. today he's going to talk to us about the pro-life agenda in the house of representatives. we are -- this is the 42nd anniversary coming up of roe versus wade. in that time frame, 60 million abortions have taken place. 60 million. and the thing that we see happening out there across the country is that more and more people are becoming pro-life. more and more people are recognizing that this isn't just a simple decision that is about one person. this is a decision about two people. and a decision about a real child. and so that tragedy has unfolded over the last 42 years. but i have great hope. and i think a lot of our
speakers have great hope. and you'll see the reason for that as they come up and talk. and also on january 22nd we're going to have the pro-life march here on washington, d.c. i remember being a little kid and being bussed up here with my parents for that pro-life march. and it's always the most cold day of the year by far. but it's always a great event. so if you're around and can be a part of that, i would highly recommend it. but for now, let's have congressman meadows come up and talk to us about the fetal pain bill -- please welcome mark meadows. >> well, it is a privilege to be here with you and just share a little bit from my heart as we look at the life issue and truly as we start to address this as tim was mentioning, you know, it's really the third stool for those that are conservative. and as we start to look at the 42nd anniversary of roe v. wade
this is one of the few areas as a social conservative there is progress being made and hearts are being changed lives and in this particular issue lives are being saved. so i wanted to just share a little bit. you've got a panel that will be coming up that will talk about all of the technical detail. but what i want to do is give you a story of hope, a story of encouragement and also about the importance of this particular bill that will be coming up on the house floor here in a few weeks, as we look at hr-36, which is the bill really designed to limit abortions for those up to and ceding 20 weeks. when i say that, have i to take
you to a story that really transformed my life and made me more pro-life. so, i want to take you back some 20 -- almost 23 years now, take you back, to when my wife was actually pregnant with our firstborn son. so as we were there. you get excited. then we were older, first-time parents. so my wife, as she was carrying my son, it started getting a little bit larger out front. i started talking to my son. and when i would do that, he would move around in the womb. i could feel him press back. i could feel him kick. then i got to the point where i would actually sing a song to him. and i would sing this song. and when i would do that, there was a response. there was no denying the fact
that was life and that there was a response to me. and my wife, who had been pro-life for many years fryer that, said do you realize that it is legal for us to abort this child right now. i mean that came as an unbelievable shock to me. and i said, well, how could that be true? because for many people that have the argument about being pro-choice, what they're talking about is, it's all about a choice. but for me, when i was in high school, we thought that that choice was within the first trimester. you know it was only very limited. so all of a sudden my world view started to get challenged. it came to the fact that i was having to wrestle with what i knew was life, what i knew was responding to me and yet having
to come to a decision on how do i address that? now, technology is helping millions of americans start to have that realization. we have a son oe groomogram that is third and fourth generation. which is a vivid picture. when they showed me the sonogram of my son 23 years ago i said, which way is up? it was not real detailed. that is not the case now. technology is starting to tell the story. when we start to tell the truth the american people are responding. because unlike many other things on this particular issue people are starting to say, we need to do something about it. now, there are studies that would suggest that a baby in the
womb can feel pain at this particular point. in the process. and feel it, and feel it in such a way, and you'll have technical experts tell you, but feel it in such a way but maybe a heightened sensitivity to that pain, and yet we are all part of a very compassionate caring country. you know when we look at this we'll have a tsunami that may happen somewhere else and many of us will reach deep into our pocket to give money to help somebody so far away that we'll never meet to do that, and yet all of a sudden we're faced with the reality of this particular issue that we need to identify and approach. and i say that because i want to make this argument more about the people than the policy. now, we're here today to talk about policy. the fact is we will be debating
this on the house floor. i expect it to pass the house as it has before. i expect it to be taken up in the senate. hopefully we'll start to see the limitation on this horrific crime against the unborn, against someone who doesn't have a voice be rolled back. and yet for many of us perhaps you like me, we've been silent for far too long. you know, it's been one of those things thaw just don't talk about. you know, you make sure that you just -- have you your own personal convictions. but you don't talk about it. what happens is with science we're now able to start talk become it in real terms in accurate termentz, and we're starting to define that in a way that's never been defined before.
i say that because i have a great son. it could have been, if we had different views 23 years ago, we may have made a very different decision. now he's a student in law school and about to get married here in just a few months. and yet we see decisions being made each and every day. we also see horrific things that happen on our tv each and every day. with terrorism and everything else, we see acts of violence that we can't even describe to our kids. and yet this as well has been an act of violence. as tim had shared, some 60000 people that have been killed since that decision 42 years ago. 60 million. excuse me. when we look at that it's time the american people stand up and say enough is enough.
we're here in the house and you have a very large pro-life caucus. it's not enough to just talk about being pro life. it's time we put actions to those words. among a number of us there are a few champions. you'll hear from a number of them later today. chairman chris smith has been a real advocate for life. and every single aspect of what he does. he's a good friend of mine and works real solidly on this particular issue. but i share that because it's easy to give up hope and say it's not a fight worth fighting. there's no way to win. there's no way to accomplish it. i'm here to tell you, that's not the case. we're seeing incremental changes each and every day that are making a big difference. so, i want to close with a
couple other notes and one story. when we start to look at this particular issue, it is important that we understand the potential pain that so many of our neighbors and friends may have. my wife as i was sharing today, i was coming here to give a speech on this, she said, did you know so and so had an abortion? did you know this person had an abortion? and i had no idea. as they would talk together and as they would share but some of the emotional scars that are deep-seeded and lasting are still there. i see that. that's something we don't talk about enough either. here's what i would ask you to do. i would ask you to not give up hope. you've heard from a lot of great speakers on the last 24 hours or
so so. you've had potential candidates. you've had unbelievable people who are active in both the senate and the house. but really we're only a reflection of how active the people we represent really are. i'm fortunate enough to serve one of the greatest places in the country. the beautiful mountains of western north carolina. some of the greatest people. but my power rests in them as your representative and as your senator, their power rests in you. so, i'm going to close with this particular story. it's a story about not giving up hope. it's one where we know the ending and i love to share this story because we're right now celebrating the anniversary of the star spangled banner. and that anniversary really
talked about the stars and stripes and where it got the beginning. for most of those that know the story, know it's about ft. mchenry. the bombarding was going over and over and over again. for 25 hours, it kept on going. and francis scott key, looking at that, seeing in the morning, expected to see what? a white flag of surrender. and yet when he looked out that morning, what he saw were the stars and stripes still -- still streaming. and when we see that, we can take that vision each and every day as we sing the star spangled barner. that doesn't tell the whole story. because the whole story really is the bombardment that was taking place there at ft. mchenry, was because the british ships couldn't get close enough to really make those boms